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Letters from an Ancient Mind

My dear young friend,

I see have been guilty of leading you astray. In my commiseration on the nature of the city clerk I did not intend to bring you trouble. But it seems I have.

The problem is the lure of gossip. How often have I walked away from a conversation wishing that I had held my tongue! One says things in the moment of discussion which often prove less than pleasant when repeated. Even if they are not repeated, the worry that they might be is enough.

Indeed, it is worse. Often I have left such a session with a troubled conscience, wondering if I said more than I know. How often I have said, “that’s true!” of something about which I was completely ignorant. In such whirlwinds is the art of slander practiced. It is a great regret.

Why do we do such things? I think it comes from our desire to be in agreement. All men naturally desire the approval of others. One way to obtain that approval is to agree with their opinions. They, thinking themselves wise and virtuous, should then think the same of you. Such agreement eases the mind - when spoken. Later, it troubles the mind.

The solution is simple. From whom do you seek approval? If you seek it only from your Lord, and care nothing for what men think, your conscience will allow you to sleep far better.

This is not easy to accomplish, for much that is good is approved of. It is not the approval of others which is our folly; it is the seeking of it. Look only to your Lord Jesus, and all other approval will mean nothing. Trust first and always in Him.

As ever,

Isaac the alchemist

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