Theosophy





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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