Duties of the Theosophistby Annie Besant
"Now, when we look over the modern world after these one-and-forty years, what do we see? We see that Science and Religion again are clasping hands. We see that materialism is discredited, and that the leading men of science no longer use the name of agnostic. We find that the intuition of the heart is asserted itself
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An excerpt from the first lecture:
"Now, when we look over the modern world after these one-and-forty years, what do we see? We see that Science and Religion again are clasping hands. We see that materialism is discredited, and that the leading men of science no longer use the name of agnostic. We find that the intuition of the heart is asserted itself so mightily that the knowledge—the partial knowledge—of the head has had to give way before it; that Science is coming back to Religion; that those words of Bacon are true, spoken with knowledge greater than normal, that "while a little knowledge inclineth men to atheism, a larger knowledge bringeth them back to Religion."
"That is true; and the position of Theosophy in the world shows how the Theosophist has striven in the past to do his duty to Religion. Materialism, we may say, is conquered. Science has entered on the borderland of higher knowledge. But the great Gnosis that was again proclaimed in New York—that is far more than the knowledge which Science can win by the study of that garment of God which we call the natural world, for the heart of man who is thirsting after God is not satisfied therewith; it demands knowledge of the Divine Nature, and the greatest service that Theosophy has done to Religion in the past has been to declare,and once again to prove, that man can know God and not only believe in Him, that he can realise God, and not only hope that He is.
"That has always been the Royal Secret of the East. Here it was that in the elder times of our race, the great proclamation was made, so familiar to all of you; when the disciple asked the teacher : " What is knowledge? " —knowledge was divided into two. There is the lower knowledge, the knowledge of all sacred books, the knowledge of all sciences, the knowledge of everything that the brain can compass or, to put it in what sometimes seems to me the most explicit way, the knowledge of everything that the mouth can speak to the ear, the knowledge of everything that the teacher can give to the pupil, the knowledge of everything that man can give to man. That is the lower knowledge, however splendid it may be; that is the lower knowledge, however magnificent may be its range."
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