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Much is said nowadays about theosophy, which is really but another name
for mysticism. It is not a philosophy, for it will have nothing to do
with philosophical methods; it might be called a religion, though it has
never had a following large enough to make a very strong impression on
the world's religious history. The name is from the Greek word
theosophia--divine wisdom--and the object of theosophical study is
professedly to understand the nature of divine things. It differs,
however, from both philosophy and theology even when these have the same
object of investigation. For, in seeking to learn the divine nature and
attributes, philosophy employs the methods and principles of natural
reasoning; theology uses these, adding to them certain principles
derived from revelation. Theosophy, on the other hand, professes to
exclude all reasoning processes as imperfect, and to derive its
knowledge from direct communication with God himself. It does not,
therefore, accept the truths of recorded revelation as immutable, but as
subject to modification by later and personal revelations. The
theosophical idea has had followers from the earliest times. Since the
Christian era we may class among theosophists such sects as
Neo-Platonists, the Hesychasts of the Greek Church, the Mystics of
mediaeval times, and, in later times, the disciples of Paracelsus,
Thalhauser, Bohme, Swedenborg and others. Recently a small sect has
arisen, which has taken the name of Theosophists. Its leader was an
English gentleman who had become fascinated with the doctrine of
Buddhism. Taking a few of his followers to India, they have been
prosecuting their studies there, certain individuals attracting
considerable attention by a claim to miraculous powers. It need hardly
be said that the revelations they have claimed to receive have been,
thus far, without element of benefit to the human race.

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