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In the Beginning: Wisdom

   The Proverbs attributed to Solomon are eight hundred in number, but they are counted as three thousand, for the reason that each admits of a double and triple interpretation.

   In the eighth chapter of Proverbs, turning from the personal problem to problems of the Beginning, are some very beautiful verses, which in substance correlate to the first chapter of Genesis and also to the first chapter of John.

   "My delights were with the sons of men"; this was in the spiritual Eden, before man's fall, when all men's ways were ordered in the light of cosmic Wisdom. It is still the lot of the neophyte who, when he goes out of the door of his "chamber" into the invisible worlds, seeks out the Christ, and Wisdom: Blessed is he that heareth Wisdom, "watching daily at my gates, waiting at the posts of my doors." But, "he that sinneth against me wrongeth his own soul: all they that hate me love death." In the first chapter of John's Gospel the Wisdom Principle is saluted, "In the beginning was the Word .... and without him was not anything made that was made." Here the masculine tense is used, signifying the Christ; but the Wisdom principle, though in Christianity called masculine in the Christ, is identical with the Sophia (Wisdom-feminine) of the Old Testament. (Incidentally, the Christ equates with the Persian Mithra, Archangel of the Sun, who by the Persians was venerated as a Divine Hermaphrodite.)

   Writes Max Heindel: "Try to imagine what it means in the first chapter of Genesis and the first chapter of John when it is said that God moved upon the waters; try to realize that we, who were then in God, were also present there."

   This is the Wisdom which is the foundation of the universe, referred to in the ninth chapter of Proverbs: "Wisdom hath builded her house, she hath hewn out her seven pillars," . . . meaning the Seven Heavens, the seven cosmic planes of manifestation, and again, microcosmically, the body of the Initiate upon which the seven lights are burning. Also the cross on which bloom the seven roses or lights and the House in which are seven windows burning jewel-wise with the glory light of the soul within.

   This Wisdom (Proverbs 14:33) "resteth in the heart of him that hath understanding; but that which is in the midst of fools is made known." How is this Wisdom to be obtained, which rests in the lotus of the heart? "The fear of the Lord is the instruction of Wisdom; and before honor is humility." (Proverbs 15:33) We are not to interpret "fear" in the usual sense of that word; on the contrary it means simply the spiritual instinct that abides deep in the ego and which is surely attracted to divine Wisdom, always and at all times. In this first, almost imperceptible, turning of the heart toward God is to be recognized the earliest working of Illumination in the soul. Like a mirror turned toward the Sun, the heart catches the divine Light and reflects it back upon the world. "How much better is it to get wisdom than gold! yea, to get understanding is rather to be chosen than silver!" (Proverbs 16:16)

   Wisdom and understanding are not now, nor ever have been, for sale in the market place. Success in business or world affairs does not necessarily carry with it any special measure of true wisdom. Such "successful people, when entering a church or an occult school, usually win the esteem of their associates not so much because of their spirituality, which may be meager, but because of their personal and worldly prestige. Of such people the wise Master in Israel wrote trenchantly: "Wherefore is there a price in the hand of a fool to get wisdom, seeing he hath no heart to it?" (Proverbs 17:16) Such "fools", who think worldly success an indication of spiritual understanding, cannot qualify to enter into the friendship of Christ, as when He said to His disciples: "I call you no more servants, but friends;" for the definition of the friend is "A friend loveth at all times, and a brother is born for adversity." (Proverbs 17:17) Such is not the definition of a fair-weather aspirant, an ex-careerist who brings into occult fields the same self-will and ambition which characterized his activities in the world.

   It is only "the eyes of the fool which are in the ends of the earth" (Proverbs 17:24), that is, whose mind is turned wholly to worldly or material considerations. Of these false aspirants, these weary worldlings, the Master of Proverbs says again, "Through desire a man, having separated himself, seeketh and intermeddleth with all wisdom." (Proverbs 18:1) The phrase, "through desire," gives the key to this statement. It warns against meddlers in the occult who have not the heart for the work, yet who "through desire" seek a place therein. Let these people have but the least opportunity for an increase of wealth and fortune and at once they desert the holy work, their spiritual aspirations are forgotten, for they had no heart to it. "A fool hath no delight in understanding [for its own sake, irrespective of worldly approbation), but that his heart may discover itself". He is interested only in himself, and takes up the higher studies chiefly as a diversion and for the intellectual and emotional sake of benefits derived therefrom. All unaware of his interior weakness, "the rich man's wealth is his strong city, and as an high wall is his own conceit." (Proverbs 18:11) The work of regeneration in such cases is first of all the breaking down of that high wall which shuts out the vision of the soul world, and its downfall is frequently the signal for what a modem analytic psychologist has called an "ego catastrophe', that is, a feeling of utter self-loss. "A wounded spirit who can bear? asks the Teacher (Proverbs 18:15). One cannot defend himself against these wounds which are inevitable in the life of aspiration, but (Proverbs 18:15), "the heart of the prudent getteth knowledge: and the ear of the wise seeketh knowledge."

   "There is gold, and a multitude of rubies: but the lips of knowledge are a precious jewel." (Proverbs 20:15) This is a maxim of spiritual alchemy and explains what the medieval alchemists really meant by the "gold" which they sought, and by the "ruby" (or diamond) which they aspired to create from base substances. It is the gold of wisdom and the precious stones of understanding which are meant.

 — Corinne Heline


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