"But, Master, is all this necessary to gain a knowledge of God?
I will not conceal from you that formerly I walked in this external way. Nevertheless I at all times felt so strong an inclination to the intimate secret way, that the external way never further seduced me, even in my youth; for at the age of 23 I had been initiated in all these things.
Louis Claude de Saint-Martin, the "unknown philosopher" of the eighteenth century, was born in Amboise on January 18, 1743. (It is interesting that when the boy was fifteen years old the Count de St. Germain was living in the Chateau of Chambord, only a few miles away.) Out of respect for the wish of his father, who expected him to enter the legal profession, the young Saint-Martin studied law for a while. But after practicing for six months he found himself unable to distinguish between the rights of the plaintiff and the defendant, and asked his father's permission to enter the army, not that he was fond of fighting, but that he might have more time to study philosophy. His father appealed to the Duc de Choiseul, Prime Minister of France, who gave the young man a lieutenancy in the Régiment de Foix, then in garrison in Bordeaux. It was there that he met Martinez Paschalis and became a member of his school.http://www.blavatsky.net/magazine/theosophy/ww/setting/martin.html