Preeminent Wisdom – The Principle And First Thing

Men studied history primarily to discern the ways of Providence and so acquire wisdom for their own age.  – Stephen Mansfield

One of the four categories of stones in my personal Stonebridge Story I call, “Foundations”.  On my About page this falls in the context of our historic home and the lives that are lived there.
Another of the pillar is “Family”,  the stories of ancestors who have shaped who I am.  In the series of posts entitled Circles and Intersections, I give examples of how things, events and people from the past have come back around and shown up in my life.  So why all this looking at the past?  Is it just my age or is there some real value to it?
I agree with the warning by many to avoid letting the past hold us back.  We are made to move forward, to let go and to be who we are designed to be.   However, we have been designed by what has gone before.
As a person of faith, I hold to the view that God made me, in His image as a unique person with free will.  I am also aware of the forces in this life which seeks to taint what God has intended.  Looking at the past serves as an objective means to sort things out, when done correctly.

Applied Wisdom

Main chamber of the Old Library, the Long Room. Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland.

In The Search for God and Guinness: A Biography of the Beer that Changed the World, by Stephen Mansfield, there is a section where the author explores the faith of the Guinness clan.

One of the sons attended Trinity College in Dublin.  There was a statement in this discussion that articulated this concept of examining the past that took my breath away:

 “…We would find that one of the most treasured fields of study at Trinity was a topic we do not teach today, one that we have neglected to our own harm.  It is called moral philosophy and it was a blend of history, theology, philosophy, and ethics.  
It was, in sort, history writ large, a look at the past to gain the lessons that might be learned.  Men studied history primarily to discern the ways of Providence and so acquire wisdom for their own age.  Far from the ivory tower, abstracted-from-reality approach so prevalent in our modern universities, the study of earlier ages was then considered eminently practical and men expected to live differently for the time they spent in the far-off country of the past”.
That’s it.  That is the heart and soul of this BLOG.  To study those things that have gone before in a larger context to gain wisdom.  Capture the story and let wisdom inform life today and guide well into the future.  Wisdom to discern and construct our own unique Stonebridge.
There is a Proverb that states “wisdom is the principle thing, therefore get wisdom” ( Proverbs 4:7.)  I like that:  Get wisdom, it is really important, just get it!

Two Sides of a Coin

So what wisdom can this moral philosophy approach provide?  I see it as two sides of a coin:
  • One side:  it reveals things holding us back.

The negative perspectives we do not want to be a part of our today or tomorrows.  These can be soul things such as negative patterns of thinking or negative emotions.

Or they may be physical tendency toward certain diseases or disposition.  Although we can identify these as they look today, like a weed it is more helpful to get to the root rather than just chop off the top.

  • The flip side:  which I prefer to focus on in this forum, is to “discern the ways of Providence..”.  Again my Christian world-view can see Providence at work in my life and gives me pause for gratitude, joy and healing no matter what the root looks like.  Thus, if the root of something I want to cultivate I can do so.  If it needs pulling out, I can do so.  This is wisdom.
You see, it is a choice.  We all choose our world-view, our mind-set, and live with the parameters that view has.
We all get to choose what we do with the choices others make that may impact our life in some way, even our ancestors. And we can change what we are choosing.  We can rearrange the stone of our bridge.  Wisdom can do that.
What will you do to “get wisdom” today?   Let me know in the comments below!

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