William Quan Judge (d.1896)

A biographical sketch:

https://www.theosociety.org/pasadena/sunrise/45-95-6/th-kvmj.htm

"William Quan Judge is a towering figure of the early theosophical movement. In 1875, at the age of 24, he was a co-founder of the Theosophical Society with H. P. Blavatsky and Henry S. Olcott, He continued to work ardently for its cause for the next 20 years, until his death in 1896. As the leading theosophical official in America from 1886 to 1896, he guided the Section so that it became the most vigorous in the Society, with the largest effective membership. He relentlessly pursued his high vision for the Society's work in the world: humanity's great need for a new perspective on itself and the universe. Judge was born in Dublin, Ireland, on April 13, 1851, to Frederic H. Judge and Alice Mary Quan. His mother died giving birth to her seventh child, and his father decided in 1864 to emigrate to New York with six children. Judge studied law while living with his father, who soon died. At 21 Judge became a US citizen and in May 1872 was admitted to the bar. He married Ella M. Smith, a school teacher, in 1874 and they lived in Brooklyn until 1893 when they moved to New York City."
 
His Epitome of Theosophy article from 1888. See also in his selected writings, Echoes of the Orient, volume 3:

https://www.theosociety.org/pasadena/wqj-ep/th-wqjep.htm

"Theosophy, the Wisdom-Religion, has existed from immemorial time. It offers us a theory of nature and of life which is founded upon knowledge acquired by the Sages of the past, more especially those of the East; and its higher students claim that this knowledge is not imagined or inferred, but that it is a knowledge of facts seen and known by those who are willing to comply with the conditions requisite for seeing and knowing.

Theosophy, meaning knowledge of or about God (not in the sense of a personal anthropomorphic God, but in that of divine "godly" wisdom), and the term "God" being universally accepted as including the whole of both the known and the unknown, it follows that "Theosophy" must imply wisdom respecting the absolute; and, since the absolute is without beginning and eternal, this wisdom must have existed always. Hence Theosophy is sometimes called the Wisdom-Religion, because from immemorial time it has had knowledge of all the laws governing the spiritual, the moral, and the material.

The theory of nature and of life which it offers is not one that was at first speculatively laid down and then proved by adjusting facts or conclusions to fit it; but is an explanation of existence, cosmic and individual, derived from knowledge reached by those who have acquired the power to see behind the curtain that hides the operations of nature from the ordinary mind. Such Beings are called Sages, using the term in its highest sense. Of late they have been called Mahatmas and Adepts. In ancient times they were known as the Rishis and Maha-rishis — the last being a word that means Great Rishis.

It is not claimed that these exalted beings, or Sages, have existed only in the East. They are known to have lived in all parts of the globe, in obedience to the cyclic laws referred to below. But as far as concerns the present development of the human race on this planet, they now are to be found in the East, although the fact may be that some of them had, in remote times, retreated from even the American shores."
 
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More from his Epitome of Theosophy:

There being of necessity various grades among the students of this Wisdom-Religion, it stands to reason that those belonging to the lower
degrees are able to give out only so much of the knowledge as is the appanage of the grade they have reached, and depend, to some extent, for further information upon students who are higher yet. It is these higher students for whom the claim is asserted that their knowledge is not mere inference, but that it concerns realities seen and known by them. While some of them are connected with the Theosophical Society, they are yet above it.
The power to see and absolutely know such laws is surrounded by natural inherent regulations which must be complied with as conditions precedent; and it is, therefore, not possible to respond to the demand of the worldly man for an immediate statement of this wisdom, insomuch as he could not comprehend it until those conditions are fulfilled. As this knowledge deals with laws and states of matter, and of consciousness undreamed of by the “practical” Western world, it can only be grasped, piece by piece, as the student pushes forward the demolition of his preconceived notions, that are due either to inadequate or to erroneous theories.
It is claimed by these higher students that, in the Occident especially, a false method of reasoning has for many centuries prevailed, resulting in a universal habit of mind which causes men to look upon many effects as causes, and to regard that which is real as the unreal, putting meanwhile the unreal in the place of the real.
 
Ocean of Theosophy:

https://www.theosociety.org/pasadena/ocean/Ocean-WQJ.pdf

That man possesses an immortal soul is the common belief of humanity; to this Theosophy adds that he is a soul; and further that all nature is sentient, that the vast array of objects and men are not mere collections of atoms fortuitously thrown together and thus without law evolving law, but down to the smallest atom all is soul and spirit ever evolving under the rule of law which is inherent in the whole. And just as the ancients taught, so does Theosophy; that the course of evolution is the drama of the soul and that nature exists for no other purpose than the soul’s experience.
 
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Impression of WQ Judge on first meeting HPB:

It was her eye that attracted me, the eye of one whom I must have known in lives long passed away. She looked at me in recognition at that first hour, and never since has that look changed. Not as a questioner of philosophies did I come before her, not as one groping in the dark for lights that schools and fanciful theories had obscured, but as one who, wandering many periods through the corridors of life, was seeking the friends who could show where the designs for the work had been hidden. And true to the call she responded, revealing the plans once again, and speaking no words to explain, simply pointed them out and went on with the task. It was as if the evening before we had parted, leaving yet to be done some detail of a task taken up with one common end; it was teacher and pupil, elder brother and younger, both bent on the one single end, but she with the power and the knowledge that belong but to lions and sages. So, friends from the first, I felt safe.
 
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