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Read Letter

Ancient Philosophy Of Life

Dear Jack,

I’ve written you so many letters now. Probably forty in number, maybe more. But today’s letter is slightly different. It’s a letter within a letter, like those Russian matryoshka nesting dolls.

Many years ago I came across a letter in a book. It’s an ancient letter written in ancient text. The version I saw was a 17th century translation. The letter itself dates back to 930BC or thereabout. The ancient historian Flavius Josephus wrote about the letter, and the writer – a very successful man apparently. He actually wrote the letter to his son. I have smartly sent a copy to my son. He’s about your age. Every man ought to read this letter. Only last week I picked up the book once more and the letter leapt at me from its pages. It grabbed hold of my conscience and imagination, incubating in me a strange sense of responsibility. I had this strange feeling, this inexplicable pertinacious nudge to share it with you. Now I know enough about life to know the import of such a persevering nudge. It’s why I’ve decided to share it with you as a letter within a letter, though I was a bit worried about the language. Fortunately I did a bit of research and found a modern translation by a gentleman named Eugene Peterson. I’ve further adapted his translation for you, editing out some parts. Please enjoy!

“Dear Jack, don’t forget all I’ve taught you. They’ll help you live a long, long time, a long life lived full and well. Don’t lose your grip on Love and Loyalty. Tie them around your neck; carve their initials on your heart. Earn a reputation for truthful living in God’s eyes and in the eyes of the people.

Trust God from the bottom of your heart; don’t try to figure out everything on your own. Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; he’s the one who will keep you on track. Don’t assume that you know it all. Honor God with everything you own; give him the first and the best. Your barns will burst, your wine vats will brim over. But don’t resent God’s discipline; don’t sulk under his loving correction. It’s the child he loves that God corrects; a father’s delight is behind all this.

You’re blessed when you meet Lady Wisdom, when you make friends with Madame Insight. She’s worth far more than money in the bank; her friendship is better than a big salary. Her value exceeds all the trappings of wealth; nothing you could wish for holds a candle to her. With one hand she gives long life, with the other she confers recognition. Her manner is beautiful, her life wonderfully complete. Hold her tight ”and be blessed!

Guard Clear Thinking and Common Sense with your life; don’t for a minute lose sight of them. They’ll keep your soul alive and well, they’ll keep you fit and attractive.

Never walk away from someone who deserves help; your hand is God’s hand for that person. Don’t tell your neighbor “Maybe some other time” or “Try me tomorrow” when the money’s right there in your pocket.

Don’t figure ways of taking advantage of your neighbor when he’s sitting there trusting and unsuspecting. Don’t walk around with a chip on your shoulder, always spoiling for a fight. Don’t try to be like those who shoulder their way through life. Why be a bully? “Why not?” you ask. Because God can’t stand twisted souls. It’s the straightforward who get his respect. He gives proud skeptics a cold shoulder, but if you’re down on your luck, he’s right there to help. Wise living gets rewarded with honor; stupid living gets the booby prize.”

Well, that’s it! That’s the letter. Take time to meditate on it. Read it over and over again. It’s a good philosophy of life. There are many dangerous philosophies out there. Most are unproven. Many will lead you astray. And some come from a very dark place – the doctrines of demons.

Youth by nature is prone to mistakes. It is wisdom to temper your tendencies. Love wisdom. You must modulate your life and limit your exposure to foolishness. Well, that’s all I have to say this week. God willing I’ll write you next week. And thanks for those compliments. Much appreciated.

Your mentor, LA.


©Leke Alder 2013



Tags : God, Wisdom

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