Love, Wisdom, and Knowledge

LETTER NO. 51 - FEBRUARY, 1915

This month we are starting a new series of lesson on "The Web of Destiny--How Made and Unmade," and we trust that this series will prove very profitable to you in your study and in your life. While the lesson are analytical and technical in some respects, the subject should be approached in a spirit of the deepest devotion by keeping the main purpose of life in view.

As you are probably aware, the word "philosophy" is composed of two words meaning love of wisdom. Most people have the idea that "love of wisdom" in this connection is synonymous with desire for knowledge, but as we have seen from a recent lesson, there is a vast difference between knowledge and wisdom. Wisdom implies love, first, last, and all the time, while knowledge may be used for the most evil purposes imaginable. In fact the true esotericist who is inspired by a fervent devotion in his study and his work in life is too modest to accept the title of philosopher, for to him it means even more as he turns it around and calls it "The Wisdom of Love" instead of love of wisdom. A little thought will very soon make the point clear. The subject we have chosen for the coming series of lessons is one of the most intimate and holy which one can take up, therefore you will readily realize that it must be approached in this "wisdom of love" spirit, in love that is embodied in the full realization of what true philosophy is and means.

Robert Burns once said:

"O wad some pow'r the giftie gie us

To see ourselves as ithers see us!"

But I am afraid that power would indeed be a sad possession though it may seem upon superficial thought to be desirable. Each of us is full of shortcomings. At times we make but a sorry figure on the stage of the world. Sometimes we seem to be thrown aimlessly hither and thither by the shuttlecock of destiny, while others who are unable to see the beam in their own eye are criticizing us and making us appear ridiculous. If we saw ourselves with their eyes, we should lose that most essential attribute--our self-respect; we should shrink from facing our fellow men.

When we realize that this is so (and thought upon the matter surely can not fail to convince us), then we might also with profit put the shoe on the other foot and realize that we ourselves, by sharp criticism of the trivial shortcomings of others, are taking a very unbrotherly, unphilosophical, un-wisdom-of-love-like attitude. It is the purpose of the coming lessons to give us an idea of what has caused in the past some of the things that we most criticize in others, so that we may be able personally to avoid similar mistakes; also that we may have that real, true, Christian charity which VAUNTETH NOT ITSELF, IS NOT PUFFED UP, SEEKETH NOT HER OWN, REJOICETH NOT IN EVIL BUT IN THE TRUTH, as paul describes it in that beautiful thirteen chapter of 1st Corinthians.

I trust that you will approach the lessons in that spirit and that they may be of lasting benefit to us all.