Wisdom Books: The Mastery of Destiny by James Allen

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The Mastery of Destiny is a companion to James Allen’s The Life Triumphant. In The Mastery of Destiny Allen further reveals universal principles that can help empower each person. With emphasis on personal responsibility and harnessing one’s inner power, Allen writes on the Science of Self-Control, Training of the Will, Cultivation of Concentration, the Power of Purpose, and the Joy of Accomplishment. James Allen was a British philosophical writer known for his inspirational books and poetry and as a pioneer of self-help movement. Allen’s practical philosophy for successful living has awakened millions to the discovery that “they themselves are makers of themselves”. Allen insists that it is within the power of each person to form his own character and create his own happiness.


The following passages are excerpts from Chapter 1 ‘Deeds, Character, and Destiny’:

All moral teaching is an affirmation of man’s freedom to choose his course and mold his destiny: and man’s patient and untiring efforts in achieving his ends are declarations of consciousness of freedom and power. This dual experience of fate on the one hand, and freedom on the other, has given rise to the interminable controversy between the believers in Fatalism and the upholders of free will -a controversy which was recently revived under the term “Determinism versus Freewill.” Between apparently conflicting extremes there is always a “middle way” of balance, justice, or compensation which, while it includes both extremes, cannot be said to be either one or the other, and which brings both into harmony; and this middle way is the point of contact between two extremes.

Truth cannot be a partisan, but, by its nature, is the Reconciler of extremes; and so, in the matter which we are considering, there is a “golden mean” which brings Fate and Free will into close relationship, wherein, indeed, it is seen that these two indisputable facts in human life, for such they are, are but two aspects of one central law, one unifying and all-embracing principle, namely, the law of causation in its moral aspect.

Moral causation necessitates both Fate and Free will, both individual responsibility and individual predestination, for the law of causes must also be the law of effects, and cause and effect must always be equal; the train of causation, both in matter and mind, must be eternally balanced, therefore eternally, just, eternally perfect. Thus every effect may be said to be a thing preordained, but the predetermining power is a cause, and not the fiat of an arbitrary will.

Man finds himself involved in the train of causation. His life is made up of causes and effects. It is both a sowing and a reaping. Each act of his is a cause which must be balanced by its effects. He chooses the cause (this is Free will), he cannot choose, alter, or avert the effect (this is Fate); thus Free will stands for the power to initiate causes, and destiny is involvement in effects. It is therefore true that man is predestined to certain ends, but he himself has (though he knows it not) issued the mandate; that good or evil thing from which there is no escape, he has, by his own deeds, brought about.

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