Wisdom

Our brains, bodies, mind, faculties, and talents are the mere instruments we uses in demonstrating greatness; in themselves they do not make us great. A man may have a healthy brain and a good mind, strong faculties, and brilliant talents, and yet he is not a great man unless he uses all these in a great way.

 

That quality which enables us to use our abilities in a great way makes us great; and to that quality we give the name of wisdom. Wisdom is the essential basis of greatness.

Wisdom is the power to perceive the best ends to aim at and the best means for reaching those ends. It is the power to perceive the right thing to do. The person who is wise enough to know the right thing to do, who is good enough to wish to do only the right thing, and who is able and strong enough to do the right thing is a truly great person.

Wisdom is dependent upon knowledge. Where there is complete ignorance there can be no wisdom, no knowledge of the right thing to do.

Our knowledge is comparatively limited and so our wisdom must be small, unless we can connect our mind with knowledge greater than our own and draw from it, by inspiration, the wisdom that our own limitations deny us. This we can do; this is what the really great men and women have done. Our knowledge is limited and uncertain; therefore we cannot have wisdom in ourselves.

Abraham Lincoln had limited education; but he had the power to perceive truth. In Lincoln we see pre-eminently apparent the fact that real wisdom consists in knowing the right thing to do at all times and under all circumstances; in having the will to do the right thing, and in having talent and ability enough to be competent and able to do the right thing. Back in the days of the abolition agitation, and during the compromise period, when all other men were more or less confused as to what was right or as to what ought to be done, Lincoln was never uncertain. He saw through the superficial arguments of the pro-slavery men; he saw, also, the impracticability and fanaticism of the abolitionists; he saw the right ends to aim at and he saw the best means to attain those ends. It was because men recognized that he perceived truth and knew the right thing to do that they made him president.

If you develop the power to perceive truth, and you can show that you always know the right thing to do and that you can be trusted to do the right thing, you will be honored and advanced; the whole world is looking eagerly for such person.

When Lincoln became president he was surrounded by a multitude of so-called able advisers, hardly any two of whom were agreed. At times they were all opposed to his policies; at times almost the whole North was opposed to what he proposed to do. But he saw the truth when others were misled by appearances; his judgment was seldom or never wrong. He was at once the ablest statesman and the best soldier of the period. Where did he, a comparatively unlearned man, get this wisdom? It was not due to some peculiar formation of his skull or to some fineness of texture of his brain. It was not due to some physical characteristic. It was not even a quality of mind due to superior reasoning power.

Processes of reason do not often reach knowledge of truth. It was due to a spiritual insight. He perceived truth, but where did he perceive it and whence did the perception come? We see something similar in Washington, whose faith and courage, due to his perception of truth, held the colonies together during the long and often apparently hopeless struggle of the Revolution.

We see something of the same thing in the phenomenal genius of Napoleon, who always knew, in military matters, the best means to adopt. We see that the greatness

of Napoleon was in nature rather than in Napoleon, and we discover back of Washington and Lincoln something greater than either Washington or Lincoln. We see the same thing in all great men and women.

They perceive truth; but truth cannot be perceived until it exists; and there can be no truth until there is a mind to perceive it.Truth does not exist apart from mind. Washington and Lincoln were in touch and communication with a mind that knew all knowledge and contained all truth. The same is true of all who manifest wisdom. Wisdom is obtained by reading the mind of Infinite Intelligence.

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