The Project Gutenberg EBook of Morals and Dogma of the Ancient and
Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry, by Albert Pike

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Title: Morals and Dogma of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry

Author: Albert Pike

Release Date: October 3, 2006 [EBook #19447]

Language: English

Character set encoding: UTF-8


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CHARLESTON A.’. M.’. 5632

Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1871, by ALBERT PIKE,

In the Office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington. Entered
according to Act of Congress, in the year 1906, by THE SUPREME COUNCIL

In the Office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington, L. H.
Jenkins, Inc. Edition Book Manufacturers Richmond. Va. Reprinted,
February, 1944.


The following work has been prepared by authority of the Supreme Council
of the Thirty-third Degree, for the Southern Jurisdiction of the United
States, by the Grand Commander, and is now published by its direction.
It contains the Lectures of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite in
that jurisdiction, and is specially intended to be read and studied by
the Brethren of that obedience, in connection with the Rituals of the
Degrees. It is hoped and expected that each will furnish himself with a
copy, and make himself familiar with it; for which purpose, as the cost
of the work consists entirely in the printing and binding, it will be
furnished at a price as moderate as possible. No _individual_ will
receive pecuniary profit from it, except the agents for its sale.

It has been copyrighted, to prevent its republication elsewhere, and the
copyright, like those of all the other works prepared for the Supreme
Council, has been assigned to Trustees for that Body. Whatever profits
may accrue from it will be devoted to purposes of charity.

The Brethren of the Rite in the United States and Canada will be
afforded the opportunity to purchase it, nor is it _forbidden_ that
other Masons shall; but they will not be solicited to do so.

In preparing this work, the Grand Commander has been about equally
Author and Compiler; since he has extracted quite half its contents from
the works of the best writers and most philosophic or eloquent thinkers.
Perhaps it would have been better and more acceptable if he had
extracted more and written less.

Still, perhaps half of it is his own; and, in incorporating here the
thoughts and words of others, he has continually changed and added to
the language, often intermingling, in the same sentences, his own words
with theirs. It not being intended for the world at large, he has felt
at liberty to make, from all accessible sources, a Compendium of the
Morals and Dogma of the Rite, to re-mould sentences, change and add to
words and phrases, combine them with his own, and use them as if they
_were_ his own, to be dealt with at his pleasure and so availed of as to
make the whole most valuable for the purposes intended. He claims,
therefore, little of the merit of authorship, and has not cared to
distinguish his own from that which he has taken from other sources,
being quite willing that every portion of the book, in turn, may be
regarded as borrowed from some old and better writer.

The teachings of these Readings are not sacramental, so far as they go
beyond the realm of Morality into those of other domains of Thought and
Truth. The Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite uses the word “Dogma” in
its true sense, of _doctrine_, or _teaching_; and is not _dogmatic_ in
the odious sense of that term. Every one is entirely free to reject and
dissent from whatsoever herein may seem to him to be untrue or unsound.
It is only required of him that he shall weigh what is taught, and give
it fair hearing and unprejudiced judgment. Of course, the ancient
theosophic and philosophic speculations are not embodied as part of the
_doctrines_ of the Rite; but because it is of interest and profit to
know what the Ancient Intellect thought upon these subjects, and because
nothing so conclusively proves the radical difference between our human
and the animal nature, as the capacity of the human mind to entertain
such speculations in regard to itself and the Deity. But as to these
opinions themselves, we may say, in the words of the learned Canonist,
Ludovicus Gomez: _”Opiniones secundum varietatem, temporum senescant et
intermoriantur, aliæque diversæ vel prioribus contrarioe renescantur et
deinde pubescant.”_

Titles of Degrees as herein given have in some instances been changed.
Correct titles are as follows:

4°–Secret Master.
5°–Perfect Master.
6°–Intimate Secretary.
7°–Provost and Judge.
8°–Intendant of the Building.
9°–Elu of the Nine.
10°–Elu of the Fifteen.
11°–Elu of the Twelve.
12°–Master Architect.
13°–Royal Arch of Solomon.
14°–Perfect Elu.
15°–Knight of the East.
16°–Prince of Jerusalem.
17°–Knight of the East and West.
18°–Knight Rose Croix.
20°–Master of the Symbolic Lodge.
21°–Noachite or Prussian Knight.
22°–Knight of the Royal Axe or Prince of Libanus.
23°–Chief of the Tabernacle.
24°–Prince of the Tabernacle.
25°–Knight of the Brazen Serpent.
26°–Prince of Mercy.
27°–Knight Commander of the Temple.
28°–Knight of the Sun or Prince Adept.
29°–Scottish Knight of St. Andrew.
30°–Knight Kadosh.
31°–Inspector Inquisitor
32°–Master of the Royal Secret.








Force, unregulated or ill-regulated, is not only wasted in the void,
like that of gunpowder burned in the open air, and steam unconfined by
science; but, striking in the dark, and its blows meeting only the air,
they recoil and bruise itself. It is destruction and ruin. It is the
volcano, the earthquake, the cyclone;–not growth and progress. It is
Polyphemus blinded, striking at random, and falling headlong among the
sharp rocks by the impetus of his own blows.

The blind Force of the people is a Force that must be economized, and
also managed, as the blind Force of steam, lifting the ponderous iron
arms and turning the large wheels, is made to bore and rifle the cannon
and to weave the most delicate lace. It must be regulated by Intellect.
Intellect is to the people and the people’s Force, what the slender
needle of the compass is to the ship–its soul, always counselling the
huge mass of wood and iron, and always pointing to the north. To attack
the citadels built up on all sides against the human race by
superstitions, despotisms, and prejudices, the Force must have a brain
and a law. Then its deeds of daring produce permanent results, and there
is real progress. Then there are sublime conquests. Thought is a force,
and philosophy should be an energy, finding its aim and its effects in
the amelioration of mankind. The two great motors are Truth and Love.
When all these Forces are combined, and guided by the Intellect, and
regulated by the RULE of Right, and Justice, and of combined and
systematic movement and effort, the great revolution prepared for by the
ages will begin to march. The POWER of the Deity Himself is in
equilibrium with His WISDOM. Hence the only results are HARMONY.

It is because Force is ill regulated, that revolutions prove failures.
Therefore it is that so often insurrections, coming from those high
mountains that domineer over the moral horizon, Justice, Wisdom, Reason,
Right, built of the purest snow of the ideal after a long fall from rock
to rock, after having reflected the sky in their transparency, and been
swollen by a hundred affluents, in the majestic path of triumph,
suddenly lose themselves in quagmires, like a California river in the

The onward march of the human race requires that the heights around it
should blaze with noble and enduring lessons of courage. Deeds of daring
dazzle history, and form one class of the guiding lights of man. They
are the stars and coruscations from that great sea of electricity, the
Force inherent in the people. To strive, to brave all risks, to perish,
to persevere, to be true to one’s self, to grapple body to body with
destiny, to surprise defeat by the little terror it inspires, now to
confront unrighteous power, now to defy intoxicated triumph–these are
the examples that the nations need and the light that electrifies them.

There are immense Forces in the great caverns of evil beneath society;
in the hideous degradation, squalor, wretchedness and destitution, vices
and crimes that reek and simmer in the darkness in that populace below
the people, of great cities. There disinterestedness vanishes, every one
howls, searches, gropes, and gnaws for himself. Ideas are ignored, and
of progress there is no thought. This populace has two mothers, both of
them stepmothers–Ignorance and Misery. Want is their only guide–for
the appetite alone they crave satisfaction. Yet even these may be
employed. The lowly sand we trample upon, cast into the furnace, melted,
purified by fire, may become resplendent crystal.

They have the brute force of the HAMMER, but their blows help on the
great cause, when struck within the lines traced by the RULE held by
wisdom and discretion.

Yet it is this very Force of the people, this Titanic power of the
giants, that builds the fortifications of tyrants, and is embodied in
their armies. Hence the possibility of such tyrannies as those of which
it has been said, that “Rome smells worse under Vitellius than under
Sulla. Under Claudius and under Domitian there is a deformity of
baseness corresponding to the ugliness of the tyranny. The foulness of
the slaves is a direct result of the atrocious baseness of the despot. A
miasma exhales from these crouching consciences that reflect the master;
the public authorities are unclean, hearts are collapsed, consciences
shrunken, souls puny. This is so under Caracalla, it is so under
Commodus, it is so under Heliogabalus, while from the Roman senate,
under Cæsar, there comes only the rank odor peculiar to the eagle’s

It is the force of the people that sustains all these despotisms, the
basest as well as the best. That force acts through armies; and these
oftener enslave than liberate. Despotism there applies the RULE. Force
is the MACE of steel at the saddle-bow of the knight or of the bishop in
armor. Passive obedience by force supports thrones and oligarchies,
Spanish kings, and Venetian senates. Might, in an army wielded by
tyranny, is the enormous sum total of utter weakness; and so Humanity
wages war against Humanity, in despite of Humanity. So a people
willingly submits to despotism, and its workmen submit to be despised,
and its soldiers to be whipped; therefore it is that battles lost by a
nation are often progress attained. Less glory is more liberty. When the
drum is silent, reason sometimes speaks.

Tyrants use the force of the people to chain and subjugate–that is,
_enyoke_ the people. Then they plough with them as men do with oxen
yoked. Thus the spirit of liberty and innovation is reduced by bayonets,
and principles are struck dumb by cannonshot; while the monks mingle
with the troopers, and the Church militant and jubilant, Catholic or
Puritan, sings Te Deums for victories over rebellion.

The military power, not subordinate to the civil power, again the HAMMER
or MACE of FORCE, independent of the RULE, is an armed tyranny, born
full-grown, as Athene sprung from the brain of Zeus. It spawns a
dynasty, and begins with Cæsar to rot into Vitellius and Commodus. At
the present day it inclines to _begin_ where formerly dynasties _ended_.

Constantly the people put forth immense strength, only to end in immense
weakness. The force of the people is exhausted in indefinitely
prolonging things long since dead; in governing mankind by embalming old
dead tyrannies of Faith; restoring dilapidated dogmas; regilding faded,
worm-eaten shrines; whitening and rouging ancient and barren
superstitions; saving society by multiplying parasites; perpetuating
superannuated institutions; enforcing the worship of symbols as the
actual means of salvation; and tying the dead corpse of the Past, mouth
to mouth, with the living Present. Therefore it is that it is one of the
fatalities of Humanity to be condemned to eternal struggles with
phantoms, with superstitions, bigotries, hypocrisies, prejudices, the
formulas of error, and the pleas of tyranny. Despotisms, seen in the
past, become respectable, as the mountain, bristling with volcanic rock,
rugged and horrid, seen through the haze of distance is blue and smooth
and beautiful. The sight of a single dungeon of tyranny is worth more,
to dispel illusions, and create a holy hatred of despotism, and to
direct FORCE aright, than the most eloquent volumes. The French should
have preserved the Bastile as a perpetual lesson; Italy should not
destroy the dungeons of the Inquisition. The Force of the people
maintained the Power that built its gloomy cells, and placed the living
in their granite sepulchres.

The FORCE of the people cannot, by its unrestrained and fitful action,
maintain and continue in action and existence a free Government once
created. That Force must be limited, restrained, conveyed by
distribution into different channels, and by roundabout courses, to
outlets, whence it is to issue as the law, action, and decision of the
State; as the wise old Egyptian kings conveyed in different canals, by
sub-division, the swelling waters of the Nile, and compelled them to
fertilize and not devastate the land. There must be the _jus et norma_,
the law and _Rule_, or _Gauge_, of constitution and law, within which
the public force must act. Make a breach in either, and the great
steam-hammer, with its swift and ponderous blows, crushes all the
machinery to atoms, and, at last, wrenching itself away, lies inert and
dead amid the ruin it has wrought.

The FORCE of the people, or the popular will, in action and exerted,
symbolized by the GAVEL, regulated and guided by and acting within the
limits of LAW and ORDER, symbolized by the TWENTY-FOUR-INCH RULE, has
for its fruit LIBERTY, EQUALITY, and FRATERNITY,–liberty regulated by
law; equality of rights in the eye of the law; brotherhood with its
duties and obligations as well as its benefits.

You will hear shortly of the _Rough_ ASHLAR and the _Perfect_ ASHLAR, as
part of the jewels of the Lodge. The rough Ashlar is said to be “a
stone, as taken from the quarry, in its rude and natural state.” The
perfect Ashlar is said to be “a stone made ready by the hands of the
workmen, to be adjusted by the working-tools of the Fellow-Craft.” We
shall not repeat the explanations of these symbols given by the York
Rite. You may read them in its printed monitors. They are declared to
allude to the self-improvement of the individual craftsman,–a
continuation of the same superficial interpretation.

The rough Ashlar is the PEOPLE, as a mass, rude and unorganized. The
perfect Ashlar, or cubical stone, symbol of perfection, is the STATE,
the rulers deriving their powers from the consent of the governed; the
constitution and laws speaking the will of the people; the government
harmonious, symmetrical, efficient,–its powers properly distributed and
duly adjusted in equilibrium.

If we delineate a cube on a plane surface thus: [Illustration:] we have
visible _three_ faces, and _nine_ external lines, drawn between _seven_
points. The complete cube has _three_ more faces, making _six_; _three_
more lines, making _twelve_; and _one_ more point, making _eight_. As
the number 12 includes the sacred numbers, 3, 5, 7, and 3 times 3, or 9,
and is produced by adding the sacred number 3 to 9; while its own two
figures 1, 2, the unit or monad, and duad, added together, make the
same sacred number 3; it was called the perfect number; and the cube
became the symbol of perfection.

Produced by FORCE, acting by RULE; hammered in accordance with lines
measured by the Gauge, out of the rough Ashlar, it is an appropriate
symbol of the Force of the people, expressed as the constitution and law
of the State; and of the State itself the three visible faces represent
the three departments,–the Executive, which executes the laws; the
Legislative, which makes the laws; the Judiciary, which interprets the
laws, applies and enforces them, between man and man, between the State
and the citizens. The three invisible faces, are Liberty, Equality, and
Fraternity,–the threefold soul of the State–its vitality, spirit, and

* * * * *

Though Masonry neither usurps the place of, nor apes religion, prayer is
an essential part of our ceremonies. It is the aspiration of the soul
toward the Absolute and Infinite Intelligence, which is the One Supreme
Deity, most feebly and misunderstandingly characterized as an
“ARCHITECT.” Certain faculties of man are directed toward the
Unknown–thought, meditation, prayer. The unknown is an ocean, of which
conscience is the compass. Thought, meditation, prayer, are the great
mysterious pointings of the needle. It is a spiritual magnetism that
thus connects the human soul with the Deity. These majestic irradiations
of the soul pierce through the shadow toward the light.

It is but a shallow scoff to say that prayer is absurd, because it is
not possible for us, by means of it, to persuade God to change His
plans. He produces foreknown and foreintended effects, by the
instrumentality of the forces of nature, all of which are _His_ forces.
Our own are part of these. Our free agency and our will are forces. We
do not absurdly cease to make _efforts_ to attain wealth or happiness,
prolong life, and continue health, because we cannot by any effort
change what is predestined. If the effort also is predestined, it is not
the less _our_ effort, made of _our free will_. So, likewise, we pray.
Will is a force. Thought is a force. Prayer is a force. Why should it
not be of the law of God, that prayer, like Faith and Love, should have
its effects? Man is not to be comprehended as a starting-point, or
progress as a goal, without those two great forces, Faith and Love.
Prayer is sublime. Orisons that beg and clamor are pitiful. To deny the
efficacy of prayer, is to deny that of Faith, Love, and Effort. Yet the
effects produced, when our hand, moved by our will, launches a pebble
into the ocean, never cease; and every uttered word is registered for
eternity upon the invisible air.

Every Lodge is a Temple, and as a whole, and in its details symbolic.
The Universe itself supplied man with the model for the first temples
reared to the Divinity. The arrangement of the Temple of Solomon, the
symbolic ornaments which formed its chief decorations, and the dress of
the High-Priest, all had reference to the order of the Universe, as then
understood. The Temple contained many emblems of the seasons-the sun,
the moon, the planets, the constellations Ursa Major and Minor, the
zodiac, the elements, and the other parts of the world. It is the Master
of this Lodge, of the Universe, Hermes, of whom Khūrūm is the
representative, that is one of the lights of the Lodge.

For further instruction as to the symbolism of the heavenly bodies, and
of the sacred numbers, and of the temple and its details, you must wait
patiently until you advance in Masonry, in the mean time exercising your
intellect in studying them for yourself. To study and seek to interpret
correctly the symbols of the Universe, is the work of the sage and
philosopher. It is to decipher the writing of God, and penetrate into
His thoughts.

This is what is asked and answered in our catechism, in regard to the

* * * * *

A “Lodge” is defined to be “an assemblage of Freemasons, duly
congregated, having the sacred writings, square, and compass, and a
charter, or warrant of constitution, authorizing them to work.” The room
or place in which they meet, representing some part of King Solomon’s
Temple, is also called the Lodge; and it is that we are now considering.

It is said to be supported by three great columns, WISDOM, FORCE or
STRENGTH, and BEAUTY, represented by the Master, the Senior Warden, and
the Junior Warden; and these are said to be the columns that support the
Lodge, “because Wisdom, Strength, and Beauty, are the perfections of
everything, and nothing can endure without them.” “Because,” the York
Rite says, “it is necessary that there should be Wisdom to conceive,
Strength to support, and Beauty to adorn, all great and important
undertakings.” “Know ye not,” says the Apostle Paul, “that ye are the
temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any man
desecrate the temple of God, him shall God destroy, for the temple of
God is holy, which temple ye are.”

The Wisdom and Power of the Deity are in equilibrium. The laws of
nature and the moral laws are not the mere despotic mandates of His
Omnipotent will; for, then they might be changed by Him, and order
become disorder, and good and right become evil and wrong; honesty and
loyalty, vices; and fraud, ingratitude, and vice, virtues. Omnipotent
power, infinite, and existing alone, would necessarily not be
constrained to consistency. Its decrees and laws could not be immutable.
The laws of God are not obligatory on us because they are the enactments
of His POWER, or the expression of His WILL; but because they express
His infinite WISDOM. They are not right because they are His laws, but
His laws because they are right. From the equilibrium of infinite wisdom
and infinite force, results perfect harmony, in physics and in the moral
universe. Wisdom, Power, and Harmony constitute one Masonic triad. They
have other and profounder meanings, that may at some time be unveiled to

As to the ordinary and commonplace explanation, it may be added, that
the wisdom of the Architect is displayed in combining, as only a
skillful Architect can do, and as God has done everywhere,–for example,
in the tree, the human frame, the egg, the cells of the
honeycomb–strength, with grace, beauty, symmetry, proportion,
lightness, ornamentation. That, too, is the perfection of the orator and
poet–to combine force, strength, energy, with grace of style, musical
cadences, the beauty of figures, the play and irradiation of imagination
and fancy; and so, in a State, the warlike and industrial force of the
people, and their Titanic strength, must be combined with the beauty of
the arts, the sciences, and the intellect, if the State would scale the
heights of excellence, and the people be really free. Harmony in this,
as in all the Divine, the material, and the human, is the result of
equilibrium, of the sympathy and opposite action of contraries; a single
Wisdom above them holding the beam of the scales. To reconcile the moral
law, human responsibility, free-will, with the absolute power of God;
and the existence of evil with His absolute wisdom, and goodness, and
mercy,–these are the great enigmas of the Sphynx.

You entered the Lodge between two columns. They represent the two which
stood in the porch of the Temple, on each side of the great eastern
gateway. These pillars, of bronze, four fingers breadth in thickness,
were, according to the most authentic account–that in the First and
that in the Second Book of Kings, confirmed in Jeremiah–eighteen cubits
high, with a capital five cubits high. The shaft of each was four cubits
in diameter. A cubit is one foot 707/1000. That is, the shaft of each
was a little over thirty feet eight inches in height, the capital of
each a little over eight feet six inches in height, and the diameter of
the shaft six feet ten inches. The capitals were enriched by
pomegranates of bronze, covered by bronze net-work, and ornamented with
wreaths of bronze; and appear to have imitated the shape of the
seed-vessel of the lotus or Egyptian lily, a sacred symbol to the Hindus
and Egyptians. The pillar or column on the right, or in the south, was
named, as the Hebrew word is rendered in our translation of the Bible,
JACHIN: and that on the left BOAZ. Our translators say that the first
word means, “_He shall establish_;” and the second, “_In it is

These columns were imitations, by Khūrūm, the Tyrian artist, of the
great columns consecrated to the Winds and Fire, at the entrance to the
famous Temple of Malkarth, in the city of Tyre. It is customary, in
Lodges of the York Rite, to see a celestial globe on one, and a
terrestrial globe on the other; but these are not warranted, if the
object be to imitate the original two columns of the Temple. The
symbolic meaning of these columns we shall leave for the present
unexplained, only adding that Entered Apprentices keep their
working-tools in the column JACHIN; and giving you the etymology and
literal meaning of the two names.

The word _Jachin_, in Hebrew, is [Hebrew]. It was probably pronounced
_Ya-kayan_, and meant, as a verbal noun, _He that strengthens_; and
thence, _firm, stable, upright_.

The word _Boaz_ is [Hebrew] Baaz. [Hebrew] means _Strong, Strength,
Power, Might, Refuge, Source of Strength, a Fort_. The [Hebrew] prefixed
means “_with_” or “_in_,” and gives the word the force of the Latin
gerund, _roborando–Strengthening_.

The former word also means _he will establish_, or _plant in an erect
position_–from the verb [Hebrew] _Kūn, he stood erect_. It probably
meant _Active_ and _Vivifying Energy_ and _Force_; and _Boas, Stability,
Permanence_, in the _passive_ sense.

The Dimensions of the Lodge, our Brethren of the York Rite say, “are
unlimited, and its covering no less than the canopy of Heaven.” “To this
object,” they say, “the mason’s mind is continually directed, and
thither he hopes at last to arrive by the aid of the theological ladder
which Jacob in his vision saw ascending from earth to Heaven; the three
principal rounds of which are denominated Faith, Hope, and Charity; and
which admonish us to have Faith in God, Hope in Immortality, and Charity
to all mankind.” Accordingly a ladder, sometimes with nine rounds, is
seen on the chart, resting at the bottom on the earth, its top in the
clouds, the stars shining above it; and this is deemed to represent that
mystic ladder, which Jacob saw in his dream, set up on the earth, and
the top of it reaching to Heaven, with the angels of God ascending and
descending on it. The addition of the three principal rounds to the
symbolism, is wholly modern and incongruous. The ancients counted seven
planets, thus arranged: the Moon, Mercury, Venus, the Sun, Mars,
Jupiter, and Saturn. There were seven heavens and seven spheres of these
planets; on all the monuments of Mithras are seven altars or pyres,
consecrated to the seven planets, as were the seven lamps of the golden
candelabrum in the Temple. That these represented the planets, we are
assured by Clemens of Alexandria, in his Stromata, and by Philo Judaeus.
To return to its source in the Infinite, the human soul, the ancients
held, had to ascend, as it had descended, through the seven spheres. The
Ladder by which it reascends, has, according to Marsilius Ficinus, in
his Commentary on the Ennead of Plotinus, seven degrees or steps; and in
the Mysteries of Mithras, carried to Rome under the Emperors, the
ladder, with its seven rounds, was a symbol referring to this ascent
through the spheres of the seven planets. Jacob saw the Spirits of God
ascending and descending on it; and above it the Deity Himself. The
Mithraic Mysteries were celebrated in caves, where gates were marked at
the four equinoctial and solstitial points of the zodiac; and the seven
planetary spheres were represented, which souls needs must traverse in
descending from the heaven of the fixed stars to the elements that
envelop the earth; and seven gates were marked, one for each planet,
through which they pass, in descending or returning. We learn this from
Celsus, in Origen, who says that the symbolic image of this passage
among the stars, used in the Mithraic Mysteries, was a ladder reaching
from earth to Heaven, divided into seven steps or stages, to each of
which was a gate, and at the summit an eighth one, that of the fixed
stars. The symbol was the same as that of the seven stages of Borsippa,
the Pyramid of vitrified brick, near Babylon, built of seven stages, and
each of a different color. In the Mithraic ceremonies, the candidate
went through seven stages of initiation, passing through many fearful
trials and of these the high ladder with seven rounds or steps was the
symbol. You see the Lodge, its details and ornaments, by its Lights. You
have already heard what these Lights, the greater and lesser, are said
to be, and how they are spoken of by our Brethren of the York Rite. The
Holy Bible, Square, and Compasses, are not only styled the Great Lights
in Masonry, but they are also technically called the Furniture of the
Lodge; and, as you have seen, it is held that there is no Lodge without
them. This has sometimes been made a pretext for excluding Jews from our
Lodges, because they cannot regard the New Testament as a holy book. The
Bible is an indispensable part of the furniture of a Christian Lodge,
only because it is the sacred book of the Christian religion. The Hebrew
Pentateuch in a Hebrew Lodge, and the Koran in a Mohammedan one, belong
on the Altar; and one of these, and the Square and Compass, properly
understood, are the Great Lights by which a Mason must walk and work.
The obligation of the candidate is always to be taken on the sacred book
or books of his religion, that he may deem it more solemn and binding;
and therefore it was that you were asked of what religion you were. We
have no other concern with your religious creed. The Square is a right
angle, formed by two right lines. It is adapted only to a plane surface,
and belongs only to geometry, earth-measurement, that trigonometry which
deals only with planes, and with the earth, which the ancients supposed
to be a plane. The Compass describes circles, and deals with spherical
trigonometry, the science of the spheres and heavens. The former,
therefore, is an emblem of what concerns the earth and the body; the
latter of what concerns the heavens and the soul. Yet the Compass is
also used in plane trigonometry, as in erecting perpendiculars; and,
therefore, you are reminded that, although in this Degree both points of
the Compass are under the Square, and you are now dealing only with the
moral and political meaning of the symbols, and not with their
philosophical and spiritual meanings, still the divine ever mingles with
the human; with the earthly the spiritual intermixes; and there is
something spiritual in the commonest duties of life. The nations are not
bodies-politic alone, but also souls-politic; and woe to that people
which, seeking the material only, forgets that it has a soul. Then we
have a race, petrified in dogma, which presupposes the absence of a soul
and the presence only of memory and instinct, or demoralized by lucre.
Such a nature can never lead civilization. Genuflexion before the idol
or the dollar atrophies the muscle which walks and the will which moves.
Hieratic or mercantile absorption diminishes the radiance of a people,
lowers its horizon by lowering its level, and deprives it of that
understanding of the universal aim, at the same time human and divine,
which makes the missionary nations. A free people, forgetting that it
has a soul to be cared for, devotes all its energies to its material
advancement. If it makes war, it is to subserve its commercial
interests. The citizens copy after the State, and regard wealth, pomp,
and luxury as the great goods of life. Such a nation creates wealth
rapidly, and distributes it badly. Thence the two extremes, of monstrous
opulence and monstrous misery; all the enjoyment to a few, all the
privations to the rest, that is to say, to the people; Privilege,
Exception, Monopoly, Feudality, springing up from Labor itself: a false
and dangerous situation, which, making Labor a blinded and chained
Cyclops, in the mine, at the forge, in the workshop, at the loom, in the
field, over poisonous fumes, in miasmatic cells, in unventilated
factories, founds public power upon private misery, and plants the
greatness of the State in the suffering of the individual. It is a
greatness ill constituted, in which all the material elements are
combined, and into which no moral element enters. If a people, like a
star, has the right of eclipse, the light ought to return. The eclipse
should not degenerate into night.

The three lesser, or the Sublime Lights, you have heard, are the Sun,
the Moon, and the Master of the Lodge; and you have heard what our
Brethren of the York Rite say in regard to them, and why they hold them
to be Lights of the Lodge. But the Sun and Moon do in no sense light the
Lodge, unless it be symbolically, and then the lights are not they, but
those things of which they are the symbols. Of what they are the symbols
the Mason in that Rite is not told. Nor does the Moon in any sense rule
the night with regularity.

The Sun is the ancient symbol of the life-giving and generative power of
the Deity. To the ancients, light was the cause of life; and God was the
source from which all light flowed; the _essence_ of Light, the
_Invisible_ Fire, developed as Flame _manifested_ as light and splendor.
The Sun was His manifestation and visible image; and the Sabæans
worshipping the Light-God, _seemed_ to worship the Sun, in whom they saw
the manifestation of the Deity.

The Moon was the symbol of the passive capacity of nature to produce,
the female, of which the life-giving power and energy was the male. It
was the symbol of Isis, Astarte, and Artemis, or Diana. The “_Master of
Life_” was the Supreme Deity, above both, and manifested through both;
Zeus, the Son of Saturn, become King of the Gods; Horus, son of Osiris
and Isis, become the Master of Life; Dionusos or Bacchus, like Mithras,
become the author of Light and Life and Truth.

* * * * *

The Master of Light and Life, the Sun and the Moon, are symbolized in
every Lodge by the Master and Wardens: and this makes it the duty of the
Master to dispense light to the Brethren, by himself, and through the
Wardens, who are his ministers.

“Thy sun,” says ISAIAH to Jerusalem, “shall no more go down, neither
shall thy moon withdraw itself; for the LORD shall be thine everlasting
light, and the days of thy mourning shall be ended. Thy people also
shall be all righteous; they shall inherit the land forever.” Such is
the type of a free people.

Our northern ancestors worshipped this triune Deity; ODIN, the Almighty
FATHER; FREA, his wife, emblem of universal matter; and THOR, his son,
the mediator. But above all these was the Supreme God, “the author of
everything that existeth, the Eternal, the Ancient, the Living and Awful
Being, the Searcher into concealed things, the Being that never
changeth.” In the Temple of Eleusis (a sanctuary lighted only by a
window in the roof, and representing the Universe), the images of the
Sun, Moon, and Mercury, were represented.

“The Sun and Moon,” says the learned Bro.’. DELAUNAY, “represent the two
grand principles of all generations, the active and passive, the male
and the female. The Sun represents the actual light. He pours upon the
Moon his fecundating rays; both shed their light upon their offspring,
the Blazing Star, or HORUS, and the three form the great Equilateral
Triangle, in the centre of which is the omnific letter of the Kabalah,
by which creation is said to have been effected.”

The ORNAMENTS of a Lodge are said to be “the Mosaic Pavement, the
Indented Tessel, and the Blazing Star.” The Mosaic Pavement, chequered
in squares or lozenges, is said to represent the ground-floor of King
Solomon’s Temple; and the Indented Tessel “that beautiful tesselated
border which surrounded it.” The Blazing Star in the centre is said to
be “an emblem of Divine Providence, and commemorative of the star which
appeared to guide the wise men of the East to the place of our Saviour’s
nativity.” But “there was no stone seen” within the Temple. The walls
were covered with planks of cedar, and the floor was covered with planks
of fir. There is no evidence that there was such a pavement or floor in
the Temple, or such a bordering. In England, anciently, the
Tracing-Board was surrounded with an indented border; and it is only in
America that such a border is put around the Mosaic pavement. The
tesseræ, indeed, are the squares or lozenges of the pavement. In
England, also, “the indented or denticulated border” is called
“tesselated,” because it has four “tassels,” said to represent
Temperance, Fortitude, Prudence, and Justice. It was termed the Indented
Trassel; but this is a misuse of words. It is a _tesserated_ pavement,
with an indented border round it.

The pavement, alternately black and white, symbolizes, whether so
intended or not, the Good and Evil Principles of the Egyptian and
Persian creed. It is the warfare of Michael and Satan, of the Gods and
Titans, of Balder and Lok; between light and shadow, which is darkness;
Day and Night; Freedom and Despotism; Religious Liberty and the
Arbitrary Dogmas of a Church that thinks for its votaries, and whose
Pontiff claims to be infallible, and the decretals of its Councils to
constitute a gospel.

The edges of this pavement, if in lozenges, will necessarily be indented
or denticulated, toothed like a saw; and to complete and finish it a
bordering is necessary. It is completed by tassels as ornaments at the
corners. If these and the bordering have any symbolic meaning, it is
fanciful and arbitrary.

To find in the BLAZING STAR of five points an allusion to the Divine
Providence, is also fanciful; and to make it commemorative of the Star
that is said to have guided the Magi, is to give it a meaning
comparatively modern. Originally it represented SIRIUS, or the Dog-star,
the forerunner of the inundation of the Nile; the God ANUBIS, companion
of Isis in her search for the body of OSIRIS, her brother and husband.
Then it became the image of HORUS, the son of OSIRIS, himself symbolized
also by the Sun, the author of the Seasons, and the God of Time; Son of
Isis, who was the universal nature, himself the primitive matter,
inexhaustible source of Life, spark of uncreated fire, universal seed of
all beings. It was HERMES, also, the Master of Learning, whose name in
Greek is that of the God Mercury. It became the sacred and potent sign
or character of the Magi, the PENTALPHA, and is the significant emblem
of Liberty and Freedom, blazing with a steady radiance amid the
weltering elements of good and evil of Revolutions, and promising serene
skies and fertile seasons to the nations, after the storms of change and

In the East of the Lodge, over the Master, inclosed in a triangle, is
the Hebrew letter YŌD [Hebrew] or [Hebrew]. In the English and
American Lodges the Letter G.’. is substituted for this, as the initial
of the word GOD, with as little reason as if the letter D., initial of
DIEU, were used in French Lodges instead of the proper letter. YŌD
is, in the Kabalah, the symbol of Unity, of the Supreme Deity, the first
letter of the Holy Name; and also a symbol of the Great Kabalistic
Triads. To understand its mystic meanings, you must open the pages of
the Sohar and Siphra de Zeniutha, and other kabalistic books, and ponder
deeply on their meaning. It must suffice to say, that it is the Creative
Energy of the Deity, is represented as a _point_, and that point in the
centre of the _Circle_ of immensity. It is to us in this Degree, the
symbol of that unmanifested Deity, the Absolute, who has no name.

Our French Brethren place this letter YŌD in the centre of the
Blazing Star. And in the old Lectures, our ancient English Brethren
said, “The Blazing Star or Glory in the centre refers us to that grand
luminary, the Sun, which enlightens the earth, and by its genial
influence dispenses blessings to mankind.” They called it also in the
same lectures, an emblem of PRUDENCE. The word _Prudentia_ means, in its
original and fullest signification, _Foresight_; and, accordingly, the
Blazing Star has been regarded as an emblem of Omniscience, or the
All-seeing Eye, which to the Egyptian Initiates was the emblem of
Osiris, the Creator. With the YŌD in the centre, it has the
kabalistic meaning of the Divine Energy, manifested as Light, creating
the Universe.

The Jewels of the Lodge are said to be six in number. Three are called
“_Movable_,” and three “_Immovable_.” The SQUARE, the LEVEL, and the
PLUMB were anciently and properly called the Movable Jewels, because
they pass from one Brother to another. It is a modern innovation to call
them immovable, because they must always be present in the Lodge. The
immovable jewels are the ROUGH ASHLAR, the PERFECT ASHLAR or CUBICAL
STONE, or, in some Rituals, the DOUBLE CUBE, and the TRACING-BOARD, or

Of these jewels our Brethren of the York Rite say: “The _Square_
inculcates Morality; the _Level_, Equality; and the _Plumb_, Rectitude
of Conduct.” Their explanation of the immovable Jewels may be read in
their monitors.

* * * * *

Our Brethren of the York Rite say that “there is represented in every
well-governed Lodge, a certain point, within a circle; the point
representing an individual Brother; the Circle, the boundary line of his
conduct, beyond which he is never to suffer his prejudices or passions
to betray him.”

This is not to _interpret_ the symbols of Masonry. It is said by some,
with a nearer approach to interpretation, that the point within the
circle represents God in the centre of the Universe. It is a common
Egyptian sign for the Sun and Osiris, and is still used as the
astronomical sign of the great luminary. In the Kabalah the point is
YŌD, the Creative Energy of God, irradiating with light the circular
space which God, the universal Light, left vacant, wherein to create the
worlds, by withdrawing His substance of Light back on all sides from one

Our Brethren add that, “this circle is embordered by two perpendicular
parallel lines, representing Saint John the Baptist and Saint John the
Evangelist, and upon the top rest the Holy Scriptures” (an open book).
“In going round this circle,” they say, “we necessarily touch upon these
two lines as well as upon the Holy Scriptures; and while a Mason keeps
himself circumscribed within their precepts, it is impossible that he
should materially err.”

It would be a waste of time to comment upon this. Some writers have
imagined that the parallel lines represent the Tropics of Cancer and
Capricorn, which the Sun alternately touches upon at the Summer and
Winter solstices. But the tropics are not perpendicular lines, and the
idea is merely fanciful. If the parallel lines ever belonged to the
ancient symbol, they had some more recondite and more _fruitful_
meaning. They probably had the same meaning as the twin columns Jachin
and Boaz. That meaning is not for the Apprentice. The adept may find it
in the Kabalah. The JUSTICE and MERCY of God are in equilibrium, and the
result is HARMONY, because a Single and Perfect Wisdom presides over

The Holy Scriptures are an entirely modern addition to the symbol, like
the terrestrial and celestial globes on the columns of the portico. Thus
the ancient symbol has been denaturalized by incongruous additions, like
that of Isis weeping over the broken column containing the remains of
Osiris at Byblos.

* * * * *

Masonry has its decalogue, which is a law to its Initiates. These are
its Ten Commandments:

I. [Symbol: Earth]: God is the Eternal, Omnipotent, Immutable WISDOM
and Supreme INTELLIGENCE and Exhaustless LOVE.
Thou shalt adore, revere, and love Him!
Thou shalt honor Him by practising the virtues!

II. [Symbol: Full moon]: Thy religion shall be, to do good because
it is a pleasure to thee, and not merely because it is a duty.
That thou mayest become the friend of the wise man, thou
shalt obey his precepts!
Thy soul is immortal! Thou shalt do nothing to degrade it!

III. [Symbol: Earth]: Thou shalt unceasingly war against vice!
Thou shalt not do unto others that which thou wouldst not
wish them to do unto thee!
Thou shalt be submissive to thy fortunes, and keep burning
the light of wisdom!

IV. [Symbol: Full moon]: Thou shalt honor thy parents!
Thou shalt pay respect and homage to the aged!
Thou shalt instruct the young!
Thou shalt protect and defend infancy and innocence!

V. [Symbol: Earth]: Thou shalt cherish thy wife and thy children!
Thou shalt love thy country, and obey its laws!

VI. [Symbol: Full moon]: Thy friend shall be to thee a second self!
Misfortune shall not estrange thee from him!
Thou shalt do for his memory whatever thou wouldst do for him, if he
were living!

VII. [Symbol: Earth]: Thou shalt avoid and flee from insincere
Thou shalt in everything refrain from excess.
Thou shalt fear to be the cause of a stain on thy memory!

VIII. [Symbol: Full moon]: Thou shalt allow no passions to become thy
Thou shalt make the passions of others profitable lessons
to thyself!
Thou shalt be indulgent to error!

IX. [Symbol: Earth]: Thou shalt hear much: Thou shalt speak little: Thou
shalt act well!
Thou shalt forget injuries!
Thou shalt render good for evil!
Thou shalt not misuse either thy strength or thy superiority!

X. [Symbol: Full moon]: Thou shalt study to know men; that thereby thou
mayest learn to know thyself!
Thou shalt ever seek after virtue!
Thou shalt be just!
Thou shalt avoid idleness!

But the great commandment of Masonry is this: “A new commandment give I
unto you: that ye love one another! He that saith he is in the light,
and hateth his brother, remaineth still in the darkness.”

Such are the moral duties of a Mason. But it is also the duty of Masonry
to assist in elevating the moral and intellectual level of society; in
coining knowledge, bringing ideas into circulation, and causing the mind
of youth to grow; and in putting, gradually, by the teachings of axioms
and the promulgation of positive laws, the human race in harmony with
its destinies.

To this duty and work the Initiate is apprenticed. He must not imagine
that he can effect nothing, and, therefore, despairing, become inert. It
is in this, as in a man’s daily life. Many great deeds are done in the
small struggles of life. There is, we are told, a determined though
unseen bravery, which defends itself, foot to foot, in the darkness,
against the fatal invasion of necessity and of baseness. There are noble
and mysterious triumphs, which no eye sees, which no renown rewards,
which no flourish of trumpets salutes. Life, misfortune, isolation,
abandonment, poverty, are battle-fields, which have their
heroes,–heroes obscure, but sometimes greater than those who become
illustrious. The Mason should struggle in the same manner, and with the
same bravery, against those invasions of necessity and baseness, which
come to nations as well as to men. He should meet _them_, too, foot to
foot, even in the darkness, and protest against the national wrongs and
follies; against usurpation and the first inroads of that hydra,
Tyranny. There is no more sovereign eloquence than the truth in
indignation. It is more difficult for a people to keep than to gain
their freedom. The Protests of Truth are always needed. Continually, the
right must protest against the fact. There is, in fact, Eternity in the
Right. The Mason should be the Priest and Soldier of that Right. If his
country should be robbed of her liberties, he should still not despair.
The protest of the Right against the Fact persists forever. The robbery
of a people never becomes prescriptive. Reclamation of its rights is
barred by no length of time. Warsaw can no more be Tartar than Venice
can be Teutonic. A people may endure military usurpation, and subjugated
States kneel to States and wear the yoke, while under the stress of
necessity; but when the necessity disappears, if the people is fit to be
free, the submerged country will float to the surface and reappear, and
Tyranny be adjudged by History to have murdered its victims.

Whatever occurs, we should have Faith in the Justice and overruling
Wisdom of God, and Hope for the Future, and Loving-kindness for those
who are in error. God makes visible to men His will in events; an
obscure text, written in a mysterious language. Men make their
translations of it forthwith, hasty, incorrect, full of faults,
omissions, and misreadings. We see so short a way along the arc of the
great circle! Few minds comprehend the Divine tongue. The most
sagacious, the most calm, the most profound, decipher the hieroglyphs
slowly; and when they arrive with their text, perhaps the need has long
gone by; there are already twenty translations in the public square–the
most incorrect being, as of course, the most accepted and popular. From
each translation, a party is born; and from each misreading, a faction.
Each party believes or pretends that it has the only true text, and each
faction believes or pretends that it alone possesses the light.
Moreover, factions are blind men, who aim straight, errors are excellent
projectiles, striking skillfully, and with all the violence that springs
from false reasoning, wherever a want of logic in those who defend the
right, like a defect in a cuirass, makes them vulnerable.

Therefore it is that we shall often be discomfited in combating error
before the people. Antæus long resisted Hercules; and the heads of the
Hydra grew as fast as they were cut off. It is absurd to say that
_Error, wounded, writhes in pain, and dies amid her worshippers_. Truth
conquers slowly. There is a wondrous vitality in Error. Truth, indeed,
for the most part, shoots over the heads of the masses; or if an error
is prostrated for a moment, it is up again in a moment, and as vigorous
as ever. It will not die when the brains are out, and the most stupid
and irrational errors are the longest-lived.

Nevertheless, Masonry, which is Morality and Philosophy, must not cease
to do its duty. We never know at what moment success awaits our
efforts–generally when most unexpected–nor with what effect our
efforts are or are not to be attended. Succeed or fail, Masonry must not
bow to error, or succumb under discouragement. There were at Rome a few
Carthaginian soldiers, taken prisoners, who refused to bow to Flaminius,
and had a little of Hannibal’s magnanimity. Masons should possess an
equal greatness of soul. Masonry should be an energy; finding its aim
and effect in the amelioration of mankind. Socrates should enter into
Adam, and produce Marcus Aurelius, in other words, bring forth from the
man of enjoyments, the man of wisdom. Masonry should not be a mere
watch-tower, built upon mystery, from which to gaze at ease upon the
world, with no other result than to be a convenience for the curious. To
hold the full cup of thought to the thirsty lips of men; to give to all
the true ideas of Deity; to harmonize conscience and science, are the
province of Philosophy. Morality is Faith in full bloom. Contemplation
should lead to action, and the absolute be practical; the ideal be made
air and food and drink to the human mind. Wisdom is a sacred communion.
It is only on that condition that it ceases to be a sterile love of
Science, and becomes the one and supreme method by which to unite
Humanity and arouse it to concerted action. Then Philosophy becomes

And Masonry, like History and Philosophy, has eternal duties–eternal,
and, at the same time; simple–to oppose Caiaphas as Bishop, Draco or
Jefferies as Judge, Trimalcion as Legislator, and Tiberius as Emperor.
These are the symbols of the tyranny that degrades and crushes, and the
corruption that defiles and infests. In the works published for the use
of the Craft we are told that the three great tenets of a Mason’s
profession, are Brotherly Love, Relief, and Truth. And it is true that a
Brotherly affection and kindness should govern us in all our intercourse
and relations with our brethren; and a generous and liberal philanthropy
actuate us in regard to all men. To relieve the distressed is peculiarly
the duty of Masons–a sacred duty, not to be omitted, neglected, or
coldly or inefficiently complied with. It is also most true, that Truth
is a Divine attribute and the foundation of every virtue. To be true,
and to seek to find and learn the Truth, are the great objects of every
good Mason.

As the Ancients did, Masonry styles Temperance, Fortitude, Prudence, and
Justice, the four cardinal virtues. They are as necessary to nations as
to individuals. The people that would be Free and Independent, must
possess Sagacity, Forethought, Foresight, and careful Circumspection,
all which are included in the meaning of the word Prudence. It must be
temperate in asserting its rights, temperate in its councils, economical
in its expenses; it must be bold, brave, courageous, patient under
reverses, undismayed by disasters, hopeful amid calamities, like Rome
when she sold the field at which Hannibal had his camp. No Cannæ or
Pharsalia or Pavia or Agincourt or Waterloo must discourage her. Let her
Senate sit in their seats until the Gauls pluck them by the beard. She
must, above all things, be just, not truckling to the strong and warring
on or plundering the weak; she must act on the square with all nations,
and the feeblest tribes; always keeping her faith, honest in her
legislation, upright in all her dealings. Whenever such a Republic
exists, it will be immortal: for rashness, injustice, intemperance and
luxury in prosperity, and despair and disorder in adversity, are the
causes of the decay and dilapidation of nations.



In the Ancient Orient, all religion was more or less a mystery and there
was no divorce from it of philosophy. The popular theology, taking the
multitude of allegories and symbols for realities, degenerated into a
worship of the celestial luminaries, of imaginary Deities with human
feelings, passions, appetites, and lusts, of idols, stones, animals,
reptiles. The Onion was sacred to the Egyptians, because its different
layers were a symbol of the concentric heavenly spheres. Of course the
popular religion could not satisfy the deeper longings and thoughts, the
loftier aspirations of the Spirit, or the logic of reason. The first,
therefore, was taught to the initiated in the Mysteries. There, also, it
was taught by symbols. The vagueness of symbolism, capable of many
interpretations, reached what the palpable and conventional creed could
not. Its indefiniteness acknowledged the abstruseness of the subject: it
treated that mysterious subject mystically: it endeavored to illustrate
what it could not explain; to excite an appropriate _feeling_, if it
could not develop an adequate _idea_; and to make the image a mere
subordinate conveyance for the conception, which itself never became
obvious or familiar.

Thus the knowledge now imparted by books and letters, was of old
conveyed by symbols; and the priests invented or perpetuated a display
of rites and exhibitions, which were not only more attractive to the eye
than words, but often more suggestive and more pregnant with meaning to
the mind.

Masonry, successor of the Mysteries, still follows the ancient manner of
teaching. Her ceremonies are like the ancient mystic shows,–not the
reading of an essay, but the opening of a problem, requiring research,
and constituting philosophy the arch-expounder. Her symbols are the
instruction she gives. The lectures are endeavors, often partial and
one-sided, to interpret these symbols. He who would become an
accomplished Mason must not be content merely to hear, or even to
understand, the lectures; he must, aided by them, and they having, as
it were, marked out the way for him, study, interpret, and develop these
symbols for himself.

* * * * *

Though Masonry is identical with the ancient Mysteries, it is so only in
this qualified sense: that it presents but an imperfect image of their
brilliancy, the ruins only of their grandeur, and a system that has
experienced progressive alterations, the fruits of social events,
political circumstances, and the ambitious imbecility of its improvers.
After leaving Egypt, the Mysteries were modified by the habits of the
different nations among whom they were introduced, and especially by the
religious systems of the countries into which they were transplanted. To
maintain the established government, laws, and religion, was the
obligation of the Initiate everywhere; and everywhere they were the
heritage of the priests, who were nowhere willing to make the common
people co-proprietors with themselves of philosophical truth.

Masonry is not the Coliseum in ruins. It is rather a Roman palace of the
middle ages, disfigured by modern architectural improvements, yet built
on a Cyclopæan foundation laid by the Etruscans, and with many a stone
of the superstructure taken from dwellings and temples of the age of
Hadrian and Antoninus.

Christianity taught the doctrine of FRATERNITY; but repudiated that of
political EQUALITY, by continually inculcating obedience to Caesar, and
to those lawfully in authority. Masonry was the first apostle of
EQUALITY. In the Monastery there is _fraternity_ and _equality_, but no
_liberty_. Masonry added that also, and claimed for man the three-fold

It was but a development of the original purpose of the Mysteries, which
was to teach men to know and practice their duties to themselves and
their fellows, the great practical end of all philosophy and all

Truths are the springs from which duties flow; and it is but a few
hundred years since a new Truth began to be distinctly seen; that MAN IS
empire over _all_ institutions. They are for him, according to his
development; not he for them. This seems to us a very simple statement,
one to which all men, everywhere, ought to assent. But once it was a
great new Truth,–not revealed until governments had been in existence
for at least five thousand years. Once revealed, it imposed new duties
on men. Man owed it to _himself_ to be free. He owed it to his _country_
to seek to give _her_ freedom, or maintain her in that possession. It
made Tyranny and Usurpation the enemies of the Human Race. It created a
general outlawry of Despots and Despotisms, temporal and spiritual. The
sphere of Duty was immensely enlarged. Patriotism had, henceforth, a new
and wider meaning. Free Government, Free Thought, Free Conscience, Free
Speech! All these came to be inalienable rights, which those who had
parted with them or been robbed of them, or whose ancestors had lost
them, had the right summarily to retake. Unfortunately, as Truths always
become perverted into falsehoods, and are falsehoods when misapplied,
_this_ Truth became the Gospel of Anarchy, soon after it was first

Masonry early comprehended this Truth, and recognized its own enlarged
duties. Its symbols then came to have a wider meaning; but it also
assumed the mask of Stone-masonry, and borrowed its working-tools, and
so was supplied with new and apt symbols. It aided in bringing about the
French Revolution, disappeared with the Girondists, was born again with
the restoration of order, and sustained Napoleon, because, though
Emperor, he acknowledged the right of the people to select its rulers,
and was at the head of a nation refusing to receive back its old kings.
He pleaded, with sabre, musket, and cannon, the great cause of the
People against Royalty, the right of the French people even to make a
Corsican General their Emperor, if it pleased them.

Masonry felt that this Truth had the Omnipotence of God on its side; and
that neither Pope nor Potentate could overcome it. It was a truth
dropped into the world’s wide treasury, and forming a part of the
heritage which each generation receives, enlarges, and holds in trust,
and of necessity bequeaths to mankind; the personal estate of man,
entailed of nature to the end of time. And Masonry early recognized it
as true, that to set forth and develop a truth, or any human excellence
of gift or growth, is to make, greater the spiritual glory of the race;
that whosoever aids the march of a Truth, and makes the thought a thing,
writes in the same line with MOSES, and with Him who died upon the
cross; and has an intellectual sympathy with the Deity Himself.

The best gift we can bestow on man is manhood. It is that which Masonry
is ordained of God to bestow on its votaries: not sectarianism and
religious dogma; not a rudimental morality, that may be found in the
writings of Confucius, Zoroaster, Seneca, and the Rabbis, in the
Proverbs and Ecclesiastes; not a little and cheap common-school
knowledge; but manhood and science and philosophy.

Not that Philosophy or Science is in opposition to Religion. For
Philosophy is but that knowledge of God and the Soul, which is derived
from observation of the manifested action of God and the Soul, and from
a wise analogy. It is the intellectual guide which the religious
sentiment needs. The true religious philosophy of an imperfect being, is
not a system of creed, but, as SOCRATES thought, an infinite search or
approximation. Philosophy is that intellectual and moral progress, which
the religious sentiment inspires and ennobles.

As to Science, it could not walk alone, while religion was stationary.
It consists of those matured inferences from experience which all other
experience confirms. It realizes and unites all that was truly valuable
in both the old schemes of mediation,–one _heroic_, or the system of
action and effort; and the _mystical_ theory of spiritual, contemplative
communion. “Listen to me,” says GALEN, “as to the voice of the
Eleusinian Hierophant, and believe that the study of Nature is a mystery
no less important than theirs, nor less adapted to display the wisdom
and power of the Great Creator. _Their_ lessons and demonstrations were
obscure, but _ours_ are clear and unmistakable.”

We deem that to be the best knowledge we can obtain of the Soul of
another man, which is furnished by his actions and his life-long
conduct. Evidence to the contrary, supplied by what another man informs
us that this Soul has said to his, would weigh little against the
former. The first Scriptures for the human race were written by God on
the Earth and Heavens. The reading of these Scriptures is Science.
Familiarity with the grass and trees, the insects and the infusoria,
teaches us deeper lessons of love and faith than we can glean from the
writings of FÉNÉLON and AUGUSTINE. The great Bible of God is ever
open before mankind.

Knowledge is convertible into power, and axioms into rules of utility
and duty. But knowledge itself is not Power. Wisdom is Power; and her
Prime Minister is JUSTICE, which is the perfected law of TRUTH. The
purpose, therefore, of Education and Science is to make a man wise. If
knowledge does not make him so, it is wasted, like water poured on the
sands. To know the _formulas_ of Masonry, is of as little value, by
itself, as to know so many words and sentences in some barbarous African
or Australasian dialect To know even the _meaning_ of the symbols, is
but little, unless that adds to our wisdom, and also to our charity,
which is to justice like one hemisphere of the brain to the other.

Do not lose sight, then, of the true object of your studies in Masonry.
It is to add to your estate of wisdom, and not merely to your knowledge.
A man may spend a lifetime in studying a single specialty of
knowledge,–botany, conchology, or entomology, for instance,–in
committing to memory names derived from the Greek, and classifying and
reclassifying; and yet be no wiser than when he began. It is the great
truths as to all that most concerns a man, as to his rights, interests,
and duties, that Masonry seeks to teach her Initiates.

The wiser a man becomes, the less will he be inclined to submit tamely
to the imposition of fetters or a yoke, on his conscience or his person.
For, by increase of wisdom he not only better _knows_ his rights, but
the more highly _values_ them, and is more conscious of his worth and
dignity. His pride then urges him to assert his independence. He becomes
better _able_ to assert it also; and better able to assist others or his
country, when they or she stake all, even existence, upon the same
assertion. But mere knowledge makes no one independent, nor fits him to
be free. It often only makes him a more useful slave. Liberty is a curse
to the ignorant and brutal.

Political science has for its object to ascertain in what manner and by
means of what institutions political and personal freedom may be secured
and perpetuated: not license, or the mere right of every man to vote,
but entire and absolute freedom of thought and opinion, alike free of
the despotism of monarch and mob and prelate; freedom of action within
the limits of the general law enacted for all; the Courts of Justice,
with impartial Judges and juries, open to all alike; weakness and
poverty equally potent in those Courts as power and wealth; the avenues
to office and honor open alike to all the worthy; the military powers,
_in war or peace_, in strict subordination to the civil power; arbitrary
arrests for acts not known to the law as crimes, impossible; Romish
Inquisitions, Star-Chambers, Military Commissions, unknown; the means
of instruction within reach of the children of all; the right of Free
Speech; and accountability of all public officers, civil and military.

If Masonry needed to be justified for imposing political as well as
moral duties on its Initiates, it would be enough to point to the sad
history of the world. It would not even need that she should turn back
the pages of history to the chapters written by Tacitus: that she should
recite the incredible horrors of despotism under Caligula and Domitian,
Caracalla and Commodus, Vitellius and Maximin. She need only point to
the centuries of calamity through which the gay French nation passed; to
the long oppression of the feudal ages, of the selfish Bourbon kings; to
those times when the peasants were robbed and slaughtered by their own
lords and princes, like sheep; when the lord claimed the first-fruits of
the peasant’s marriage-bed; when the captured city was given up to
merciless rape and massacre; when the State-prisons groaned with
innocent victims, and the Church blessed the banners of pitiless
murderers, and sang Te Deums for the crowning mercy of the Eve of St.

We might turn over the pages, to a later chapter,–that of the reign of
the Fifteenth Louis, when young girls, hardly more than children, were
kidnapped to serve his lusts; when _lettres de cachet_ filled the
Bastile with persons accused of no crime, with husbands who were in the
way of the pleasures of lascivious wives and of villains wearing orders
of nobility; when the people were ground between the upper and the
nether millstone of taxes, customs, and excises; and when the Pope’s
Nuncio and the Cardinal de la Roche-Ayman, devoutly kneeling, one on
each side of Madame du Barry, the king’s abandoned prostitute, put the
slippers on her naked feet, as she rose from the adulterous bed. Then,
indeed, suffering and toil were the two forms of man, and the people
were but beasts of burden.

The true Mason is he who labors strenuously to help his Order effect its
great purposes. Not that the Order can effect them by itself; but that
it, too, can help. It also is one of God’s instruments. It is a Force
and a Power; and shame upon it, if it did not exert itself, and, if need
be, sacrifice its children in the cause of humanity, as Abraham was
ready to offer up Isaac on the altar of sacrifice. It will not forget
that noble allegory of Curtius leaping, all in armor, into the great
yawning gulf that opened to swallow Rome. It will TRY. It shall not be
_its_ fault if the day _never_ comes when man will no longer have to
fear a conquest, an invasion, a usurpation, a rivalry of nations with
the armed hand, an interruption of civilization depending on a
marriage-royal, or a birth in the hereditary tyrannies; a partition of
the peoples by a Congress, a dismemberment by the downfall of a dynasty,
a combat of two religions, meeting head to head, like two goats of
darkness on the bridge of the Infinite: when they will no longer have to
fear famine, spoliation, prostitution from distress, misery from lack of
work, and all the brigandages of chance in the forest of events: when
nations will gravitate about the Truth, like stars about the light, each
in its own orbit, without clashing or collision; and everywhere Freedom,
cinctured with stars, crowned with the celestial splendors, and with
wisdom and justice on either hand, will reign supreme.

In your studies as a Fellow-Craft you must be guided by REASON, LOVE and

We do not now discuss the differences between Reason and Faith, and
undertake to define the domain of each. But it is necessary to say, that
even in the ordinary affairs of life we are governed far more by what we
_believe_ than by what we _know_; by FAITH and ANALOGY, than by REASON.
The “Age of Reason” of the French Revolution taught, we know, what a
folly it is to enthrone Reason by itself as supreme. Reason is at fault
when it deals with the Infinite. There we must revere and believe.
Notwithstanding the calamities of the virtuous, the miseries of the
deserving, the prosperity of tyrants and the murder of martyrs, we
_must_ believe there is a wise, just, merciful, and loving God, an
Intelligence and a Providence, supreme over all, and caring for the
minutest things and events. A Faith is a necessity to man. Woe to him
who believes nothing!

We believe that the soul of another is of a certain nature and possesses
certain qualities, that he is generous and honest, or penurious and
knavish, that she is virtuous and amiable, or vicious and ill-tempered,
from the countenance alone, from little more than a glimpse of it,
without the means of _knowing_. We venture our fortune on the signature
of a man on the other side of the world, whom we never saw, upon the
belief that he is honest and trustworthy. We believe that occurrences
have taken place, upon the assertion of others. We believe that one will
acts upon another, and in the reality of a multitude of other phenomena
that Reason cannot explain.

But we ought _not_ to believe what Reason authoritatively denies, that
at which the sense of right revolts, that which is absurd or
self-contradictory, or at issue with experience or science, or that
which degrades the character of the Deity, and would make Him
revengeful, malignant, cruel, or unjust.

A man’s Faith is as much his own as his Reason is. His Freedom consists
as much in his faith being free as in his will being uncontrolled by
power. All the Priests and Augurs of Rome or Greece had not the right to
require Cicero or Socrates to believe in the absurd mythology of the
vulgar. All the Imaums of Mohammedanism have not the right to require a
Pagan to believe that Gabriel dictated the Koran to the Prophet. All the
Brahmins that ever lived, if assembled in one conclave like the
Cardinals, could not gain a right to compel a single human being to
believe in the Hindu Cosmogony. No man or body of men _can_ be
infallible, and authorized to decide what other men shall believe, as to
any tenet of faith. Except to those who first receive it, every religion
and the truth of all inspired writings depend on _human_ testimony and
internal evidences, to be judged of by Reason and the wise analogies of
Faith. Each man must necessarily have the right to judge of their truth
for himself; because no one man can have any higher or better right to
judge than another of equal information and intelligence.

Domitian claimed to be the Lord God; and statues and images of him, in
silver and gold, were found throughout the known world. He claimed to be
regarded as the God of all men; and, according to Suetonius, began his
letters thus: “_Our Lord and God commands that it should be done so and
so_;” and formally decreed that no one should address him otherwise,
either in writing or by word of mouth. Palfurius Sura, the philosopher,
who was his chief delator, accusing those who refused to recognize his
divinity, however much _he_ may have believed in that divinity, had not
the right to demand that a single Christian in Rome or the provinces
should do the same.

Reason is far from being the only guide, in morals or in political
science. Love or loving-kindness must keep it company, to exclude
fanaticism, intolerance, and persecution, to all of which a morality too
ascetic, and extreme political principles, invariably lead. We must
also have faith in ourselves, and in our fellows and the people, or we
shall be easily discouraged by reverses, and our ardor cooled by
obstacles. We must not listen to Reason alone. Force comes more from
Faith and Love: and it is by the aid of these that man scales the
loftiest heights of morality, or becomes the Saviour and Redeemer of a
People. Reason must hold the helm; but these supply the motive power.
They are the wings of the soul. Enthusiasm is generally unreasoning; and
without it, and Love and Faith, there would have been no RIENZI, or
TELL, or SYDNEY, or any other of the great patriots whose names are
immortal. If the Deity had been merely and only All-wise and All-mighty,
He would never have created the Universe.

* * * * *

It is GENIUS that gets Power; and its prime lieutenants are FORCE and
WISDOM. The unruliest of men bend before the leader that has the sense
to see and the will to do. It is Genius, that rules with God-like Power;
that unveils, with its counsellors, the hidden human mysteries, cuts
asunder with its word the huge knots, and builds up with its word the
crumbled ruins. At its glance fall down the senseless idols, whose
altars have been on all the high places and in all the sacred groves.
Dishonesty and imbecility stand abashed before it. Its single Yea or Nay
revokes the wrongs of ages, and is heard among the future generations.
Its power is immense, because its wisdom is immense. Genius is the Sun
of the political sphere. Force and Wisdom, its ministers, are the orbs
that carry its light into darkness, and answer it with their solid
reflecting Truth.

Development is symbolized by the use of the Mallet and Chisel; the
development of the energies and intellect, of the individual and the
people. Genius may place itself at the head of an unintellectual,
uneducated, unenergetic nation; but in a free country, to cultivate the
intellect of those who elect, is the only mode of securing intellect and
genius for rulers. The world is seldom ruled by the great spirits,
except after dissolution and new birth. In periods of transition and
convulsion, the Long Parliaments, the Robespierres and Marats, and the
semi-respectabilities of intellect, too often hold the reins of power.
The Cromwells and Napoleons come later. After Marius and Sulla and
Cicero the rhetorician, CÆSAR. The great intellect is often too sharp
for the granite of this life. Legislators may be very ordinary men; for
legislation is very ordinary work; it is but the final issue of a
million minds.

The power of the purse or the sword, compared to that of the spirit, is
poor and contemptible. As to _lands_, you may have agrarian laws, and
equal partition. But a man’s intellect is all his own, held direct from
God, an inalienable fief. It is the most potent of weapons in the hands
of a paladin. If the people comprehend Force in the physical sense, how
much more do they reverence the intellectual! Ask Hildebrand, or Luther,
or Loyola. They fall prostrate before it, as before an idol. The mastery
of mind over mind is the only conquest worth having. The other injures
both, and dissolves at a breath; rude as it is, the great cable falls
down and snaps at last. But this dimly resembles the dominion of the
Creator. It does not need a subject like that of Peter the Hermit. If
the stream be but bright and strong, it will sweep like a spring-tide to
the popular heart. Not in word only, but in intellectual act lies the
fascination. It is the homage to the Invisible. This power, knotted with
Love, is the golden chain let down into the well of Truth, or the
invisible chain that binds the ranks of mankind together.

Influence of man over man is a law of nature, whether it be by a great
estate in land or in intellect. It may mean slavery, a deference to the
eminent human judgment. Society hangs spiritually together, like the
revolving spheres above. The free country, in which intellect and genius
govern, will endure. Where they serve, and other influences govern, the
national life is short. All the nations that have tried to govern
themselves by their smallest, by the incapables, or merely respectables,
have come to nought. Constitutions and Laws, without Genius and
Intellect to govern, will not prevent decay. In that case they have the
dry-rot and the life dies out of them by degrees.

To give a nation the franchise of the Intellect is the only sure mode of
perpetuating freedom. This will compel exertion and generous care for
the people from those on the higher seats, and honorable and intelligent
allegiance from those below. Then political public life will protect all
men from self-abasement in sensual pursuits, from vulgar acts and low
greed, by giving the noble ambition of just imperial rule. To elevate
the people by teaching loving-kindness and wisdom, with power to him who
teaches best: and so to develop the free State from the rough
ashlar:–this is the great labor in which Masonry desires to lend a
helping hand.

All of us should labor in building up the great monument of a nation,
the Holy House of the Temple. The cardinal virtues must not be
partitioned among men, becoming the exclusive property of some, like the
common crafts. ALL are apprenticed to the partners, Duty and Honor.

Masonry is a march and a struggle toward the Light. For the individual
as well as the nation, Light is Virtue, Manliness, Intelligence,
Liberty. Tyranny over the soul or body, is darkness. The freest people,
like the freest man, is always in danger of relapsing into servitude.
Wars are almost always fatal to Republics. They create tyrants, and
consolidate their power. They spring, for the most part, from evil
counsels. When the small and the base are intrusted with power,
legislation and administration become but two parallel series of errors
and blunders, ending in war, calamity, and the necessity for a tyrant.
When the nation feels its feet sliding backward, as if it walked on the
ice, the time has come for a supreme effort. The magnificent tyrants of
the past are but the types of those of the future. Men and nations will
always sell themselves into slavery, to gratify their passions and
obtain revenge. The tyrant’s plea, necessity, is always available; and
the tyrant once in power, the necessity of providing for his safety
makes him savage. Religion is a power, and he must control that.
Independent, its sanctuaries might rebel. Then it becomes unlawful for
the people to worship God in their own way, and the old spiritual
despotisms revive. Men must believe as Power wills, or die; and even if
they may believe as they will, all they have, lands, houses, body, and
soul, are stamped with the royal brand. “_I am the State_,” said Louis
the Fourteenth to his peasants; “_the very shirts on your backs are
mine, and I can take them if I will_.”

And dynasties so established endure, like that of the Cæsars of Rome, of
the Cæsars of Constantinople, of the Caliphs, the Stuarts, the
Spaniards, the Goths, the Valois, until the race wears out, and ends
with lunatics and idiots, who _still_ rule. There is no concord among
men, to end the horrible bondage. The State falls inwardly, as well as
by the outward blows of the incoherent elements. The furious human
passions, the sleeping human indolence, the stolid human ignorance, the
rivalry of human castes, are as good for the kings as the swords of the
Paladins. The worshippers have all bowed so long to the old idol, that
they cannot go into the streets and choose another Grand Llama. And so
the effete State floats on down the puddled stream of Time, until the
tempest or the tidal sea discovers that the worm has consumed its
strength, and it crumbles into oblivion.

* * * * *

Civil and religious Freedom must go hand in hand; and Persecution
matures them both. A people content with the thoughts made for them by
the priests of a church will be content with Royalty by Divine
Right,–the Church and the Throne mutually sustaining each other. They
will smother schism and reap infidelity and indifference; and while the
battle for freedom goes on around them, they will only sink the more
apathetically into servitude and a deep trance, perhaps occasionally
interrupted by furious fits of frenzy, followed by helpless exhaustion.

Despotism is not difficult in any land that has only known one master
from its childhood; but there is no harder problem than to perfect and
perpetuate free government by the people themselves; for it is not one
king that is needed: all must be kings. It is easy to set up Masaniello,
that in a few days he may fall lower than before. But free government
grows slowly, like the individual human faculties; and like the
forest-trees, from the inner heart outward. Liberty is not only the
common birth-right, but it is lost as well by non-user as by mis-user.
It depends far more on the universal effort than any other human
property. It has no single shrine or holy well of pilgrimage for the
nation; for its waters should burst out freely from the whole soil.

The free popular power is one that is only known in its strength in the
hour of adversity: for all its trials, sacrifices and expectations are
its own. It is trained to think for itself, and also to act for itself.
When the enslaved people prostrate themselves in the dust before the
hurricane, like the alarmed beasts of the field, the free people stand
erect before it, in all the strength of unity, in self-reliance, in
mutual reliance, with effrontery against all but the visible hand of
God. It is neither cast down by calamity nor elated by success.

This vast power of endurance, of forbearance, of patience, and of
performance, is only acquired by continual exercise of all the
functions, like the healthful physical human vigor, like the individual
moral vigor.

And the maxim is no less true than old, that eternal vigilance is the
price of liberty. It is curious to observe the universal pretext by
which the tyrants of all times take away the national liberties. It is
stated in the statutes of Edward II., that the justices and the sheriff
should no longer be elected by the people, on account of the riots and
dissensions which had arisen. The same reason was given long before for
the suppression of popular election of the bishops; and there is a
witness to this untruth in the yet older times, when Rome lost her
freedom, and her indignant citizens declared that tumultuous liberty is
better than disgraceful tranquillity.

* * * * *

With the Compasses and Scale, we can trace all the figures used in the
mathematics of planes, or in what are called GEOMETRY and TRIGONOMETRY,
two words that are themselves deficient in meaning. GEOMETRY, which the
letter G in most Lodges is _said_ to signify, means _measurement_ of
_land_ or the earth–or Surveying; and TRIGONOMETRY, the measurement of
triangles, or figures with three sides or angles. The latter is by far
the most appropriate name for the science intended to be expressed by
the word “Geometry.” Neither is of a meaning sufficiently wide: for
although the vast surveys of great spaces of the earth’s surface, and of
coasts, by which shipwreck and calamity to mariners are avoided, are
effected by means of triangulation;–though it was by the same method
that the French astronomers measured a degree of latitude and so
established a scale of measures on an immutable basis; though it is by
means of the immense triangle that has for its base a line drawn in
imagination between the place of the earth now and its place six months
hence in space, and for its apex a planet or star, that the distance of
Jupiter or Sirius from the earth is ascertained; and though there is a
triangle still more vast, its base extending either way from us, with
and past the horizon into immensity, and its apex infinitely distant
above us; to which corresponds a similar infinite triangle belo _what is
above equalling what is below, immensity equalling immensity_;–yet the
Science of Numbers, to which Pythagoras attached so much importance, and
whose mysteries are found everywhere in the ancient religions, and most
of all in the Kabalah and in the Bible, is not sufficiently expressed by
either the word “_Geometry_” or the word “_Trigonometry_.” For that
science includes these, with Arithmetic, and also with Algebra,
Logarithms, the Integral and Differential Calculus; and by means of it
are worked out the great problems of Astronomy or the Laws of the Stars.

* * * * *

Virtue is but heroic bravery to _do_ the thing thought to be true, in
spite of all enemies of flesh or spirit, in despite of all temptations
or menaces. Man is accountable for the _up_rightness of his doctrine,
but not for the rightness of it. Devout enthusiasm is far easier than a
good action. The end of thought is action; the sole purpose of Religion
is an Ethic. Theory, in political science, is worthless, except for the
purpose of being realized in practice.

In every _credo_, religious or political as in the soul of man, there
are two regions, the Dialectic and the Ethic; and it is only when the
two are harmoniously blended, that a perfect discipline is evolved.
There are men who dialectically are Christians, as there are a multitude
who dialectically are Masons, and yet who are ethically Infidels, as
these are ethically of the Profane, in the strictest
sense:–intellectual believers, but practical atheists–men who will
write you “Evidences,” in perfect faith in their logic, but cannot carry
out the Christian or Masonic doctrine, owing to the strength, or
weakness, of the flesh. On the other hand, there are many dialectical
skeptics, but ethical believers, as there are many Masons who have never
undergone initiation; and as ethics are the end and purpose of religion,
so are ethical believers the most worthy. He who _does_ right is better
than he who _thinks_ right.

But you must not act upon the hypothesis that all men are hypocrites,
whose conduct does not square with their sentiments. No vice is more
rare, for no task is more difficult, than systematic hypocrisy. When the
Demagogue becomes a Usurper it does not follow that he was all the time
a hypocrite. Shallow men only so judge of others.

The truth is, that creed has, in general, very little influence on the
conduct; in religion, on that of the individual; in politics, on that of
party. As a general thing, the Mahometan, in the Orient, is far more
honest and trustworthy than the Christian. A Gospel of Love in the
mouth, is an Avatar of Persecution in the heart. Men who believe in
eternal damnation and a literal sea of fire and brimstone, incur the
certainty of it, according to their creed, on the slightest temptation
of appetite or passion. Predestination insists on the necessity of good
works. In Masonry, at the least now of passion, one speaks ill of
another behind his back; and so far from the “Brotherhood” of Blue
Masonry being real, and the solemn pledges contained in the use of the
word “Brother” being complied with, extraordinary pains are taken to
show that Masonry is a sort of abstraction, which scorns to interfere in
worldly matters. The rule may be regarded as universal, that, where
there is a choice to be made, a Mason will give his vote and influence,
in politics and business, to the less qualified profane in preference to
the better qualified Mason. One will take an oath to oppose any unlawful
usurpation of power, and then become the ready and even eager instrument
of a usurper. Another will call one “Brother,” and then play toward him
the part of Judas Iscariot, or strike him, as Joab did Abner, under the
fifth rib, with a lie whose authorship is not to be traced. Masonry does
not change human nature, and cannot make honest men out of born knaves.

While you are still engaged in preparation, and in accumulating
principles for future use, do not forget the words of the Apostle James:
“For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a
man beholding his natural face in a glass, for he beholdeth himself, and
goeth away, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was; but
whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth, he being
not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be
blessed in his work. If any man among you seem to be religious, and
bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man’s
religion is vain…. Faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being an
abstraction. A man is justified by works, and not by faith only…. The
devils believe,–and tremble…. As the body without the heart is dead,
so is faith without works.”

* * * * *

In political science, also, free governments are erected and free
constitutions framed, upon some simple and intelligible theory. Upon
whatever theory they are based, no sound conclusion is to be reached
except by carrying the theory out without flinching, both in argument on
constitutional questions and in practice. Shrink from the true theory
through timidity, or wander from it through want of the logical faculty,
or transgress against it through passion or on the plea of necessity or
expediency, and you have denial or invasion of rights, laws that offend
against first, principles, usurpation of illegal powers, or abnegation
and abdication of legitimate authority.

Do not forget, either, that as the showy, superficial, impudent and
self-conceited will almost always be preferred, even in utmost stress of
danger and calamity of the State, to the man of solid learning, large
intellect, and catholic sympathies, because he is nearer the common
popular and legislative level, so the highest truth is not acceptable to
the mass of mankind.

When SOLON was asked if he had given his countrymen the _best_ laws, he
answered, _”The best they are capable of receiving.”_ This is one of the
profoundest utterances on record; and yet like all great truths, so
simple as to be rarely comprehended. It contains the whole philosophy of
History. It utters a truth which, had it been recognized, would have
saved men an immensity of vain, idle disputes, and have led them into
the clearer paths of knowledge in the Past. It means this,–that all
truths are _Truths of Period_, and not truths for eternity; that
whatever great fact has had strength and vitality enough to make itself
real, whether of religion, morals, government, or of whatever else, and
to find place in this world, has been a truth _for the time, and as good
as men were capable of receiving_.

So, too, with great men. The intellect and capacity of a people has a
single measure,–that of the great men whom Providence gives it, and
whom it _receives_. There have always been men too great for their time
or their people. Every people makes _such_ men only its idols, as it is
capable of comprehending.

To impose ideal truth or law upon an incapable and merely _real_ man,
must ever be a vain and empty speculation. The laws of sympathy govern
in this as they do in regard to men who are put at the head. We do not
know, as yet, what qualifications the sheep insist on in a leader. With
men who are too high intellectually, the mass have as little sympathy as
they have with the stars. When BURKE, the wisest statesman England ever
had, rose to speak, the House of Commons was depopulated as upon an
agreed signal. There is as little sympathy between the mass and the
highest TRUTHS. The highest truth, being incomprehensible to the man of
realities, as the highest man is, and largely above his level, will be a
great unreality and falsehood to an unintellectual man. The profoundest
doctrines of Christianity and Philosophy would be mere jargon and babble
to a Potawatomie Indian. The popular explanations of the symbols of
Masonry are fitting for the multitude that have swarmed into the
Temples,–being fully up to the level of their capacity. Catholicism
was a vital truth in its earliest ages, but it became obsolete, and
Protestantism arose, flourished, and deteriorated. The doctrines of
ZOROASTER were the best which the ancient Persians were fitted to
receive; those of CONFUCIUS were fitted for the Chinese; those of
MOHAMMED for the idolatrous Arabs of his age. Each was Truth for the
time. Each was a GOSPEL, preached by a REFORMER; and if any men are so
little fortunate as to remain content therewith, when others have
attained a higher truth, it is their misfortune and not their fault.
They are to be pitied for it, and not persecuted.

Do not expect easily to convince men of the truth, or to lead them to
think aright. The subtle human intellect can weave its mists over even
the clearest vision. Remember that it is eccentric enough to ask
unanimity from a jury; but to ask it from any large number of men on any
point of political faith is amazing. You can hardly get two men in any
Congress or Convention to agree;–nay, you can rarely get one to agree
with _himself_. The political church which chances to be supreme
anywhere has an indefinite number of tongues. How then can we expect men
to agree as to matters beyond the cognizance of the senses? How can we
compass the Infinite and the Invisible with any chain of evidence? Ask
the small sea-waves what they murmur among the pebbles! How many of
those words that come from the invisible shore are lost, like the birds,
in the long passage? How vainly do we strain the eyes across the long
Infinite! We must be content, as the children are, with the pebbles that
have been stranded, since it is forbidden us to explore the hidden

The Fellow-Craft is especially taught by this not to become wise in his
own conceit. Pride in unsound theories is worse than ignorance. Humility
becomes a Mason. Take some quiet, sober moment of life, and add together
the two ideas of Pride and Man; behold him, creature of a span, stalking
through infinite space in all the grandeur of littleness! Perched on a
speck of the Universe, every wind of Heaven strikes into his blood the
coldness of death; his soul floats away from his body like the melody
from the string. Day and night, like dust on the wheel, he is rolled
along the heavens, through a labyrinth of worlds, and all the creations
of God are flaming on every side, further than even his imagination can
reach. Is this a creature to make for himself a crown of glory, to deny
his own flesh, to mock at his fellow, sprung with him from that dust to
which both will soon return? Does the proud man not err? Does he not
suffer? Does he not die? When he reasons, is he never stopped short by
difficulties? When he acts, does he never succumb to the temptations of
pleasure? When he lives, is he free from pain? Do the diseases not claim
him as their prey? When he dies, can he escape the common grave? Pride
is not the heritage of man. Humility should dwell with frailty, and
atone for ignorance, error and imperfection.

Neither should the Mason be over-anxious for office and honor, however
certainly he may feel that he has the capacity to serve the State. He
should neither seek nor spurn honors. It is good to enjoy the blessings
of fortune; it is better to submit without a pang to their loss. The
greatest deeds are not done in the glare of light, and before the eyes
of the populace. He whom God has gifted with a love of retirement
possesses, as it were, an additional sense; and among the vast and noble
scenes of nature, we find the balm for the wounds we have received among
the pitiful shifts of policy; for the attachment to solitude is the
surest preservative from the ills of life.

But Resignation is the more noble in proportion as it is the less
passive. Retirement is only a morbid selfishness, if it prohibit
exertions for others; as it is only dignified and noble, when it is the
shade whence the oracles issue that are to instruct mankind; and
retirement of this nature is the sole seclusion which a good and wise
man will covet or command. The very philosophy which makes such a man
covet the _quiet_, will make him eschew the _inutility_ of the
hermitage. Very little praiseworthy would LORD BOLINGBROKE have seemed
among his haymakers and ploughmen, if among haymakers and ploughmen he
had looked with an indifferent eye upon a profligate minister and a
venal Parliament. Very little interest would have attached to his beans
and vetches, if beans and vetches had caused him to forget that if he
was happier on a farm he could be more useful in a Senate, and made him
forego, in the sphere of a bailiff, all care for re-entering that of a

Remember, also, that there is an education which quickens the Intellect,
and leaves the heart hollower or harder than before. There are ethical
lessons in the laws of the heavenly bodies, in the properties of earthly
elements, in geography, chemistry, geology, and all the material
sciences. Things are symbols of Truths. Properties are symbols of
Truths. Science, not teaching moral and spiritual truths, is dead and
dry, of little more real value than to commit to the memory a long row
of unconnected dates, or of the names of bugs or butterflies.

Christianity, it is said, begins from the burning of the false gods by
the people themselves. Education begins with the burning of our
intellectual and moral idols: our prejudices, notions, conceits, our
worthless or ignoble purposes. Especially it is necessary to shake off
the love of worldly gain. With Freedom comes the longing for worldly
advancement. In that race men are ever falling, rising, running, and
falling again. The lust for wealth and the abject dread of poverty delve
the furrows on many a noble brow. The gambler grows old as he watches
the chances. Lawful hazard drives Youth away before its time; and this
Youth draws heavy bills of exchange on Age. Men live, like the engines,
at high pressure, a hundred years in a hundred months; the ledger
becomes the Bible, and the day-book the Book of the Morning Prayer.

Hence flow overreachings and sharp practice, heartless traffic in which
the capitalist buys profit with the lives of the laborers, speculations
that coin a nation’s agonies into wealth, and all the other devilish
enginery of Mammon. This, and greed for office, are the two columns at
the entrance to the Temple of Moloch. It is doubtful whether the latter,
blossoming in falsehood, trickery, and fraud, is not even more
pernicious than the former. At all events they are twins, and fitly
mated; and as either gains control of the unfortunate subject, his soul
withers away and decays, and at last dies out. The souls of half the
human race leave them long before they die. The two greeds are twin
plagues of the leprosy, and make the man unclean; and whenever they
break out they spread until “they cover all the skin of him that hath
the plague, from his head even to his foot.” Even the raw flesh of the
heart becomes unclean with it.

* * * * *

Alexander of Macedon has left a saying behind him which has survived his
conquests: _”Nothing is nobler than work.”_ Work only can keep even
kings respectable. And when a king is a king indeed, it is an honorable
office to give tone to the manners and morals of a nation; to set the
example of virtuous conduct, and restore in spirit the old schools of
chivalry, in which the young manhood may be nurtured to real greatness.
Work and wages _will_ go together in men’s minds, in the most royal
institutions. We must ever come to the idea of real work. The rest that
follows labor should be sweeter than the rest which follows rest.

Let no Fellow-Craft imagine that the work of the lowly and uninfluential
is not worth the doing. There is no legal limit to the possible
influences of a good deed or a wise word or a generous effort. Nothing
is really small. Whoever is open to the deep penetration of nature knows
this. Although, indeed, no absolute satisfaction may be vouchsafed to
philosophy, any more in circumscribing the cause than in limiting the
effect, the man of thought and contemplation falls into unfathomable
ecstacies in view of all the decompositions of forces resulting in
unity. All works for all. Destruction is not annihilation, but

Algebra applies to the clouds; the radiance of the star benefits the
rose; no thinker would dare to say that the perfume of the hawthorn is
useless to the constellations. Who, then, can calculate the path of the
molecule? How do we know that the creations of worlds are not determined
by the fall of grains of sand? Who, then, understands the reciprocal
flow and ebb of the infinitely great and the infinitely small; the
echoing of causes in the abysses of beginning, and the avalanches of
creation? A fleshworm is of account; the small is great; the great is
small; all is in equilibrium in necessity. There are marvellous
relations between beings and things; in this inexhaustible Whole, from
sun to grub, there is no scorn: all need each other. Light does not
carry terrestrial perfumes into the azure depths, without knowing what
it does with them; night distributes the stellar essence to the sleeping
plants. Every bird which flies has the thread of the Infinite in its
claw. Germination includes the hatching of a meteor, and the tap of a
swallow’s bill, breaking the egg; and it leads forward the birth of an
earth-worm and the advent of a Socrates. Where the telescope ends the
microscope begins. Which of them the grander view? A bit of mould is a
Pleiad of flowers–a nebula is an ant-hill of stars.

There is the same and a still more wonderful interpenetration between
the things of the intellect and the things of matter. Elements and
principles are mingled, combined, espoused, multiplied one by another,
to such a degree as to bring the material world and the moral world into
the same light. Phenomena are perpetually folded back upon themselves.
In the vast cosmical changes the universal life comes and goes in
unknown quantities, enveloping all in the invisible mystery of the
emanations, losing no dream from no single sleep, sowing an animalcule
here, crumbling a star there, oscillating and winding in curves; making
a force of Light, and an element of Thought; disseminated and
indivisible, dissolving all save that point without length, breadth, or
thickness. The MYSELF; reducing everything to the Soul-atom; making
everything blossom into God; entangling all activities, from the highest
to the lowest, in the obscurity of a dizzying mechanism; hanging the
flight of an insect upon the movement of the earth; subordinating,
perhaps, if only by the identity of the law, the eccentric evolutions of
the comet in the firmament, to the whirlings of the infusoria in the
drop of water. A mechanism made of mind, the first motor of which is the
gnat, and its last wheel the zodiac.

A peasant-boy, guiding Blücher by the right one of two roads, the other
being impassable for artillery, enables him to reach Waterloo in time to
save Wellington from a defeat that would have been a rout; and so
enables the kings to imprison Napoleon on a barren rock in mid-ocean. An
unfaithful smith, by the slovenly shoeing of a horse, causes his
lameness, and, he stumbling, the career of his world-conquering rider
ends, and the destinies of empires are changed. A generous officer
permits an imprisoned monarch to end his game of chess before leading
him to the block; and meanwhile the usurper dies, and the prisoner
reascends the throne. An unskillful workman repairs the compass, or
malice or stupidity disarranges it, the ship mistakes her course, the
waves swallow a Caesar, and a new chapter is written in the history of a
world. What we call accident is but the adamantine chain of indissoluble
connection between all created things. The locust, hatched in the
Arabian sands, the small worm that destroys the cotton-boll, one making
famine in the Orient, the other closing the mills and starving the
workmen and their children in the Occident, with riots and massacres,
are as much the ministers of God as the earthquake; and the fate of
nations depends more on them than on the intellect of its kings and
legislators. A civil war in America will end in shaking the world; and
that war may be caused by the vote of some ignorant prize-fighter or
crazed fanatic in a city or in a Congress, or of some stupid boor in an
obscure country parish. The electricity of universal sympathy, of
action and reaction, pervades everything, the planets and the motes in
the sunbeam. FAUST, with his types, or LUTHER, with his sermons, worked
greater results than Alexander or Hannibal. A single thought sometimes
suffices to overturn a dynasty. A silly song did more to unseat James
the Second than the acquittal of the Bishops. Voltaire, Condorcet, and
Rousseau uttered words that will ring, in change and revolutions,
throughout all the ages.

Remember, that though life is short, Thought and the influences of what
we do or say are immortal; and that no calculus has yet pretended to
ascertain the law of proportion between cause and effect. The hammer of
an English blacksmith, smiting down an insolent official, led to a
rebellion which came near being a revolution. The word well spoken, the
deed fitly done, even by the feeblest or humblest, cannot help but have
their effect. More or less, the effect is inevitable and eternal. The
echoes of the greatest deeds may die away like the echoes of a cry among
the cliffs, and what has been done seem to the human judgment to have
been without result. The unconsidered act of the poorest of men may fire
the train that leads to the subterranean mine, and an empire be rent by
the explosion.

The power of a free people is often at the disposal of a single and
seemingly an unimportant individual;–a terrible and truthful power; for
such a people feel with one heart, and therefore can lift up their
myriad arms for a single blow. And, again, there is no graduated scale
for the measurement of the influences of different intellects upon the
popular mind. Peter the Hermit held no office, yet what a work he

* * * * *

From the political point of view there is but a single principle,–the
sovereignty of man over himself. This sovereignty of one’s self over
one’s self is called LIBERTY. Where two or several of these
sovereignties associate, the State begins. But in this association there
is no abdication. Each sovereignty parts with a certain portion of
itself to form the common right. That portion is the same for all. There
is equal contribution by all to the joint sovereignty. This identity of
concession which each makes to all, is EQUALITY. The common right is
nothing more or less than the protection of all, pouring its rays on
each. This protection of each by all, is FRATERNITY.

Liberty is the summit, Equality the base. Equality is not all vegetation
on a level, a society of big spears of grass and stunted oaks, a
neighborhood of jealousies, emasculating each other. It is, civilly, all
aptitudes having equal opportunity; politically, all votes having equal
weight; religiously, all consciences having equal rights.

Equality has an organ;–gratuitous and obligatory instruction. We must
begin with the right to the alphabet. The primary school _obligatory_
upon all; the higher school _offered_ to all. Such is the law. From the
same school for all springs equal society. Instruction! Light! all comes
from Light, and all returns to it.

We must learn the thoughts of the common people, if we would be wise and
do any good work. We must look at men, not so much for what Fortune has
given to them with her blind old eyes, as for the gifts Nature has
brought in her lap, and for the use that has been made of them. We
profess to be equal in a Church and in the Lodge: we shall be equal in
the sight of God when He judges the earth. We may well sit on the
pavement together here, in communion and conference, for the few brief
moments that constitute life.

A Democratic Government undoubtedly has its defects, because it is made
and administered by men, and not by the Wise Gods. It cannot be concise
and sharp, like the despotic. When its ire is aroused it develops its
latent strength, and the sturdiest rebel trembles. But its habitual
domestic rule is tolerant, patient, and indecisive. Men are brought
together, first to differ, and then to agree. Affirmation, negation,
discussion, solution: these are the means of attaining truth. Often the
enemy will be at the gates before the babble of the disturbers is
drowned in the chorus of consent. In the Legislative office deliberation
will often defeat decision. Liberty can play the fool like the Tyrants.

Refined society requires greater minuteness of regulation; and the steps
of all advancing States are more and more to be picked among the old
rubbish and the new materials. The difficulty lies in discovering the
right path through the chaos of confusion. The adjustment of mutual
rights and wrongs is also more difficult in democracies. We do not see
and estimate the relative importance of objects so easily and clearly
from the level or the waving land as from the elevation of a lone peak,
towering above the plain; for each looks through his own mist.

Abject dependence on constituents, also, is too common. It is as
miserable a thing as abject dependence on a minister or the favorite of
a Tyrant. It is rare to find a man who can speak out the simple truth
that is in him, honestly and frankly, without fear, favor, or affection,
either to Emperor or People.

Moreover, in assemblies of men, faith in each other is almost always
wanting, unless a terrible pressure of calamity or danger from without
produces cohesion. Hence the constructive power of such assemblies is
generally deficient. The chief triumphs of modern days, in Europe, have
been in pulling down and obliterating; not in building up. But Repeal is
not Reform. Time must bring with him the Restorer and Rebuilder.

Speech, also, is grossly abused in Republics; and if the use of speech
be glorious, its abuse is the most villainous of vices. Rhetoric, Plato
says, is the art of ruling the minds of men. But in democracies it is
too common to _hide_ thought in words, to _overlay_ it, to babble
nonsense. The gleams and glitter of intellectual soap-and-water bubbles
are mistaken for the rainbow-glories of genius. The worthless pyrites is
continually mistaken for gold. Even intellect condescends to
intellectual jugglery, balancing thoughts as a juggler balances pipes on
his chin. In all Congresses we have the inexhaustible flow of babble,
and Faction’s clamorous knavery in discussion, until the divine power of
speech, that privilege of man and great gift of God, is no better than
the screech of parrots or the mimicry of monkeys. The mere talker,
however fluent, is barren of deeds in the day of trial.

There are men voluble as women, and as well skilled in fencing with the
tongue: prodigies of speech, misers in deeds. Too much talking, like too
much thinking, destroys the power of action. In human nature, the
thought is only made perfect by deed. Silence is the mother of both. The
trumpeter is not the bravest of the brave. Steel and not brass wins the
day. The great doer of great deeds is mostly slow and slovenly of
speech. There are some men born and bred to betray. Patriotism is their
trade, and their capital is speech. But no noble spirit can plead like
Paul and be false to itself as Judas.

Imposture too commonly rules in republics; they seem to be ever in their
minority; their guardians are self-appointed; and the unjust thrive
better than the just. The Despot, like the night-lion roaring, drowns
all the clamor of tongues at once, and speech, the birthright of the
free man, becomes the bauble of the enslaved.

It is quite true that republics only occasionally, and as it were
accidentally, select their wisest, or even the less incapable among the
incapables, to govern them and legislate for them. If genius, armed with
learning and knowledge, will grasp the reins, the people will reverence
it; if it only modestly offers itself for office, it will be smitten on
the face, even when, in the straits of distress and the agonies of
calamity, it is indispensable to the salvation of the State. Put it upon
the track with the showy and superficial, the conceited, the ignorant,
and impudent, the trickster and charlatan, and the result shall not be a
moment doubtful. The verdicts of Legislatures and the People are like
the verdicts of juries,–sometimes right by accident.

Offices, it is true, are showered, like the rains of Heaven, upon the
just and the unjust. The Roman Augurs that used to laugh in each other’s
faces at the simplicity of the vulgar, were also tickled with their own
guile; but no Augur is needed to lead the people astray. They readily
deceive themselves. Let a Republic begin as it may, it will not be out
of its minority before imbecility will be promoted to high places; and
shallow pretence, getting itself puffed into notice, will invade all the
sanctuaries. The most unscrupulous partisanship will prevail, even in
respect to judicial trusts; and the most unjust appointments constantly
be made, although every improper promotion not merely confers one
undeserved favor, but may make a hundred honest cheeks smart with

The country is stabbed in the front when those are brought into the
stalled seats who should slink into the dim gallery. Every stamp of
Honor, ill-clutched, is stolen from the Treasury of Merit.

Yet the entrance into the public service, and the promotion in it,
affect both the rights of individuals and those of the nation. Injustice
in bestowing or withholding office ought to be so intolerable in
democratic communities that the least trace of it should be like the
scent of Treason. It is not universally true that all citizens of equal
character have an equal claim to knock at the door of every public
office and demand admittance. When any man presents himself for service
he has a right to aspire to the highest body at once, if he can show his
fitness for such a beginning,–that he is fitter than the rest who
offer themselves for the same post. The entry into it can only justly be
made through the door of merit. And whenever any one aspires to and
attains such high post, especially if by unfair and disreputable and
indecent means, and is afterward found to be a signal failure, he should
at once be beheaded. He is the worst among the public enemies.

When a man sufficiently reveals himself, all others should be proud to
give him due precedence. When the power of promotion is abused in the
grand passages of life whether by People, Legislature, or Executive, the
unjust decision recoils on the judge at once. That is not only a gross,
but a willful shortness of sight, that cannot discover the deserving. If
one will look hard, long, and honestly, he will not fail to discern
merit, genius, and qualification; and the eyes and voice of the Press
and Public should condemn and denounce injustice wherever she rears her
horrid head.

_”The tools to the workmen!”_ no other principle will save a Republic
from destruction, either by civil war or the dry-rot. They tend to
decay, do all we can to prevent it, like human bodies. If they try the
experiment of governing themselves by their smallest, they slide
downward to the unavoidable abyss with tenfold velocity; and there never
has been a Republic that has not followed that fatal course.

But however palpable and gross the inherent defects of democratic
governments, and fatal as the results finally and inevitably are, we
need only glance at the reigns of Tiberius, Nero, and Caligula, of
Heliogabalus and Caracalla, of Domitian and Commodus, to recognize that
the difference between freedom and despotism is as wide as that between
Heaven and Hell. The cruelty, baseness, and insanity of tyrants are
incredible. Let him who complains of the fickle humors and inconstancy
of a free people, read Pliny’s character of Domitian. If the great man
in a Republic cannot win office without descending to low arts and
whining beggary and the judicious use of sneaking lies, let him remain
in retirement, and use the pen. Tacitus and Juvenal held no office. Let
History and Satire punish the pretender as they crucify the despot. The
revenges of the intellect are terrible and just.

Let Masonry use the pen and the printing-press in the free State against
the Demagogue; in the Despotism against the Tyrant. History offers
examples and encouragement. All history, for four thousand years, being
filled with violated rights and the sufferings of the people, each
period of history brings with it such protest as is possible to it.
Under the Cæsars there was no insurrection, but there was a Juvenal. The
arousing of indignation replaces the Gracchi. Under the Cæsars there is
the exile of Syene; there is also the author of the Annals. As the
Nero’s reign darkly they should be pictured so. Work with the graver
only would be pale; into the grooves should be poured a concentrated
prose that bites.

Despots are an aid to thinkers. Speech enchained is speech terrible. The
writer doubles and triples his style, when silence is imposed by a
master upon the people. There springs from this silence a certain
mysterious fullness, which filters and freezes into brass in the
thoughts. Compression in the history produces conciseness in the
historian. The granitic solidity of some celebrated prose is only a
condensation produced by the Tyrant. Tyranny constrains the writer to
shortenings of diameter which are increases of strength. The Ciceronian
period, hardly sufficient upon Verres, would lose its edge upon

The Demagogue is the predecessor of the Despot. One springs from the
other’s loins. He who will basely fawn on those who have office to
bestow, will betray like Iscariot, and prove a miserable and pitiable
failure. Let the new Junius lash such men as they deserve, and History
make them immortal in infamy; since their influences culminate in ruin.
The Republic that employs and honors the shallow, the superficial, the

“who crouch
Unto the offal of an office promised,”

at last weeps tears of blood for its fatal error. Of such supreme folly,
the sure fruit is damnation. Let the nobility of every great heart,
condensed into justice and truth, strike such creatures like a
thunderbolt! If you can do no more, you can at least condemn by your
vote, and ostracise by denunciation.

It is true that, as the Czars are absolute, they have it in their power
to select the best for the public service. It is true that the beginner
of a dynasty generally does so; and that when monarchies are in their
prime, pretence and shallowness do not thrive and prosper and get power,
as they do in Republics. All do not gabble in the Parliament of a
Kingdom, as in the Congress of a Democracy. The incapables do not go
undetected there, _all_ their lives.

But dynasties speedily decay and run out. At last they dwindle down into
imbecility; and the dull or flippant Members of Congresses are at least
the intellectual peers of the vast majority of kings. The great man, the
Julius Caesar, the Charlemagne, Cromwell, Napoleon, reigns of right. He
is the wisest and the strongest. The incapables and imbeciles succeed
and are usurpers; and fear makes them cruel. After Julius came Caracalla
and Galba; after Charlemagne, the lunatic Charles the Sixth. So the
Saracenic dynasty dwindled out; the Capets, the Stuarts, the Bourbons;
the last of these producing Bomba, the ape of Domitian.

* * * * *

Man is by nature cruel, like the tigers. The barbarian, and the tool of
the tyrant, and the civilized fanatic, enjoy the sufferings of others,
as the children enjoy the contortions of maimed flies. Absolute Power,
once in fear for the safety of its tenure, cannot but be cruel.

As to ability, dynasties invariably cease to possess any after a few
lives. They become mere shams, governed by ministers, favorites, or
courtesans, like those old Etruscan kings, slumbering for long ages in
their golden royal robes, dissolving forever at the first breath of day.
Let him who complains of the shortcomings of democracy ask himself if he
would prefer a Du Barry or a Pompadour, governing in the name of a Louis
the Fifteenth, a Caligula making his horse a consul, a Domitian, “that
most savage monster,” who sometimes drank the blood of relatives,
sometimes employing himself with slaughtering the most distinguished
citizens before whose gates fear and terror kept watch; a tyrant of
frightful aspect, pride on his forehead, fire in his eye, constantly
seeking darkness and secrecy, and only emerging from his solitude to
make solitude. After all, in a free government, the Laws and the
Constitution are above the Incapables, the Courts correct their
legislation, and posterity is the Grand Inquest that passes judgment on
them. What is the exclusion of worth and intellect and knowledge from
civil office compared with trials before Jeffries, tortures in the dark
caverns of the Inquisition, Alva-butcheries in the Netherlands, the Eve
of Saint Bartholomew, and the Sicilian Vespers?

* * * * *

The Abbé Barruel in his _Memoirs for the History of Jacobinism_,
declares that Masonry in France gave, as its secret, the words Equality
and Liberty, leaving it for every honest and religious Mason to explain
them as would best suit his principles; but retained the privilege of
unveiling in the higher Degrees the meaning of those words, as
interpreted by the French Revolution. And he also excepts English Masons
from his anathemas, because in England a Mason is a peaceable subject of
the civil authorities, no matter where he resides, engaging in no plots
or conspiracies against even the worst government. England, he says,
disgusted with an Equality and a Liberty, the consequences of which she
had felt in the struggles of her Lollards, Anabaptists, and
Presbyterians, had “purged her Masonry” from all explanations tending to
overturn empires; but there still remained adepts whom disorganizing
principles bound to the Ancient Mysteries.

Because true Masonry, unemasculated, bore the banners of Freedom and
Equal Rights, and was in rebellion against temporal and spiritual
tyranny, its Lodges were proscribed in 1735, by an edict of the States
of Holland. In 1737, Louis XV. forbade them in France. In 1738, Pope
Clement XII. issued against them his famous Bull of Excommunication,
which was renewed by Benedict XIV.; and in 1743 the Council of Berne
also proscribed them. The title of the Bull of Clement is, “The
Condemnation of the Society of Conventicles _de Liberi Muratari_, or of
the Freemasons, under the penalty of _ipso facto_ excommunication, the
absolution from which is reserved to the Pope alone, except at the point
of death.” And by it all bishops, ordinaries, and inquisitors were
empowered to punish Freemasons, “as vehemently suspected of heresy,” and
to call in, if necessary, the help of the secular arm; that is, to cause
the civil authority to put them to death.

* * * * *

Also, false and slavish political theories end in brutalizing the State.
For example, adopt the theory that offices and employments in it are to
be given as rewards for services rendered to party, and they soon become
the prey and spoil of faction, the booty of the victory of faction;–and
leprosy is in the flesh of the State. The body of the commonwealth
becomes a mass of corruption, like a living carcass rotten with
syphilis. All unsound theories in the end develop themselves in one foul
and loathsome disease or other of the body politic. The State, like the
man, must use constant effort to _stay_ in the paths of virtue and
manliness. The habit of electioneering and begging for office
culminates in bribery _with_ office, and corruption _in_ office.

A chosen man has a visible trust from God, as plainly as if the
commission were engrossed by the notary. A nation cannot renounce the
executorship of the Divine decrees. As little can Masonry. It must labor
to do its duty knowingly and wisely. We must remember that, in free
States, as well as in despotisms, Injustice, the spouse of Oppression,
is the fruitful parent of Deceit, Distrust, Hatred, Conspiracy, Treason,
and Unfaithfulness. Even in assailing Tyranny we must have Truth and
Reason as our chief weapons. We must march into that fight like the old
Puritans, or into the battle with the abuses that spring up in free
government, with the flaming sword in one hand, and the Oracles of God
in the other.

The citizen who cannot accomplish well the smaller purposes of public
life, cannot compass the larger. The vast power of endurance,
forbearance, patience, and performance, of a free people, is acquired
only by continual exercise of all the functions, like the healthful
physical human vigor. If the individual citizens have it not, the State
must equally be without it. It is of the essence of a free government,
that the people should not only be concerned in making the laws, but
also in their execution. No man ought to be more ready to obey and
administer the law than he who has helped to make it. The business of
government is carried on for the benefit of all, and every co-partner
should give counsel and co-operation.

Remember also, as another shoal on which States are wrecked, that free
States always tend toward the depositing of the citizens in strata, the
creation of castes, the perpetuation of the _jus divinum_ to office in
families. The more democratic the State, the more sure this result. For,
as free States advance in power, there is a strong tendency toward
centralization, not from deliberate evil intention, but from the course
of events and the indolence of human nature. The executive powers swell
and enlarge to inordinate dimensions; and the Executive is always
aggressive with respect to the nation. Offices of all kinds are
multiplied to reward partisans; the brute force of the sewerage and
lower strata of the mob obtains large representation, first in the lower
offices, and at last in Senates; and Bureaucracy raises its bald head,
bristling with pens, girded with spectacles, and bunched with ribbon.
The art of Government becomes like a Craft, and its guilds tend to
become exclusive, as those of the Middle Ages.

Political science may be much improved as a subject of speculation; but
it should never be divorced from the actual national necessity. The
science of governing men must always be practical, rather than
philosophical. There is not the same amount of positive or universal
truth here as in the abstract sciences; what is true in one country may
be very false in another; what is untrue to-day may become true in
another generation, and the truth of to-day be reversed by the judgment
of to-morrow. To distinguish the casual from the enduring, to separate
the unsuitable from the suitable, and to make progress even possible,
are the proper ends of policy. But without actual knowledge and
experience, and communion of labor, the dreams of the political doctors
may be no better than those of the doctors of divinity. The reign of
such a caste, with its mysteries, its myrmidons, and its corrupting
influence, may be as fatal as that of the despots. Thirty tyrants are
thirty times worse than one.

Moreover, there is a strong temptation for the governing people to
become as much slothful and sluggards as the weakest of absolute kings.
Only give them the power to get rid, when caprice prompts them, of the
great and wise men, and elect the little, and as to all the rest they
will relapse into indolence and indifference. The central power,
creation of the people, organized and cunning if not enlightened, is the
perpetual tribunal set up by them for the redress of wrong and the rule
of justice. It soon supplies itself with all the requisite machinery,
and is ready and apt for all kinds of interference. The people may be a
child all its life. The central power may not be able to suggest the
best scientific solution of a problem; but it has the easiest means of
carrying an idea into effect. If the purpose to be attained is a large
one, it requires a large comprehension; it is proper for the action of
the central power. If it be a small one, it may be thwarted by
disagreement. The central power must step in as an arbitrator and
prevent this. The people may be too averse to change, too slothful in
their own business, unjust to a minority or a majority. The central
power must take the reins when the people drop them.

France became centralized in its government more by the apathy and
ignorance of its people than by the tyranny of its kings. When the
inmost parish-life is given up to the direct guardianship of the State,
and the repair of the belfry of a country church requires a written
order from the central power, a people is in its dotage. Men are thus
nurtured in imbecility, from the dawn of social life. When the central
government feeds part of the people it prepares all to be slaves. When
it directs parish and county affairs, they are slaves already. The next
step is to regulate labor and its wages.

Nevertheless, whatever follies the free people may commit, even to the
putting of the powers of legislation in the hands of the little
competent and less honest, despair not of the final result. The terrible
teacher, EXPERIENCE, writing his lessons on hearts desolated with
calamity and wrung by agony, will make them wiser in time. Pretence and
grimace and sordid beggary for votes will some day cease to avail. Have
FAITH, and struggle on, against all evil influences and discouragements!
FAITH is the Saviour and Redeemer of nations. When Christianity had
grown weak, profitless, and powerless, the Arab Restorer and Iconoclast
came, like a cleansing hurricane. When the battle of Damascus was about
to be fought, the Christian bishop, at the early dawn, in his robes, at
the head of his clergy, with the Cross once so triumphant raised in the
air, came down to the gates of the city, and laid open before the army
the Testament of Christ. The Christian general, THOMAS, laid his hand on
the book, and said, _”Oh God! IF our faith be true, aid us, and deliver
us not into the hands of its enemies!”_ But KHALED, _”the Sword of
God,”_ who had marched from victory to victory, exclaimed to his wearied
soldiers, _”Let no man sleep! There will be rest enough in the bowers of
Paradise; sweet will be the repose never more to be followed by labor.”_
The faith of the Arab had become stronger than that of the Christian,
and he conquered.

The Sword is also, in the Bible, an emblem of SPEECH, or of the
utterance of thought. Thus, in that vision or apocalypse of the sublime
exile of Patmos, a protest in the name of the ideal, overwhelming the
real world, a tremendous satire uttered in the name of Religion and
Liberty, and with its fiery reverberations smiting the throne of the
Cæsars, a sharp two-edged sword comes out of the mouth of the Semblance
of the Son of Man, encircled by the seven golden candlesticks, and
holding in his right hand seven stars. “The Lord,” says Isaiah, “hath
made my mouth like a sharp sword.” “I have slain them,” says Hosea, “by
the words of my mouth.” “The word of God,” says the writer of the
apostolic letter to the Hebrews, “is quick and powerful, and sharper
than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul
and spirit.” “The sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God,” says
Paul, writing to the Christians at Ephesus. “I will fight against them
with the sword of my mouth,” it is said in the Apocalypse, to the angel
of the church at Pergamos.

* * * * *

The spoken discourse may roll on strongly as the great tidal wave; but,
like the wave, it dies at last feebly on the sands. It is heard by few,
remembered by still fewer, and fades away, like an echo in the
mountains, leaving no token of power. It is nothing to the living and
coming generations of men. It was the _written_ human speech, that gave
power and permanence to human thought. It is this that makes the whole
human history but one individual life.

To write on the rock is to write on a solid parchment; but it requires a
pilgrimage to see it. There is but one copy, and Time wears even that.
To write on skins or papyrus was to give, as it were, but one tardy
edition, and the rich only could procure it. The Chinese stereotyped not
only the unchanging wisdom of old sages, but also the passing events.
The process tended to suffocate thought, and to hinder progress; for
there is continual wandering in the wisest minds, and Truth writes her
last words, not on clean tablets, but on the scrawl that Error has made
and often mended.

Printing made the movable letters prolific. Thenceforth the orator spoke
almost visibly to listening nations; and the author wrote, like the
Pope, his œcumenic decrees, _urbi et orbi_, and ordered them to be
posted up in all the market-places; remaining, if he chose, impervious
to human sight. The doom of tyrannies was thenceforth sealed. Satire and
invective became potent as armies. The unseen hands of the Juniuses
could launch the thunderbolts, and make the ministers tremble. One
whisper from this giant fills the earth as easily as Demosthenes filled
the Agora. It will soon be heard at the antipodes as easily as in the
next street. It travels with the lightning under the oceans. It makes
the mass one man, speaks to it in the same common language, and elicits
a sure and single response. Speech passes into thought, and thence
promptly into act. A nation becomes truly one, with one large heart and
a single throbbing pulse. Men are invisibly present to each other, as
if already spiritual beings; and the thinker who sits in an Alpine
solitude, unknown to or forgotten by all the world, among the silent
herds and hills, may flash his words to all the cities and over all the

Select the thinkers to be Legislators; and avoid the gabblers. Wisdom is
rarely loquacious. Weight and depth of thought are unfavorable to
volubility. The shallow and superficial are generally voluble and often
pass for eloquent. More words, less thought,–is the general rule. The
man who endeavors to say something worth remembering in every sentence,
becomes fastidious, and condenses like Tacitus. The vulgar love a more
diffuse stream. The ornamentation that does not cover strength is the
gewgaws of babble.

Neither is dialectic subtlety valuable to public men. The Christian
faith has it, had it formerly more than now; a subtlety that might have
entangled Plato, and which has rivalled in a fruitless fashion the
mystic lore of Jewish Rabbis and Indian Sages. It is not this which
converts the heathen. It is a vain task to balance the great thoughts of
the earth, like hollow straws, on the finger-tips of disputation. It is
not this kind of warfare which makes the Cross triumphant in the hearts
of the unbelievers; but the actual power that lives in the Faith.

So there is a political scholasticism that is merely useless. The
dexterities of subtle logic rarely stir the hearts of the people, or
convince them. The true apostle of Liberty, Fraternity and Equality
makes it a matter of life and death. His combats are like those of
Bossuet,–combats to the death. The true apostolic fire is like the
lightning: it flashes conviction into the soul. The true word is verily
a two-edged sword. Matters of government and political science can be
fairly dealt with only by sound reason, and the logic of common sense:
not the common sense of the ignorant, but of the wise. The acutest
thinkers rarely succeed in becoming leaders of men. A watchword or a
catchword is more potent with the people than logic, especially if this
be the least metaphysical. When a political prophet arises, to stir the
dreaming, stagnant nation, and hold back its feet from the irretrievable
descent, to heave the land as with an earthquake, and shake the
silly-shallow idols from their seats, his words will come straight from
God’s own mouth, and be thundered into the conscience. He will reason,
teach, warn, and rule. The real “Sword of the Spirit” is keener than
the brightest blade of Damascus. Such men rule a land, in the strength
of justice, with wisdom and with power. Still, the men of dialectic
subtlety often rule well, because in practice they forget their
finely-spun theories, and use the trenchant logic of common sense. But
when the great heart and large intellect are left to the rust in private
life, and small attorneys, brawlers in politics, and those who in the
cities would be only the clerks of notaries, or practitioners in the
disreputable courts, are made national Legislators, the country is in
her dotage, even if the beard has not yet grown upon her chin.

In a free country, human speech must needs be free; and the State _must_
listen to the maunderings of folly, and the screechings of its geese,
and the brayings of its asses, as well as to the golden oracles of its
wise and great men. Even the despotic old kings allowed their wise fools
to say what they liked. The true alchemist will extract the lessons of
wisdom from the babblings of folly. He will hear what a man has to say
on any given subject, even if the speaker end only in proving himself
prince of fools. Even a fool will sometimes hit the mark. There is some
truth in all men who are not compelled to suppress their souls and speak
other men’s thoughts. The finger even of the idiot may point to the
great highway.

A people, as well as the sages, must learn to forget. If it neither
learns the new nor forgets the old, it is fated, even if it has been
royal for thirty generations. To unlearn is to learn; and also it is
sometimes needful to learn again the forgotten. The antics of fools make
the current follies more palpable, as fashions are shown to be absurd by
caricatures, which so lead to their extirpation. The buffoon and the
zany are useful in their places. The ingenious artificer and craftsman,
like Solomon, searches the earth for his materials, and transforms the
misshapen matter into glorious workmanship. The world is conquered by
the head even more than by the hands. Nor will any assembly talk
forever. After a time, when it has listened long enough, it quietly puts
the silly, the shallow, and the superficial to one side,–it thinks, and
sets to work.

The human thought, especially in popular assemblies, runs in the most
singularly crooked channels, harder to trace and follow than the blind
currents of the ocean. No notion is so absurd that it may not find a
place there. The master-workman must train these notions and vagaries
with his two-handed hammer. They twist out of the way of the
sword-thrusts; and are invulnerable all over, even in the heel, against
logic. The martel or mace, the battle-axe, the great double-edged
two-handed sword must deal with follies; the rapier is no better against
them than a wand, unless it be the rapier of ridicule.

The SWORD is also the symbol of _war_ and of the _soldier_. Wars, like
thunder-storms, are often necessary to purify the stagnant atmosphere.
War is not a demon, without remorse or reward. It restores the
brotherhood in letters of fire. When men are seated in their pleasant
places, sunken in ease and indolence, with Pretence and Incapacity and
Littleness usurping all the high places of State, war is the baptism of
blood and fire, by which alone they can be renovated. It is the
hurricane that brings the elemental equilibrium, the concord of Power
and Wisdom. So long as these continue obstinately divorced, it will
continue to chasten.

In the mutual appeal of nations to God, there is the acknowledgment of
His might. It lights the beacons of Faith and Freedom, and heats the
furnace through which the earnest and loyal pass to immortal glory.
There is in war the doom of defeat, the quenchless sense of Duty, the
stirring sense of Honor, the measureless solemn sacrifice of
devotedness, and the incense of success. Even in the flame and smoke of
battle, the Mason discovers his brother, and fulfills the sacred
obligations of Fraternity.

Two, or the Duad, is the symbol of Antagonism; of Good and Evil, Light
and Darkness. It is Cain and Abel, Eve and Lilith, Jachin and Boaz,
Ormuzd and Ahriman, Osiris and Typhon.

Three, or the Triad, is most significantly expressed by the equilateral
and the right-angled triangles. There are _three_ principal colors or
rays in the rainbow, which by intermixture make _seven_. The three are
the _blue_, the _yellow_, and the _red_. The Trinity of the Deity, in
one mode or other, has been an article in all creeds. He creates,
preserves, and destroys. He is the generative _power_, the productive
_capacity_, and the _result_. The immaterial man, according to the
Kabalah, is composed of _vitality_, or _life_, the breath of life; of
_soul_ or _mind_, and _spirit_. Salt, sulphur, and mercury are the great
symbols of the alchemists. To them man was body, soul, and spirit.

Four is expressed by the square, or four-sided right-angled figure. Out
of the symbolic Garden of Eden flowed a river, dividing into _four_
streams,–PISON, which flows around the land of gold, or light; GIHON,
which flows around the land of Ethiopia or Darkness; HIDDEKEL, running
eastward to Assyria; and the EUPHRATES. Zechariah saw _four_ chariots
coming out from between two mountains of bronze, in the first of which
were _red_ horses; in the second, _black_; in the third, _white_; and in
the fourth, _grizzled_: “and these were the four winds of the heavens,
that go forth from standing before the Lord of all the earth.” Ezekiel
saw the _four_ living creatures, each with _four_ faces and _four_
wings, the faces of a _man_ and a _lion_, an _ox_ and an _eagle_; and
the _four_ wheels going upon their _four_ sides; and Saint John beheld
the _four_ beasts, full of eyes before and behind, the LION, the young
OX, the MAN, and the flying EAGLE. _Four_ was the signature of the
Earth. Therefore, in the 148th Psalm, of those who must praise the Lord
on the land, there are _four_ times _four_, and _four_ in particular of
living creatures. Visible nature is described as the _four_ quarters of
the world, and the _four_ corners of the earth. “There are _four_,” says
the old Jewish saying, “which take the first place in this world: _man_,
among the creatures; the _eagle_ among birds; the _ox_ among cattle; and
the _lion_ among wild beasts.” Daniel saw _four_ great beasts come up
from the sea.

FIVE is the Duad added to the Triad. It is expressed by the five-pointed
or blazing star, the mysterious Pentalpha of Pythagoras. It is
indissolubly connected with the number _seven_. Christ fed His disciples
and the multitude with _five_ loaves and _two_ fishes, and of the
fragments there remained _twelve_, that is, _five_ and _seven_, baskets
full. Again He fed them with _seven_ loaves and a few little fishes, and
there remained _seven_ baskets full. The _five_ apparently small
planets, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn, with the two greater
ones, the Sun and Moon, constituted the _seven_ celestial spheres.

SEVEN was the peculiarly sacred number. There were _seven_ planets and
spheres presided over by _seven_ archangels. There were _seven_ colors
in the rainbow; and the Phoenician Deity was called the HEPTAKIS or God
of _seven_ rays; _seven_ days of the week; and _seven_ and _five_ made
the number of months, tribes, and apostles. Zechariah saw a golden
candlestick, with _seven_ lamps and _seven_ pipes to the lamps, and an
olive-tree on each side. Since he says, “the _seven_ eyes of the Lord
shall rejoice, and shall see the plummet in the hand of Zerubbabel.”
John, in the Apocalypse, writes _seven_ epistles to the _seven_
churches. In the _seven_ epistles there are _twelve_ promises. What is
said of the churches in praise or blame, is completed in the number
_three_. The refrain, “_who has ears to hear_,” etc., has _ten_ words,
divided by _three_ and _seven_, and the _seven_ by _three_ and _four_;
and the _seven_ epistles are also so divided. In the seals, trumpets,
and vials, also, of this symbolic vision, the _seven_ are divided by
_four_ and _three_. He who sends his message to Ephesus, “holds the
_seven_ stars in his right hand, and walks amid the _seven_ golden

In _six_ days, or periods, God created the Universe, and paused on the
_seventh_ day. Of clean beasts, Noah was directed to take by _sevens_
into the ark; and of fowls by _sevens_; because in _seven_ days the rain
was to commence. On the _seven_teenth day of the month, the rain began;
on the _seven_teenth day of the _seventh_ month, that ark rested on
Ararat. When the dove returned, Noah waited _seven_ days before he sent
her forth again; and again _seven_, after she returned with the
olive-leaf. Enoch was the _seventh_ patriarch, Adam included, and Lamech
lived 777 years.

There were _seven_ lamps in the great candlestick of the Tabernacle and
Temple, representing the _seven_ planets. _Seven_ times Moses sprinkled
the anointing oil upon the altar. The days of consecration of Aaron and
his sons were _seven_ in number. A woman was unclean _seven_ days after
child-birth; one infected with leprosy was shut up _seven_ days; _seven_
times the leper was sprinkled with the blood of a slain bird; and
_seven_ days afterwards he must remain abroad out of his tent. _Seven_
times, in purifying the leper, the priest was to sprinkle the
consecrated oil; and _seven_ times to sprinkle with the blood of the
sacrificed bird the house to be purified. _Seven_ times the blood of the
slain bullock was sprinkled on the mercy-seat; and _seven_ times on the
altar. The _seventh_ year was a Sabbath of rest; and at the end of
_seven_ times _seven_ years came the great year of jubilee. _Seven_ days
the people ate unleavened bread, in the month of Abib. _Seven_ weeks
were counted from the time of first putting the sickle to the wheat. The
Feast of the Tabernacles lasted _seven_ days.

Israel was in the hand of Midian _seven_ years before Gideon delivered
them. The bullock sacrificed by him was _seven_ years old. Samson told
Delilah to bind him with _seven_ green withes; and she wove the _seven_
locks of his head, and afterwards shaved them off. Balaam told Barak to
build for him _seven_ altars. Jacob served _seven_ years for Leah and
_seven_ for Rachel. Job had _seven_ sons and _three_ daughters, making
the perfect number _ten_. He had also _seven_ thousand sheep and _three_
thousand camels. His friends sat down with him _seven_ days and _seven_
nights. His friends were ordered to sacrifice _seven_ bullocks and
_seven_ rams; and again, at the end, he had _seven_ sons and _three_
daughters, and twice _seven_ thousand sheep, and lived an hundred and
forty, or twice _seven_ times _ten_ years. Pharaoh saw in his dream
_seven_ fat and _seven_ lean kine, _seven_ good ears and _seven_ blasted
ears of wheat; and there were _seven_ years of plenty, and _seven_ of
famine. Jericho fell, when _seven_ priests, with _seven_ trumpets, made
the circuit of the city on _seven_ successive days; once each day for
six days, and _seven_ times on the seventh. “The _seven_ eyes of the
Lord,” says Zechariah, “run to and fro through the whole earth.” Solomon
was _seven_ years in building the Temple. _Seven_ angels, in the
Apocalypse, pour out _seven_ plagues, from _seven_ vials of wrath. The
scarlet-colored beast, on which the woman sits in the wilderness, has
_seven_ heads and _ten_ horns. So also has the beast that rises up out
of the sea. _Seven_ thunders uttered their voices. _Seven_ angels
sounded _seven_ trumpets. _Seven_ lamps, of fire, the _seven_ spirits of
God, burned before the throne; and the Lamb that was slain had _seven_
horns and _seven_ eyes.

EIGHT is the first cube, that of _two_. NINE is the square of _three_,
and represented by the triple triangle.

TEN includes all the other numbers. It is especially _seven_ and
_three_; and is called the number of perfection. Pythagoras represented
it by the TETRACTYS, which had many mystic meanings. This symbol is
sometimes composed of dots or points, sometimes of commas or yōds, and
in the Kabalah, of the letters of the name of Deity. It is thus

, ,
, , ,
, , , ,

The Patriarchs from Adam to Noah, inclusive, are _ten_ in number, and
the same number is that of the Commandments.

TWELVE is the number of the lines of equal length that form a cube. It
is the number of the months, the tribes, and the apostles; of the oxen
under the Brazen Sea, of the stones on the breast-plate of the high



To understand literally the symbols and allegories of Oriental books as
to ante-historical matters, is willfully to close our eyes against the
Light. To translate the symbols into the trivial and commonplace, is the
blundering of mediocrity.

_All_ religious expression is symbolism; since we can _describe_ only
what we _see_, and the true objects of religion are THE SEEN. The
earliest instruments of education were symbols; and they and all other
religious forms differed and still differ according to external
circumstances and imagery, and according to differences of knowledge and
mental cultivation. All language is symbolic, so far as it is applied to
mental and spiritual phenomena and action. All _words_ have, primarily,
a _material_ sense, however they may afterward get, for the ignorant, a
spiritual _non_-sense. “To retract,” for example, is to _draw back_, and
when applied to a _statement_, is symbolic, as much so as a picture of
an arm drawn back, to express the same thing, would be. The very word
“_spirit_” means “_breath,_” from the Latin verb _, breathe_.

To present a visible symbol to the eye of another is not necessarily to
inform him of the meaning which that symbol has to you. Hence the
philosopher soon superadded to the symbols explanations addressed to the
ear, susceptible of more precision, but less effective and impressive
than the painted or sculptured forms which he endeavored to explain. Out
of these explanations grew by degrees a variety of narrations, whose
true object and meaning were gradually forgotten, or lost in
contradictions and incongruities. And when these were abandoned, and
Philosophy resorted to definitions and formulas, its language was but a
more complicated symbolism, attempting in the dark to grapple with and
picture ideas impossible to be expressed. For as with the visible
symbol, so with the word: to utter it to you does not inform you of the
_exact_ meaning which it has to _me_; and thus religion and philosophy
became to a great extent disputes as to the meaning of words. The most
abstract expression for DEITY, which language can supply, is but a
_sign_ or _symbol_ for an object beyond our comprehension, and not more
truthful and adequate than the images of OSIRIS and VISHNU, or their
names, except as being less sensuous and explicit. We avoid sensuousness
only by resorting to simple negation. We come at last to define spirit
by saying that it is not matter. Spirit is–spirit.

A single example of the symbolism of _words_ will indicate to you one
branch of Masonic study. We find in the English Rite this phrase: “I
will always _hail_, ever conceal, and never reveal;” and in the
Catechism, these:

Q.’. “_I hail_.”

A.’. “_I conceal_;”

and ignorance, misunderstanding the word “_hail_,” has interpolated the
phrase, “From whence do you _hail_?”

But the word is really “_hele_,” from the Anglo-Saxon verb Ðelan,
_helan_, to _cover, hide_, or _conceal_. And this word is rendered by
the Latin verb _tegere_, to _cover_ or _roof over_. “That ye fro me no
thynge woll hele,” says Gower. “They _hele_ fro me no priuyte,” says the
Romaunt of the Rose. “To _heal_ a house,” is a common phrase in Sussex;
and in the west of England, he that covers a house with slates is called
a _Healer_. Wherefore, to “_heal_” means the same thing as to
“_tile_,”–itself symbolic, as meaning, primarily, to _cover_ a house
with _tiles_,–and means to _cover, hide_, or _conceal_. Thus language
too is symbolism, and words are as much misunderstood and misused as
more material symbols are.

Symbolism tended continually to become more complicated; and all the
powers of Heaven were reproduced on earth, until a web of fiction and
allegory was woven, partly by art and partly by the ignorance of error,
which the wit of man, with his limited means of explanation, will never
unravel. Even the Hebrew Theism became involved in symbolism and
image-worship, borrowed probably from an older creed and remote regions
of Asia,–the worship of the Great Semitic Nature-God AL or ELS and its
symbolical representations of JEHOVAH Himself were not even confined to
poetical or illustrative language. The priests were monotheists: the
people idolaters.

There are dangers inseparable from symbolism, which afford an impressive
lesson in regard to the similar risks attendant on the use of language.
The imagination, called in to assist the reason, usurps its place or
leaves its ally helplessly entangled in its web. Names which stand for
things are confounded with them; the means are mistaken for the end; the
instrument of interpretation for the object; and thus symbols come to
usurp an independent character as truths and persons. Though perhaps a
necessary path, they were a dangerous one by which to approach the
Deity; in which many, says PLUTARCH, “mistaking the sign for the thing
signified, fell into a ridiculous superstition; while others, in
avoiding one extreme, plunged into the no less hideous gulf of
irreligion and impiety.”

It is through the Mysteries, CICERO says, that we have learned the first
principles of life; wherefore the term “initiation” is used with good
reason; and they not only teach us to live more happily and agreeably,
but they soften the pains of death by the hope of a better life

The Mysteries were a Sacred Drama, exhibiting some legend significant of
nature’s changes, of the visible Universe in which the Divinity is
revealed, and whose import was in many respects as open to the Pagan as
to the Christian. Nature is the great Teacher of man; for it is the
Revelation of God. It neither dogmatizes nor attempts to tyrannize by
compelling to a particular creed or special interpretation. It presents
its symbols to us, and adds nothing by way of explanation. It is the
text without the commentary; and, as we well know, it is chiefly the
commentary and gloss that lead to error and heresy and persecution. The
earliest instructors of mankind not only adopted the lessons of Nature,
but as far as possible adhered to her method of imparting them. In the
Mysteries, beyond the current traditions or sacred and enigmatic
recitals of the Temples, few explanations were given to the spectators,
who were left, as in the school of nature, to make inferences for
themselves. No other method could have suited every degree of
cultivation and capacity. To employ nature’s universal symbolism instead
of the technicalities of language, rewards the humblest inquirer, and
discloses its secrets to every one in proportion to his preparatory
training and his power to comprehend them. If their philosophical
meaning was above the comprehension of some, their moral and political
meanings are within the reach of all.

These mystic shows and performances were not the reading of a lecture,
but the opening of a problem. Requiring research, they were calculated
to arouse the dormant intellect. They implied no hostility to
Philosophy, because Philosophy is the great expounder of symbolism;
although its ancient interpretations were often ill-founded and
incorrect. The alteration from symbol to dogma is fatal to beauty of
expression, and leads to intolerance and assumed infallibility.

* * * * *

If, in teaching the great doctrine of the divine nature of the Soul, and
in striving to explain its longings after immortality, and in proving
its superiority over the souls of the animals, which have no aspirations
Heavenward, the ancients struggled in vain to express the _nature_ of
the soul, by comparing it to FIRE and LIGHT, it will be well for us to
consider whether, with all our boasted knowledge, we have any better or
clearer idea of its nature, and whether we have not despairingly taken
refuge in having none at all. And if they erred as to its original place
of abode, and understood literally the mode and path of its descent,
these were but the accessories of the great Truth, and probably, to the
Initiates, mere allegories, designed to make the idea more palpable and
impressive to the mind.

They are at least no more fit to be smiled at by the self-conceit of a
vain ignorance, the wealth of whose knowledge consists solely in words,
than the _bosom_ of Abraham, as a home for the _spirits_ of the just
dead; the gulf of actual fire, for the eternal torture of _spirits_; and
the City of the New Jerusalem, with its walls of jasper and its edifices
of pure gold like clear glass, its foundations of precious stones, and
its gates each of a single pearl. “I knew a man,” says PAUL, “caught up
to the third Heaven; … that he was caught up into Paradise, and heard
ineffable words, which it is not possible for a man to utter.” And
nowhere is the antagonism and conflict between the spirit and body more
frequently and forcibly insisted on than in the writings of this
apostle, nowhere the Divine nature of the soul more strongly asserted.
“With the mind,” he says, “I serve the law of God; but with the flesh
the law of sin…. As many as are led by the Spirit of God, are the sons
of GOD…. The earnest expectation of the created waits for the
manifestation of the sons of God…. The created shall be delivered from
the bondage of corruption, of the flesh liable to decay, into the
glorious liberty of the children of God.”

* * * * *

Two forms of government are favorable to the prevalence of falsehood
and deceit. Under a Despotism, men are false, treacherous, and deceitful
through fear, like slaves dreading the lash. Under a Democracy they are
so as a means of attaining popularity and office, and because of the
greed for wealth. Experience will probably prove that these odious and
detestable vices will grow most rankly and spread most rapidly in a
Republic. When office and wealth become the gods of a people, and the
most unworthy and unfit most aspire to the former, and fraud becomes the
highway to the latter, the land will reek with falsehood and sweat lies
and chicane. When the offices are open to all, merit and stern integrity
and the dignity of unsullied honor will attain them only rarely and by
accident. To be able to serve the country well, will cease to be a
reason why the great and wise and learned should be selected to render
service. Other qualifications, less honorable, will be more available.
To adapt one’s opinions to the popular humor; to defend, apologize for,
and justify the popular follies; to advocate the expedient and the
plausible; to caress, cajole, and flatter the elector; to beg like a
spaniel for his vote, even if he be a negro three removes from
barbarism; to profess friendship for a competitor and stab him by
innuendo; to set on foot that which at third hand shall become a lie,
being cousin-german to it when uttered, and yet capable of being
explained away,–who is there that has not seen these low arts and base
appliances put into practice, and becoming general, until success cannot
be surely had by any more honorable means?–the result being a State
ruled and ruined by ignorant and shallow mediocrity, pert self-conceit,
the greenness of unripe intellect, vain of a school-boy’s smattering of

The faithless and the false in public and in political life, will be
faithless and false in private. The jockey in politics, like the jockey
on the race-course, is rotten from skin to core. Everywhere he will see
first to his own interests, and whoso leans on him will be pierced with
a broken reed. His ambition is ignoble, like himself; and therefore he
will seek to attain office by ignoble means, as he will seek to attain
any other coveted object,–land, money, or reputation.

At length, office and honor are divorced. The place that the small and
shallow, the knave or the trickster, is deemed competent and fit to
fill, ceases to be worthy the ambition of the great and capable; or if
not, these shrink from a contest, the weapons to be used wherein are
unfit for a gentleman to handle. Then the habits of unprincipled
advocates in law courts are naturalized in Senates, and pettifoggers
wrangle there, when the fate of the nation and the lives of millions are
at stake. States are even begotten by villainy and brought forth by
fraud, and rascalities are justified by legislators claiming to be
honorable. Then contested elections are decided by perjured votes or
party considerations; and all the practices of the worst times of
corruption are revived and exaggerated in Republics.

It is strange that reverence for truth, that manliness and genuine
loyalty, and scorn of littleness and unfair advantage, and genuine faith
and godliness and large-heartedness should diminish, among statesmen and
people, as civilization advances, and freedom becomes more general, and
universal suffrage implies universal worth and fitness! In the age of
Elizabeth, without universal suffrage, or Societies for the Diffusion of
Useful Knowledge, or popular lecturers, or Lycæa, the statesman, the
merchant, the burgher, the sailor, were all alike heroic, fearing God
only, and man not at all. Let but a hundred or two years elapse, and in
a Monarchy or Republic of the same race, nothing is _less_ heroic than
the merchant, the shrewd speculator, the office-seeker, fearing man
only, and God not at all. Reverence for greatness dies out, and is
succeeded by base envy of greatness. Every man is in the way of many,
either in the path to popularity or wealth. There is a general feeling
of satisfaction when a great statesman is displaced, or a general, who
has been for his brief hour the popular idol, is unfortunate and sinks
from his high estate. It becomes a misfortune, if not a crime, to be
above the popular level.

We should naturally suppose that a nation in distress would take counsel
with the wisest of its sons. But, on the contrary, great men seem never
so scarce as when they are most needed, and small men never so bold to
insist on infesting place, as when mediocrity and incapable pretence and
sophomoric greenness, and showy and sprightly incompetency are most
dangerous. When France was in the extremity of revolutionary agony, she
was governed by an assembly of provincial pettifoggers, and Robespierre,
Marat, and Couthon ruled in the place of Mirabeau, Vergniaud, and
Carnot. England was governed by the Rump Parliament, after she had
beheaded her king. Cromwell extinguished one body, and Napoleon the

Fraud, falsehood, trickery, and deceit in national affairs are the
signs of decadence in States and precede convulsions or paralysis. To
bully the weak and crouch to the strong, is the policy of nations
governed by small mediocrity. The tricks of the canvass for office are
re-enacted in Senates. The Executive becomes the dispenser of patronage,
chiefly to the most unworthy; and men are bribed with offices instead of
money, to the greater ruin of the Commonwealth. The Divine in human
nature disappears, and interest, greed, and selfishness takes it place.
That is a sad and true allegory which represents the companions of
Ulysses changed by the enchantments of Circe into swine.

* * * * *

“Ye cannot,” said the Great Teacher, “serve God and Mammon.” When the
thirst for wealth becomes general, it will be sought for as well
dishonestly as honestly; by frauds and overreachings, by the knaveries
of trade, the heartlessness of greedy speculation, by gambling in stocks
and commodities that soon demoralizes a whole community. Men will
speculate upon the needs of their neighbors and the distresses of their
country. Bubbles that, bursting, impoverish multitudes, will be blown up
by cunning knavery, with stupid credulity as its assistants and
instrument. Huge bankruptcies, that startle a country like the
earthquakes, and are more fatal, fraudulent assignments, engulfment of
the savings of the poor, expansions and collapses of the currency, the
crash of banks, the depreciation of Government securities, prey on the
savings of self-denial, and trouble with their depredations the first
nourishment of infancy and the last sands of life, and fill with inmates
the churchyards and lunatic asylums. But the sharper and speculator
thrives and fattens. If his country is fighting by a levy en masse for
her very existence, he aids her by depreciating her paper, so that he
may accumulate fabulous amounts with little outlay. If his neighbor is
distressed, he buys his property for a song. If he administers upon an
estate, it turns out insolvent, and the orphans are paupers. If his bank
explodes, he is found to have taken care of himself in time. Society
worships its paper-and-credit kings, as the old Hindus and Egyptians
worshipped their worthless idols, and often the most obsequiously when
in actual solid wealth they are the veriest paupers. No wonder men think
there ought to be another world, in which the injustices of this may be
atoned for, when they see the friends of ruined families begging the
wealthy sharpers to give alms to prevent the orphaned victims from
starving, until they may find ways of supporting themselves.

* * * * *

States are chiefly avaricious of commerce and of territory. The latter
leads to the violation of treaties, encroachments upon feeble neighbors,
and rapacity toward their wards whose lands are coveted. Republics are,
in this, as rapacious and unprincipled as Despots, never learning from
history that inordinate expansion by rapine and fraud has its inevitable
consequences in dismemberment or subjugation. When a Republic begins to
plunder its neighbors, the words of doom are already written on its
walls. There is a judgment already pronounced of God upon whatever is
unrighteous in the conduct of national affairs. When civil war tears the
vitals of a Republic, let it look back and see if it has not been guilty
of injustices; and if it has, let it humble itself in the dust!

When a nation becomes possessed with a spirit of commercial greed,
beyond those just and fair limits set by a due regard to a moderate and
reasonable degree of general and individual prosperity, it is a nation
possessed by the devil of commercial avarice, a passion as ignoble and
demoralizing as avarice in the individual; and as this sordid passion is
baser and more unscrupulous than ambition, so it is more hateful, and at
last makes the infected nation to be regarded as the enemy of the human
race. To grasp at the lion’s share of commerce, has always at last
proven the ruin of States, because it invariably leads to injustices
that make a State detestable; to a selfishness and crooked policy that
forbid other nations to be the friends of a State that cares only for

Commercial avarice in India was the parent of more atrocities and
greater rapacity, and cost more human lives, than the nobler ambition
for extended empire of Consular Rome. The nation that grasps at the
commerce of the world cannot but become selfish, calculating, dead to
the noblest impulses and sympathies which ought to actuate States. It
will submit to insults that wound its honor, rather than endanger its
commercial interests by war; while, to subserve those interests, it will
wage unjust war, on false or frivolous pretexts, its free people
cheerfully allying themselves with despots to crush a commercial rival
that has ared to exile its kings and elect its own ruler.

Thus the cold calculations of a sordid self-interest, in nations
commercially avaricious, always at last displace the sentiments and
lofty impulses of Honor and Generosity by which they rose to greatness;
which made Elizabeth and Cromwell alike the protectors of Protestants
beyond the four seas of England, against crowned Tyranny and mitred
Persecution; and, if they had lasted, would have forbidden alliances
with Czars and Autocrats and Bourbons to re-enthrone the Tyrannies of
Incapacity, and arm the Inquisition anew with its instruments of
torture. The soul of the avaricious nation petrifies, like the soul of
the individual who makes gold his god. The Despot will occasionally act
upon noble and generous impulses, and help the weak against the strong,
the right against the wrong. But commercial avarice is essentially
egotistic, grasping, faithless, overreaching, crafty, cold, ungenerous,
selfish, and calculating, controlled by considerations of self-interest
alone. Heartless and merciless, it has no sentiments of pity, sympathy,
or honor, to make it pause in its remorseless career; and it crushes
down all that is of impediment in its way, as its keels of commerce
crush under them the murmuring and unheeded waves.

A war for a great principle ennobles a nation. A war for commercial
supremacy, upon some shallow pretext, is despicable, and more than aught
else demonstrates to what immeasurable depths of baseness men and
nations can descend. Commercial greed values the lives of men no more
than it values the lives of ants. The slave-trade is as acceptable to a
people enthralled by that greed, as the trade in ivory or spices, if the
profits are as large. It will by-and-by endeavor to compound with God
and quiet its own conscience, by compelling those to whom it sold the
slaves it bought or stole, to set them free, and slaughtering them by
hecatombs if they refuse to obey the edicts of its philanthropy.

Justice in no wise consists in meting out to another that exact measure
of reward or punishment which we think and decree his merit, or what we
call his crime, which is more often merely his error, deserves. The
justice of the father is not incompatible with forgiveness by him of the
errors and offences of his child. The Infinite Justice of God does not
consist in meting out exact measures of punishment for human frailties
and sins. We are too apt to erect our own little and narrow notions of
what is right and just into the law of justice, and to insist that God
shall adopt that as His law; to measure off something with our own
little tape-line, and call it God’s love of justice. Continually we
seek to ennoble our own ignoble love of revenge and retaliation, by
misnaming it justice.

Nor does justice consist in strictly governing our conduct toward other
men by the rigid rules of legal right. If there were a community
anywhere, in which all stood upon the strictness of this rule there
should be written over its gates, as a warning to the unfortunates
desiring admission to that inhospitable realm, the words which DANTE
says are written over the great gate of Hell: “LET THOSE WHO ENTER HERE
LEAVE HOPE BEHIND!” It is not just to pay the laborer in field or
factory or workshop his current wages and no more, the lowest
market-value of his labor, for so long only as we need that labor and he
is able to work; for when sickness or old age overtakes him, that is to
leave him and his family to starve; and God will curse with calamity the
people in which the children of the laborer out of work eat the boiled
grass of the field, and mothers strangle their children, that they may
buy food for themselves with the charitable pittance given for burial
expenses. The rules of what is ordinarily termed “_Justice_,” may be
punctiliously observed among the fallen spirits that are the aristocracy
of Hell.

* * * * *

Justice, divorced from sympathy, is selfish indifference, not in the
least more laudable than misanthropic isolation. There is sympathy even
among the hair-like oscillatorias, a tribe of simple plants, armies of
which may be discovered, with the aid of the microscope, in the tiniest
bit of scum from a stagnant pool. For these will place themselves, as if
it were by agreement, in separate companies, on the side of a vessel
containing them, and seem marching upward in rows; and when a swarm
grows weary of its situation, and has a mind to change its quarters,
each army holds on its way without confusion or intermixture, proceeding
with great regularity and order, as if under the directions of wise
leaders. The ants and bees give each other mutual assistance, beyond
what is required by that which human creatures are apt to regard as the
strict law of justice.

Surely we need but reflect a little, to be convinced that the individual
man is but a fraction of the unit of society, and that he is
indissolubly connected with the rest of his race. Not only the actions,
but the will and thoughts of other men make or mar his fortunes,
control his destinies, are unto him life or death, dishonor or honor.
The epidemics, physical and moral, contagious and infectious, public
opinion, popular delusions, enthusiasms, and the other great electric
phenomena and currents, moral and intellectual, prove the universal
sympathy. The vote of a single and obscure man, the utterance of
self-will, ignorance, conceit, or spite, deciding an election and
placing Folly or Incapacity or Baseness in a Senate, involves the
country in war, sweeps away our fortunes, slaughters our sons, renders
the labors of a life unavailing, and pushes on, helpless, with all our
intellect to resist, into the grave.

These considerations ought to teach us that justice to others and to
ourselves is the same; that we cannot define our duties by mathematical
lines ruled by the square, but must fill with them the great circle
traced by the compasses; that the circle of humanity is the limit, and
we are but the point in its centre, the drops in the great Atlantic, the
atom or particle, bound by a mysterious law of attraction which we term
sympathy to every other atom in the mass; that the physical and moral
welfare of others cannot be indifferent to us; that we have a direct and
immediate interest in the public morality and popular intelligence, in
the well-being and physical comfort of the people at large. The
ignorance of the people, their pauperism and destitution, and consequent
degradation, their brutalization and demoralization, are all diseases;
and we cannot rise high enough above the people, nor shut ourselves up
from them enough, to escape the miasmatic contagion and the great
magnetic currents.

Justice is peculiarly indispensable to nations. The unjust State is
doomed of God to calamity and ruin. This is the teaching of the Eternal
Wisdom and of history. “Righteousness exalteth a nation; but wrong is a
reproach to nations.” “The Throne is established by Righteousness. Let
the lips of the Ruler pronounce the sentence that is Divine; and his
mouth do no wrong in judgment!” The nation that adds province to
province by fraud and violence, that encroaches on the weak and plunders
its wards, and violates its treaties and the obligation of its
contracts, and for the law of honor and fair-dealing substitutes the
exigencies of greed and the base precepts of policy and craft and the
ignoble tenets of expediency, is predestined to destruction; for here,
as with the individual, the consequences of wrong are inevitable and

A sentence is written against all that is unjust, written by God in the
nature of man and in the nature of the Universe, because it is in the
nature of the Infinite God. No wrong is really successful. The gain of
injustice is a loss; its pleasure, suffering. Iniquity often seems to
prosper, but its success is its defeat and shame. If its consequences
pass by the doer, they fall upon and crush his children. It is a
philosophical, physical, and moral truth, in the form of a threat, that
God visits the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, to the third
and fourth generation of those who violate His laws. After a long while,
the day of reckoning always comes, to nation as to individual; and
always the knave deceives himself, and proves a failure.

Hypocrisy is the homage that vice and wrong pay to virtue and justice.
It is Satan attempting to clothe himself in the angelic vesture of
light. It is equally detestable in morals, politics, and religion; in
the man and in the nation. To do injustice under the pretence of equity
and fairness; to reprove vice in public and commit it in private; to
pretend to charitable opinion and censoriously condemn; to profess the
principles of Masonic beneficence, and close the ear to the wail of
distress and the cry of suffering; to eulogize the intelligence of the
people, and plot to deceive and betray them by means of their ignorance
and simplicity; to prate of purity, and peculate; of honor, and basely
abandon a sinking cause; of disinterestedness, and sell one’s vote for
place and power, are hypocrisies as common as they are infamous and
disgraceful. To steal the livery of the Court of God to serve the Devil
withal; to pretend to believe in a God of mercy and a Redeemer of love,
and persecute those of a different faith; to devour widows houses, and
for a pretence make long prayers; to preach continence, and wallow in
lust; to inculcate humility, and in pride surpass Lucifer; to pay tithe,
and omit the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy and faith; to
strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel; to make clean the outside of the
cup and platter, keeping them full within of extortion and excess; to
appear outwardly righteous unto men, but within be full of hypocrisy and
iniquity, is indeed to be like unto whited sepulchres, which appear
beautiful outward, but are within full of bones of the dead and of all

The Republic cloaks its ambition with the pretence of a desire and duty
to “extend the area of freedom,” and claims it as its “manifest destiny”
to annex other Republics or the States or Provinces of others to itself,
by open violence, or under obsolete, empty, and fraudulent titles. The
Empire founded by a successful soldier, claims its ancient or natural
boundaries, and makes necessity and its safety the plea for open
robbery. The great Merchant Nation, gaining foothold in the Orient,
finds a continual necessity for extending its dominion by arms, and
subjugates India. The great Royalties and Despotisms, without a plea,
partition among themselves a Kingdom, dismember Poland, and prepare to
wrangle over the dominions of the Crescent. To maintain the balance of
power is a plea for the obliteration of States. Carthage, Genoa, and
Venice, commercial Cities only, must acquire territory by force or
fraud, and become States. Alexander marches to the Indus; Tamerlane
seeks universal empire; the Saracens conquer Spain and threaten Vienna.

The thirst for power is never satisfied. It is insatiable. Neither men
nor nations ever have power enough. When Rome was the mistress of the
world, the Emperors caused themselves to be worshipped as gods. The
Church of Rome claimed despotism over the soul, and over the whole life
from the cradle to the grave. It gave and sold absolutions for past and
future sins. It claimed to be infallible in matters of faith. It
decimated Europe to purge it of heretics. It decimated America to
convert the Mexicans and Peruvians. It gave and took away thrones; and
by excommunication and interdict closed the gates of Paradise against
Nations. Spain, haughty with its dominion over the Indies, endeavored to
crush out Protestantism in the Netherlands, while Philip the Second
married the Queen of England, and the pair sought to win that kingdom
back to its allegiance to the Papal throne. Afterward Spain attempted to
conquer it with her “invincible” Armada. Napoleon set his relatives and
captains on thrones, and parcelled among them half of Europe. The Czar
rules over an empire more gigantic than Rome. The history of all is or
will be the same,–acquisition, dismemberment, ruin. There is a judgment
of God against all that is unjust.

To seek to subjugate the _will_ of others and take the _soul_ captive,
because it is the exercise of the highest power, seems to be the highest
object of human ambition. It is at the bottom of all proselyting and
propagandism, from that of Mesmer to that of the Church of Rome and the
French Republic. That was the apostolate alike of Joshua and of Mahomet.
Masonry alone preaches Toleration, the right of man to abide by his own
faith, the right of all States to govern themselves. It rebukes alike
the monarch who seeks to extend his dominions by conquest, the Church
that claims the right to repress heresy by fire and steel, and the
confederation of States that insist on maintaining a union by force and
restoring brotherhood by slaughter and subjugation.

It is natural, when we are wronged, to desire revenge; and to persuade
ourselves that we desire it less for our own satisfaction than to
prevent a repetition of the wrong, to which the doer would be encouraged
by immunity coupled with the profit of the wrong. To submit to be
cheated is to encourage the cheater to continue; and we are quite apt to
regard ourselves as God’s chosen instruments to inflict His vengeance,
and for Him and in His stead to discourage wrong by making it fruitless
and its punishment sure. Revenge has been said to be “a kind of wild
justice;” but it is always taken in anger, and therefore is unworthy of
a great soul, which ought not to suffer its equanimity to be disturbed
by ingratitude or villainy. The injuries done us by the base are as much
unworthy of our angry notice as those done us by the insects and the
beasts; and when we crush the adder, or slay the wolf or hyena, we
should do it without being moved to anger, and with no more feeling of
revenge than we have in rooting up a noxious weed.

And if it be not in human nature not to take revenge by way of
punishment, let the Mason truly consider that in doing so he is God’s
agent, and so let his revenge be measured by justice and tempered by
mercy. The law of God is, that the consequences of wrong and cruelty and
crime shall be their punishment; and the injured and the wronged and the
indignant are as much His instruments to enforce that law, as the
diseases and public detestation, and the verdict of history and the
execration of posterity are. No one will say that the Inquisitor who has
racked and burned the innocent; the Spaniard who hewed Indian infants,
living, into pieces with his sword, and fed the mangled limbs to his
bloodhounds; the military tyrant who has shot men without trial, the
knave who has robbed or betrayed his State, the fraudulent banker or
bankrupt who has beggared orphans, the public officer who has violated
his oath, the judge who has sold injustice, the legislator who has
enabled Incapacity to work the ruin of the State, ought not to be
punished. Let them be so; and let the injured or the sympathizing be the
instruments of God’s just vengeance; but always out of a higher feeling
than mere personal revenge.

Remember that every moral characteristic of man finds its prototype
among creatures of lower intelligence; that the cruel foulness of the
hyena, the savage rapacity of the wolf, the merciless rage of the tiger,
the crafty treachery of the panther, are found among mankind, and ought
to excite no other emotion, when found in the man, than when found in
the beast. Why should the true man be angry with the geese that hiss,
the peacocks that strut, the asses that bray, and the apes that imitate
and chatter, although they wear the human form? Always, also, it remains
true, that it is more noble to forgive than to take revenge; and that,
in general, we ought too much to despise those who wrong us, to feel the
emotion of anger, or to desire revenge.

At the sphere of the _Sun_, you are in the region of LIGHT. The
Hebrew word for _gold_, ZAHAB, also means _Light_, of which the Sun is
to the Earth the great source. So, in the great Oriental allegory of the
Hebrews, the River PISON compasses the land of _Gold_ or _Light_; and
the River GIHON the land of _Ethiopia_ or _Darkness_.

What light _is_, we no more know than the ancients did. According to the
modern hypothesis, it is _not_ composed of luminous particles shot out
from the sun with immense velocity; but that body only impresses, on the
ether which fills all space, a powerful vibratory movement that extends,
in the form of luminous waves, beyond the most distant planets,
supplying them with light and heat. To the ancients, it was an
outflowing from the Deity. To us, as to them, it is the apt symbol of
truth and knowledge. To us, also, the upward journey of the soul through
the Spheres is symbolical; but we are as little informed as they whence
the soul comes, where it has its origin, and whither it goes after
death. They endeavored to have _some_ belief and faith, _some_ creed,
upon those points. At the present day, men are satisfied to think
nothing in regard to all that, and only to believe that the soul is a
_something_ separate from the body and out-living it, but whether
existing before it, neither to inquire nor care. No one asks whether it
emanates from the Deity, or is created out of nothing, or is generated
like the body, and the issue of the souls of the father and the mother.
Let us not smile, therefore, at the ideas of the ancients, until we have
a better belief; but accept their symbols as meaning that the soul is of
a Divine nature, originating in a sphere nearer the Deity, and returning
to that when freed from the enthrallment of the body; and that it can
only return there when purified of all the sordidness and sin which
have, as it were, become part of its substance, by its connection with
the body.

It is not strange that, thousands of years ago, men worshipped the Sun,
and that to-day that worship continues among the Parsees. Originally
they looked beyond the orb to the invisible God, of whom the Sun’s
light, seemingly identical with generation and life, was the
manifestation and outflowing. Long before the Chaldæan shepherds watched
it on their plains, it came up regularly, as it now does, in the
morning, like a god, and again sank, like a king retiring, in the west,
to return again in due time in the same array of majesty. We worship
Immutability. It was that steadfast, immutable character of the Sun that
the men of Baalbec worshipped. His light-giving and life-giving powers
were secondary attributes. The one grand idea that compelled worship was
the characteristic of God which they saw reflected in his light, and
fancied they saw in its originality the changelessness of Deity. He had
seen thrones crumble, earthquakes shake the world and hurl down
mountains. Beyond Olympus, beyond the Pillars of Hercules, he had gone
daily to his abode, and had come daily again in the morning to behold
the temples they built to his worship. They personified him as BRAHMA,
nations that did so grew old and died. Moss grew on the capitals of the
great columns of his temples, and he shone on the moss. Grain by grain
the dust of his temples crumbled and fell, and was borne off on the
wind, and still he shone on crumbling column and architrave. The roof
fell crashing on the pavement, and he shone in on the Holy of Holies
with unchanging rays. It was not strange that men worshipped the Sun.

There is a water-plant, on whose broad leaves the drops of water roll
about without uniting, like drops of mercury. So arguments on points of
faith, in politics or religion, roll over the surface of the mind. An
argument that convinces one mind has no effect on another. Few
intellects, or souls that are the negations of intellect have any
logical power or capacity. There is a singular obliquity in the human
mind that makes the false logic more effective than the true with
nine-tenths of those who are regarded as men of intellect. Even among
the judges, not one in ten can argue logically. Each mind sees the
truth, distorted through its own medium. Truth, to most men, is like
matter in the spheroidal state. Like a drop of cold water on the surface
of a red-hot metal plate, it dances, trembles, and spins, and never
comes into contact with it; and the mind may be plunged into truth, as
the hand moistened with sulphurous acid may into melted metal, and be
not even warmed by the immersion.

* * * * *

The word _Khairūm_ or _Khūrūm_ is a compound one. Gesenius
renders _Khūrūm_ by the word _noble_ or _free-born: Khūr_
meaning _white, noble_. It also means the opening of a window, the
socket of the eye. _Khri_ also means _white_, or an _opening_; and
_Khris_, the orb of the Sun, in _Job_ viii. 13 and x. 7. _Krishna_ is
the Hindu Sun-God. _Khur_, the Parsi word, is the literal name of the

From _Kur_ or _Khur_, the Sun, comes Khora, a name of Lower Egypt. The
Sun, Bryant says in his Mythology, was called _Kur_; and Plutarch says
that the Persians called the Sun _Kūros. Kurios, Lord_, in Greek,
like _Adonaï, Lord_, in Phœnician and Hebrew, was applied to the Sun.
Many places were sacred to the Sun, and called _Kura, Kuria, Kuropolis,
Kurene, Kureschata, Kuresta_, and _Corusia_ in Scythia.

The Egyptian Deity called by the Greeks “_Horus_,” was _Her-Ra_. or
_Har-oeris, Hor_ or _Har_, the Sun. _Hari_ is a Hindu name of the Sun.
_Ari-al, Ar-es, Ar, Aryaman, Areimonios_, the AR meaning _Fire_ or
_Flame_, are of the same kindred. _Hermes_ or _Har-mes_, (_Aram, Remus,
Haram, Harameias_), was Kadmos, the Divine Light or Wisdom. _Mar-kuri_,
says Movers, is _Mar_, the Sun.

In the Hebrew, AOOR, is Light, Fire, or the Sun. Cyrus, said Ctesias,
was so named from _Kuros_, the Sun. _Kuris_, Hesychius says, was Adonis.
Apollo, the Sun-god, was called _Kurraios_, from _Kurra_, a city in
Phocis. The people of _Kurene_, originally Ethiopians or Cuthites,
worshipped the Sun under the title of _Achoor_ and _Achōr_.

We know, through a precise testimony in the ancient annals of Tsūr,
that the principal festivity of _Mal-karth_, the incarnation of the Sun
at the Winter Solstice, held at Tsūr, was called his _rebirth_ or his
_awakening_, and that it was celebrated by means of a pyre, on which the
god was supposed to regain, through the aid of fire, a new life. This
festival was celebrated in the month _Peritius (Barith)_, the second day
of which corresponded to the 25th of December. KHUR-UM, King of Tyre,
_Movers_ says, first performed this ceremony. These facts we learn from
_Josephus, Servius_ on the Æneid, and the _Dionysiacs_ of _Nonnus_; and
through a coincidence that cannot be fortuitous, the same day was at
Rome the _Dies Natalis Solis Invicti_, the festal day of the invincible
Sun. Under this title, HERCULES, HAR-_acles_, was worshipped at Tsūr.
Thus, while the temple was being erected, the death and resurrection of
a Sun-God was annually represented at Tsūr, by Solomon’s ally, at the
winter solstice, by the pyre of MAL-KARTH, the Tsūrian Haracles.

AROERIS or HAR-_oeris_, the elder HORUS, is from the same old root that
in the Hebrew has the form _Aūr_, or, with the definite article
prefixed, _Haūr_, Light, or _the_ Light, splendor, flame, the Sun and
his rays. The hieroglyphic of the younger HORUS was the point in a
circle; of the Elder, a pair of eyes; and the festival of the thirtieth
day of the month _Epiphi_, when the sun and moon were supposed to be in
the same right line with the earth, was called “_The birth-day of the
eyes of Horus_.”

In a papyrus published by Champollion, this god is styled “_Har-oeri_,
Lord of the Solar Spirits, the beneficent eye of the Sun.” Plutarch
calls him “_Har-pocrates_;” but there is no trace of the latter part of
the name in the hieroglyphic legends. He is the son of OSIRIS and ISIS;
and is represented sitting on a throne supported by _lions_; the same
word, in Egyptian, meaning _Lion_ and _Sun_. So Solomon made a great
throne of ivory, plated with gold, with six steps, at each arm of which
was a lion, and one on each side to each step, making seven on each

Again, the Hebrew word [Hebrew], _Khi_, means “_living;_” and [Hebrew]
_râm, “was, or shall be, raised or lifted up_.” The latter is the same
as [Hebrew], [Hebrew], [Hebrew], rōm, arōm, harūm, whence
_Aram_, for Syria, or _Aramæa, High_-land. _Khairūm_, therefore,
would mean “_was raised up to life, or living_.”

So, in Arabic, _hrm_, an unused root, meant, _”was high,” “made great,”
“exalted_;” and _Hîrm_ means an _ox_, the symbol of the Sun in Taurus,
at the Vernal Equinox.

KHURUM, therefore, improperly called _Hiram_, is KHUR-OM, the same as
_Her-ra_, _Her-mes_, and _Her-acles_, the “_Heracles Tyrius Invictus_,”
the personification of Light and the Son, the Mediator, Redeemer, and
Saviour. From the Egyptian word _Ra_ came the Coptic _Oūro_, and the
Hebrew _Aūr_, Light. _Har-oeri_, is _Hor_ or _Har_, the chief or
_master_. _Hor_ is also heat; and _hora_, season or hour; and hence in
several African dialects, as names of the Sun, _Airo, Ayero, eer, uiro,
ghurrah_, and the like. The royal name rendered _Pharaoh_, was PHRA,
that is, _Pai-ra_, the Sun.

The legend of the contest between _Hor-ra_ and _Set_, or _Set-nu-bi_,
the same as _Bar_ or _Bal_, is older than that of the strife between
_Osiris_ and _Typhon_; as old, at least, as the nineteenth dynasty. It
is called in the Book of the Dead, “The day of the battle between Horus
and Set.” The later myth connects itself with Phoenicia and Syria. The
body of OSIRIS went ashore at _Gebal_ or _Byblos_, sixty miles above
Tsūr. You will not fail to notice that in the name of each murderer of
Khūrūm, that of the Evil God Bal is found.

* * * * *

Har-oeri was the god of TIME, as well as of Life. The Egyptian legend
was that the King of Byblos cut down the tamarisk-tree containing the
body of OSIRIS, and made of it a column for his palace. Isis, employed
in the palace, obtained possession of the column, took the body out of
it, and carried it away. Apuleius describes her as “a beautiful female,
over whose divine neck her long thick hair hung in graceful ringlets;”
and in the procession female attendants, with ivory combs, seemed to
dress and ornament the royal hair of the goddess. The palm-tree, and the
lamp in the shape of a boat, appeared in the procession. If the symbol
we are speaking of is not a mere modern invention, it is to these things
it alludes.

[Illustration: Hieroglyph]

The identity of the legends is also confirmed by this hieroglyphic
picture, copied from an ancient Egyptian monument, which may also
enlighten you as to the Lion’s grip and the Master’s gavel.

[Hebrew: אב], in the ancient Phoenician character, [Symbols], and in the
Samaritan, [Symbols], A B, (the two letters representing the numbers 1,
2, or Unity and Duality, means _Father_, and is a primitive noun, common
to all the Semitic languages.)

It also means an Ancestor, Originator, Inventor, Head, Chief or Ruler,
Manager, Overseer, Master, Priest, Prophet.

[Hebrew: אבי] simply Father, when it is in construction, that is, when
it precedes another word, and in English the preposition “of” is
interposed, as [Hebrew: אבי-אל], Abi-Al, the Father of Al.

Also, the final Yōd means “my”; so that [Hebrew: אבי] by itself means
“My father.” [Hebrew: דויד אבי], David my father, 2 _Chron._ ii. 3.

[Hebrew: ו], (Vav) final is the possessive pronoun “his”; and [Hebrew:
אביו], _Abiu_ (which we read “Abif”) means “of my father’s.” Its full
meaning, as connected with the name of Khūrūm, no doubt is, “formerly
one of my father’s servants,” or “slaves.”

The name of the Phoenician artificer is, in Samuel and Kings, [Hebrew:
הירם] and [Hebrew: הירום]–[_2 Sam._ v. 11; 1 _Kings_ v. 15; 1 _Kings_
vii. 40]. In Chronicles it is [Hebrew: הורם], with the addition of
[Hebrew: אבי] [_2 Chron._ ii. 12]; and of [Hebrew: אביו]. [_2 Chron._
iv. 16].

It is merely absurd to add the word “_Abif_” or “_Abiff_,” as part of
the name of the artificer. And it is almost as absurd to add the word
“_Abi_,” which was a _title_ and not part of the name. Joseph says
[_Gen._ xlv. 8], “God has constituted me _’Ab l’Paraah_, as Father to
Paraah, _i.e._, Vizier or Prime Minister.” So Haman was called the
Second Father of Artaxerxes; and when King Khūrūm used the phrase
“Khūrūm Abi,” he meant that the artificer he sent Schlomoh was the
principal or chief workman in his line at Tsūr.

A medal copied by Montfaucon exhibits a female nursing a child, with
ears of wheat in her hand, and the legend (Iao). She is seated on
clouds, a star at her head, and three ears of wheat rising from an altar
before her.

HORUS was the _mediator_, who was buried three days, was regenerated,
and triumphed over the evil principle.

The word HERI, in Sanscrit, means _Shepherd_, as well as _Saviour_.
CRISHNA is called _Heri_, as JESUS called Himself the _Good Shepherd_.

[Hebrew: הור], _Khūr_, means an aperture of a window, a cave, or the
eye. Also it means white. In Syriac, [Symbols].

[Hebrew: הר] also means an opening, and noble, free-born, high-born.
[Hebrew: הרם], KHURM means consecrated, devoted; in Æthiopic [Symbols]
It is the name of a city, [_Josh_. xix. 38]; and of a man, [_Ezr_. ii.
32, x. 31; _Neh_. iii. 11].

[Hebrew: היהה], _Khirah_, means nobility, a noble race.

Buddha is declared to comprehend in his own person the essence of the
Hindu Trimurti; and hence the tri-literal monosyllable _Om_ or _Aum_ is
applied to him as being essentially the same as Brahma-Vishnu-Siva. He
is the same as Hermes, Thoth, Taut, and Teutates. One of his names is
Heri-maya or Her-maya, which are evidently the same name as Hermes and
Khirm or Khūrm. Heri, in Sanscrit, means _Lord_.

A learned Brother places over the two symbolic pillars, from right to
left, the two words [Symbols] and [Symbols] [Hebrew: יהו] and [Hebrew:
בעל], IHU and BAL: followed by the hieroglyphic equivalent,
[Hieroglyphic: ] of the Sun-God, Amun-ra. Is it an accidental
coincidence, that in the name of each murderer are the two names of the
Good and Evil Deities of the Hebrews; for _Yu-bel_ is but _Yehu-Bal_ or
_Yeho-Bal?_ and that the three final syllables of the names, _a, o, um_,
make A.U.M. the sacred word of the Hindoos, meaning the Triune-God,
Life-giving, Life-preserving, Life-destroying: represented by the mystic
character [Mystic Character: Y].

The genuine _Acacia_, also, is the thorny tamarisk, the same tree which
grew up around the body of Osiris. It was a sacred tree among the Arabs,
who made of it the idol Al-Uzza, which Mohammed destroyed. It is
abundant as a bush in the Desert of Thur: and of it the “crown of
thorns” was composed, which was set on the forehead of Jesus of
Nazareth. It is a fit type of immortality on account of its tenacity of
life; for it has been known, when planted as a door-post, to take root
again and shoot out budding boughs over the threshold.

* * * * *

Every commonwealth must have its periods of trial and transition,
especially if it engages in war. It is certain at some time to be wholly
governed by agitators appealing to all the baser elements of the popular
nature; by moneyed corporations; by those enriched by the depreciation
of government securities or paper; by small attorneys, schemers,
money-jobbers, speculators and adventurers–an ignoble oligarchy,
enriched by the distresses of the State, and fattened on the miseries of
the people. Then all the deceitful visions of equality and the rights of
man end; and the wronged and plundered State can regain a real liberty
only by passing through “great varieties of untried being,” purified in
its transmigration by fire and blood.

In a Republic, it soon comes to pass that parties gather round the
negative and positive poles of some opinion or notion, and that the
intolerant spirit of a triumphant majority will allow no deviation from
the standard of orthodoxy which it has set up for itself. Freedom of
opinion will be professed and pretended to, but every one will exercise
it at the peril of being banished from political communion with those
who hold the reins and prescribe the policy to be pursued. Slavishness
to party and obsequiousness to the popular whims go hand in hand.
Political independence only occurs in a fossil state; and men’s opinions
grow out of the acts they have been constrained to do or sanction.
Flattery, either of individual or people, corrupts both the receiver and
the giver; and adulation is not of more service to the people than to
kings. A Cæsar, securely seated in power, cares less for it than a free
democracy; nor will his appetite for it grow to exorbitance, as that of
a people will, until it becomes insatiate. The effect of liberty to
individuals is, that they may do what they please; to a people, it is to
a great extent the same. If accessible to flattery, as this is always
interested, and resorted to on low and base motives, and for evil
purposes, either individual or people is sure, in doing what it pleases,
to do what in honor and conscience should have been left undone. One
ought not even to risk congratulations, which may soon be turned into
complaints; and as both individuals and peoples are prone to make a bad
use of power, to flatter them, which is a sure way to mislead them, well
deserves to be called a crime.

The first principle in a Republic ought to be, “that no man or set of
men is entitled to exclusive or separate emoluments or privileges from
the community, but in consideration of public services; which not being
descendible, neither ought the offices of magistrate, legislature, nor
judge, to be hereditary.” It is a volume of Truth and Wisdom, a lesson
for the study of nations, embodied in a single sentence, and expressed
in language which every man can understand. If a deluge of despotism
were to overthrow the world, and destroy all institutions under which
freedom is protected, so that they should no longer be remembered among
men, this sentence, preserved, would be sufficient to rekindle the
fires of liberty and revive the race of free men.

But, to _preserve_ liberty, another must be added: “that a free State
does not confer office as a reward, especially for questionable
services, unless she seeks her own ruin; but all officers are _employed_
by her, in consideration solely of their will and ability to render
service in the future; and therefore that the best and most competent
are always to be preferred.”

For, if there is to be any other rule, that of hereditary succession is
perhaps as good as any. By no other rule is it possible to preserve the
liberties of the State. By no other to intrust the power of making the
laws to those only who have that keen instinctive sense of injustice and
wrong which enables them to detect baseness and corruption in their most
secret hiding-places, and that moral courage and generous manliness and
gallant independence that make them fearless in dragging out the
perpetrators to the light of day, and calling down upon them the scorn
and indignation of the world. The flatterers of the people are never
such men. On the contrary, a time always comes to a Republic, when it is
not content, like Tiberius, with a single Sejanus, but must have a host;
and when those most prominent in the lead of affairs are men without
reputation, statesmanship, ability, or information, the mere hacks of
party, owing their places to trickery and _want_ of qualification, with
none of the qualities of head or heart that make great and wise men,
and, at the same time, filled with all the narrow conceptions and bitter
intolerance of political bigotry. These die; and the world is none the
wiser for what they have said and done. Their names sink in the
bottomless pit of oblivion; but their acts of folly or knavery curse the
body politic and at last prove its ruin.

Politicians, in a free State, are generally hollow, heartless, and
selfish. Their own aggrandisement is the end of their patriotism; and
they always look with secret satisfaction on the disappointment or fall
of one whose loftier genius and superior talents overshadow their own
self-importance, or whose integrity and incorruptible honor are in the
way of their selfish ends. The influence of the small aspirants is
always against the great man. _His_ accession to power may be almost for
a lifetime. One of themselves will be more easily displaced, and each
hopes to succeed him; and so it at length comes to pass that men
impudently aspire to and actually win the highest stations, who are
unfit for the lowest clerkships; and incapacity and mediocrity become
the surest passports to office.

The consequence is, that those who feel themselves competent and
qualified to serve the people, refuse with disgust to enter into the
struggle for office, where the wicked and jesuitical doctrine that all
is fair in politics is an excuse for every species of low villainy; and
those who seek even the highest places of the State do not rely upon the
power of a magnanimous spirit, on the sympathizing impulses of a great
soul, to stir and move the people to generous, noble, and heroic
resolves, and to wise and manly action; but, like spaniels erect on
their hind legs, with fore-paws obsequiously suppliant, fawn, flatter,
and actually beg for votes. Rather than descend to this, they stand
contemptuously aloof, disdainfully refusing to court the people, and
acting on the maxim, that “mankind has no title to demand that we shall
serve them in spite of themselves.”

* * * * *

It is lamentable to see a country split into factions, each following
this or that great or brazen-fronted leader with a blind, unreasoning,
unquestioning hero-worship; it is contemptible to see it divided into
parties, whose sole end is the spoils of victory, and their chiefs the
low, the base, the venal and the small. Such a country is in the last
stages of decay, and near its end, no matter how prosperous it may seem
to be. It wrangles over the volcano and the earthquake. But it is
certain that no government can be conducted by the men of the people,
and for the people, without a rigid adherence to those principles which
our reason commends as fixed and sound. These must be the tests of
parties, men, and measures. Once determined, they must be inexorable in
their application, and all must either come up to the standard or
declare against it. Men may betray: principles never can. Oppression is
one invariable consequence of misplaced confidence in treacherous man,
it is never the result of the working or application of a sound, just,
well-tried principle. Compromises which bring fundamental principles
into doubt, in order to unite in one party men of antagonistic creeds,
are frauds, and end in ruin, the just and natural consequence of fraud.
Whenever you have settled upon your theory and creed, sanction no
departure from it in practice, on any ground of expediency. It is the
Master’s word. Yield it up neither to flattery nor force! Let no defeat
or persecution rob you of it! Believe that he who once blundered in
statesmanship will blunder again; that such blunders are as fatal as
crimes; and that political near-sightedness does not improve by age.
There are always more impostors than seers among public men, more false
prophets than true ones, more prophets of Baal than of Jehovah; and
Jerusalem is always in danger from the Assyrians.

Sallust said that after a State has been corrupted by luxury and
idleness, it may by its mere greatness bear up under the burden of its
vices. But even while he wrote, Rome, of which he spoke, had played out
her masquerade of freedom. Other causes than luxury and sloth destroy
Republics. If small, their larger neighbors extinguish them by
absorption. If of great extent, the cohesive force is too feeble to hold
them together, and they fall to pieces by their own weight. The paltry
ambition of small men disintegrates them. The want of wisdom in their
councils creates exasperating issues. Usurpation of power plays its
part, incapacity seconds corruption, the storm rises, and the fragments
of the incoherent raft strew the sandy shores, reading to mankind
another lesson for it to disregard.


* * * * *

The Forty-seventh Proposition is older than Pythagoras. It is this: “In
every right-angled triangle, the sum of the squares of the base and
perpendicular is equal to the square of the hypothenuse.”

The square of a number is the product of that number, multiplied by
itself. Thus, 4 is the square of 2, and 9 of 3.

The first ten numbers are: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10;
their squares are 1, 4, 9,16,25,36,49,64,81,100;
and 3, 5, 7, 9,11,13,15,17, 19
are the differences between each square and that which precedes
it; giving us the sacred numbers, 3, 5, 7, and 9.

Of these numbers, the square of 3 and 4, added together, gives the
square of 5; and those of 6 and 8, the square of 10; and if a
right-angled triangle be formed, the base measuring 3 or 6 parts, and
the perpendicular 4 or 8 parts, the hypothenuse will be 5 or 10 parts;
and if a square is erected on each side, these squares being subdivided
into squares each side of which is one part in length, there will be as
many of these in the square erected on the hypothenuse as in the other
two squares together.

Now the Egyptians arranged their deities in _Triads_; the FATHER or the
Spirit or Active Principle or _Generative Power_; the MOTHER, or Matter,
or the Passive Principle, or the _Conceptive_ Power; and the SON,
_Issue_ or _Product_, the Universe, proceeding from the two principles.
These were OSIRIS, ISIS, and HORUS. In the same way, PLATO gives us
_Thought_ the _Father_; Primitive _Matter_ the _Mother_; and _Kosmos_
the _World_, the _Son_, the Universe animated by a soul. Triads of the
same kind are found in the Kabalah.

PLUTARCH says, in his book _De Iside et Osiride_, “But the better and
diviner nature consists of three,–that which exists within the
Intellect only, and Matter, and that which proceeds from these, which
the Greeks call Kosmos; of which three, Plato is wont to call the
Intelligible, the ‘Idea, Exemplar, and Father'; Matter, ‘the Mother, the
Nurse, and the place and receptacle of generation'; and the issue of
these two, ‘the Offspring and Genesis,'” the KOSMOS, “a word signifying
equally _Beauty_ and _Order_, or the Universe itself.” You will not fail
to notice that Beauty is symbolized by the Junior Warden in the South.
Plutarch continues to say that the Egyptians compared the universal
nature to what they called the most beautiful and perfect triangle, as
Plato does, in that nuptial diagram, as it is termed, which he has
introduced into his Commonwealth. Then he adds that this triangle is
right-angled, and its sides respectively as 3, 4, and 5; and he says,
“We must suppose that the perpendicular is designed by them to
represent the masculine nature, the base the feminine, and that the
hypothenuse is to be looked upon as the offspring of both; and
accordingly the first of them will aptly enough represent OSIRIS, or the
prime cause; the second, ISIS, or the receptive capacity; the last,
HORUS, or the common effect of the other two. For 3 is the first number
which is composed of even and odd; and 4 is a square whose side is equal
to the even number 2; but 5, being generated, as it were, out of the
preceding numbers, 2 and 3, may be said to have an equal relation to
both of them, as to its common parents.”

* * * * *

The _clasped hands_ is another symbol which was used by PYTHAGORAS. It
represented the number 10, the sacred number in which all the preceding
numbers were contained; the number expressed by the mysterious
TETRACTYS, a figure borrowed by him and the Hebrew priests alike from
the Egyptian sacred science, and which ought to be replaced among the
symbols of the Master’s Degree, where it of right belongs. The Hebrews
formed it thus, with the letters of the Divine name:


The _Tetractys_ thus leads you, not only to the study of the Pythagorean
philosophy as to numbers, but also to the Kabalah, and will aid you in
discovering the True Word, and understanding what was meant by “The
Music of the Spheres.” Modern science strikingly confirms the ideas of
Pythagoras in regard to the properties of numbers, and that they govern
in the Universe. Long before his time, nature had extracted her
cube-roots and her squares.

* * * * *

All the FORCES at man’s disposal or under man’s control, or subject to
man’s influence, are his _working tools_. The friendship and sympathy
that knit heart to heart are a force like the attraction of cohesion,
by which the sandy particles became the solid rock. If this law of
attraction or cohesion were taken away, the material worlds and suns
would dissolve in an instant into thin invisible vapor. If the ties of
friendship, affection, and love were annulled, mankind would become a
raging multitude of wild and savage beasts of prey. The sand hardens
into rock under the immense superincumbent pressure of the ocean, aided
sometimes by the irresistible energy of fire; and when the pressure of
calamity and danger is upon an order or a country, the members or the
citizens ought to be the more closely united by the cohesion of sympathy
and inter-dependence.

Morality is a force. It is the magnetic attraction of the heart toward
Truth and Virtue. The needle, imbued with this mystic property, and
pointing unerringly to the north, carries the mariner safely over the
trackless ocean, through storm and darkness, until his glad eyes behold
the beneficent beacons that welcome him to safe and hospitable harbor.
Then the hearts of those who love him are gladdened, and his home made
happy; and this gladness and happiness are due to the silent,
unostentatious, unerring monitor that was the sailor’s guide over the
weltering waters. But if drifted too far northward, he finds the needle
no longer true, but pointing elsewhere than to the north, what a feeling
of helplessness falls upon the dismayed mariner, what utter loss of
energy and courage! It is as if the great axioms of morality were to
fail and be no longer true, leaving the human soul to drift helplessly,
eyeless like Prometheus, at the mercy of the uncertain, faithless
currents of the deep.

Honor and Duty are the pole-stars of a Mason, the Dioscuri, by never
losing sight of which he may avoid disastrous shipwreck. These Palinurus
watched, until, overcome by sleep, and the vessel no longer guided
truly, he fell into and was swallowed up by the insatiable sea. So the
Mason who loses sight of these, and is no longer governed by their
beneficent and potential force, is lost, and sinking out of sight, will
disappear unhonored and unwept.

The force of electricity, analogous to that of sympathy, and by means of
which great thoughts or base suggestions, the utterances of noble or
ignoble natures, flash instantaneously over the nerves of nations; the
force of growth, fit type of immortality, lying dormant three thousand
years in the wheat-grains buried with their mummies by the old
Egyptians; the forces of expansion and contraction, developed in the
earthquake and the tornado, and giving birth to the wonderful
achievements of steam, have their parallelisms in the moral world, in
individuals, and nations. Growth is a necessity for nations as for men.
Its cessation is the beginning of decay. In the nation as well as the
plant it is mysterious, and it is irresistible. The earthquakes that
rend nations asunder, overturn thrones, and engulf monarchies and
republics, have been long prepared for, like the volcanic eruption.
Revolutions have long roots in the past. The force exerted is in direct
proportion to the previous restraint and compression. The true statesman
ought to see in progress the causes that are in due time to produce
them; and he who does not is but a blind leader of the blind.

The great changes in nations, like the geological changes of the earth,
are slowly and continuously wrought. The waters, falling from Heaven as
rain and dews, slowly disintegrate the granite mountains; abrade the
plains, leaving hills and ridges of denudation as their monuments; scoop
out the valleys, fill up the seas, narrow the rivers, and after the
lapse of thousands on thousands of silent centuries, prepare the great
alluvia for the growth of that plant, the snowy envelope of whose seeds
is to employ the looms of the world, and the abundance or penury of
whose crops shall determine whether the weavers and spinners of other
realms shall have work to do or starve.

So Public Opinion is an immense force; and its currents are as
inconstant and incomprehensible as those of the atmosphere.
Nevertheless, in free governments, it is omnipotent; and the business of
the statesman is to find the means to shape, control, and direct it.
According as that is done, it is beneficial and conservative, or
destructive and ruinous. The Public Opinion of the civilized world is
International Law; and it is so great a force, though with no certain
and fixed boundaries, that it can even constrain the victorious despot
to be generous, and aid an oppressed people in its struggle for

Habit is a great force; it is second nature, even in trees. It is as
strong in nations as in men. So also are Prejudices, which are given to
men and nations as the passions are,–as forces, valuable, if properly
and skillfully availed of; destructive, if unskillfully handled.

Above all, the Love of Country, State Pride, the Love of Home, forces of
immense power. Encourage them all. Insist upon them in your public men.
Permanency of home is necessary to patriotism. A migratory race will
have little love of country. State pride is a mere theory and chimera,
where men remove from State to State with indifference, like the Arabs,
who camp here to-day and there to-morrow.

If you have Eloquence, it is a mighty force. See that you use it for
good purposes–to teach, exhort, ennoble the people, and not to mislead
and corrupt them. Corrupt and venal orators are the assassins of the
public liberties and of public morals.

The Will is a force; its limits as yet unknown. It is in the power of
the will that we chiefly see the spiritual and divine in man. There is a
seeming identity between his will that moves other men, and the Creative
Will whose action seems so incomprehensible. It is the men of _will_ and
_action_, not the men of pure intellect, that govern the world.

Finally, the three greatest moral forces are FAITH, which is the only
true WISDOM, and the very foundation of all government; HOPE, which is
STRENGTH, and insures success; and CHARITY, which is BEAUTY, and alone
makes animated, united effort possible. These forces are within the
reach of all men; and an association of men, actuated by them, ought to
exercise an immense power in the world. If Masonry does not, it is
because she has ceased to possess them.

Wisdom in the man or statesman, in king or priest, largely consists in
the due appreciation of these forces; and upon the general
_non_-appreciation of some of them the fate of nations often depends.
What hecatombs of lives often hang upon the not weighing or not
sufficiently weighing the force of an idea, such as, for example, the
reverence for a flag, or the blind attachment to a form or constitution
of government!

What errors in political economy and statesmanship are committed in
consequence of the over-estimation or under-estimation of particular
values, or the non-estimation of some among them! Everything, it is
asserted, is the product of human labor; but the gold or the diamond
which one accidentally finds without labor is not so. What is the value
of the labor bestowed by the husbandman upon his crops, compared with
the value of the sunshine and rain, without which his labor avails
nothing? Commerce carried on by the labor of man, adds to the value of
the products of the field, the mine, or the workshop, by their
transportation to different markets; but how much of this increase is
due to the rivers down which these products float, to the winds that
urge the keels of commerce over the ocean!

Who can estimate the value of morality and manliness in a State, of
moral worth and intellectual knowledge? These are the sunshine and rain
of the State. The winds, with their changeable, fickle, fluctuating
currents, are apt emblems of the fickle humors of the populace, its
passions, its heroic impulses, its enthusiasms. Woe to the statesman who
does not estimate these as values!

Even music and song are sometimes found to have an incalculable value.
Every nation has some song of a proven value, more easily counted in
lives than dollars. The Marseillaise was worth to revolutionary France,
who shall say how many thousand men?

Peace also is a great element of prosperity and wealth; a value not to
be calculated. Social intercourse and association of men in beneficent
Orders have a value not to be estimated in coin. The illustrious
examples of the Past of a nation, the memories and immortal thoughts of
her great and wise thinkers, statesmen, and heroes, are the invaluable
legacy of that Past to the Present and Future. And all these have not
only the values of the loftier and more excellent and priceless kind,
but also an actual _money_-value, since it is only when co-operating
with or aided or enabled by these, that human labor creates wealth. They
are of the chief elements of material wealth, as they are of national
manliness, heroism, glory, prosperity, and immortal renown.

* * * * *

Providence has appointed the three great disciplines of _War_, the
_Monarchy_ and the _Priesthood_, all that the CAMP, the PALACE, and the
TEMPLE may symbolize, to train the multitudes forward to intelligent and
premeditated combinations for all the great purposes of society. The
result will at length be free governments among men, when virtue and
intelligence become qualities of the multitudes; but for ignorance such
governments are impossible. Man advances only by degrees. The removal of
one pressing calamity gives courage to attempt the removal of the
remaining evils, rendering men more sensitive to them, or perhaps
sensitive for the first time. Serfs that writhe under the whip are not
disquieted about their political rights; manumitted from personal
slavery, they become sensitive to political oppression. Liberated from
arbitrary power, and governed by the law alone, they begin to scrutinize
the law itself, and desire to be governed, not only by law, but by what
they deem the best law. And when the civil or temporal despotism has
been set aside, and the municipal law has been moulded on the principles
of an enlightened jurisprudence, they may wake to the discovery that
they are living under some priestly or ecclesiastical despotism, and
become desirous of working a reformation there also.

It is quite true that the advance of humanity is slow, and that it often
pauses and retrogrades. In the kingdoms of the earth we do not see
despotisms retiring and yielding the ground to self-governing
communities. We do not see the churches and priesthoods of Christendom
relinquishing their old task of governing men by imaginary terrors.
Nowhere do we see a populace that could be safely manumitted from such a
government. We do not see the great religious teachers aiming to
discover truth for themselves and for others; but still ruling the
world, and contented and compelled to rule the world, by whatever dogma
is already accredited; themselves as much bound down by this necessity
to govern, as the populace by their need of government. Poverty in all
its most hideous forms still exists in the great cities; and the cancer
of pauperism has its roots in the hearts of kingdoms. Men there take no
measure of their wants and their own power to supply them, but live and
multiply like the beasts of the field,–Providence having apparently
ceased to care for them. Intelligence never visits these, or it makes
its appearance as some new development of villainy. War has not ceased;
still there are battles and sieges. Homes are still unhappy, and tears
and anger and spite make hells where there should be heavens. So much
the more necessity for Masonry! So much wider the field of its labors!
So much the more need for it to begin to be true to itself, to revive
from its asphyxia, to repent of its apostasy to its true creed!

Undoubtedly, labor and death and the sexual passion are essential and
permanent conditions of human existence, and render perfection and a
millennium on earth impossible. Always,–it is the decree of Fate!–the
vast majority of men must toil to live, and cannot find time to
cultivate the intelligence. Man, knowing he is to die, will not
sacrifice the present enjoyment for a greater one in the future. The
love of woman cannot die out; and it has a terrible and uncontrollable
fate, increased by the refinements of civilization. Woman is the
veritable syren or goddess of the young. But society can be improved;
and free government is possible for States; and freedom of thought and
conscience is no longer _wholly_ utopian. Already we see that Emperors
prefer to be elected by universal suffrage; that States are conveyed to
Empires by vote; and that Empires are administered with something of the
spirit of a Republic, being little else than democracies with a single
head, ruling through one man, one representative, instead of an assembly
of representatives. And if Priesthoods still govern, they now come
before the laity to prove, by stress of argument, that they _ought_ to
govern. They are obliged to evoke the very reason which they are bent on

Accordingly, men become daily more free, because the freedom of the man
lies in his reason. He can reflect upon his own future conduct, and
summon up its consequences; he can take wide views of human life, and
lay down rules for constant guidance. Thus he is relieved of the tyranny
of sense and passion, and enabled at any time to live according to the
whole light of the knowledge that is within him, instead of being
driven, like a dry leaf on the wings of the wind, by every present
impulse. Herein lies the freedom of the man as regarded in connection
with the necessity imposed by the omnipotence and fore-knowledge of God.
So much light, so much liberty. When emperor and church appeal to reason
there is naturally universal suffrage.

Therefore no one need lose courage, nor believe that labor in the cause
of Progress will be labor wasted. There is no waste in nature, either of
Matter, Force, Act, or Thought. A Thought is as much the end of life as
an Action; and a single Thought sometimes works greater results than a
Revolution, even Revolutions themselves. Still there should not be
divorce between Thought and Action. The true Thought is that in which
life culminates. But all wise and true Thought produces Action. It is
generative, like the light; and light and the deep shadow of the passing
cloud are the gifts of the prophets of the race. Knowledge, laboriously
acquired, and inducing habits of sound Thought,–the reflective
character,–must necessarily be rare. The multitude of laborers cannot
acquire it. Most men attain to a very low standard of it. It is
incompatible with the ordinary and indispensable avocations of life. A
whole world of error as well as of labor, go to make one reflective
man. In the most advanced nation of Europe there are more ignorant than
wise, more poor than rich, more automatic laborers, the mere creatures
of habit, than reasoning and reflective men. The proportion is at least
a thousand to one. Unanimity of opinion is so obtained. It only exists
among the multitude who do not think, and the political or spiritual
priesthood who think for that multitude, who think how to guide and
govern them. When men begin to reflect, they begin to differ. The great
problem is to find guides who will not seek to be tyrants. This is
needed even more in respect to the heart than the head. Now, every man
earns his special share of the produce of human labor, by an incessant
scramble, by trickery and deceit. Useful knowledge, honorably acquired,
is too often used after a fashion not honest or reasonable, so that the
studies of youth are far more noble than the practices of manhood. The
labor of the farmer in his fields, the generous returns of the earth,
the benignant and favoring skies, tend to make him earnest, provident,
and grateful; the education of the market-place makes him querulous,
crafty, envious, and an intolerable niggard.

Masonry seeks to be this beneficent, unambitious, disinterested guide;
and it is the very condition of all great structures that the sound of
the hammer and the clink of the trowel should be always heard in some
part of the building. With faith in man, hope for the future of
humanity, loving-kindness for our fellows, Masonry and the Mason must
always work and teach. Let each do that for which he is best fitted. The
teacher also is a workman. Praiseworthy as the active navigator is, who
comes and goes and makes one clime partake of the treasures of the
other, and one to share the treasures of all, he who keeps the
beacon-light upon the hill is also at his post.

Masonry has already helped cast down some idols from their pedestals,
and grind to impalpable dust some of the links of the chains that held
men’s souls in bondage. That there has been progress needs no other
demonstration than that you may now reason with men, and urge upon them,
without danger of the rack or stake, that no doctrines can be
apprehended as truths if they contradict each other, or contradict other
truths given us by God. Long before the Reformation, a monk, who had
found his way to heresy without the help of Martin Luther, not venturing
to breathe aloud into any living ear his anti-papal and treasonable
doctrines, wrote them on parchment, and sealing up the perilous record,
hid it in the massive walls of his monastery. There was no friend or
brother to whom he could intrust his secret or pour forth his soul. It
was some consolation to imagine that in a future age some one might find
the parchment, and the seed be found not to have been sown in vain. What
if the truth should have to lie dormant as long before germinating as
the wheat in the Egyptian mummy? Speak it, nevertheless, again and
again, and let it take its chance!

The rose of Jericho grows in the sandy deserts of Arabia and on the
Syrian housetops. Scarcely six inches high, it loses its leaves after
the flowering season, and dries up into the form of a ball. Then it is
uprooted by the winds, and carried, blown, or tossed across the desert,
into the sea. There, feeling the contact of the water, it unfolds
itself, expands its branches, and expels its seeds from their
seed-vessels. These, when saturated with water, are carried by the tide
and laid on the sea-shore. Many are lost, as many individual lives of
men are useless. But many are thrown back again from the sea-shore into
the desert, where, by the virtue of the sea-water that they have
imbibed, the roots and leaves sprout and they grow into fruitful plants,
which will, in their turns, like their ancestors, be whirled into the
sea. God will not be less careful to provide for the germination of the
truths you may boldly utter forth. “_Cast_,” He has said, “_thy bread
upon the waters, and after many days it shall return to thee again_.”

Initiation does not change: we find it again and again, and always the
same, through all the ages. The last disciples of Pascalis Martinez are
still the children of Orpheus; but they adore the realizer of the
antique philosophy, the Incarnate Word of the Christians.

Pythagoras, the great divulger of the philosophy of numbers, visited all
the sanctuaries of the world. He went into Judaea, where he procured
himself to be circumcised, that he might be admitted to the secrets of
the Kabalah, which the prophets Ezekiel and Daniel, not without some
reservations, communicated to him. Then, not without some difficulty, he
succeeded in being admitted to the Egyptian initiation, upon the
recommendation of King Amasis. The power of his genius supplied the
deficiencies of the imperfect communications of the Hierophants, and he
himself became a Master and a Revealer.

Pythagoras defined God: a Living and Absolute Verity clothed with

He said that the Word was Number manifested by Form.

He made all descend from the _Tetractys_, that is to say, from the

God, he said again, is the Supreme Music, the nature of which is

Pythagoras gave the magistrates of Crotona this great religious,
political and social precept:

“There is no evil that is not preferable to Anarchy.”

Pythagoras said, “Even as there are three divine notions and three
intelligible regions, so there is a triple word, for the Hierarchical
Order always manifests itself by threes. There are the word simple, the
word hieroglyphical, and the word symbolic: in other terms, there are
the word that expresses, the word that conceals, and the word that
signifies; the whole hieratic intelligence is in the perfect knowledge
of these three degrees.”

Pythagoras enveloped doctrine with symbols, but carefully eschewed
personifications and images, which, he thought, sooner or later produced

The Holy Kabalah, or tradition of the children of Seth, was carried from
Chaldæa by Abraham, taught to the Egyptian priesthood by Joseph,
recovered and purified by Moses, concealed under symbols in the Bible,
revealed by the Saviour to Saint John, and contained, entire, under
hieratic figures analogous to those of all antiquity, in the Apocalypse
of that Apostle.

The Kabalists consider God as the Intelligent, Animated, Living
Infinite. He is not, for them, either the aggregate of existences, or
existence in the abstract, or a being philosophically definable. He is
_in_ all, _distinct_ from all, and _greater_ than all. His name even is
ineffable; and yet this name only expresses the human ideal of His
divinity. What God is in Himself, it is not given to man to comprehend.

God is the absolute of Faith; but the absolute of _Reason_ is BEING,
[Hebrew]. “_I am that I am_,” is a wretched translation.

Being, Existence, is by itself, and because it Is. The reason of Being,
is Being itself. We may inquire, “Why does something exist?” that is,
“Why does such or such a thing exist?” But we cannot, without being
absurd, ask, “Why Is Being?” That would be to suppose Being before
Being. If Being had a cause, that cause would necessarily Be; that is,
the cause and effect would be identical.

Reason and science demonstrate to us that the modes of Existence and
Being balance each other in equilibrium according to harmonious and
hierarchic laws. But a hierarchy is synthetized, in ascending, and
becomes ever more and more monarchial. Yet the reason cannot pause at a
single chief, without being alarmed at the abysses which it seems to
leave above this Supreme Monarch. Therefore it is silent, and gives
place to the Faith it adores.

What is certain, even for science and the reason, is, that the idea of
God is the grandest, the most holy, and the most useful of all the
aspirations of man; that upon this belief morality reposes, with its
eternal sanction. This belief, then, is in humanity, the most real of
the phenomena of being; and if it were false, nature would affirm the
absurd; nothingness would give form to life, and God would at the same
time be and not be.

It is to this philosophic and incontestable reality, which is termed The
Idea of God, that the Kabalists give a name. In this name all others are
contained. Its cyphers contain all the numbers; and the hieroglyphics of
its letters express all the laws and all the things of nature.

BEING is BEING: the reason of Being is in Being: in the Beginning is the
Word, and the Word in logic formulated Speech, the spoken Reason; the
Word is in God, and is God Himself, manifested to the Intelligence. Here
is what is above all the philosophies. This we must believe, under the
penalty of never truly knowing anything, and relapsing into the absurd
skepticism of Pyrrho. The Priesthood, custodian of Faith, wholly rests
upon this basis of knowledge, and it is in its teachings we must
recognize the Divine Principle of the Eternal Word.

Light is not Spirit, as the Indian Hierophants believed it to be; but
only the instrument of the Spirit. It is not the body of the
Protoplastes, as the Theurgists of the school of Alexandria taught, but
the first physical manifestation of the Divine afflatus. God eternally
creates it, and man, in the image of God, modifies and seems to multiply

The high magic is styled “The Sacerdotal Art,” and “The Royal Art.” In
Egypt, Greece, and Rome, it could not but share the greatnesses and
decadences of the Priesthood and of Royalty. Every philosophy hostile to
the national worship and to its mysteries, was of necessity hostile to
the great political powers, which lose their grandeur, if they cease, in
the eyes of the multitudes, to be the images of the Divine Power. Every
Crown is shattered, when it clashes against the Tiara.

Plato, writing to Dionysius the Younger, in regard to the nature of the
First Principle, says: “I must write to you in enigmas, so that if my
letter be intercepted by land or sea, he who shall read it may in no
degree comprehend it.” And then he says, “All things surround their
King; they are, on account of Him, and He alone is the cause of good
things, Second for the Seconds and Third for the Thirds.”

There is in these few words a complete summary of the Theology of the
Sephiroth. “The _King_” is AINSOPH, Being Supreme and Absolute. From
this centre, _which_ is _everywhere_, all things ray forth; but we
especially conceive of it in three manners and in three different
spheres. In the _Divine_ world (AZILUTH), which is that of the First
Cause, and wherein the whole Eternity of Things in the beginning existed
as Unity, to be afterward, during Eternity uttered forth, clothed with
form, and the attributes that constitute them matter, the First
Principle is Single and First, and yet not the VERY Illimitable Deity,
incomprehensible, undefinable; but Himself in so far as manifested by
the Creative Thought. To compare littleness with infinity,–Arkwright,
as inventor of the spinning-jenny, and not the _man_ Arkwright
_otherwise_ and _beyond that_. All we can know of the Very God is,
compared to His Wholeness, only as an infinitesimal fraction of a unit,
compared with an infinity of Units.

In the World of Creation, which is that of Second Causes [the Kabalistic
World BRIAH], the Autocracy of the First Principle is complete, but we
conceive of it only as the Cause of the Second Causes. Here it is
manifested by the Binary, and is the Creative Principle passive.
Finally: in the third world, YEZIRAH, or of Formation, it is revealed in
the perfect Form, the Form of Forms, the World, the Supreme Beauty and
Excellence, the Created Perfection. Thus the Principle is at once the
First, the Second, and the Third, since it is All in All, the Centre and
Cause of all. It is not _the genius of Plato_ that we here admire. We
recognize only _the exact knowledge of the Initiate_.

The great Apostle Saint John did not borrow from the philosophy of Plato
the opening of his Gospel. Plato, on the contrary, drank at the same
springs with Saint John and Philo; and John in the opening verses of his
paraphrase, states the first principles of a dogma common to many
schools, but in language especially belonging to Philo, whom it is
evident he had read. The philosophy of Plato, the greatest of human
Revealers, could _yearn toward_ the Word made man; the Gospel alone
could give him to the world.

Doubt, in presence of Being and its harmonies; skepticism, in the face
of the eternal mathematics and the immutable laws of Life which make the
Divinity present and visible everywhere, as the Human is known and
visible by its utterances of word and act,–is this not the most foolish
of superstitions, and the most inexcusable as well as the most dangerous
of all credulities? Thought, we know, is not a result or consequence of
the organization of matter, of the chemical or other action or reaction
of its particles, like effervescence and gaseous explosions. On the
contrary, the fact that Thought is manifested and realized in act human
or act divine, proves the existence of an Entity, or Unity, that thinks.
And the Universe is the Infinite Utterance of one of an infinite number
of Infinite Thoughts, which cannot but emanate from an Infinite and
Thinking Source. The cause is always equal, at least, to the effect; and
matter cannot think, nor could it cause itself, or exist without cause,
nor could nothing _produce_ either forces or things; for in void
nothingness no Forces can inhere. Admit a self-existent Force, and its
Intelligence, or an Intelligent cause of it is admitted, and at once GOD

The Hebrew allegory of the Fall of Man, which is but a special variation
of a universal legend, symbolizes one of the grandest and most universal
allegories of science.

Moral Evil is Falsehood in actions; as Falsehood is Crime in words.

Injustice is the essence of Falsehood; and every false word is an

Injustice is the death of the Moral Being, as Falsehood is the poison of
the Intelligence.

The perception of the Light is the dawn of the Eternal Life, in Being.
The Word of God, which creates the Light, seems to be uttered by every
Intelligence that can take cognizance of Forms and will look. “Let the
Light BE! The Light”, in fact, exists, in its condition of splendor, for
those eyes alone that gaze at it; and the Soul, amorous of the spectacle
of the beauties of the Universe, and applying its attention to that
luminous writing of the Infinite Book which is called “The Visible,”
seems to utter, as God did on the dawn of the first day, that sublime
and creative word, “BE! LIGHT!”

It is not beyond the tomb, but in life itself, that we are to seek for
the mysteries of death. Salvation or reprobation begins here below and
the terrestrial world too has its Heaven and its Hell. Always, even here
below, virtue is rewarded; always, even here below vice is punished; and
that which makes us sometimes believe in the impunity of evil-doers is
that riches, those instruments of good and of evil, seem sometimes to be
given them at hazard. But woe to unjust men, when they possess the key
of gold! It opens, for _them_, only the gate of the tomb and of Hell.

All the true Initiates have recognized the usefulness of toil and
sorrow. “Sorrow,” says a German poet, “is the dog of that unknown
shepherd who guides the flock of men.” To learn to suffer, to learn to
die, is the discipline of Eternity, the immortal Novitiate.

The allegorical picture of Cebes, in which the Divine Comedy of Dante
was sketched in Plato’s time, the description whereof has been preserved
for us, and which many painters of the middle age have reproduced by
this description, is a monument at once philosophical and magical. It is
a most complete moral synthesis, and at the same time the most audacious
demonstration ever given of the Grand Arcanum, of that secret whose
revelation would overturn Earth and Heaven. Let no one expect us to give
them its explanation! He who passes behind the veil that hides this
mystery, understands that it is in its very nature inexplicable, and
that it is death to those who win it by surprise, as well as to him who
reveals it.

This secret is the Royalty of the Sages, the Crown of the Initiate whom
we see redescend victorious from the summit of Trials, in the fine
allegory of Cebes. The Grand Arcanum makes him master of gold and the
light, which are at bottom the same thing, he has solved the problem of
the quadrature of the circle, he directs the perpetual movement, and he
possesses the philosophical stone. Here the Adepts will understand us.
There is neither interruption in the toil of nature, nor gap in her
work. The Harmonies of Heaven correspond to those of Earth, and the
Eternal Life accomplishes its evolutions in accordance with the same
laws as the life of a dog. “God has arranged all things by weight,
number, and measure,” says the Bible; and this luminous doctrine was
also that of Plato.

Humanity has never really had but one religion and one worship. This
universal light has had its uncertain mirages, its deceitful
reflections, and its shadows; but always, after the nights of Error, we
see it reappear, one and pure like the Sun.

The magnificences of worship are the life of religion, and if Christ
wishes poor ministers, His Sovereign Divinity does not wish paltry
altars. Some Protestants have not comprehended that worship is a
teaching, and that we must not create in the imagination of the
multitude a mean or miserable God. Those oratories that resemble
poorly-furnished offices or inns, and those worthy ministers clad like
notaries or lawyer’s clerks, do they not necessarily cause religion to
be regarded as a mere puritanic formality, and God as a Justice of the

We scoff at the Augurs. It is so easy to scoff, and so difficult well to
comprehend. Did the Deity leave the whole world without Light for two
score centuries, to illuminate only a little corner of Palestine and a
brutal, ignorant, and ungrateful people? Why always calumniate God and
the Sanctuary? Were there never any others than rogues among the
priests? Could no honest and sincere men be found among the Hierophants
of Ceres or Diana, of Dionusos or Apollo, of Hermes or Mithras? Were
these, then, all deceived, like the rest? Who, then, constantly deceived
them, without betraying themselves, during a series of centuries?–for
the cheats are not immortal! Arago said, that outside of the pure
mathematics, he who utters the word “impossible,” is wanting in prudence
and good sense.

The true name of Satan, the Kabalists say, is that of Yahveh reversed;
for Satan is not a black god, but the negation of God. The Devil is the
personification of Atheism or Idolatry.

For the Initiates, this is not a _Person_, but a _Force_, created for
good, but which _may_ serve for evil. _It is the instrument of Liberty
or Free Will_. They represent this Force, which presides over the
physical generation, under the mythologic and horned form of the God
PAN; thence came the he-goat of the Sabbat, brother of the Ancient
Serpent, and the Light-bearer or _Phosphor_, of which the poets have
made the false Lucifer of the legend.

Gold, to the eyes of the Initiates, is Light condensed. They style the
sacred numbers of the Kabalah “golden numbers,” and the moral teachings
of Pythagoras his “golden verses.” For the same reason, a mysterious
book of Apuleius, in which an ass figures largely, was called “The
Golden Ass.”

The Pagans accused the Christians of worshipping an ass, and they did
not invent this reproach, but it came from the Samaritan Jews, who,
figuring the data of the Kabalah in regard to the Divinity by Egyptian
symbols, also represented the Intelligence by the figure of the Magical
Star adored under the name of _Remphan_, Science under the emblem of
Anubis, whose name they changed to _Nibbas_, and the vulgar faith or
credulity under the figure of _Thartac_, a god represented with a book,
a cloak, and the head of an ass. According to the Samaritan Doctors,
Christianity was the reign of _Thartac_, blind Faith and vulgar
credulity erected into a universal oracle, and preferred to Intelligence
and Science.

Synesius, Bishop of Ptolemaïs, a great Kabalist, but of doubtful
orthodoxy, wrote:

“The people will always mock at things easy to be misunderstood; it must
needs have impostures.”

“A Spirit,” he said, “that loves wisdom and contemplates the Truth close
at hand, is forced to disguise it, to induce the multitudes to accept
it…. Fictions are necessary to the people, and the Truth becomes
deadly to those who are not strong enough to contemplate it in all its
brilliance. If the sacerdotal laws allowed the reservation of judgments
and the allegory of words, I would accept the proposed dignity on
condition that I might be a philosopher at home, and abroad a narrator
of apologues and parables…. In fact, what can there be in common
between the vile multitude and sublime wisdom? The truth must be kept
secret, and the masses need a teaching proportioned to their imperfect

Moral disorders produce physical ugliness, and in some sort realize
those frightful faces which tradition assigns to the demons.

The first Druids were the true children of the Magi, and their
initiation came from Egypt and Chaldæa, that is to say, from the pure
sources of the primitive Kabalah. They adored the Trinity under the
names of _Isis_ or _Hesus_, the Supreme Harmony; of _Belen_ or
_Bel_ which in Assyrian means Lord, a name corresponding to that of
ADONAÏ; and of _Camul_ or _Camaël_, a name that in the Kabalah
personifies the Divine Justice. Below this triangle of Light they
supposed a divine reflection, also composed of three personified rays:
first, _Teutates_ or _Teuth_, the same as the _Thoth_ of the Egyptians,
the Word, or the Intelligence formulated; then Force and Beauty, whose
names varied like their emblems. Finally, they completed the sacred
Septenary by a mysterious image that represented the progress of the
dogma and its future realizations. This was a young girl veiled, holding
a child in her arms; and they dedicated this image to “The Virgin who
will become a mother;–_Virgini pariturœ_.”

Hertha or Wertha, the young Isis of Gaul, Queen of Heaven, the Virgin
who was to bear a child, held the spindle of the Fates, filled with wool
half white and half black; because she presides over all forms and all
symbols, and weaves the garment of the Ideas.

One of the most mysterious pantacles of the Kabalah, contained in the
Enchiridion of Leo III., represents an equilateral triangle reversed,
inscribed in a double circle. On the triangle are written, in such
manner as to form the prophetic Tau, the two Hebrew words so often found
appended to the Ineffable Name, [Hebrew: אלהמ] and [Hebrew: צבאוה],
ALOHAYIM, or the Powers, and TSABAOTH, or the starry Armies and their
guiding spirits; words also which symbolize the Equilibrium of the
Forces of Nature and the Harmony of Numbers. To the three sides of the
triangle belong the three great Names [Hebrew: ארני,יהוה], and [Hebrew:
אנלא], IAHAVEH, ADONAÏ, and AGLA. Above the first is written in Latin,
_Formatio_, above, the second _Reformatio_, and above the third,
_Transformatio_. So Creation is ascribed to the FATHER, Redemption or
Reformation to the SON, and Sanctification or Transformation to the HOLY
SPIRIT, answering unto the mathematical laws of Action, Reaction, and
Equilibrium. IAHAVEH is also, in effect, the Genesis or Formation of
dogma, by the elementary signification of the four letters of the Sacred
Tetragram; ADONAÏ is the realization of this dogma in the Human Form, in
the Visible LORD, who is the Son of God or the perfect Man; and AGLA
(formed of the initials of the four words _Ath Gebur Laulaïm Adonaï_)
expresses the synthesis of the whole dogma and the totality of the
Kabalistic science, clearly indicating by the hieroglyphics of which
this admirable name is formed the Triple Secret of the Great Work.

Masonry, like all the Religions, all the Mysteries, Hermeticism and
Alchemy, _conceals_ its secrets from all except the Adepts and Sages, or
the Elect, and uses false explanations and misinterpretations of its
symbols to mislead those who deserve only to be misled; to conceal the
Truth, which it calls Light, from them, and to draw them away from it.
Truth is not for those who are unworthy or unable to receive it, or
would pervert it. So God Himself incapacitates many men, by
color-blindness, to distinguish colors, and leads the masses away from
the highest Truth, giving them the power to attain only so much of it as
it is profitable to them to know. Every age has had a religion suited to
its capacity.

The Teachers, even of Christianity, are, in general, the most ignorant
of the true meaning of that which they teach. There is no book of which
so little is known as the Bible. To most who read it, it is as
incomprehensible as the Sohar.

So Masonry jealously conceals its secrets, and intentionally leads
conceited interpreters astray. There is no sight under the sun more
pitiful and ludicrous at once, than the spectacle of the Prestons and
the Webbs, not to mention the later incarnations of Dullness and
Commonplace, undertaking to “explain” the old symbols of Masonry, and
adding to and “improving” them, or inventing new ones.

To the Circle inclosing the central point, and itself traced between two
parallel lines, a figure purely Kabalistic, these persons have added the
superimposed Bible, and even reared on that the ladder with three or
nine rounds, and then given a vapid interpretation of the whole, so
profoundly absurd as actually to excite admiration.




Masonry is a succession of allegories, the mere vehicles of great
lessons in morality and philosophy. You will more fully appreciate its
spirit, its object, its purposes, as you advance in the different
Degrees, which you will find to constitute a great, complete, and
harmonious system.

If you have been disappointed in the first three Degrees, _as you have
received them_, and if it has seemed to you that the performance has not
come up to the promise, that the lessons of morality are not new, and
the scientific instruction is but rudimentary, and the symbols are
imperfectly explained, remember that the ceremonies and lessons of those
Degrees have been for ages more and more accommodating themselves, by
curtailment and sinking into commonplace, to the often limited memory
and capacity of the Master and Instructor, and to the intellect and
needs of the Pupil and Initiate; that they have come to us from an age
when symbols were used, not to _reveal_ but to _conceal_; when the
commonest learning was confined to a select few, and the simplest
principles of morality seemed newly discovered truths; and that these
antique and simple Degrees now stand like the broken columns of a
roofless Druidic temple, in their rude and mutilated greatness; in many
parts, also, corrupted by time, and disfigured by modern additions and
absurd interpretations. They are but the entrance to the great Masonic
Temple, the triple columns of the portico.

You have taken the first step over its threshold, the first step toward
the inner sanctuary and heart of the temple. You are in the path that
leads up the slope of the mountain of Truth; and it depends upon your
secrecy, obedience, and fidelity, whether you will advance or remain

Imagine not that you will become indeed a Mason by learning what is
commonly called the “work,” or even by becoming familiar with our
traditions. Masonry has a history, a literature, a philosophy. Its
allegories and traditions will teach you much; but much is to be sought
elsewhere. The streams of learning that now flow full and broad must be
followed to their heads in the springs that well up in the remote past,
and you will there find the origin and meaning of Masonry.

A few rudimentary lessons in architecture, a few universally admitted
maxims of morality, a few unimportant traditions, whose real meaning is
unknown or misunderstood, will no longer satisfy the earnest inquirer
after Masonic truth. Let whoso is content with these, seek to climb no
higher. He who desires to understand the harmonious and beautiful
proportions of Freemasonry must read, study, reflect, digest, and
discriminate. The true Mason is an ardent seeker after knowledge; and he
knows that both books and the antique symbols of Masonry are vessels
which come down to us full-freighted with the intellectual riches of the
Past; and that in the lading of these argosies is much that sheds light
on the history of Masonry, and proves its claim to be acknowledged the
benefactor of mankind, born in the very cradle of the race.

Knowledge is the most genuine and real of human treasures; for it is
Light, as Ignorance is Darkness. It is the _development_ of the human
soul, and its acquisition the _growth_ of the soul, which at the birth
of man knows nothing, and therefore, in one sense, may be said to _be_
nothing. It is the seed, which has in it the _power_ to grow, to
acquire, and by acquiring to be developed, as the seed is developed into
the shoot, the plant, the tree. “We need not pause at the common
argument that by learning man excelleth man, in that wherein man
excelleth beasts; that by learning man ascendeth to the heavens and
their motions, where in body he cannot come, and the like. Let us rather
regard the dignity and excellency of knowledge and learning in that
whereunto man’s nature doth most aspire, which is immortality or
continuance. For to this tendeth generation, and raising of Houses and
Families; to this buildings, foundations, and monuments; to this tendeth
the desire of memory, fame, and celebration, and in effect the strength
of all other human desires.” That our influences shall survive us, and
be living forces when we are in our graves; and not merely that our
names shall be remembered; but rather that our works shall be read, our
acts spoken of, our names recollected and mentioned when we are dead, as
evidences that those influences live and rule, sway and control some
portion of mankind and of the world,–this is the aspiration of the
human soul. “We see then how far the monuments of genius and learning
are more durable than monuments of power or of the hands. For have not
the verses of Homer continued twenty-five hundred years or more, without
the loss of a syllable or letter, during which time infinite palaces,
temples, castles, cities, have decayed and been demolished? It is not
possible to have the true pictures or statues of Cyrus, Alexander,
Caesar, no, nor of the Kings or great personages of much later years;
for the originals cannot last, and the copies cannot but lose of the
life and truth. But the images of men’s genius and knowledge remain in
books, exempted from the wrong of time, and capable of perpetual
renovation. Neither are they fitly to be called images, because they
generate still, and cast their seeds in the minds of others, provoking
and causing infinite actions and opinions in succeeding ages; so that if
the invention of the ship was thought so noble, which carrieth riches
and commodities from place to place, and consociateth the most remote
regions in participation of their fruits, how much more are letters to
be magnified, which, as ships, pass through the vast seas of time, and
make ages so distant to participate of the wisdom, illumination, and
inventions, the one of the other.”

To learn, to attain knowledge, to be wise, is a necessity for every
truly noble soul; to teach, to communicate that knowledge, to share that
wisdom with others, and not churlishly to lock up his exchequer, and
place a sentinel at the door to drive away the needy, is equally an
impulse of a noble nature, and the worthiest work of man.

“There was a little city,” says the Preacher, the son of David, “and few
men within it; and there came a great King against it and besieged it,
and built great bulwarks against it. Now there was found, in it a poor
wise man, and he by his wisdom delivered the city; yet no man remembered
that same poor man. Then, said I, wisdom is better than strength:
nevertheless, the poor man’s wisdom is despised, and his words are not
heard.” If it should chance to you, my brother, to do mankind good
service, and be rewarded with indifference and forgetfulness only,
still be not discouraged, but remember the further advice of the wise
King. “In the morning sow the seed, and in the evening withhold not thy
hand; for thou knowest not which shall prosper, this or that, or whether
both shall be alike good.” Sow you the seed, whoever reaps. Learn, that
you may be enabled to do good and do so because it is right, finding in
the act itself ample reward and recompense.

To attain the truth, and to serve our fellows, our country, and
mankind–this is the noblest destiny of man. Hereafter and all your life
it is to be your object. If you desire to ascend to that destiny,
advance! If you have other and less noble objects, and are contented
with a lower flight, halt here! let others scale the heights, and
Masonry fulfill her mission.

If you will advance, gird up your loins for the struggle! for the way is
long and toilsome. Pleasure, all smiles, will beckon you on the one
hand, and Indolence will invite you to sleep among the flowers, upon the
other. Prepare, by secrecy, obedience, and fidelity, to resist the
allurements of both!

Secrecy is indispensable in a Mason of whatever Degree. It is the first
and almost the only lesson taught to the Entered Apprentice. The
obligations which we have each assumed toward every Mason that lives,
requiring of us the performance of the most serious and onerous duties
toward those personally unknown to us until they demand our aid,–duties
that must be performed, even at the risk of life, or our solemn oaths be
broken and violated, and we be branded as false Masons and faithless
men, teach us how profound a folly it would be to betray our secrets to
those who, bound to us by no tie of common obligation, might, by
obtaining them, call on us in their extremity, when the urgency of the
occasion should allow us no time for inquiry, and the peremptory mandate
of our obligation compel us to do a brother’s duty to a base impostor.

The secrets of our brother, when communicated to us, must be sacred, if
they be such as the law of our country warrants us to keep. We are
required to keep none other, when the law that we are called on to obey
is indeed a law, by having emanated from the only source of power, the
People. Edicts which emanate from the mere arbitrary will of a despotic
power, contrary to the law of God or the Great Law of Nature,
destructive of the inherent rights of man, violative of the right of
free thought, free speech, free conscience, it is lawful to rebel
against and strive to abrogate.

For obedience to the Law does not mean submission to tyranny; nor that,
by a profligate sacrifice of every noble feeling, we should offer to
despotism the homage of adulation. As every new victim falls, we _may_
lift our voice in still louder flattery. We _may_ fall at the proud
feet, we _may_ beg, as a boon, the honor of kissing that bloody hand
which has been lifted against the helpless. We may do more: we may bring
the altar and the sacrifice, and implore the God not to ascend too soon
to Heaven. This we may do, for this we have the sad remembrance that
beings of a human form and soul have done. But this is all we can do. We
can constrain our tongues to be false, our features to bend themselves
to the semblance of that passionate adoration which we wish to express,
our knees to fall prostrate; but our heart we cannot constrain. There
virtue must still have a voice which is not to be drowned by hymns and
acclamations; there the crimes which we laud as virtues, are crimes
still, and he whom we have made a God is the most contemptible of
mankind; if, indeed, we do not feel, perhaps, that we are ourselves
still more contemptible.

But that law which is the fair expression of the will and judgment of
the people, is the enactment of the whole and of every individual.
Consistent with the law of God and the great law of nature, consistent
with pure and abstract right as tempered by necessity and the general
interest, as contra-distinguished from the private interest of
individuals, it is obligatory upon all, because it is the work of all,
the will of all, the solemn judgment of all, from which there is no

In this Degree, my brother, you are especially to learn the duty of
obedience to that law. There is one true and original law, conformable
to reason and to nature, diffused over all, invariable, eternal, which
calls to the fulfillment of duty, and to abstinence from injustice, and
calls with that irresistible voice which is felt in all its authority
wherever it is heard. This law cannot be abrogated or diminished, or its
sanctions affected, by any law of man. A whole senate, a whole people,
cannot dissent from its paramount obligation. It requires no commentator
to render it distinctly intelligible: nor is it one thing at Rome,
another at Athens; one thing now, and another in the ages to come; but
in all times and in all nations, it is, and has been, and will be, one
and everlasting;–one as that God, its great Author and Promulgator,
who is the Common Sovereign of all mankind, is Himself One. No man can
disobey it without flying, as it were, from his own bosom, and
repudiating his nature; and in this very act he will inflict on himself
the severest of retributions, even though he escape what is regarded as

It is our duty to obey the laws of our country, and to be careful that
prejudice or passion, fancy or affection, error and illusion, be not
mistaken for conscience. Nothing is more usual than to pretend
conscience in all the actions of man which are public and cannot be
concealed. The disobedient refuse to submit to the laws, and they also
in many cases pretend conscience; and so disobedience and rebellion
become conscience, in which there is neither knowledge nor revelation,
nor truth nor charity, nor reason nor religion. Conscience is tied to
laws. Right or sure conscience is right reason reduced to practice, and
conducting moral actions, while perverse conscience is seated in the
fancy or affections–a heap of irregular principles and irregular
defects–and is the same in conscience as deformity is in the body, or
peevishness in the affections. It is not enough that the conscience be
taught by nature; but it must be taught by God, conducted by reason,
made operative by discourse, assisted by choice, instructed by laws and
sober principles; and then it _is_ right, and it _may_ be sure. All the
general measures of justice, are the laws of God, and therefore they
constitute the general rules of government for the conscience; but
necessity also hath a large voice in the arrangement of human affairs,
and the disposal of human relations, and the dispositions of human laws;
and these general measures, like a great river into little streams, are
deduced into little rivulets and particularities, by the laws and
customs, by the sentences and agreements of men, and by the absolute
despotism of necessity, that will not allow perfect and abstract justice
and equity to be the sole rule of civil government in an imperfect
world; and that must needs be law which is for the greatest good of the
greatest number.

When thou vowest a vow unto God, defer not to pay it. It is better thou
shouldest not vow than thou shouldest vow and not pay. Be not rash with
thy mouth, and let not thine heart be hasty to utter anything before
God: for God is in Heaven, and thou art upon earth; therefore let thy
words be few. Weigh well what it is you promise; but once the promise
and pledge are given remember that he who is false to his obligation
will be false to his family, his friends, his country, and his God.

_Fides servanda est_: Faith plighted is ever to be kept, was a maxim and
an axiom even among pagans. The virtuous Roman said, either let not that
which seems expedient be base, or if it _be_ base, let it not seem
expedient. What is there which that so-called expediency can bring, so
valuable as that which it takes away, if it deprives you of the name of
a good man and robs you of your integrity and honor? In all ages, he who
violates his plighted word has been held unspeakably base. The word of a
Mason, like the word of a knight in the times of chivalry, once given
must be sacred; and the judgment of his brothers, upon him who violates
his pledge, should be stern as the judgments of the Roman Censors
against him who violated his oath. Good faith is revered among Masons as
it was among the Romans, who placed its statue in the capitol, next to
that of Jupiter Maximus Optimus; and we, like them, hold that calamity
should always be chosen rather than baseness; and with the knights of
old, that one should always die rather than be dishonored.

Be faithful, therefore, to the promises you make, to the pledges you
give, and to the vows that you assume, since to break either is base and

Be faithful to your family, and perform all the duties of a good father,
a good son, a good husband, and a good brother.

Be faithful to your friends; for true friendship is of a nature not only
to survive through all the vicissitudes of life, but to continue through
an endless duration; not only to stand the shock of conflicting
opinions, and the roar of a revolution that shakes the world, but to
last when the heavens are no more, and to spring fresh from the ruins of
the universe.

Be faithful to your country, and prefer its dignity and honor to any
degree of popularity and honor for yourself; consulting its interest
rather than your own, and rather than the pleasure and gratification of
the people, which are often at variance with their welfare.

Be faithful to Masonry, which is to be faithful to the best interests of
mankind. Labor, by precept and example, to elevate the standard of
Masonic character, to enlarge its sphere of influence, to popularize its
teachings, and to make all men know it for the Great Apostle of Peace,
Harmony, and Good-will on earth among men; of Liberty, Equality, and

Masonry is useful to all men: to the learned, because it affords them
the opportunity of exercising their talents upon subjects eminently
worthy of their attention; to the illiterate, because it offers them
important instruction; to the young, because it presents them with
salutary precepts and good examples, and accustoms them to reflect on
the proper mode of living; to the man of the world, whom it furnishes
with noble and useful recreation; to the traveller, whom it enables to
find friends and brothers in countries where else he would be isolated
and solitary; to the worthy man in misfortune, to whom it gives
assistance; to the afflicted, on whom it lavishes consolation; to the
charitable man, whom it enables to do more good, by uniting with those
who are charitable like himself; and to all who have souls capable of
appreciating its importance, and of enjoying the charms of a friendship
founded on the same principles of religion, morality, and philanthropy.

A Freemason, therefore, should be a man of honor and of conscience,
preferring his duty to everything beside, even to his life; independent
in his opinions, and of good morals; submissive to the laws, devoted to
humanity, to his country, to his family; kind and indulgent to his
brethren, friend of all virtuous men, and ready to assist his fellows by
all means in his power.

Thus will you be faithful to yourself, to your fellows, and to God, and
thus will you do honor to the name and rank of SECRET MASTER; which,
like other Masonic honors, degrades if it is not deserved.





The Master Khūrūm was an industrious and an honest man. What he was
employed to do he did diligently, and he did it well and faithfully. _He
received no wages that were not his due_. Industry and honesty are the
virtues peculiarly inculcated in this Degree. They are common and homely
virtues; but not for that beneath our notice. As the bees do not love or
respect the drones, so Masonry neither loves nor respects the idle and
those who live by their wits; and least of all those parasitic acari
that live upon themselves. For those who are indolent are likely to
become dissipated and vicious; and perfect honesty, which ought to be
the common qualification of all, is more rare than diamonds. To do
earnestly and steadily, and to do faithfully and honestly that which we
have to do–perhaps this wants but little, when looked at from every
point of view, of including the whole body of the moral law; and even in
their commonest and homeliest application, these virtues belong to the
character of a Perfect Master.

Idleness is the burial of a living man. For an idle person is so useless
to any purposes of God and man, that he is like one who is dead,
unconcerned in the changes and necessities of the world; and he only
lives to spend his time, and eat the fruits of the earth. Like a vermin
or a wolf, when his time comes, he dies and perishes, and in the
meantime is nought. He neither ploughs nor carries burdens: all that he
does is either unprofitable or mischievous.

It is a vast work that any man may do, if he never be idle: and it is a
huge way that a man may go in virtue, if he never go out of his way by a
vicious habit or a great crime: and he who perpetually reads good
books, if his parts be answerable, will have a huge stock of knowledge.

St. Ambrose, and from his example, St. Augustine, divided every day into
these _tertias_ of employment: eight hours they spent in the necessities
of nature and recreation: eight hours in charity, in doing assistance to
others, dispatching their business, reconciling their enmities,
reproving their vices, correcting their errors, instructing their
ignorance, and in transacting the affairs of their dioceses; and the
other eight hours they spent in study and prayer.

We think, at the age of twenty, that life is much too long for that
which we have to learn and do; and that there is an almost fabulous
distance between our age and that of our grandfather. But when, at the
age of sixty, if we are fortunate enough to reach it, or unfortunate
enough, as the case may be, and according as we have profitably invested
or wasted our time, we halt, and look back along the way we have come,
and cast up and endeavor to balance our accounts with time and
opportunity, we find that we have made life much too short, and thrown
away a huge portion of our time. Then we, in our mind, deduct from the
sum total of our years the hours that we have needlessly passed in
sleep; the working-hours each day, during which the surface of the
mind’s sluggish pool has not been stirred or ruffled by a single
thought; the days that we have gladly got rid of, to attain some real or
fancied object that lay beyond, in the way between us and which stood
irksomely the intervening days; the hours worse than wasted in follies
and dissipation, or misspent in useless and unprofitable studies; and we
acknowledge, with a sigh, that we could have learned and done, in half a
score of years well spent, more than we _have_ done in all our forty
years of manhood.

To learn and to do!–this is the soul’s work here below. The soul grows
as truly as an oak grows. As the tree takes the carbon of the air, the
dew, the rain, and the light, and the food that the earth supplies to
its roots, and by its mysterious chemistry transmutes them into sap and
fibre, into wood and leaf, and flower and fruit, and color and perfume,
so the soul imbibes knowledge and by a divine alchemy changes what it
learns into its own substance, and grows from within outwardly with an
inherent force and power like those that lie hidden in the grain of

The soul hath its senses, like the body, that may be cultivated,
enlarged, refined, as itself grows in stature and proportion; and he
who cannot appreciate a fine painting or statue, a noble poem, a sweet
harmony, a heroic thought, or a disinterested action, or to whom the
wisdom of philosophy is but foolishness and babble, and the loftiest
truths of less importance than the price of stocks or cotton, or the
elevation of baseness to office, merely lives on the level of
commonplace, and fitly prides himself upon that inferiority of the
soul’s senses, which is the inferiority and imperfect development of the
soul itself.

To sleep little, and to study much; to say little, and to hear and think
much; to learn, that we may be able to do, and then to do, earnestly and
vigorously, whatever may be required of us by duty, and by the good of
our fellows, our country, and mankind,–these are the duties of every
Mason who desires to imitate the Master Khūrūm.

The duty of a Mason as an honest man is plain and easy. It requires of
us honesty in contracts, sincerity in affirming, simplicity in
bargaining, and faithfulness in performing. Lie not at all, neither in a
little thing nor in a great, neither in the substance nor in the
circumstance, neither in word nor deed: that is, pretend not what is
false; cover not what is true; and let the measure of your affirmation
or denial be the understanding of your contractor; for he who deceives
the buyer or the seller by speaking what is true, in a sense not
intended or understood by the other, is a liar and a thief. A Perfect
Master must avoid that which deceives, equally with that which is false.

Let your prices be according to that measure of good and evil which is
established in the fame and common accounts of the wisest and most
merciful men, skilled in that manufacture or commodity; and the gain
such, which, without scandal, is allowed to persons in all the same

In intercourse with others, do not do all which thou mayest lawfully do;
but keep something within thy power; and, because there is a latitude of
gain in buying and selling, take not thou the utmost penny that is
lawful, or which thou thinkest so; for although it be lawful, yet it is
not safe; and he who gains all that he can gain lawfully, this year,
will possibly be tempted, next year, to gain something unlawfully.

Let no man, for his own poverty, become more oppressing and cruel in his
bargain; but quietly, modestly, diligently, and patiently recommend his
estate to God, and follow his interest, and leave the success to Him.

Detain not the wages of the hireling; for every degree of detention of
it beyond the time, is injustice and uncharitableness, and grinds his
face till tears and blood come out; but pay him exactly according to
covenant, or according to his needs.

Religiously keep all promises and covenants, though made to your
disadvantage, though afterward you perceive you might have done better;
and let not any precedent act of yours be altered by any after-accident.
Let nothing make you break your promise, unless it be unlawful or
impossible; that is, either out of your nature or out of your civil
power, yourself being under the power of another; or that it be
intolerably inconvenient to yourself, and of no advantage to another; or
that you have leave expressed or reasonably presumed.

Let no man take wages or fees for a work that he cannot do, or cannot
with probability undertake; or in some sense profitably, and with ease,
or with advantage manage. Let no man appropriate to his own use, what
God, by a special mercy, or the Republic, hath made common; for that is
against both Justice and Charity.

That any man should be the worse for us, and for our direct act, and by
our intention, is against the rule of equity, of justice, and of
charity. We then do not that to others, which we would have done to
ourselves; for we grow richer upon the ruins of their fortune.

It is not honest to receive anything from another without returning him
an equivalent therefor. The gamester who wins the money of another is
dishonest. There should be no such thing as bets and gaming among
Masons: for no honest man should desire that for nothing which belongs
to another. The merchant who sells an inferior article for a sound
price, the speculator who makes the distresses and needs of others fill
his exchequer are neither fair nor honest, but base, ignoble, unfit for

It should be the earnest desire of every Perfect Master so to live and
deal and act, that when it comes to him to die, he may be able to say,
and his conscience to adjudge, that no man on earth is poorer, because
he is richer; that what he hath he has honestly earned, and no man can
go before God, and claim that by the rules of equity administered in His
great chancery, this house in which we die, this land we devise to our
heirs, this money that enriches those who survive to bear our name, is
his and not ours, and we in that forum are only his trustees. For it is
most certain that God is just, and will sternly enforce every such
trust; and that to all whom we despoil, to all whom we defraud, to all
from whom we take or win anything whatever, without fair consideration
and equivalent, He will decree a full and adequate compensation.

Be careful, then, that thou receive no wages, here or elsewhere, that
are not thy due! For if thou dost, thou wrongst some one, by taking that
which in God’s chancery belongs to him; and whether that which thou
takest thus be wealth, or rank, or influence, or reputation or
affection, thou wilt surely be held to make full satisfaction.

[Illustration] [Illustration]



[Confidential Secretary.]

You are especially taught in this Degree to be zealous and faithful; to
be disinterested and benevolent; and to act the peacemaker, in case of
dissensions, disputes, and quarrels among the brethren.

Duty is the moral magnetism which controls and guides the true Mason’s
course over the tumultuous seas of life. Whether the stars of honor,
reputation, and reward do or do not shine, in the light of day or in the
darkness of the night of trouble and adversity, in calm or storm, that
unerring magnet still shows him the true course to steer, and indicates
with certainty where-away lies the port which not to reach involves
shipwreck and dishonor. He follows its silent bidding, as the mariner,
when land is for many days not in sight, and the ocean without path or
landmark spreads out all around him, follows the bidding of the needle,
never doubting that it points truly to the north. To perform that duty,
whether the performance be rewarded or unrewarded, is his sole care. And
it doth not matter, though of this performance there may be no
witnesses, and though what he does will be forever unknown to all

A little consideration will teach us that Fame has other limits than
mountains and oceans; and that he who places happiness in the frequent
repetition of his name, may spend his life in propagating it, without
any danger of weeping for new worlds, or necessity of passing the
Atlantic sea.

If, therefore, he who imagines the world to be filled with his actions
and praises, shall subduct from the number of his encomiasts all those
who are placed below the flight of fame, and who hear in the valley of
life no voice but that of necessity; all those who imagine themselves
too important to regard him, and consider the mention of his name as a
usurpation of their time; all who are too much or too little pleased
with themselves to attend to anything external; all who are attracted by
pleasure, or chained down by pain to unvaried ideas; all who are
withheld from attending his triumph by different pursuits; and all who
slumber in universal negligence; he will find his renown straitened by
nearer bounds than the rocks of Caucasus; and perceive that no man can
be venerable or formidable, but to a small part of his fellow-creatures.
And therefore, that we may not languish in our endeavors after
excellence, it is necessary that, as Africanus counsels his descendants,
we raise our eyes to higher prospects, and contemplate our future and
eternal state, without giving up our hearts to the praise of crowds, or
fixing our hopes on such rewards as human power can bestow.

We are not born for ourselves alone; and our country claims her share,
and our friends their share of us. As all that the earth produces is
created for the use of man, so men are created for the sake of men, that
they may mutually do good to one another. In this we ought to take
nature for our guide, and throw into the public stock the offices of
general utility, by a reciprocation of duties; sometimes by receiving,
sometimes by giving, and sometimes to cement human society by arts, by
industry, and by our resources.

Suffer others to be praised in thy presence, and entertain their good
and glory with delight; but at no hand disparage them, or lessen the
report, or make an objection; and think not the advancement of thy
brother is a lessening of thy worth. Upbraid no man’s weakness to him to
discomfit him, neither report it to disparage him, neither delight to
remember it to lessen him, or to set thyself above him; nor ever praise
thyself or dispraise any man else, unless some sufficient worthy end do
hallow it.

Remember that we usually disparage others upon slight grounds and little
instances; and if a man be highly commended, we think him sufficiently
lessened, if we can but charge one sin of folly or inferiority in his
account. We should either be more severe to ourselves, or less so to
others, and consider that whatsoever good any one can think or say of
us, we can tell him of many unworthy and foolish and perhaps worse
actions of ours, any one of which, done by another, would be enough,
with _us_, to destroy his reputation.

If we think the people wise and sagacious, and just and appreciative,
when they praise and make idols of _us_, let us not call them unlearned
and ignorant, and ill and stupid judges, when our neighbor is cried up
by public fame and popular noises.

Every man hath in his own life sins enough, in his own mind trouble
enough, in his own fortunes evil enough, and in performance of his
offices failings more than enough, to entertain his own inquiry; so that
curiosity after the affairs of others cannot be without envy and an ill
mind. The generous man will be solicitous and inquisitive into the
beauty and order of a well-governed family, and after the virtues of an
excellent person; but anything for which men keep locks and bars, or
that blushes to see the light, or that is either shameful in manner or
private in nature, this thing will not be his care and business.

It should be objection sufficient to exclude any man from the society of
Masons, that he is not disinterested and generous, both in his acts, and
in his opinions of men, and his constructions of their conduct. He who
is selfish and grasping, or censorious and ungenerous, will not long
remain within the strict limits of honesty and truth, but will shortly
commit injustice. He who loves himself too much must needs love others
too little; and he who habitually gives harsh judgment will not long
delay to give unjust judgment.

The generous man is not careful to return no more than he receives; but
prefers that the balances upon the ledgers of benefits shall be in his
favor. He who hath received pay in full for all the benefits and favors
that he has conferred, is like a spendthrift who has consumed his whole
estate, and laments over an empty exchequer. He who requites my favors
with ingratitude adds to, instead of diminishing, my wealth; and he who
cannot return a favor is equally poor, whether his inability arises from
poverty of spirit, sordidness of soul, or pecuniary indigence.

If he is wealthy who hath large sums invested, and the mass of whose
fortune consists in obligations that bind other men to pay him money, he
is still more so to whom many owe large returns of kindnesses and
favors. Beyond a moderate sum each year, the wealthy man merely
_invests_ his means: and that which he _never_ uses is still like
favors unreturned and kindnesses unreciprocated, an actual and real
portion of his fortune.

Generosity and a liberal spirit make men to be humane and genial,
open-hearted, frank, and sincere, earnest to do good, easy and
contented, and well-wishers of mankind. They protect the feeble against
the strong, and the defenceless against rapacity and craft. They succor
and comfort the poor, and are the guardians, under God, of his innocent
and helpless wards. They value friends more than riches or fame, and
gratitude more than money or power. They are noble by God’s patent, and
their escutcheons and quarterings are to be found in heaven’s great book
of heraldry. Nor can any man any more be a Mason than he can be a
gentleman, unless he is generous, liberal, and disinterested. To be
liberal, but only of that which is our own; to be generous, but only
when we have first been just; to give, when to give deprives us of a
luxury or a comfort, this is Masonry indeed.

He who is worldly, covetous, or sensual must change before he can be a
good Mason. If we are governed by inclination and not by duty; if we are
unkind, severe, censorious, or injurious, in the relations or
intercourse of life; if we are unfaithful parents or undutiful children;
if we are harsh masters or faithless servants; if we are treacherous
friends or bad neighbors or bitter competitors or corrupt unprincipled
politicians or overreaching dealers in business, we are wandering at a
great distance from the true Masonic light.

Masons must be kind and affectionate one to another. Frequenting the
same temples, kneeling at the same altars, they should feel that respect
and that kindness for each other, which their common relation and common
approach to one God should inspire. There needs to be much more of the
spirit of the ancient fellowship among us; more tenderness for each
other’s faults, more forgiveness, more solicitude for each other’s
improvement and good fortune; somewhat of brotherly feeling, that it be
not shame to use the word “_brother_.”

Nothing should be allowed to interfere with that kindness and affection:
neither the spirit of business, absorbing, eager, and overreaching,
ungenerous and hard in its dealings, keen and bitter in its
competitions, low and sordid in its purposes; nor that of ambition,
selfish, mercenary, restless, circumventing, living only in the opinion
of others, envious of the good fortune of others, miserably vain of its
own success, unjust, unscrupulous, and slanderous.

He that does me a favor, hath bound me to make him a return of
thankfulness. The obligation comes not by covenant, nor by his own
express intention; but by the nature of the thing; and is a duty
springing up within the spirit of the obliged person, to whom it is more
natural to love his friend, and to do good for good, than to return evil
for evil; because a man may forgive an injury, but he must never forget
a good turn. He that refuses to do good to them whom he is bound to
love, or to love that which did him good, is unnatural and monstrous in
his affections, and thinks all the world born to minister to him; with a
greediness worse than that of the sea, which, although it receives all
rivers into itself, yet it furnishes the clouds and springs with a
return of all they need. Our duty to those who are our benefactors is,
to esteem and love their persons, to make them proportionable returns of
service, or duty, or profit, according as we can, or as they need, or as
opportunity presents itself; and according to the greatness of their

The generous man cannot but regret to see dissensions and disputes among
his brethren. Only the base and ungenerous delight in discord. It is the
poorest occupation of humanity to labor to make men think worse of each
other, as the press, and too commonly the pulpit, changing places with
the hustings and the tribune, do. The duty of the Mason is to endeavor
to make man think better of his neighbor; to quiet, instead of
aggravating difficulties; to bring together those who are severed or
estranged; to keep friends from becoming foes, and to persuade foes to
become friends. To do this, he must needs control his own passions, and
be not rash and hasty, nor swift to take offence, nor easy to be

For anger is a professed enemy to counsel. It is a direct storm, in
which no man can be heard to speak or call from without; for if you
counsel gently, you are disregarded; if you urge it and be vehement, you
provoke it more. It is neither manly nor ingenuous. It makes marriage to
be a necessary and unavoidable trouble; friendships and societies and
familiarities, to be intolerable. It multiplies the evils of
drunkenness, and makes the levities of wine to run into madness. It
makes innocent jesting to be the beginning of tragedies. It turns
friendship into hatred; it makes a man lose himself, and his reason and
his argument, in disputation. It turns the desires of knowledge into an
itch of wrangling. It adds insolency to power. It turns justice into
cruelty, and judgment into oppression. It changes discipline into
tediousness and hatred of liberal institution. It makes a prosperous man
to be envied, and the unfortunate to be unpitied.

See, therefore, that first controlling your own temper, and governing
your own passions, you fit yourself to keep peace and harmony among
other men, and especially the brethren. Above all remember that Masonry
is the realm of peace, and that “_among Masons there must be no
dissension, but only that noble emulation, which can best work and best
agree_.” Wherever there is strife and hatred among the brethren, there
is no Masonry; for Masonry is Peace, and Brotherly Love, and Concord.

Masonry is the great Peace Society of the world. Wherever it exists, it
struggles to prevent international difficulties and disputes; and to
bind Republics, Kingdoms, and Empires together in one great band of
peace and amity. It would not so often struggle in vain, if Masons knew
their power and valued their oaths.

Who can sum up the horrors and woes accumulated in a single war? Masonry
is not dazzled with all its pomp and circumstance, all its glitter and
glory. War comes with its bloody hand into our very dwellings. It takes
from ten thousand homes those who lived there in peace and comfort, held
by the tender ties of family and kindred. It drags them away, to die
untended, of fever or exposure, in infectious climes; or to be hacked,
torn, and mangled in the fierce fight; to fall on the gory field, to
rise no more, or to be borne away, in awful agony, to noisome and horrid
hospitals. The groans of the battle-field are echoed in sighs of
bereavement from thousands of desolated hearths. There is a skeleton in
every house, a vacant chair at every table. Returning, the soldier
brings worse sorrow to his home, by the infection which he has caught,
of camp-vices. The country is demoralized. The national mind is brought
down, from the noble interchange of kind offices with another people, to
wrath and revenge, and base pride, and the habit of measuring brute
strength against brute strength, in battle. Treasures are expended, that
would suffice to build ten thousand churches, hospitals, and
universities, or rib and tie together a continent with rails of iron. If
that treasure were sunk in the sea, it would be calamity enough; but it
is put to worse use; for it is expended in cutting into the veins and
arteries of human life, until the earth is deluged with a sea of blood.

Such are the lessons of this Degree. You have vowed to make them the
rule, the law, and the guide of your life and conduct. If you do so, you
will be entitled, because fitted, to advance in Masonry. If you do not,
you have already gone too far.





The lesson which this Degree inculcates is JUSTICE, in decision and
judgment, and in our intercourse and dealing with other men.

In a country where trial by jury is known, every intelligent man is
liable to be called on to act as a judge, either of fact alone, or of
fact and law mingled; and to assume the heavy responsibilities which
belong to that character.

Those who are invested with the power of judgment should judge the
causes of all persons uprightly and impartially, without any personal
consideration of the power of the mighty, or the bribe of the rich, or
the needs of the poor. That is the cardinal rule, which no one will
dispute; though many fail to observe it. But they must do more. They
must divest themselves of prejudice and preconception. They must hear
patiently, remember accurately, and weigh carefully the facts and the
arguments offered before them. They must not leap hastily to
conclusions, nor form opinions before they have heard all. They must not
presume crime or fraud. They must neither be ruled by stubborn pride of
opinion, nor be too facile and yielding to the views and arguments of
others. In deducing the motive from the proven act, they must not assign
to the act either the best or the worst motives, but those which they
would think it just and fair for the world to assign to it, if they
themselves had done it; nor must they endeavor to make many little
circumstances, that weigh nothing separately, weigh much together, to
prove their own acuteness and sagacity. These are sound rules for every
juror, also, to observe.

In our intercourse with others, there are two kinds of injustice: the
first of those who offer an injury; the second, of those who have it in
their power to _avert_ an injury from those to whom it is offered, and
yet do it not. So _active_ injustice may be done in two ways–by force
and by fraud,–of which force is lion-like, and fraud fox-like,–both
utterly repugnant to social duty, but fraud the more detestable.

Every wrong done by one man to another, whether it affect his person,
his property, his happiness, or his reputation, is an offense against
the law of justice. The field of this Degree is therefore a wide and
vast one; and Masonry seeks for the most impressive mode of enforcing
the law of justice, and the most effectual means of preventing wrong and

To this end it teaches this great and momentous truth: that wrong and
injustice once done cannot be undone; but are eternal in their
consequences; once committed, are numbered with the irrevocable Past;
that the wrong that is done _contains_ its own retributive penalty as
surely and as naturally as the acorn contains the oak. Its consequences
are its punishment; it needs no other, and can have no heavier; they are
involved in its commission, and cannot be separated from it. A wrong
done to another is an injury done to our own Nature, an offence against
our own souls, a disfiguring of the image of the Beautiful and Good.
Punishment is not the execution of a sentence, but the occurrence of an
effect. It is ordained to follow guilt, not by the decree of God as a
judge, but by a law enacted by Him as the Creator and Legislator of the
Universe. It is not an arbitrary and artificial annexation, but an
ordinary and logical consequence; and therefore must be borne by the
wrong-doer, and through him may flow on to others. It is the decision of
the infinite justice of God, in the form of law.

There can be no interference with, or remittance of, or protection from,
the natural effects of our wrongful acts. God will not interpose between
the cause and its consequence; and in that sense there can be no
forgiveness of sins. The act which has debased our soul may be repented
of, may be turned from; but the injury is done. The debasement may be
redeemed by after-efforts, the stain obliterated by bitterer struggles
and severer sufferings; but the efforts and the endurance which might
have raised the soul to the loftiest heights are now exhausted in merely
regaining what it has lost. There must always be a wide difference
between him who only ceases to do evil, and him who has always done

He will certainly be a far more scrupulous watcher over his conduct, and
far more careful of his deeds, who believes that those deeds will
inevitably bear their natural consequences, exempt from after
intervention, than he who believes that penitence and pardon will at any
time unlink the chain of sequences. Surely we shall do less wrong and
injustice, if the conviction is fixed and embedded in our souls that
everything done is done irrevocably, that even the Omnipotence of God
cannot _uncommit_ a deed, cannot make that _undone_ which has _been
done_; that every act of ours _must_ bear its allotted fruit, according
to the everlasting laws,–must remain forever ineffaceably inscribed on
the tablets of Universal Nature.

If you have wronged another, you may grieve, repent, and resolutely
determine against any such weakness in future. You may, so far as it is
possible, make reparation. It is well. The injured party may forgive
you, according to the meaning of human language; but the deed is _done_;
and all the powers of Nature, were they to conspire in your behalf,
could not make it _undone_; the consequences to the body, the
consequences to the soul, though no man may perceive them, _are there_,
are written in the annals of the Past, and must reverbrate throughout
all time.

Repentance for a wrong done, bears, like every other act, its own fruit,
the fruit of purifying the heart and amending the Future, but not of
effacing the Past. The commission of the wrong is an irrevocable act;
but it does not incapacitate the soul to do right for the future. Its
consequences cannot be expunged; but its course need not be pursued.
Wrong and evil perpetrated, though ineffaceable, call for no despair,
but for efforts more energetic than before. Repentance is still as valid
as ever; but it is valid to secure the Future, not to obliterate the

Even the pulsations of the air, once set in motion by the human voice,
cease not to exist with the sounds to which they gave rise. Their
quickly-attenuated force soon becomes inaudible to human ears. But the
waves of air thus raised perambulate the surface of earth and ocean, and
in less than twenty hours, every atom of the atmosphere takes up the
altered movement due to that infinitesimal portion of primitive motion
which has been conveyed to it through countless channels, and which
must continue to influence its path throughout its future existence. The
air is one vast library on whose pages is forever written all that man
has ever said or even whispered. There, in their mutable, but unerring
characters, mixed with the earliest, as well as the latest signs of
mortality, stand forever recorded, vows unredeemed, promises
unfulfilled; perpetuating, in the movements of each particle, all in
unison, the testimony of man’s changeful will. God reads that book,
though we cannot.

So earth, air, and ocean are the eternal witnesses of the acts that we
have done. No motion impressed by natural causes or by human agency is
ever obliterated. The track of every keel which has ever disturbed the
surface of the ocean remains forever registered in the future movements
of all succeeding particles which may occupy its place. Every criminal
is by the laws of the Almighty irrevocably chained to the testimony of
his crime; for every atom of his mortal frame, through whatever changes
its particles may migrate, will still retain, adhering to it through
every combination, some movement derived from that very muscular effort
by which the crime itself was perpetrated.

What if our faculties should be so enhanced in a future life as to
enable us to perceive and trace the ineffaceable consequences of our
idle words and evil deeds, and render our remorse and grief as eternal
as those consequences themselves? No more fearful punishment to a
superior intelligence can be conceived, than to see still in action,
with the consciousness that it must continue in action forever, a cause
of wrong put in motion by itself ages before.

Masonry, by its teachings, endeavors to restrain men from the commission
of injustice and acts of wrong and outrage. Though it does not endeavor
to usurp the place of religion, still its code of morals proceeds upon
other principles than the municipal law; and it condemns and punishes
offences which neither that law punishes nor public opinion condemns. In
the Masonic law, to cheat and overreach in trade, at the bar, in
politics, are deemed no more venial than theft; nor a deliberate lie
than perjury; nor slander than robbery; nor seduction than murder.

Especially it condemns those wrongs of which the doer induces another to
partake. _He_ may repent; _he_ may, after agonizing struggles, regain
the path of virtue; _his_ spirit may reachieve its purity through much
anguish, after many strifes; but the weaker fellow-creature whom he led
astray, whom he made a sharer in his guilt, but whom he cannot make a
sharer in his repentance and amendment, whose downward course (the first
step of which _he_ taught) he cannot check, but is compelled to
witness,–what forgiveness of sins can avail him there? _There_ is his
perpetual, his inevitable punishment, which no repentance can alleviate,
and no mercy can remit.

Let us be just, also, in judging of other men’s motives. We know but
little of the real merits or demerits of any fellow-creature. We can
rarely say with certainty that this man is more guilty than that, or
even that this man is very good or very wicked. Often the basest men
leave behind them excellent reputations. There is scarcely one of us who
has not, at some time in his life, been on the edge of the commission of
a crime. Every one of us can look back, and shuddering see the time when
our feet stood upon the slippery crags that overhung the abyss of guilt;
and when, if temptation had been a little more urgent, or a little
longer continued, if penury had pressed us a little harder, or a little
more wine had further disturbed our intellect, dethroned our judgment,
and aroused our passions, our feet would have slipped, and we should
have fallen, never to rise again.

We may be able to say–“_This_ man has lied, has pilfered, has forged,
has embezzled moneys intrusted to him; and _that_ man has gone through
life with clean hands.” But we cannot say that the former has not
struggled long, though unsuccessfully, against temptations under which
the second would have succumbed without an effort. We can say which has
the cleanest _hands_ before _man_; but not which has the cleanest _soul_
before God. We may be able to say, _this_ man has committed adultery,
and _that_ man has been ever chaste; but we cannot tell but that the
innocence of one may have been due to the coldness of his heart, to the
absence of a motive, to the presence of a fear, to the slight degree of
the temptation; nor but that the fall of the other may have been
preceded by the most vehement self-contest, caused by the most
over-mastering frenzy, and atoned for by the most hallowing repentance.
Generosity as well as niggardliness may be a mere yielding to native
temperament; and in the eye of Heaven, a long life of beneficence in one
man may have cost less effort, and may indicate less virtue and less
sacrifice of interest, than a few rare hidden acts of kindness wrung by
duty out of the reluctant and unsympathizing nature of the other. There
may be more real merit, more self-sacrificing effort, more of the
noblest elements of moral grandeur, in a life of failure, sin, and
shame, than in a career, to our eyes, of stainless integrity.

When we condemn or pity the fallen, how do we know that, tempted like
him, we should not have fallen like him, as soon, and perhaps with less
resistance? How can we know what _we_ should do if we were out of
employment, famine crouching, gaunt, and hungry, on our fireless hearth,
and our children wailing for bread? _We fall not because we are not
enough tempted!_ He that _hath_ fallen may be at heart as honest as we.
How do we know that _our_ daughter, sister, wife, could resist the
abandonment, the desolation, the distress, the temptation, that
sacrificed the virtue of their poor abandoned sister of shame? Perhaps
they also have not fallen, because they have not been sorely tempted!
Wisely are we directed to pray that we may not be exposed to temptation.

Human justice must be ever uncertain. How many judicial murders have
been committed through ignorance of the phenomena of insanity! How many
men hung for murder who were no more murderers at heart than the jury
that tried and the judge that sentenced them! It may well be doubted
whether the administration of human laws, in every country, is not one
gigantic mass of injustice and wrong. God seeth not as man seeth; and
the most abandoned criminal, black as he is before the world, may yet
have continued to keep some little light burning in a corner of his
soul, which would long since have gone out in that of those who walk
proudly in the sunshine of immaculate fame, if they had been tried and
tempted like the poor outcast.

We do not know even the _outside_ life of men. We are not competent to
pronounce even on their _deeds_. We do not know half the acts of
wickedness or virtue, even of our most immediate fellows. We cannot say,
with certainty, even of our nearest friend, that he has not committed a
particular sin, and broken a particular commandment. Let each man ask
his own heart! Of how many of our best and of our worst acts and
qualities are our most intimate associates utterly unconscious! How many
virtues does not the world give us credit for, that we do not possess;
or vices condemn us for, of which we are not the slaves! It is but a
small portion of our evil deeds and thoughts that ever comes to light;
and of our few redeeming goodnesses, the largest portion is known to
God alone.

We shall, therefore, be just in judging of other men, only when we are
charitable; and we should assume the prerogative of judging others only
when the duty is forced upon us; since we are so almost certain to err,
and the consequences of error are so serious. No man need covet the
office of judge; for in assuming it he assumes the gravest and most
oppressive responsibility. Yet you have assumed it; we all assume it;
for man is ever ready to judge, and ever ready to condemn his neighbor,
while upon the same state of case he acquits himself. See, therefore,
that you exercise your office cautiously and charitably, lest, in
passing judgment upon the criminal, you commit a greater wrong than that
for which you condemn him, and the consequences of which must be

The faults and crimes and follies of other men are not unimportant to
us; but form a part of our moral discipline. War and bloodshed at a
distance, and frauds which do not affect our pecuniary interest, yet
touch us in our feelings, and concern our moral welfare. They have much
to do with all thoughtful hearts. The public eye may look unconcernedly
on the miserable victim of vice, and that shattered wreck of a man may
move the multitude to laughter or to scorn. But to the Mason, it is the
form of sacred humanity that is before him; it is an erring
fellow-being; a desolate, forlorn, forsaken soul; and his thoughts,
enfolding the poor wretch, will be far deeper than those of
indifference, ridicule, or contempt. All human offences, the whole
system of dishonesty, evasion, circumventing, forbidden indulgence, and
intriguing ambition, in which men are struggling with each other, will
be looked upon by a thoughtful Mason, not merely as a scene of mean
toils and strifes, but as the solemn conflicts of immortal minds, for
ends vast and momentous as their own being. It is a sad and unworthy
strife, and may well be viewed with indignation; but that indignation
must melt into pity. For the stakes for which these gamesters play are
not those which they imagine, not those which are in sight. For example,
this man plays for a petty office, and gains it; but the real stake he
gains is sycophancy, uncharitableness, slander, and deceit.

Good men are too proud of their goodness. They are respectable; dishonor
comes not near them; their countenance has weight and influence; their
robes are unstained; the poisonous breath of calumny has never been
breathed upon their fair name. How easy it is for them to look down with
scorn upon the poor degraded offender; to pass him by with a lofty step;
to draw up the folds of their garment around them, that they may not be
soiled by his touch! Yet the Great Master of Virtue did not so; but
descended to familiar intercourse with publicans and sinners, with the
Samaritan woman, with the outcasts and the Pariahs of the Hebrew world.

Many men think themselves better, in proportion as they can detect sin
in others! When they go over the catalogue of their neighbor’s unhappy
derelictions of temper or conduct, they often, amidst much apparent
concern, feel a secret exultation, that destroys all their own
pretensions to wisdom and moderation, and even to virtue. Many even take
actual pleasure in the sins of others; and this is the case with every
one whose thoughts are often employed in agreeable comparisons of his
own virtues with his neighbors’ faults.

The power of gentleness is too little seen in the world; the subduing
influences of pity, the might of love, the control of mildness over
passion, the commanding majesty of that perfect character which mingles
grave displeasure with grief and pity for the offender. So it is that a
Mason should treat his brethren who go astray. Not with bitterness; nor
yet with good-natured easiness, nor with worldly indifference, nor with
the philosophic coldness, nor with a laxity of conscience, that accounts
everything well, that passes under the seal of public opinion; but with
charity, with pitying loving-kindness.

The human heart will not bow willingly to what is infirm and wrong in
human nature. If it yields to us, it must yield to what is divine in us.
The wickedness of my neighbor cannot submit to my wickedness; his
sensuality, for instance, to my anger against his vices. My faults are
not the instruments that are to arrest his faults. And therefore
impatient reformers, and denouncing preachers, and hasty reprovers, and
angry parents, and irritable relatives generally fail, in their several
departments, to reclaim the erring.

A moral offence is sickness, pain, loss, dishonor, in the immortal part
of man. It is guilt, and misery added to guilt. It is itself calamity;
and brings upon itself, in addition, the calamity of God’s disapproval,
the abhorrence of all virtuous men, and the soul’s own abhorrence. Deal
faithfully, but patiently and tenderly, with this evil! It is no matter
for petty provocation, nor for personal strife, nor for selfish

Speak kindly to your erring brother! God pities him: Christ has died for
him: Providence waits for him: Heaven’s mercy yearns toward him; and
Heaven’s spirits are ready to welcome him back with joy. Let your voice
be in unison with all those powers that God is using for his recovery!

If one defrauds you, and exults at it, he is the most to be pitied of
human beings. He has done himself a far deeper injury than he has done
you. It is he, and not you, whom God regards with mingled displeasure
and compassion; and His judgment should be your law. Among all the
benedictions of the Holy Mount there is not one for this man; but for
the merciful, the peacemakers, and the persecuted they are poured out

We are all men of like passions, propensities, and exposures. There are
elements in us all, which might have been perverted, through the
successive processes of moral deterioration, to the worst of crimes. The
wretch whom the execration of the thronging crowd pursues to the
scaffold, is not worse than any one of that multitude might have become
under similar circumstances. He is to be condemned indeed, but also
deeply to be pitied.

It does not become the frail and sinful to be vindictive toward even the
worst criminals. We owe much to the good Providence of God, ordaining
for us a lot more favorable to virtue. We all had that within us, that
might have been pushed to the same excess. Perhaps we should have fallen
as he did, with less temptation. Perhaps we _have_ done acts, that, in
proportion to the temptation or provocation, were less excusable than
his great crime. Silent pity and sorrow for the victim should mingle
with our detestation of the guilt. Even the pirate who murders in cold
blood on the high seas, is such a man as you or I might have been.
Orphanage in childhood, or base and dissolute and abandoned parents; an
unfriended youth; evil companions; ignorance and want of moral
cultivation; the temptations of sinful pleasure or grinding poverty;
familiarity with vice; a scorned and blighted name; seared and crushed
affections; desperate fortunes; these are steps that might have led any
one among us to unfurl upon the high seas the bloody flag of universal
defiance; to wage war with our kind; to live the life and die the death
of the reckless and remorseless free-booter. Many affecting
relationships of humanity plead with us to pity him. His head once
rested on a mother’s bosom. He was once the object of sisterly love and
domestic endearment. Perhaps his hand, since often red with blood, once
clasped another little loving hand at the altar. Pity him then; his
blighted hopes and his crushed heart! It is proper that frail and erring
creatures like us should do so; should feel the crime, but feel it as
weak, tempted, and rescued creatures should. It may be that when God
weighs men’s crimes, He will take into consideration the temptations and
the adverse circumstances that led to them, and the opportunities for
moral culture of the offender; and it may be that our own offences will
weigh heavier than we think, and the murderer’s lighter than according
to man’s judgment.

On all accounts, therefore, let the true Mason never forget the solemn
injunction, necessary to be observed at almost every moment of a busy
Such is the lesson taught the Provost and Judge.





In this Degree you have been taught the important lesson, that none are
entitled to advance in the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite, who have
not by study and application made themselves familiar with Masonic
learning and jurisprudence. The Degrees of this Rite are not for those
who are content with the mere work and ceremonies, and do not seek to
explore the mines of wisdom that lie buried beneath the surface. You
still advance toward the Light, toward that star, blazing in the
distance, which is an emblem of the Divine Truth, given by God to the
first men, and preserved amid all the vicissitudes of ages in the
traditions and teachings of Masonry. How far you will advance, depends
upon yourself alone. Here, as everywhere in the world, Darkness
struggles with Light, and clouds and shadows intervene between you and
the Truth.

When you shall have become imbued with the morality of Masonry, with
which you yet are, and for some time will be exclusively occupied,–when
you shall have learned to practice all the virtues which it inculcates;
when they become familiar to you as your Household Gods; then will you
be prepared to receive its lofty philosophical instruction, and to scale
the heights upon whose summit Light and Truth sit enthroned. Step by
step men must advance toward Perfection; and each Masonic Degree is
meant to be one of those steps. Each is a development of a particular
duty; and in the present you are taught charity and benevolence; to be
to your brethren an example of virtue; to correct your own faults; and
to endeavor to correct those of your brethren.

Here, as in all the Degrees, you meet with the emblems and the names of
Deity, the true knowledge of whose character and attributes it has ever
been a chief object of Masonry to perpetuate. To appreciate His infinite
greatness and goodness, to rely implicitly on His Providence, to revere
and venerate Him as the Supreme Architect, Creator, and Legislator of
the universe, is the first of Masonic duties.

The Battery of this Degree, and the five circuits which you made around
the Lodge, allude to the five points of fellowship, and are intended to
recall them vividly to your mind. To go upon a brother’s errand or to
his relief, even barefoot and upon flinty ground; to remember him in
your supplications to the Deity; to clasp him to your heart, and protect
him against malice and evil-speaking; to uphold him when about to
stumble and fall; and to give him prudent, honest, and friendly counsel,
are duties plainly written upon the pages of God’s great code of law,
and first among the ordinances of Masonry.

The first sign of the Degree is expressive of the diffidence and
humility with which we inquire into the nature and attributes of the
Deity; the second, of the profound awe and reverence with which we
contemplate His glories; and the third, of the sorrow with which we
reflect upon our insufficient observance of our duties, and our
imperfect compliance with His statutes.

The distinguishing property of man is to search for and follow after
truth. Therefore, when relaxed from our necessary cares and concerns, we
then covet to see, to hear, and to learn somewhat; and we esteem
knowledge of things, either obscure or wonderful, to be the
indispensable means of living happily. Truth, Simplicity, and Candor are
most agreeable to the nature of mankind. Whatever is virtuous consists
either in Sagacity, and the Perception of Truth; or in the preservation
of Human Society, by giving to every man his due, and observing the
faith of contracts; or in the greatness and firmness of an elevated and
unsubdued mind; or in observing order and regularity in all our words
and in all our actions; in which consist Moderation and Temperance.

Masonry has in all times religiously preserved that enlightened faith
from which flow sublime Devotedness, the sentiment of Fraternity
fruitful of good works, the spirit of indulgence and peace, of sweet
hopes and effectual consolations; and inflexibility in the
accomplishment of the most painful and arduous duties. It has always
propagated it with ardor and perseverance; and therefore it labors at
the present day more zealously than ever. Scarcely a Masonic discourse
is pronounced, that does not demonstrate the necessity and advantages of
this faith, and especially recall the two constitutive principles of
religion, that _make_ all religion,–love of God, and love of neighbor.
Masons carry these principles into the bosoms of their families and of
society. While the Sectarians of former times enfeebled the religious
spirit, Masonry, forming one great People over the whole globe, and
marching under the great banner of Charity and Benevolence, preserves
that religious feeling, strengthens it, extends it in its purity and
simplicity, as it has always existed in the depths of the human heart,
as it existed even under the dominion of the most ancient forms of
worship, but where gross and debasing superstitions forbade its

A Masonic Lodge should resemble a bee-hive, in which all the members
work together with ardor for the common good. Masonry is not made for
cold souls and narrow minds, that do not comprehend its lofty mission
and sublime apostolate. Here the anathema against lukewarm souls
applies. To comfort misfortune, to popularize knowledge, to teach
whatever is true and pure in religion and philosophy, to accustom men to
respect order and the proprieties of life, to point out the way to
genuine happiness, to prepare for that fortunate period, when all the
factions of the Human Family, united by the bonds of Toleration and
Fraternity, shall be but one household,–these are labors that may well
excite zeal and even enthusiasm.

We do not now enlarge upon or elaborate these ideas. We but utter them
to you briefly, as hints, upon which you may at your leisure reflect.
Hereafter, if you continue to advance, they will be unfolded, explained,
and developed.

Masonry utters no impracticable and extravagant precepts, certain,
because they are so, to be disregarded. It asks of its initiates nothing
that it is not possible and even easy for them to perform. Its teachings
are eminently practical; and its statutes can be obeyed by every just,
upright, and honest man, no matter what his faith or creed. Its object
is to attain the greatest practical good, without seeking to make men
perfect. It does not meddle with the domain of religion, nor inquire
into the mysteries of regeneration. It teaches those truths that are
written by the finger of God upon the heart of man, those views of duty
which have been wrought out by the meditations of the studious,
confirmed by the allegiance of the good and wise, and stamped as
sterling by the response they find in every uncorrupted mind. It does
not dogmatize, nor vainly imagine dogmatic certainty to be attainable.

Masonry does not occupy itself with crying down this world, with its
splendid beauty, its thrilling interests, its glorious works, its noble
and holy affections; nor exhort us to detach our hearts from this
earthly life, as empty, fleeting, and unworthy, and fix them upon
Heaven, as the only sphere deserving the love of the loving or the
meditation of the wise. It teaches that man has high duties to perform,
and a high destiny to fulfill, on this earth; that this world is not
merely the portal to another; and that this life, though not our only
one, is an integral one, and the particular one with which we are here
meant to be concerned; that the Present is our scene of action, and the
Future for speculation and for trust; that man was sent upon the earth
to live in it, to enjoy it, to study it, to love it, to embellish it, to
make the most of it. It is his country, on which he should lavish his
affections and his efforts. It is here his influences are to operate. It
is his house, and not a tent; his home, and not _merely_ a school. He is
sent into this world, not to be constantly hankering after, dreaming of,
preparing for another; but to do his duty and fulfill his destiny on
this earth; to do all that lies in his power to improve it, to render it
a scene of elevated happiness to himself, to those around him, to those
who are to come after him. His life here is _part_ of his immortality;
and this world, also, is among the stars.

And thus, Masonry teaches us, will man best prepare for that Future
which he hopes for. The Unseen cannot hold a higher Place in our
affections than the Seen and the Familiar. The law of our being is Love
of Life, and its interests and adornments; love of the world in which
our lot is cast, engrossment with the interests and affections of earth.
Not a low or sensual love; not love of wealth, of fame, of ease, of
power, of splendor. Not low worldliness; but the love of Earth as the
garden on which the Creator has lavished such miracles of beauty; as the
habitation of humanity, the arena of its conflicts, the scene of its
illimitable progress, the dwelling-place of the wise, the good, the
active, the loving, and the dear; the place of opportunity for the
development by means of sin and suffering and sorrow, of the noblest
passions, the loftiest virtues, and the tenderest sympathies.

They take very unprofitable pains, who endeavor to persuade men that
they are obliged wholly to despise this world, and all that is in it,
even whilst they themselves live here. God hath not taken all that pains
in forming and framing and furnishing and adorning the world, that they
who were made by Him to live in it should despise it. It will be enough,
if they do not love it too immoderately. It is useless to attempt to
extinguish all those affections and passions which are and always will
be inseparable from human nature. As long as the world lasts, and honor
and virtue and industry have reputation in the world, there will be
ambition and emulation and appetite in the best and most accomplished
men in it; and if there were not, more barbarity and vice and wickedness
would cover every nation of the world, than it now suffers under.

Those only who feel a deep interest in, and affection for, this world,
will work resolutely for its amelioration. Those who undervalue this
life, naturally become querulous and discontented, and lose their
interest in the welfare of their fellows. To serve them, and so to do
our duty as Masons, we must feel that the object is worth the exertion;
and be content with this world in which God has placed us, until He
permits us to remove to a better one. He is here with us, and does not
deem this an unworthy world.

It is a serious thing to defame and belie a whole world; to speak of it
as the abode of a poor, toiling, drudging, ignorant, contemptible race.
You would not so discredit your family, your friendly circle, your
village, your city, your country. The world is not a wretched and a
worthless one; nor is it a misfortune, but a thing to be thankful for,
to be a man. If life is worthless, so also is immortality.

In society itself, in that living mechanism of human relationships that
spreads itself over the world, there is a finer essence within, that as
truly moves it, as any power, heavy or expansive, moves the sounding
manufactory or the swift-flying car. The man-machine hurries to and fro
upon the earth, stretches out its hands on every side, to toil, to
barter, to unnumbered labors and enterprises; and almost always the
motive, that which moves it, is something that takes hold of the
comforts, affections, and hopes of social existence. True, the mechanism
often works with difficulty, drags heavily, grates and screams with
harsh collision. True, the essence of finer motive, becoming intermixed
with baser and coarser ingredients, often clogs, obstructs, jars, and
deranges the free and noble action of social life. But he is neither
grateful nor wise, who looks cynically on all this, and loses the fine
sense of social good in its perversions. That I can be a _friend_, that
I can _have_ a friend, though it were but one in the world; that fact,
that wondrous good fortune, we may set against all the sufferings of our
social nature. That there is such a place on earth as a _home_, that
resort and sanctuary of in-walled and shielded joy, we may set against
all the surrounding desolations of life. That one can be a true, social
man, can speak his true thoughts, amidst all the janglings of
controversy and the warring of opinions; that fact from within,
outweighs all facts from without.

In the visible aspect and action of society, often repulsive and
annoying, we are apt to lose the due sense of its invisible blessings.
As in Nature it is not the coarse and palpable, not soils and rains, nor
even fields and flowers, that are so beautiful, as the invisible spirit
of wisdom and beauty that pervades it; so in society, it is the
invisible, and therefore unobserved, that is most beautiful.

What nerves the arm of toil? If man minded himself alone, he would fling
down the spade and axe, and rush to the desert; or roam through the
world as a wilderness, and make that world a desert. His home, which he
sees not, perhaps, but once or twice in a day, is the invisible bond of
the world. It is the good, strong, and noble faith that men have in each
other, which gives the loftiest character to business, trade, and
commerce. Fraud occurs in the rush of business; but it is the exception.
Honesty is the rule; and all the frauds in the world cannot tear the
great bond of human confidence. If they could, commerce would furl its
sails on every sea, and all the cities of the world would crumble into
ruins. The bare character of a man on the other side of the world, whom
you never saw, whom you never will see, you hold good for a bond of
thousands. The most striking feature of the political state is not
governments, nor constitutions, nor laws, nor enactments, nor the
judicial power, nor the police; but the universal will of the people to
be governed by the common weal. Take off that restraint, and no
government on earth could stand for an hour.

Of the many teachings of Masonry, one of the most valuable is, that we
should not depreciate this life. It does not hold, that when we reflect
on the destiny that awaits man on earth, we ought to bedew his cradle
with our tears; but, like the Hebrews, it hails the birth of a child
with joy, and holds that his birthday should be a festival.

It has no sympathy with those who profess to have proved this life, and
found it little worth; who have deliberately made up their minds that it
is far more miserable than happy; because its employments are tedious,
and their schemes often baffled, their friendships broken, or their
friends dead, its pleasures palled, and its honors faded, and its paths
beaten, familiar, and dull.

Masonry deems it no mark of great piety toward God to disparage, if not
despise, the state that He has ordained for us. It does not absurdly set
up the claims of another world, not in comparison merely, but in
competition, with the claims of this. It looks upon both as parts of one
system. It holds that a man may make the best of this world and of
another at the same time. It does not teach its initiates to think
better of other works and dispensations of God, by thinking meanly of
these. It does not look upon life as so much time lost; nor regard its
employments as trifles unworthy of immortal beings; nor tell its
followers to fold their arms, as if in disdain of their state and
species; but it looks soberly and cheerfully upon the world, as a
theatre of worthy action, of exalted usefulness, and of rational and
innocent enjoyment.

It holds that, with all its evils, life is a blessing. To deny that is
to destroy the basis of all religion, natural and revealed. The very
foundation of all religion is laid on the firm belief that God is good;
and if this life is an evil and a curse, no such belief can be
rationally entertained. To level our satire at humanity and human
existence, as mean and contemptible; to look on this world as the
habitation of a miserable race, fit only for mockery and scorn; to
consider this earth as a dungeon or a prison, which has no blessing to
offer but escape from it, is to extinguish the primal light of faith and
hope and happiness, to destroy the basis of religion, and Truth’s
foundation in the goodness of God. If it indeed be so, then it matters
not what else is true or not true; speculation is vain and faith is
vain; and all that belongs to man’s highest being is buried in the ruins
of misanthropy, melancholy, and despair.

Our love of life; the tenacity with which, in sorrow and suffering, we
cling to it; our attachment to our home, to the spot that gave us birth,
to any place, however rude, unsightly, or barren, on which the history
of our years has been written, all show how dear are the ties of kindred
and society. Misery makes a greater impression upon us than happiness;
because the former is not the habit of our minds. It is a strange,
unusual guest, and we are more conscious of its presence. Happiness
lives with us, and we forget it. It does not excite us, nor disturb the
order and course of our thoughts. A great agony is an epoch in our life.
We remember our afflictions, as we do the storm and earthquake, because
they are out of the common course of things. They are like disastrous
events, recorded because extraordinary; and with whole and unnoticed
periods of prosperity between. We mark and signalize the times of
calamity; but many happy days and unnoted periods of enjoyment pass,
that are unrecorded either in the book of memory, or in the scanty
annals of our thanksgiving. We are little disposed and less able to call
up from the dim remembrances of our past years, the peaceful moments,
the easy sensations, the bright thoughts, the quiet reveries, the
throngs of kind affections in which life flowed on, bearing us almost
unconsciously upon its bosom, because it bore us calmly and gently.

Life is not only good; but it has been glorious in the experience of
millions. The glory of all human virtue clothes it. The splendors of
devotedness, beneficence, and heroism are upon it; the crown of a
thousand martyrdoms is upon its brow. The brightness of the soul shines
through this visible and sometimes darkened life; through all its
surrounding cares and labors. The humblest life may feel its connection
with its Infinite Source. There is something mighty in the frail inner
man; something of immortality in this momentary and transient being. The
mind stretches away, on every side, into infinity. Its thoughts flash
abroad, far into the boundless, the immeasurable, the infinite; far into
the great, dark, teeming future; and become powers and influences in
other ages. To know its wonderful Author, to bring down wisdom from the
Eternal Stars, to bear upward its homage, gratitude, and love, to the
Ruler of all worlds, to be immortal in our influences projected far into
the slow-approaching Future, makes life most worthy and most glorious.

Life is the wonderful creation of God. It is light, sprung from void
darkness; power, waked from inertness and impotence; being created from
nothing; and the contrast may well enkindle wonder and delight. It is a
rill from the infinite, overflowing goodness; and from the moment when
it first gushes up into the light, to that when it mingles with the
ocean of Eternity, that Goodness attends it and ministers to it. It is a
great and glorious gift. There is gladness in its infant voices; joy in
the buoyant step of its youth; deep satisfaction in its strong maturity;
and peace in its quiet age. There is good for the good; virtue for the
faithful; and victory for the valiant. There is, even in this humble
life, an infinity for those whose desires are boundless. There are
blessings upon its birth; there is hope in its death; and eternity in
its prospect. Thus earth, which binds many in chains, is to the Mason
both the starting-place and goal of immortality. Many it buries in the
rubbish of dull cares and wearying vanities; but to the Mason it is the
lofty mount of meditation, where Heaven, and Infinity and Eternity are
spread before him and around him. To the lofty-minded, the pure, and the
virtuous, this life is the beginning of Heaven, and a part of

God hath appointed one remedy for all the evils in the world; and that
is a contented spirit. We may be reconciled to poverty and a low
fortune, if we suffer contentedness and equanimity to make the
proportions. No man is poor who doth not think himself so; but if, in a
full fortune, with impatience he desires more, he proclaims his wants
and his beggarly condition. This virtue of contentedness was the sum of
all the old moral philosophy, and is of most universal use in the whole
course of our lives, and the only instrument to ease the burdens of the
world and the enmities of sad chances. It is the great reasonableness of
complying with the Divine Providence, which governs all the world, and
hath so ordered us in the administration of His great family. It is fit
that God should dispense His gifts as He pleases; and if we murmur here,
we may, at the next melancholy, be troubled that He did not make us to
be angels or stars.

We ourselves make our fortunes good or bad; and when God lets loose a
Tyrant upon us, or a sickness, or scorn, or a lessened fortune, if we
fear to die, or know not how to be patient, or are proud, or covetous,
then the calamity sits heavy on us. But if we know how to manage a noble
principle, and fear not death so much as a dishonest action, and think
impatience a worse evil than a fever, and pride to be the greatest
disgrace as well as the greatest folly, and poverty far preferable to
the torments of avarice, we may still bear an even mind and smile at the
reverses of fortune and the ill-nature of Fate.

If thou hast lost thy land, do not also lose thy constancy; and if thou
must die sooner than others, or than thou didst expect, yet do not die
impatiently. For no chance is evil to him who is content, and to a man
nothing is miserable unless it be unreasonable. No man can make another
man to be his slave, unless that other hath first enslaved himself to
life and death, to pleasure or pain, to hope or fear; command these
passions, and you are freer than the Parthian Kings.

When an enemy reproaches us, let us look on him as an impartial relator
of our faults; for he will tell us truer than our fondest friend will,
and we may forgive his anger, whilst we make use of the plainness of his
declamation. The ox, when he is weary, treads truest; and if there be
nothing else in abuse, but that it makes us to walk warily, and tread
sure for fear of our enemies, that is better than to be flattered into
pride and carelessness.

If thou fallest from thy employment in public, take sanctuary in an
honest retirement, being indifferent to thy gain abroad, or thy safety
at home. When the north wind blows hard, and it rains sadly, we do not
sit down in it and cry; but defend ourselves against it with a warm
garment, or a good fire and a dry roof. So when the storm of a sad
mischance beats upon our spirits, we may turn it into something that is
good, if we resolve to make it so; and with equanimity and patience may
shelter ourselves from its inclement pitiless pelting. If it develop our
patience, and give occasion for heroic endurance, it hath done us good
enough to recompense us sufficiently for all the temporal affliction;
for so a wise man shall overrule his stars; and have a greater influence
upon his own content, than all the constellations and planets of the

Compare not thy condition with the few above thee, but to secure thy
content, look upon those thousands with whom thou wouldst not, for any
interest, change thy fortune and condition. A soldier must not think
himself unprosperous, if he be not successful as Alexander or
Wellington; nor any man deem himself unfortunate that he hath not the
wealth of Rothschild; but rather let the former rejoice that he is not
lessened like the many generals who went down horse and man before
Napoleon, and the latter that he is not the beggar who, bareheaded in
the bleak winter wind holds out his tattered hat for charity. There may
be many who are richer and more fortunate; but many thousands who are
very miserable, compared to thee.

After the worst assaults of Fortune, there will be something left to
us,–a merry countenance, a cheerful spirit, and a good conscience, the
Providence of God, our hopes of Heaven, our charity for those who have
injured us; perhaps a loving wife, and many friends to pity, and some to
relieve us; and light and air, and all the beauties of Nature; we can
read, discourse, and meditate; and having still these blessings, we
should be much in love with sorrow and peevishness to lose them all, and
prefer to sit down on our little handful of thorns.

Enjoy the blessings of this day, if God sends them, and the evils of it
bear patiently and calmly; for this day only is ours: we are dead to
yesterday, and we are not yet born to the morrow. When our fortunes are
violently changed, our spirits are unchanged, if they always stood in
the suburbs and expectation of sorrows and reverses. The blessings of
immunity, safeguard, liberty, and integrity deserve the thanksgiving of
a whole life. We are quit from a thousand calamities, every one of
which, if it were upon us, would make us insensible of our present
sorrow, and glad to receive it in exchange for that other greater

Measure your desires by your fortune and condition, not your fortunes by
your desires: be governed by your needs, not by your fancy; by nature,
not by evil customs and ambitious principles. It is no evil to be poor,
but to be vicious and impatient. Is that beast better, that hath two or
three mountains to graze on, than the little bee that feeds on dew or
manna, and lives upon what falls every morning from the store-houses of
Heaven, clouds and Providence?

There are some instances of fortune and a fair condition that cannot
stand with some others; but if you desire this, you must lose that, and
unless you be content with one, you lose the comfort of both. If you
covet learning, you must have leisure and a retired life; if honors of
State and political distinctions, you must be ever abroad in public, and
get experience, and do all men’s business, and keep all company, and
have no leisure at all. If you will be rich, you must be frugal; if you
will be popular, you must be bountiful; if a philosopher, you must
despise riches. If you would be famous as Epaminondas, accept also his
poverty, for it added lustre to his person, and envy to his fortune, and
his virtue without it could not have been so excellent. If you would
have the reputation of a martyr, you must needs accept his persecution;
if of a benefactor of the world, the world’s injustice; if truly great,
you must expect to see the mob prefer lesser men to yourself.

God esteems it one of His glories, that He brings good out of evil; and
therefore it were but reason we should trust Him to govern His own world
as He pleases; and that we should patiently wait until the change
cometh, or the reason is discovered.

A Mason’s contentedness must by no means be a mere contented
selfishness, like his who, comfortable himself, is indifferent to the
discomfort of others. There will always be in this world wrongs to
forgive, suffering to alleviate, sorrow asking for sympathy, necessities
and destitution to relieve, and ample occasion for the exercise of
active charity and beneficence. And he who sits unconcerned amidst it
all, perhaps enjoying his own comforts and luxuries the more, by
contrasting them with the hungry and ragged destitution and shivering
misery of his fellows, is not contented, but selfish and unfeeling.

It is the saddest of all sights upon this earth, that of a man lazy and
luxurious, or hard and penurious, to whom want appeals in vain, and
suffering cries in an unknown tongue. The man whose hasty anger hurries
him into violence and crime is not half so unworthy to live. He is the
faithless steward, that embezzles what God has given him in trust for
the impoverished and suffering among his brethren. The true Mason must
be and must have a right to be content with himself; and he can be so
only when he lives not for himself alone, but for others also, who need
his assistance and have a claim upon his sympathy.

“Charity is the great channel,” it has been well said, “through which
God passes all His mercy upon mankind. For we receive absolution of our
sins in proportion to our forgiving our brother. This is the rule of our
hopes and the measure of our desire in this world; and on the day of
death and judgment, the great sentence upon mankind shall be transacted
according to our alms, which is the other part of charity. God himself
is love; and every degree of charity that dwells in us is the
participation of the Divine nature.”

These principles Masonry reduces to practice. By them it expects you to
be hereafter guided and governed. It especially inculcates them upon him
who employs the labor of others, forbidding him to discharge them, when
to want employment is to starve; or to contract for the labor of man or
woman at so low a price that by over-exertion they must sell him their
blood and life at the same time with the labor of their hands.

These Degrees are also intended to teach _more_ than morals. The symbols
and ceremonies of Masonry have more than one meaning. They rather
_conceal_ than _disclose_ the Truth. They _hint_ it only, at least; and
their varied meanings are only to be discovered by reflection and study.
Truth is not only symbolized by Light, but as the ray of light is
separable into rays of different colors, so is truth separable into
kinds. It is the province of Masonry to teach _all_ truths–not moral
truth alone, but political and philosophical, and even religious truth,
so far as concerns the great and essential principles of each. The
sphynx was a symbol. To whom has it disclosed its inmost meaning? Who
knows the symbolic meaning of the pyramids?

You will hereafter learn who are the chief foes of human liberty
symbolized by the assassins of the Master Khūrūm; and in their
fate you may see foreshadowed that which we earnestly hope will
hereafter overtake those enemies of humanity, against whom Masonry has
struggled so long.





[Elu of the Nine.]

Originally created to reward fidelity, obedience, and devotion, this
Degree was consecrated to bravery, devotedness, and patriotism; and your
obligation has made known to you the duties which you have assumed. They
are summed up in the simple mandate, “Protect the oppressed against the
oppressor; and devote yourself to the honor and interests of your

Masonry is not “speculative,” nor theoretical, but experimental; not
sentimental, but practical. It requires self-renunciation and
self-control. It wears a stern face toward men’s vices, and interferes
with many of our pursuits and our fancied pleasures. It penetrates
beyond the region of vague sentiment; beyond the regions where
moralizers and philosophers have woven their fine theories and
elaborated their beautiful maxims, to the very depths of the heart,
rebuking our littlenesses and meannesses, arraigning our prejudices and
passions, and warring against the armies of our vices.

It wars against the passions that spring out of the bosom of a world of
fine sentiments, a world of admirable sayings and foul practices, of
good maxims and bad deeds; whose darker passions are not only restrained
by custom and ceremony, but hidden even from itself by a veil of
beautiful sentiments. This terrible solecism has existed in all ages.
Romish sentimentalism has often covered infidelity and vice; Protestant
straightness often lauds spirituality and faith, and neglects homely
truth, candor, and generosity; and ultra-liberal Rationalistic
refinement sometimes soars to heaven in its dreams, and wallows in the
mire of earth in its deeds.

There may be a world of Masonic sentiment; and yet a world of little or
no Masonry. In many minds there is a vague and general sentiment of
Masonic charity, generosity, and disinterestedness, but no practical,
active virtue, nor habitual kindness, self-sacrifice, or liberality.
Masonry plays about them like the cold though brilliant lights that
flush and eddy over Northern skies. There are occasional flashes of
generous and manly feeling, transitory splendors, and momentary gleams
of just and noble thought, and transient coruscations, that light the
Heaven of their imagination; but there is no vital warmth in the heart;
and it remains as cold and sterile as the Arctic or Antarctic regions.
They _do_ nothing; they gain no victories over themselves; they make no
progress; they are still in the Northeast corner of the Lodge, as when
they first stood there as Apprentices; and they do not cultivate
Masonry, with a cultivation, determined, resolute, and regular, like
their cultivation of their estate, profession, or knowledge. Their
Masonry takes its chance in general and inefficient sentiment,
mournfully barren of results; in words and formulas and fine

Most men have _sentiments_, but not _principles_. The former are
temporary sensations, the latter permanent and controlling impressions
of goodness and virtue. The former are general and involuntary, and do
not rise to the character of virtue. Every one feels them. They flash up
spontaneously in every heart. The latter are rules of action, and shape
and control our conduct; and it is these that Masonry insists upon.

We approve the right; but pursue the wrong. It is the old story of human
deficiency. No one abets or praises injustice, fraud, oppression,
covetousness, revenge, envy, or slander; and yet how many who condemn
these things, are themselves guilty of them. It is no rare thing for him
whose indignation is kindled at a tale of wicked injustice, cruel
oppression, base slander, or misery inflicted by unbridled indulgence;
whose anger flames in behalf of the injured and ruined victims of wrong;
to be in some relation unjust, or oppressive, or envious, or
self-indulgent, or a careless talker of others. How wonderfully
indignant the penurious man often is, at the avarice or want of public
spirit of another!

A great Preacher well said, “Therefore thou art inexcusable. O Man,
whosoever thou art, that judgest; for wherein thou judgest another, thou
condemnest thyself: for thou that judgest, doest the same things.” It is
amazing to see how men can talk of virtue and honor, whose life denies
both. It is curious to see with what a marvellous facility many bad men
quote Scripture. It seems to comfort their evil consciences, to use good
words; and to gloze over bad deeds with holy texts, wrested to their
purpose. Often, the more a man talks about Charity and Toleration, the
less he has of either; the more he talks about Virtue, the smaller stock
he has of it. The mouth speaks out of the abundance of the heart; but
often the very reverse of what the man practises. And the vicious and
sensual often express, and in a sense feel, strong disgust at vice and
sensuality. Hypocrisy is not so common as is imagined.

Here, in the Lodge, virtue and vice are matters of reflection and
feeling only. There is little opportunity here, for the practice of
either; and Masons yield to the argument here, with facility and
readiness; because nothing is to follow. It is easy, and safe, here, to
_feel_ upon these matters. But to-morrow, when they breathe the
atmosphere of worldly gains and competitions, and the passions are again
stirred at the opportunities of unlawful pleasure, all their fine
emotions about virtue, all their generous abhorrence of selfishness and
sensuality, melt away like a morning cloud.

For the time, their emotions and sentiments are sincere and real. Men
may be really, in a certain way, interested in Masonry, while fatally
deficient in virtue. It is not always hypocrisy. Men pray most fervently
and sincerely, and yet are constantly guilty of acts so bad and base, so
ungenerous and unrighteous, that the crimes that crowd the dockets of
our courts are scarcely worse.

A man may be a good sort of man in general, and yet a very bad man in
particular: good in the Lodge and bad in the world; good in public, and
bad in his family; good at home, and bad on a journey or in a strange
city. Many a man earnestly desires to be a good Mason. He says so, and
is sincere. But if you require him to resist a certain passion, to
sacrifice a certain indulgence, to control his appetite at a particular
feast, or to keep his temper in a dispute, you will find that he does
not wish to be a good Mason, _in that particular case_; or, wishing, is
not able to resist his worse impulses.

The _duties_ of life are more than life. The law imposeth it upon every
citizen, that he prefer the urgent service of his country before the
safety of his life. If a man be commanded, saith a great writer, to
bring ordnance or munition to relieve any of the King’s towns that are
distressed, then he cannot for any danger of tempest justify the
throwing of them overboard; for there it holdeth which was spoken by the
Roman, when the same necessity of weather was alleged to hold him from
embarking: “_Necesse est ut eam, non ut vivam_:” it needs that I go: it
is not necessary I should live.

How ungratefully he slinks away, who dies, and does nothing to reflect a
glory to Heaven! How barren a tree he is, who lives, and spreads, and
cumbers the ground, yet leaves not one seed, not one good work to
generate another after him! All cannot leave alike; yet all may leave
_something_, answering their proportions and their kinds. Those are dead
and withered grains of corn, out of which there will not one ear spring.
He will hardly find the way to Heaven, who desires to go thither alone.

Industry is never wholly unfruitful. If it bring not joy with the
incoming profit, it will yet banish mischief from thy busied gates.
There is a kind of good angel waiting upon Diligence that ever carries a
laurel in his hand to crown her. How unworthy was that man of the world
who never did aught, but only lived and died! That we have liberty to do
anything, we should account it a gift from the favoring Heavens; that we
have minds sometimes inclining us to use that liberty well, is a great
bounty of the Deity.

Masonry is action, and not inertness. It requires its Initiates to WORK,
actively and earnestly, for the benefit of their brethren, their
country, and mankind. It is the patron of the oppressed, as it is the
comforter and consoler of the unfortunate and wretched. It seems to it a
worthier honor to be the instrument of advancement and reform, than to
enjoy all that rank and office and lofty titles can bestow. It is the
advocate of the common people in those things which concern the best
interests of mankind. It hates insolent power and impudent usurpation.
It pities the poor, the sorrowing, the disconsolate; it endeavors to
raise and improve the ignorant, the sunken, and the degraded.

Its fidelity to its mission will be accurately evidenced, by the extent
of the efforts it employs, and the means it sets on foot, to improve the
people at large and to better their condition; chiefest of which,
within its reach, is to aid in the education of the children of the
poor. An intelligent people, informed of its rights, will soon come to
know its power, and cannot long be oppressed; but if there be not a
sound and virtuous populace, the elaborate ornaments at the top of the
pyramid of society will be a wretched compensation for the want of
solidity at the base. It is never safe for a nation to repose on the lap
of ignorance: and if there ever was a time when public tranquillity was
insured by the absence of knowledge, that season is past. Unthinking
stupidity cannot sleep, without being appalled by phantoms and shaken by
terrors. The improvement of the mass of the people is the grand security
for popular liberty; in the neglect of which, the politeness,
refinement, and knowledge accumulated in the higher orders and wealthier
classes will some day perish like dry grass in the hot fire of popular

It is not the mission of Masonry to engage in plots and conspiracies
against the civil government. It is not the fanatical propagandist of
any creed or theory; nor does it proclaim itself the enemy of kings. It
is the apostle of liberty, equality, and fraternity; but it is no more
the high-priest of republicanism than of constitutional monarchy. It
contracts no entangling alliances with any sect of theorists, dreamers,
or philosophers. It does not know those as its Initiates who assail the
civil order and all lawful authority, at the same time that they propose
to deprive the dying of the consolations of religion. It sits apart from
all sects and creeds, in its own calm and simple dignity, the same under
every government. It is still that which it was in the cradle of the
human race, when no human foot had trodden the soil of Assyria and
Egypt, and no colonies had crossed the Himalayas into Southern India,
Media, or Etruria.

It gives no countenance to anarchy and licentiousness; and no illusion
of glory, or extravagant emulation of the ancients inflames it with an
unnatural thirst for ideal and Utopian liberty. It teaches that in
rectitude of life and sobriety of habits is the only sure guarantee for
the continuance of political freedom; and it is chiefly the soldier of
the sanctity of the laws and the rights of conscience.

It recognizes it as a truth, that necessity, as well as abstract right
and ideal justice, must have its part in the making of laws, the
administration of affairs, and the regulation of relations in society.
It sees, indeed, that necessity rules in all the affairs of man. It
knows that where any man, or any number or race of men, are so imbecile
of intellect, so degraded, so incapable of self-control, so inferior in
the scale of humanity, as to be unfit to be intrusted with the highest
prerogatives of citizenship, the great law of necessity, for the peace
and safety of the community and country, requires them to remain under
the control of those of larger intellect and superior wisdom. It trusts
and believes that God will, in his own good time, work out his own great
and wise purposes; and it is willing to wait, where it does not see its
own way clear to some certain good.

It hopes and longs for the day when all the races of men, even the
lowest, will be elevated, and become fitted for political freedom; when,
like all other evils that afflict the earth, pauperism, and bondage or
abject dependence, shall cease and disappear. But it does not preach
revolution to those who are fond of kings, nor rebellion that can end
only in disaster and defeat, or in substituting one tyrant for another,
or a multitude of despots for one.

Wherever a people is fit to be free and to govern itself, and generously
strives to be so, there go all its sympathies. It detests the tyrant,
the lawless oppressor, the military usurper, and him who abuses a lawful
power. It frowns upon cruelty, and a wanton disregard of the rights of
humanity. It abhors the selfish employer, and exerts its influence to
lighten the burdens which want and dependence impose upon the workman,
and to foster that humanity and kindness which man owes to even the
poorest and most unfortunate brother.

It can never be employed, in any country under Heaven, to teach a
toleration for cruelty, to weaken moral hatred for guilt, or to deprave
and brutalize the human mind. The dread of punishment will never make a
Mason an accomplice in so corrupting his countrymen, and a teacher of
depravity and barbarity. If anywhere, as has heretofore happened, a
tyrant should send a satirist on his tyranny to be convicted and
punished as a libeller, in a court of justice, a Mason, if a juror in
such a case, though in sight of the scaffold streaming with the blood of
the innocent, and within hearing of the clash of the bayonets meant to
overawe the court, would rescue the intrepid satirist from the tyrant’s
fangs, and send his officers out from the court with defeat and

Even if all law and liberty were trampled under the feet of Jacobinical
demagogues or a military banditti, and great crimes were perpetrated
with a high hand against all who were deservedly the objects of public
veneration; if the people, overthrowing law, roared like a sea around
the courts of justice, and demanded the blood of those who, during the
temporary fit of insanity and drunken delirium, had chanced to become
odious to it, for true words manfully spoken, or unpopular acts bravely
done, the Masonic juror, unawed alike by the single or the many-headed
tyrant, would consult the dictates of duty alone, and stand with a noble
firmness between the human tigers and their coveted prey.

The Mason would much rather pass his life hidden in the recesses of the
deepest obscurity, feeding his mind even with the visions and
imaginations of good deeds and noble actions, than to be placed on the
most splendid throne of the universe, tantalized with a denial of the
practice of all which can make the greatest situation any other than the
greatest curse. And if he has been enabled to lend the slightest step to
any great and laudable designs; if he has had any share in any measure
giving quiet to private property and to private conscience, making
lighter the yoke of poverty and dependence, or relieving deserving men
from oppression; if he has aided in securing to his countrymen that best
possession, peace; if he has joined in reconciling the different
sections of his own country to each other, and the people to the
government of their own creating; and in teaching the citizen to look
for his protection to the laws of his country, and for his comfort to
the good-will of his countrymen; if he has thus taken his part with the
best of men in the best of their actions, he may well shut the book,
even if he might wish to read a page or two more. It is enough for his
measure. He has not lived in vain.

Masonry teaches that all power is delegated for the good, and not for
the injury of the People; and that, when it is perverted from the
original purpose, the compact is broken, and the right ought to be
resumed; that resistance to power usurped is not merely a duty which man
owes to himself and to his neighbor, but a duty which he owes to his
God, in asserting and maintaining the rank which He gave him in the
creation. This principle neither the rudeness of ignorance can stifle
nor the enervation of refinement extinguish. It makes it base for a man
to suffer when he ought to act; and, tending to preserve to him the
original destinations of Providence, spurns at the arrogant assumptions
of Tyrants and vindicates the independent quality of the race of which
we are a part.

The wise and well-informed Mason will not fail to be the votary of
Liberty and Justice. He will be ready to exert himself in their defence,
wherever they exist. It cannot be a matter of indifference to him when
his own liberty and that of other men, with whose merits and capacities
he is acquainted, are involved in the event of the struggle to be made;
but his attachment will be to the cause, as the cause of man; and not
merely to the country. Wherever there is a people that understands the
value of political justice, and is prepared to assert it, that is his
country; wherever he can most contribute to the diffusion of these
principles and the real happiness of mankind, that is his country. Nor
does he desire for any country any other benefit than justice.

The true Mason identifies the honor of his country with his own. Nothing
more conduces to the beauty and glory of one’s country than the
preservation against all enemies of its civil and religious liberty. The
world will never willingly let die the names of those patriots who in
her different ages have received upon their own breasts the blows aimed
by insolent enemies at the bosom of their country.

But also it conduces, and in no small measure, to the beauty and glory
of one’s country, that justice should always be administered there to
all alike, and neither denied, sold, nor delayed to any one; that the
interest of the poor should be looked to, and none starve or be
houseless, or clamor in vain for work; that the child and the feeble
woman should not be overworked, or even the apprentice or slave be
stinted of food or overtasked or mercilessly scourged; and that God’s
great laws of mercy, humanity, and compassion should be everywhere
enforced, not only by the statutes, but also by the power of public
opinion. And he who labors, often against reproach and obloquy, and
oftener against indifference and apathy, to bring about that fortunate
condition of things when that great code of divine law shall be
everywhere and punctually obeyed, is no less a patriot than he who bares
his bosom to the hostile steel in the ranks of his country’s soldiery.

For fortitude is not only seen resplendent on the field of battle and
amid the clash of arms, but he displays its energy under every
difficulty and against every assailant. He who wars against cruelty,
oppression, and hoary abuses, fights for his country’s honor, which
these things soil; and her honor is as important as her existence.
Often, indeed, the warfare against those abuses which disgrace one’s
country is quite as hazardous and more discouraging than that against
her enemies in the field; and merits equal, if not greater reward.

For those Greeks and Romans who are the objects of our admiration
employed hardly any other virtue in the extirpation of tyrants, than
that love of liberty, which made them prompt in seizing the sword, and
gave them strength to use it. With facility they accomplish the
undertaking, amid the general shout of praise and joy; nor did they
engage in the attempt so much as an enterprise of perilous and doubtful
issue, as a contest the most glorious in which virtue could be
signalized; which infallibly led to present recompense; which bound
their brows with wreaths of laurel, and consigned their memories to
immortal fame.

But he who assails hoary abuses, regarded perhaps with a superstitious
reverence, and around which old laws stand as ramparts and bastions to
defend them; who denounces acts of cruelty and outrage on humanity which
make every perpetrator thereof his personal enemy, and perhaps make him
looked upon with suspicion by the people among whom he lives, as the
assailant of an established order of things of which he assails only the
abuses, and of laws of which he attacks only the violations,–he can
scarcely look for present recompense, nor that his living brows will be
wreathed with laurel. And if, contending against a dark array of
long-received opinions, superstitions, obloquy, and fears, which most
men dread more than they do an army terrible with banners, the Mason
overcomes, and emerges from the contest victorious; or if he does _not_
conquer, but is borne down and swept away by the mighty current of
prejudice, passion, and interest; in either case, the loftiness of
spirit which he displays merits for him more than a mediocrity of fame.

He has already lived too long who has survived the ruin of his country;
and he who can enjoy life after such an event deserves not to have lived
at all. Nor does he any more deserve to live who looks contentedly upon
abuses that disgrace, and cruelties that dishonor, and scenes of misery
and destitution and brutalization that disfigure his country; or sordid
meanness and ignoble revenges that make her a by-word and a scoff among
all generous nations; and does not endeavor to remedy or prevent either.

Not often is a country at war; nor can every one be allowed the
privilege of offering his heart to the enemy’s bullets. But in these
patriotic labors of peace, in preventing, remedying, and reforming
evils, oppressions, wrongs, cruelties, and outrages, every Mason can
unite; and every one can effect something, and share the honor and glory
of the result.

For the cardinal names in the history of the human mind are few and
easily to be counted up; but thousands and tens of thousands spend their
days in the preparations which are to speed the predestined change, in
gathering and amassing the materials which are to kindle and give light
and warmth, when the fire from Heaven shall have descended on them.
Numberless are the sutlers and pioneers, the engineers and artisans, who
attend the march of intellect. Many move forward in detachments, and
level the way over which the chariot is to pass, and cut down the
obstacles that would impede its progress; and these too have their
reward. If they labor diligently and faithfully in their calling, not
only will they enjoy that calm contentment which diligence in the
lowliest task never fails to win; not only will the sweat of their brows
be sweet, and the sweetener of the rest that follows; but, when the
victory is at last achieved, they will come in for a share in the glory;
even as the meanest soldier who fought at Marathon or at King’s Mountain
became a sharer in the glory of those saving days; and within his own
household circle, the approbation of which approaches the nearest to
that of an approving conscience, was looked upon as the representative
of all his brother-heroes; and could tell such tales as made the tear
glisten on the cheek of his wife, and lit up his boy’s eyes with an
unwonted sparkling eagerness. Or, if he fell in the fight, and his place
by the fireside and at the table at home was thereafter vacant, that
place was sacred; and he was often talked of there in the long winter
evenings; and his family, was deemed fortunate in the neighborhood,
because it had had a hero in it, who had fallen in defence of his

Remember that life’s length is not measured by its hours and days, but
by that which we have done therein for our country and kind. A useless
life is short, if it last a century; but that of Alexander was long as
the life of the oak, though he died at thirty-five. We may do much in a
few years, and we may do nothing in a lifetime. If we but eat and drink
and sleep, and let everything go on around us as it pleases; or if we
live but to amass wealth or gain office or wear titles, we might as well
not have lived at all; nor have we any right to expect immortality.

Forget not, therefore, to what you have devoted yourself in this Degree:
defend weakness against strength, the friendless against the great, the
oppressed against the oppressor! Be ever vigilant and watchful of the
interests and honor of your country! and may the Grand Architect of the
Universe give you that strength and wisdom which shall enable you well
and faithfully to perform these high duties!





[Elu of the Fifteen.]

This Degree is devoted to the same objects as those of the Elu of Nine;
and also to the cause of Toleration and Liberality against Fanaticism
and Persecution, political and religious; and to that of Education,
Instruction, and Enlightenment against Error, Barbarism, and Ignorance.
To these objects you have irrevocably and forever devoted your hand,
your heart, and your intellect; and whenever in your presence a Chapter
of this Degree is opened, you will be most solemnly reminded of your
vows here taken at the altar.

Toleration, holding that every other man has the same right to his
opinion and faith that we have to ours; and liberality, holding that as
no human being can with certainty say, in the clash and conflict of
hostile faiths and creeds, what is truth, or that _he_ is _surely_ in
possession of it, so every one should feel that it is quite possible
that another equally honest and sincere with himself, and yet holding
the contrary opinion, may himself be in possession of the truth, and
that whatever one firmly and conscientiously believes, _is_ truth, _to
him_–these are the mortal enemies of that fanaticism which persecutes
for opinion’s sake, and initiates crusades against whatever it, in its
imaginary holiness, deems to be contrary to the law of God or verity of
dogma. And education, instruction, and enlightenment are the most
certain means by which fanaticism and intolerance can be rendered

No true Mason scoffs at honest convictions and an ardent zeal in the
cause of what one believes to be truth and justice. But he does
absolutely deny the right of any man to assume the prerogative of Deity,
and condemn another’s faith and opinions as deserving to be punished
because heretical. Nor does he approve the course of those who endanger
the peace and quiet of great nations, and the best interest of their own
race by indulging in a chimerical and visionary philanthropy–a luxury
which chiefly consists in drawing their robes around them to avoid
contact with their fellows, and proclaiming themselves holier than they.

For he knows that such follies are often more calamitous than the
ambition of kings; and that intolerance and bigotry have been infinitely
greater curses to mankind than ignorance and error. Better _any_ error
than persecution! Better _any_ opinion than the thumb-screw, the rack,
and the stake! And he knows also how unspeakably absurd it is, for a
creature to whom himself and everything around him are mysteries, to
torture and slay others, because they cannot think as he does in regard
to the profoundest of those mysteries, to understand which is utterly
beyond the comprehension of either the persecutor or the persecuted.

Masonry is not a religion. He who makes of it a religious belief,
falsifies and denaturalizes it. The Brahmin, the Jew, the Mahometan, the
Catholic, the Protestant, each professing his peculiar religion,
sanctioned by the laws, by time, and by climate, must needs retain it,
and cannot have two religions; for the social and sacred laws adapted to
the usages, manners, and prejudices of particular countries, are the
work of men.

But Masonry teaches, and has preserved in their purity, the cardinal
tenets of the old primitive faith, which underlie and are the foundation
of all religions. All that ever existed have had a basis of truth; and
all have overlaid that truth with errors. The primitive truths taught by
the Redeemer were sooner corrupted, and intermingled and alloyed with
fictions than when taught to the first of our race. Masonry is the
universal morality which is suitable to the inhabitants of every clime,
to the man of every creed. It has taught no doctrines, except those
truths that tend directly to the well-being of man; and those who have
attempted to direct it toward useless vengeance, political ends, and
Jesuitism, have merely perverted it to purposes foreign to its pure
spirit and real nature.

Mankind outgrows the sacrifices and the mythologies of the childhood of
the world. Yet it is easy for human indolence to linger near these
helps, and refuse to pass further on. So the unadventurous Nomad in the
Tartarian wild keeps his flock in the same close-cropped circle where
they first learned to browse, while the progressive man roves ever forth
“to fresh fields and pastures new.”

The latter is the true Mason; and the best and indeed the only good
Mason is he who with the power of business does the work of life; the
upright mechanic, merchant, or farmer, the man with the power of
thought, of justice, or of love, he whose whole life is one great act of
performance of Masonic duty. The natural use of the strength of a strong
man or the wisdom of a wise one, is to do the _work_ of a strong man or
a wise one. The natural work of Masonry is practical life; the use of
all the faculties in their proper spheres, and for their natural
function. Love of Truth, justice, and generosity as attributes of God,
must appear in a life marked by these qualities; that is the only
effectual ordinance of Masonry. A profession of one’s convictions,
joining the Order, assuming the obligations, assisting at the
ceremonies, are of the same value in science as in Masonry; the natural
form of Masonry is goodness, morality, living a true, just,
affectionate, self-faithful life, from the motive of a good man. It is
loyal obedience to God’s law.

The good Mason does the good thing which comes in his way, and because
it comes in his way; from a love of duty, and not merely because a law,
enacted by man or God, commands his _will_ to do it. He is true to his
mind, his conscience, heart, and soul, and feels small temptation to do
to others what he would not wish to receive from them. He will deny
himself for the sake of his brother near at hand. His _desire_ attracts
in the line of his _duty_, both being in conjunction. Not in vain does
the poor or the oppressed look up to him. You find such men in all
Christian sects, Protestant and Catholic, in all the great religious
parties of the civilized world, among Buddhists, Mahometans, and Jews.
They are kind fathers, generous citizens, unimpeachable in their
business, beautiful in their daily lives. You see their Masonry in their
work and in their play. It appears in all the forms of their activity,
individual, domestic, social, ecclesiastical, or political. True Masonry
within must be morality without. It must become _eminent_ morality,
which is philanthropy. The true Mason loves not only his kindred and his
country, but all mankind; not only the good, but also the evil, among
his brethren. He has more goodness than the channels of his daily life
will hold. It runs over the banks, to water and to feed a thousand
thirsty plants. Not content with the duty that lies along his track, he
goes out to seek it; not only _willing_, he has a salient _longing_ to
do good, to spread his truth, his justice, his generosity, his Masonry
over all the world. His daily life is a profession of his Masonry,
published in perpetual good-will to men. He _can_ not be a persecutor.

Not more naturally does the beaver build or the mocking-bird sing his
own wild, gushing melody, than the true Mason lives in this beautiful
outward life. So from the perennial spring swells forth the stream, to
quicken the meadow with new access of green, and perfect beauty bursting
into bloom. Thus Masonry does the work it was meant to do. The Mason
does not sigh and weep, and make grimaces. He lives right on. If his
life is, as whose is not, marked with errors, and with sins, he ploughs
over the barren spot with his remorse, sows with new seed, and the old
desert blossoms like a rose. He is not confined to set forms of thought,
of action, or of feeling. He accepts what his mind regards as true, what
his conscience decides is right, what his heart deems generous and
noble; and all else he puts far from him. Though the ancient and the
honorable of the Earth bid him bow down to them, his stubborn knees bend
only at the bidding of his manly soul. His Masonry is his freedom before
God, not his bondage unto men. His mind acts after the universal law of
the intellect, his conscience according to the universal moral law, his
affections and his soul after the universal law of each, and so he is
strong with the strength of God, in this four-fold way communicating
with Him.

The old theologies, the philosophies of religion of ancient times, will
not suffice us now. The duties of life are to be done; we are to do
them, consciously obedient to the law of God, not atheistically, loving
only our selfish gain. There are sins of trade to be corrected.
Everywhere morality and philanthropy are needed. There are errors to be
made way with, and their place supplied with new truths, radiant with
the glories of Heaven. There are great wrongs and evils, in Church and
State, in domestic, social, and public life, to be righted and outgrown.
Masonry cannot in our age forsake the broad way of life. She must
journey on in the open street, appear in the crowded square, and teach
men by her deeds, her life more eloquent than any lips.

This Degree is chiefly devoted to TOLERATION; and it inculcates in the
strongest manner that great leading idea of the Ancient Art, that a
belief in the one True God, and a moral and virtuous life, constitute
the only religious requisites needed to enable a man to be a Mason.

Masonry has ever the most vivid remembrance of the terrible and
artificial torments that were used to put down new forms of religion or
extinguish the old. It sees with the eye of memory the ruthless
extermination of all the people of all sexes and ages, because it was
their misfortune not to know the God of the Hebrews, or to worship Him
under the wrong name, by the savage troops of Moses and Joshua. It sees
the thumb-screws and the racks, the whip, the gallows, and the stake,
the victims of Diocletian and Alva, the miserable Covenanters, the
Non-Conformists, Servetus burned, and the unoffending Quaker hung. It
sees Cranmer hold his arm, now no longer erring, in the flame until the
hand drops off in the consuming heat. It sees the persecutions of Peter
and Paul, the martyrdom of Stephen, the trials of Ignatius, Polycarp,
Justin, and Irenaeus; and then in turn the sufferings of the wretched
Pagans under the Christian Emperors, as of the Papists in Ireland and
under Elizabeth and the bloated Henry. The Roman Virgin naked before the
hungry lions; young Margaret Graham tied to a stake at low-water mark,
and there left to drown, singing hymns to God until the savage waters
broke over her head; and all that in all ages have suffered by hunger
and nakedness, peril and prison, the rack, the stake, and the sword,–it
sees them all, and shudders at the long roll of human atrocities. And it
sees also the oppression still practised in the name of religion–men
shot in a Christian jail in Christian Italy for reading the Christian
Bible; in almost every Christian State, laws forbidding freedom of
speech on matters relating to Christianity; and the gallows reaching its
arm over the pulpit.

The fires of Moloch in Syria, the harsh mutilations in the name of
Astarte, Cybele, Jehovah; the barbarities of imperial Pagan Torturers;
the still grosser torments which Roman-Gothic Christians in Italy and
Spain heaped on their brother-men; the fiendish cruelties to which
Switzerland, France, the Netherlands, England, Scotland, Ireland,
America, have been witnesses, are none too powerful to warn man of the
unspeakable evils which follow from mistakes and errors in the matter of
religion, and especially from investing the God of Love with the cruel
and vindictive passions of erring humanity, and making blood to have a
sweet savor in his nostrils, and groans of agony to be delicious to his

Man never had the right to usurp the unexercised prerogative of God, and
condemn and punish another for his belief. Born in a Protestant land, we
are of that faith. If we had opened our eyes to the light under the
shadows of St. Peter’s at Rome, we should have been devout Catholics;
born in the Jewish quarter of Aleppo, we should have contemned Christ as
an imposter; in Constantinople, we should have cried “_Allah il Allah_,
God is great and Mahomet is his prophet!” Birth, place, and education
give us our faith. Few believe in any religion because they have
examined the evidences of its authenticity, and made up a formal
judgment, upon weighing the testimony. Not one man in ten thousand knows
anything about the _proofs_ of his faith. We believe what we are taught;
and those are most fanatical who know least of the evidences on which
their creed is based. Facts and testimony are not, except in very rare
instances, the ground-work of faith. It is an imperative law of God’s
Economy, unyielding and inflexible as Himself, that man shall accept
without question the belief of those among whom he is born and reared;
the faith so made a part of his nature resists all evidence to the
contrary; and he will disbelieve even the evidence of his own senses,
rather than yield up the religious belief which has grown up in him,
flesh of his flesh and bone of his bone.

What is truth to _me_ is not truth to _another_. The same arguments and
evidences that convince one mind make no impression on another. This
difference is in men at their birth. No man is entitled positively to
assert that _he_ is right, where other men, equally intelligent and
equally well-informed, hold directly the opposite opinion. Each thinks
it impossible for the other to be sincere, and each, as to that, is
equally in error. “_What is truth_?” was a profound question, the most
suggestive one ever put to man. Many beliefs of former and present times
seem incomprehensible. They startle us with a new glimpse into the human
soul, that mysterious thing, more mysterious the more we note its
workings. Here is a man superior to myself in intellect and learning;
and yet he sincerely believes what seems to me too absurd to merit
confutation; and I cannot conceive, and sincerely do not believe, that
he is both sane and honest. _And yet he is both_. His reason is as
perfect as mine, and he is as honest as I.

The fancies of a lunatic are realities, _to him_. Our dreams are
realities _while they last_; and, in the Past, no more _un_real than
what we have acted in our waking hours. No man can say that he hath as
sure possession of the truth as of a chattel. When men entertain
opinions diametrically opposed to each other, and each is honest, who
shall decide which hath the Truth; and how can either say with certainty
that _he_ hath it? We know not what _is_ the truth. That we ourselves
believe and feel absolutely certain that our own belief is true, is in
reality not the slightest proof of the fact, seem it never so certain
and incapable of doubt to us. No man is responsible for the rightness of
his faith; but only for the _up_rightness of it.

Therefore no man hath or ever had a right to persecute another for his
belief; for there cannot be two antagonistic rights; and if one can
persecute another, because he himself is satisfied that the belief of
that other is erroneous, the other has, for the same reason, equally as
certain a right to persecute him.

The truth comes to us tinged and colored with our prejudices and our
preconceptions, which are as old as ourselves, and strong with a divine
force. It comes to us as the image of a rod comes to us through the
water, bent and distorted. An argument sinks into and convinces the mind
of one man, while from that of another it rebounds like a ball of ivory
dropped on marble. It is no merit in a man to have a particular faith,
excellent and sound and philosophic as it may be, when he imbibed it
with his mother’s milk. It is no more a merit than his prejudices and
his passions.

The sincere Moslem has as much right to persecute us, as we to persecute
him; and therefore Masonry wisely requires no more than a belief in One
Great All-Powerful Deity, the Father and Preserver of the Universe.
Therefore it is she teaches her votaries that toleration is one of the
chief duties of every good Mason, a component part of that charity
without which we are mere hollow images of true Masons, mere sounding
brass and tinkling cymbals.

No evil hath so afflicted the world as intolerance of religious opinion.
The human beings it has slain in various ways, if once and together
brought to life, would make a nation of people; left to live and
increase, would have doubled the population of the civilized portion of
the globe; among which civilized portion it chiefly is that religious
wars are waged. The treasure and the human labor thus lost would have
made the earth a garden, in which, but for his evil passions, man might
now be as happy as in Eden.

No man truly obeys the Masonic law who _merely_ tolerates those whose
religious opinions are opposed to his own. Every man’s opinions are his
own private property, and the rights of all men to maintain each his own
are perfectly equal. Merely to _tolerate_, to _bear with_ an opposing
opinion, is to assume it to be heretical; and assert the _right_ to
persecute, if we would; and claim our _toleration_ of it as a merit. The
Mason’s creed goes further than that. No man, it holds, has any right in
any way to interfere with the religious belief of another. It holds that
each man is absolutely sovereign as to his own belief, and that belief
is a matter absolutely foreign to all who do not entertain the same
belief; and that, if there were any right of persecution at all, it
would in all cases be a mutual right; because one party has the same
right as the other to sit as judge in his own case; and God is the only
magistrate that can rightfully decide between them. To that great Judge,
Masonry refers the matter; and opening wide its portals, it invites to
enter there and live in peace and harmony, the Protestant, the Catholic,
the Jew, the Moslem; every man who will lead a truly virtuous and moral
life, love his brethren, minister to the sick and distressed, and
believe in the ONE, _All-Powerful, All-Wise, everywhere-Present_ GOD,
_Architect, Creator_, and _Preserver of all things_, by whose universal
law of Harmony ever rolls on this universe, the great, vast, infinite
circle of successive Death and Life:–to whose INEFFABLE NAME let all
true Masons pay profoundest homage! for whose thousand blessings poured
upon us, let us feel the sincerest gratitude, now, henceforth, and

We may well be tolerant of each other’s creed; for in every faith there
are excellent moral precepts. Far in the South of Asia, Zoroaster taught
this doctrine:

“On commencing a journey. The Faithful should turn his thoughts
toward Ormuzd, and confess him, in the purity of his heart, to be
King of the World; he should love him, do him homage, and serve
him. He must be upright and charitable, despise the pleasures of
the body, and avoid pride and haughtiness, and vice in all its
forms, and especially falsehood, one of the basest sins of which,
man can be guilty. He must forget injuries and not avenge himself.
He must honor the memory of his parents and relatives. At night,
before retiring to sleep, he should rigorously examine his
conscience, and repent of the faults which weakness or ill-fortune
had caused him to commit.”

He was required to pray for strength to persevere in the Good, and to
obtain forgiveness for his errors. It was his duty to confess his faults
to a Magus, or to a layman renowned for his virtues, or to the Sun.
Fasting and maceration were prohibited; and, on the contrary, it was his
duty suitably to nourish the body and to maintain its vigor, that his
soul might be strong to resist the Genius of Darkness; that he might
more attentively read the Divine Word, and have more courage to perform
noble deeds.

And in the North of Europe the Druids taught devotion to friends,
indulgence for reciprocal wrongs, love of deserved praise, prudence,
humanity, hospitality, respect for old age, disregard of the future,
temperance, contempt of death, and a chivalrous deference to woman.
Listen to these maxims from the Hava Maal, or Sublime Book of Odin:

“If thou hast a friend, visit him often; the path will grow over
with grass, and the trees soon cover it, if thou dost not
constantly walk upon it. He is a faithful friend, who, having but
two loaves, gives his friend one. Be never first to break with thy
friend; sorrow wrings the heart of him who has no one save himself
with whom to take counsel. There is no virtuous man who has not
some vice, no bad man who has not some virtue. Happy he who obtains
the praise and good-will of men; for all that depends on the will
of another is hazardous and uncertain. Riches flit away in the
twinkling of an eye; they are the most inconstant of friends;
flocks and herds perish, parents die, friends are not immortal,
thou thyself diest; I know but one thing that doth not die, the
judgment that is passed upon the dead. Be humane toward those whom
thou meetest on the road. If the guest that cometh to thy house is
a-cold, give him fire; the man who has journeyed over the mountains
needs food and dry garments. Mock not at the aged; for words full
of sense come often from the wrinkles of age. Be moderately wise,
and not over-prudent. Let no one seek to know his destiny, if he
would sleep tranquilly. There is no malady more cruel than to be
discontented with our lot. The glutton eats his own death; and the
wise man laughs at the fool’s greediness. Nothing is more injurious
to the young than excessive drinking; the more one drinks the more
he loses his reason; the bird of forgetfulness sings before those
who intoxicate themselves, and wiles away their souls. Man devoid
of sense believes he will live always if he avoids war; but, if the
lances spare him, old age will give him no quarter. Better live
well than live long. When a man lights a fire in his house, death
comes before it goes out.”

And thus said the Indian books:

“Honor thy father and mother. Never forget the benefits thou hast
received. Learn while thou art young. Be submissive to the laws of
thy country. Seek the company of virtuous men. Speak not of God but
with respect. Live on good terms with thy fellow-citizens. Remain
in thy proper place. Speak ill of no one. Mock at the bodily
infirmities of none. Pursue not unrelentingly a conquered enemy.
Strive to acquire a good reputation. Take counsel with wise men.
The more one learns, the more he acquires the faculty of learning.
Knowledge is the most permanent wealth. As well be dumb as
ignorant. The true use of knowledge is to distinguish good from
evil. Be not a subject of shame to thy parents. What one learns in
youth endures like the engraving upon a rock. He is wise who knows
himself. Let thy books be thy best friends. When thou attainest an
hundred years, cease to learn. Wisdom is solidly planted, even on
the shifting ocean. Deceive no one, not even thine enemy. Wisdom is
a treasure that everywhere commands its value. Speak mildly, even
to the poor. It is sweeter to forgive than to take vengeance.
Gaming and quarrels lead to misery. There is no true merit without
the practice of virtue. To honor our mother is the most fitting
homage we can pay the Divinity. There is no tranquil sleep without
a clear conscience. He badly understands his interest who breaks
his word.”

Twenty-four centuries ago these were the Chinese Ethics:

“The Philosopher [Confucius] said, ‘SAN! my doctrine is simple, and
easy to be understood.’ THSENG-TSEU replied, ‘that is certain.’ The
Philosopher having gone out, the disciples asked what their master
had meant to say. THSENG-TSEU responded, ‘The doctrine of our
Master consists solely in being upright of heart, and loving our
neighbor as we love ourself.'”

About a Century later, the Hebrew law said,

“If any man hate his neighbor … then shall ye do unto him, as he
had thought to do unto his brother … Better is a neighbor that
is near, than a brother afar off … Thou shalt love thy neighbor
as thyself.”

In the same fifth century before Christ, SOCRATES the Grecian said,
“Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.”

Three generations earlier, ZOROASTER had said to the Persians:

“Offer up thy grateful prayers to the Lord, the most just and pure
Ormuzd, the supreme and adorable God, who thus declared to his
Prophet Zerdusht: ‘Hold it not meet to do unto others what thou
wouldst not desire done unto thyself; do that unto the people,
which, when done to thyself, is not disagreeable unto thee.'”

The same doctrine had been long taught in the schools of Babylon,
Alexandria, and Jerusalem. A Pagan declared to the Pharisee HILLEL, that
he was ready to embrace the Jewish religion, if he could make known to
him in a few words a summary of the whole law of Moses. “That which thou
likest not done to thyself,” said Hillel, “do it not unto thy neighbor.
Therein is all the law: the rest is nothing but the commentary upon it.”

“Nothing is more natural,” said CONFUCIUS, “nothing more simple,
than the principles of that morality which I endeavor, by salutary
maxims, to inculcate in you … It is humanity; which is to say,
that universal charity among all of our species, without
distinction. It is uprightness; that is, that rectitude of spirit
and of heart, which makes one seek for truth in everything, and
desire it, without deceiving one’s self or others. It is, finally,
sincerity or good faith; which is to say, that frankness, that
openness of heart, tempered by self-reliance, which excludes all
feints and all disguising, as much in speech as in action.”

To diffuse useful information, to further intellectual refinement, sure
forerunner of moral improvement, to hasten the coming of the great day,
when the dawn of general knowledge shall chase away the lazy, lingering
mists of ignorance and error, even from the base of the great social
pyramid, is indeed a high calling, in which the most splendid talents
and consummate virtue may well press onward, eager to bear a part. From
the Masonic ranks ought to go forth those whose genius and not their
ancestry ennoble them, to open to all ranks the temple of science, and
by their own example to make the humblest men emulous to climb steps no
longer inaccessible, and enter the unfolded gates burning in the sun.

The highest intellectual cultivation is perfectly compatible with the
daily cares and toils of working-men. A keen relish for the most sublime
truths of science belongs alike to every class of mankind. And, as
philosophy was taught in the sacred groves of Athens, and under the
Portico, and in the old Temples of Egypt and India, so in our Lodges
ought Knowledge to be dispensed, the Sciences taught, and the Lectures
become like the teachings of Socrates and Plato, of Agassiz and Cousin.

Real knowledge never permitted either turbulence or unbelief; but its
progress is the forerunner of liberality and enlightened toleration.
Whoso dreads these may well tremble; for he may be well assured that
their day is at length come, and must put to speedy flight the evil
spirits of tyranny and persecution, which haunted the long night now
gone down the sky. And it is to be hoped that the time will soon arrive,
when, as men will no longer suffer themselves to be led blindfolded in
ignorance, so will they no more yield to the vile principle of judging
and treating their fellow-creatures, not according to the intrinsic
merit of their _actions_, but according to the accidental and
involuntary coincidence of their _opinions_.

Whenever we come to treat with entire respect those who conscientiously
differ from ourselves, the only practical effect of a difference will
be, to make us enlighten the ignorance on one side or the other, from
which it springs, by instructing them, if it be theirs; ourselves, if it
be our own; to the end that the only kind of unanimity may be produced
which is desirable among rational beings,–the agreement proceeding from
full conviction after the freest discussion.

The Elu of Fifteen ought therefore to take the lead of his
fellow-citizen, not in frivolous amusements, not in the degrading
pursuits of the ambitious vulgar; but in the truly noble task of
enlightening the mass of his countrymen, and of leaving his own name
encircled, not with barbaric splendor, or attached to courtly gewgaws,
but illustrated by the honors most worthy of our rational nature;
coupled with the diffusion of knowledge, and gratefully pronounced by a
few, at least, whom his wise beneficence has rescued from ignorance and

We say to him, in the words of the great Roman: “Men in no respect so
nearly approach to the Deity, as when they confer benefits on men. To
serve and do good to as many as possible,–there is nothing greater in
your fortune than that you should be able, and nothing finer in your
nature, than that you should be desirous to do this.” This is the true
mark for the aim of every man and Mason who either prizes the enjoyment
of pure happiness, or sets a right value upon a high and unsullied
renown. And if the benefactors of mankind, when they rest from their
noble labors, shall be permitted to enjoy hereafter, as an appropriate
reward of their virtue, the privilege of looking down upon the blessings
with which their exertions and charities, and perhaps their toils and
sufferings have clothed the scene of their former existence, it will
not, in a state of exalted purity and wisdom, be the founders of mighty
dynasties, the conquerors of new empires, the Cæsars, Alexanders, and
Tamerlanes; nor the mere Kings and Counsellors, Presidents and Senators,
who have lived for their party chiefly, and for their country only
incidentally, often sacrificing to their own aggrandizement or that of
their faction the good of their fellow-creatures;–it will not be they
who will be gratified by contemplating the monuments of their inglorious
fame; but those will enjoy that delight and march in that triumph, who
can trace the remote effects of their enlightened benevolence in the
improved condition of their species, and exult in the reflection, that
the change which they at last, perhaps after many years, survey, with
eyes that age and sorrow can make dim no more,–of Knowledge become
Power,–Virtue sharing that Empire,–Superstition dethroned, and Tyranny
exiled, is, if even only in some small and very slight degree, yet still
in _some_ degree, the fruit, precious if costly, and though late repaid
yet long enduring, of their own self-denial and strenuous exertion, of
their own mite of charity and aid to education wisely bestowed, and of
the hardships and hazards which they encountered here below.

Masonry requires of its Initiates and votaries nothing that is
impracticable. It does not demand that they should undertake to climb to
those lofty and sublime peaks of a theoretical and imaginary unpractical
virtue, high and cold and remote as the eternal snows that wrap the
shoulders of Chimborazo, and at least as inaccessible as they. It asks
that alone to be done which is easy to be done. It overtasks no one’s
strength, and asks no one to go beyond his means and capacities. It does
not expect one whose business or profession yields him little more than
the wants of himself and his family require, and whose time is
necessarily occupied by his daily vocations, to abandon or neglect the
business by which he and his children live, and devote himself and his
means to the diffusion of knowledge among men. It does not expect him to
publish books for the people, or to lecture, to the ruin of his private
affairs, or to found academies and colleges, build up libraries, and
entitle himself to statues.

But it does require and expect every man of us to do something, within
and according to his means; and there is no Mason who _cannot_ do _some_
thing, if not alone, then by combination and association.

If a Lodge cannot aid in founding a school or an academy it can still do
something. It can educate one boy or girl, at least, the child of some
poor or departed brother. And it should never be forgotten, that in the
poorest unregarded child that seems abandoned to ignorance and vice
_may_ slumber the virtues of a Socrates, the intellect of a Bacon or a
Bossuet, the genius of a Shakespeare, the capacity to benefit mankind of
a Washington; and that in rescuing him from the mire in which he is
plunged, and giving him the means of education and development, the
Lodge that does it may be the direct and immediate means of conferring
upon the world as great a boon as that given it by John Faust the boy of
Mentz; may perpetuate the liberties of a country and change the
destinies of nations, and write a new chapter in the history of the

For we never know the importance of the act we do. The daughter of
Pharaoh little thought what she was doing for the human race, and the
vast unimaginable consequences that depended on her charitable act, when
she drew the little child of a Hebrew woman from among the rushes that
grew along the bank of the Nile, and determined to rear it as if it were
her own.

How often has an act of charity, costing the doer little, given to the
world a great painter, a great musician, a great inventor! How often has
such an act developed the ragged boy into the benefactor of his race! On
what small and apparently unimportant circumstances have turned and
hinged the fates of the world’s great conquerors. There is no law that
limits the returns that shall be reaped from a single good deed. The
widow’s mite may not only be as acceptable to God, but may produce as
great results as the rich man’s costly offering. The poorest boy, helped
by benevolence, may come to lead armies, to control senates, to decide
on peace and war, to dictate to cabinets; and his magnificent thoughts
and noble words may be law many years hereafter to millions of men yet

But the opportunity to effect a great good does not often occur to any
one. It is worse than folly for one to lie idle and inert, and expect
the accident to befall him, by which his influences shall live forever.
He can expect that to happen, only in consequence of one or many or all
of a long series of acts. He can expect to benefit the world only as men
attain other results; by continuance by persistence, by a steady and
uniform habit of laboring for the enlightenment of the world, to the
extent of his means and capacity.

For it is, in all instances, by steady labor, by giving enough of
application to our work, and having enough of time for the doing of it,
by regular pains-taking, and the plying of constant assiduities, and not
by any process of legerdemain, that we secure the strength and the
staple of real excellence. It was thus that Demosthenes, clause after
clause, and sentence after sentence, elaborated to the uttermost his
immortal orations. It was thus that Newton pioneered his way, by the
steps of an ascending geometry, to the mechanism of the Heavens, and Le
Verrier added a planet to our Solar System.

It is a most erroneous opinion that those who have left the most
stupendous monuments of intellect behind them, were not differently
exercised from the rest of the species, but only differently gifted;
that they signalized themselves only by their talent, and hardly ever by
their industry; for it is in truth to the most strenuous application of
those commonplace faculties which are diffused among all, that they are
indebted for the glories which now encircle their remembrance and their

We must not imagine it to be a vulgarizing of genius, that it should be
lighted up in any other way than by a direct inspiration from Heaven;
nor overlook the steadfastness of purpose, the devotion to some single
but great object, the unweariedness of labor that is given, not in
convulsive and preternatural throes, but by little and little as the
strength of the mind may bear it; the accumulation of many small
efforts, instead of a few grand and gigantic, but perhaps irregular
movements, on the part of energies that are marvellous; by which former
alone the great results are brought out that write their enduring
records on the face of the earth and in the history of nations and of

We must not overlook these elements, to which genius owes the best and
proudest of her achievements; nor imagine that qualities so generally
possessed as patience and pains-taking, and resolute industry, have no
share in upholding a distinction so illustrious as that of the
benefactor of his kind.

We must not forget that great results are most ordinarily produced by an
aggregate of many contributions and exertions; as it is the invisible
particles of vapor, each separate and distinct from the other, that,
rising from the oceans and their bays and gulfs, from lakes and rivers,
and wide morasses and overflowed plains, float away as clouds, and
distill upon the earth in dews, and fall in showers and rain and snows
upon the broad plains and rude mountains, and make the great navigable
streams that are the arteries along which flows the life-blood of a

And so Masonry can do much, if each Mason be content to do his share,
and if their united efforts are directed by wise counsels to a common
purpose. “It is for God and for Omnipotency to do mighty things in a
moment; but by degrees to grow to greatness is the course that He hath
left for man.”

If Masonry will but be true to her mission, and Masons to their promises
and obligations–if, re-entering vigorously upon a career of
beneficence, she and they will but pursue it earnestly and
unfalteringly, remembering that our contributions to the cause of
charity and education then deserve the greatest credit when it costs us
something, the curtailing of a comfort or the relinquishment of a
luxury, to make them–if we will but give aid to what were once
Masonry’s great schemes for human improvement, not fitfully and
spasmodically, but regularly and incessantly, as the vapors rise and the
springs run, and as the sun rises and the stars come up into the
heavens, then we may be sure that great results will be attained and a
great work done. And then it will most surely be seen that Masonry is
not effete or impotent, nor degenerated nor drooping to a fatal decay.





[Elu of the Twelve.]

The duties of a Prince Ameth are, to be earnest, true, reliable, and
sincere; to protect the people against illegal impositions and
exactions; to contend for their political rights, and to see, as far as
he may or can, that those bear the burdens who reap the benefits of the

You are to be true unto all men.

You are to be frank and sincere in all things.

You are to be earnest in doing whatever it is your duty to do.

And no man must repent that he has relied upon your resolve, your
profession, or your word.

The great distinguishing characteristic of a Mason is sympathy with his
kind. He recognizes in the human race one great family, all connected
with himself by those invisible links, and that mighty net-work of
circumstance, forged and woven by God.

Feeling that sympathy, it is his first Masonic duty to serve his
fellow-man. At his first entrance into the Order, he ceases to be
isolated, and becomes one of a great brotherhood, assuming new duties
toward every Mason that lives, as every Mason at the same moment assumes
them toward him.

Nor are those duties on his part confined to Masons alone. He assumes
many in regard to his country, and especially toward the great,
suffering masses of the common people; for they too are his brethren,
and God hears them, inarticulate as the moanings of their misery are. By
all proper means, of persuasion and influence, and otherwise, if the
occasion and emergency require, he is bound to defend them against
oppression, and tyrannical and illegal exactions.

He labors equally to defend and to improve the people. He does not
flatter them to mislead them, nor fawn upon them to rule them, nor
conceal his opinions to humor them, nor tell them that they can never
err, and that their voice is the voice of God. He knows that the safety
of every free government, and its continuance and perpetuity depend upon
the virtue and intelligence of the common people; and that, unless their
liberty is of such a kind as arms can neither procure nor take away;
unless it is the fruit of manly courage, of justice, temperance, and
generous virtue–unless, being such, it has taken deep root in the minds
and hearts of the people at large, there will not long be wanting those
who will snatch from them by treachery what they have acquired by arms
or institutions.

He knows that if, after being released from the toils of war, the people
neglect the arts of peace; if their peace and liberty be a state of
warfare; if war be their only virtue, and the summit of their praise,
they will soon find peace the most adverse to their interests. It will
be only a more distressing war; and that which they imagined liberty
will be the worst of slavery. For, unless by the means of knowledge and
morality, not frothy and loquacious, but genuine, unadulterated, and
sincere, they clear the horizon of the mind from those mists of error
and passion which arise from ignorance and vice, they will always have
those who will bend their necks to the yoke as if they were brutes; who,
notwithstanding all their triumphs, will put them up to the highest
bidder, as if they were mere booty made in war; and find an exuberant
source of wealth and power, in the people’s ignorance, prejudice, and

The people that does not subjugate the propensity of the wealthy to
avarice, ambition, and sensuality, expel luxury from them and their
families, keep down pauperism, diffuse knowledge among the poor, and
labor to raise the abject from the mire of vice and low indulgence, and
to keep the industrious from starving in sight of luxurious festivals,
will find that it has cherished, in that avarice, ambition, sensuality,
selfishness, and luxury of the one class, and that degradation, misery,
drunkenness, ignorance, and brutalization of the other, more stubborn
and intractable despots at home than it ever encountered in the field;
and even its very bowels will be continually teeming with the
intolerable progeny of tyrants.

These are the first enemies to be subdued; this constitutes the campaign
of Peace; these are triumphs, difficult indeed, but bloodless; and far
more honorable than those trophies which are purchased only by slaughter
and rapine; and if not victors in this service, it is in vain to have
been victorious over the despotic enemy in the field.

For if any people thinks that it is a grander; a more beneficial, or a
wiser policy, to invent subtle expedients by stamps and imposts, for
increasing the revenue and draining the life-blood of an impoverished
people; to multiply its naval and military force; to rival in craft the
ambassadors of foreign states; to plot the swallowing up of foreign
territory; to make crafty treaties and alliances; to rule prostrate
states and abject provinces by fear and force; than to administer
unpolluted justice to the people, to relieve the condition and raise the
estate of the toiling masses, redress the injured and succor the
distressed and conciliate the discontented, and speedily restore to
every one his own; then that people is involved in a cloud of error, and
will too late perceive, when the illusion of these mighty benefits has
vanished, that in neglecting these, which it thought inferior
considerations, it has only been precipitating its own ruin and despair.

Unfortunately, every age presents its own special problem, most
difficult and often impossible to solve; and that which this age offers,
and forces upon the consideration of all thinking men, is this–how, in
a populous and wealthy country, blessed with free institutions and a
constitutional government, are the great masses of the manual-labor
class to be enabled to have steady work at fair wages, to be kept from
starvation, and their children from vice and debauchery, and to be
furnished with that degree, not of mere reading and writing, but of
_knowledge_, that shall fit them intelligently to do the duties and
exercise the privileges of freemen; even to be intrusted with the
dangerous right of suffrage?

For though we do not know why God, being infinitely merciful as well as
wise, has so ordered it, it seems to be unquestionably his law, that
even in civilized and Christian countries, the large mass of the
population shall be fortunate, if, during their whole life, from infancy
to old age, in health and sickness, they have enough of the commonest
and coarsest food to keep themselves and their children from the
continual gnawing of hunger–enough of the commonest and coarsest
clothing to protect themselves and their little ones from indecent
exposure and the bitter cold; and if they have over their heads the
rudest shelter.

And He seems to have enacted this law–which no human community has yet
found the means to abrogate–that when a country becomes populous,
capital shall concentrate in the hands of a limited number of persons,
and labor become more and more at its mercy, until mere manual labor,
that of the weaver and ironworker, and other artisans, eventually ceases
to be worth more than a bare subsistence, and often, in great cities and
vast extents of country, not even that, and goes or crawls about in
rags, begging, and starving for want of work.

While every ox and horse can find work, and is worth being fed, it is
not always so with man. To be employed, to have a chance to work at
anything like fair wages, becomes the great engrossing object of a man’s
life. The capitalist can live without employing the laborer, and
discharges him whenever that labor ceases to be profitable. At the
moment when the weather is most inclement, provisions dearest, and rents
highest, he turns him off to starve. If the day-laborer is taken sick,
his wages stop. When old, he has no pension to retire upon. His children
cannot be sent to school; for before their bones are hardened they must
get to work lest they starve. The man, strong and able-bodied, works for
a shilling or two a day, and the woman shivering over her little pan of
coals, when the mercury drops far below zero, after her hungry children
have wailed themselves to sleep, sews by the dim light of her lonely
candle, for a bare pittance, selling her life to him who bargained only
for the work of her needle.

Fathers and mothers slay their children, to have the burial-fees, that
with the price of one child’s life they may continue life in those that
survive. Little girls with bare feet sweep the street crossings, when
the winter wind pinches them, and beg piteously for pennies of those who
wear warm furs. Children grow up in squalid misery and brutal ignorance;
want compels virgin and wife to prostitute themselves; women starve and
freeze, and lean up against the walls of workhouses, like bundles of
foul rags, all night long, and night after night, when the cold rain
falls, and there chances to be no room for them within; and hundreds of
families are crowded into a single building, rife with horrors and
teeming with foul air and pestilence; where men, women and children
huddle together in their filth; all ages and all colors sleeping
indiscriminately together; while, in a great, free, Republican State, in
the full vigor of its youth and strength, one person in every seventeen
is a pauper receiving charity.

How to deal with this apparently inevitable evil and mortal disease is
by far the most important of all social problems. What is to be done
with pauperism and over-supply of labor? How is the life of any country
to last, when brutality and drunken semi-barbarism vote, and hold
offices in their gift, and by fit representatives of themselves control
a government? How, if not wisdom and authority, but turbulence and low
vice are to exalt to senatorships miscreants reeking with the odors and
pollution of the hell, the prize-ring, the brothel, and the
stock-exchange, where gambling is legalized and rascality is laudable?

Masonry will do all in its power, by direct exertion and co-operation,
to improve and inform as well as to protect the people; to better their
physical condition, relieve their miseries, supply their wants, and
minister to their necessities. Let every Mason in this good work do all
that may be in his power.

For it is true now, as it always was and always will be, that to be free
is the same thing as to be pious, to be wise, to be temperate and just,
to be frugal and abstinent, and to be magnanimous and brave; and to be
the opposite of all these is the same as to be a slave. And it usually
happens, by the appointment, and, as it were, retributive justice of the
Deity, that people which cannot govern themselves, and moderate their
passions, but crouch under the slavery of their lusts and vices, are
delivered up to the sway of those whom they abhor, and made to submit to
an involuntary servitude.

And it is also sanctioned by the dictates of justice and by the
constitution of Nature, that he who, from the imbecility or derangement
of his intellect, is incapable of governing himself, should, like a
minor, be committed to the government of another.

Above all things let us never forget that mankind constitutes one great
brotherhood; all born to encounter suffering and sorrow, and therefore
bound to sympathize with each other.

For no tower of Pride was ever yet high enough to lift its possessor
above the trials and fears and frailities of humanity. No human hand
ever built the wall, nor ever shall, that will keep out affliction,
pain, and infirmity. Sickness and sorrow, trouble and death, are
dispensations that level everything. They know none, high nor low. The
chief wants of life, the great and grave necessities of the human soul,
give exemption to none. They make all poor, all weak. They put
supplication in the mouth of every human being, as truly as in that of
the meanest beggar.

But the principle of misery is not an evil principle. We err, and the
consequences teach us wisdom. All elements, all the laws of things
around us, minister to this end; and through the paths of painful error
and mistake, it is the design of Providence to lead us to truth and
happiness. If erring only taught us to err; if mistakes confirmed us in
imprudence; if the miseries caused by vicious indulgence had a natural
tendency to make us more abject slaves of vice, then suffering would be
wholly evil. But, on the contrary, all tends and is designed to produce
amendment and improvement. Suffering is the discipline of virtue; of
that which is infinitely better than happiness, and yet embraces in
itself all essential happiness. It nourishes, invigorates, and perfects
it. Virtue is the prize of the severely-contested race and hard-fought
battle; and it is worth all the fatigue and wounds of the conflict. Man
should go forth with a brave and strong heart, to battle with calamity.
He is to master it, and not let it become _his_ master. He is not to
forsake the post of trial and of peril; but to stand firmly in his lot,
until the great word of Providence shall bid him fly, or bid him sink.
With resolution and courage the Mason is to do the work which it is
appointed for him to do, looking through the dark cloud of human
calamity, to the end that rises high and bright before him. The lot of
sorrow is great and sublime. None suffer forever, nor for nought, nor
without purpose. It is the ordinance of God’s wisdom, and of His
Infinite Love, to procure for us infinite happiness and glory.

Virtue is the truest liberty; nor is he free who stoops to passions; nor
he in bondage who serves a noble master. Examples are the best and most
lasting lectures; virtue the best example. He that hath done good deeds
and set good precedents, in sincerity, is happy. Time shall not outlive
his worth. He lives truly after death, whose good deeds are his pillars
of remembrance; and no day but adds some grains to his heap of glory.
Good works are seeds, that after sowing return us a continual harvest;
and the memory of noble actions is more enduring than monuments of

Life is a school. The world is neither prison nor penitentiary, nor a
palace of ease, nor an amphitheatre for games and spectacles; but a
place of instruction, and discipline. Life is given for moral and
spiritual training; and the entire course of the great school of life is
an education for virtue, happiness, and a future existence. The periods
of Life are its terms; all human conditions, its forms; all human
employments, its lessons. Families are the primary departments of this
moral education; the various circles of society, its advanced stages;
Kingdoms and Republics, its universities.

Riches and Poverty, Gayeties and Sorrows, Marriages and Funerals, the
ties of life bound or broken, fit and fortunate, or untoward and
painful, are all lessons. Events are not blindly and carelessly flung
together. Providence does not school one man, and screen another from
the fiery trial of its lessons. It has neither rich favorites nor poor
victims. One event happeneth to all. One end and one design concern and
urge all men.

The prosperous man has been at school. Perhaps he has thought that it
was a great thing, and he a great personage; but he has been merely a
pupil. He thought, perhaps, that he was Master, and had nothing to do,
but to direct and command; but there was ever a Master above him, the
Master of Life. _He_ looks not at our splendid state, or our many
pretensions, nor at the aids and appliances of our learning; but at our
learning itself. He puts the poor and the rich upon the same form; and
knows no difference between them, but their progress.

If from prosperity we have learned moderation, temperance, candor,
modesty, gratitude to God, and generosity to man, then we are entitled
to be honored and rewarded. If we have learned selfishness,
self-indulgence, wrong-doing, and vice, to forget and overlook our less
fortunate brother, and to scoff at the providence of God, then we are
unworthy and dishonored, though we have been nursed in affluence, or
taken our degrees from the lineage of an hundred noble descents; as
truly so, in the eye of Heaven, and of all right-thinking men, as though
we lay, victims of beggary and disease, in the hospital, by the hedge,
or on the dung-hill. The most ordinary human equity looks not at the
school, but at the scholar; and the equity of Heaven will not look
beneath that mark.

The poor man also is at school. Let him take care that he learn, rather
than complain. Let him hold to his integrity, his candor, and his
kindness of heart. Let him beware of envy, and of bondage, and keep his
self-respect. The body’s toil is nothing. Let him beware of the mind’s
drudgery and degradation. While he betters his condition if he can, let
him be more anxious to better his soul. Let him be willing, while poor,
and even if always poor, to learn poverty’s great lessons, fortitude,
cheerfulness, contentment, and implicit confidence in God’s Providence.
With these, and patience, calmness, self-command, disinterestedness, and
affectionate kindness, the humble dwelling may be hallowed, and made
more dear and noble than the loftiest palace. Let him, above all things,
see that he lose not his independence. Let him not cast himself, a
creature poorer than the poor, an indolent, helpless, despised beggar,
on the kindness of others. Every man should choose to have God for his
Master, rather than man; and escape not from this school, either by
dishonesty or alms-taking, lest he fall into that state, worse than
disgrace, where he can have no respect for himself.

The ties of Society teach us to love one another. That is a miserable
society, where the absence of affectionate kindness is sought to be
supplied by punctilious decorum, graceful urbanity, and polished
insincerity; where ambition, jealousy, and distrust rule, in place of
simplicity, confidence, and kindness.

So, too, the social state teaches modesty and gentleness; and from
neglect, and notice unworthily bestowed on others, and injustice, and
the world’s failure to appreciate us, we learn patience and quietness,
to be superior to society’s opinion, not cynical and bitter, but gentle,
candid, and affectionate still.

Death is the great Teacher, stern, cold, inexorable, irresistible; whom
the collected might of the world cannot stay or ward off. The breath,
that parting from the lips of King or beggar, scarcely stirs the hushed
air, cannot be bought, or brought back for a moment, with the wealth of
Empires. What a lesson is this, teaching our frailty and feebleness, and
an Infinite Power beyond us! It is a fearful lesson, that never becomes
familiar. It walks through the earth in dread mystery, and lays its
hands upon all. It is a universal lesson, that is read everywhere and by
all men. Its message comes every year and every day. The past years are
crowded with its sad and solemn mementoes; and death’s finger traces its
handwriting upon the walls of every human habitation.

It teaches us Duty; to act our part well; to fulfill the work assigned
us. When one is dying, and after he is dead, there is but one question:
_Has he lived well?_ There is no evil in death but that which life

There are hard lessons in the school of God’s Providence; and yet the
school of life is carefully adjusted, in all its arrangements and tasks,
to man’s powers and passions. There is no extravagance in its teachings;
nor is anything done for the sake of present effect. The whole course of
human life is a conflict with difficulties; and, if rightly conducted, a
progress in improvement. It is never too late for man to learn. Not part
only, but the whole, of life is a school. There never comes a time, even
amidst the decays of age, when it is fit to lay aside the eagerness of
acquisition, or the cheerfulness of endeavor. Man walks, all through the
course of life, in patience and strife, and sometimes in darkness; for,
from patience is to come perfection; from strife, triumph is to issue;
from the cloud of darkness the lightning is to flash that shall open the
way to eternity.

Let the Mason be faithful in the school of life, and to all its lessons!
Let him not learn nothing, nor care not whether he learns or not. Let
not the years pass over him, witnesses of only his sloth and
indifference; or see him zealous to acquire everything but virtue. Nor
let him labor only for himself; nor forget that the humblest man that
lives is his brother, and hath a claim on his sympathies and kind
offices; and that beneath the rough garments which labor wears may beat
hearts as noble as throb under the stars of princes.

God, who counts by souls, not stations,
Loves and pities you and me;
For to Him all vain distinctions
Are as pebbles on the sea.

Nor are the other duties inculcated in this Degree of less importance.
Truth, a Mason is early told, is a Divine attribute and the foundation
of every virtue; and frankness, reliability, sincerity,
straightforwardness, plain-dealing, are but different modes in which
Truth develops itself. The dead, the absent, the innocent, and those
that trust him, no Mason will deceive willingly. To all these he owes a
nobler justice, in that they are the most certain trials of human
Equity. Only the most abandoned of men, said Cicero will deceive him,
who would have remained uninjured if he had not trusted. All the noble
deeds that have beat their marches through succeeding ages have
proceeded from men of truth and genuine courage. The man who is always
true is both virtuous and wise; and thus possesses the greatest guards
of safety: for the law has not power to strike the virtuous; nor can
fortune subvert the wise.

The bases of Masonry being morality and virtue, it is by studying one
and practising the other, that the conduct of a Mason becomes
irreproachable. The good of Humanity being its principal object,
disinterestedness is one of the first virtues that it requires of its
members; for that is the ‘source of justice and beneficence.

To pity the misfortunes of others; to be humble, but without meanness;
to be proud, but without arrogance; to abjure every sentiment of hatred
and revenge; to show himself magnanimous and liberal, without
ostentation and without profusion; to be the enemy of vice; to pay
homage to wisdom and virtue; to respect innocence; to be constant and
patient in adversity, and modest in prosperity; to avoid every
irregularity that stains the soul and distempers the body–it is by
following these precepts that a Mason will become a good citizen, a
faithful husband, a tender father, an obedient son, and a true brother;
will honor friendship, and fulfill with ardor the duties which virtue
and the social relations impose upon him.

It is because Masonry imposes upon us these duties that it is properly
and significantly styled _work_; and he who imagines that he becomes a
Mason by merely taking the first two or three Degrees, and that he may,
having leisurely stepped upon that small elevation, thenceforward
worthily wear the honors of Masonry, without labor or exertion, or
self-denial or sacrifice, and that there is nothing to be _done_ in
Masonry, is strangely deceived.

Is it true that nothing remains to be done in Masonry?

Does one Brother no longer proceed by law against another Brother of his
Lodge, in regard to matters that could be easily settled within the
Masonic family circle?

Has the duel, that hideous heritage of barbarism, interdicted among
Brethren by our fundamental laws, and denounced by the municipal code,
yet disappeared from the soil we inhabit? Do Masons of high rank
religiously refrain from it; or do they not, bowing to a corrupt public
opinion, submit to its arbitrament, despite the scandal which it
occasions to the Order, and in violation of the feeble restraint of
their oath?

Do Masons no longer form uncharitable opinions of their Brethren, enter
harsh judgments against them, and judge themselves by one rule and their
Brethren by another?

Has Masonry any well-regulated system of charity? Has it done that which
it should have done for the cause of education? Where are its schools,
its academies, its colleges, its hospitals, and infirmaries?

Are political controversies now conducted with no violence and

Do Masons refrain from defaming and denouncing their Brethren who differ
with them in religious or political opinions?

What grand social problems or useful projects engage our attention at
our communications? Where in our Lodges are lectures habitually
delivered for the real instruction of the Brethren? Do not our sessions
pass in the discussion of minor matters of business, the settlement of
points of order and questions of mere administration, and the admission
and advancement of Candidates, whom after their admission we take no
pains to instruct?

In what Lodge are our ceremonies explained and elucidated; corrupted as
they are by time, until their true features can scarcely be
distinguished; and where are those great primitive truths of revelation
taught, which Masonry has preserved to the world?

We have high dignities and sounding titles. Do their possessors qualify
themselves to enlighten the world in respect to the aims and objects of
Masonry? Descendants of those Initiates who governed empires, does your
influence enter into practical life and operate efficiently in behalf of
well-regulated and constitutional liberty?

Your debates should be but friendly conversations. You need concord,
union, and peace. Why then do you retain among you men who excite
rivalries and jealousies; why permit great and violent controversy and
ambitious pretensions? How do your own words and acts agree? If your
Masonry is a nullity, how can you exercise any influence on others?

Continually you praise each other, and utter elaborate and high-wrought
eulogies upon the Order. Everywhere you assume that you are what you
should be, and nowhere do you look upon yourselves as you are. Is it
true that all our actions are so many acts of homage to virtue? Explore
the recesses of your hearts; let us examine ourselves with an impartial
eye, and make answer to our own questioning! Can we bear to ourselves
the consoling testimony that we always rigidly perform our duties; that
we even _half_ perform them?

Let us away with this odious self-flattery! Let us be men, if we cannot
be sages! The laws of Masonry, above others excellent, cannot wholly
change men’s natures. They enlighten them, they point out the true way;
but they can lead them in it, only by repressing the fire of their
passions, and subjugating their selfishness. Alas, these conquer, and
Masonry is forgotten!

After praising each other all our lives, there are always excellent
Brethren, who, over our coffins, shower unlimited eulogies. Every one of
us who dies, however useless his life, has been a model of all the
virtues, a very child of the celestial light. In Egypt, among our old
Masters, where Masonry was more cultivated than vanity, no one could
gain admittance to the sacred asylum of the tomb until he had passed
under the most solemn judgment. A grave tribunal sat in judgment upon
all, even the kings. They said to the dead, “Whoever thou art, give
account to thy country of thy actions! What hast thou done with thy time
and life? The law interrogates thee, thy country hears thee, Truth sits
in judgment on thee!” Princes came there to be judged, escorted only by
their virtues and their vices. A public accuser recounted the history of
the dead man’s life, and threw the blaze of the torch of truth on all
his actions. If it were adjudged that he had led an evil life, his
memory was condemned in the presence of the nation, and his body was
denied the honors of sepulture. What a lesson the old Masonry taught to
the sons of the people!

Is it true that Masonry is effete; that the acacia, withered, affords no
shade; that Masonry no longer marches in the advance-guard of Truth? No.
Is freedom yet universal? Have ignorance and prejudice disappeared from
the earth? Are there no longer enmities among men? Do cupidity and
falsehood no longer exist? Do toleration and harmony prevail among
religious and political sects? There are works yet left for Masonry to
accomplish, greater than the twelve labors of Hercules; to advance ever
resolutely and steadily; to enlighten the minds of the people, to
reconstruct society, to reform the laws, and improve the public morals.
The eternity in front of it is as infinite as the one behind. And
Masonry cannot cease to labor in the cause of social progress, without
ceasing to be true to itself, without ceasing to be Masonry.


[Illustration: T.D.I.C.G.]



[Master Architect.]

The great duties that are inculcated by the lessons taught by the
working-instruments of a Grand Master Architect, demanding so much of
us, and taking for granted the capacity to perform them faithfully and
fully, bring us at once to reflect upon the dignity of human nature, and
the vast powers and capacities of the human soul; and to that theme we
invite your attention in this Degree. Let us begin to rise from earth
toward the Stars.

Evermore the human soul struggles toward the light, toward God, and the
Infinite. It is especially so in its afflictions. Words go but a little
way into the depths of sorrow. The thoughts that writhe there in
silence, that go into the stillness of Infinitude and Eternity, have no
emblems. Thoughts enough come there, such as no tongue ever uttered.
They do not so much want human sympathy, as higher help. There is a
loneliness in deep sorrow which the Deity alone can relieve. Alone, the
mind wrestles with the great problem of calamity, and seeks the solution
from the Infinite Providence of Heaven, and thus is led directly to God.

There are many things in us of which we are not distinctly conscious. To
waken that slumbering consciousness into life, and so to lead the soul
up to the Light, is one office of every great ministration to human
nature, whether its vehicle be the pen, the pencil, or the tongue. We
are unconscious of the intensity and awfulness of the life within us.
Health and sickness, joy and sorrow, success and disappointment, life
and death, love and loss, are familiar words upon our lips; and we do
not know to what depths they point within us.

We seem never to know what _any_ thing means or is worth until we have
lost it. Many an organ, nerve, and fibre in our bodily frame performs
its silent part for years, and we are quite unconscious of its value. It
is not until it is injured that we discover that value, and find how
essential it was to our happiness and comfort. We never know the full
significance of the words, “property,” “ease,” and “health;” the wealth
of meaning in the fond epithets, “parent,” “child,” “beloved,” and
“friend,” until the thing or the person is taken away; until, in place
of the bright, visible being, comes the awful and desolate shadow, where
_nothing_ is: where we stretch out our hands in vain, and strain our
eyes upon dark and dismal vacuity. Yet, in that vacuity, we do not
_lose_ the object that we loved. It becomes only the more real to us.
Our blessings not only brighten when they depart, but are fixed in
enduring reality; and love and friendship receive their everlasting seal
under the cold impress of death.

A dim consciousness of infinite mystery and grandeur lies beneath all
the commonplace of life. There is an awfulness and a majesty around us,
in all our little worldliness. The rude peasant from the Apennines,
asleep at the foot of a pillar in a majestic Roman church, seems not to
hear or see, but to dream only of the herd he feeds or the ground he
tills in the mountains. But the choral symphonies fall softly upon his
ear, and the gilded arches are dimly seen through his half-slumbering

So the soul, however given up to the occupations of daily life, cannot
quite lose the sense of where it is, and of what is above it and around
it. The scene of its actual engagements may be small; the path of its
steps, beaten and familiar; the objects it handles, easily spanned, and
quite worn out with daily uses. So it may be, and amidst such things
that we all live. So we live our little life; but Heaven is above us and
all around and close to us; and Eternity is before us and behind us; and
suns and stars are silent witnesses and watchers over us. We are
enfolded by Infinity. Infinite Powers and Infinite spaces lie all around
us. The dread arch of Mystery spreads over us, and no voice ever pierced
it. Eternity is enthroned amid Heaven’s myriad starry heights; and no
utterance or word ever came from those far-off and silent spaces. Above,
is that awful majesty; around us, everywhere, it stretches off into
infinity; and beneath it is this little struggle of life, this poor
day’s conflict, this busy ant-hill of Time.

But from that ant-hill, not only the talk of the streets, the sounds of
music and revelling, the stir and tread of a multitude, the shout of joy
and the shriek of agony go up into the silent and all-surrounding
Infinitude; but also, amidst the stir and noise of visible life, from
the inmost bosom of the visible man, there goes up an imploring call, a
beseeching cry, an asking, unuttered, and unutterable, for revelation,
wailingly and in almost speechless agony praying the dread arch of
mystery to break, and the stars that roll above the waves of mortal
trouble, to speak; the enthroned majesty of those awful heights to find
a voice; the mysterious and reserved heavens to come near; and all to
tell us what they alone know; to give us information of the loved and
lost; to make known to us what we are, and whither we are going.

Man is encompassed with a dome of incomprehensible wonders. In him and
about him is that which should fill his life with majesty and
sacredness. Something of sublimity and sanctity has thus flashed down
from heaven into the heart of every one that lives. There is no being so
base and abandoned but hath some traits of that sacredness left upon
him; something, so much perhaps in discordance with his general repute,
that he hides it from all around him; some sanctuary in his soul, where
no one may enter; some sacred inclosure, where the memory of a child is,
or the image of a venerated parent, or the remembrance of a pure love,
or the echo of some word of kindness once spoken to him; an echo that
will never die away.

Life is no negative, or superficial or worldly existence. Our steps are
evermore haunted with thoughts, far beyond their own range, which some
have regarded as the reminiscences of a pre-existent state. So it is
with us all, in the beaten and worn track of this worldly pilgrimage.
There is more here, than the world we live in. It is not all of life to
live. An unseen and infinite presence is here; a sense of something
greater than we possess; a seeking, through all the void wastes of life,
for a good beyond it; a crying out of the heart for interpretation; a
memory of the dead, touching continually some vibrating thread in this
great tissue of mystery.

We all not only have better intimations, but are capable of better
things than we know. The pressure of some great emergency would develop
in us powers, beyond the worldly bias of our spirits; and Heaven so
deals with us, from time to time, as to call forth those better things.
There is hardly a family in the world so selfish, but that, if one in it
were doomed to die–one, to be selected by the others,–it would be
utterly impossible for its members, parents and children, to choose out
that victim; but that each would say, “I will die; but I cannot choose.”
And in how many, if that dire extremity had come, would not one and
another step forth, freed from the vile meshes of ordinary selfishness,
and say, like the Roman father and son, “Let the blow fall on me!” There
are greater and better things in us all, than the world takes account
of, or than _we_ take note of; if we would but find them out. And it is
one part of our Masonic culture to _find_ these traits of power and
sublime devotion, to revive these faded impressions of generosity and
self-sacrifice, the almost squandered bequests of God’s love and
kindness to our souls; and to induce us to yield ourselves to their
guidance and control.

Upon all conditions of men presses down one impartial law. To all
situations, to all fortunes, high or low, the _mind_ gives their
character. They are, in effect, not what they are in themselves, but
what they are to the feeling of their possessors. The King may be mean,
degraded, miserable; the slave of ambition, fear, voluptuousness, and
every low passion. The Peasant may be the real Monarch, the moral master
of his fate, a free and lofty being, more than a Prince in happiness,
more than a King in honor.

Man is no bubble upon the sea of his fortunes, helpless and
irresponsible upon the tide of events. Out of the same circumstances,
different men bring totally different results. The same difficulty,
distress, poverty, or misfortune, that breaks down one man, builds up
another and makes him strong. It is the very attribute and glory of a
man, that he can bend the circumstances of his condition to the
intellectual and moral purposes of his nature, and it is the power and
mastery of his will that chiefly distinguish him from the brute.

The faculty of moral will, developed in the child, is a new element of
his nature. It is a new power brought upon the scene, and a ruling
power, delegated from Heaven. Never was a human being sunk so low that
he had not, by God’s gift, the power to rise. Because God commands him
to rise, it is certain that he _can_ rise. Every man has the power, and
should use it, to make all situations, trials, and temptations
instruments to promote his virtue and happiness; and is so far from
being the creature of circumstances, that _he_ creates and controls
_them_, making them to be all that they are, of evil or of good, to him
as a moral being.

Life is what we make it, and the world is what we make it. The eyes of
the cheerful and of the melancholy man are fixed upon the same creation;
but very different are the aspects which it bears to them. To the one,
it is all beauty and gladness; the waves of ocean roll in light, and the
mountains are covered with day. Life, to him, flashes, rejoicing, upon
every flower and every tree that trembles in the breeze. There is more
to him, everywhere, than the eye sees; a presence of profound joy on
hill and valley, and bright, dancing water. The other idly or mournfully
gazes at the same scene, and everything wears a dull, dim, and sickly
aspect. The murmuring of the brooks is a discord to him, the great roar
of the sea has an angry and threatening emphasis, the solemn music of
the pines sings the requiem of his departed happiness; the cheerful
light shines garishly upon his eyes and offends him. The great train of
the seasons passes before him like a funeral procession; and he sighs,
and turns impatiently away. The eye makes that which it looks upon; the
ear makes its own melodies and discords; the world without reflects the
world within.

Let the Mason never forget that life and the world are what we make them
by our social character; by our adaptation, or want of adaptation to the
social conditions, relationships, and pursuits of the world. To the
selfish, the cold, and the insensible, to the haughty and presuming, to
the proud, who demand more than they are likely to receive, to the
jealous, ever afraid they shall not receive enough, to those who are
unreasonably sensitive about the good or ill opinions of others, to all
violators of the social laws, the rude, the violent, the dishonest, and
the sensual,–to all these, the social condition, from its very nature,
will present annoyances, disappointments, and pains, appropriate to
their several characters. The benevolent affections will not revolve
around selfishness; the cold-hearted must expect to meet coldness; the
proud, haughtiness; the passionate, anger; and the violent, rudeness.
Those who forget the rights of others, must not be surprised if their
own are forgotten; and those who stoop to the lowest embraces of sense
must not wonder, if others are not concerned to find their prostrate
honor, and lift it up to the remembrance and respect of the world.

To the gentle, many will be gentle; to the kind, many will be kind. A
good man will find that there is goodness in the world; an honest man
will find that there is honesty in the world; and a man of principle
will find principle and integrity in the minds of others.

There are no blessings which the mind may not convert into the bitterest
of evils; and no trials which it may not transform into the noblest and
divinest blessings. There are no temptations from which assailed virtue
may not gain strength, instead of falling before them, vanquished and
subdued. It is true that temptations have a great power, and virtue
often falls; but the might of these temptations lies not in themselves,
but in the feebleness of our own virtue, and the weakness of our own
hearts. We rely too much on the strength of our ramparts and bastions,
and allow the enemy to make his approaches, by trench and parallel, at
his leisure. The offer of dishonest gain and guilty pleasure makes the
honest man more honest, and the pure man more pure. They raise his
virtue to the height of towering indignation. The fair occasion, the
safe opportunity, the tempting chance become the defeat and disgrace of
the tempter. The honest and upright man does not wait until temptation
has made its approaches and mounted its batteries on the last parallel.

But to the impure, the dishonest, the false-hearted, the corrupt, and
the sensual, occasions come every day, and in every scene, and through
every avenue of thought and imagination. He is prepared to capitulate
before the first approach is commenced; and sends out the white flag
when the enemy’s advance comes in sight of his walls. He _makes_
occasions; or, if opportunities come not, evil _thoughts_ come, and he
throws wide open the gates of his heart and welcomes those bad visitors,
and entertains them with a lavish hospitality.

The business of the world absorbs, corrupts, and degrades one mind,
while in another it feeds and nurses the noblest independence,
integrity, and generosity. Pleasure is a poison to some, and a healthful
refreshment to others. To one, the world is a great harmony, like a
noble strain of music with infinite modulations; to another, it is a
huge factory, the clash and clang of whose machinery jars upon his ears
and frets him to madness. Life is substantially the same thing to all
who partake of its lot. Yet some rise to virtue and glory; while others,
undergoing the same discipline, and enjoying the same privileges, sink
to shame and perdition.

Thorough, faithful, and honest endeavor to improve, is always
successful, and the highest happiness. To sigh sentimentally over human
misfortune, is fit only for the mind’s childhood; and the mind’s misery
is chiefly its own fault; appointed, under the good Providence of God,
as the punisher and corrector of its fault. In the long run, the mind
will be happy, just in proportion to its fidelity and wisdom. When it is
miserable, it has planted the thorns in its own path; it grasps them,
and cries out in loud complaint; and that complaint is but the louder
_confession_ that the thorns which grew there, _it_ planted.

A certain kind and degree of spirituality enter into the largest part of
even the most ordinary life. You can carry on no business, without some
faith in man. You cannot even dig in the ground, without a reliance on
the unseen result. You cannot think or reason or even step, without
confiding in the inward, spiritual principles of your nature. All the
affections and bonds, and hopes and interests of life centre in the
spiritual; and you know that if that central bond were broken, the world
would rush to chaos.

Believe that there is a God; that He is our father; that He has a
paternal interest in our welfare and improvement; that He has given us
powers, by means of which we may escape from sin and ruin; that He has
destined us to a future life of endless progress toward perfection and a
knowledge of Himself–believe this, as every Mason should, and you can
live calmly, endure patiently, labor resolutely, deny yourselves
cheerfully, hope steadfastly, and be conquerors in the great struggle of
life. Take away any one of these principles, and what remains for us?
Say that there is no God; or no way opened for hope and reformation and
triumph, no heaven to come, no rest for the weary, no home in the bosom
of God for the afflicted and disconsolate soul; or that God is but an
ugly blind _Chance_ that stabs in the dark; or a _some_what that is,
when attempted to be defined, a _no_what, emotionless, passionless, the
Supreme _Apathy_ to which all things, good and evil, are alike
indifferent; or a jealous God who revengefully visits the sins of the
fathers on the children, and when the fathers have eaten sour grapes,
sets the children’s teeth on edge; an arbitrary supreme _Will_, that has
made it _right_ to be virtuous, and wrong to lie and steal, because IT
_pleased_ to _make_ it so rather than otherwise, retaining the power to
reverse the law; or a fickle, vacillating, inconstant Deity, or a cruel,
bloodthirsty, savage Hebrew or Puritanic one; and we are but the sport
of chance and the victims of despair; hapless wanderers upon the face of
a desolate forsaken, or accursed and hated earth; surrounded by
darkness, struggling with obstacles, toiling for barren results and
empty purposes, distracted with doubts, and misled by false gleams of
light; wanderers with no way, no prospect, no home; doomed and deserted
mariners on a dark and stormy sea, without compass or course, to whom no
stars appear; tossing helmless upon the weltering, angry waves, with no
blessed haven in the distance whose guiding-star invites us to its
welcome rest.

The religious faith thus taught by Masonry is indispensable to the
attainment of the great ends of life; and must therefore have been
designed to be a part of it. We are made for this faith; and there must
be something, somewhere, for us to believe in. We cannot grow
healthfully, nor live happily, without it. It is therefore _true_. If we
could cut off from any soul all the principles taught by Masonry, the
faith in a God, in immortality, in virtue, in essential rectitude, that
soul would sink into sin, misery, darkness, and ruin. If we could cut
off all sense of these truths, the man would sink at once to the grade
of the animal.

No man can suffer and be patient, can struggle and conquer, can improve
and be happy, otherwise than as the swine are, without conscience,
without hope, without a reliance on a just, wise, and beneficent God. We
must, of necessity, embrace the great truths taught by Masonry, and live
by them, to live happily. “_I put my trust in God_,” is the protest of
Masonry against the belief in a cruel, angry, and revengeful God, to be
feared and not reverenced by His creatures.

Society, in its great relations, is as much the creation of Heaven as is
the system of the Universe. If that bond of gravitation that holds all
worlds and systems together, were suddenly severed, the universe would
fly into wild and boundless chaos. And if we were to sever all the moral
bonds that hold society together; if we could cut off from it every
conviction of Truth and Integrity, of an authority above it, and of a
conscience within it, it would immediately rush to disorder and
frightful anarchy and ruin. The religion we teach is therefore as really
a principle of things, and as certain and true, as gravitation.

Faith in moral principles, in virtue, and in God, is as necessary for
the guidance of a man, as instinct is for the guidance of an animal. And
therefore this faith, as a principle of man’s nature, has a mission as
truly authentic in God’s Providence, as the principle of instinct. The
pleasures of the soul, too, must depend on certain principles. They must
recognize a soul, its properties and responsibilities, a conscience, and
the sense of an authority above us; and these are the principles of
faith. No man can suffer and be patient, can struggle and conquer, can
improve and be happy, without conscience, without hope, without a
reliance on a just, wise, and beneficent God. We must of necessity
embrace the great truths taught by Masonry, and live by them, to live
happily. Everything in the universe has fixed and certain laws and
principles for its action;–the star in its orbit, the animal in its
activity, the physical man in his functions. And he has likewise fixed
and certain laws and principles as a spiritual being. His soul does not
die for want of aliment or guidance. For the rational soul there is
ample provision. From the lofty pine, rocked in the darkening tempest,
the cry of the young raven is heard; and it would be most strange if
there were no answer for the cry and call of the soul, tortured by want
and sorrow and agony. The total rejection of all moral and religious
belief would strike out a principle from human nature, as essential to
it as gravitation to the stars, instinct to animal life, the circulation
of the blood to the human body.

God has ordained that life shall be a social state. We are members of a
civil community. The life of that community depends upon its moral
condition. Public spirit, intelligence, uprightness, temperance,
kindness, domestic purity, will make it a happy community, and give it
prosperity and continuance. Wide-spread selfishness, dishonesty,
intemperance, libertinism, corruption, and crime, will make it
miserable, and bring about dissolution and speedy ruin. A whole people
lives one life; one mighty heart heaves in its bosom; it is one great
pulse of existence that throbs there. One stream of life flows there,
with ten thousand intermingled branches and channels, through all the
homes of human love. One sound as of many waters, a rapturous jubilee or
a mournful sighing, comes up from, the congregated dwellings of a whole

The Public is no vague abstraction; nor should that which is done
against that Public, against public interest, law, or virtue, press but
lightly on the conscience. It is but a vast expansion of individual
life; an ocean of tears, an atmosphere of sighs, or a great whole of joy
and gladness. It suffers with the suffering of millions; it rejoices
with the joy of millions. What a vast crime does he commit,–private man
or public man, agent or contractor, legislator or magistrate, secretary
or president,–who dares, with indignity and wrong, to strike the bosom
of the Public Welfare, to encourage venality and corruption, and
shameful sale of the elective franchise, or of office; to sow
dissension, and to weaken the bonds of amity that bind a Nation
together! What a huge iniquity, he who, with vices like the daggers of a
parricide, dares to pierce that mighty heart, in which the ocean of
existence is flowing!

What an unequalled interest lies in the virtue of every one whom we
love! In his virtue, nowhere but in his virtue, is garnered up the
incomparable treasure. What care we for brother or friend, compared with
what we care for his honor, his fidelity, his reputation, his kindness?
How venerable is the rectitude of a parent! How sacred his reputation!
No blight that can fall upon a child, is like a parent’s dishonor.
Heathen or Christian, every parent would have his child do well; and
pours out upon him all the fullness of parental love, in the one desire
that he _may_ do well; that he may be worthy of his cares, and his
freely bestowed pains; that he may walk in the way of honor and
happiness. In that way he cannot walk one step without virtue. Such is
life, in its relationships. A thousand ties embrace it, like the fine
nerves of a delicate organization; like the strings of an instrument
capable of sweet melodies, but easily put out of tune or broken, by
rudeness, anger, and selfish indulgence.

If life could, by any process, be made insensible to pain and pleasure;
if the human heart were hard as adamant, then avarice, ambition, and
sensuality might channel out their paths in it, and make it their beaten
way; and none would wonder or protest. If we could be patient under the
load of a mere worldly life; if we could bear that burden as the beasts
bear it; then, _like_ beasts, we might bend all our thoughts to the
earth; and no call from the great Heavens above us would startle us
from our plodding and earthly course.

But we art _not_ insensible brutes, who can refuse the call of reason
and conscience. The soul is capable of remorse. When the great
dispensations of life press down upon us, we weep, and suffer and
sorrow. And sorrow and agony desire other companionships than
worldliness and irreligion. We are not willing to bear those burdens of
the heart, fear, anxiety, disappointment, and trouble, without any
object or use. We are not willing to suffer, to be sick and afflicted,
to have our days and months lost to comfort and joy, and overshadowed
with calamity and grief, without advantage or compensation; to barter
away the dearest treasures, the very sufferings, of the heart; to sell
the life-blood from failing frame and fading cheek, our tears of
bitterness and groans of anguish, for nothing. Human nature, frail,
feeling, sensitive, and sorrowing, cannot bear to suffer for nought.

Everywhere, human life is a great and solemn dispensation. Man,
suffering, enjoying, loving, hating, hoping, and fearing, chained to the
earth and yet exploring the far recesses of the universe, has the power
to commune with God and His angels. Around this great action of
existence the curtains of Time are drawn; but there are openings through
them which give us glimpses of eternity. God looks down upon this scene
of human probation. The wise and the good in all ages have interposed
for it, with their teachings and their blood. Everything that exists
around us, every movement in nature, every counsel of Providence, every
interposition of God, centres upon one point–the fidelity of man. And
even if the ghosts of the departed and remembered could come at midnight
through the barred doors of our dwellings, and the shrouded dead should
glide through the aisles of our churches and sit in our Masonic Temples,
their teachings would be no more eloquent and impressive than the dread
realities of life; than those memories of misspent years, those ghosts
of departed opportunities, that, pointing to our conscience and
eternity, cry continually in our ears, “_Work while the day lasts! for
the night of death cometh, in which no man can work_.”

There are no tokens of public mourning for the calamity of the soul. Men
weep when the body dies; and when it is borne to its rest, they follow
it with sad and mournful procession. But for the dying soul there is no
open lamentation; for the lost soul there are no obsequies.

And yet the mind and soul of man have a value which nothing else has.
They are worth a care which nothing else is worth; and to the single,
solitary individual, they ought to possess an interest which nothing
else possesses. The stored treasures of the heart, the unfathomable
mines that are in the soul to be wrought, the broad and boundless realms
of Thought, the freighted argosy of man’s hopes and best affections, are
brighter than gold and dearer than treasure.

And yet the mind is in reality little known or considered. It is _all_
which man permanently _is_, his inward being, his divine energy, his
immortal thought, his boundless capacity, his infinite aspiration; and
nevertheless, few value it for what it is worth. Few see a brother-mind
in others, through the rags with which poverty has clothed it, beneath
the crushing burdens of life, amidst the close pressure of worldly
troubles, wants and sorrows. Few acknowledge and cheer it in that humble
blot, and feel that the nobility of earth, and the commencing glory of
Heaven are there.

Men do not feel the worth of their own souls. They are proud of their
mental powers; but the intrinsic, inner, infinite _worth_ of their own
minds they do not perceive. The poor man, admitted to a palace, feels,
lofty and immortal being as he is, like a mere ordinary thing amid the
splendors that surround him. He sees the carriage of wealth roll by him,
and forgets the intrinsic and eternal dignity of his own mind in a poor
and degrading envy, and feels as an humbler creature, because others are
above him, not in mind, but in mensuration. Men respect themselves,
according as they are more wealthy, higher in rank or office, loftier in
the world’s opinion, able to command more votes, more the favorites of
the people or of Power.

The difference among men is not so much in their nature and intrinsic
power, as in the faculty of communication. Some have the capacity of
uttering and embodying in words their thoughts. All men, more or less,
_feel_ those thoughts. The glory of genius and the rapture of virtue,
when rightly revealed, are diffused and shared among unnumbered minds.
When eloquence and poetry speak; when those glorious arts, statuary,
painting, and music, take audible or visible shape; when patriotism,
charity, and virtue speak with a thrilling potency, the hearts of
thousands glow with kindred joy and ecstasy. If it were not so, there
would be no eloquence; for eloquence is that to which other hearts
respond; it is the faculty and power of _making_ other hearts respond.
No one is so low or degraded, as not sometimes to be touched with the
beauty of goodness. No heart is made of materials so common, or even
base, as not sometimes to respond, through every chord of it, to the
call of honor, patriotism, generosity, and virtue. The poor African
Slave will die for the master or mistress, or in defence of the
children, whom he loves. The poor, lost, scorned, abandoned, outcast
woman will, without expectation of reward, nurse those who are dying on
every hand, utter strangers to her, with a contagious and horrid
pestilence. The pickpocket will scale burning walls to rescue child or
woman, unknown to him, from the ravenous flames.

Most glorious is this capacity! A power to commune with God and His
Angels; a reflection of the Uncreated Light; a mirror that can collect
and concentrate upon itself all the moral splendors of the Universe. It
is the soul alone that gives any value to the things of this world; and
it is only by raising the soul to its just elevation above all other
things, that we can look rightly upon the purposes of this earth. No
sceptre nor throne, nor structure of ages, nor broad empire, can compare
with the wonders and grandeurs of a single thought. That alone, of all
things that have been made, comprehends the Maker of all. That alone is
the key which unlocks all the treasures of the Universe; the power that
reigns over Space, Time, and Eternity. That, under God, is the Sovereign
Dispenser to man of all the blessings and glories that lie within the
compass of possession, or the range of possibility. Virtue, Heaven, and
Immortality exist not, nor ever will exist for us except as they exist
and will exist, in the perception, feeling, and thought of the glorious

My Brother, in the hope that you have listened to and understood the
Instruction and Lecture of this Degree, and that you feel the dignity of
your own nature and the vast capacities of your own soul for good or
evil, I proceed briefly to communicate to you the remaining instruction
of this Degree.

The Hebrew word, in the old Hebrew and Samaritan character, suspended in
the East, over the five columns, is ADONAÏ, one of the names of God,
usually translated Lord; and which the Hebrews, in reading, always
substitute for the True Name, which is for them ineffable.

The five columns, in the five different orders of architecture, are
emblematical to us of the five principal divisions of the Ancient and
Accepted Scottish Rite:

1.–The _Tuscan_, of the three blue Degrees, or the primitive Masonry.

2.–The _Doric_, of the ineffable Degrees, from the fourth to the
fourteenth, inclusive.

3.–The _Ionic_, of the fifteenth and sixteenth, or second temple

4.–The _Corinthian_, of the seventeenth and eighteenth Degrees, or
those of the new law.

5.–The _Composite_, of the philosophical and chivalric Degrees
intermingled, from the nineteenth to the thirty-second, inclusive.

The North Star, always fixed and immutable for us, represents the point
in the centre of the circle, or the Deity in the centre of the Universe.
It is the especial symbol of duty and of faith. To it, and the seven
that continually revolve around it, mystical meanings are attached,
which you will learn hereafter, if you should be permitted to advance,
when you are made acquainted with the philosophical doctrines of the

The Morning Star, rising in the East, Jupiter, called by the Hebrews
Tsadōc or Tsydyk, _Just_, is an emblem to us of the ever-approaching
dawn of perfection and Masonic light.

The three great lights of the Lodge are symbols to us of the Power,
Wisdom, and Beneficence of the Deity. They are also symbols of the first
three _Sephiroth_, or Emanations of the Deity, according to the Kabalah,
_Kether_, the omnipotent divine _will_; _Chochmah_, the divine
intellectual _power_ to _generate_ thought, and _Binah_, the divine
intellectual _capacity_ to _produce_ it–the two latter, usually
translated _Wisdom_ and _Understanding_, being the _active_ and the
_passive_, the _positive_ and the _negative_, which we do not yet
endeavor to explain to you. They are the columns Jachin and Boaz, that
stand at the entrance to the Masonic Temple.

In another aspect of this Degree, the Chief of the Architects [[Hebrew:
רב בנים], Rab Banaim,] symbolizes the constitutional executive head and
chief of a free government; and the Degree teaches us that no free
government can long endure, when the people cease to select for their
magistrates the best and the wisest of their statesmen; when, passing
these by, they permit factions or sordid interests to select for them
the small, the low, the ignoble, and the obscure, and into such hands
commit the country’s destinies. There is, after all, a “divine right” to
govern; and it is vested in the ablest, wisest, best, of every nation.
“Counsel is mine, and sound wisdom: I am understanding: I am power: by
me kings do reign, and princes decree justice; by me princes rule, and
nobles, even all the magistrates of the earth.”

For the present, my Brother, let this suffice. We welcome you among us,
to this peaceful retreat of virtue, to a participation in our
privileges, to a share in our joys and our sorrows.





Whether the legend and history of this Degree are historically true, or
but an allegory, containing in itself a deeper truth and a profounder
meaning, we shall not now debate. If it be but a legendary myth, you
must find out for yourself what it means. It is certain that the word
which the Hebrews are not now permitted to pronounce was in common use
by Abraham, Lot, Isaac, Jacob, Laban, Rebecca, and even among tribes
foreign to the Hebrews, before the time of Moses; and that it recurs a
hundred times in the lyrical effusions of David and other Hebrew poets.

We know that for many centuries the Hebrews have been forbidden to
pronounce the Sacred Name; that wherever it occurs, they have for ages
read the word _Adonaï_ instead; and that under it, when the masoretic
points, which represent the vowels, came to be used, they placed those
which belonged to the latter word. The possession of the true
pronunciation was deemed to confer on him who had it extraordinary and
supernatural powers; and the Word itself, worn upon the person, was
regarded as an amulet, a protection against personal danger, sickness,
and evil spirits. We know that all this was a vain superstition, natural
to a rude people, necessarily disappearing as the intellect of man
became enlightened; and wholly unworthy of a Mason.

It is noticeable that this notion of the sanctity of the Divine Name or
Creative Word was common to all the ancient nations. The Sacred Word HOM
was supposed by the ancient Persians (who were among the earliest
emigrants from Northern India) to be pregnant with a mysterious power;
and they taught that by its utterance the world was created. In India it
was forbidden to pronounce the word AUM or OM, the Sacred Name of the
One Deity, manifested as Brahma, Vishna, and Seeva.

These superstitious notions in regard to the efficacy of the Word, and
the prohibition against pronouncing it, could, being errors, have formed
no part of the pure primitive religion, or of the esoteric doctrine
taught by Moses, and the full knowledge of which was confined to the
Initiates; unless the whole was but an ingenious invention for the
concealment of some other Name or truth, the interpretation and meaning
whereof was made known only to the _select few_. If so, the common
notions in regard to the Word grew up in the minds of the people, like
other errors and fables among all the ancient nations, out of original
truths and symbols and allegories misunderstood. So it has always been
that allegories, intended as vehicles of truth, to be understood by the
sages, have become or bred errors, by being literally accepted.

It is true, that before the masoretic points were invented (which was
after the beginning of the Christian era), the pronunciation of a word
in the Hebrew language could not be known from the characters in which
it was written. It was, therefore, _possible_ for that of the name of
the Deity to have been forgotten and lost. It is certain that its true
pronunciation is not that represented by the word Jehovah; and therefore
that _that_ is not the true name of Deity, nor the Ineffable Word.

The ancient symbols and allegories always had more than one
interpretation. They always had a _double_ meaning, and sometimes _more_
than two, one serving as the envelope of the other. Thus the
_pronunciation_ of the word was a symbol; and that pronunciation and the
word itself were lost, when the knowledge of the true nature and
attributes of God faded out of the minds of the Jewish people. That is
_one_ interpretation–_true, but not the inner and profoundest one_.

Men were figuratively said to forget the _name_ of God, when they lost
that _knowledge_, and worshipped the heathen deities, and burned incense
to them on the high places, and passed their children through the fire
to Moloch.

Thus the attempts of the ancient Israelites and of the Initiates to
ascertain the True Name of the Deity, and its pronunciation, and the
loss of the True Word, are an allegory, in which are represented the
general ignorance of the true nature and attributes of God, the
proneness of the people of Judah and Israel to worship other deities,
and the low and erroneous and dishonoring notions of the Grand Architect
of the Universe, which all shared except a few favored persons; for even
Solomon built altars and sacrificed to Astarat, the goddess of the
Tsidunim, and Malcūm, the Aamūnite god, and built high places for Kamūs,
the Moabite deity, and Malec the god of the Beni-Aamūn. The true nature
of God was unknown to them, like His name; and they worshipped the
calves of Jeroboam, as in the desert they did that made for them by

The mass of the Hebrews did not believe in the existence of one only God
until a late period in their history. Their early and popular ideas of
the Deity were singularly low and unworthy. Even while Moses was
receiving the law upon Mount Sinai, they forced Aarūn to make them an
image of the Egyptian god Apis, and fell down and adored it. They were
ever ready to return to the worship of the gods of the Mitzraim; and
soon after the death of Joshua they became devout worshippers of the
false gods of all the surrounding nations. “Ye have borne,” Amos, the
prophet, said to them, speaking of their forty years’ journeying in the
desert, under Moses, “the tabernacle of your Malec and Kaiūn your idols,
the star of your god, which ye made to yourselves”.

Among them, as among other nations, the conceptions of God formed by
individuals varied according to their intellectual and spiritual
capacities; poor and imperfect, and investing God with the commonest and
coarsest attributes of humanity, among the ignorant and coarse; pure and
lofty among the virtuous and richly gifted. These conceptions gradually
improved and became purified and ennobled, as the nation advanced in
civilization–being lowest in the historical books, amended in the
prophetic writings, and reaching their highest elevation among the

Among _all_ the ancient nations there was one faith and one idea of
Deity for the enlightened, intelligent, and educated, and another for
the common people. To this rule the Hebrews were no exception. Yehovah,
to the mass of the people, was like the gods of the nations around them,
except that he was the _peculiar_ God, first of the family of Abraham,
of that of Isaac, and of that of Jacob, and afterward the _National_
God; and, as they believed, _more powerful_ than the other gods of the
same nature worshipped by their neighbors–“Who among the Baalim is
like unto thee, O Yehovah?”–expressed their whole creed.

The Deity of the early Hebrews talked to Adam and Eve in the garden of
delight, as he walked in it in the cool of the day; he conversed with
Kayin; he sat and ate with Abraham in his tent; that patriarch required
a visible token, before he would believe in his positive promise; he
permitted Abraham to expostulate with him, and to induce him to change
his first determination in regard to Sodom; he wrestled with Jacob; he
showed Moses his person, though not his face; he dictated the minutest
police regulations and the dimensions of the tabernacle and its
furniture, to the Israelites; he insisted on and delighted in sacrifices
and burnt-offerings; he was angry, jealous, and revengeful, as well as
wavering and irresolute; he allowed Moses to reason him out of his fixed
resolution utterly to destroy his people; he commanded the performance
of the most shocking and hideous acts of cruelty and barbarity. He
hardened the heart of Pharaoh; he repented of the evil that he had said
he would do unto the people of Nineveh; and he did it not, to the
disgust and anger of Jonah.

Such were the popular notions of the Deity; and either the priests had
none better, or took little trouble to correct these notions; or the
popular intellect was not enough enlarged to enable them to entertain
any higher conceptions of the Almighty.

But such were not the ideas of the intellectual and enlightened few
among the Hebrews, It is certain that _they_ possessed a knowledge of
the true nature and attributes of God; as the same class of men did
among the other nations–Zoroaster, Menu, Confucius, Socrates, and
Plato. But their doctrines on this subject were esoteric; they did not
communicate them to the people at large, but only to a favored few; and
as they were communicated in Egypt and India, in Persia and Phœnicia, in
Greece and Samothrace, in the greater mysteries, to the Initiates.

The communication of this knowledge and other secrets, some of which are
perhaps lost, constituted, under other names, what we now call
_Masonry_, or _Free_ or _Frank-Masonry_. That knowledge was, in one
sense, _the Lost Word_, which was made known to the Grand Elect,
Perfect, and Sublime Masons. It would be folly to pretend that the
_forms_ of Masonry were the same in those ages as they are now. The
present name of the Order, and its titles, and the names of the Degrees
now in use, were not then known. Even Blue Masonry cannot trace back
its _authentic_ history, _with its present Degrees_, further than the
year 1700, _if so far_. But, by whatever _name_ it was known in this or
the other country, Masonry existed as it now exists, the same in spirit
and at heart, not only when Solomon builded the temple, but centuries
before–before even the first colonies emigrated into Southern India,
Persia, and Egypt, from the cradle of the human race.

The Supreme, Self-existent, Eternal, All-wise, All-powerful, Infinitely
Good, Pitying, Beneficent, and Merciful Creator and Preserver of the
Universe was the same, by whatever name he was called, to the
intellectual and enlightened men of all nations. The name was nothing,
if not a symbol and representative hieroglyph of his nature and
attributes. The name AL represented his remoteness _above_ men, his
_inaccessibility_; BAL and BALA, his _might_; ALOHIM, his various
_potencies_; IHUH, _existence_ and the _generation_ of things. None of
his names, among the Orientals, were the symbols of a divinely infinite
love and tenderness, and all-embracing mercy. As MOLOCH or MALEK he was
but an omnipotent _monarch_, a tremendous and irresponsible _Will_; as
ADONAÏ, only an arbitrary LORD and _Master_; as AL _Shadaï_, _potent_

To communicate true and correct ideas in respect of the Deity was one
chief object of the mysteries. In them, Khūrūm the King, and Khūrūm the
Master, obtained their knowledge of him and his attributes; and in them
that knowledge was taught to Moses and Pythagoras.

Wherefore nothing forbids you to consider the whole legend of this
Degree, like that of the Master’s, an allegory, representing the
perpetuation of the knowledge of the True God in the sanctuaries of
initiation. By the subterranean vaults you may understand the places of
initiation, which in the ancient ceremonies were generally under ground.
The Temple of Solomon presented a symbolic image of the Universe; and
resembled, in its arrangements and furniture, all the temples of the
ancient nations that practised the mysteries. The system of numbers was
intimately connected with their religions and worship, and has come down
to us in Masonry; though the esoteric meaning with which the numbers
used by us are pregnant is unknown to the vast majority of those who use
them. Those numbers were especially employed that had a reference to the
Deity, represented his attributes, or figured in the frame-work of the
world, in time and space, and formed more or less the bases of that
frame-work. These were universally regarded as sacred, being the
expression of order and intelligence, the utterances of Divinity

The Holy of Holies of the Temple formed a cube; in which, drawn on a
plane surface, there are 4+3+2=9 _lines_ visible, and three sides or
faces. It corresponded with the number _four_, by which the ancients
presented _Nature_, it being the number of substances or corporeal
forms, and of the elements, the cardinal points and seasons, and the
_secondary_ colors. The number _three_ everywhere represented the
Supreme Being. Hence the name of the Deity, engraven upon the
_triangular_ plate, and that sunken into the _cube_ of agate, taught the
ancient Mason, and teaches us, that the true knowledge of God, of His
nature and His attributes, is written by Him upon the leaves of the
great Book of Universal Nature, and may be read there by all who are
endowed with the requisite amount of intellect and intelligence. This
knowledge of God, so written there, and of which Masonry has in all ages
been the interpreter, is _the Master Mason’s Word_.

Within the Temple, all the arrangements were mystically and symbolically
connected with the same system. The vault or ceiling, starred like the
firmament, was supported by twelve columns, representing the twelve
months of the year. The border that ran around the columns represented
the zodiac, and one of the twelve celestial signs was appropriated to
each column. The brazen sea was supported by twelve oxen, three looking
to each cardinal point of the compass.

And so in our day every Masonic Lodge represents the Universe. Each
extends, we are told, from the rising to the setting sun, from the South
to the North, from the surface of the Earth to the Heavens, and from the
same to the centre of the globe. In it are represented the sun, moon,
and stars; three great torches in the East, West, and South, forming a
triangle, give it light; and, like the Delta or Triangle suspended in
the East, and inclosing the Ineffable Name, indicate, by the
mathematical equality of the angles and sides, the beautiful and
harmonious proportions which govern in the aggregate and details of the
Universe; while those sides and angles represent, by their number,
three, the Trinity of Power, Wisdom, and Harmony, which presided at the
building of this marvellous work. These three great lights also
represent the great mystery of the three principles, of creation,
dissolution or destruction, and reproduction or regeneration,
consecrated by all creeds in their numerous Trinities.

The luminous pedestal, lighted by the perpetual flame within, is a
symbol of that light of _Reason_, given by God to man, by which he is
enabled to read in the Book of Nature the record of the thought, the
revelation of the attributes of the Deity.

The three Masters, Adoniram, Joabert, and Stolkin, are types of the True
Mason, who seeks for knowledge from pure motives, and that he may be the
better enabled to serve and benefit his fellow-men; while the
discontented and presumptuous Masters who were buried in the ruins of
the arches represent those who strive to acquire it for unholy purposes,
to gain power over their fellows, to gratify their pride, their vanity,
or their ambition.

The Lion that guarded the Ark and held in his mouth the key wherewith to
open it, figuratively represents Solomon, the Lion of the Tribe of
Judah, who preserved and communicated the key to the true knowledge of
God, of His laws, and of the profound mysteries of the moral and
physical Universe.

ENOCH [[Hebrew: חנוך], Khanōc], we are told, walked with God three
hundred years, after reaching the age of sixty-five–“walked with God,
and he was no more, for God had taken him.” His name signified in the
Hebrew, INITIATE or INITIATOR. The legend of the columns, of granite and
brass or bronze, erected by him, is probably symbolical. That of bronze,
which survived the flood, is supposed to symbolize the mysteries, of
which Masonry is the legitimate successor–from the earliest times the
custodian and depository of the great philosophical and religious
truths, unknown to the world at large, and handed down from age to age
by an unbroken current of tradition, embodied in symbols, emblems, and

The legend of this Degree is thus, partially, interpreted. It is of
little importance whether it is in anywise historical. For its value
consists in the lessons which it inculcates, and the duties which it
prescribes to those who receive it. The parables and allegories of the
Scriptures are not less valuable than history. Nay, they are more so,
because ancient history is little instructive, and truths are concealed
in and symbolized by the legend and the myth. There are profounder
meanings concealed in the symbols of this Degree, connected with the
philosophical system of the Hebrew Kabalists, which you will learn
hereafter, if you should be so fortunate as to advance. They are
unfolded in the higher Degrees. The _lion_ [[Hebrew: אריה,ארי] _Arai_,
_Araiah_, which also means the _altar_] still holds in his mouth the key
of the enigma of the sphynx.

But there is one application of this Degree, that you are now entitled
to know; and which, remembering that Khūrūm, the Master, is the symbol
of human freedom, you would probably discover for yourself.

It is not enough for a people to _gain_ its liberty. It must _secure_
it. It must not intrust it to the keeping, or hold it at the pleasure,
of any one man. The keystone of the Royal Arch of the great Temple of
Liberty is a fundamental law, charter, or constitution; the expression
of the fixed habits of thought of the people, embodied in a written
instrument, or the result of the slow accretions and the consolidation
of centuries; the same in war as in peace; that cannot be hastily
changed, nor be violated with impunity, but is sacred, like the Ark of
the Covenant of God, which none could touch and live.

A permanent constitution, rooted in the affections, expressing the will
and judgment, and built upon the instincts and settled habits of thought
of the people, with an independent judiciary, an elective legislature of
two branches, an executive responsible to the people, and the right of
trial by jury, will guarantee the liberties of a people, if it be
virtuous and temperate, without luxury, and without the lust of conquest
and dominion, and the follies of visionary theories of impossible

Masonry teaches its Initiates that the pursuits and occupations of this
life, its activity, care, and ingenuity, the predestined developments of
the nature given us by God, tend to promote His great design, in making
the world; and are not at war with the great purpose of life. It teaches
that everything is beautiful in its time, in its place, in its appointed
office; that everything which man is put to do, if rightly and
faithfully done, naturally helps to work out his salvation; that if he
obeys the genuine principles of his calling, he will be a good man: and
that it is only by neglect and non-performance of the task set for him
by Heaven, by wandering into idle dissipation, or by violating their
beneficent and lofty spirit, that he becomes a bad man. The appointed
action of life is the great training of Providence; and if man yields
himself to it, he will need neither churches nor ordinances, except for
the _expression_ of his religious homage and gratitude.

For there is a religion of toil. It is not all drudgery, a mere
stretching of the limbs and straining of the sinews to tasks. It has a
meaning and an intent. A living heart pours life-blood into the toiling
arm; and warm affections inspire and mingle with man’s labors. They are
the _home_ affections. Labor toils a-field, or plies its task in cities,
or urges the keels of commerce over wide oceans; but home is its centre;
and thither it ever goes with its earnings, with the means of support
and comfort for others; offerings sacred to the thought of every true
man, as a sacrifice at a golden shrine. Many faults there are amidst the
toils of life; many harsh and hasty, words are uttered; but still the
toils go on, weary and hard and exasperating as they often are. For in
that home is age or sickness, or helpless infancy, or gentle childhood,
or feeble woman, that must not want. If man had no other than mere
selfish impulses, the scene of labor which we behold around us would not

The advocate who fairly and honestly presents his case, with a feeling
of true self-respect, honor, and conscience, to help the tribunal on
towards the right conclusion, with a conviction that God’s justice
reigns there, is acting a religious part, leading that day a religious
life; or else right and justice are no part of religion. Whether, during
all that day, he has once appealed, in form or in terms, to his
conscience, or not; whether he has once spoken of religion and God, or
not; if there has been the inward purpose, the conscious intent and
desire, that sacred justice should triumph, he has that day led a good
and _religious_ life, and made a most essential contribution to that
religion of life and of society, the cause of equity between man and
man, and of truth and right action in the world.

Books, to be of religious tendency in the Masonic sense, need not be
books of sermons, of pious exercises, or of prayers. Whatever inculcates
pure, noble, and patriotic sentiments, or touches the heart with the
beauty of virtue, and the excellence of an upright life, accords with
the religion of Masonry, and is the Gospel of literature and art. That
Gospel is preached from many a book and painting, from many a poem and
fiction, and review and newspaper; and it is a painful error and
miserable narrowness, not to recognize these wide-spread agencies of
Heaven’s providing; not to see and welcome these many-handed
coadjutors, to the great and good cause. The oracles of God do not speak
from the pulpit alone.

There is also a religion of society. In business, there is much more
than sale, exchange, price, payment; for there is the sacred faith of
man in man. When we repose perfect confidence in the integrity of
another; when we feel that he will not swerve from the right, frank,
straightforward, conscientious course, for any temptation; his integrity
and conscientiousness are the image of God to us; and when we believe in
_it_, it is as great and generous an act, as when we believe in the
rectitude of the Deity.

In gay assemblies for amusement, the good affections of life gush and
mingle. If _they_ did not, these gathering-places would be as dreary and
repulsive as the caves and dens of outlaws and robbers. When friends
meet, and hands are warmly pressed, and the eye kindles and the
countenance is suffused with gladness, there is a religion between their
hearts; and each loves and worships the True and Good that is in the
other. It is not policy, or self-interest, or selfishness that spreads
such a charm around that meeting, but the halo of bright and beautiful

The same splendor of kindly liking, and affectionate regard, shines like
the soft overarching sky, over all the world; over all places where men
meet, and walk or toil together; not over lovers’ bowers and
marriage-altars alone, not over the homes of purity and tenderness
alone; but over all tilled fields, and busy workshops, and dusty
highways, and paved streets. There is not a worn stone upon the
sidewalks, but has been the altar of such offerings of mutual kindness;
nor a wooden pillar or iron railing against which hearts beating with
affection have not leaned. How many soever other elements there are in
the stream of life flowing through these channels, _that_ is surely here
and everywhere; honest, heartfelt, disinterested, inexpressible

Every Masonic Lodge is a temple of religion; and its teachings are
instruction in religion. For here are inculcated disinterestedness,
affection, toleration, devotedness, patriotism, truth, a generous
sympathy with those who suffer and mourn, pity for the fallen, mercy for
the erring, relief for those in want, Faith, Hope, and Charity. Here we
meet as brethren, to learn to know and love each other. Here we greet
each other gladly, are lenient to each other’s faults, regardful of each
other’s feelings, ready to relieve each other’s wants. This is the true
religion revealed to the ancient patriarchs; which Masonry has taught
for many centuries, and which it will continue to teach as long as time
endures. If unworthy passions, or selfish, bitter, or revengeful
feelings, contempt, dislike, hatred, enter here, they are intruders and
not welcome, strangers uninvited, and not guests.

Certainly there are many evils and bad passions, and much hate and
contempt and unkindness everywhere in the world. We cannot refuse to see
the evil that is in life. But _all_ is not evil. We still see God in the
world. There is good amidst the evil. The hand of mercy leads wealth to
the hovels of poverty and sorrow. Truth and simplicity live amid many
wiles and sophistries. There are good hearts underneath gay robes, and
under tattered garments also.

Love clasps the hand of love, amid all the envyings and distractions of
showy competition; fidelity, pity, and sympathy hold the long
night-watch by the bedside of the suffering neighbor, amidst the
surrounding poverty and squalid misery. Devoted men go from city to city
to nurse those smitten down by the terrible pestilence that renews at
intervals its mysterious marches. Women well-born and delicately
nurtured nursed the wounded soldiers in hospitals, before it became
fashionable to do so; and even poor lost women, whom God alone loves and
pities, tend the plague-stricken with a patient and generous heroism.
Masonry and its kindred Orders teach men to love each other, feed the
hungry, clothe the naked, comfort the sick, and bury the friendless
dead. Everywhere God finds and blesses the kindly office, the pitying
thought, and the loving heart.

There is an element of good in all men’s lawful pursuits and a divine
spirit breathing in all their lawful affections. The ground on which
they tread is holy ground. There is a natural religion of life,
answering, with however many a broken tone, to the religion of nature.
There is a beauty and glory in Humanity, in man, answering, with however
many a mingling shade, to the loveliness of soft landscapes, and
swelling hills, and the wondrous glory of the starry heavens.

Men may be virtuous, self-improving, and religious _in_ their
employments. Precisely for that, those employments were made. All their
social relations, friendship, love, the ties of family, were made to be
holy. They may be religious, not by a kind of protest and resistance
against their several vocations; but by conformity to their true spirit.
Those vocations do not _exclude_ religion; but _demand_ it, for their
own perfection. They may be religious laborers whether in field or
factory; religious physicians, lawyers, sculptors, poets, painters, and
musicians. They may be religious in all the toils and in all the
amusements of life. Their life may be a religion; the broad earth its
altar; its incense the very breath of life; its fires ever kindled by
the brightness of Heaven.

Bound up with our poor, frail life, is the mighty thought that spurns
the narrow span of all visible existence. Ever the soul reaches outward,
and asks for freedom. It looks forth from the narrow and grated windows
of sense, upon the wide immeasurable creation; it knows that around it
and beyond it lie outstretched the infinite and everlasting paths.

Everything within us and without us ought to stir our minds to
admiration and wonder. We are a mystery encompassed with mysteries. The
connection of mind with matter is a mystery; the wonderful telegraphic
communication between the brain and every part of the body, the power
and action of the will. Every familiar step is more than a story in a
land of enchantment. The power of movement is as mysterious as the power
of thought. Memory, and dreams that are the indistinct echoes of dead
memories are alike inexplicable. Universal harmony springs from infinite
complication. The momentum of every step we take in our dwelling
contributes in part to the order of the Universe. We are connected by
ties of thought, and even of matter and its forces, with the whole
boundless Universe and all the past and coming generations of men.

The humblest object beneath our eye as completely defies our scrutiny as
the economy of the most distant star. Every leaf and every blade of
grass holds within itself secrets which no human penetration will ever
fathom. No man can tell what is its principle of life. No man can know
what his power of secretion is. Both are inscrutable mysteries. Wherever
we place our hand we lay it upon the locked bosom of mystery. Step where
we will, we tread upon wonders. The sea-sands, the clods of the field,
the water-worn pebbles on the hills, the rude masses of rock, are traced
over and over, in every direction, with a handwriting older and more
significant and sublime than all the ancient ruins and all the
overthrown and buried cities that past generations have left upon the
earth; for it is the handwriting of the Almighty.

A Mason’s great business with life is to read the book of its teaching;
to find that life is not the doing of drudgeries, but the hearing of
oracles. The old mythology is but a leaf in that book; for it peopled
the world with spiritual natures; and science, many-leaved, still
spreads before us the same tale of wonder.

We shall be just as happy hereafter, as we are pure and upright, and no
more, just as happy as our character prepares us to be, and no more. Our
moral, like our mental character, is not formed in a moment; it is the
habit of our minds; the result of many thoughts and feelings and
efforts, bound together by many natural and strong ties. The great law
of Retribution is, that all coming experience is to be affected by every
present feeling; every future moment of being must answer for every
present moment; one moment, sacrificed to vice, or lost to improvement,
is _forever_ sacrificed and lost; an hour’s delay to enter the right
path, is to put us back so far, in the everlasting pursuit of happiness;
and every sin, even of the best men, is to be thus answered for, if not
according to the full measure of its ill-desert, yet according to a rule
of unbending rectitude and impartiality.

The law of retribution presses upon every man, whether he thinks of it
or not. It pursues him through all the courses of life, with a step that
never falters nor tires, and with an eye that never sleeps. If it were
not so, God’s government would not be impartial; there would be no
discrimination; no moral dominion; no light shed upon the mysteries of

Whatsoever a man soweth, that, and not something else, shall he reap.
That which we are doing, good or evil, grave or gay, that which we do
to-day and shall do to-morrow; each thought, each feeling, each action,
each event; every passing hour, every breathing moment; all are
contributing to form the character, according to which we are to be
judged. Every particle of influence that goes to form that
aggregate,–our character,–will, in that future scrutiny, be sifted out
from the mass; and, particle by particle, with ages perhaps intervening,
fall a distinct contribution to the sum of our joys or woes. Thus every
idle word and idle hour will give answer in the judgment.

Let us take care, therefore, what we sow. An evil temptation comes upon
us; the opportunity of unrighteous gain, or of unhallowed indulgence,
either in the sphere of business or pleasure, of society or solitude. We
yield; and plant a seed of bitterness and sorrow. To-morrow it will
threaten discovery. Agitated and alarmed, we cover the sin, and bury it
deep in falsehood and hypocrisy. In the bosom where it lies concealed,
in the fertile soil of kindred vices, that sin dies not, but thrives and
grows; and other and still other germs of evil gather around the
accursed root; until, from that single seed of corruption, there springs
up in the soul all that is horrible in habitual lying, knavery, or vice.
Loathingly, often, we take each downward step; but a frightful power
urges us onward; and the hell of debt, disease, ignominy, or remorse
gathers its shadows around our steps even on earth; and are yet but the
beginnings of sorrows. The evil deed may be done in a single moment; but
conscience never dies, memory never sleeps; guilt never can become
innocence; and remorse can never whisper peace.

Beware, thou who art tempted to evil! Beware what thou layest up for the
future! Beware what thou layest up in the archives of eternity! Wrong
not thy neighbor! lest the thought of him thou injurest, and who suffers
by thy act, be to thee a pang which years will not deprive of its
bitterness! Break not into the house of innocence, to rifle it of its
treasure; lest when many years have passed over thee, the moan of its
distress may not have died away from thine ear! Build not the desolate
throne of ambition in thy heart; nor be busy with devices, and
circumventings, and selfish schemings; lest desolation and loneliness be
on thy path, as it stretches into the long futurity! Live not a useless,
an impious, or an injurious life! for bound up with that life is the
immutable principle of an endless retribution, and elements of God’s
creating, which will never spend their force, but continue ever to
unfold with the ages of eternity. Be not deceived! God has formed thy
nature, thus to answer to the future. His law can never be abrogated,
nor His justice eluded; and forever and ever it win be true, that
“_Whatsoever a man soweth, that also he shall reap_.”

[Illustration: Decorative]



[Perfect Elu.]

It is for each individual Mason to discover the secret of Masonry, by
reflection upon its symbols and a wise consideration and analysis of
what is said and done in the work. Masonry does not _inculcate_ her
truths. She states them, once and briefly; or hints them, perhaps,
darkly; or interposes a cloud between them and eyes that would be
dazzled by them. “_Seek_, and ye shall _find_,” knowledge and the truth.

The practical object of Masonry is the physical and moral amelioration
and the intellectual and spiritual improvement of individuals and
society. Neither can be effected, except by the dissemination of truth.
It is falsehood in doctrines and fallacy in principles, to which most of
the miseries of men and the misfortunes of nations are owing. Public
opinion is rarely right on any point; and there are and always will be
important truths to be substituted in that opinion in the place of many
errors and absurd and injurious prejudices. There are few truths that
public opinion has not at some time hated and persecuted as heresies,
and few errors that have not at some time seemed to it truths radiant
from the immediate presence of God. There are moral maladies, also, of
man and society, the treatment of which requires not only boldness, but
also, and more, prudence and discretion; since they are more the fruit
of false and pernicious doctrines, moral, political, and religious, than
of vicious inclinations.

Much of the Masonic secret manifests itself, without revealing it, to
him who even partially comprehends all the Decrees in proportion as he
receives them; and particularly to those who advance to the highest
Degrees of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite. That Rite raises a
corner of the veil, even in the degree of Apprentice; for it there
declares that Masonry is a _worship_.

Masonry labors to improve the social order by enlightening men’s minds,
warming their hearts with the love of the good, inspiring them with the
great principle of human fraternity, and requiring of its disciples that
their language and actions shall conform to that principle, that they
shall enlighten each other, control their passions, abhor vice, and pity
the vicious man as one afflicted with a deplorable malady.

It is the universal, eternal, immutable religion, such as God planted it
in the heart of universal humanity. No creed has ever been long-lived
that was not built on this foundation. It is the base, and they are the
superstructure. “Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father
is this, to visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to
keep himself unspotted from the world.” “Is not _this_ the fast that I
have chosen? to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy
burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every
yoke?” The ministers of this religion are all Masons who comprehend it
and are devoted to it; its sacrifices to God are good works, the
sacrifices of the base and disorderly passions, the offering up of
self-interest on the altar of humanity, and perpetual efforts to attain
to all the moral perfection of which man is capable.

To make honor and duty the steady beacon-lights that shall guide your
life-vessel over the stormy seas of time; to do that which it is right
to do, not because it will insure you success, or bring with it a
reward, or gain the applause of men, or be “the best policy,” more
prudent or more advisable; but because it is right, and therefore
_ought_ to be done; to war incessantly against error, intolerance,
ignorance, and vice, and yet to pity those who err, to be tolerant even
of intolerance, to teach the ignorant, and labor to reclaim the vicious,
are some of the duties of a Mason.

A good Mason is one that can look upon death, and see its face the same
countenance with which he hears its story; that “I endure all the labors”
of his life with his soul supporting his body, that can equally despise
riches when he hath them and when he hath them not; that is, not sadder
if they are in his neighbor’s exchequer, nor more lifted up if they
shine around about his own walls; one that is not moved with good
fortune coming to him, nor going from him; that can look upon another
man’s lands with equanimity and pleasure, as if they were his own; and
yet look upon his own, and use them too, just as if they were another
man’s; that neither spends his goods prodigally and foolishly, nor yet
keeps them avariciously and like a miser; that weighs not benefits by
weight and number, but by the mind and circumstances of him who confers
them; that never thinks his charity expensive, if a worthy person be the
receiver; that does nothing for opinion’s sake, but everything for
conscience, being as careful of his thoughts as of his acting in markets
and theatres, and in as much awe of himself as of a whole assembly; that
is, bountiful and cheerful to his friends, and charitable and apt to
forgive his enemies; that loves his country, consults its honor, and
obeys its laws, and desires and endeavors nothing more than that he may
do his duty and honor God. And such a Mason may reckon his life to be
the life of a man, and compute his months, not by the course of the sun,
but by the zodiac and circle of his virtues.

The whole world is, but one republic, of which each nation is a family,
and every individual a child. Masonry, not in anywise derogating from
the differing duties which the diversity of states requires, tends to
create a new people, which, composed of men of many nations and tongues,
shall all be bound together by the bonds of science, morality, and

Essentially philanthropic, philosophical, and progressive, it has for
the basis of its dogma a firm belief in the existence of God and his
providence, and of the immortality of the soul; for its object, the
dissemination of moral, political, philosophical, and religious truth,
and the practice of all the virtues. In every age, its device has been,
“Liberty, Equality, Fraternity,” with constitutional government, _law,
order, discipline_, and _subordination_ to legitimate
authority–_government_ and not _anarchy_.

But it is neither a political party nor a religious sect. It embraces
all parties and all sects, to form from among them all a vast fraternal
association. It recognizes the dignity of human nature, and man’s right
to such freedom as he is fitted for; and it knows nothing that should
place one man below another, except ignorance, debasement, and crime,
and the necessity of subordination to lawful will and authority.

It is philanthropic; for it recognizes the great truth that all men are
of the same origin, have common interests, and should co-operate
together to the same end.

Therefore it teaches its members to love one another, to give to each
other mutual assistance and support in all the circumstances of life, to
share each other’s pains and sorrows, as well as their joys and
pleasures; to guard the reputations, respect the opinions, and be
perfectly tolerant of the errors, of each other, in matters of faith and

It is philosophical, because it teaches the great Truths concerning the
nature and existence of one Supreme Deity, and the existence and
immortality of the soul. It revives the Academy of Plato, and the wise
teachings of Socrates. It reiterates the maxims of Pythagoras,
Confucius, and Zoroaster, and reverentially enforces the sublime lessons
of Him who died upon the Cross.

The ancients thought that universal humanity acted under the influence
of two opposing Principles, the Good and the Evil: of which the Good
urged men toward Truth, Independence, and Devotedness; and the Evil
toward Falsehood, Servility, and Selfishness. Masonry represents the
Good Principle and constantly wars against the evil one. It is the
Hercules, the Osiris, the Apollo, the Mithras, and the Ormuzd, at
everlasting and deadly feud with the demons of ignorance, brutality,
baseness, falsehood, slavishness of soul, intolerance, superstition,
tyranny, meanness, the insolence of wealth, and bigotry.

When despotism and superstition, twin-powers of evil and darkness,
reigned everywhere and seemed invincible and immortal, it invented, to
avoid persecution, the mysteries, that is to say, the allegory, the
symbol, and the emblem, and transmitted its doctrines by the secret mode
of initiation. Now, retaining its ancient symbols, and in part its
ancient ceremonies, it displays in every civilized country its banner,
on which in letters of living light its great principles are written;
and it smiles at the puny efforts of kings and popes to crush it out by
excommunication and interdiction.

Man’s views in regard to God, will contain only so much positive truth
as the human mind is capable of receiving; whether that truth is
attained by the exercise of reason, or communicated by revelation. It
must necessarily be both limited and alloyed, to bring it within the
competence of finite human intelligence. Being finite, we can form no
correct or adequate idea of the Infinite; being material, we can form no
clear conception of the Spiritual. We do believe in and know the
infinity of Space and Time, and the spirituality of the Soul; but the
_idea_ of that infinity and spirituality eludes us. Even Omnipotence
cannot infuse infinite conceptions into finite minds; nor can God,
without first entirely changing the conditions of our being, pour a
complete and full knowledge of His own nature and attributes into the
narrow capacity of a human soul. Human intelligence could not grasp it,
nor human language express it. The visible is, necessarily, the measure
of the invisible.

The consciousness of the individual reveals _itself_ alone. His
knowledge cannot pass beyond the limits of his own being. His
conceptions of other things and other beings _are only his conceptions_.
They are not those things or beings themselves. The living principle of
a living Universe must be INFINITE; while all _our_ ideas and
conceptions are _finite_, and applicable only to finite beings.

The Deity is thus not an object of _knowledge_, but of _faith_; not to
be approached by the _understanding_, but by the _moral sense_; not to
be _conceived_, but to be _felt_. All attempts to embrace the Infinite
in the conception of the Finite are, and must be only accommodations to
the frailty of man. Shrouded from human comprehension in an obscurity
from which a chastened imagination is awed back, and Thought retreats in
conscious weakness, the Divine Nature is a theme on which man is little
entitled to dogmatize. Here the philosophic Intellect becomes most
painfully aware of its own insufficiency.

And yet it is here that man most dogmatizes, classifies and describes
God’s attributes, makes out his map of God’s nature, and his inventory
of God’s qualities, feelings, impulses, and passions; and then hangs and
burns his brother, who, as dogmatically as he, makes out a different map
and inventory. The common understanding has no humility. _Its_ God is an
_incarnate_ Divinity. Imperfection imposes its own limitations on the
Illimitable, and clothes the Inconceivable Spirit of the Universe in
forms that come within the grasp of the senses and the intellect, and
are derived from that infinite and imperfect nature which is but God’s

We are all of us, though not all equally, mistaken. The cherished dogmas
of each of us are not, as we fondly suppose, the pure truth of God; but
simply our own special form of error, our guesses at truth, the
refracted and fragmentary rays of light that have fallen upon our own
minds. Our little systems have their day, and cease to be; they are but
broken lights of God; and He is more than they. Perfect truth is not
attainable anywhere. We style this Degree that of Perfection; and yet
what it teaches is imperfect and defective. Yet we are not to relax in
the pursuit of truth, nor contentedly acquiesce in error. It is our duty
always to press forward in the search; for though absolute truth is
unattainable, yet the amount of error in our views is capable of
progressive and perpetual diminution; and thus Masonry is a continual
struggle toward the light.

All errors are not equally innocuous. That which is most injurious is to
entertain unworthy conceptions of the nature and attributes of God; and
it is this that Masonry symbolizes by ignorance of the True Word. The
true word of a Mason is, not the entire, perfect, absolute truth in
regard to God; but the highest and noblest conception of Him that our
minds are capable of forming; and this _word_ is Ineffable, because one
man cannot communicate to another his own conception of Deity; since
every man’s conception of God must be proportioned to his mental
cultivation, and intellectual powers, and moral excellence. God is, as
man conceives Him, the reflected image of man himself.

For every man’s conception of God must vary with his mental cultivation
and mental powers. If any one contents himself with any _lower_ image
than his intellect is capable of grasping, then he contents himself with
that which is false _to him_, as well as false _in fact_. If lower than
he can reach, he must needs _feel_ it to be false. And if we, of the
nineteenth century after Christ, adopt the conceptions of the nineteenth
century before Him; if _our_ conceptions of God are those of the
ignorant, narrow-minded, and vindictive Israelite; then we think worse
of God, and have a lower, meaner, and more limited view of His nature,
than the faculties which He has bestowed are capable of grasping. The
highest view we can form is nearest to the truth. If we acquiesce in any
lower one, we acquiesce in an untruth. We feel that it is an affront and
an indignity to Him, to conceive of Him as cruel, short-sighted,
capricious and unjust; as a jealous, an angry, a vindictive Being.

When we examine our conceptions of His character, if we can conceive of
a loftier, nobler, higher, more beneficent, glorious, and magnificent
character, then this latter is to us the true conception of Deity; _for
nothing can be imagined more excellent than He_.

Religion, to obtain currency and influence with the great mass of
mankind, must needs be alloyed with such an amount of error as to place
it far below the standard attainable by the higher human capacities. A
religion as pure as the loftiest and most cultivated human reason could
discern, would not be comprehended by, or effective over, the less
educated portion of mankind. What is Truth to the philosopher, would not
be Truth, nor have the effect of Truth, to the peasant. The religion of
the many must necessarily be more incorrect than that of the refined and
reflective few, not so much in its essence as in its forms, not so much
in the spiritual idea which lies latent at the bottom of it, as in the
symbols and dogmas in which that idea is embodied. The truest religion
would, in many points, not be comprehended by the ignorant, nor
consolatory to them, nor guiding and supporting for them. The doctrines
of the Bible are often not clothed in the language of strict truth, but
in that which was fittest to convey to a rude and ignorant people the
practical essentials of the doctrine. A perfectly pure faith, free from
all extraneous admixtures, a system of noble theism and lofty morality,
would find too little preparation for it in the common mind and heart,
to admit of prompt reception by the masses of mankind; and Truth might
not have reached us, if it had not borrowed the wings of Error.

The Mason regards God as a Moral Governor, as well as an Original
Creator; as a God at hand, and not merely one afar off in the distance
of infinite space, and in the remoteness of Past or Future Eternity. He
conceives of Him as taking a watchful and presiding interest in the
affairs of the world, and as influencing the hearts and actions of men.

To him, God is the great Source of the World of Life and Matter; and
man, with his wonderful corporeal and mental frame, His direct work. He
believes that God has made men with different intellectual capacities;
and enabled some, by superior intellectual power, to see and originate
truths which are hidden from the mass of men. He believes that when it
is His will that mankind should make some great step forward, or achieve
some pregnant discovery, He calls into being some intellect of more than
ordinary magnitude and power, to give birth to new ideas, and grander
conceptions of the Truths vital to Humanity.

We hold that God has so ordered matters in this beautiful and
harmonious, but mysteriously-governed Universe, that one great mind
after another will arise, from time to time, as such are needed, to
reveal to men the truths that are wanted, and the amount of truth than
can be borne. He so arranges, that nature and the course of events shall
send men into the world, endowed with that higher mental and moral
organization, in which grand truths, and sublime gleams of spiritual
light will spontaneously and inevitably arise. These speak to men by

Whatever Hiram really was, he is the type, perhaps an imaginary type, to
us, of humanity in its highest phase; an exemplar of what man may and
should become, in the course of ages, in his progress toward the
realization of his destiny; an individual gifted with a glorious
intellect, a noble soul, a fine organization, and a perfectly balanced
moral being; an earnest of what humanity may be, and what we believe it
will hereafter be in God’s good time; _the possibility of the race made

The Mason believes that God has arranged this glorious but perplexing
world with a purpose, and on a plan. He holds that every man sent upon
this earth, and especially every man of superior capacity, has a duty to
perform, a mission to fulfill, a baptism to be baptized with; that every
great and good man possesses some portion of God’s truth, which he must
proclaim to the world, and which must bear fruit in his own bosom. In a
true and simple sense, he believes all the pure, wise, and intellectual
to be inspired, and to be so for the instruction, advancement, and
elevation of mankind. That kind of inspiration, like God’s omnipresence,
is not limited to the few writers claimed by Jews, Christians, or
Moslems, but is co-extensive with the race. It is the consequence of a
faithful use of our faculties. Each man is its subject, God is its
source, and Truth its only test. It differs in degrees, as the
intellectual endowments, the moral wealth of the soul, and the degree of
cultivation of those endowments and faculties differ. It is limited to
no sect, age, or nation. It is wide as the world and common as God. It
was not given to a few men, in the infancy of mankind, to monopolize
inspiration, and bar God out of the soul. We are not born in the dotage
and decay of the world. The stars are beautiful as in their prime; the
most ancient Heavens are fresh and strong. God is still everywhere in
nature. Wherever a heart beats with love, wherever Faith and Reason
utter their oracles, there is God, as formerly in the hearts of seers
and prophets. No soil on earth is so holy as the good man’s heart;
nothing is so full of God. This inspiration is not given to the learned
alone, not alone to the great and wise, but to every faithful child of
God. Certain as the open eye drinks in the light, do the pure in heart
see God; and he who lives truly, feels Him as a presence within the
soul. The conscience is the very voice of Deity.

Masonry, around whose altars the Christian, the Hebrew, the Moslem, the
Brahmin, the followers of Confucius and Zoroaster, can assemble as
brethren and unite in prayer to the one God who is above _all_ the
Baalim, must needs leave it to each of its Initiates to look for the
foundation of his faith and hope to the written scriptures of his own
religion. For itself it finds those truths definite enough, which are
written by the finger of God upon the heart of man and on the pages of
the book of nature. Views of religion and duty, wrought out by the
meditations of the studious, confirmed by the allegiance of the good and
wise, stamped as sterling by the response they find in every uncorrupted
mind, commend themselves to Masons of every creed, and may well be
accepted by all.

The Mason does not pretend to dogmatic certainty, nor vainly imagine
such certainty attainable. He considers that if there were no written
revelation, he could safely rest the hopes that animate him and the
principles that guide him, on the deductions of reason and the
convictions of instinct and consciousness. He can find a sure foundation
for his religious belief, in these deductions of the intellect and
convictions of the heart. For reason proves to him the existence and
attributes of God; and those spiritual instincts which he feels are the
voice of God in his soul, infuse into his mind a sense of his relation
to God, a conviction of the beneficence of his Creator and Preserver,
and a hope of future existence; and his reason and conscience alike
unerringly point to virtue as the highest good, and the destined aim and
purpose of man’s life.

He studies the wonders of the Heavens, the frame-work and revolutions of
the Earth, the mysterious beauties and adaptations of animal existence,
the moral and material constitution of the human creature, so fearfully
and wonderfully made; and is satisfied that God IS; and that a Wise and
Good Being is the author of the starry Heavens above him, and of the
moral world within him; and his mind finds an adequate foundation for
its hopes, its worship, its principles of action, in the far-stretching
Universe, in the glorious firmament, in the deep, full soul, bursting
with unutterable thoughts.

These are truths which every reflecting mind will unhesitatingly
receive, as not to be surpassed, nor capable of improvement; and fitted,
if obeyed, to make earth indeed a Paradise, and man only a little lower
than the angels. The worthlessness of ceremonial observances, and the
necessity of active virtue; the enforcement of purity of heart as the
security for purity of life, and of the government of the thoughts, as
the originators and forerunners of action; universal philanthropy,
requiring us to love all men, and to do unto others that and that only
which we should think it right, just, and generous for them to do unto
us; forgiveness of injuries; the necessity of self-sacrifice in the
discharge of duty; humility; genuine sincerity, and _being_ that which
we _seem_ to be; all these sublime precepts need no miracle, no voice
from the clouds, to recommend them to our allegiance, or to assure us of
their divine origin. They command obedience by virtue of their inherent
rectitude and beauty; and have been, and are, and will be the law in
every age and every country of the world. God revealed them to man in
the beginning.

To the Mason, God is our Father in Heaven, to be Whose especial children
is the sufficient reward of the peacemakers, to see Whose face the
highest hope of the pure in heart; Who is ever at hand to strengthen His
true worshippers; to Whom our most fervent love is due, our most humble
and patient submission; Whose most acceptable worship is a pure and
pitying heart and a beneficent life; in Whose constant presence we live
and act, to Whose merciful disposal we are resigned by that death which,
we hope and believe, is but the entrance to a better life; and Whose
wise decrees forbid a man to lap his soul in an elysium of mere indolent

As to our feelings toward Him and our conduct toward man, Masonry
teaches little about which men can differ, and little from which they
can dissent. He is our _Father_; and we are all _brethren_. This much
lies open to the most ignorant and busy, as fully as to those who have
most leisure and are most learned. This needs no Priest to teach it, and
no authority to indorse it; and if every man did that only which is
consistent with it, it would exile barbarity, cruelty, intolerance,
uncharitableness, perfidy, treachery, revenge, selfishness, and all
their kindred vices and bad passions beyond the confines of the world.

The true Mason, sincerely holding that a Supreme God created and governs
this world, believes also that He governs it by laws, which, though
wise, just, and beneficent, are yet steady, unwavering, inexorable. He
believes that his agonies and sorrows are ordained for _his_ chastening,
_his_ strengthening, _his_ elaboration and development; because they are
the necessary results of the operation of laws, the best that could be
devised for the happiness and purification of the species, and to give
occasion and opportunity for the practice of all the virtues, from the
homeliest and most common, to the noblest and most sublime; or perhaps
not even that, but the best adapted to work out the vast, awful,
glorious, eternal designs of the Great Spirit of the Universe. He
believes that the ordained operations of nature, which have brought
misery to him, have, from the very unswerving tranquility of their
career, showered blessings and sunshine upon many another path; that the
unrelenting chariot of Time, which has crushed or maimed him in its
allotted course, is pressing onward to the accomplishment of those
serene and mighty purposes, to have contributed to which, even as a
victim, is an honor and a recompense. He takes this view of Time and
Nature and God, and yet bears his lot without murmur or distrust;
because it is a portion of a system, the best possible, because ordained
by God. He does not believe that God loses sight of _him_, while
superintending the march of the great harmonies of the Universe; nor
that it was not foreseen, when the Universe was created, its laws
enacted, and the long succession of its operations pre-ordained, that in
the great march of those events, he would suffer pain and undergo
calamity. He believes that his individual good entered into God’s
consideration, as well as the great cardinal results to which the course
of all things is tending.

Thus believing, he has attained an eminence in virtue, the highest, amid
_passive_ excellence, which humanity can reach. He finds his reward and
his support in the reflection that he is an unreluctant and
self-sacrificing co-operator with the Creator of the Universe; and in
the noble consciousness of being worthy and capable of so sublime a
conception, yet so sad a destiny. He is then truly entitled to be
called a Grand Elect, Perfect, and Sublime Mason. He is content to fall
early in the battle, if his body may but form a stepping-stone for the
future conquests of humanity.

It cannot be that God, Who, we are certain, is perfectly good, can
choose us to suffer pain, unless either we are ourselves to receive from
it an antidote to what is evil in ourselves, or else as such pain is a
necessary part in the scheme of the Universe, which as a whole is good.
In either case, the Mason receives it with submission. He would not
suffer unless it was ordered so. Whatever his creed, if he believes that
God is, and that He cares for His creatures, he cannot doubt that; nor
that it would not have been so ordered, unless it was either better for
himself, or for some other persons, or for some things. To complain and
lament is to murmur against God’s will, and worse than unbelief.

The Mason, whose mind is cast in a nobler mould than those of the
ignorant and unreflecting, and is instinct with a diviner life,–who
loves truth more than rest, and the peace of Heaven rather than the
peace of Eden,–to whom a loftier being brings severer cares,–who knows
that man does not live by pleasure or content alone, but by the presence
of the power of God,–must cast behind him the hope of any other repose
or tranquillity, than that which is the last reward of long agonies of
thought; he must relinquish all prospect of any Heaven save that of
which trouble is the avenue and portal; he must gird up his loins, and
trim his lamp, for a work that must be done, and must not be negligently
done. If he does not like to live in the furnished lodgings of
tradition, he must build his own house, his own system of faith and
thought, for himself.

The hope of success, and not the hope of reward, should be our
stimulating and sustaining power. Our object, and not ourselves, should
be our inspiring thought. Selfishness is a sin, when temporary, and for
time. Spun out to eternity, it does not become celestial prudence. We
should toil and die, not for Heaven or Bliss, but for Duty.

In the more frequent cases, where we have to join our efforts to those
of thousands of others, to contribute to the carrying forward of a great
cause; merely to till the ground or sow the seed for a very distant
harvest, or to prepare the way for the future advent of some great
amendment; the amount which each one contributes to the achievement of
ultimate success, the portion of the price which justice should assign
to each as his especial production, can never be accurately ascertained.
Perhaps few of those who have ever labored, in the patience of secrecy
and silence, to bring about some political or social change, which they
felt convinced would ultimately prove of vast service to humanity, lived
to see the change effected, or the anticipated good flow from it. Fewer
still of them were able to pronounce what appreciable weight their
several efforts contributed to the achievement of the change desired.
Many will doubt, whether, in truth, these exertions have any influence
whatever; and, discouraged, cease all active effort.

Not to be thus discouraged, the Mason must labor to elevate and purify
his _motives_, as well as sedulously cherish the conviction, assuredly a
true one, that in this world there is no such thing as effort thrown
away; that in all labor there is profit; that all sincere exertion, in a
righteous and unselfish cause, is _necessarily_ followed, in spite of
all appearance to the contrary, by an appropriate and proportionate
success; that _no_ bread cast upon the waters can be wholly lost; that
_no_ seed planted in the ground can fail to quicken in due time and
measure; and that, however we may, in moments of despondency, be apt to
doubt, not only whether our cause will triumph, but whether, if it does,
we shall have contributed to its triumph,–there is One, Who has not
only seen every exertion we have made, but Who can assign the exact
degree in which each soldier has assisted to gain the great victory over
social evil. No good work is done wholly in vain.

The Grand Elect, Perfect, and Sublime Mason will in nowise deserve that
honorable title, if he has not that strength, that will, that
self-sustaining energy; that Faith, that feeds upon no earthly hope, nor
ever thinks of victory, but, content in its own consummation, combats
because it ought to combat, rejoicing fights, and still rejoicing falls.

The Augean Stables of the World, the accumulated uncleanness and misery
of centuries, require a mighty river to cleanse them thoroughly away;
every drop we contribute aids to swell that river and augment its force,
in a degree appreciable by God, though not by man; and he whose zeal is
deep and earnest, will not be over-anxious that his individual drops
should be distinguishable amid the mighty mass of cleansing and
fertilizing waters; far less that, for the sake of distinction, it
should flow in ineffective singleness away.

The true Mason will not be careful that his name should be inscribed
upon the mite which he casts into the treasury of God. It suffices him
to know that if he has labored, with purity of purpose, in any good
cause, he _must_ have contributed to its success; that the _degree_ in
which he has contributed is a matter of infinitely small concern; and
still more, that the consciousness of having so contributed, however
obscurely and unnoticed, is his sufficient, even if it be his sole,
reward. Let every Grand Elect, Perfect, and Sublime Mason cherish this
faith. It is a duty. It is the brilliant and never-dying light that
shines within and through the symbolic pedestal of alabaster, on which
reposes the perfect cube of agate, symbol of duty, inscribed with the
divine name of God. He who industriously sows and reaps is a good
laborer, and worthy of his hire. But he who sows that which shall be
reaped by others, by those who will know not of and care not for the
sower, is a laborer of a nobler order, and, worthy of a more excellent

The Mason does not exhort others to an ascetic undervaluing of this
life, as an insignificant and unworthy portion of existence; for that
demands feelings which are unnatural, and which, therefore, if attained,
must be morbid, and if merely professed, insincere; and teaches us to
look rather to a future life for the compensation of social evils, than
to this life for their cure; and so does injury to the cause of virtue
and to that of social progress. Life is real, and is earnest, and it is
full of duties to be performed. It is the beginning of our immortality.
Those only who feel a deep interest and affection for this world will
work resolutely for its amelioration; those whose affections are
transferred to Heaven, easily acquiesce in the miseries of earth,
deeming them hopeless, befitting, and ordained; and console themselves
with the idea of the amends which are one day to be theirs. It is a sad
truth, that those most decidedly given to spiritual contemplation, and
to making religion rule in their hearts, are often most apathetic toward
all improvement of this world’s systems, and in many cases virtual
conservatives of evil, and hostile to political and social reform, as
diverting men’s energies from eternity.

The Mason does not war with his own instincts, macerate the body into
weakness and disorder, and disparage what he sees to be beautiful,
knows to be wonderful, and feels to be unspeakably dear and fascinating.
He does not put aside the nature which God has given him, to struggle
after one which He has _not_ bestowed. He knows that man is sent into
the world, not a spiritual, but a composite being, made up of body and
mind, the body having, as is fit and needful in a material world, its
full, rightful, and allotted share. His life is guided by a full
recognition of this fact. He does not deny it in bold words, and admit
it in weaknesses and inevitable failings. He believes that his
spirituality will come in the next stage of his being, when he puts on
the spiritual body; that his body will be dropped at death; and that,
until then, God meant it to be commanded and controlled, but not
neglected, despised, or ignored by the soul, under pain of heavy

Yet the Mason is not indifferent as to the fate of the soul, after its
present life, as to its continued and eternal being, and the character
of the scenes in which that being will be fully developed. These are to
him topics of the profoundest interest, and the most ennobling and
refining contemplation. They occupy much of his leisure; and as he
becomes familiar with the sorrows and calamities of this life, as his
hopes are disappointed and his visions of happiness here fade away; when
life has wearied him in its race of hours; when he is harassed and
toil-worn, and the burden of his years weighs heavy on him, the balance
of attraction gradually inclines in favor of another life; and he clings
to his lofty speculations with a tenacity of interest which needs no
injunction, and will listen to no prohibition. They are the consoling
privilege of the aspiring, the wayworn, the weary, and the bereaved.

To him the contemplation of the Future lets in light upon the Present,
and develops the higher portions of his nature. He endeavors rightly to
adjust the respective claims of Heaven and earth upon his time and
thought, so as to give the proper proportions thereof to performing the
duties and entering into the interests of this world, and to preparation
for a better; to the cultivation and purification of his own character,
and to the public service of his fellow-men.

The Mason does not dogmatize, but entertaining and uttering his own
convictions, he leaves everyone else free to do the same; and only hopes
that the time will come, even if after the lapse of ages, when all men
shall form one great family of brethren, and one law alone, the law of
love, shall govern God’s whole Universe.

Believe as you may, my brother; if the Universe is not, to you, without
a God, and if man is not like the beast that perishes, but hath an
immortal soul, we welcome you among us, to wear, as we wear, with
humility, and conscious of your demerits and shortcomings, the title of
Grand Elect, Perfect, and Sublime Mason.

It was not without a secret meaning, that _twelve_ was the number of the
Apostles of Christ, and _seventy-two_ that of his Disciples: that John
addressed his rebukes and menaces to the _Seven_ churches, the number of
the Archangels and the Planets. At Babylon were the Seven Stages of
Bersippa, a pyramid of Seven stories, and at Ecbatana Seven concentric
inclosures, each of a different color. Thebes also had Seven gates, and
the same number is repeated again and again in the account of the flood.
The Sephiroth, or Emanations, _ten_ in number, three in one class, and
seven in the other, repeat the mystic numbers of Pythagoras. Seven
Amschaspands or planetary spirits were invoked with Ormuzd: Seven
inferior Rishis of Hindustan were saved with the head of their family in
an ark: and Seven ancient personages alone returned with the British
just man, Hu, from the dale of the grievous waters. There were Seven
Heliadæ, whose father Helias, or the Sun, once crossed the sea in a
golden cup; Seven Titans, children of the older Titan, Kronos or Saturn;
Seven Corybantes; and Seven Cabiri, sons of Sydyk; Seven primeval
Celestial spirits of the Japanese, and Seven Karfesters who escaped from
the deluge and began to be the parents of a new race, on the summit of
Mount Albordi. Seven Cyclopes, also, built the walls of Tiryus.

Celsus, as quoted by Origen, tells us that the Persians represented by
symbols the two-fold motion of the stars, fixed and planetary, and the
passage of the Soul through their successive spheres. They erected in
their holy caves, in which the mystic rites of the Mithriac Initiations
were practised, what he denominates a high _ladder_, on the Seven steps
of which were Seven gates or portals, according to the number of the
Seven principal heavenly bodies. Through these the aspirants passed,
until they reached the summit of the whole; and this passage was styled
a transmigration through the spheres.

Jacob saw in his dream a _ladder_ planted or set on the earth, and its
top reaching to Heaven, and the Malaki Alohim ascending and descending
on it, and above it stood IHUH, declaring Himself to be Ihuh-Alhi
Abraham. The word translated _ladder_, is [Hebrew: סלם] _Salam_, from
[Hebrew: סלל], _Salal_, raised, elevated, reared up, exalted, piled up
into a heap, _Aggeravit_. [Hebrew: סללה] Salalah, means a heap, rampart,
or other accumulation of earth or stone, artificially made; and [Hebrew:
סלע], _Salaa_ or _Salo_, is a rock or cliff or boulder, and the name of
the city of Petra. There is no ancient Hebrew word to designate a

The symbolic mountain Meru was ascended by Seven steps or stages; and
all the pyramids and artificial tumuli and hillocks thrown up in flat
countries were imitations of this fabulous and mystic mountain, for
purposes of worship. These were the “High Places” so often mentioned in
the Hebrew books, on which the idolaters sacrificed to foreign gods.

The pyramids were sometimes square, and sometimes round. The sacred
Babylonian tower [[Hebrew: מגדל], Magdol], dedicated to the great Father
Bal, was an artificial hill, of pyramidal shape, and Seven stages, built
of brick, and each stage of a different color, representing the Seven
planetary spheres by the appropriate color of each planet. Meru itself
was said to be a single mountain, terminating in three peaks, and thus a
symbol of the Trimurti. The great Pagoda at Tanjore was of six stories,
surmounted by a temple as the seventh, and on this three spires or
towers. An ancient pagoda at Deogur was surmounted by a tower,
sustaining the mystic egg and a trident. Herodotus tells us that the
Temple of Bal at Babylon was a tower composed of Seven towers, resting
on an eighth that served as basis, and successively diminishing in size
from the bottom to the top; and Strabo tells us it was a pyramid.

Faber thinks that the Mithriac _ladder_ was really a pyramid with Seven
stages, each provided with a narrow door or aperture, through each of
which doors the aspirant passed, to reach the summit, and then descended
through similar doors on the opposite side of the pyramid; the ascent
and descent of the Soul being thus represented.

Each Mithriac cave and all the most ancient temples were intended to
symbolize the Universe, which itself was habitually called the Temple
and habitation of Deity. Every temple was the world in miniature; and
so the whole world was one grand temple. The most ancient temples were
roofless; and therefore the Persians, Celts, and Scythians strongly
disliked artificial covered edifices. Cicero says that Xerxes burned the
Grecian temples, on the express ground that the whole world was the
Magnificent Temple and Habitation of the Supreme Deity. Macrobius says
that the entire Universe was judiciously deemed by many the Temple of
God. Plato pronounced the real Temple of the Deity to be the world; and
Heraclitus declared that the Universe, variegated with animals and
plants and stars was the only genuine Temple of the Divinity.

How completely the Temple of Solomon was symbolic, is manifest, not only
from the continual reproduction in it of the sacred numbers and of
astrological symbols in the historical descriptions of it; but also, and
yet more, from the details of the imaginary reconstructed edifice, seen
by Ezekiel in his vision. The Apocalypse completes the demonstration,
and shows the kabalistic meanings of the whole. The Symbola
Architectonica are found on the most ancient edifices; and these
mathematical figures and instruments, adopted by the Templars, and
identical with those on the gnostic seals and abraxæ, connect their
dogma with the Chaldaic, Syriac, and Egyptian Oriental philosophy. The
secret Pythagorean doctrines of numbers were preserved by the monks of
Thibet, by the Hierophants of Egypt and Eleusis, at Jerusalem, and in
the circular Chapters of the Druids; and they are especially consecrated
in that mysterious book, the Apocalypse of Saint John.

All temples were surrounded by pillars, recording the number of the
constellations, the signs of the zodiac, or the cycles of the planets;
and each one was a microcosm or symbol of the Universe, having for roof
or ceiling the starred vault of Heaven.

All temples were originally open at the top, having for roof the sky.
Twelve pillars described the belt of the zodiac. Whatever the number of
the pillars, they were mystical everywhere. At Abury, the Druidic temple
reproduced all the cycles by its columns. Around the temples of
Chilminar in Persia, of Baalbec, and of Tukhti Schlomoh in Tartary, on
the frontier of China, stood _forty_ pillars. On each side of the temple
at Pæstum were fourteen, recording the Egyptian cycle of the dark and
light sides of the moon, as described by Plutarch; the whole
thirty-eight that surrounded them recording the two meteoric cycles so
often found in the Druidic temples.

The theatre built by Scaurus, in Greece, was surrounded by 360 columns;
the Temple at Mecca, and that at Iona in Scotland by 360 stones.







[Knight of the East, of the Sword, or of the Eagle.]

This Degree, like all others in Masonry, is symbolical. Based upon
historical truth and authentic tradition, it is still an allegory. The
leading lesson of this Degree is Fidelity to obligation, and Constancy
and Perseverance under difficulties and discouragement.

Masonry is engaged in her crusade,–against ignorance, intolerance,
fanaticism, superstition, uncharitableness, and error. She does not sail
with the trade-winds, upon a smooth sea, with a steady free breeze, fair
for a welcoming harbor; but meets and must overcome many opposing
currents, baffling winds, and dead calms.

The chief obstacles to her success are the apathy and faithlessness of
her own selfish children, and the supine indifference of the world. In
the roar and crush and hurry of life and business, and the tumult and
uproar of politics, the quiet voice of Masonry is unheard and unheeded.
The first lesson which one learns, who engages in any great work of
reform or beneficence, is, that men are essentially careless, lukewarm,
and indifferent as to everything that does not concern their own
personal and immediate welfare. It is to single men, and not to the
united efforts of many, that all the great works of man, struggling
toward perfection, are owing. The enthusiast, who imagines that he can
inspire with his own enthusiasm the multitude that eddies around him, or
even the few who have associated themselves with him as co-workers, is
grievously mistaken; and most often the conviction of his own mistake is
followed by discouragement and disgust. To do all, to pay all, and to
suffer all, and then, when despite all obstacles and hindrances, success
is accomplished, and a great work done, to see those who opposed or
looked coldly on it, claim and reap all the praise and reward, is the
common and almost universal lot of the benefactor of his kind.

He who endeavors to serve, to benefit, and improve the world, is like a
swimmer, who struggles against a rapid current, in a river lashed into
angry waves by the winds. Often they roar over his head, often they beat
him back and baffle him. Most men yield to the stress of the current,
and float with it to the shore, or are swept over the rapids; and only
here and there the stout, strong heart and vigorous arms struggle on
toward ultimate success.

It is the motionless and stationary that most frets and impedes the
current of progress; the solid rock or stupid dead tree, rested firmly
on the bottom, and around which the river whirls and eddies: the Masons
that doubt and hesitate and are discouraged; that disbelieve in the
capability of man to improve; that are not disposed to toil and labor
for the interest and well-being of general humanity; that expect others
to do all, even of that which they do not oppose or ridicule; while they
sit, applauding and doing nothing, or perhaps prognosticating failure.

There were many such at the rebuilding of the Temple. There were
prophets of evil and misfortune–the lukewarm and the indifferent and
the apathetic; those who stood by and sneered; and those who thought
they did God service enough if they now and then faintly applauded.
There were ravens croaking ill omen, and murmurers who preached the
folly and futility of the attempt. The world is made up of such; and
they were as abundant then as they are now.

But gloomy and discouraging as was the prospect, with lukewarmness
within and bitter opposition without, our ancient brethren persevered.
Let us leave them engaged in the good work, and whenever to us, as to
them, success is uncertain, remote, and contingent, let us still
remember that the only question for us to ask, as true men and Masons,
is, what does duty require; and not what will be the result and our
reward if we do our duty. Work on with the Sword in one hand, and the
Trowel in the other!

Masonry teaches that God is a Paternal Being, and has an interest in his
creatures, such as is expressed in the title _Father_; an interest
unknown to all the systems of Paganism, untaught in all the theories of
philosophy; an interest not only in the glorious beings of other
spheres, the Sons of Light, the dwellers in Heavenly worlds, but in us,
poor, ignorant, and unworthy; that He has pity for the erring, pardon
for the guilty, love for the pure, knowledge for the humble, and
promises of immortal life for those who trust in and obey Him.

Without a belief in Him, life is miserable, the world is dark, the
Universe disrobed of its splendors, the intellectual tie to nature
broken, the charm of existence dissolved, the great hope of being lost;
and the mind, like a star struck from its sphere, wanders through the
infinite desert of its conceptions, without attraction, tendency,
destiny, or end.

Masonry teaches, that, of all the events and actions, that take place in
the universe of worlds and the eternal succession of ages, there is not
one, even the minutest, which God did not forever foresee, with all the
distinctness of immediate vision, combining all, so that man’s free will
should be His instrument, like all the other forces of nature.

It teaches that the soul of man is formed by Him for a purpose; that,
built up in its proportions, and fashioned in every part, by infinite
skill, an emanation from His spirit, its nature, necessity, and design
are virtue. It is so formed, so moulded, so fashioned, so exactly
balanced, so exquisitely proportioned in every part, that sin introduced
into it is misery; that vicious thoughts fall upon it like drops of
poison; and guilty desires, breathing on its delicate fibres, make
plague-spots there, deadly as those of pestilence upon the body. It is
made for virtue, and not for vice; for purity, as its end, rest, and
happiness. Not more vainly would we attempt to make the mountain sink to
the level of the valley, the waves of the angry sea turn back from its
shores and cease to thunder upon the beach, the stars to halt in their
swift courses, than to change any one law of our own nature. And one of
those laws, uttered by God’s voice, and speaking through every nerve
and fibre, every force and element, of the moral constitution He has
given us, is that we must be upright and virtuous; that if tempted we
must resist; that we must govern our unruly passions, and hold in hand
our sensual appetites. And this is not the dictate of an arbitrary will,
nor of some stern and impracticable law; but it is part of the great
firm law of harmony that binds the Universe together: not the mere
enactment of arbitrary will; but the dictate of Infinite Wisdom.

We know that God is good, and that what He does is right. This known,
the works of creation, the changes of life, the destinies of eternity,
are all spread before us, as the dispensations and counsels of infinite
love. This known, we then know that the love of God is working to
issues, like itself, beyond all thought and imagination good and
glorious; and that the only reason why we do not understand it, is that
it is _too_ glorious for us to understand. God’s love takes care for
all, and nothing is neglected. It watches over all, provides for all,
makes wise adaptations for all; for age, for infancy, for maturity, for
childhood; in every scene of this or another world; for want, weakness,
joy, sorrow, and even for sin. All is good and well and right; and shall
be so forever. Through the eternal ages the light of God’s beneficence
shall shine hereafter, disclosing all, consummating all, rewarding all
that deserve reward. Then we shall see, what now we can only believe.
The cloud will be lifted up, the gate of mystery be passed, and the full
light shine forever; the light of which that of the Lodge is a symbol.
Then that which caused us trial shall yield us triumph; and that which
made our heart ache shall fill us with gladness; and we shall then feel
that there, as here, the only true happiness is to learn, to advance,
and to improve; which could not happen unless we had commenced with
error, ignorance, and imperfection. We must pass through the darkness,
to reach the light.




We no longer expect to rebuild the Temple at Jerusalem. To us it has
become but a symbol. To us the whole world is God’s Temple, as is every
upright heart. To establish all over the world the New Law and Reign of
Love, Peace, Charity, and Toleration, is to build that Temple, most
acceptable to God, in erecting which Masonry is now engaged. No longer
needing to repair to Jerusalem to worship, nor to offer up sacrifices
and shed blood to propitiate the Deity, man may make the woods and
mountains his Churches and Temples, and worship God with a devout
gratitude, and with works of charity and beneficence to his fellow-men.
Wherever the humble and contrite heart silently offers up its adoration,
under the overarching trees, in the open, level meadows, on the
hill-side, in the glen, or in the city’s swarming streets; there is
God’s House and the New Jerusalem.

The Princes of Jerusalem no longer sit as magistrates to judge between
the people; nor is their number limited to five. But their duties still
remain substantially the same, and their insignia and symbols retain
their old significance. Justice and Equity are still their
characteristics. To reconcile disputes and heal dissensions, to restore
amity and peace, to soothe dislikes and soften prejudices, are their
peculiar duties; and they know that the peacemakers are blessed.

Their emblems have been already explained. They are part of the language
of Masonry; the same now as it was when Moses learned it from the
Egyptian Hierophants.

Still we observe the spirit of the Divine law, as thus enunciated to our
ancient brethren, when the Temple was rebuilt, and the book of the law
again opened:

“Execute true judgment; and show mercy and compassion every man to his
brother. Oppress not the widow nor the fatherless, the stranger nor the
poor; and let none of you imagine evil against his brother in his heart.
Speak ye every man the truth to his neighbor; execute the judgment of
Truth and Peace in your gates; and love no false oath; for all these I
hate, saith the Lord.

“Let those who have power rule in righteousness, and Princes in
judgment. And let him that is a judge be as an hiding-place from the
wind, and a covert from the tempest; as rivers of water in a dry place;
as the shadow of a great rock in a weary land. Then the vile person
shall no more be called liberal; nor the churl bountiful; and the work
of justice shall be peace; and the effect of justice, quiet and
security; and wisdom and knowledge shall be the stability of the times.
Walk ye righteously and speak uprightly; despise the gains of
oppression, shake from your hands the contamination of bribes; stop not
your ears against the cries of the oppressed, nor shut your eyes that
you may not see the crimes of the great; and you shall dwell on high,
and your place of defence be like munitions of rocks.”

Forget not these precepts of the old Law; and especially do not forget,
as you advance, that every Mason, however humble, is your brother, and
the laboring man your peer! Remember always that all Masonry is work,
and that the trowel is an emblem of the Degrees in this Council. Labor,
when rightly understood, is both noble and ennobling, and intended to
develop man’s moral and spiritual nature, and not to be deemed a
disgrace or a misfortune.

Everything around us is, in its bearings and influences, moral. The
serene and bright morning, when we recover our conscious existence from
the embraces of sleep; when, from that image of Death God calls us to a
new life, and again gives us existence, and His mercies visit us in
every bright ray and glad thought, and call for gratitude and content;
the silence of that early dawn, the hushed silence, as it were, of
expectation; the holy eventide, its cooling breeze, its lengthening
shadows, its falling shades, its still and sober hour; the sultry
noontide and the stern and solemn midnight; and Spring-time, and
chastening Autumn; and Summer, that unbars our gates, and carries us
forth amidst the ever-renewed wonders of the world; and Winter, that
gathers us around the evening hearth:–all these, as they pass, touch by
turns the springs of the spiritual life in us, and are conducting that
life to good or evil. The idle watch-hand often points to something
within us; and the shadow of the gnomon on the dial often falls upon the

A life of labor is not a state of inferiority or degradation. The
Almighty has not cast man’s lot beneath the quiet shades, and amid glad
groves and lovely hills, with no task to perform; with nothing to do but
to rise up and eat, and to lie down and rest. He has ordained that
_Work_ shall be done, in all the dwellings of life, in every productive
field, in every busy city, and on every wave of every ocean. And this He
has done, because it has pleased Him to give man a nature destined to
higher ends than indolent repose and irresponsible profitless
indulgence; and because, for developing the energies of such a nature,
work was the necessary and proper element. We might as well ask why He
could not make two and two be six, as why He could not develop these
energies without the instrumentality of work. They are equally

This, Masonry teaches, as a great Truth; a great moral landmark, that
ought to guide the course of all mankind. It teaches its toiling
children that the scene of their daily life is all spiritual, that the
very implements of their toil, the fabrics they weave, the merchandise
they barter, are designed for spiritual ends; that so believing, their
daily lot may be to them a sphere for the noblest improvement. That
which we do in our intervals of relaxation, our church-going, and our
book-reading, are especially designed to prepare our minds for the
_action_ of Life. We are to hear and read and meditate, that we may
_act_ well; and the _action_ of Life is itself the great field for
spiritual improvement. There is no task of industry or business, in
field or forest, on the wharf or the ship’s deck, in the office or the
exchange, but has spiritual ends. There is no care or cross of our daily
labor, but was especially ordained to nurture in us patience, calmness,
resolution, perseverance, gentleness, disinterestedness, magnanimity.
Nor is there any tool or implement of toil, but is a part of the great
spiritual instrumentality.

All the relations of life, those of parent, child, brother, sister,
friend, associate, lover and beloved, husband, wife, are moral,
throughout every living tie and thrilling nerve that bind them together.
They cannot subsist a day nor an hour without putting the mind to a
trial of its truth, fidelity, forbearance, and disinterestedness.

A great city is one extended scene of moral action. There is no blow
struck in it but has a purpose, ultimately good or bad, and therefore
moral. There is no action performed, but has a motive; and motives are
the special jurisdiction of morality. Equipages, houses, and furniture
are symbols of what is moral, and they in a thousand ways minister to
right or wrong feeling. Everything that belongs to us, ministering to
our comfort or luxury, awakens in us emotions of pride or gratitude, of
selfishness or vanity; thoughts of self-indulgence, or merciful
remembrances of the needy and the destitute.

Everything acts upon and influences us. God’s great law of sympathy and
harmony is potent and inflexible as His law of gravitation. A sentence
embodying a noble thought stirs our blood; a noise made by a child frets
and exasperates us, and influences our actions.

A world of spiritual objects, influences, and relations lies around us
all. We all vaguely deem it to be so; but he only lives a charmed life,
like that of genius and poetic inspiration, who communes with the
spiritual scene around him, hears the voice of the spirit in every
sound, sees its signs in every passing form of things, and feels its
impulse in all action, passion, and being. Very near to us lies the
mines of wisdom; unsuspected they lie all around us. There is a secret
in the simplest things, a wonder in the plainest, a charm in the

We are all naturally seekers of wonders. We travel far to see the
majesty of old ruins, the venerable forms of the hoary mountains, great
water-falls, and galleries of art. And yet the world-wonder is all
around us; the wonder of setting suns, and evening stars, of the magic
spring-time, the blossoming of the trees, the strange transformations of
the moth; the wonder of the Infinite Divinity and of His boundless
revelation. There is no splendor beyond that which sets its morning
throne in the golden East; no dome sublime as that of Heaven; no beauty
so fair as that of the verdant, blossoming earth; no place, however
invested with the sanctities of old time, like that home which is hushed
and folded within the embrace of the humblest wall and roof.

And all these are but the symbols of things, far greater and higher. All
is but the clothing of the spirit. In this vesture of time is wrapped
the immortal nature: in this show of circumstance and form stands
revealed the stupendous reality. Let man but be, as he is, a living
soul, communing with himself and with God, and his vision becomes
eternity; his abode, infinity; his home, the bosom of all-embracing

The great problem of Humanity is wrought out in the humblest abodes; no
more than this is done in the highest. A human heart throbs beneath the
beggar’s gabardine; and that and no more stirs with its beating the
Prince’s mantle. The beauty of Love, the charm of Friendship, the
sacredness of Sorrow, the heroism of Patience, the noble Self-sacrifice,
these and their like, alone, make life to be life indeed, and are its
grandeur and its power. They are the priceless treasures and glory of
humanity; and they are not things of condition. All places and all
scenes are alike clothed with the grandeur and charm of virtues such as

The million occasions will come to us all, in the ordinary paths of our
life, in our homes, and by our firesides, wherein we may act as nobly,
as if, all our life long, we led armies, sat in senates, or visited beds
of sickness and pain. Varying every hour, the million occasions will
come in which we may restrain our passions, subdue our hearts to
gentleness and patience, resign our own interest for another’s
advantage, speak words of kindness and wisdom, raise the fallen, cheer
the fainting and sick in spirit, and soften and assuage the weariness
and bitterness of their mortal lot. To every Mason there will be
opportunity enough for these. They cannot be written on his tomb; but
they will be written deep in the hearts of men, of friends, of children,
of kindred all around him, in the book of the great account, and, in
their eternal influences, on the great pages of the Universe.

To such a destiny, at least, my Brethren, let us all aspire! These laws
of Masonry let us all strive to obey! And so may our hearts become true
temples of the Living God! And may He encourage our zeal, sustain our
hopes, and assure us of success!





This is the first of the Philosophical Degrees of the Ancient and
Accepted Scottish Rite; and the beginning of a course of instruction
which will fully unveil to you the heart and inner mysteries of Masonry.
Do not despair because you have often seemed on the point of attaining
the inmost light, and have as often been disappointed. In all time,
truth has been hidden under symbols, and often under a succession of
allegories: where veil after veil had to be penetrated before the true
Light was reached, and the essential truth stood revealed. The Human
Light is but an imperfect reflection of a ray of the Infinite and

We are about to approach those ancient Religions which once ruled the
minds of men, and whose ruins encumber the plains of the great Past, as
the broken columns of Palmyra and Tadmor lie bleaching on the sands of
the desert. They rise before us, those old, strange, mysterious creeds
and faiths, shrouded in the mists of antiquity, and stalk dimly and
undefined along the line which divides Time from Eternity; and forms of
strange, wild, startling beauty mingled in the vast throngs of figures
with shapes monstrous, grotesque, and hideous.

The religion taught by Moses, which, like the laws of Egypt, enunciated
the principle of exclusion, borrowed, at every period of its existence,
from all the creeds with which it came in contact. While, by the studies
of the learned and wise, it enriched itself with the most admirable
principles of the religions of Egypt and Asia, it was changed, in the
wanderings of the People, by everything that was most impure or
seductive in the pagan manners and superstitions. It was one thing in
the times of Moses and Aaron, another in those of David and Solomon, and
still another in those of Daniel and Philo.

At the time when John the Baptist made his appearance in the desert,
near the shores of the Dead Sea, all the old philosophical and religious
systems were approximating toward each other. A general lassitude
inclined the minds of all toward the quietude of that amalgamation of
doctrines for which the expeditions of Alexander and the more peaceful
occurrences that followed, with the establishment in Asia and Africa of
many Grecian dynasties and a great number of Grecian colonies, had
prepared the way. After the intermingling of different nations, which
resulted from the wars of Alexander in three-quarters of the globe, the
doctrines of Greece, of Egypt, of Persia, and of India, met and
intermingled everywhere. All the barriers that had formerly kept the
nations apart, were thrown down; and while the People of the West
readily connected their faith with those of the East, those of the
Orient hastened to learn the traditions of Rome and the legends of
Athens. While the Philosophers of Greece, all (except the disciples of
Epicurus) more or less Platonists, seized eagerly upon the beliefs and
doctrines of the East,–the Jews and Egyptians, before then the most
exclusive of all peoples, yielded to that eclecticism which prevailed
among their masters, the Greeks and Romans.

Under the same influences of toleration, even those who embraced
Christianity, mingled together the old and the new, Christianity and
Philosophy, the Apostolic teachings and the traditions of Mythology. The
man of intellect, devotee of one system, rarely displaces it with
another in all its purity. The people take such a creed as is offered
them. Accordingly, the distinction between the esoteric and the exoteric
doctrine, immemorial in other creeds, easily gained a foothold among
many of the Christians; and it was held by a vast number, even during
the preaching of Paul, that the writings of the Apostles were
incomplete; that they contained only the germs of another doctrine,
which must receive from the hands of philosophy, not only the systematic
arrangement which was wanting, but all the development which lay
concealed therein. The writings of the Apostles, they said, in
addressing themselves to mankind in general, enunciated only the
articles of the vulgar faith; but transmitted the mysteries of knowledge
to superior minds, to the Elect,–mysteries handed down from generation
to generation in esoteric traditions; and to this science of the
mysteries they gave the name of [[Greek: Γνώσις] Gnōsis].

The Gnostics derived their leading doctrines and ideas from Plato and
Philo, the Zend-avesta and the Kabalah, and the Sacred books of India
and Egypt; and thus introduced into the bosom of Christianity the
cosmological and theosophical speculations, which had formed the larger
portion of the ancient religions of the Orient, joined to those of the
Egyptian, Greek, and Jewish doctrines, which the Neo-Platonists had
equally adopted in the Occident.

Emanation from the Deity of all spiritual beings, progressive
degeneration of these beings from emanation to emanation, redemption and
return of all to the purity of the Creator; and, after the
re-establishment of the primitive harmony of all, a fortunate and truly
divine condition of all, in the bosom of God; such were the fundamental
teachings of Gnosticism. The genius of the Orient, with its
contemplations, irradiations, and intuitions, dictated its doctrines.
Its language corresponded to its origin. Full of imagery, it had all the
magnificence, the inconsistencies, and the mobility of the figurative

Behold, it said, the light, which emanates from an immense centre of
Light, that spreads everywhere its benevolent rays; so do the spirits of
Light emanate from the Divine Light. Behold, all the springs which
nourish, embellish, fertilize, and purify the Earth; they emanate from
one and the same ocean; so from the bosom of the Divinity emanate so
many streams, which form and fill the universe of intelligences. Behold
numbers, which all emanate from one primitive number, all resemble it,
all are composed of its essence, and still vary infinitely; and
utterances, decomposable into so many syllables and elements, all
contained in the primitive Word, and still infinitely various; so the
world of Intelligences emanated from a Primary Intelligence, and they
all resemble it, and yet display an infinite variety of existences.

It revived and combined the old doctrines of the Orient and the
Occident; and it found in many passages of the Gospels and the Pastoral
letters, a warrant for doing so. Christ himself spoke in parables and
allegories, John borrowed the enigmatical language of the Platonists,
and Paul often indulged in incomprehensible rhapsodies, the meaning of
which could have been clear to the Initiates alone.

It is admitted that the cradle of Gnosticism is probably to be looked
for in Syria, and even in Palestine. Most of its expounders wrote in
that corrupted form of the Greek used by the Hellenistic Jews, and in
the Septuagint and the New Testament; and there was a striking analogy
between their doctrines and those of the Judæo-Egyptian Philo, of
Alexandria; itself the seat of three schools, at once philosophic and
religious–the Greek, the Egyptian, and the Jewish.

Pythagoras and Plato, the most mystical of the Grecian Philosophers (the
latter heir to the doctrines of the former), and who had travelled, the
latter in Egypt, and the former in Phœnicia, India, and Persia, also
taught the esoteric doctrine and the distinction between the initiated
and the profane. The dominant doctrines of Platonism were found in
Gnosticism. Emanation of Intelligences from the bosom of the Deity; the
going astray in error and the sufferings of spirits, so long as they are
remote from God, and imprisoned in matter; vain and long-continued
efforts to arrive at the knowledge of the Truth, and re-enter into their
primitive union with the Supreme Being; alliance of a pure and divine
soul with an irrational soul, the seat of evil desires; angels or demons
who dwell in and govern the planets, having but an imperfect knowledge
of the ideas that presided at the creation; regeneration of all beings
by their return to the [[Greek: κόσμος νοητός], kosmos noētos], the
world of Intelligences, and its Chief, the Supreme Being; sole possible
mode of re-establishing that primitive harmony of the creation, of
which the music of the spheres of Pythagoras was the image; these were
the analogies of the two systems; and we discover in them some of the
ideas that form a part of Masonry; in which, in the present mutilated
condition of the symbolic Degrees, they are disguised and overlaid with
fiction and absurdity, or present themselves as casual hints that are
passed by wholly unnoticed.

The distinction between the esoteric and exoteric doctrines (a
distinction purely Masonic), was always and from the very earliest times
preserved among the Greeks. It remounted to the fabulous times of
Orpheus; and the mysteries of Theosophy were found in all their
traditions and myths. And after the time of Alexander, they resorted for
instruction, dogmas, and mysteries, to all the schools, to those of
Egypt and Asia, as well as those of Ancient Thrace, Sicily, Etruria, and

The Jewish-Greek School of Alexandria is known only by two of its
Chiefs, Aristobulus and Philo, both Jews of Alexandria in Egypt.
Belonging to Asia by its origin, to Egypt by its residence, to Greece by
its language and studies, it strove to show that all truths embedded in
the philosophies of other countries were transplanted thither from
Palestine. Aristobulus declared that all the facts and details of the
Jewish Scriptures were so many allegories, concealing the most profound
meanings, and that Plato had borrowed from them all his finest ideas.
Philo, who lived a century after him, following the same theory,
endeavored to show that the Hebrew writings, by their system of
allegories, were the true source of all religious and philosophical
doctrines. According to him, the literal meaning is for the vulgar
alone. Whoever has meditated on philosophy, purified himself by virtue,
and raised himself by contemplation, to God and the intellectual world,
and received their inspiration, pierces the gross envelope of the
letter, discovers a wholly different order of things, and is initiated
into mysteries, of which the elementary or literal instruction offers
but an imperfect image. A historical fact, a figure, a word, a letter, a
number, a rite, a custom, the parable or vision of a prophet, veils the
most profound truths; and he who has the key of science will interpret
all according to the light he possesses.

Again we see the symbolism of Masonry, and the search of the Candidate
for light. “Let men of narrow minds withdraw,” he says, “with closed
ears. We transmit the divine mysteries to those who have received the
sacred initiation, to those who practise true piety, and who are not
enslaved by the empty trappings of words or the preconceived opinions of
the pagans.”

To Philo, the Supreme Being was the Primitive Light, or the Archetype of
Light, Source whence the rays emanate that illuminate Souls. He was also
the Soul of the Universe, and as such acted in all its parts. He Himself
fills and limits His whole Being. His Powers and Virtues fill and
penetrate all. These Powers [Greek: Δυνάμεις, dunameis] are Spirits
distinct from God, the “Ideas” of Plato personified. He is without
beginning, and lives in the prototype of Time [αιων, aion].

His image is THE WORD [Greek: Λογος], a form more brilliant than fire;
that not being the _pure_ light. This LOGOS dwells in God; for the
Supreme Being makes to Himself within His Intelligence the types or
ideas of everything that is to become reality in this World. The LOGOS
is the vehicle by which God acts on the Universe, and may be compared to
the speech of man.

The LOGOS being the World of Ideas [Greek: κόσμος νοητός], by means
whereof God has created visible things, He is the most ancient God, in
comparison with the World, which is the youngest production. The LOGOS,
_Chief of Intelligence_, of which He is the general representative, is
named _Archangel, type_ and _representative_ of all spirits, even those
of mortals. He is also styled the man-type and primitive man, Adam

God only is Wise. The wisdom of man is but the reflection and image of
that of God. He is the Father, and His WISDOM the mother of creation:
for He united Himself with WISDOM [[Greek: Σοφια], Sophia], and
communicated to it the germ of creation, and it brought forth the
material world. He created the ideal world only, and caused the material
world to be made real after its type, by His LOGOS, which is His speech,
and at the same time the Idea of Ideas, the Intellectual World. The
Intellectual City was but the _Thought_ of the Architect, who meditated
the creation, according to that plan of the Material City.

The Word is not only the Creator, but occupies the place of the Supreme
Being. Through Him all the Powers and Attributes of God act. On the
other side, as first representative of the Human Family, He is the
Protector of men and their Shepherd.

God gives to man the Soul or Intelligence, which exists before the body,
and which he unites with the body. The reasoning Principle comes from
God through the Word, and communes with God and with the Word; but there
is also in man an irrational Principle, that of the inclinations and
passions which produce disorder, emanating from inferior spirits who
fill the air as ministers of God. The body, taken from the Earth, and
the irrational Principle that animates it concurrently with the rational
Principle, are hated by God, while the rational soul which He has given
it, is, as it were, captive in this prison, this coffin, that
encompasses it. The present condition of man is not his primitive
condition, when he was the image of the Logos. He has fallen from his
first estate. But he may raise himself again, by following the
directions of WISDOM [Greek: Σοφια] and of the Angels which God has
commissioned to aid him in freeing himself from the bonds of the body,
and combating Evil, the existence whereof God has permitted, _to furnish
him the means of exercising his liberty_. The souls that are purified,
not by the Law but by light, rise to the Heavenly regions, to enjoy
there a perfect felicity. Those that persevere in evil go from body to
body, the seats of passions and evil desires. The familiar lineaments of
these doctrines will be recognized by all who read the Epistles of St.
Paul, who wrote after Philo, the latter living till the reign of
Caligula, and being the contemporary of Christ.

And the Mason is familiar with these doctrines of Philo: that the
Supreme Being is a centre of Light whose rays or emanations pervade the
Universe; for that is the Light for which all Masonic journeys are a
search, and of which the sun and moon in our Lodges are only emblems:
that Light and Darkness, chief enemies from the beginning of Time,
dispute with each other the empire of the world; which we symbolize by
the candidate wandering in darkness and being brought to light: that the
world was created, not by the Supreme Being, but by a secondary agent,
who is but His WORD the [Greek: Λογος], and by types which are but his
ideas, aided by an INTELLIGENCE, or WISDOM [Greek: Σοφια], which gives
one of His Attributes; in which we see the occult meaning of the
necessity of recovering “the Word”; and of our two columns of STRENGTH
and WISDOM, which are also the two parallel lines that bound the circle
representing the Universe: that the visible world is the image of the
invisible world; that the essence of the Human Soul is the image of God,
and it existed before the body; that the object of its terrestrial life
is to disengage itself of its body or its sepulchre; and that it will
ascend to the Heavenly regions whenever it shall be purified; in which
we see the meaning, now almost forgotten in our Lodges, of the mode of
preparation of the candidate for apprenticeship, and his tests and
purifications in the first Degree, according to the Ancient and Accepted
Scottish Rite.

Philo incorporated in his eclecticism neither Egyptian nor Oriental
elements. But there were other Jewish Teachers in Alexandria who did
both. The Jews of Egypt were slightly jealous of, and a little hostile
to, those of Palestine, particularly after the erection of the sanctuary
at Leontopolis by the High-Priest Onias; and therefore they admired and
magnified those sages, who, like Jeremiah, had resided in Egypt. “The
wisdom of Solomon” was written at Alexandria, and, in the time of St.
Jerome, was attributed to Philo; but it contains principles at variance
with his. It personifies Wisdom, and draws between its children and the
Profane, the same line of demarcation that Egypt had long before taught
to the Jews. That distinction existed at the beginning of the Mosaic
creed. Moshah himself was an Initiate in the mysteries of Egypt, as he
was compelled to be, as the adopted son of the daughter of Pharaoh,
_Thouoris_, daughter of _Sesostris-Ramses_; who, as her tomb and
monuments show, was, in the right of her infant husband, Regent of Lower
Egypt or the Delta at the time of the Hebrew Prophet’s birth, reigning
at Heliopolis. She was also, as the reliefs on her tomb show, a
Priestess of HATHOR and NEITH, the two great primeval goddesses. As her
adopted son, living in her Palace and presence forty years, and during
that time scarcely acquainted with his brethren the Jews, the law of
Egypt compelled his initiation: and we find in many of his enactments
the intention of preserving, between the common people and the
Initiates, the line of separation which he found in Egypt. Moshah and
Aharun his brother, the whole series of High-Priests, the Council of the
70 Elders, Salomon and the entire succession of Prophets, were in
possession of a higher science; and of that science Masonry is, at
least, the lineal descendant. It was familiarly known as THE KNOWLEDGE

AMŪN, at first the God of Lower Egypt only, where Moshah was reared [a
word that in Hebrew means Truth], was the Supreme God. He was styled
“_the Celestial Lord, who sheds Light on hidden things_.” He was the
source of that divine life, of which the _crux ansata_ is the symbol;
and the source of all power. He united all the attributes that the
Ancient Oriental Theosophy assigned to the Supreme Being. He was the
[Greek: πλήρωμα] (Pleroma), or “_Fullness of things_,” for He
comprehended in Himself everything; and the LIGHT; for he was the
Sun-God. He was unchangeable in the midst of everything phenomenal in
his worlds. He _created_ nothing; but everything _emanated_ from Him;
and of Him all the other Gods were but manifestations.

The Ram was His living symbol; which you see reproduced in this Degree,
lying on the book with seven seals on the tracing-board. He caused the
creation of the world by the Primitive Thought [[Greek: Εννοια],
Ennoia], or _Spirit_ [[Greek: Πνευμα], Pneuma], that issued from him by
means of his _Voice_ or the WORD; and which _Thought_ or _Spirit_ was
personified as the Goddess NEITH. She, too, was a divinity of _Light_,
and mother of the Sun; and the Feast of Lamps was celebrated in her
honor at Sais. The Creative _Power_, another manifestation of Deity,
proceeding to the creation conceived of in her, the Divine
_Intelligence_, produced with its Word the Universe, symbolized by an
egg issuing from the mouth of KNEPH; from which egg came PHTHA, image of
the Supreme Intelligence as realized in the world, and the type of that
manifested in man; the principal agent, also, of Nature, or the creative
and productive Fire. PHRE or RE, the Sun, or Celestial Light, whose
symbol was [Mystic Symbol: ○], the point within a circle, was the son of
PHTHA; and TIPHE, his wife, or the celestial firmament, with the seven
celestial bodies, animated by spirits of genii that govern them, was
represented on many of the monuments, clad in blue or yellow, her
garments sprinkled with stars, and accompanied by the sun, moon, and
five planets; and she was the type of Wisdom, and they of the Seven
Planetary Spirits of the Gnostics, that with her presided over and
governed the sublunary world.

In this Degree, unknown for a hundred years to those who have practised
it, these emblems reproduced refer to these old doctrines. The lamb, the
yellow hangings strewed with stars, the seven columns, candlesticks, and
seals all recall them to us.

The Lion was the symbol of ATHOM-RE, the Great God of Upper Egypt; the
Hawk, of RA or PHRE; the Eagle, of MENDES; the Bull, of APIS; and three
of these are seen under the platform on which our altar stands.

The first HERMES was the INTELLIGENCE or WORD of God. Moved with
compassion for a race living without law, and wishing to teach them
that they sprang from His bosom, and to point out to them the way that
they should go [the books which the first Hermes, the same with Enoch,
had written on the mysteries of divine science, in the sacred
characters, being unknown to those who lived after the flood], God sent
to man OSIRIS and ISIS, accompanied by THOTH, the incarnation or
terrestrial repetition of the first HERMES; who taught men the arts,
science, and the ceremonies of religion; and then ascended to Heaven or
the Moon. OSIRIS was the Principle of Good. TYPHON, like AHRIMAN, was
the principle and source of all that is evil in the moral and physical
order. Like the Satan of Gnosticism, he was confounded with Matter.

From Egypt or Persia the new Platonists borrowed the idea, and the
Gnostics received it from them, that man, in his terrestrial career, is
successively under the influence of the Moon, of Mercury, of Venus, of
the Sun, of Mars, of Jupiter, and of Saturn, until he finally reaches
the Elysian Fields; an idea again symbolized in the Seven Seals.

The Jews of Syria and Judea were the direct precursors of Gnosticism;
and in their doctrines were ample oriental elements. These Jews had had
with the Orient, at two different periods, intimate relations,
familiarizing them with the doctrines of Asia, and especially of Chaldea
and Persia;–their forced residence in Central Asia under the Assyrians
and Persians; and their voluntary dispersion over the whole East, when
subjects of the Seleucidæ and the Romans. Living near two-thirds of a
century, and many of them long afterward, in Mesopotamia, the cradle of
their race; speaking the same language, and their children reared with
those of the Chaldeans, Assyrians, Medes, and Persians, and receiving
from them their names (as the case of Danayal, who was called
Bæltasatsar, proves), they necessarily adopted many of the doctrines of
their conquerors. Their descendants, as Azra and Nahamaiah show us,
hardly desired to leave Persia, when they were allowed to do so. They
had a special jurisdiction, and governors and judges taken from their
own people; many of them held high office, and their children were
educated with those of the highest nobles. Danayal was the friend and
minister of the King, and the Chief of the College of the Magi at
Babylon; if we may believe the book which bears his name, and trust to
the incidents related in its highly figurative and imaginative style.
Mordecai, too, occupied a high station, no less than that of Prime
Minister, and Esther or Astar, his cousin, was the Monarch’s wife.

The Magi of Babylon were expounders of figurative writings, interpreters
of nature, and of dreams,–astronomers and divines; and from their
influences arose among the Jews, after their rescue from captivity, a
number of sects, and a new exposition, the mystical interpretation, with
all its wild fancies and infinite caprices. The _Aions_ of the Gnostics,
the _Ideas_ of Plato, the _Angels_ of the Jews, and the _Demons_ of the
Greeks, all correspond to the _Ferouers_ of Zoroaster.

A great number of Jewish families remained permanently in their new
country; and one of the most celebrated of their schools was at Babylon.
They were soon familiarized with the doctrine of Zoroaster, which itself
was more ancient than Kuros. From the system of the Zend-Avesta they
borrowed, and subsequently gave large development to, everything that
could be reconciled with their own faith; and these additions to the old
doctrine were soon spread, by the constant intercourse of commerce, into
Syria and Palestine.

In the Zend-Avesta, God is Illimitable Time. No origin can be assigned
to Him: He is so entirely enveloped in His glory, His nature and
attributes are so inaccessible to human Intelligence, that He can be
only the object of a silent Veneration. Creation took place by emanation
from Him. The first emanation was the primitive _Light_, and from that
the King of Light, ORMUZD. By the “WORD,” _Ormuzd_ created the world
pure. He is its preserver and judge; a Being Holy and Heavenly;
Intelligence and Knowledge; the First-born of Time without limits; and
invested with all the Powers of the Supreme Being.

Still he is, strictly speaking, the _Fourth_ Being. He had a _Ferouer_,
a pre-existing Soul [in the language of Plato, a _type_ or _ideal_]; and
it is said of Him, that He existed from the beginning, in the primitive
_Light_. But, that _Light_ being but an element, and His _Ferouer_ a
type, he is, in ordinary language, _the First-born_ of
ZEROUANE-AKHERENE. Behold, again, “THE WORD” of Masonry; the _Man_, on
the Tracing-Board of this Degree; the LIGHT toward which all Masons

He created after his own image, six Genii called _Amshaspands_, who
surround his Throne, are his organs of communication with inferior
spirits and men, transmit to Him their prayers, solicit for them His
favors, and serve them as models of purity and perfection. Thus we have
the _Demiourgos_ of Gnosticism, and the six _Genii_ that assist him.
These are the Hebrew Archangels of the planets.

The names of these _Amshaspands_ are Bahman, Ardibehest, Schariver,
Sapandomad, Khordad, and Amerdad.

The fourth, the Holy SAPANDOMAD, created the first man and woman.

Then ORMUZD created 28 _Izeds_, of whom MITHRAS is the chief. They
watch, with _Ormuzd_ and the _Amshaspands_, over the happiness, purity,
and preservation of the world, which is under their government; and they
are also models for mankind and interpreters of men’s prayers. With
_Mithras_ and _Ormuzd_, they make a _pleroma_ [or complete number] of
30, corresponding to the thirty Aions of the Gnostics, and to the
_ogdoade, dodecade_, and _decade_ of the Egyptians. _Mithras_ was the
Sun-God, invoked with, and soon confounded with him, becoming the object
of a special worship, and eclipsing _Ormuzd_ himself.

The third order of pure spirits is more numerous. They are the
_Ferouers_, the THOUGHTS of Ormuzd, or the IDEAS which he conceived
before proceeding to the creation of things. They too are superior to
men. They protect them during their life on earth; they will purify them
from evil at their resurrection. They are their tutelary genii, from the
fall to the complete regeneration.

AHRIMAN, second-born of the Primitive Light, emanated from it, pure like
ORMUZD; but, proud and ambitious, yielded to jealousy of the First-born.
For his hatred and pride, the Eternal condemned him to dwell, for 12,000
years, in that part of space where no ray of light reaches; the black
empire of darkness. In that period the struggle between _Light_ and
_Darkness, Good_ and _Evil_, will be terminated.

AHRIMAN scorned to submit, and took the field against ORMUZD. To the
good spirits created by his Brother, he opposed an innumerable army of
Evil Ones. To the seven _Amshaspands_ he opposed seven _Archdevs_,
attached to the seven Planets; to the _Izeds_ and _Ferouers_ an equal
number of _Devs_, which brought upon the world all moral and physical
evils. Hence _Poverty, Maladies, Impurity, Envy, Chagrin, Drunkenness,
Falsehood, Calumny_, and their horrible array.

The image of Ahriman was the Dragon, confounded by the Jews with Satan
and the Serpent-Tempter. After a reign of 3000 years, Ormuzd had created
the Material World, in six periods, calling successively into existence
the Light, Water, Earth, plants, animals, and Man. But Ahriman concurred
in creating the earth and water; for darkness was already an element,
and Ormuzd could not exclude its Master. So also the two concurred in
producing Man. Ormuzd produced, by his Will and Word, a Being that was
the type and source of universal life for everything that exists under
Heaven. He placed in man a pure principle, or Life, proceeding from the
Supreme Being. But Ahriman destroyed that pure principle, in the form
wherewith it was clothed; and when Ormuzd had made, of its recovered and
purified essence, the first man and woman, Ahriman seduced and tempted
them with wine and fruits; the woman yielding first.

Often, during the three latter periods of 3000 years each, Ahriman and
Darkness are, and are to be, triumphant. But the pure souls are assisted
by the Good Spirits; the Triumph of Good is decreed by the Supreme
Being, and the period of that triumph will infallibly arrive. When the
world shall be most afflicted with the evils poured out upon it by the
spirits of perdition, three Prophets will come to bring relief to
mortals. SOSIOSCH, the principal of the Three, will regenerate the
earth, and restore to it its primitive beauty, strength, and purity. He
will judge the good and the wicked. After the universal resurrection of
the good, he will conduct them to a home of everlasting happiness.
Ahriman, his evil demons, and all wicked men, will also be purified in a
torrent of melted metal. The law of Ormuzd will reign everywhere; all
men will be happy; all, enjoying unalterable bliss, will sing with
Sosiosch the praises of the Supreme Being.

These doctrines, the details of which were sparingly borrowed by the
Pharisaic Jews, were much more fully adopted by the Gnostics; who taught
the restoration of all things, their return to their original pure
condition, the happiness of those to be saved, and their admission to
the feast of Heavenly Wisdom.

The doctrines of Zoroaster came originally from Bactria, an Indian
Province of Persia. Naturally, therefore, it would include Hindu or
Buddhist elements, as it did. The fundamental idea of Buddhism was,
matter subjugating the intelligence, and intelligence freeing itself
from that slavery. Perhaps something came to Gnosticism from China.
“Before the chaos which preceded the birth of Heaven and Earth,” says
Lao-Tseu, “a single Being existed, immense and silent, immovable and
ever active–the mother of the Universe. I know not its name: but I
designate it by the word _Reason_. Man has his _type_ and _model_ in the
Earth; Earth in Heaven; Heaven in Reason; and Reason in Itself.” Here
again are the _Ferouers_, the _Ideas_, the _Aions_–the REASON or
INTELLIGENCE Εννοια, SILENCE Σιγή, WORD Λογος, and WISDOM Σοφια of the

The dominant system among the Jews after their captivity was that of the
Pharoschim or Pharisees. Whether their name was derived from that of the
Parsees, or followers of Zoroaster, or from some other source, it is
certain that they had borrowed much of their doctrine from the Persians.
Like them they claimed to have the exclusive and mysterious knowledge,
unknown to the mass. Like them they taught that a constant war was waged
between the Empire of Good and that of Evil. Like them they attributed
the sin and fall of man to the demons and their chief; and like them
they admitted a special protection of the righteous by inferior beings,
agents of Jehovah. All their doctrines on these subjects were at bottom
those of the Holy Books; but singularly developed; and the Orient was
evidently the source from which those developments came.

They styled themselves _Interpreters_; a name indicating their claim to
the exclusive possession of the true meaning of the Holy Writings, by
virtue of the oral tradition which Moses had received on Mount Sinai,
and which successive generations of Initiates had transmitted, as they
claimed, unaltered, unto them. Their very costume, their belief in the
influences of the stars, and in the immortality and transmigration of
souls, their system of angels and their astronomy, were all foreign.

Sadduceeism arose merely from an opposition essentially Jewish, to these
foreign teachings, and that mixture of doctrines, adopted by the
Pharisees, and which constituted the popular creed.

We come at last to the _Essenes_ and _Therapeuts_, with whom this Degree
is particularly concerned. That intermingling of oriental and occidental
rites, of Persian and Pythagorean opinions, which we have pointed out in
the doctrines of Philo, is unmistakable in the creeds of these two

They were less distinguished by metaphysical speculations than by simple
meditations and moral practices. But the latter always partook of the
Zoroastrian principle, that it was necessary to free the soul from the
trammels and influences of matter; which led to a system of abstinence
and maceration entirely opposed to the ancient Hebraic ideas, favorable
as they were to physical pleasures.

In general, the life and manners of these mystical associations, as
Philo and Josephus describe them, and particularly their prayers at
sunrise, seem the image of what the Zend-Avesta prescribes to the
faithful adorer of Ormuzd; and some of their observances cannot
otherwise be explained.

The Therapeuts resided in Egypt, in the neighborhood of Alexandria; and
the Essenes in Palestine, in the vicinity of the Dead Sea. But there was
nevertheless a striking coincidence in their ideas, readily explained by
attributing it to a foreign influence. The Jews of Egypt, under the
influence of the School of Alexandria, endeavored in general to make
their doctrines harmonize with the traditions of Greece; and thence
came, in the doctrines of the Therapeuts, as stated by Philo, the many
analogies between the Pythagorean and Orphic ideas, on one side, and
those of Judaism on the other: while the Jews of Palestine, having less
communication with Greece, or contemning its teachings, rather imbibed
the Oriental doctrines, which they drank in at the source and with which
their relations with Persia made them familiar. This attachment was
particularly shown in the Kabalah, which belonged rather to Palestine
than to Egypt, though extensively known in the latter; and furnished the
Gnostics with some of their most striking theories.

It is a significant fact, that while Christ spoke often of the Pharisees
and Sadducees, He never once mentioned the Essenes, between whose
doctrines and His there was so great a resemblance, and, in many points,
so perfect an identity. Indeed, they are not named, nor even distinctly
alluded to, anywhere in the New Testament.

John, the son of a Priest who ministered in the Temple at Jerusalem, and
whose mother was of the family of Aharun, was in the deserts until the
day of his showing unto Israel. He drank neither wine nor strong drink.
Clad in hair-cloth, and with a girdle of leather, and feeding upon such
food as the desert afforded, he preached, in the country about Jordan,
the baptism of repentance, for the remission of siri-s; that is, the
necessity of repentance proven by _reformation_. He taught the people
charity and liberality; the publicans, justice, equity, and fair
dealing; the soldiery, peace, truth, and contentment; to do violence to
none, accuse none falsely, and be content with their pay. He inculcated
the necessity of a virtuous life, and the folly of trusting to their
descent from Abraham.

He denounced both Pharisees and Sadducees as a generation of vipers,
threatened with the anger of God. He baptized those who confessed their
sins. He preached in the desert; and therefore in the country where the
Essenes lived, professing the same doctrines. He was imprisoned before
Christ began to preach. Matthew mentions him without preface or
explanation; as if, apparently, his history was too well known to need
any. “In those days,” he says, “came John the Baptist, preaching in the
wilderness of Judea.” His disciples frequently fasted; for we find them
with the Pharisees coming to Jesus to inquire why _His_ Disciples did
not fast as often as they; and He did not denounce _them_, as His habit
was to denounce the Pharisees; but answered them kindly and gently.

From his prison, John sent two of his disciples to inquire of Christ:
“Art thou he that is to come, or do we look for another?” Christ
referred them to his miracles as an answer; and declared to the people
that John was a prophet, and more than a prophet, and that no greater
man had ever been born; but that the humblest Christian was his
superior. He declared him to be Elias, who was to come.

John had denounced to Herod his marriage with his brother’s wife as
unlawful; and for this he was imprisoned, and finally executed to
gratify her. His disciples buried him; and Herod and others thought he
had risen from the dead and appeared again in the person of Christ. The
people all regarded John as a prophet; and Christ silenced the Priests
and Elders by asking them whether he was inspired. They feared to excite
the anger of the people by saying that he was not. Christ declared that
he came “in the way of righteousness”; and that the lower classes
believed him, though the Priests and Pharisees did not.

Thus John, who was often consulted by Herod, and to whom that monarch
showed great deference, and was often governed by his advice; whose
doctrine prevailed very extensively among the people and the publicans,
taught _some_ creed older than Christianity. That is plain: and it is
equally plain, that the very large body of the Jews that adopted his
doctrines, were neither Pharisees nor Sadducees, but the humble, common
people. They must, therefore, have been Essenes. It is plain, too, that
Christ applied for baptism as a sacred rite, well known and long
practiced. It was becoming to him, he said, to fulfill all

In the 18th chapter of the Acts of the Apostles we read thus: “And a
certain Jew, named Apollos, born at Alexandria, an eloquent man, and
mighty in the Scriptures, came to Ephesus. This man _was instructed in
the way of the Lord_, and, being fervent in spirit, _he spake and taught
diligently the things of the Lord, knowing only the baptism of John_;
and he began to speak boldly in the synagogue; whom, when Aquilla and
Priscilla had heard, they took him unto them, and expounded unto him
_the way of God_ more perfectly.”

Translating this from the symbolic and figurative language into the true
ordinary sense of the Greek text, it reads thus: “And a certain Jew,
named Apollos, an Alexandrian by birth, an eloquent man, and of
extensive learning, came to Ephesus. He had learned in the mysteries the
true doctrine in regard to God; and, being a zealous enthusiast, he
spoke and taught diligently the truths in regard to the Deity, having
received no other baptism than that of John.” He knew nothing in regard
to Christianity; for he had resided in Alexandria, and had just then
come to Ephesus; being, probably, a disciple of Philo, and a Therapeut.

“That, in all times,” says St. Augustine, “is the Christian religion,
which to know and follow is the most sure and certain health, called
according to that name, but not according to the thing itself, of which
it is the name; for the thing itself, which is now called the Christian
religion, _really was known to the Ancients_, nor was wanting at any
time from the beginning of the human race, until the time when Christ
came in the flesh; from whence the true religion, which had previously
existed, began to be called Christian; and this in our days is the
Christian religion, not as having been wanting in former times, but as
having, in later times, received this name.” The disciples were first
called “Christians,” at Antioch, when Barnabas and Paul began to preach

The Wandering or Itinerant Jews or Exorcists, who assumed to employ the
Sacred Name in exorcising evil spirits, were no doubt Therapeutae or

“And it came to pass,” we read in the 19th chapter of the Acts, verses 1
to 4, “that while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul, having passed through
the upper parts of Asia Minor, came to Ephesus; and finding certain
_disciples_, he said to them, ‘Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye
became Believers?’ And they said unto him, ‘We have not so much as heard
that there _is_ any Holy Ghost.’ And he said to them, ‘In what, then,
were you baptized?’ And they said ‘In John’s baptism.’ Then said Paul,
‘John indeed baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying to the
people that they should believe in Him who was to come after him, that
is, in Jesus Christ. When they heard this, they were baptized in the
name of the Lord Jesus.”

This faith, taught by John, and so nearly Christianity, could have been
nothing but the doctrine of the Essenes; and there can be no doubt that
John belonged to that sect. The place where he preached, his macerations
and frugal diet, the doctrines he taught, all prove it conclusively.
There was no other sect to which he _could_ have belonged; certainly
none so numerous as his, _except_ the Essenes.

We find, from the two letters written by Paul to the brethren at
Corinth, that City of Luxury and Corruption, that there were contentions
among them. Rival sects had already, about the 57th year of our era,
reared their banners there, as followers, some of Paul, some of Apollos,
and some of Cephas. Some of them denied the resurrection. Paul urged
them to adhere to the doctrines taught by himself, and had sent Timothy
to them to bring them afresh to their recollection.

According to Paul, Christ was to come again. He was to put an end to all
other Principalities and Powers, and finally to Death, and then be
Himself once more merged in God; _who should then be all in all_.

The forms and ceremonies of the Essenes were symbolical. They had,
according to Philo the Jew, four Degrees; the members being divided into
two Orders, the _Practici_ and _Therapeutici_; the latter being the
contemplative and medical Brethren; and the former the active,
practical, business men. They were Jews by birth; and had a greater
affection for each other than the members of any other sect. Their
brotherly love was intense. They fulfilled the Christian law, “Love one
another.” They despised riches. No one was to be found among them,
having more than another. The possessions of one were intermingled with
those of the others; so that they all had but one patrimony, and were
brethren. Their piety toward God was extraordinary. Before sunrise they
never spake a word about profane matters; but put up certain prayers
which they had received from their forefathers. At dawn of day, and
before it was light, their prayers and hymns ascended to Heaven. They
were eminently faithful and true, and the Ministers of Peace. They had
mysterious ceremonies, and initiations into their mysteries; and the
Candidate promised that he would ever practise fidelity to all men, and
especially to those in authority, “because no one obtains the government
without God’s assistance.”

Whatever they said, was firmer than an oath; but they avoided swearing,
and esteemed it worse than perjury. They were simple in their diet and
mode of living, bore torture with fortitude, and despised death. They
cultivated the science of medicine and were very skillful. They deemed
it a good omen to dress in white robes. They had their own courts, and
passed righteous judgments. They kept the Sabbath more rigorously than
the Jews.

Their chief towns were Engaddi, near the Dead Sea, and Hebron. Engaddi
was about 30 miles southeast from Jerusalem, and Hebron about 20 miles
south of that city. Josephus and Eusebius speak of them as an ancient
sect; and they were no doubt the first among the Jews to embrace
Christianity: with whose faith and doctrine their own tenets had so many
points of resemblance, and were indeed in a great measure the same.
Pliny regarded them as a very ancient people.

In their devotions they turned toward the rising sun; as the Jews
generally did toward the Temple. But they were no idolaters; for they
observed the law of Moses with scrupulous fidelity. They held all things
in common, and despised riches, their wants being supplied by the
administration of Curators or Stewards. The Tetractys, composed of round
dots instead of jods, was revered among them. This being a Pythagorean
symbol, evidently shows their connection with the school of Pythagoras;
but their peculiar tenets more resemble those of Confucius and
Zoroaster; and probably were adopted while they were prisoners in
Persia; which explains their turning toward the Sun in prayer.

Their demeanor was sober and chaste. They submitted to the
superintendence of governors whom they appointed over themselves. The
whole of their time was spent in labor, meditation, and prayer; and they
were most sedulously attentive to every call of justice and humanity,
and every moral duty. They believed in the unity of God. They supposed
the souls of men to have fallen, by a disastrous fate, from the regions
of purity and light, into the bodies which they occupy; during their
continuance in which they considered them confined as in a prison.
Therefore they did not believe in the resurrection of the body; but in
that of the soul only. They believed in a future state of rewards and
punishments; and they disregarded the ceremonies or external forms
enjoined in the law of Moses to be observed in the worship of God;
holding that the words of that lawgiver were to be understood in a
mysterious and recondite sense, and not according to their literal
meaning. They offered no sacrifices, except at home; and by meditation
they endeavored, as far as possible, to isolate the soul from the body,
and carry it back to God.

Eusebius broadly admits “that the ancient Therapeutæ were Christians;
and that their ancient writings were our Gospels and Epistles.”

The ESSENES were of the Eclectic Sect of Philosophers, and held PLATO in
the highest esteem; they believed that true philosophy, the greatest and
most salutary gift of God to mortals, was scattered, in various
portions, through all the different Sects; and that it was,
consequently, the duty of every wise man to gather it from the several
quarters where it lay dispersed, and to employ it, thus reunited, in
destroying the dominion of impiety and vice.

The great festivals of the Solstices were observed in a distinguished
manner by the Essenes; as would naturally be supposed, from the fact
that they reverenced the Sun, not as a god, but as a symbol of light and
fire; the fountain of which, the Orientals supposed God to be. They
lived in continence and abstinence, and had establishments similar to
the monasteries of the early Christians.

The writings of the Essenes were full of mysticism, parables, enigmas,
and allegories. They believed in the esoteric and exoteric meanings of
the Scriptures; and, as we have already said, they had a warrant for
that in the Scriptures themselves. They found it in the Old Testament,
as the Gnostics found it in the New. The Christian writers, and even
Christ himself, recognized it as a truth, that all Scripture had an
inner and an outer meaning. Thus we find it said as follows, in one of
the Gospels:

“Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the Kingdom of God; but
unto men _that are without_, all these things are done in parables; that
seeing, they may see and not perceive, and hearing they may hear and not
understand…. And the disciples came and said unto him, ‘Why speakest
Thou the truth in parables?’–He answered and said unto them, ‘Because
it is given unto _you_ to know the mysteries of the Kingdom of Heaven,
but to _them_ it is not given.'”

Paul, in the 4th chapter of his Epistle to the Galatians, speaking of
the simplest facts of the Old Testament, asserts that they are _an
allegory_. In the 3d chapter of the second letter to the Corinthians, he
declares himself a minister of the New Testament, appointed by God; “Not
of the letter, but of the spirit; for the letter killeth.” Origen and
St. Gregory held that the Gospels were not to be taken in their literal
sense; and Athanasius admonishes us that “Should we understand sacred
writ according to the letter, we should fall into the most enormous

Eusebius said, “Those who preside over the Holy Scriptures, philosophize
over them, and expound their literal sense by allegory.”

The sources of our knowledge of the Kabalistic doctrines, are the books
of Jezirah and Sohar, the former drawn up in the second century, and the
latter a little later; but containing materials much older than
themselves. In their most characteristic elements, they go back to the
time of the exile. In them, as in the teachings of Zoroaster, everything
that exists emanated from a source of infinite LIGHT. Before everything,
existed THE ANCIENT OF DAYS, the KING OF LIGHT; a title often given to
the Creator in the _Zend-Avesta_ and the code of the _Sabaæns_. With the
idea so expressed is connected the pantheism of India. THE KING OF
LIGHT, THE ANCIENT, is ALL THAT IS. He is not only the real cause of all
Existences; he is Infinite [AINSOPH]. He is HIMSELF: there is nothing in
Him that We can call _Thou_.

In the Indian doctrine, not only is the Supreme Being the real cause of
all, but he is the only real Existence: all the rest is illusion. In the
Kabalah, as in the Persian and Gnostic doctrines, He is the Supreme
Being unknown to all, the “Unknown Father.” The world is his revelation,
and subsists only in Him. His attributes are reproduced there, with
different modifications, and in different degrees, so that the Universe
is His Holy Splendor: it is but His Mantle; but it must be revered in
silence. All beings have emanated from the Supreme Being: The nearer a
being is to Him, the more perfect it is; the more remote in the scale,
the less its purity.

A ray of Light, shot from the Deity, is the cause and principle of all
that exists. It is at once Father and Mother of All, in the sublimest
sense. It penetrates everything; and without it nothing can exist an
instant. From this double FORCE, designated by the two parts of the word
I. H. U. H. emanated the FIRST-BORN of God, the Universal FORM, in which
are contained all beings; the Persian and Platonic Archetype of things,
united with the Infinite by the primitive ray of Light.

This First-Born is the Creative Agent, Conservator, and animating
Principle of the Universe. It is THE LIGHT OF LIGHT. It possesses the
three Primitive Forces of the Divinity, LIGHT, SPIRIT, and LIFE Φώς,
Πνευμά, and Ζωη. As it has received what it gives, Light and Life, it is
equally considered as the generative and conceptive Principle, the
Primitive Man, ADAM KADMON. As such, it has revealed itself in ten
emanations or _Sephiroth_, which are not ten different beings, nor even
beings at all; but sources of life, vessels of Omnipotence, and types of
Creation. They are _Sovereignty_ or _Will, Wisdom, Intelligence,
Benignity, Severity, Beauty, Victory, Glory, Permanency_, and _Empire_.
These are attributes of God; and this idea, that God reveals Himself by
His attributes, and that the human mind cannot perceive or discern God
Himself, in his works, but only his mode of manifesting Himself, is a
profound Truth. We know of the Invisible only what the Visible reveals.

_Wisdom_ was called NOUS and LOGOS [and Νου̃ς Λογος], INTELLECT or the
WORD. _Intelligence_, source of the oil of anointing, responds to the
Holy Ghost of the Christian Faith.

_Beauty_ is represented by green and yellow. _Victory_ is
YAHOVAH-TSABAOTH, the column on the right hand, the column _Jachin:
Glory_ is the column _Boaz_, on the left hand. And thus our symbols
appear again in the Kabalah. And again the LIGHT, the object of our
labors, appears as the creative power of Deity. The circle, also, was
the special symbol of the first Sephirah, Kether, or the Crown.

We do not further follow the Kabalah in its four Worlds of Spirits,
_Aziluth, Briah, Yezirah_, and _Asiah_, or of _emanation, creation,
formation_, and _fabrication_, one inferior to and one emerging from the
other, the superior always enveloping the inferior; its doctrine that,
in all that exists, there is nothing purely material; that all comes
from God, and in all He proceeds by irradiation; that everything
subsists by the Divine ray that penetrates creation; and all is united
by the Spirit of God, which is the life of life; so that all is God; the
Existences that inhabit the four worlds, inferior to each other in
proportion to their distance from the Great King of Light: the contest
between the good and evil Angels and Principles, to endure until the
Eternal Himself comes to end it and re-establish the primitive harmony;
the four distinct parts of the Soul of Man; and the migrations of impure
souls, until they are sufficiently purified to share with the Spirits of
Light the contemplation of the Supreme Being whose Splendor fills the

The WORD was also found in the Phœnician Creed. As in all those of Asia,
a WORD of God, written in starry characters, by the planetary
Divinities, and communicated by the Demi-Gods, as a profound mystery, to
the higher classes of the human race, to be communicated by them to
mankind, created the world. The faith of the Phœnicians was an emanation
from that ancient worship of the Stars, which in the creed of Zoroaster
alone, is connected with a faith in one God. Light and Fire are the most
important agents in the Phoenician faith. There is a race of children of
the Light. They adored the Heaven with its Lights, deeming it the
Supreme God.

Everything emanates from a Single Principle, and a Primitive Love, which
is the Moving Power of All and governs all. Light, by its union with
Spirit, whereof it is but the vehicle or symbol, is the Life of
everything, and penetrates everything. It should therefore be respected
and honored everywhere; for everywhere it governs and controls.

The Chaldaic and Jerusalem Paraphrasts endeavored to render the phrase,
DEBAR-YAHOVAH דבר יהוה, the Word of God, a personalty, wherever they met
with it. The phrase, “And God created man,” is, in the Jerusalem Targum,
“And the Word of IHUH created man.”

So, in xxviii. Gen. 20,21, where Jacob says: “If God [יהיה אלהי IHIH
ALHIM] will be with me…” then shall IHUH be my ALHIM [Hebrew ]; UHIH
IHUH Li LALHIM; and this stone shall be God’s House [[Hebrew].. IHIH
BITH ALHIM]: Onkelos paraphrases it, “If the word of IHUH will be my
help … then the word of IHUH shall be my God”.

So, in iii. Gen. 8, for “The Voice of the Lord God” [[Hebrew], IHUH
ALHIM], we have, “The Voice of the Word of IHUH.”

In ix. Wisdom, 1, “O God of my Fathers and Lord of Mercy! who has made
all things with thy word.. [Greek: έν λόγου σου.]”

And in xviii. Wisdom, 15, “Thine Almighty Word [Greek: Λογος] leaped
down from Heaven.”

Philo speaks of the Word as being the same with God. So in several
places he calls it “[Greek: δεύτερος Θείος Λóγος],” the Second Divinity;
“[Greek: είμώντουΘεού],” the Image of God: the Divine Word that made all
things: “the [Greek: υπαρχος],” substitute, of God; and the like.

Thus, when John commenced to preach, had been for ages agitated, by the
Priests and Philosophers of the East and West, the great questions
concerning the eternity or creation of matter: immediate or intermediate
creation of the Universe by the Supreme God; the origin, object, and
filial extinction of evil; the relations between the intellectual and
material worlds, and between God and man; and the creation, fall,
redemption, and restoration to his first estate, of man.

The Jewish doctrine, differing in this from all the other Oriental
creeds, and even from the Alohayistic legend with which the book of
Genesis commences, attributed the creation to the immediate action of
the Supreme Being. The Theosophists of the other Eastern Peoples
interposed more than one intermediary between God and the world. To
place between them but a single Being, to suppose for the production of
the world but a single intermediary, was, in their eyes, to lower the
Supreme Majesty. The interval between God, who is perfect Purity, and
matter, which is base and foul, was too great for them to clear it at a
single step. Even in the Occident, neither Plato nor Philo could thus
impoverish the Intellectual World.

Thus, Cerinthus of Ephesus, with most of the Gnostics, Philo, the
Kabalah, the Zend-Avesta, the Puranas, and all the Orient, deemed the
distance and antipathy between the Supreme Being and the material world
too great, to attribute to the former the Creation of the latter. Below,
and emanating from, or created by, the Ancient of Days, the Central
Light, the Beginning, or First Principle [[Greek: Αρχή]], one, two, or
more Principles, Existences or Intellectual Beings were imagined, to
some one or more of whom [without any immediate creative act on the part
of the Great Immovable, Silent Deity], the immediate creation of the
material and mental universe was due.

We have already spoken of many of the speculations on this point. To
some, the world was created by the LOGOS or WORD, first manifestation
of, or emanation from, the Deity. To others, the beginning of creation
was by the emanation of a ray of LIGHT, creating the principle of
_Light_ and _Life_. The Primitive THOUGHT, creating the inferior
Deities, a succession of INTELLIGENCES, the Iynges of Zoroaster, his
_Amshaspands_, _Izeds_, and _Ferouers_, the _Ideas_ of Plato, the
_Aions_ of the Gnostics, the _Angels_ of the Jews, the _Nous_, the
_Demiourgos_, the DIVINE REASON, the _Powers_ or _Forces_ of Philo, and
the Alohayim, Forces or Superior Gods of the ancient legend with which
Genesis begins,–to these and other intermediaries the creation was
owing. No restraints were laid on the Fancy and the Imagination. The
veriest Abstractions became Existences and Realities. The attributes of
God, personified, became Powers, Spirits, Intelligences.

God was the _Light of Light_, _Divine Fire_, the _Abstract
Intellectuality_, the _Root_ or _Germ_ of the Universe. _Simon Magus_,
founder of the Gnostic faith, and many of the early Judaizing
Christians, admitted that the manifestations of the Supreme Being, as
FATHER, or JEHOVAH, SON or CHRIST, and HOLY SPIRIT, were only so many
different _modes_ of Existence, or _Forces_ [[Greek: δυναμεις]] of the
same God. To others they were, as were the multitude of Subordinate
Intelligences, real and distinct beings.

The Oriental imagination revelled in the creation of these Inferior
Intelligences, Powers of Good and Evil, and Angels. We have spoken of
those imagined by the Persians and the Kabalists. In the Talmud, every
star, every country, every town, and almost every tongue has a Prince of
Heaven as its Protector. JEHUEL is the guardian of fire, and MICHAEL, of
water. Seven spirits assist each; those of fire being _Seraphiel_,
_Gabriel_, _Nitriel_, _Tammael_, _Tchimschiel_, _Hadarniel_, and
_Sarniel_. These seven are represented by the square columns of this
Degree, while the columns JACHIN and BOAZ represent the angels of fire
and water. But the columns are not representatives of these alone.

To Basilides, God was without name, uncreated, at first containing and
concealing in Himself the Plenitude of His Perfections; and when these
are by Him displayed and manifested, there result as many particular
Existences, all analogous to Him, and still and always Him. To the
Essenes and the Gnostics, the East and the West both devised this faith;
that the Ideas, Conceptions, or Manifestations of the Deity were so many
Creations, so many Beings, all God, nothing without Him, but more than
what we now understand by the word _ideas_. They emanated from and were
again merged in God. They had a kind of middle existence between our
modern ideas, and the intelligences or ideas, elevated to the rank of
genii, of the Oriental mythology.

These personified attributes of Deity, in the theory of Basilides, were
the [Greek: Πρωτόγονος] or _First-born_, [Greek: Νου̃ς][_Nous_ or
_Mind_]: from it emanates [Greek: Λογος] [_Logos_, or THE WORD] from it
[Greek: Φρόνησις]: [_Phronesis, Intellect_]: from it [Greek: Σοφια]
[_Sophia, Wisdom_]: from it [Greek: Δύναμις] [_Dunamis, Power_]: and
from it [Greek: Δικαιοσύνη] [_Dikaiosune, Righteousness_]: to which
latter the Jews gave the name of [Greek: Ειρηνη] [_Eirene, Peace_, or
_Calm_], the essential characteristics of Divinity, and harmonious
effect of all His perfections. The whole number of successive emanations
was 365, expressed by the Gnostics, in Greek letters, by the mystic word
[Greek: ΑΒΡΑΞΑΣ] [_Abraxas_]; designating God as manifested, or the
aggregate of his manifestations; but not the Supreme and Secret God
Himself. These three hundred and sixty-five Intelligences compose
altogether the Fullness or _Plenitude_ [[Greek: Πληρωμα]] of the Divine

With the Ophites, a sect of the Gnostics, there were seven inferior
spirits [inferior to Ialdabaoth, the Demiourgos or Actual Creator]:
_Michaël, Surièl, Raphaël, Gabriel, Thauthabaoth, Erataoth_, and
_Athaniel_, the genii of the stars called the Bull, the Dog, the Lion,
the Bear, the Serpent, the Eagle, and the Ass that formerly figured in
the constellation Cancer, and symbolized respectively by those animals;
as _Ialdabaoth, Iao, Adonaï, Eloï, Oraï_, and _Astaphaï_ were the genii
of Saturn, the Moon, the Sun, Jupiter, Venus, and Mercury.

The WORD appears in all these creeds. It is the _Ormuzd_ of Zoroaster,
the _Ainsoph_ of the Kabalah, the _Nous_ of Platonism and Philonism, and
the _Sophia_ or _Demiourgos_ of the Gnostics.

And all these creeds, while admitting these different manifestations of
the Supreme Being, held that His identity was immutable and permanent.
That was Plato’s distinction between the Being always the same [Greek:
τό όυ] and the perpetual flow of things incessantly changing, the

The belief in dualism in some shape, was universal. Those who held that
everything emanated from God, aspired to God, and re-entered into God,
believed that, among those emanations were two adverse Principles, of
Light and Darkness, Good and Evil. This prevailed in Central Asia and in
Syria; while in Egypt it assumed the form of Greek speculation. In the
former, a second Intellectual Principle was admitted, active in its
Empire of Darkness, audacious against the Empire of Light. So the
Persians and Sabeans understood it. In Egypt, this second Principle was
Matter, as the word was used by the Platonic School, with its sad
attributes, Vacuity, Darkness, and Death. In their theory, matter could
be animated only by the low communication of a principle of divine life.
It resists the influences that would spiritualize it. That resisting
Power is Satan, the rebellious Matter, Matter that does not partake of

To many there were two Principles; the Unknown Father, or Supreme and
Eternal God, living in the centre of the Light, happy in the perfect
purity of His being; the other, eternal Matter, that inert, shapeless,
darksome mass, which they considered as the source of all evils, the
mother and dwelling-place of Satan.

To Philo and the Platonists, there was a Soul of the world, creating
visible things, and active in them, as agent of the Supreme
Intelligence; realizing therein the ideas communicated to Him by that
Intelligence, and which sometimes excel His conceptions, but which He
executes without comprehending them.

The Apocalypse or Revelations, by whomever written, belongs to the
Orient and to extreme antiquity. It reproduces what is far older than
itself. It paints, with the strongest colors that the Oriental genius
ever employed, the closing scenes of the great struggle of Light, and
Truth, and Good, against Darkness, Error, and Evil; personified in that
between the New Religion on one side, and Paganism and Judaism on the
other. It is a particular application of the ancient myth of Ormuzd and
his Genii against Ahriman and his Devs; and it celebrates the final
triumph of Truth against the combined powers of men and demons. The
ideas and imagery are borrowed from every quarter; and allusions are
found in it to the doctrines of all ages. We are continually reminded
of the Zend-Avesta, the Jewish Codes, Philo, and the Gnosis. The Seven
Spirits surrounding the Throne of the Eternal, at the opening of the
Grand Drama, and acting so important a part throughout, everywhere the
first instruments of the Divine Will and Vengeance, are the Seven
Amshaspands of Parsism; as the Twenty-four Ancients, offering to the
Supreme Being the first supplications and the first homage, remind us of
the Mysterious Chiefs of Judaism, foreshadow the Eons of Gnosticism, and
reproduce the twenty-four Good Spirits created by Ormuzd and inclosed in
an egg.

The Christ of the Apocalypse, First-born of Creation and of the
Resurrection, is invested with the characteristics of the Ormuzd and
Sosiosch of the Zend-Avesta, the Ainsoph of the Kabalah and the
Carpistes [Greek: Καρπιστης] of the Gnostics. The idea that the true
Initiates and Faithful become Kings and Priests, is at once Persian,
Jewish, Christian, and Gnostic. And the definition of the Supreme Being,
that He is at once Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end–He that
was, and is, and is to come, _i.e._, Time illimitable, is Zoroaster’s
definition of Zerouane-Akherene.

The depths of Satan which no man can measure; his triumph for a time by
fraud and violence; his being chained by an angel; his reprobation and
his precipitation into a sea of metal; his names of the Serpent and the
Dragon; the whole conflict of the Good Spirits or celestial armies
against the bad; are so many ideas and designations found alike in the
Zend-Avesta, the Kabalah, and the Gnosis.

We even find in the Apocalypse that singular Persian idea, which regards
some of the lower animals as so many Devs or vehicles of Devs.

The guardianship of the earth by a good angel, the renewing of the earth
and heavens, and the final triumph of pure and holy men, are the same
victory of Good over Evil, for which the whole Orient looked.

The gold, and white raiments of the twenty-four Elders are, as in the
Persian faith, the signs of a lofty perfection and divine purity.

Thus the Human mind labored and struggled and tortured itself for ages,
to explain to itself what it felt, without confessing it, to be
explicable. A vast crowd of indistinct abstractions, hovering in the
imagination, a train of words embodying no tangible meaning, an
inextricable labyrinth of subtleties, was the result.

But one grand idea ever emerged and stood prominent and unchangeable
over the weltering chaos of confusion. God is great and good, and wise.
Evil and pain and sorrow are temporary and for wise and beneficent
purposes. They _must_ be consistent with God’s goodness, purity, and
infinite perfection; and there _must_ be a mode of explaining them, if
we could but find it out; as, in all ways we will endeavor to do.
Ultimately, Good will prevail, and Evil be overthrown. God alone _can_
do this, and He _will_ do it, by an Emanation from Himself, assuming the
Human form and redeeming the world.

Behold the object, the end, the result, of the great speculations and
logomachies of antiquity; the ultimate annihilation of evil, and
restoration of Man to his first estate, by a Redeemer, a Masayah, a
Christos, the incarnate Word, Reason, or Power of Deity.

This Redeemer is the Word or Logos, the Ormuzd of Zoroaster, the Ainsoph
of the Kabalah, the Nous of Platonism and Philonism; He that was in the
Beginning with God, and was God, and by Whom everything was made. That
He was looked for by all the People of the East is abundantly shown by
the Gospel of John and the Letters of Paul; wherein scarcely anything
seemed necessary to be said in proof that such a Redeemer was to come;
but all the energies of the writers are devoted to showing that Jesus
was that Christos whom all the nations were expecting; the “Word,” the
Masayah, the Anointed or Consecrated One.

In this Degree the great contest between good and evil, in anticipation
of the appearance and advent of the Word or Redeemer is symbolized; and
the mysterious esoteric teachings of the Essenes and the Cabalists. Of
the practices of the former we gain but glimpses in the ancient writers;
but we know that, as their doctrines were taught by John the Baptist,
they greatly resembled those of greater purity and more nearly perfect,
taught by Jesus; and that not only Palestine was full of John’s
disciples, so that the Priests and Pharisees did not dare to deny John’s
inspiration; but his doctrine had extended to Asia Minor, and had made
converts in luxurious Ephesus, as it also had in Alexandria in Egypt;
and that they readily embraced the Christian faith, of which they had
before not even heard.

These old controversies have died away, and the old faiths have faded
into oblivion. But Masonry still survives, vigorous and strong, as when
philosophy was taught in the schools of Alexandria and under the
Portico; teaching the same old truths as the Essenes taught by the
shores of the Dead Sea, and as John the Baptist preached in the Desert;
truths imperishable as the Deity, and undeniable as Light. Those truths
were gathered by the Essenes from the doctrines of the Orient and the
Occident, from the Zend-Avesta and the Vedas, from Plato and Pythagoras,
from India, Persia, Phœnicia, and Syria, from Greece and Egypt, and from
the Holy Books of the Jews. Hence we are called Knights of the East and
West, because their doctrines came from both. And these doctrines, the
wheat sifted from the chaff, the Truth separated from Error, Masonry has
garnered up in her heart of hearts, and through the fires of
persecution, and the storms of calamity, has brought them and delivered
them unto us. That God is One, immutable, unchangeable, infinitely just
and good; that Light will finally overcome Darkness,–Good conquer Evil,
and Truth be victor over Error;–these, rejecting all the wild and
useless speculations of the Zend-Avesta, the Kabalah, the Gnostics, and
the Schools, are the religion and Philosophy of Masonry.

Those speculations and fancies it is useful to study; that knowing in
what worthless and unfruitful investigations the mind may engage, you
may the more value and appreciate the plain, simple, sublime,
universally-acknowledged truths, which have in all ages been the Light
by which Masons have been guided on their way; the Wisdom and Strength
that like imperishable columns have sustained and will continue to
sustain its glorious and magnificent Temple.





[Prince Rose Croix.]

Each of us makes such applications to his own faith and creed, of the
symbols and ceremonies of this Degree, as seems to him proper. With
these special interpretations we have here nothing to do. Like the
legend of the Master Khūrūm, in which some see figured the condemnation
and sufferings of Christ; others those of the unfortunate Grand Master
of the Templars; others those of the first Charles, King of England; and
others still the annual descent of the Sun at the winter Solstice to the
regions of darkness, the basis of many an ancient legend; so the
ceremonies of this Degree receive different explanations; each
interpreting them for himself, and being offended at the interpretation
of no other.

In no other way could Masonry possess its character of Universality;
that character which has ever been peculiar to it from its origin; and
which enables two Kings, worshippers of different Deities, to sit
together as Masters, while the walls of the first temple arose; and the
men of Gebal, bowing down to the Phœnician Gods, to work by the side of
the Hebrews to whom those Gods were abomination; and to sit with them in
the same Lodge as brethren.

You have already learned that these ceremonies have one general
significance, to every one, of every faith, who believes in God, and the
soul’s immortality.

The primitive men met in no Temples made with human hands. “God,” said
Stephen, the first Martyr, “dwelleth not in Temples made with hands.” In
the open air, under the overarching mysterious sky, in the great
World-Temple, they uttered their vows and thanksgivings, and adored the
God of Light; of that Light that was to them the type of Good, as
darkness was the type of Evil.

All antiquity solved the enigma of the existence of Evil, by supposing
the existence of a Principle of Evil, of Demons, fallen Angels, an
Ahriman, a Typhon, a Siva, a Lok, or a Satan, that, first falling
themselves, and plunged in misery and darkness, tempted man to his fall,
and brought sin into the world. All believed in a future life, to be
attained by purification and trials; in a state or successive states of
reward and punishment; and in a Mediator or Redeemer, by whom the Evil
Principle was to be overcome, and the Supreme Deity reconciled to His
creatures. The belief was general, that He was to be born of a Virgin,
and suffer a painful death. The Indians called him Chrishna; the
Chinese, Kioun-tse; the Persians, Sosiosch; the Chaldeans, Dhou-vanai;
the Egyptians, Har-Oeri; Plato, Love; and the Scandinavians, Balder.

Chrishna, the Hindoo Redeemer, was cradled and educated among Shepherds.
A Tyrant, at the time of his birth, ordered all the male children to be
slain. He performed miracles, say his legends, even raising the dead. He
washed the feet of the Brahmins, and was meek and lowly of spirit. He
was born of a Virgin; descended to Hell, rose again, ascended to Heaven,
charged his disciples to teach his doctrines, and gave them the gift of

The first Masonic Legislator whose memory is preserved to us by history,
was Buddha, who, about a thousand years before the Christian era,
reformed the religion of Manous. He called to the Priesthood all men,
without distinction of caste, who felt themselves inspired by God to
instruct men. Those who so associated themselves formed a Society of
Prophets under the name of Samaneans. They recognized the existence of a
single uncreated God, in whose bosom everything grows, is developed and
transformed. The worship of this God reposed upon the obedience of all
the beings He created. His feasts were those of the Solstices. The
doctrines of Buddha pervaded India, China, and Japan. The Priests of
Brahma, professing a dark and bloody creed, brutalized by Superstition,
united together against Buddhism, and with the aid of Despotism,
exterminated its followers. But their blood fertilized the new doctrine,
which produced a new Society under the name of Gymnosophists; and a
large number, fleeing to Ireland, planted their doctrines there, and
there erected the round towers, some of which still stand, solid and
unshaken as at first visible monuments of the remotest ages.

The Phœnician Cosmogony, like all others in Asia, was the Word of God,
written in astral characters, by the planetary Divinities, and
communicated by the Demi-gods, as a profound mystery, to the brighter
intelligences of Humanity, to be propagated by them among men. Their
doctrines resembled the Ancient Sabeism, and being the faith of Hiram
the King and his namesake the Artist, are of interest to all Masons.
With them, the First Principle was half material, half spiritual, a dark
air, animated and impregnated by the spirit; and a disordered chaos,
covered with thick darkness. From this came the WORD, and thence
creation and generation; and thence a race of men, children of light,
who adored Heaven and its Stars as the Supreme Being; and whose
different gods were but incarnations of the Sun, the Moon, the Stars,
and the Ether. _Chrysor_ was the great igneous power of Nature, and
_Baal_ and _Malakarth_ representations of the Sun and Moon, the latter
word, in Hebrew, meaning Queen.

Man had fallen, but not by the tempting of the serpent. For, with the
Phœnicians, the serpent was deemed to partake of the Divine Nature, and
was sacred, as he was in Egypt. He was deemed to be immortal, unless
slain by violence, becoming young again in his old age, by entering into
and consuming himself. Hence the Serpent in a circle, holding his tail
in his mouth, was an emblem of eternity. With the head of a hawk he was
of a Divine Nature, and a symbol of the sun. Hence one Sect of the
Gnostics took him for their good genius, and hence the brazen serpent
reared by Moses in the Desert, on which the Israelites looked and lived.

“Before the chaos, that preceded the birth of Heaven and Earth,” said
the Chinese Lao-Tseu, “a single Being existed, immense and silent,
immutable and always acting; the mother of the Universe. I know not the
name of that Being, but I designate it by the word Reason. Man has his
model in the earth, the earth in Heaven, Heaven in Reason, and Reason in

“I am,” says Isis, “Nature; parent of all things, the sovereign of the
Elements, the primitive progeny of Time, the most exalted of the
Deities, the first of the Heavenly Gods and Goddesses, the Queen of the
Shades, the uniform countenance; who dispose with my rod the numerous
lights of Heaven, the salubrious breezes of the sea, and the mournful
silence of the dead; whose single Divinity the whole world venerates in
many forms, with various rites and by many names. The Egyptians, skilled
in ancient lore, worship me with proper ceremonies, and call me by my
true name, Isis the Queen.”

The Hindu Vedas thus define the Deity:

“He who surpasses speech, and through whose power speech is expressed,
know thou that He is Brahma; and not these perishable things that man

“He whom Intelligence cannot comprehend, and He alone, say the sages,
through whose Power the nature of Intelligence can be understood, know
thou that He is Brahma; and not these perishable things that man adores.

“He who cannot be seen by the organ of sight, and through whose power
the organ of seeing sees, know thou that He is Brahma; and not these
perishable things that man adores.

“He who cannot be heard by the organ of hearing, and through whose power
the organ of hearing hears, know thou that He is Brahma; and not these
perishable things that man adores.

“He who cannot be perceived by the organ of smelling, and through whose
power the organ of smelling smells, know thou that He is Brahma; and not
these perishable things that man adores.”

“When God resolved to create the human race,” said _Arius_, “He made a
Being that He called The WORD, The Son, _Wisdom_, to the end that this
Being might give existence to men.” This WORD is the _Ormuzd_ of
Zoroaster, the _Ainsoph_ of the Kabalah, the [Greek: Νου̃ς] of Plato and
Philo, the _Wisdom_ or _Demiourgos_ of the Gnostics.

That is the True Word, the knowledge of which our ancient brethren
sought as the priceless reward of their labors on the Holy Temple: the
Word of Life, the Divine Reason, “in whom was Life, and that Life the
Light of men”; “which long shone in darkness, and the darkness
comprehended it not;” the Infinite Reason that is the Soul of Nature,
immortal, of which the Word of this Degree reminds us; and to believe
wherein and revere it, is the peculiar duty of every Mason.

“In the beginning,” says the extract from some older work with which
John commences his Gospel, “was the Word, and the Word was near to God,
and the Word was God. All things were made by Him, and without Him was
not anything made that was made. In Him was Life, and the life was the
Light of man; and the light shineth in darkness, and the darkness did
not contain it.”

It is an old tradition that this passage was from an older work. And
Philostorgius and Nicephorus state, that when the Emperor Julian
undertook to rebuild the Temple, a stone was taken up, that covered the
mouth of a deep square cave, into which one of the laborers, being let
down by a rope, found in the centre of the floor a cubical pillar, on
which lay a roll or book, wrapped in a fine linen cloth, in which, in
capital letters, was the foregoing passage.

However this may have been, it is plain that John’s Gospel is a polemic
against the Gnostics; and, stating at the outset the current doctrine in
regard to the creation by the Word, he then addresses himself to show
and urge that this Word was Jesus Christ.

And the first sentence, fully rendered into our language, would read
thus: “When the process of emanation, of creation or evolution of
existences inferior to the Supreme God began, the Word came into
existence and was: and this word was [Greek: προς τον Θεον] _near to_
God; _i.e._ the immediate or first emanation from God: and it was God
Himself, developed or manifested in that particular mode, and in action.
And by that Word everything that is was created.”–And thus Tertullian
says that God made the World out of nothing, by means of His Word,
Wisdom, or Power.

To Philo the Jew, as to the Gnostics, the Supreme Being was the
_Primitive Light_, or _Archetype of Light_,–_Source_ whence the rays
emanate that illuminate Souls. He is the _Soul_ of the World, and as
such acts everywhere. He himself fills and bounds his whole existence,
and his forces fill and penetrate everything. His Image is the WORD
[LOGOS], a form more brilliant than fire, which is not pure light. This
WORD dwells in God; for it is within His Intelligence that the Supreme
Being frames for Himself the Types of Ideas of all that is to assume
reality in the Universe. The WORD is the Vehicle by which God acts on
the Universe; the World of Ideas by means whereof God has created
visible things; the more Ancient God, as compared with the Material
World; Chief and General Representative of all Intelligences; the
Archangel, type and representative of all spirits, even those of
Mortals; the type of Man; the primitive man himself. These ideas are
borrowed from Plato. And this WORD is not only the Creator [“_by Him was
everything made that was made_”], but acts _in the place_ of God; and
through him act all the Powers and Attributes of God. And also, as first
representative of the human race, he is the protector of Men and their
Shepherd, the “Ben H’Adam,” or Son of Man.

The actual condition of Man is not his primitive condition, that in
which he was the image of the Word. His unruly passions have caused him
to fall from his original lofty estate. But he may rise again, by
following the teachings of Heavenly Wisdom, and the Angels whom God
commissions to aid him in escaping from the entanglements of the body;
and by fighting bravely against Evil, the existence of which God has
allowed solely to furnish him with the means of exercising his free

The Supreme Being of the Egyptians was _Amūn_, a secret and concealed
God, the Unknown Father of the Gnostics, the Source of Divine Life, and
of all force, the Plenitude of all, comprehending all things in Himself,
the original Light. He _creates_ nothing; but everything _emanates_ from
Him: and all other Gods are but his manifestations. From Him, by the
utterance of a Word, emanated _Neith_, the Divine Mother of all things,
the Primitive THOUGHT, the FORCE that puts everything in movement, the
SPIRIT everywhere extended, the _Deity of Light and Mother of the Sun_.

Of this Supreme Being, _Osiris_ was the image, Source of all Good in the
moral and physical world, and constant foe of Typhon, the Genius of
Evil, the Satan of Gnosticism, brute matter, deemed to be always at feud
with the spirit that flowed from the Deity; and over whom Har-Oeri, the
Redeemer, Son of Isis and Osiris, is finally to prevail.

In the Zend-Avesta of the Persians the Supreme Being is _Time without
limit_, ZERUANE AKHERENE.–No origin could be assigned to Him; for He
was enveloped in His own Glory, and His Nature and Attributes were so
inaccessible to human Intelligence, that He was but the object of a
silent veneration. The commencement of Creation was by emanation from
Him. The first emanation was the Primitive Light, and from this Light
emerged _Ormuzd_, the _King of Light_, who, by the WORD, created the
World in its purity, is its Preserver and Judge, a Holy and Sacred
Being, Intelligence and Knowledge, Himself Time without limit, and
wielding all the powers of the Supreme Being.

In this Persian faith, as taught many centuries before our era, and
embodied in the Zend-Avesta, there was in man a pure Principle,
proceeding from the Supreme Being, produced by the Will and Word of
Ormuzd. To that was united an impure principle, proceeding from a
foreign influence, that of Ahriman, the Dragon, or principle of Evil.
Tempted by Ahriman, the first man and woman had fallen; and for twelve
thousand years there was to be war between _Ormuzd_ and the Good Spirits
created by him, and _Ahriman_ and the Evil ones whom he had called into

But pure souls are assisted by the Good Spirits, the Triumph of the Good
Principle is determined upon in the decrees of the Supreme Being, and
the period of that triumph will infallibly arrive. At the moment when
the earth shall be most afflicted with the evils brought upon it by the
Spirits of perdition, three Prophets will appear to bring assistance to
mortals. Sosiosch, Chief of the Three, will regenerate the world, and
restore to it its primitive Beauty, Strength, and Purity. He will judge
the good and the wicked. After the universal resurrection of the Good,
the pure Spirits will conduct them to an abode of eternal happiness.
Ahriman, his evil Demons, and all the world, will be purified in a
torrent of liquid burning metal. The Law of Ormuzd will rule everywhere;
all men will be happy; all, enjoying an unalterable bliss, will unite
with Sosiosch in singing the praises of the Supreme Being.

These doctrines, with some modifications, were adopted by the Kabalists
and afterward by the Gnostics.

Apollonius of Tyana says: “We shall render the most appropriate worship
to the Deity, when to that God whom we call the First, who is One, and
separate from all, and after whom we recognize the others, we present no
offerings whatever, kindle to Him no fire, dedicate to Him no sensible
thing; for he needs nothing, even of all that natures more exalted than
ours could give. The earth produces no plant, the air nourishes no
animal, there is in short nothing, which would not be impure in his
sight. In addressing ourselves to Him, we must use only the higher word,
that, I mean, which is not expressed by the mouth,–the silent inner
word of the spirit…. From the most Glorious of all Beings, we must
seek for blessings, by that which is most glorious in ourselves; and
that is the spirit, which needs no organ.”

Strabo says: “This one Supreme Essence is that which embraces us all,
the water and the land, that which we call the Heavens, the World, the
Nature of things. This Highest Being should be worshipped, without any
visible image, in sacred groves. In such retreats the devout should lay
themselves down to sleep, and expect signs from God in dreams.”

Aristotle says: “It has been handed down in a mythical form, from the
earliest times to posterity, that there are Gods, and that The Divine
compasses entire nature. All besides this has been added, after the
mythical style, for the purpose of persuading the multitude, and for the
interest of the laws and the advantage of the State. Thus men have given
to the Gods human forms, and have even represented them under the figure
of other beings, in the train of which fictions followed many more of
the same sort. But if, from all this, we separate the original
principle, and consider it alone, namely, that the first Essences are
Gods, we shall find that this has been divinely said; and since it is
probable that philosophy and the arts have been several times, so far as
that is possible, found and lost, such doctrines may have been preserved
to our times as the remains of ancient wisdom.”

Porphyry says: “By images addressed to sense, the ancients represented
God and his powers–by the visible they typified the invisible for those
who had learned to read in these types, as in a book, a treatise on the
Gods. We need not wonder if the ignorant consider the images to be
nothing more than wood or stone; for just so, they who are ignorant of
writing see nothing in monuments but stone, nothing in tablets but wood,
and in books but a tissue of papyrus.”

Apollonius of Tyana held, that birth and death are only in appearance;
that which separates itself from the _one_ substance (the _one_ Divine
essence), and is caught up by matter, seems to be born; that, again,
which releases itself from the bonds of matter, and is reunited with the
one Divine Essence, seems to die. There is, at most, an alteration
between becoming visible and becoming invisible. In all there is,
properly speaking, but the one essence, which alone acts and suffers, by
becoming all things to all; the Eternal God, whom men wrong, when they
deprive Him of what properly can be attributed to Him only, and transfer
it to other names and persons.

The New Platonists substituted the idea of the Absolute, for the Supreme
Essence itself;–as the first, simplest principle, anterior to all
existence; of which nothing determinate can be predicated; to which no
consciousness, no self-contemplation can be ascribed; inasmuch as to do
so, would immediately imply a quality, a distinction of subject and
object. This Supreme Entity can be known only by an intellectual
intuition of the Spirit, transcending itself, and emancipating itself
from its own limits.

This mere logical tendency, by means of which men thought to arrive at
the conception of such an absolute, the [Greek: όν], was united with a
certain mysticism, which, by a transcendent state of feeling,
communicated, as it were, to this abstraction what the mind would
receive as a reality. The absorption of the Spirit into that
superexistence ([Greek: τό έπέκεινα τής ούσίας]), so as to be entirely
identified with it, or such a revelation of the latter to the spirit
raised above itself, was regarded as the highest end which the spiritual
life could reach.

The New Platonists’ idea of God, was that of One Simple Original
Essence, exalted above all plurality and all becoming; the only true
Being; unchangeable, eternal [[Greek: Εϊς ών ένί τώ νύν τό άει πεπλήρωκε
καί μόνον έστι τό κατά τούτον όντως ών]]: from whom all Existence in its
several gradations has emanated–the world of Gods, as nearest akin to
Himself, being first, and at the head of all. In these Gods, that
perfection, which in the Supreme Essence was inclosed and unevolved, is
expanded and becomes knowable. They serve to exhibit in different forms
the image of that Supreme Essence, to which no soul can rise, except by
the loftiest flight of contemplation; and after it has rid itself from
all that pertains to sense–from all manifoldness. They are the
mediators between man (amazed and stupefied by manifoldness) and the
Supreme Unity.

Philo says: “He who disbelieves the miraculous, simply as the
miraculous, neither knows God, nor has he ever sought after Him; for
otherwise he would have understood, by looking at that truly great and
awe-inspiring sight, the miracle of the Universe, that these miracles
(in God’s providential guidance of His people) are but child’s play for
the Divine Power. But the truly miraculous has become despised through
familiarity. The universal, on the contrary, although in itself
insignificant, yet, through our love of novelty, transports us with

In opposition to the anthropopathism of the Jewish Scriptures, the
Alexandrian Jews endeavored to purify the idea of God from all admixture
of the Human. By the exclusion of every human passion, it was sublimated
to a something devoid of all attributes, and wholly transcendental; and
the mere Being [Greek: όν], the Good, in and by itself, the Absolute of
Platonism, was substituted for the personal Deity [[Hebrew: יהוה]] of
the Old Testament. By soaring upward, beyond all created existence, the
mind, disengaging itself from the Sensible, attains to the intellectual
intuition of this Absolute Being; of whom, however, it can predicate
nothing but existence, and sets aside all other determinations as not
answering to the exalted nature of the Supreme Essence.

Thus Philo makes a distinction between those who are in the proper sense
Sons of God, having by means of contemplation raised themselves to the
highest Being, or attained to a knowledge of Him, in His immediate
self-manifestation, and those who know God only in his mediate
revelation through his operation–such as He declares Himself in
creation–in the revelation still veiled in the letter of
Scripture–those, in short, who attach themselves simply to the Logos,
and consider this to be the Supreme God; who are the sons of the Logos,
rather than of the True Being, (όν)

“God,” says Pythagoras, “is neither the object of sense, nor subject to
passion, but invisible, only intelligible, and supremely intelligent In
His body He is like the _light_, and in His soul He resembles truth. He
is the universal _spirit_ that pervades and diffuseth itself over all
nature. All beings receive their _life_ from Him. There is but one only
God, who is not, as some are apt to imagine, seated above the world,
beyond the orb of the Universe; but being Himself all in all, He sees
all the beings that fill His immensity; the only Principle, the _Light_
of Heaven, the Father of all. He _produces everything_; He orders and
disposes everything; He is the REASON, the LIFE, and the MOTION of all

“I am the LIGHT of the world; he that followeth Me shall not walk in
DARKNESS, but shall have the LIGHT OF LIFE.” So said the Founder of the
Christian Religion, as His words are reported by John the Apostle.

God, say the sacred writings of the Jews, appeared to Moses in a FLAME
OF FIRE, in the midst of a bush, which was not consumed. He descended
upon Mount Sinai, as the smoke of a _furnace_; He went before the
children of Israel, by day, in a pillar of cloud and, by night, in a
pillar of _fire_, to give them _light_. “Call _you_ on the name of
_your_ Gods,” said Elijah the Prophet to the Priests of Baal, “and I
will call upon the name of ADONAI; and the God that answereth _by fire_,
let him be God.”

According to the Kabalah, as according to the doctrines of Zoroaster,
everything that exists has emanated from a source of infinite light.
Before all things, existed _the Primitive Being_, THE ANCIENT OF DAYS,
_the Ancient King of Light_; a title the more remarkable, because it is
frequently given to the Creator in the Zend-Avesta, and in the Code of
the Sabeans, and occurs in the Jewish Scriptures.

The world was His Revelation, God revealed; and subsisted only in Him.
His attributes were there reproduced with various modifications and in
different degrees; so that the Universe was His Holy Splendor, His
Mantle. He was to be adored in silence; and perfection consisted in a
nearer approach to Him.

Before the creation of worlds, the PRIMITIVE LIGHT filled all space, so
that there was no void. When the Supreme Being, existing in this Light,
resolved to display His perfections, or manifest them in worlds, He
withdrew within Himself, formed around Him a void space, and shot forth
His first emanation, a ray of light; the cause and principle of
everything that exists, uniting both the generative and conceptive
power, which penetrates everything, and without which nothing could
subsist for an instant.

Man fell, seduced by the Evil Spirits most remote from the Great King of
Light; those of the fourth world of spirits, Asiah, whose chief was
Belial. They wage incessant war against the pure Intelligences of the
other worlds, who, like the Amshaspands, Izeds, and Ferouers of the
Persians are the tutelary guardians of man. In the beginning, all was
unison and harmony; full of the same divine light and perfect purity.
The Seven Kings of Evil fell, and the Universe was troubled. Then the
Creator took from the Seven Kings the principles of Good and of Light,
and divided them among the four worlds of Spirits, giving to the first
three the Pure Intelligences, united in love and harmony, while to the
fourth were vouchsafed only some feeble glimmerings of light.

When the strife between these and the good angels shall have continued
the appointed time, and these Spirits enveloped in darkness shall long
and in vain have endeavored to absorb the Divine light and life, then
will the Eternal Himself come to correct them. He will deliver them from
the gross envelopes of matter that hold them captive, will re-animate
and strengthen the ray of light or spiritual nature which they have
preserved, and re-establish throughout the Universe that primitive
Harmony which was its bliss.

Marcion, the Gnostic, said, “The Soul of the True Christian, adopted as
a child by the Supreme Being, to whom it has long been a stranger,
receives from Him the Spirit and Divine life. It is led and confirmed,
by this gift, in a pure and holy life, like that of God; and if it so
completes its earthly career, in charity, chastity, and sanctity, it
will one day be disengaged from its material envelope, as the ripe grain
is detached from the straw, and as the young bird escapes from its
shell. Like the angels, it will share in the bliss of the Good and
Perfect Father, re-clothed in an aerial body or organ, and made like
unto the Angels in Heaven.”

You see, my brother, what is the meaning of Masonic “Light.” You see why
the EAST of the Lodge, where the initial letter of the Name of the Deity
overhangs the Master, is the place of Light. Light, as
contradistinguished from darkness, is Good, as contradistinguished from
Evil: and it is that Light, the true knowledge of Deity, the Eternal
Good, for which Masons in all ages have sought. Still Masonry marches
steadily onward toward that Light that shines in the great distance, the
Light of that day when Evil, overcome and vanquished, shall fade away
and disappear forever, and Life and Light be the one law of the
Universe, and its eternal Harmony.

The Degree of Rose teaches three things;–the unity, immutability and
goodness of God; the immortality of the Soul; the ultimate defeat and
extinction of evil and wrong and sorrow, by a Redeemer or Messiah, yet
to come, if he has not already appeared.

It replaces the three pillars of the old Temple, with three that have
already been explained to you,–Faith [in God, mankind, and man’s self],
Hope [in the victory over evil, the advancement of Humanity, and a
hereafter], and Charity [relieving the wants and tolerant of the errors
and faults of others]. To be trustful to be hopeful, to be indulgent;
these, in an age of selfishness, of ill opinion of human nature, of
harsh and bitter judgment, are the most important Masonic Virtues, and
the true supports of every Masonic Temple. And they are the old pillars
of the Temple under different names. For he only is wise who judges
others charitably; he only is strong who is hopeful; and there is no
beauty like a firm faith in God, our fellows and ourself.

The second apartment, clothed in mourning, the columns of the Temple
shattered and prostrate, and the brethren bowed down in the deepest
dejection, represents the world under the tyranny of the Principle of
Evil; where virtue is persecuted and vice rewarded; where the righteous
starve for bread, and the wicked live sumptuously and dress in purple
and fine linen; where insolent ignorance rules, and learning and genius
serve; where King and Priest trample on liberty and the rights of
conscience; where freedom hides in caves and mountains, and sycophancy
and servility fawn and thrive; where the cry of the widow and the orphan
starving for want of food, and shivering with cold, rises ever to
Heaven, from a million miserable hovels; where men, willing to labor,
and starving, they and their children and the wives of their bosoms, beg
plaintively for work, when the pampered capitalist stops his mills;
where the law punishes her who, starving, steals a loaf, and lets the
seducer go free; where the success of a party justifies murder, and
violence and rapine go unpunished; and where he who with many years’
cheating and grinding the faces of the poor grows rich, receives office
and honor in life, and after death brave funeral and a splendid
mausoleum:–this world, where, since its making, war has never ceased,
nor man paused in the sad task of torturing and murdering his brother;
and of which ambition, avarice, envy, hatred, lust, and the rest of
Ahriman’s and Typhon’s army make a Pandemonium: this world, sunk in sin,
reeking with baseness, clamorous with sorrow and misery. If any see in
it also a type of the sorrow of the Craft for the death of Hiram, the
grief of the Jews at the fall of Jerusalem, the misery of the Templars
at the ruin of their order and the death of De Molay, or the world’s
agony and pangs of woe at the death of the Redeemer, it is the right of
each to do so.

The third apartment represents the consequences of sin and vice and the
hell made of the human heart, by its fiery passions. If any see in it
also a type of the Hades of the Greeks, the Gehenna of the Hebrews, the
Tartarus of the Romans, or the Hell of the Christians, or only of the
agonies of remorse and the tortures of an upbraiding conscience, it is
the right of each to do so.

The fourth apartment represents the Universe, freed from the insolent
dominion and tyranny of the Principle of Evil, and brilliant with the
true Light that flows from the Supreme Deity; when sin and wrong, and
pain and sorrow, remorse and misery shall be no more forever; when the
great plans of Infinite Eternal Wisdom shall be fully developed; and all
God’s creatures, seeing that all apparent evil and individual suffering
and wrong were but the drops that went to swell the great river of
infinite goodness, shall know that vast as is the power of Deity, His
goodness and beneficence are infinite as His power. If any see in it a
type of the peculiar mysteries of any faith or creed, or an allusion to
any past occurrences, it is their right to do so. Let each apply its
symbols as he pleases. To all of us they typify the universal rule of
Masonry,–of its three chief virtues, Faith, Hope and Charity; of
brotherly love and universal benevolence. We labor here to no other end.
These symbols need no other interpretation.

The obligations of our Ancient Brethren of the Rose were to fulfill
all the duties of friendship, cheerfulness, charity, peace, liberality,
temperance and chastity: and scrupulously to avoid impurity,
haughtiness, hatred, anger, and every other kind of vice. They took
their philosophy from the old Theology of the Egyptians, as Moses and
Solomon had done, and borrowed its hieroglyphics and the ciphers of the
Hebrews. Their principal rules were, to exercise the profession of
medicine charitably and without fee, to advance the cause of virtue,
enlarge the sciences, and induce men to live as in the primitive times
of the world.

When this Degree had its origin, it is not important to inquire; nor
with what different rites it has been practised in different countries
and at various times. It is of very high antiquity. Its ceremonies
differ with the degrees of latitude and longitude, and it receives
variant interpretations. If we were to examine all the different
ceremonials, their emblems, and their formulas, we should see that all
that belongs to the primitive and essential elements of the order, is
respected in every sanctuary. All alike practise virtue, that it may
product fruit. All labor, like us, for the extirpation of vice, the
purification of man, the development of the arts and sciences, and the
relief of humanity.

None admit an adept to their lofty philosophical knowledge, and
mysterious sciences, until he has been purified at the altar of the
symbolic Degrees. Of what importance are differences of opinion as to
the age and genealogy of the Degree, or variance in the practice,
ceremonial and liturgy, or the shade of color of the banner under which
each tribe of Israel marched, if all revere the Holy Arch of the
symbolic Degrees, first and unalterable source of Free Masonry; if all
revere our conservative principles, and are with us in the great
purposes of our organization?

If, anywhere, brethren of a particular religious belief have been
excluded from this Degree, it merely shows how gravely the purposes and
plan of Masonry may be misunderstood. For whenever the door of any
Degree is closed against him who believes in one God and the soul’s
immortality, on account of the other tenets of his faith, that Degree is
Masonry no longer. No Mason has the right to interpret the symbols of
this Degree for another, or to refuse him its mysteries, if he will not
take them with the explanation and commentary superadded.

Listen, my brother, to _our_ explanation of the symbols of the Degree,
and then give them such further interpretation as you think fit.

The _Cross_ has been a sacred symbol from the earliest Antiquity. It is
found upon all the enduring monuments of the world, in Egypt, in
Assyria, in Hindostan, in Persia, and on the Buddhist towers of Ireland.
Buddha was said to have died upon it. The Druids cut an oak into its
shape and held it sacred, and built their temples in that form. Pointing
to the four quarters of the world, it was the symbol of universal
nature. It was on a cruciform tree, that Chrishna was said to have
expired, pierced with arrows. It was revered in Mexico.

But its peculiar meaning in this Degree, is that given to it by the
Ancient Egyptians. _Thoth_ or _Phtha_ is represented on the oldest
monuments carrying in his hand the _Crux Ansata_, or _Ankh_, [a Tau
cross, with a ring or circle over it]. He is so seen on the double
tablet of Shufu and Noh Shufu, builders of the greatest of the Pyramids,
at Wady Meghara, in the peninsula of Sinai. It was the hieroglyphic for
_life_, and with a triangle prefixed meant _life-giving_. To us
therefore it is the symbol of _Life_–of that life that emanated from
the Deity, and of that Eternal Life for which all hope; through our
faith in God’s infinite goodness.

The ROSE was anciently sacred to Aurora and the Sun. It is symbol of
_Dawn_, of the resurrection of Light and the renewal of life, and
therefore of the dawn of the first day, and more particularly of the
resurrection: and the Cross and Rose together are therefore
hieroglyphically to be read, _the Dawn of Eternal Life_ which all
Nations have hoped for by the advent of a Redeemer.

The _Pelican_ feeding her young is an emblem of the large and bountiful
beneficence of Nature, of the Redeemer of fallen man, and of that
humanity and charity that ought to distinguish a Knight of this Degree.

The Eagle was the living Symbol of the Egyptian God _Mendes_ or
_Menthra_, whom _Sesostris-Ramses_ made one with _Amun-Re_, the God of
Thebes and Upper Egypt, and the representative of the Sun, the word RE
meaning _Sun_ or _King_.

The _Compass_ surmounted with a crown signifies that notwithstanding the
high rank attained in Masonry by a Knight of the Rose Croix, equity and
impartiality are invariably to govern his conduct.

To the word INRI, inscribed on the Crux Ansata over the Master’s Seat,
many meanings have been assigned. The Christian Initiate reverentially
sees in it the initials of the inscription upon the cross on which
Christ suffered–_Iesus Nazarenus Rex Iudæorum_. The sages of Antiquity
connected it with one of the greatest secrets of Nature, that of
universal regeneration. They interpreted it thus, _Igne Natura renovatur
Integra_; [entire nature is renovated by fire]: The Alchemical or
Hermetic Masons framed for it this aphorism, _Igne nitrum roris
invenitur_. And the Jesuits are charged with having applied to it this
odious axiom, _Justum necare reges impios_. The four letters are the
initials of the Hebrew words that represent the four elements–_Iammim_,
the seas or water; _Hour_, fire; _Rouach_, the air, and _Iebeschah_, the
dry earth. How we read it, I need not repeat to you.

The CROSS, [Illustration: Glyph] was the Sign of the Creative Wisdom or
Logos, the Son of God. Plato says, “He expressed him upon the Universe
in the figure of the letter X. The next Power to the Supreme God Was
decussated or figured in the shape of a Cross on Universe.” Mithras
signed his soldiers on the forehead with a Cross. [Glyph] is the mark
of 600, the mysterious cycle of the Incarnations.

We constantly see the Tau and the Resh united thus [Glyph]. These two
letters, in the old Samaritan, as found in Arius, stand, the first for
400, the second for 200-600. This is the Staff of Osiris, also, and his
monogram, and was adopted by the Christians as a Sign. On a medal of
Constantius is this inscription, “_In hoc signo victor cris_ [Glyph].”
An inscription in the Duomo at Milan reads, “[Glyph] et [Glyph].

The Egyptians used as a Sign of their God Canobus, a [Glyph] or a
[Glyph] indifferently. The Vaishnavas of India have also the same Sacred
Tau, which they also mark with Crosses, thus [Glyph], and with
triangles, thus, [Glyph]. The vestments of the priests of Horus were
covered with these Crosses [Glyph]. So was the dress of the Lama of
Thibet. The Sectarian marks of the Jains are [Glyph]. The distinctive
badge of the Sect of Xac Japonicus is [Glyph]. It is the Sign of Fo,
identical with the Cross of Christ.

On the ruins of Mandore, in India, among other mystic emblems, are the
mystic triangle, and the interlaced triangle, [Glyph]. This is also
found on ancient coins and medals, excavated from the ruins of Oojein
and other ancient cities of India.

You entered here amid gloom and into shadow, and are clad in the apparel
of sorrow. Lament, with us, the sad condition of the Human race, in this
vale of tears! the calamities of men and the agonies of nations! the
darkness of the bewildered soul, oppressed by doubt and apprehension!

There is no human soul that is not sad at times. There is no thoughtful
soul that does not at times despair. There is perhaps none, of all that
think at all of anything beyond the needs and interests of the body,
that is not at times startled and terrified by the awful questions
which, feeling as though it were a guilty thing for doing so, it
whispers to itself in its inmost depths. Some Demon seems to torture it
with doubts, and to crush it with despair, asking whether, after all, it
is certain that its convictions are true and its faith well founded:
whether it is indeed sure that a God of Infinite Love and Beneficence
rules the Universe, or only some great remorseless Fate and iron
Necessity, hid in impenetrable gloom, and to which men and their
sufferings and sorrows, their hopes and joys, their ambitions and deeds,
are of no more interest or importance than the motes that dance in the
sunshine; or a Being that amuses Himself with the incredible vanity and
folly, the writhings and contortions of the insignificant insects that
compose Humanity, and idly imagine that they resemble the Omnipotent.
“What are we,” the Tempter asks, “but puppets in a show-box? O
Omnipotent destiny, pull our strings gently! Dance us mercifully off our
miserable little stage!”

“Is it not,” the Demon whispers, “merely the inordinate vanity of man
that causes him now to pretend to himself that he is like unto God in
intellect, sympathies and passions, as it was that which, at the
beginning, made him believe that he was, in his bodily shape and organs,
the very image of the Deity? Is not his God merely his own shadow,
projected in gigantic outlines upon the clouds? Does he not create for
himself a God out of himself, by merely adding indefinite extension to
his own faculties, powers, and passions?”

“Who,” the Voice that will not be always silent whispers, “has ever
thoroughly satisfied himself with his own arguments in respect to his
own nature? Who ever demonstrated to himself, with a conclusiveness that
elevated the belief to certainty, that he was an immortal spirit,
dwelling only temporarily in the house and envelope of the body, and to
live on forever after that shall have decayed? Who ever has demonstrated
or ever can demonstrate that the intellect of Man differs from that of
the wiser animals, otherwise than in degree? Who has ever done more than
to utter nonsense and incoherencies in regard to the difference between
the instincts of the dog and the reason of Man? The horse, the dog, the
elephant, are as conscious of their identity as we are. They think,
dream, remember, argue with themselves, devise, plan, and _reason_. What
is the intellect and intelligence of the man but the intellect of the
animal in a higher degree or larger quantity?” In the _real_ explanation
of a single thought of a dog, all metaphysics will be condensed.

And with still more terrible significance, the Voice asks, in what
Respect the masses of men, the vast swarms of the human race, have
proven themselves either wiser or better than the animals in whose eyes
a higher intelligence shines than in _their_ dull, unintellectual orbs;
in what respect they have proven themselves worthy of or suited for an
immortal life. Would that be a prize of any value to the vast majority?
Do they show, here upon earth, any capacity to improve, any fitness for
a state of existence in which they could not crouch to power, like
hounds dreading the lash or tyrannize over defenceless weakness; in
which they could not hate and persecute, and torture, and exterminate;
in which they could not trade, and speculate, and over-reach, and entrap
the unwary and cheat the confiding and gamble and thrive, and sniff with
self-righteousness at the short-comings of others, and thank God that
they were not like other men? What, to immense numbers of men, would be
the value of a Heaven where they could not lie and libel, and ply base
avocations for profitable returns?

Sadly we look around us, and read the gloomy and dreary records of the
old dead and rotten ages. More than eighteen centuries have staggered
away into the spectral realm of the Past, since Christ, teaching the
Religion of Love, was crucified, that it might become a Religion of
Hate; and His Doctrines are not yet even nominally accepted as true by a
fourth of mankind. Since His death, what incalculable swarms of human
beings have lived and died in total unbelief of all that we deem
essential to Salvation! What multitudinous myriads of souls, since the
darkness of idolatrous superstition settled down, thick and
impenetrable, upon the earth, have flocked up toward the eternal Throne
of God, to receive His judgment?

The Religion of Love proved to be, for seventeen long centuries, as much
the Religion of Hate, and infinitely more the Religion of Persecution,
than Mahometanism, its unconquerable rival. Heresies grew up before the
Apostles died; and God hated the Nicolaītans, while John, at Patmos,
proclaimed His coming wrath. Sects wrangled, and each, as it gained the
power, persecuted the other, until the soil of the whole Christian world
was watered with the blood, and fattened on the flesh, and whitened with
the bones, of martyrs, and human ingenuity was taxed to its utmost to
invent new modes by which tortures and agonies could be prolonged and
made more exquisite.

“By what right” whispers the Voice, “does this savage, merciless,
persecuting animal, to which the sufferings and writhings of others of
its wretched kind furnish the most pleasurable sensations, and the mass
of which care only to eat, sleep, be clothed, and wallow in sensual
pleasures, and the best of which wrangle, hate, envy, and, with few
exceptions, regard their own interests alone,–with what right does it
endeavor to delude itself into the conviction that it is _not_ an
animal, as the wolf, the hyena, and the tiger are, but a somewhat
nobler, a spirit destined to be immortal, a spark of the essential
Light, Fire and Reason, which are God? What other immortality than one
of selfishness could this creature enjoy? Of what other is it capable?
Must not immortality commence _here_ and is not _life_ a part of it? How
shall death change the base nature of the base soul? Why have not those
other animals that only faintly imitate the wanton, savage, human
cruelty and thirst for blood, the same right as man has, to expect a
resurrection and an Eternity of existence, or a Heaven of Love?”

_The world improves_. Man ceases to persecute,–when the persecuted
become too numerous and strong, longer to submit to it. That source of
pleasure closed, men exercise the ingenuities of their cruelty on the
animals and other living things below them. To deprive other creatures
of the life which God gave them, and this not only that we may eat their
flesh for food, but out of mere savage wantonness, is the agreeable
employment and amusement of man, who prides himself on being the Lord of
Creation, and a little lower than the Angels. If he can no longer use
the rack, the gibbet, the pincers, and the stake, he can hate, and
slander, and delight in the thought that he will, hereafter, luxuriously
enjoying the sensual beatitudes of Heaven, see with pleasure the
writhing agonies of those justly damned for daring to hold opinions
contrary to his own, upon subjects totally beyond the comprehension both
of them and him.

Where the armies of the despots cease to slay and ravage, the armies of
“Freedom” take their place, and, the black and white commingled,
slaughter and burn and ravish. Each age re-enacts the crimes as well as
the follies of its predecessors, and still war licenses outrage and
turns fruitful lands into deserts, and God is thanked in the Churches
for bloody butcheries, and the remorseless devastators, even when
swollen by plunder, are crowned with laurels and receive ovations.

Of the whole of mankind, not one in ten thousand has any aspirations
beyond the daily needs of the gross animal life. In this age and in all
others, all men except a few, in most countries, are born to be mere
beasts of burden, co-laborers with the horse and the ox. Profoundly
ignorant, even in “civilized” lands, they think and reason like the
animals by the side of which they toil. For them, God, Soul, Spirit,
Immortality, are mere words, without any real meaning. The God of
nineteen-twentieths of the Christian world is only Bel, Moloch, Zeus,
or at best Osiris, Mithras, or Adonaï, under another name, worshipped
with the old Pagan ceremonies and ritualistic formulas. It is the Statue
of Olympian Jove, worshipped as the Father, in the Christian Church that
was a Pagan Temple; it is the Statue of Venus, become the Virgin Mary.
For the most part, men do not in their hearts believe that God is either
just or merciful. They fear and shrink from His lightnings and dread His
wrath. For the most part, they only _think_ they believe that there is
another life, a judgment, and a punishment for sin. Yet they will none
the less persecute as Infidels and Atheists those who do not believe
what they themselves imagine they believe, and which yet they do _not_
believe, because it is incomprehensible to them in their ignorance and
want of intellect. To the vast majority of mankind, God is but the
reflected image, in infinite space, of the earthly Tyrant on his Throne,
only more powerful, more inscrutable, and more implacable. To curse
Humanity, the Despot need only _be_, what the popular mind has, in every
age, imagined God.

In the great cities, the lower strata of the populace are equally
without faith and without hope. The others have, for the most part, a
mere blind faith, imposed by education and circumstances, and not as
productive of moral excellence or even common honesty as Mohammedanism.
“_Your property will be safe here_,” said the Moslem; “_There are no
Christians here_.” The philosophical and scientific world becomes daily
more and more unbelieving. Faith and Reason are not opposites, in
equilibrium; but antagonistic and hostile to each other; the result
being the darkness and despair of scepticism, avowed, or half-veiled as

Over more than three-fourths of the habitable globe, humanity still
kneels, like the camels, to take upon itself the burthens to be tamely
borne for its tyrants. If a Republic occasionally rises like a Star, it
hastens with all speed to set in blood. The kings need not make war upon
it, to crush it out of their way. It is only necessary to let it alone,
and it soon lays violent hands upon itself. And when a people long
enslaved shake off its fetters, it may well be incredulously asked,

Shall the braggart shout
For some blind glimpse of Freedom, link itself,
Through madness, hated by the wise, to law,
System and Empire?

Everywhere in the world labor is, in some shape, the slave of capital;
generally, a slave to be fed only so long as he can work; or, rather,
only so long as his work is profitable to the owner of the human
chattel. There are famines in Ireland, strikes and starvation in
England, pauperism and tenement-dens in New York, misery, squalor,
ignorance, destitution, the brutality of vice and the insensibility to
shame, of despairing beggary, in all the human cesspools and sewers
everywhere. Here, a sewing-woman famishes and freezes; there, mothers
murder their children, that those spared may live upon the bread
purchased with the burial allowances of the dead starveling; and at the
next door young girls prostitute themselves for food.

Moreover, the Voice says, this besotted race is not satisfied with
seeing its multitudes swept away by the great epidemics whose causes are
unknown, and of the justice or wisdom of which the human mind cannot
conceive. It must also be ever at war. There has not been a moment since
men divided into Tribes, when all the world was at peace. Always men
have been engaged in murdering each other somewhere. Always the armies
have lived by the toil of the husbandman, and war has exhausted the
resources, wasted the energies, and ended the prosperity of Nations. Now
it loads unborn posterity with crushing debt, mortgages all estates, and
brings upon States the shame and infamy of dishonest repudiation.

At times, the baleful fires of war light up half a Continent at once; as
when all the Thrones unite to compel a people to receive again a hated
and detestable dynasty, or States deny States the right to dissolve an
irksome union and create for themselves a separate government. Then
again the flames flicker and die away, and the fire smoulders in its
ashes, to break out again, after a time, with renewed and a more
concentrated fury. At times, the storm, revolving, howls over small
areas only; at times its lights are seen, like the old beacon-fires on
the hills, belting the whole globe. No sea, but hears the roar of
cannon; no river, but runs red with blood; no plain, but shakes,
trampled by the hoofs of charging squadrons; no field, but is fertilized
by the blood of the dead; and everywhere man slays, the vulture gorges,
and the wolf howls in the ear of the dying soldier. No city is not
tortured by shot and shell; and no people fail to enact the horrid
blasphemy of thanking a God of Love for victories and carnage. Te Deums
are still sung for the Eve of St. Bartholomew and the Sicilian Vespers.
Man’s ingenuity is racked, and all his inventive powers are tasked, to
fabricate the infernal enginery of destruction, by which human bodies
may be the more expeditiously and effectually crushed, shattered, torn,
and mangled; and yet hypocritical[1] Humanity, drunk with blood and
drenched with gore, shrieks to Heaven at a single murder, perpetrated to
gratify a revenge not more unchristian, or to satisfy a cupidity not
more ignoble, than those which are the promptings of the Devil in the
souls of Nations.

When we have fondly dreamed of Utopia and the Millennium, when we have
begun almost to believe that man is _not_, after all, a tiger half
tamed, and that the smell of blood will not wake the savage within him,
we are of a sudden startled from the delusive dream, to find the thin
mask of civilization rent in twain and thrown contemptuously away. We
lie down to sleep, like the peasant on the lava-slopes of Vesuvius. The
mountain has been so long inert, that we believe its fires extinguished.
Round us hang the clustering grapes, and the green leaves of the olive
tremble in the soft night-air over us. Above us shine the peaceful,
patient stars. The crash of a new eruption wakes us, the roar of the
subterranean thunders, the stabs of the volcanic lightning into the
shrouded bosom of the sky; and we see, aghast, the tortured Titan
hurling up its fires among the pale stars, its great tree of smoke and
cloud, the red torrents pouring down its sides. The roar and the
shriekings of Civil War are all around us: the land is a pandemonium:
man is again a Savage. The great armies roll along their hideous waves,
and leave behind them smoking and depopulated deserts. The pillager is
in every house, plucking even the morsel of bread from the lips of the
starving child. Gray hairs are dabbled in blood, and innocent girlhood
shrieks in vain to Lust for mercy. Laws, Courts, Constitutions,
Christianity, Mercy, Pity, disappear. God seems to have abdicated, and
Moloch to reign in His stead; while Press and Pulpit alike exult at
universal murder, and urge the extermination of the Conquered, by the
sword and the flaming torch; and to plunder and murder entitles the
human beasts of prey to the thanks of Christian Senates.

Commercial greed deadens the nerves of sympathy of Nations, and makes
them deaf to the demands of honor, the impulses of generosity, the
appeals of those who suffer under injustice. Elsewhere, the universal
pursuit of wealth dethrones God and pays divine honors to Mammon and
Baalzebub. Selfishness rules supreme: to win wealth becomes the whole
business of life. The villanies of legalized gaming and speculation
become epidemic; treachery is but evidence of shrewdness; office becomes
the prey of successful faction; the Country, like Actæon, is torn by its
own hounds, and the villains it has carefully educated to their trade,
most greedily plunder it, when it is _in extremis_.

By what right, the Voice demands, does a creature always engaged in the
work of mutual robbery and slaughter, and who makes his own interest his
God, claim to be of a nature superior to the savage beasts of which he
is the prototype?

Then the shadows of a horrible doubt fall upon the soul that would fain
love, trust and believe; a darkness, of which this that surrounded you
was a symbol. It doubts the truth of Revelation, its own spirituality,
the very existence of a beneficent God. It asks itself if it is not idle
to hope for any great progress of Humanity toward perfection, and
whether, when it advances in one respect, it does not retrogress in some
other, by way of compensation: whether advance in civilization is not
increase of selfishness: whether freedom does not necessarily lead to
license and anarchy: whether the destitution and debasement of the
masses does not inevitably follow increase of population and commercial
and manufacturing prosperity. It asks itself whether man is not the
sport of a blind, merciless Fate: whether all philosophies are not
delusions, and all religions the fantastic creations of human vanity and
self-conceit; and, above all, whether, when Reason is abandoned as a
guide, the faith of Buddhist and Brahmin has not the same claims to
sovereignty and implicit, unreasoning credence, as any other.

He asks himself whether it is not, after all, the evident and palpable
injustices of this life, the success and prosperity of the Bad, the
calamities, oppressions, and miseries of the Good, that are the bases of
all beliefs in a future state of existence? Doubting man’s capacity for
indefinite progress here, he doubts the possibility of it anywhere; and
if he does not doubt whether God exists, and is just and beneficent, he
at least cannot silence the constantly recurring whisper, that the
miseries and calamities of men, their lives and deaths, their pains and
sorrows, their extermination by war and epidemics, are phenomena of no
higher dignity, significance, and importance, in the eye of God, than
what things of the same nature occur to other organisms of matter; and
that the fish of the ancient seas, destroyed by myriads to make room
for other species, the contorted shapes in which they are found as
fossils testifying to their agonies; the coral insects, the animals and
birds and vermin slain by man, have as much right as he to clamor at the
injustice of the dispensations of God, and to demand an immortality of
life in a new universe, as compensation for their pains and sufferings
and untimely death in this world.

This is not a picture painted by the imagination. Many a thoughtful mind
has so doubted and despaired. How many of us can say that our own faith
is so well grounded and complete that we never hear those painful
whisperings within the soul? Thrice blessed are they who never doubt,
who ruminate in patient contenment like the kine, or doze under the
opiate of a blind faith; on whose souls never rests that Awful Shadow
which is the absence of the Divine Light.

To explain to themselves the existence of Evil and Suffering, the
Ancient Persians imagined that there were two Principles or Deities in
the Universe, the one of Good and the other of Evil, constantly in
conflict with each other in struggle for the mastery, and alternately
overcoming and overcome. Over both, for the SAGES, was the One Supreme;
and for _them_ Light was in the end to prevail over Darkness, the Good
over the Evil, and even Ahriman and his Demons to part with their wicked
and vicious natures and share the universal Salvation. It did not occur
to them that the existence of the Evil Principle, by the consent of the
Omnipotent Supreme, presented the same difficulty, and left the
existence of Evil as unexplained as before. The human mind is always
content, if it can remove a difficulty a step further off. It cannot
believe that the world rests on nothing, but is devoutly content when
taught that it is borne on the back of an immense elephant, who himself
stands on the back of a tortoise. Given the tortoise, Faith is always
satisfied; and it has been a great source of happiness to multitudes
that they could believe in a Devil who could relieve God of the odium of
being the Author of Sin.

But not to all is Faith sufficient to overcome this great difficulty.
They say, with the Suppliant,_”Lord! I believe!”_–but like him they are
constrained to add,_”Help Thou my unbelief!”_–Reason must, for these,
co-operate and coincide with Faith, or they remain still in the darkness
of doubt,–most miserable of all conditions of the human mind.

Those, only, who care for nothing beyond the interests and pursuits of
this life, are uninterested in these great Problems. The animals, also,
do not consider them. It is the characteristic of an immortal Soul, that
it should seek to satisfy itself of its immortality, and to understand
this great enigma, the Universe, If the Hottentot and the Papuan are not
troubled and tortured by these doubts and speculations, they are not,
for that, to be regarded as either wise or fortunate. The swine, also,
are indifferent to the great riddles of the Universe, and are happy in
being wholly unaware that it is the vast Revelation and Manifestation,
in Time and Space, of a Single Thought of the Infinite God.

Exalt and magnify Faith as we will, and say that it begins where Reason
ends, it must, after all, have a foundation, either in Reason, Analogy,
the Consciousness, or human testimony. The worshipper of Brahma also has
implicit Faith in what seems to us palpably false and absurd. His faith
rests neither in Reason, Analogy, or the Consciousness, but on the
testimony of his Spiritual teachers, and of the Holy Books. The Moslem
also believes, on the positive testimony of the Prophet; and the Mormon
also can say, _”I believe this, because it is impossible.”_ No faith,
however absurd or degrading, has ever wanted these foundations,
testimony, and the books. Miracles, proven by unimpeachable testimony
have been used as a foundation for Faith, in every age; and the modern
miracles are better authenticated, a hundred times, than the ancient

So that, after all, Faith must flow out from some source within us, when
the evidence of that which we are to believe is not presented to our
senses, or it will in no case be the assurance of the truth of what is

The Consciousness, or inhering and innate conviction, or the instinct
divinely implanted, of the verity of things, is the highest Possible
evidence, if not the _only real_ proof, of the verity of certain things,
but only of truths of a limited class.

What we call the Reason, that is, our imperfect human reason, not only
may, but assuredly will, lead us away from the Truth in regard to things
invisible and especially those of the Infinite, if we determine to
believe nothing but that which _it_ can demonstrate, or _not_ to
believe that which it can by its processes of logic prove to be
contradictory, unreasonable, or absurd. Its tape-line cannot measure the
arcs of Infinity. For example, to the Human reason, an Infinite Justice
and an Infinite Mercy or Love, in the same Being, are inconsistent and
impossible. One, it can demonstrate necessarily excludes the other. So
it can _demonstrate_ that as the Creation had a beginning, it
necessarily follows that an Eternity had elapsed before the Deity began
to create, during which He was inactive.

When we gaze, of a moonless clear night, on the Heavens glittering with
stars, and know that each fixed star of all the myriads is a Sun, and
each probably possessing its retinue of worlds, all peopled with living
beings, we sensibly feel our own unimportance in the scale of Creation,
and at once reflect that much of what has in different ages been
religious faith, could never have been believed, if the nature, size,
and distance of those Suns, and of our own Sun, Moon, and Planets, had
been known to the Ancients as they are to us.

To them, all the lights of the firmament were created only to give light
to the earth, as its lamps or candles hung above it. The earth was
supposed to be the only inhabited portion of the Universe. The world and
the Universe were synonymous terms. Of the immense size and distance of
the heavenly bodies, men had no conception. The Sages had, in Chaldæea,
Egypt, India, China, and in Persia, and therefore the sages always had,
an esoteric creed, taught only in the mysteries and unknown to the
vulgar. No Sage, in either country, or in Greece or Rome, believed the
popular creed. To them the Gods and the Idols of the Gods were symbols,
and symbols of great and mysterious truths.

The Vulgar imagined the attention of the Gods to be continually centred
upon the earth and man. The Grecian Divinities inhabited Olympus, an
insignificant mountain of the Earth. There was the Court of Zeus, to
which Neptune came from the Sea, and Pluto and Persephoné from the
glooms of Tartarus in the unfathomable depths of the Earth’s bosom. God
came down from Heaven and on Sinai dictated laws for the Hebrews to His
servant Moses. The Stars were the guardians of mortals whose fates and
fortunes were to be read in their movements, conjunctions, and
oppositions. The Moon was the Bride and Sister of the Sun, at the same
distance above the Earth, and, like the Sun, made for the service of
mankind alone.

If, with the great telescope of Lord Rosse, we examine the vast nebulæ
of Hercules, Orion, and Andromeda, and find them resolvable into Stars
more numerous than the sands on the seashore; if we reflect that each of
these Stars is a Sun, like and even many times larger than ours,–each,
beyond a doubt, with its retinue of worlds swarming with life;–if we go
further in imagination, and endeavor to conceive of all the infinities
of space, filled with similar suns and worlds, we seem at once to shrink
into an incredible insignificance.

The Universe, which is the uttered Word of God, is _infinite_ in extent.
There is no empty space beyond creation on any side. The Universe, which
is the Thought of God pronounced, never was _not_, since God never was
inert; nor WAS, without thinking and creating. The forms of creation
change, the suns and worlds live and die like the leaves and the
insects, but the Universe itself is infinite and eternal, because God
Is, Was, and Will forever Be, and never did _not_ think and create.

Reason is fain to admit that a Supreme Intelligence, infinitely powerful
and wise, must have created this boundless Universe; but it also tells
us that we are as unimportant in it as the zoöphytes and entozoa, or as
the invisible particles of animated life that float upon the air or
swarm in the water-drop.

The foundations of our faith, resting upon the imagined interest of God
in our race, an interest easily supposable when man believed himself the
only intelligent created being, and therefore eminently worthy the
especial care and watchful anxiety of a God who had only this earth to
look after, and its house-keeping alone to superintend, and who was
content to create, in all the infinite Universe, only one single being,
possessing a soul, and not a mere animal, are rudely shaken as the
Universe broadens and expands for us; and the darkness of doubt and
distrust settles heavy upon the Soul.

The modes in which it is ordinarily endeavored to satisfy our doubts,
only increase them. To _demonstrate_ the necessity for a cause of the
creation, is equally to demonstrate the necessity of a cause for that
cause. The argument from plan and design only removes the difficulty a
step further off. We rest the world on the elephant, and the elephant on
the tortoise, and the tortoise on–nothing.

To tell us that the animals possess instinct only and that Reason
belongs to us alone, in no way tends to satisfy us of the radical
difference between us and them. For if the mental phenomena exhibited
by animals that think, dream, remember, argue from cause to effect,
plan, devise, combine, and communicate their thoughts to each other, so
as to act rationally in concert,–if their love, hate, and revenge, can
be conceived of as results of the organization of matter, like color and
perfume, the resort to the hypothesis of an immaterial Soul to explain
phenomena of the same kind, only more perfect, manifested by the _human_
being, is supremely absurd. That organized matter can think or even
_feel_ at all, is the great insoluble mystery. “Instinct” is but a word
without a meaning, or else it means inspiration. It is either the animal
itself, or God _in_ the animal, that thinks, remembers, and reasons; and
instinct, according to the common acceptation of the term, would be the
greatest and most wonderful of mysteries,–no less a thing than the
direct, immediate, and continual promptings of the Deity,–for the
animals are not machines, or automata moved by springs, and the ape is
but a dumb Australian.

Must we _always_ remain in this darkness of uncertainty, of doubt? Is
there _no_ mode of escaping from the labyrinth except by means of a
blind faith, which explains nothing, and in many creeds, ancient and
modern, sets Reason at defiance, and leads to the belief either in a God
without a Universe, a Universe without a God, or a Universe which is
itself a God?

We read in the Hebrew Chronicles that Schlomoh the wise King caused to
be placed in front of the entrance to the Temple two huge columns of
bronze, one of which was called YAKAYIN and the other BAHAZ; and these
words are rendered in our version _Strength_ and _Establishment_. The
Masonry of the Blue Lodges gives no explanation of these symbolic
columns; nor do the Hebrew Books advise us that they were symbolic. If
not so intended as symbols, they were subsequently understood to be

But as we are certain that everything _within_ the Temple was symbolic,
and that the whole structure was intended to represent the Universe, we
may reasonably conclude that the columns of the portico also had a
symbolic signification. It would be tedious to repeat all the
interpretations which fancy or dullness has found for them.

The key to their true meaning is not undiscoverable. The perfect and
eternal distinction of the two primitive terms of the creative
syllogism, in order to attain to the demonstration of their harmony by
the analogy of contraries, is the second grand principle of that occult
philosophy veiled under the name “_Kabalah_,” and indicated by all the
sacred hieroglyphs of the Ancient Sanctuaries, and of the rites, so
little understood by the mass of the Initiates, of the Ancient and
Modern Free-Masonry.

The Sohar declares that everything in the Universe proceeds by the
mystery of “the Balance,” that is, of Equilibrium. Of the Sephiroth, or
Divine Emanations, Wisdom and Understanding, Severity and Benignity, or
Justice and Mercy, and Victory and Glory, constitute pairs.

Wisdom, or the Intellectual Generative _Energy_, and Understanding, or
the _Capacity_ to be impregnated by the Active Energy and produce
intellection or thought, are represented symbolically in the Kabalah as
male and female. So also are Justice and Mercy. Strength is the
intellectual Energy or Activity; Establishment or Stability is the
intellectual Capacity to produce, a passivity. They are the POWER of
_generation_ and the CAPACITY of _production_. By WISDOM, it is said,
God creates, and by UNDERSTANDING establishes. These are the two Columns
of the Temple, contraries like the Man and Woman, like Reason and Faith,
Omnipotence and Liberty, Infinite Justice and Infinite. Mercy, Absolute
Power or Strength to do even what is most unjust and unwise, and
Absolute Wisdom that makes it impossible to do it; Right and Duty. They
were the columns of the intellectual and moral world, the monumental
hieroglyph of the antinomy necessary to the grand law of creation.

There must be for every Force a Resistance to support it, to every light
a shadow, for every Royalty a Realm to govern, for every affirmative a

For the Kabalists, Light represents the Active Principle, and Darkness
or Shadow is analogous to the Passive Principle. Therefore it was that
they made of the Sun and Moon emblems of the two Divine Sexes and the
two creative forces; therefore, that they ascribed to woman the
Temptation and the first sin, and then the first labor, the maternal
labor of the redemption, because it is from the bosom of the darkness
itself that we see the Light born again. The Void attracts the Full; and
so it is that the abyss of poverty and misery, the Seeming Evil, the
seeming empty nothingness of life, the temporary rebellion of the
creatures, eternally attracts the overflowing ocean of being, of riches,
of pity, and of love. Christ completed the Atonement on the Cross by
descending into Hell.

Justice and Mercy are contraries. If each be infinite, their
co-existence seems impossible, and being equal, one cannot even
annihilate the other and reign alone. The mysteries of the Divine Nature
are beyond our finite comprehension; but so indeed are the mysteries of
our own finite nature; and it is certain that in all nature harmony and
movement are the result of the equilibrium of opposing or contrary

The analogy of contraries gives the solution of the most interesting and
most difficult problem of modern philosophy,–the definite and permanent
accord of Reason and Faith, of Authority and Liberty of examination, of
Science and Belief, of Perfection in God and Imperfection in Man. If
science or knowledge is the Sun, Belief is the Man; it is a reflection
of the day in the night. Faith is the veiled Isis, the Supplement of
Reason, in the shadows which precede or follow Reason. It emanates from
the Reason, but can never confound it nor be confounded with it. The
encroachments of Reason upon Faith, or of Faith on Reason, are eclipses
of the Sun or Moon; when they occur, they make useless both the Source
of Light and its reflection, at once.

Science perishes by systems that are nothing but beliefs; and Faith
succumbs to reasoning. For the two Columns of the Temple to uphold the
edifice, they must remain separated and be parallel to each other. As
soon as it is attempted by violence to bring them together, as Samson
did, they are overturned, and the whole edifice falls upon the head of
the rash blind man or the revolutionist whose personal or national
resentments have in advance devoted to death.

Harmony is the result of an alternating preponderance of forces.
Whenever this is wanting in government, government is a failure, because
it is either Despotism or Anarchy. All theoretical governments, however
plausible the theory, end in one or the other. Governments that are to
endure are not made in the closet of Locke or Shaftesbury, or in a
Congress or a Convention. In a Republic, forces that seem contraries,
that indeed are contraries, alone give movement and life. The Spheres
are held in their orbits and made to revolve harmoniously and
unerringly, by the concurrence, which seems to be the opposition, of two
contrary forces. If the centripetal force should overcome the
centrifugal and the equilibrium of forces cease, the rush of the
Spheres to the Central Sun would annihilate the system. Instead of
consolidation the whole would be shattered into fragments.

Man is a free agent, though Omnipotence is above and all around him. To
be free to do good, he must be free to do evil. The Light necessitates
the Shadow. A State is free like an individual in any government worthy
of the name. The State is less potent than the Deity, and therefore the
freedom of the individual citizen is consistent with its Sovereignty.
These are opposites, but not antagonistic. So, in a union of States, the
freedom of the States is consistent with the Supremacy of the Nation.
When either obtains the permanent mastery over the other, and they cease
to be _in equilibrio_, the encroachment continues with a velocity that
is accelerated like that of a falling body, until the feebler is
annihilated, and then, there being no resistance to support the
stronger, it rushes into ruin.

So, when the equipoise of Reason and Faith, in the individual or the
Nation, and the alternating preponderance cease, the result is,
according as one or the other is permanent victor, Atheism or
Superstition, disbelief or blind credulity; and the Priests either of
Unfaith or of Faith become despotic.

“_Whomsoever God loveth, him he chasteneth_,” is an expression that
formulates a whole dogma. The trials of life are the blessings of life,
to the individual or the Nation, if either has a Soul that is truly
worthy of salvation. “_Light and darkness_,” said ZOROASTER, “_are the
world’s eternal ways_.” The Light and the Shadow are everywhere and
always in proportion; the Light being the reason of being of the Shadow.
It is by trials only, by the agonies of sorrow and the sharp discipline
of adversities, that men and Nations attain initiation. The agonies of
the garden of Gethsemane and those of the Cross on Calvary preceded the
Resurrection and were the means of Redemption. It is with prosperity
that God afflicts Humanity.

The Degree of Rose is devoted to and symbolizes the final triumph of
truth over falsehood, of liberty over slavery, of light over darkness,
of life over death, and of good over evil. The great truth it inculcates
is, that notwithstanding the existence of Evil, God is infinitely wise,
just, and good: that though the affairs of the world proceed by no rule
of right and wrong known to us the narrowness of our views, yet all _is_
right, for it is the work of God; and all evils, all miseries, all
misfortunes, are but as drops in the vast current that is sweeping
onward, guided by Him, to a great and magnificent result: that, at the
appointed time, He will redeem and regenerate the world, and the
Principle, the Power and the existence of Evil will then cease; that
this will be brought about by such means and instruments as He chooses
to employ; whether by the merits of a Redeemer that has already appeared
or a Messiah that is yet waited for, by an incarnation of Himself or by
an inspired prophet, it does not belong to us as Masons to decide. Let
each judge and believe for himself.

In the mean time, we labor to hasten the coming of that day. The morals
of antiquity, of the law of Moses and of Christianity, are ours. We
recognize every teacher of Morality, every Reformer, as a brother in
this great work. The Eagle is to us the symbol of Liberty, the Compasses
of Equality, the Pelican of Humanity, and our order of Fraternity.
Laboring for these, with Faith, Hope, and Charity as our armor, we will
wait with patience for the final triumph of Good and the complete
manifestation of the Word of God.

No one Mason has the right to measure for another, within the walls of a
Masonic Temple, the degree of veneration which he shall feel for any
Reformer, or the Founder of any Religion. We teach a belief in no
particular creed, as we teach unbelief in none. Whatever higher
attributes the Founder of the Christian Faith may, in our belief, have
had or not have had, none can deny that He taught and practised a pure
and elevated morality, even at the risk and to the ultimate loss of His
life. He was not only the benefactor of a disinherited people, but a
model for mankind. Devotedly He loved the children of Israel. To them He
came, and to them alone He preached that Gospel which His disciples
afterward carried among foreigners. He would fain have freed the chosen
People from their spiritual bondage of ignorance and degradation. As a
lover of all mankind, laying down His life for the emancipation of His
Brethren, He should be to all, to Christian, to Jew, and to Mahometan,
an object of gratitude and veneration.

The Roman world felt the pangs of approaching dissolution. Paganism, its
Temples shattered by Socrates and Cicero, had spoken its last word. The
God of the Hebrews was unknown beyond the limits of Palestine. The old
religions had failed to give happiness and peace to the world. The
babbling and wrangling philosophers had confounded all men’s ideas,
until they doubted of everything and had faith in nothing: neither in
God nor in his goodness and mercy, nor in the virtue of man, nor in
themselves. Mankind was divided into two great classes,–the master and
the slave; the powerful and the abject, the high and the low, the
tyrants and the mob; and even the former were satiated with the
servility of the latter, sunken by lassitude and despair to the lowest
depths of degradation.

When, lo, a voice, in the inconsiderable Roman Province of Judea
proclaims a new Gospel–a new “God’s Word,” to crushed, suffering,
bleeding humanity. Liberty of Thought, Equality of all men in the eye of
God, universal Fraternity! a new doctrine, a new religion; the old
Primitive Truth uttered once again!

Man is once more taught to look upward to his God. No longer to a God
hid in impenetrable mystery, and infinitely remote from human sympathy,
emerging only at intervals from the darkness to smite and crush
humanity: but a God, good, kind, beneficent, and merciful: a Father,
loving the creatures He has made, with a love immeasureable and
exhaustless; Who feels for us, and sympathizes with us, and sends us
pain and want and disaster only that they may serve to develop in us the
virtues and excellences that befit us to live with Him hereafter.

Jesus of Nazareth, the “Son of man,” is the expounder of the new Law of
Love. He calls to Him the humble, the poor, the Pariahs of the world.
The first sentence that He pronounces blesses the world, and announces
the new gospel: “Blessed are they that mourn for they shall be
comforted.” He pours the oil of consolation and peace upon every crushed
and bleeding heart. Every sufferer is His proselyte. He shares their
sorrows, and sympathizes with all their afflictions.

He raises up the sinner and the Samaritan woman, and teaches them to
hope for forgiveness. He pardons the woman taken in adultery. He selects
his disciples not among the Pharisees or the Philosophers, but among the
low and humble, even of the fishermen of Galilee. He heals the sick and
feeds the poor. He lives among the destitute and the friendless. “Suffer
little children,” He said, “to come unto me; for of such is the kingdom
of Heaven! Blessed are the humble-minded, for theirs is the kingdom of
Heaven; the meek, for they shall inherit the Earth; the merciful, for
they shall obtain mercy; the pure in heart, for they shall see God; the
peace-makers, for they shall be called the children of God! First be
reconciled to they brother, and _then_ come and offer thy gift at the
altar. Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of
thee turn not away! Love your enemies; bless them that curse you; do
good to them that hate you; and pray for them which despitefully use you
and persecute you! All things whatsoever ye would that men should do to
you, do ye also unto them; for this is the law and the Prophets! He that
taketh not his cross, and followeth after Me, is not worthy of Me. A new
commandment I give unto you, that ye love one another: as I have loved
you, that ye also love one another: by this shall all know that ye are
My disciples. Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down
his life for his friend.”

The Gospel of Love He sealed with His life. The cruelty of the Jewish
Priesthood, the ignorant ferocity of the mob, and the Roman indifference
to barbarian blood, nailed Him to the cross, and He expired uttering
blessings upon humanity.

Dying thus, He bequeathed His teachings to man as an inestimable
inheritance. Perverted and corrupted, they have served as a basis for
many creeds, and been even made the warrant for intolerance and
persecution. We here teach them in their purity. They are our Masonry;
for to them good men of all creeds can subscribe.

That God is good and merciful, and loves and sympathizes with the
creatures He has made; that His finger is visible in all the movements
of the moral, intellectual, and material universe; that we are His
children, the objects of His paternal care and regard; that all men are
our brothers, whose wants we are to supply, their errors to pardon,
their opinions to tolerate, their injuries to forgive; that man has an
immortal soul, a free will, a right to freedom of thought and action;
that all men are equal in God’s sight; that we best serve God by
humility, meekness, gentleness, kindness, and the other virtues which
the lowly can practise as well as the lofty; this is “the new Law,” the
“WORD,” for which the world had waited and pined so long; and every true
Knight of the Rose will revere the memory of Him who taught it, and
look indulgently even on those who assign to Him a character far above
his own conceptions or belief, even to the extent of deeming Him Divine.

Hear Philo, the Greek Jew. “The contemplative soul, unequally guided,
sometimes toward abundance and sometimes toward barrenness, though ever
advancing, is illuminated by the primitive ideas, the rays that emanate
from the Divine Intelligence, whenever it ascends toward the Sublime
Treasures. When, on the contrary, it descends, and is barren, it falls
within the domain of those Intelligences that are termed Angels … for,
when the soul is deprived of the light of God, which leads it to the
knowledge of things, it no longer enjoys more than a feeble and
secondary light, which gives it, not the understanding of things, but
that of words only, as in this baser world….”

“… Let the narrow-souled withdraw, having their ears sealed up! We
communicate the divine mysteries to those only who have received the
sacred initiation, to those who practise true piety, and who are not
enslaved by the empty pomp of words, or the doctrines of the pagans….”

“… O, ye Initiates, ye whose ears are purified, receive this in your
souls, as a mystery never to be lost! Reveal it to no Profane! Keep and
contain it within yourselves, as an incorruptible treasure, not like
gold or silver, but more precious than everything besides; for it is the
knowledge of the Great Cause, of Nature, and of that which is born of
both. And if you meet an Initiate, besiege him with your prayers, that
he conceal from you no new mysteries that he may know, and rest not
until you have obtained them! For me, although I was initiated in the
Great Mysteries by Moses, the Friend of God, yet, having seen Jeremiah,
I recognized him not only as an Initiate, but as a Hierophant; and I
follow his school.”

We, like him, recognize all Initiates as our Brothers. We belong to no
one creed or school. In all religions there is a basis of Truth; in all
there is pure Morality. All that teach the cardinal tenets of Masonry we
respect; all teachers and reformers of mankind we admire and revere.

Masonry also has her mission to perform. With her traditions reaching
back to the earliest times, and her symbols dating further back than
even the monumental history of Egypt extends, she invites all men of all
religions to enlist under her banners and to war against evil,
ignorance, and wrong. You are now her knight, and to her service your
sword is consecrated. May you prove a worthy soldier in a worthy





The true Mason labors for the benefit of those who are to come after
him, and for the advancement and improvement of his race. That is a poor
ambition which contents itself within the limits of a single life. All
men who deserve to live, desire to survive their funerals, and to live
afterward in the good that they have done mankind, rather than in the
fading characters written in men’s memories. Most men desire to leave
some work behind them that may outlast their own day and brief
generation. That is an instinctive impulse, given by God, and often
found in the rudest human heart; the surest proof of the soul’s
immortality, and of the fundamental difference between man and the
wisest brutes. To plant the trees that, after we are dead, shall shelter
our children, is as natural as to love the shade of those our fathers
planted. The rudest unlettered husbandman, painfully conscious of his
own inferiority, the poorest widowed mother, giving her life-blood to
those who pay only for the work of her needle, will toil and stint
themselves to educate their child, that he may take a higher station in
the world than they;–and of such are the world’s greatest benefactors.

In his influences that survive him, man becomes immortal, before the
general resurrection. The Spartan mother, who, giving her son his
shield, said, “WITH IT, OR UPON IT!” afterward shared the government of
Lacedæmon with the legislation of Lycurgus; for she too made a law, that
lived after her; and she inspired the Spartan soldiery that afterward
demolished the walls of Athens, and aided Alexander to conquer the
Orient. The widow who gave Marion the fiery arrows to burn her own
house, that it might no longer shelter the enemies of her infant
country, the house where she had lain upon her husband’s bosom, and
where her children had been born, legislated more effectually for her
State than Locke or Shaftesbury, or than many a Legislature has done,
since that State won its freedom.

It was of slight importance to the Kings of Egypt and the Monarchs of
Assyria and Phœnicia, that the son of a Jewish woman, a foundling,
adopted by the daughter of Sesostris Ramses, slew an Egyptian that
oppressed a Hebrew slave, and fled into the desert, to remain there
forty years. But Moses, who might otherwise have become Regent of Lower
Egypt, known to us only by a tablet on a tomb or monument, became the
deliverer of the Jews, and led them forth from Egypt to the frontiers of
Palestine, and made for them a law, out of which grew the Christian
faith; and so has shaped the destinies of the world. He and the old
Roman lawyers, with Alfred of England, the Saxon Thanes and Norman
Barons, the old judges and chancellors, and the makers of the canons,
lost in the mists and shadows of the Past,–these are our legislators;
and we obey the laws that they enacted.

Napoleon died upon the barren rock of his exile. His bones, borne to
France by the son of a King, rest in the Hôpital des Invalides, in the
great city on the Seine. His Thoughts still govern France. He, and not
the People, dethroned the Bourbon, and drove the last King of the House
of Orleans into exile. He, in his coffin, and not the People, voted the
crown to the Third Napoleon; and he, and not the Generals of France and
England, led their united forces against the grim Northern Despotism.

Mahomet announced to the Arabian idolaters the new creed, “_There is but
one God, and Mahomet, like Moses and Christ, is His Apostle_.” For many
years unaided, then with the help of his family and a few friends, then
with many disciples, and last of all with an army, he taught and
preached the Koran. The religion of the wild Arabian enthusiast
converting the fiery Tribes of the Great Desert, spread over Asia, built
up the Saracenic dynasties, conquered Persia and India, the Greek
Empire, Northern Africa, and Spain, and dashed the surges of its fierce
soldiery against the battlements of Northern Christendom. The law of
Mahomet still governs a fourth of the human race; and Turk and Arab,
Moor and Persian and Hindu, still obey the Prophet, and pray with their
faces turned toward Mecca; and he, and not the living, rules and reigns
in the fairest portions of the Orient.

Confucius still enacts the law for China; and the thoughts and ideas of
Peter the Great govern Russia. Plato and the other great Sages of
Antiquity still reign as the Kings of Philosophy, and have dominion over
the human intellect. The great Statesmen of the Past still preside in
the Councils of Nations. Burke still lingers in the House of Commons;
and Berryer’s sonorous tones will long ring in the Legislative Chambers
of France. The influences of Webster and Calhoun, conflicting, rent
asunder the American States, and the doctrine of each is the law and the
oracle speaking from the Holy of Holies for his own State and all
consociated with it: a faith preached and proclaimed by each at the
cannon’s mouth and consecrated by rivers of blood.

It has been well said, that when Tamerlane had builded his pyramid of
fifty thousand human skulls, and wheeled away with his vast armies from
the gates of Damascus, to find new conquests, and build other pyramids,
a little boy was playing in the streets of Mentz, son of a poor artisan,
whose apparent importance in the scale of beings was, compared with that
of Tamerlane, as that of a grain of sand to the giant bulk of the earth;
but Tamerlane and all his shaggy legions, that swept over the East like
a hurricane, have passed away, and become shadows; while printing, the
wonderful invention of John Faust, the boy of Mentz, has exerted a
greater influence on man’s destinies and overturned more thrones and
dynasties than all the victories of all the blood-stained conquerors
from Nimrod to Napoleon.

Long ages ago, the Temple built by Solomon and our Ancient Brethren sank
into ruin, when the Assyrian Armies sacked Jerusalem. The Holy City is a
mass of hovels cowering under the dominion of the Crescent; and the Holy
Land is a desert. The Kings of Egypt and Assyria, who were
contemporaries of Solomon, are forgotten, and their histories mere
fables. The Ancient Orient is a shattered wreck, bleaching on the shores
of Time. The Wolf and the Jackal howl among the ruins of Thebes and of
Tyre, and the sculptured images of the Temples and Palaces of Babylon
and Nineveh are dug from their ruins and carried into strange lands. But
the quiet and peaceful Order, of which the Son of a poor Phœnician Widow
was one of the Grand Masters, with the Kings of Israel and Tyre, has
continued to increase in stature and influence, defying the angry waves
of time and the storms of persecution. Age has not weakened its wide
foundations nor shattered its columns, nor marred the beauty of its
harmonious proportions. Where rude barbarians, in the time of Solomon,
peopled inhospitable howling wildernesses, in France and Britain, and in
that New World, not known to Jew or Gentile, until the glories of the
Orient had faded, that Order has builded new Temples, and teaches to
its millions of Initiates those lessons of peace, good-will, and
toleration, of reliance on God and confidence in man, which it learned
when Hebrew and Giblemite worked side by side on the slopes of Lebanon,
and the Servant of Jehovah and the Phœnician Worshipper of Bel sat with
the humble artisan in Council at Jerusalem.

It is the Dead that govern. The Living only obey. And if the Soul sees,
after death, what passes on this earth, and watches over the welfare of
those it loves, then must its greatest happiness consist in seeing the
current of its beneficent influences widening out from age to age, as
rivulets widen into rivers, and aiding to shape the destinies of
individuals, families, States, the World; and its bitterest punishment,
in seeing its evil influences causing mischief and misery, and cursing
and afflicting men, long after the frame it dwelt in has become dust,
and when both name and memory are forgotten.

We know not who among the Dead control our destinies. The universal
human race is linked and bound together by those influences and
sympathies, which in the truest sense do make men’s fates. Humanity is
the unit, of which the man is but a fraction. What other men in the Past
have done, said, thought, makes the great iron network of circumstance
that environs and controls us all. We take our faith on trust. We think
and believe as the Old Lords of Thought command us; and Reason is
powerless before Authority.

We would make or annul a particular contract; but the Thoughts of the
dead Judges of England, living when their ashes have been cold for
centuries, stand between us and that which we would do, and utterly
forbid it. We would settle our estate in a particular way; but the
prohibition of the English Parliament, its uttered Thought when the
first or second Edward reigned, comes echoing down the long avenues of
time, and tells us we shall not exercise the power of disposition as we
wish. We would gain a particular advantage of another; and the thought
of the old Roman lawyer who died before Justinian, or that of Rome’s
great orator Cicero, annihilates the act, or makes the intention
ineffectual. This act, Moses forbids; that, Alfred. We would sell our
land; but certain marks on a perishable paper tell us that our father or
remote ancestor ordered otherwise; and the arm of the dead, emerging
from the grave, with peremptory gesture prohibits the alienation. About
to sin or err, the thought or wish of our dead mother, told us when we
were children, by words that died upon the air in the utterance, and
many a long year were forgotten, flashes on our memory, and holds us
back with a power that is resistless.

Thus we obey the dead; and thus shall the living, when we are dead, for
weal or woe, obey _us_. The Thoughts of the Past are the Laws of the
Present and the Future. That which we say and do if its effects last not
beyond our lives, is unimportant. That which shall live when we are
dead, as part of the great body of law enacted by the dead, is the only
act worth doing, the only Thought worth speaking. The desire to do
something that shall benefit the world, when neither praise nor obloquy
will reach us where we sleep soundly in the grave, is the noblest
ambition entertained by man.

It is the ambition of a true and genuine Mason. Knowing the slow
processes by which the Deity brings about great results, he does not
expect to reap as well as sow, in a single lifetime. It is the
inflexible fate and noblest destiny, with rare exceptions, of the great
and good, to work, and let others reap the harvest of their labors. He
who does good, only to be repaid in kind, or in thanks and gratitude, or
in reputation and the world’s praise, is like him who loans his money,
that he may, after certain months, receive it back with interest. To be
repaid for eminent services with slander, obloquy, or ridicule, or at
best with stupid indifference or cold ingratitude, as it is common, so
it is no misfortune, except to those who lack the wit to see or sense to
appreciate the service, or the nobility of soul to thank and reward with
eulogy, the benefactor of his kind. His influences live, and the great
Future will obey; whether it recognize or disown the lawgiver.

Miltiades was fortunate that he was exiled; and Aristides that he was
ostracized, because men wearied of hearing him called “The Just.” Not
the Redeemer was unfortunate; but those only who repaid Him for the
inestimable gift He offered them, and for a life passed in toiling for
their good, by nailing Him upon the cross, as though He had been a slave
or malefactor. The persecutor dies and rots, and Posterity utters his
name with execration, but his victim’s memory he has unintentionally
made glorious and immortal.

If not for slander and persecution, the Mason who would benefit his
race must look for apathy and cold indifference in those whose good he
seeks, in those who ought to seek the good of others. Except when the
sluggish depths of the Human Mind are broken up and tossed as with a
storm, when at the appointed time a great Reformer comes, and a new
Faith springs up and grows with supernatural energy, the progress of
Truth is slower than the growth of oaks; and he who plants need not
expect to gather. The Redeemer, at His death, had twelve disciples, and
one betrayed and one deserted and denied Him. It is enough for us to
know that the fruit will come in its due season. When, or who shall
gather it, it does not in the least concern us to know. It is our
business to plant the seed. It is God’s right to give the fruit to whom
He pleases; and if not to us, then is our action by so much the more

To sow, that others may reap; to work and plant for those who are to
occupy the earth when we are dead; to project our influences far into
the future, and live beyond our time; to rule as the Kings of Thought,
over men who are yet unborn; to bless with the glorious gifts of Truth
and Light and Liberty those who will neither know the name of the giver,
nor care in what grave his unregarded ashes repose, is the true office
of a Mason and the proudest destiny of a man.

All the great and beneficent operations of Nature are produced by slow
and often imperceptible degrees. The work of destruction and devastation
only is violent and rapid. The Volcano and the Earthquake, the Tornado
and the Avalanche, leap suddenly into full life and fearful energy, and
smite with an unexpected blow. Vesuvius buried Pompeii and Herculaneum
in a night; and Lisbon fell prostrate before God in a breath, when the
earth rocked and shuddered; the Alpine village vanishes and is erased at
one bound of the avalanche; and the ancient forests fall like grass
before the mower, when the tornado leaps upon them. Pestilence slays its
thousands in a day; and the storm in a night strews the sand with
shattered navies.

The Gourd of the Prophet Jonah grew up, and was withered, in a night.
But many years ago, before the Norman Conqueror stamped his mailed foot
on the neck of prostrate Saxon England, some wandering barbarian, of the
continent then unknown to the world, in mere idleness, with hand or
foot, covered an acorn with a little earth, and passed on regardless, on
his journey to the dim Past. He died and was forgotten; but the acorn
lay there still, the mighty force within it acting in the darkness. A
tender shoot stole gently up; and fed by the light and air and frequent
dews put forth its little leaves, and lived, because the elk or buffalo
chanced not to place his foot upon and crush it. The years marched
onward, and the shoot became a sapling, and its green leaves went and
came with Spring and Autumn. And still the years came and passed away
again, and William, the Norman Bastard, parcelled England out among his
Barons, and still the sapling grew, and the dews fed its leaves, and the
birds builded their nests among its small limbs for many generations.
And still the years came and went, and the Indian hunter slept in the
shade of the sapling, and Richard Lion-Heart fought at Acre and Ascalon,
and John’s bold Barons wrested from him the Great Charter; and lo! the
sapling had become a tree; and still it grew, and thrust its great arms
wider abroad, and lifted its head still higher toward the Heavens;
strong-rooted, and defiant of the storms that roared and eddied through
its branches; and when Columbus ploughed with his keels the unknown
Western Atlantic, and Cortez and Pizarro bathed the cross in blood; and
the Puritan, the Huguenot, the Cavalier, and the follower of Penn sought
a refuge and a resting-place beyond the ocean, the Great Oak still
stood, firm-rooted, vigorous, stately, haughtily domineering over all
the forest, heedless of all the centuries that had hurried past since
the wild Indian planted the little acorn in the forest;–a stout and
hale old tree, with wide circumference shading many a rood of ground;
and fit to furnish timbers for a ship, to carry the thunders of the
Great Republic’s guns around the world. And yet, if one had sat and
watched it every instant, from the moment when the feeble shoot first
pushed its way to the light until the eagles built among its branches,
he would never have seen the tree or sapling _grow_.

Many long centuries ago, before the Chaldæan Shepherds watched the
Stars, or Shufu built the Pyramids, one could have sailed in a
seventy-four where now a thousand islands gem the surface of the Indian
Ocean; and the deep-sea lead would nowhere have found any bottom. But
below these waves were myriads upon myriads, beyond the power of
Arithmetic to number, of minute existences, each a perfect living
creature, made by the Almighty Creator, and fashioned by Him for the
work it had to do. There they toiled beneath the waters, each doing its
allotted work, and wholly ignorant of the result which God intended.
They lived and died, incalculable in numbers and almost infinite in the
succession of their generations, each adding his mite to the gigantic
work that went on there under God’s direction. Thus hath He chosen to
create great Continents and Islands; and still the coral-insects live
and work, as when they made the rocks that underlie the valley of the

Thus God hath chosen to create. Where now is firm land, once chafed and
thundered the great primeval ocean. For ages upon ages the minute
shields of infinite myriads of infusoria, and the stony stems of
encrinites sunk into its depths, and there, under the vast pressure of
its waters, hardened into limestone. Raised slowly from the Profound by
His hand, its quarries underlie the soil of all the continents, hundreds
of feet in thickness; and we, of these remains of the countless dead,
build tombs and palaces, as the Egyptians, whom we call ancient, built
their pyramids.

On all the broad lakes and oceans the Great Sun looks earnestly and
lovingly, and the invisible vapors rise ever up to meet him. No eye but
God’s beholds them as they rise. There, in the upper atmosphere, they
are condensed to mist, and gather into clouds, and float and swim around
in the ambient air. They sail with its currents, and hover over the
ocean, and roll in huge masses round the stony shoulders of great
mountains. Condensed still more by change of temperature, they drop upon
the thirsty earth in gentle showers, or pour upon it in heavy rains, or
storm against its bosom at the angry Equinoctial. The shower, the rain,
and the storm pass away, the clouds vanish, and the bright stars again
shine clearly upon the glad earth. The rain-drops sink into the ground,
and gather in subterranean reservoirs, and run in subterranean channels,
and bubble up in springs and fountains; and from the mountain-sides and
heads of valleys the silver threads of water begin their long journey to
the ocean. Uniting, they widen into brooks and rivulets, then into
streams and rivers; and, at last, a Nile, a Ganges, a Danube, an Amazon,
or a Mississippi rolls between its banks, mighty, majestic, and
resistless, creating vast alluvial valleys to be the granaries of the
world, ploughed by the thousand keels of commerce and serving as great
highways, and as the impassable boundaries of rival nations; ever
returning to the ocean the drops that rose from it in vapor, and
descended in rain and snow and hail upon the level plains and lofty
mountains; and causing him to recoil for many a mile before the
headlong rush of their great tide.

So it is with the aggregate of Human endeavor. As the invisible
particles of vapor combine and coalesce to form the mists and clouds
that fall in rain on thirsty continents, and bless the great green
forests and wide grassy prairies, the waving meadows and the fields by
which men live; as the infinite myriads of drops that the glad earth
drinks are gathered into springs and rivulets and rivers, to aid in
levelling the mountains and elevating the plains and to feed the large
lakes and restless oceans; so all Human Thought, and Speech and Action,
all that is done and said and thought and suffered upon the Earth
combine together, and flow onward in one broad resistless current toward
those great results to which they are determined by the will of God.

We build slowly and destroy swiftly. Our Ancient Brethren who built the
Temples at Jerusalem, with many myriad blows felled, hewed, and squared
the cedars, and quarried the stones, and carved the intricate ornaments,
which were to be the Temples. Stone after stone, by the combined effort
and long toil of Apprentice, Fellow-Craft, and Master, the walls arose;
slowly the roof was framed and fashioned; and many years elapsed before,
at length, the Houses stood finished, all fit and ready for the Worship
of God, gorgeous in the sunny splendors of the atmosphere of Palestine.
So they were built. A single motion of the arm of a rude, barbarous
Assyrian Spearman, or drunken Roman or Gothic Legionary of Titus, moved
by a senseless impulse of the brutal will, flung in the blazing brand;
and, with no further human agency, a few short hours sufficed to consume
and melt each Temple to a smoking mass of black unsightly ruin.

Be patient, therefore, my Brother, and wait!

_The issues are with God: To do,
Of right belongs to us._

Therefore faint not, nor be weary in well-doing! Be not discouraged at
men’s apathy, nor disgusted with their follies, nor tired of their
indifference! Care not for returns and results; but see only what there
is to do, and do it, leaving the results to God! Soldier of the Cross!
Sworn Knight of Justice, Truth, and Toleration! Good Knight and True! be
patient and work!

The Apocalypse, that sublime Kabalistic and prophetic Summary of all
the occult figures, divides its images into three Septenaries, after
each of which there is silence in Heaven. There are Seven Seals to be
opened, that is to say, Seven mysteries to know, and Seven difficulties
to overcome, Seven trumpets to sound, and Seven cups to empty.

The Apocalypse is, to those who receive the nineteenth Degree, the
Apotheosis of that Sublime Faith which aspires to God alone, and
despises all the pomps and works of Lucifer. LUCIFER, the
_Light-bearer!_ Strange and mysterious name to give to the Spirit of
Darkness! Lucifer, the Son of the Morning! Is it _he_ who bears the
_Light_, and with its splendors intolerable blinds feeble, sensual, or
selfish Souls? Doubt it not! for traditions are full of Divine
Revelations and Inspirations: and Inspiration is not of one Age nor of
one Creed. Plato and Philo, also, were inspired.

The Apocalypse, indeed, is a book as obscure as the Sohar.

It is written hieroglyphically with numbers and images; and the Apostle
often appeals to the intelligence of the Initiated. “Let him who hath
knowledge, understand! let him who understands, calculate!” he often
says, after an allegory or the mention of a number. Saint John, the
favorite Apostle, and the Depositary of all the Secrets of the Saviour,
therefore did not write to be understood by the multitude.

The Sephar Yezirah, the Sohar, and the Apocalypse are the completest
embodiments of Occultism. They contain more meanings than words; their
expressions are figurative as poetry and exact as numbers. The
Apocalypse sums up, completes, and surpasses all the Science of Abraham
and of Solomon. The visions of Ezekiel, by the river Chebar, and of the
new Symbolic Temple, are equally mysterious expressions, veiled by
figures of the enigmatic dogmas of the Kabalah, and their symbols are as
little understood by the Commentators, as those of Free Masonry.

The Septenary is the Crown of the Numbers, because it unites the
Triangle of the Idea to the Square of the Form.

The more the great Hierophants were at pains to conceal their absolute
Science, the more they sought to add grandeur to and multiply its
symbols. The huge pyramids, with their triangular sides of elevation and
square bases, represented their Metaphysics, founded upon the knowledge
of Nature. That knowledge of Nature had for its symbolic key the
gigantic form of that huge Sphinx, which has hollowed its deep bed in
the sand, while keeping watch at the feet of the Pyramids. The Seven
grand monuments called the Wonders of the World, were the magnificent
Commentaries on the Seven lines that composed the Pyramids, and on the
Seven mystic gates of Thebes.

The Septenary philosophy of Initiation among the Ancients may be summed
up thus:

Three Absolute Principles which are but One Principle: four elementary
forms which are but one; all forming a Single Whole, compounded of the
Idea and the Form.

The three Principles were these:


In Philosophy, identity of the Idea and of Being or Verity; in Religion,
the first Principle, THE FATHER.


In Philosophy, identity of Knowing and of Being or Reality; in Religion,
the LOCOS of Plato, the _Demiourgos_, the WORD.


In Philosophy, identity of the Reason and Reality; in Religion,
Providence, the Divine Action that makes real the Good, that which in
Christianity we call THE HOLY SPIRIT.

The _union_ of all the Seven colors is the _White_, the analogous symbol
of the GOOD: the _absence_ of all is the _Black_, the analogous symbol
of the EVIL. There are three primary colors, _Red_, _Yellow_, and
_Blue_; and four secondary, _Orange_, _Green_, _Indigo_, and _Violet_;
and all these God displays to man in the rainbow; and they have their
analogies also in the moral and intellectual world. The same number,
_Seven_, continually reappears in the Apocalypse, compounded of _three_
and _four_; and these numbers relate to the last Seven of the Sephiroth,
three answering to BENIGNITY or MERCY, SEVERITY or JUSTICE, and BEAUTY
or HARMONY; and four to _Netzach_, _Hōd_, _Yesōd_, and _Malakoth_,
VICTORY, GLORY, STABILITY, and DOMINATION. The same numbers also
represent the _first_ three Sephiroth, KETHER, KHOKMAH, and BAINAH, or
_Will_, _Wisdom_, and _Understanding_, which, with DAATH or
_Intellection_ or _Thought_, are also four, DAATH not being regarded as
a Sephirah, not as the Deity acting, or as a potency, energy, or
attribute, but as the Divine Action.

The Sephiroth are commonly figured in the Kabalah as constituting a
human form, the ADAM KADMON or MACROCOSM. Thus arranged, the universal
law of Equipoise is three times exemplified. From that of the Divine
Intellectual, Active, Masculine ENERGY, and the Passive CAPACITY to
produce Thought, the action of THINKING results. From that of BENIGNITY
and SEVERITY, HARMONY flows; and from that of VICTORY or an Infinite
overcoming, and GLORY, which, being Infinite, would seem to forbid the
existence of obstacles or opposition, results STABILITY or PERMANENCE,
which is the perfect DOMINION of the Infinite WILL.

The last nine Sephiroth are included in, at the same time that they have
flowed forth from, the first of all, KETHER, or the CROWN. Each also, in
succession flowed from, and yet still remains included in, the one
preceding it. The Will of God _includes_ His Wisdom, and His Wisdom _is_
His Will specially developed and acting. This Wisdom is the LOGOS that
creates, mistaken and personified by Simon Magus and the succeeding
Gnostics. By means of its utterance, the letter YŌD, it creates the
worlds, first in the Divine Intellect as an Idea, which invested with
form became the fabricated World, the Universe of material reality. YŌD
and HE, two letters of the Ineffable Name of the Manifested Deity,
represent the Male and the Female, the Active and the Passive in
Equilibrium, and the VAV completes the Trinity and the Triliteral Name
[Hebrew: יהו], the Divine Triangle, which with the repetition of the
_He_ becomes the Tetragrammaton.

Thus the ten Sephiroth contain all the Sacred Numbers, _three_, _five_,
_seven_, and _nine_, and the perfect Number _Ten_, and correspond with
the Tetractys of Pythagoras.

BEING IS BEING, [Hebrew: אהיה אשר אהיה], _Ahayah Asar Ahayah_. This is
the Principle, the “BEGINNING.”

In the Beginning was, that is to say, IS, WAS, and WILL BE, the WORD,
that is to say, the REASON that _Speaks_.

Εν αρχη ην Ό Λογος!

The Word is the reason of belief, and in it also is the expression of
the Faith which makes Science a living thing. The Word, Λογος, is the
Source of Logic. Jesus is the Word Incarnate. The accord of the Reason
with Faith, of Knowledge with Belief, of Authority with Liberty, has
become in modern times the veritable enigma of the Sphinx.

It is WISDOM that, in the Kabalistic Books of the Proverbs and
Ecclesiasticus, is the Creative Agent of God. Elsewhere in the Hebrew
writings it is [Hebrew: דבר יהוה], _Debar Iahavah_, the Word of God. It
is by His uttered Word that God reveals Himself to us; not alone in the
visible and invisible but intellectual creation, but also in our
convictions, consciousness, and instincts. Hence it is that certain
beliefs are universal. The conviction of all men that God is good led to
a belief in a Devil, the fallen _Lucifer_ or _Light-bearer_, Shaitan the
Adversary, Ahriman and Tuphōn, as an attempt to explain the existence of
Evil, and make it consistent with the Infinite Power, Wisdom, and
Benevolence of God.

Nothing surpasses and nothing equals, as a Summary of all the doctrines
of the Old World, those brief words engraven by HERMES on a Stone, and
known under the name of “_The Tablet of Emerald_:” the Unity of Being
and the Unity of the Harmonies, ascending and descending, the
progressive and proportional scale of the Word; the immutable law of the
Equilibrium, and the proportioned progress of the universal analogies;
the relation of the Idea to the Word, giving the measure of the relation
between the Creator and the Created, the necessary mathematics of the
Infinite, proved by the measures of a single corner of the Finite;–all
this is expressed by this single proposition of the Great Egyptian

_”What is Superior is as that which is Inferior, and what is Below is as
that which is Above, to form the Marvels of the Unity.”_



The true Mason is a practical Philosopher, who, under religious emblems,
in all ages adopted by wisdom, builds upon plans traced by nature and
reason the moral edifice of knowledge. He ought to find, in the
symmetrical relation of all the parts of this rational edifice, the
principle and rule of all his duties, the source of all his pleasures.
He improves his moral nature, becomes a better man, and finds in the
reunion of virtuous men, assembled with pure views, the means of
multiplying his acts of beneficence. Masonry and Philosophy, without
being one and the same thing, have the same object, and propose to
themselves the same end, the worship of the Grand Architect of the
Universe, acquaintance and familiarity with the wonders of nature, and
the happiness of humanity attained by the constant practice of all the

As Grand Master of all Symbolic Lodges, it is your especial duty to aid
in restoring Masonry to its primitive purity. You have become an
instructor. Masonry long wandered in error. Instead of improving, it
degenerated from its primitive simplicity, and retrograded toward a
system, distorted by stupidity and ignorance, which, unable to construct
a beautiful machine, made a complicated one. Less than two hundred years
ago, its organization was simple, and altogether moral, its emblems,
allegories, and ceremonies easy to be understood, and their purpose and
object readily to be seen. It was then confined to a very small number
of Degrees. Its constitutions were like those of a Society of Essenes,
written in the first century of our era. There could be seen the
primitive Christianity, organized into Masonry, the school of Pythagoras
without incongruities or absurdities; a Masonry simple and significant,
in which it was not necessary to torture the mind to discover reasonable
interpretations; a Masonry at once religious and philosophical, worthy
of a good citizen and an enlightened philanthropist.

Innovators and inventors overturned that primitive simplicity.
Ignorance engaged in the work of making Degrees, and trifles and gewgaws
and pretended mysteries, absurd or hideous, usurped the place of Masonic
Truth. The picture of a horrid vengeance, the poniard and the bloody
head, appeared in the peaceful Temple of Masonry, without sufficient
explanation of their symbolic meaning. Oaths out of all proportion with
their object, shocked the candidate, and then became ridiculous, and
were wholly disregarded. Acolytes were exposed to tests, and compelled
to perform acts, which, if real, would have been abominable; but being
mere chimeras, were preposterous, and excited contempt and laughter
only. Eight hundred Degrees of one kind and another were invented:
Infidelity and even Jesuitry were taught under the mask of Masonry. The
rituals even of the respectable Degrees, copied and mutilated by
ignorant men, became nonsensical and trivial; and the words so corrupted
that it has hitherto been found impossible to recover many of them at
all. Candidates were made to degrade themselves, and to submit to
insults not tolerable to a man of spirit and honor.

Hence it was that, practically, the largest portion of the Degrees
claimed by the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite, and before it by the
Rite of Perfection, fell into disuse, were merely communicated, and
their rituals became jejune and insignificant. These Rites resembled
those old palaces and baronial castles, the different parts of which,
built at different periods remote from one another, upon plans and
according to tastes that greatly varied, formed a discordant and
incongruous whole. Judaism and chivalry, superstition and philosophy,
philanthropy and insane hatred and longing for vengeance, a pure
morality and unjust and illegal revenge, were found strangely mated and
standing hand in hand within the Temples of Peace and Concord; and the
whole system was one grotesque commingling of incongruous things, of
contrasts and contradictions, of shocking and fantastic extravagances,
of parts repugnant to good taste, and fine conceptions overlaid and
disfigured by absurdities engendered by ignorance, fanaticism, and a
senseless mysticism.

An empty and sterile pomp, impossible indeed to be carried out, and to
which no meaning whatever was attached, with far-fetched explanations
that were either so many stupid platitudes or themselves needed an
interpreter; lofty titles, arbitrarily assumed, and to which the
inventors had not condescended to attach any explanation that should
acquit them of the folly of assuming temporal rank, power, and titles of
nobility, made the world laugh, and the Initiate feel ashamed.

Some of these titles we retain; but they have with us meanings entirely
consistent with that Spirit of Equality which is the foundation and
peremptory law of its being of all Masonry. The _Knight_, with us, is he
who devotes his hand, his heart, his brain, to the Science of Masonry,
and professes himself the Sworn Soldier of Truth: the Prince is he who
aims to be _Chief [Princeps]_, _first_, _leader_, among his equals, in
virtue and good deeds: the _Sovereign_ is he who, one of an order whose
members are all Sovereigns, is Supreme only because the law and
constitutions are so, which he administers, and by which he, like every
other brother, is governed. The titles, _Puissant_, _Potent_, _Wise_,
and _Venerable_, indicate that power of Virtue, Intelligence, and
Wisdom, which those ought to strive to attain who are placed in high
office by the suffrages of their brethren: and all our other titles and
designations have an esoteric meaning, consistent with modesty and
equality, and which those who receive them should fully understand. As
Master of a Lodge it is your duty to instruct your Brethren that they
are all so many constant lessons, teaching the lofty qualifications
which are required of those who claim them, and not merely idle gewgaws
worn in ridiculous imitation of the times when the Nobles and Priests
were masters and the people slaves: and that, in all true Masonry, the
Knight, the Pontiff, the Prince, and the Sovereign are but the first
among their equals: and the cordon, the clothing, and the jewel but
symbols and emblems of the virtues required of all good Masons.

The Mason kneels, no longer to present his petition for admittance or to
receive the answer, no longer to a man as his superior, who is but his
brother, but to his God; to whom he appeals for the rectitude of his
intentions, and whose aid he asks to enable him to keep his vows. No one
is degraded by bending his knee to God at the altar, or to receive the
honor of Knighthood as Bayard and Du Guesclin knelt. To kneel for other
purposes, Masonry does not require. God gave to man a head to be borne
erect, a port upright and majestic. We assemble in our Temples to
cherish and inculcate sentiments that conform to that loftiness of
bearing which the just and upright man is entitled to maintain, and we
do not require those who desire to be admitted among us, ignominiously
to bow the head. We respect man, because we respect ourselves that he
may conceive a lofty idea of his dignity as a human being free and
independent. If modesty is a virtue, humility and obsequiousness to man
are base: for there is a noble pride which is the most real and solid
basis of virtue. Man should humble himself before the Infinite God; but
not before his erring and imperfect brother.

As Master of a Lodge, you will therefore be exceedingly careful that no
Candidate, in any Degree, be required to submit to any degradation
whatever; as has been too much the custom in some of the Degrees: and
take it as a certain and inflexible rule, to which there is _no_
exception, that real Masonry requires of no man anything to which a
Knight and Gentleman cannot honorably, and without feeling outraged or
humiliated submit.

The Supreme Council for the Southern Jurisdiction of the United States
at length undertook the indispensable and long-delayed task of revising
and reforming the work and rituals of the thirty Degrees under its
jurisdiction. Retaining the essentials of the Degrees and all the means
by which the members recognize one another, it has sought out and
developed the leading idea of each Degree, rejected the puerilities and
absurdities with which many of them were disfigured, and made of them a
connected system of moral, religious, and philosophical instruction.
Sectarian of no creed, it has yet thought it not improper to use the old
allegories, based on occurrences detailed in the Hebrew and Christian
books, and drawn from the Ancient Mysteries of Egypt, Persia, Greece,
India, the Druids and the Essenes, as vehicles to communicate the Great
Masonic Truths; as it has used the legends of the Crusades, and the
ceremonies of the orders of Knighthood.

It no longer inculcates a criminal and wicked vengeance. It has not
allowed Masonry to play the assassin: to avenge the death either of
Hiram, of Charles the 1st, or of Jacques De Molay and the Templars. The
Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Masonry has now become, what
Masonry at first was meant to be, a Teacher of Great Truths, inspired by
an upright and enlightened reason, a firm and constant wisdom, and an
affectionate and liberal philanthropy.

It is no longer a system, over the composition and arrangement of the
different parts of which, want of reflection, chance, ignorance, and
perhaps motives still more ignoble presided; a system unsuited to our
habits, our manners, our ideas, or the world-wide philanthropy and
universal toleration of Masonry; or to bodies small in number, whose
revenues should be devoted to the relief of the unfortunate, and not to
empty show; no longer a heterogeneous aggregate of Degrees, shocking by
its anachronisms and contradictions, powerless to disseminate light,
information, and moral and philosophical ideas.

As Master, you will teach those who are under you, and to whom you will
owe your office, that the decorations of many of the Degrees are to be
dispensed with, whenever the expense would interfere with the duties of
charity, relief, and benevolence; and to be indulged in only by wealthy
bodies that will thereby do no wrong to those entitled to their
assistance. The essentials of all the Degrees may be procured at slight
expense; and it is at the option of every Brother to procure or not to
procure, as he pleases, the dress, decorations, and jewels of any Degree
other than the 14th, 18th, 30th, and 32d.

We teach the truth of none of the legends we recite. They are to us but
parables and allegories, involving and enveloping Masonic instruction;
and vehicles of useful and interesting information. They represent the
different phases of the human mind, its efforts and struggles to
comprehend nature, God, the government of the Universe, the permitted
existence of sorrow and evil. To teach us wisdom, and the folly of
endeavoring to explain to ourselves that which we are not capable of
understanding, we reproduce the speculations of the Philosophers, the
Kabalists, the Mystagogues and the Gnostics. Every one being at liberty
to apply our symbols and emblems as he thinks most consistent with truth
and reason and with his own faith, we give them such an interpretation
only as may be accepted by all. Our Degrees may be conferred in France
or Turkey, at Pekin, Ispahàn, Rome, or Geneva, in the city of Penn or in
Catholic Louisiana, upon the subject of an absolute government or the
citizen of a Free State, upon Sectarian or Theist. To honor the Deity,
to regard all men as our Brethren, as children, equally dear to Him, of
the Supreme Creator of the Universe, and to make himself useful to
society and himself by his labor, are its teachings to its Initiates in
all the Degrees.

Preacher of Liberty, Fraternity, and Equality, it desires them to be
attained by making men fit to receive them, and by the moral power of an
intelligent and enlightened People. It lays no plots and conspiracies.
It hatches no premature revolutions; it encourages no people to revolt
against the constituted authorities; but recognizing the great truth
that freedom follows fitness for freedom as the corollary follows the
axiom, it strives to _prepare_ men to govern themselves.

Where domestic slavery exists, it teaches the master humanity and the
alleviation of the condition of his slave, and moderate correction and
gentle discipline; as it teaches them to the master of the apprentice:
and as it teaches to the employers of other men, in mines,
manufactories, and workshops, consideration and humanity for those who
depend upon their labor for their bread, and to whom want of employment
is starvation, and overwork is fever, consumption, and death.

As Master of a Lodge, you are to inculcate these duties on your
brethren. Teach the employed to be honest, punctual, and faithful as
well as respectful and obedient to all proper orders: but also teach the
employer that every man or woman who desires to work, has a right to
have work to do; and that they, and those who from sickness or
feebleness, loss of limb or of bodily vigor, old age or infancy, are not
able to work, have a right to be fed, clothed, and sheltered from the
inclement elements: that he commits an awful sin against Masonry and in
the sight of God, if he closes his workshops or factories, or ceases to
work his mines, when they do not yield him what he regards as sufficient
profit, and so dismisses his workmen and workwomen to starve; or when he
reduces the wages of man or woman to so low a standard that they and
their families cannot be clothed and fed and comfortably housed; or by
overwork must give him their blood and life in exchange for the pittance
of their wages: and that his duty as a Mason and Brother peremptorily
requires him to continue to employ those who else will be pinched with
hunger and cold, or resort to theft and vice: and to pay them fair
wages, though it may reduce or annul his profits or even eat into his
capital; for God hath but loaned him his wealth, and made him His
almoner and agent to invest it.

Except, as mere symbols of the moral virtues and intellectual qualities,
the tools and implements of Masonry belong exclusively to the first
three Degrees. They also, however, serve to remind the Mason who has
advanced further, that his new rank is based upon the humble labors of
the symbolic Degrees, as they are improperly termed, inasmuch as all the
Degrees are symbolic.

Thus the Initiates are inspired with a just idea of Masonry, to wit,
that it is essentially WORK; both teaching and practising LABOR; and
that it is altogether emblematic. Three kinds of work are necessary to
the preservation and protection of man and society: manual labor,
specially belonging to the three blue Degrees; labor in arms, symbolized
by the Knightly or chivalric Degrees; and intellectual labor, belonging
particularly to the Philosophical Degrees.

We have preserved and multiplied such emblems as have a true and
profound meaning. We reject many of the old and senseless explanations.
We have not reduced Masonry to a cold metaphysics that exiles everything
belonging to the domain of the imagination. The ignorant, and those
_half_-wise, in reality, but _over_-wise in their own conceit, may
assail our symbols with sarcasms; but they are nevertheless ingenious
veils that cover the Truth, respected by all who know the means by which
the heart of man is reached and his feelings enlisted. The Great
Moralists often had recourse to allegories, in order to instruct men
without repelling them. But we have been careful not to allow our
emblems to be too obscure, so as to require far-fetched and forced
interpretations. In our days, and in the enlightened land in which we
live, we do not need to wrap ourselves in veils so strange and
impenetrable, as to prevent or hinder instruction instead of furthering
it; or to induce the suspicion that we have concealed meanings which we
communicate only to the most reliable adepts, because they are contrary
to good order or the well-being of society.

The Duties of the Class of _Instructors_, that is, the Masons of the
Degrees from the 4th to the 8th, inclusive, are, particularly, to
perfect the younger Masons in the words, signs and tokens and other work
of the Degrees they have received; to explain to them the meaning of the
different emblems, and to expound the moral instruction which they
convey. And upon their report of proficiency alone can their pupils be
allowed to advance and receive an increase of wages.

_The Directors of the Work_, or those of the 9th, 10th, and 11th Degrees
are to report to the Chapters upon the regularity, activity and proper
direction of the work of bodies in the lower Degrees, and what is needed
to be enacted for their prosperity and usefulness. In the Symbolic
Lodges, they are particularly charged to stimulate the zeal of the
workmen, to induce them to engage in new labors and enterprises for the
good of Masonry, their country and mankind, and to give them fraternal
advice when they fall short of their duty; or, in cases that require it,
to invoke against them the rigor of Masonic law.

_The Architects_, or those of the 12th, 13th, and 14th, should be
selected from none but Brothers well instructed in the preceding
Degrees; zealous, and capable of discoursing upon that Masonry;
illustrating it, and discussing the simple questions of moral
philosophy. And one of them, at every communication, should be prepared
with a lecture, communicating useful knowledge or giving good advice to
the Brethren.

_The Knights_, of the 15th and 16th Degrees, wear the sword. They are
bound to prevent and repair, as far as may be in their power, all
injustice, both in the world and in Masonry; to protect the weak and to
bring oppressors to justice. Their works and lectures must be in this
spirit. They should inquire whether Masonry fulfills, as far as it ought
and can, its principal purpose, which is to succor the unfortunate. That
it may do so, they should prepare propositions to be offered in the Blue
Lodges calculated to attain that end, to put an end to abuses, and to
prevent or correct negligence. Those in the Lodges who have attained the
rank of Knights, are most fit to be appointed Almoners, and charged to
ascertain and make known who need and are entitled to the charity of the

In the higher Degrees those only should be received who have sufficient
reading and information to discuss the great questions of philosophy.
From them the Orators of the Lodges should be selected, as well as those
of the Councils and Chapters. They are charged to suggest such measures
as are necessary to make Masonry entirely faithful to the spirit of its
institution, both as to its charitable purposes, and the diffusion of
light and knowledge; such as are needed to correct abuses that have
crept in, and offences against the rules and general spirit of the
Order; and such as will tend to make it, as it was meant to be, the
great Teacher of Mankind.

As Master of a Lodge, Council, or Chapter, it will be your duty to
impress upon the minds of your Brethren these views of the general plan
and separate parts of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite; of its
spirit and design; its harmony and regularity; of the duties of the
officers and members; and of the particular lessons intended to be
taught by each Degree.

Especially you are not to allow any assembly of the body over which you
may preside, to close, without recalling to the minds of the Brethren
the Masonic virtues and duties which are represented upon the Tracing
Board of this Degree. That is an imperative duty. Forget not that, more
than three thousand years ago, ZOROASTER said: “_Be good, be kind, be
humane, and charitable; love your fellows; console the afflicted; pardon
those who have done you wrong._” Nor that more than two thousand three
hundred years ago CONFUCIUS repeated, also quoting the language of those
who had lived before himself: “_Love thy neighbor as thyself: Do not to
others what thou wouldst not wish should be done to thyself: Forgive
injuries. Forgive your enemy, be reconciled to him, give him assistance,
invoke God in his behalf!_”

Let not the morality of your Lodge be inferior to that of the Persian or
the Chinese Philosopher.

Urge upon your Brethren the teaching and the unostentatious practice of
the morality of the Lodge, without regard to times, places, religions,
or peoples.

Urge them to love one another, to be devoted to one another, to be
faithful to the country, the government, and the laws: for to serve the
country is to pay a dear and sacred debt:

To respect all forms of worship, to tolerate all political and religious
opinions; not to blame, and still less to condemn the religion of
others: not to seek to make converts; but to be content if they have the
religion of Socrates; a veneration for the Creator, the religion of good
works, and grateful acknowledgment of God’s blessings:

To fraternize with all men; to assist all who are unfortunate; and to
cheerfully postpone their own interests to that of the Order:

To make it the constant rule of their lives, to think well, to speak
well, and to act well:

To place the sage above the soldier, the noble, or the prince: and take
the wise and good as their models:

To see that their professions and practice, their teachings and conduct,
do always agree:

To make this also their motto: Do that which thou oughtest to do; let
the result be what it will.

Such, my Brother, are some of the duties of that office which you have
sought to be qualified to exercise. May you perform them well; and in so
doing gain honor for yourself, and advance the great cause of Masonry,
Humanity, and Progress.



You are especially charged in this Degree to be modest and humble, and
not vain-glorious nor filled with self-conceit. Be not wiser in your own
opinion than the Deity, nor find fault with His works, nor endeavor to
improve upon what He has done. Be modest also in your intercourse with
your fellows, and slow to entertain evil thoughts of them, and reluctant
to ascribe to them evil intentions. A thousand presses, flooding the
country with their evanescent leaves, are busily and incessantly engaged
in maligning the motives and conduct of men and parties, and in making
one man think worse of another; while, alas, scarcely one is found that
ever, even accidentally, labors to make man think better of his fellow.

Slander and calumny were never so insolently licentious in any country
as they are this day in ours. The most retiring disposition, the most
unobtrusive demeanor, is no shield against their poisoned arrows. The
most eminent public service only makes their vituperation and invective
more eager and more unscrupulous, when he who has done such service
presents himself as a candidate for the people’s suffrages.

The evil is wide-spread and universal. No man, no woman, no household,
is sacred or safe from this new Inquisition. No act is so pure or so
praiseworthy, that the unscrupulous vender of lies who lives by
pandering to a corrupt and morbid public appetite will not proclaim it
as a crime. No motive is so innocent or so laudable, that he will not
hold it up as villainy. Journalism pries into the interior of private
houses, gloats over the details of domestic tragedies of sin and shame,
and deliberately invents and industriously circulates the most
unmitigated and baseless falsehoods, to coin money for those who pursue
it as a trade, or to effect a temporary result in the wars of faction.

We need not enlarge upon these evils. They are apparent to all and
lamented over by all, and it is the duty of a Mason to do all in his
power to lessen, if not to remove them. With the errors and even sins of
other men, that do not personally affect us or ours, and need not our
condemnation to be odious, we have nothing to do; and the journalist has
no patent that makes him the Censor of Morals. There is no obligation
resting on us to trumpet forth our disapproval of every wrongful or
injudicious or improper act that every other man commits. One would be
ashamed to stand on the street corners and retail them orally for

One ought, in truth, to write or speak against no other one in this
world. Each man in it has enough to do, to watch and keep guard over
himself. Each of us is sick enough in this great Lazaretto: and
journalism and polemical writing constantly remind us of a scene once
witnessed in a little hospital; where it was horrible to hear how the
patients mockingly reproached each other with their disorders and
infirmities: how one, who was wasted by consumption, jeered at another
who was bloated by dropsy: how one laughed at another’s cancer of the
face; and this one again at his neighbor’s lock-jaw or squint; until at
last the delirious fever-patient sprang out of his bed, and tore away
the coverings from the wounded bodies of his companions, and nothing was
to be seen but hideous misery and mutilation. Such is the revolting work
in which journalism and political partisanship, and half the world
outside of Masonry, are engaged.

Very generally, the censure bestowed upon men’s acts, by those who have
appointed and commissioned themselves Keepers of the Public Morals, is
undeserved. Often it is not only undeserved, but praise is deserved
instead of censure, and, when the latter is not undeserved, it is always
extravagant, and therefore unjust.

A Mason will wonder what spirit they are endowed withal, that can basely
libel at a man, even, that is fallen. If they had any nobility of soul,
they would with him condole his disasters, and drop some tears in pity
of his folly and wretchedness: and if they were merely human and not
brutal, Nature did grievous wrong to human bodies, to curse them with
souls so cruel as to strive to add to a wretchedness already
intolerable. When a Mason hears of any man that hath fallen into public
disgrace, he should have a mind to commiserate his mishap, and not to
make him more disconsolate. To envenom a name by libels, that already is
openly tainted, is to add stripes with an iron rod to one that is flayed
with whipping; and to every well-tempered mind will seem most inhuman
and unmanly.

Even the man who does wrong and commits errors often has a quiet home, a
fireside of his own, a gentle, loving wife and innocent children, who
perhaps do not know of his past errors and lapses–past and long
repented of; or if they do, they love him the better, because, being
mortal, he hath erred, and being in the image of God, he hath repented.
That every blow at this husband and father lacerates the pure and tender
bosoms of that wife and those daughters, is a consideration that doth
not stay the hand of the brutal journalist and partisan: but he strikes
home at these shrinking, quivering, innocent, tender bosoms; and then
goes out upon the great arteries of cities, where the current of life
pulsates, and holds his head erect, and calls on his fellows to laud him
and admire him, for the chivalric act he hath done, in striking his
dagger through one heart into another tender and trusting one.

If you seek for high and strained carriages, you shall, for the most
part, meet with them in low men. Arrogance is a weed that ever grows on
a dunghill. It is from the rankness of that soil that she hath her
height and spreadings. To be modest and unaffected with our superiors is
duty; with our equals, courtesy; with our inferiors, nobleness. There is
no arrogance so great as the proclaiming of other men’s errors and
faults, by those who understand nothing but the dregs of actions, and
who make it their business to besmear deserving fames. Public reproof is
like striking a deer in the herd: it not only wounds him, to the loss of
blood, but betrays him to the hound, his enemy.

The occupation of the spy hath ever been held dishonorable, and it is
none the less so, now that with rare exceptions editors and partisans
have become perpetual spies upon the actions of other men. Their malice
makes them nimble-eyed, apt to note a fault and publish it, and, with a
strained construction, to deprave even those things in which the doer’s
intents were honest. Like the crocodile, they slime the way of others,
to make them fall; and when that has happened, they feed their insulting
envy on the life-blood of the prostrate. They set the vices of other men
on high, for the gaze of the world, and place their virtues underground,
that none may note them. If they cannot wound upon proofs, they will do
it upon likelihoods: and if not upon them, they manufacture lies, as
God created the world, out of nothing; and so corrupt the fair tempter
of men’s reputations; knowing that the multitude will believe them,
because affirmations are apter to win belief, than negatives to uncredit
them; and that a lie travels faster than an eagle flies, while the
contradiction limps after it at a snail’s pace, and, halting, never
overtakes it. Nay, it is contrary to the morality of journalism, to
allow a lie to be contradicted in the place that spawned it. And even if
that great favor is conceded, a slander once raised will scarce ever
die, or fail of finding many that will allow it both a harbor and trust.

This is, beyond any other, the age of falsehood. Once, to be suspected
of equivocation was enough to soil a gentleman’s escutcheon; but now it
has become a strange merit in a partisan or statesman, always and
scrupulously to tell the truth. Lies are part of the regular ammunition
of all campaigns and controversies, valued according as they are
profitable and effective; and are stored up and have a market price,
like saltpetre and sulphur; being even more deadly than they.

If men weighed the imperfections of humanity, they would breathe less
condemnation. Ignorance gives disparagement a louder tongue than
knowledge does. Wise men had rather know, than tell. Frequent dispraises
are but the faults of uncharitable wit: and it is from where there is no
judgment, that the heaviest judgment comes; for self-examination would
make all judgments charitable. If we even do know vices in men, we can
scarce show ourselves in a nobler virtue than in the charity of
concealing them: if that be not a flattery persuading to continuance.
And it is the basest office man can fall into, to make his tongue the
defamer of the worthy man.

There is but one rule for the Mason in this matter. If there be virtues,
and he is called upon to speak of him who owns them, let him tell them
forth impartially. And if there be vices mixed with them, let him be
content the world shall know them by some other tongue than his. For if
the evil-doer deserve no pity, his wife, his parents, or his children,
or other innocent persons who love him Way; and the bravo’s trade,
practised by him who stabs the defenceless for a price paid by
individual or party, is really no more respectable now than it was a
hundred years ago, in Venice. Where we want experience, Charity bids us
think the best, and leave what we know not to the Searcher of Hearts;
for mistakes, suspicions, and envy often injure a clear fame; and there
is least danger in a charitable construction.

And, finally, the Mason should be humble and modest toward the Grand
Architect of the Universe, and not impugn His Wisdom, nor set up his own
imperfect sense of Right against His Providence and dispensations, nor
attempt too rashly to explore the Mysteries of God’s Infinite Essence
and inscrutable plans, and of that Great Nature which we are not made
capable to understand.

Let him steer far away from all those vain philosophies, which endeavor
to account for all that is, without admitting that there is a God,
separate and apart from the Universe which is his work: which erect
Universal Nature into a God, and worship it alone: which annihilate
Spirit, and believe no testimony except that of the bodily senses:
which, by logical formulas and dextrous collocation of words, make the
actual, living, guiding, and protecting God fade into the dim mistiness
of a mere abstraction and unreality, itself a mere logical formula.

Nor let him have any alliance with those theorists who chide the delays
of Providence and busy themselves to hasten the slow march which it has
imposed upon events: who neglect the practical, to struggle after
impossibilities: who are wiser than Heaven; know the aims and purposes
of the Deity, and can see a short and more direct means of attaining
them, than it pleases Him to employ: who would have no discords in the
great harmony of the Universe of things; but equal distribution of
property, no subjection of one man to the will of another, no compulsory
labor, and still no starvation, nor destitution, nor pauperism.

Let him not spend his life, as they do, in building a new Tower of
Babel; in attempting to change that which is fixed by an inflexible law
of God’s enactment: but let him, yielding to the Superior Wisdom of
Providence, content to believe that the march of events is rightly
ordered by an Infinite Wisdom, and leads, though we cannot see it, to a
great and perfect result,–let him be satisfied to follow the path
pointed out by that Providence, and to labor for the good of the human
race in that mode in which God has chosen to enact that good shall be
effected: and above all, let him build no Tower of Babel, under the
belief that by ascending he will mount so high that God will disappear
or be superseded by a great monstrous aggregate of material forces, or
mere glittering, logical formula; but, evermore, standing humbly and
reverently upon the earth and looking with awe and confidence toward
Heaven, let him be satisfied that there is a _real_ God; a _person_, and
not a formula; a Father and a protector, who loves, and sympathizes, and
compassionates; and that the eternal ways by which He rules the world
are infinitely wise, no matter how far they may be above the feeble
comprehension and limited vision of man.

[Illustration: Lyre]



Sympathy with the great laboring classes, respect for labor itself, and
resolution to do some good _work_ in our day and generation, these are
the lessons of this Degree, and they are purely Masonic. Masonry has
made a working-man and his associates the Heroes of her principal
legend, and himself the companion of Kings. The idea is as simple and
true as it is sublime. From first to last, Masonry is _work_. It
venerates the Grand _Architect_ of the Universe. It commemorates the
_building_ of a Temple. Its principal emblems are _the working tools_ of
Masons and Artisans. It preserves the name of the first _worker_ in
_brass_ and _iron_ as one of its pass-words. When the Brethren meet
together, they are at _labor_. The Master is the _overseer_ who sets the
craft to _work_ and gives them proper instruction. Masonry is the
apotheosis of WORK.

It is the hands of brave, forgotten men that have made this great,
populous, cultivated world a world for _us_. It is _all_ work, and
_forgotten_ work. The _real_ conquerors, creators, and eternal
proprietors of every great and civilized land are all the heroic souls
that ever were in it, each in his degree: all the men that ever felled a
forest-tree or drained a marsh, or contrived a wise scheme, or did or
said a true or valiant thing therein. Genuine work alone, done
faithfully, is eternal, even as the Almighty Founder and World-builder
Himself. All work is noble: a life of ease is not for any man, nor for
any God. The Almighty Maker is not like one who, in old immemorial ages,
having made his machine of a Universe, sits ever since, and sees it
_go_. Out of that belief comes Atheism. The faith in an Invisible,
Unnameable, Directing Deity, present everywhere in all that we see, and
work, and suffer, is the essence of all faith whatsoever.

The life of all Gods figures itself to us as a Sublime Earnestness,–of
Infinite battle against Infinite labor Our highest religion is named the
Worship of Sorrow. For the Son of Man there is no noble crown,
well-worn, or even ill-worn, but is a crown of thorns. Man’s highest
destiny is not to be happy, to love pleasant things and find them. His
only true _un_happiness should be that he cannot work, and get his
destiny as a man fulfilled. The day passes swiftly over, our life passes
swiftly over, and the night cometh, wherein no man can work. That night
once come, our happiness and unhappiness are vanished, and become as
things that never were. But our work is not abolished, and has not
vanished. It remains, or the want of it remains, for endless Times and

Whatsoever of morality and intelligence; what of patience, perseverance,
faithfulness, of method, insight, ingenuity, energy; in a word,
whatsoever of STRENGTH a man has in him, will lie written in the WORK he
does. To work is to try himself against Nature and her unerring,
everlasting laws: and they will return true verdict as to him. The
noblest Epic is a mighty Empire slowly built together, a mighty series
of heroic deeds, a mighty conquest over chaos. Deeds are greater than
words. They have a life, mute, but undeniable; and grow. They people the
vacuity of Time, and make it green and worthy.

Labor is the truest emblem of God, the Architect and Eternal Maker;
noble Labor, which is yet to be the King of this Earth, and sit on the
highest Throne. Men without duties to do, are like trees planted on
precipices; from the roots of which all the earth has crumbled. Nature
owns no man who is not also a Martyr. She scorns the man who sits
screened from all work, from want, danger, hardship, the victory over
which is work; and has all his work and battling done by other men; and
yet there are men who pride themselves that they and theirs have done no
work time out of mind. So neither have the swine.

The chief of men is he who stands in the van of men, fronting the peril
which frightens back all others, and if not vanquished would devour
them. Hercules was worshipped for twelve labors. The Czar of Russia
became a toiling shipwright, and worked with his axe in the docks of
Saardam; and something came of that. Cromwell worked, and Napoleon; and
effected somewhat.

There is a perennial nobleness and even sacredness in work. Be he never
so benighted and forgetful of his high calling, there is always hope in
a man who actually and earnestly works: in Idleness alone is there
perpetual Despair. Man perfects himself by working. Jungles are cleared
away. Fair seed-fields rise instead, and stately cities; and withal, the
man himself first ceases to be a foul unwholesome jungle and desert
thereby. Even in the meanest sort of labor, the whole soul of man is
composed into a kind of real harmony, the moment he begins to work.
Doubt, Desire, Sorrow, Remorse, Indignation, and even Despair shrink
murmuring far off into their caves, whenever the man bends himself
resolutely against his task. Labor is life. From the inmost heart of the
worker rises his God-given Force, the Sacred Celestial Life-essence,
breathed into him by Almighty God; and awakens him to all nobleness, as
soon as work fitly begins. By it man learns Patience, Courage,
Perseverance, Openness to light, readiness to own himself mistaken,
resolution to do better and improve. Only by labor will man continually
learn the virtues. There is no Religion in stagnation and inaction; but
only in activity and exertion. There was the deepest truth in that
saying of the old monks, “_laborare est orare_.” “He prayeth best who
loveth best all things both great and small;” and can man love except by
working earnestly to benefit that being whom he loves?

“Work; and therein have well-being,” is the oldest of Gospels;
unpreached, inarticulate, but ineradicable, and enduring forever. To
make Disorder, wherever found, an eternal enemy; to attack and subdue
him, and make order of him, the subject not of Chaos, but of
Intelligence and Divinity, and of ourselves; to attack ignorance,
stupidity and brute-mindedness, wherever found, to smite it wisely and
unweariedly, to rest not while we live and it lives, in the name of God,
this is our duty as Masons; commanded us by the Highest God. Even He,
with his unspoken voice, more awful than the thunders of Sinai, or the
syllabled speech of the Hurricane, speaks to us. The Unborn Ages; the
old Graves, with their long-moldering dust speak to us. The deep
Death-Kingdoms, the Stars in their never-resting course, all Space and
all Time, silently and continually admonish us that we too must work
while it is called to-day. Labor, wide as the Earth, has its summit in
Heaven. To toil, whether with the sweat of the brow, or of the brain or
heart, is worship,–the noblest thing yet discovered beneath the Stars.
Let the weary cease to think that labor is a curse an doom pronounced by
Deity. Without it there could be no true excellence in human nature.
Without it, and pain, and sorrow, where would be the human virtues?
Where Patience, Perseverance, Submission, Energy, Endurance, Fortitude,
Bravery, Disinterestedness, Self-Sacrifice, the noblest excellencies of
the Soul?

Let him who toils complain not, nor feel humiliated! Let him look up,
and see his fellow-workmen there, in God’s Eternity; they alone
surviving there. Even in the weak human memory, they long survive, as
Saints, as Heroes, and as Gods: they _alone_ survive, and people the
unmeasured solitudes of Time.

To the primeval man, whatsoever good came, descended on him (as in mere
fact, it ever does) direct from God; whatsoever duty lay visible for
him, this a Supreme God had prescribed. For the primeval man, in whom
dwelt Thought, this Universe was all a Temple, life everywhere a

Duty is with us ever; and evermore forbids us to be idle. To work with
the hands or brain, according to our requirements and our capacities, to
do that which lies before us to do, is more honorable than rank and
title. Ploughers, spinners and builders, inventors, and men of science,
poets, advocates, and writers, all stand upon one common level, and form
one grand, innumerable host, marching ever onward since the beginning of
the world: each entitled to our sympathy and respect, each a man and our

It was well to give the earth to man as a dark mass, whereon to labor.
It was well to provide rude and unsightly materials in the ore-bed and
the forest, for him to fashion into splendor and beauty. It was well,
not because of that splendor and beauty; but because the act creating
them is better than the things themselves; because exertion is nobler
than enjoyment; because the laborer is greater and more worthy of honor
than the idler. Masonry stands up for the nobility of labor. It is
Heaven’s great ordinance for human improvement. It has been broken down
for ages; and Masonry desires to build it up again. It has been broken
down, because men toil only because they must, submitting to it as, in
some sort, a degrading necessity; and desiring nothing so much on earth
as to escape from it. They fulfill the great law of labor in the letter,
but break it in the spirit: they fulfill it with the muscles, but break
it with the mind.

Masonry teaches that every idler ought to hasten to some field of labor,
manual or mental, as a chosen and coveted theatre of improvement; but he
is not impelled to do so, under the teachings of an imperfect
civilization. On the contrary, he sits down, folds his hands, and
blesses and glorifies himself in his idleness. It is time that this
opprobrium of toil were done away. To be ashamed of toil; of the dingy
workshop and dusty labor-field; of the hard hand, stained with service
more honorable than that of war; of the soiled and weather-stained
garments, on which Mother Nature has stamped, midst sun and rain, midst
fire and steam, her own heraldic honors; to be ashamed of these tokens
and titles, and envious of the flaunting robes of imbecile idleness and
vanity, is treason to Nature, impiety to Heaven, a breach of Heaven’s
great Ordinance. TOIL, of brain, heart, or hand, is the only true
manhood and genuine nobility.

Labor is a more beneficent ministration than man’s ignorance
comprehends, or his complainings will admit. Even when its end is hidden
from him, it is not mere blind drudgery. It is all a training, a
discipline, a development of energies, a nurse of virtues, a school of
improvement. From the poor boy who gathers a few sticks for his mother’s
hearth, to the strong man who fells the oak or guides the ship or the
steam-car, every human toiler, with every weary step and every urgent
task, is obeying a wisdom far above his own wisdom, and fulfilling a
design far beyond his own design.

The great law of human industry is this: that industry, working either
with the hand or the mind, the application of our powers to some task,
to the achievement of some result, lies at the foundation of all human
improvement. We are not sent into the world like animals, to crop the
spontaneous herbage of the field, and then to lie down in indolent
repose: but we are sent to dig the soil and plough the sea; to do the
business of cities and the work of manufactories. The world is the great
and appointed school of industry. In an artificial state of society,
mankind is divided into the idle and the laboring classes; but such was
not the design of Providence.

Labor is man’s great function, his peculiar distinction and his
privilege. From being an animal, that eats and drinks and sleeps only,
to become a worker, and with the hand of ingenuity to pour his own
thoughts into the moulds of Nature, fashioning them into forms of grace
and fabrics of convenience, and converting them to purposes of
improvement and happiness, is the greatest possible step in privilege.

The Earth and the Atmosphere are man’s laboratory. With spade and
plough, with mining-shafts and furnaces and forges, with fire and steam;
midst the noise and whirl of swift and bright machinery, and abroad in
the silent fields, man was made to be ever working, ever experimenting.
And while he and all his dwellings of care and toil are borne onward
with the circling skies, and the splendors of Heaven are around him, and
their infinite depths image and invite his thought, still in all the
worlds of philosophy, in the universe of intellect, man must be a
worker. He is nothing, he can be nothing, can achieve nothing, fulfill
nothing, without working. Without it, he can gain neither lofty
improvement nor tolerable happiness. The idle must hunt down the hours
as their prey. To them Time is an enemy, clothed with armor; and they
must kill him, or themselves die. It never yet did answer, and it never
will answer, for any man to do nothing, to be exempt from all care and
effort, to lounge, to walk, to ride, and to feast alone. No man can live
in that way. God made a law against it: which no human power can annul,
no human ingenuity evade.

The idea that a property is to be acquired in the course of ten or
twenty years, which shall suffice for the rest of life; that by some
prosperous traffic or grand speculation, all the labor of a whole life
is to be accomplished in a brief portion of it; that by dexterous
management, a large part of the term of human existence is to be
exonerated from the cares of industry and self-denial, is founded upon a
grave mistake, upon a misconception of the true nature and design of
business, and of the conditions of human well-being. The desire of
accumulation for the sake of securing a life of ease and gratification,
of escaping from exertion and self-denial, is wholly wrong, though very

It is better for the Mason to live while he lives, and enjoy life as it
passes: to live richer and die poorer. It is best of all for him to
banish from the mind that empty dream of future indolence and
indulgence; to address himself to the business of life, as the school of
his earthly education; to settle it with himself now that independence,
if he gains it, is not to give him exemption from employment. It is best
for him to know, that, in order to be a happy man, he must always be a
laborer, with the mind or the body, or with both: and that the
reasonable exertion of his powers, bodily and mental, is not to be
regarded as mere drudgery, but as a good discipline, a wise ordination,
a training in this primary school of our being, for nobler endeavors,
and spheres of higher activity hereafter.

There are reasons why a Mason may lawfully and even earnestly desire a
fortune. If he can fill some fine palace, itself a work of art, with the
productions of lofty genius; if he can be the friend and helper of
humble worth; if he can seek it out, where failing health or adverse
fortune presses it hard, and soften or stay the bitter hours that are
hastening it to madness or to the grave; if he can stand between the
oppressor and his prey, and bid the fetter and the dungeon give up their
victim; if he can build up great institutions of learning, and academies
of art; if he can open fountains of knowledge for the people, and
conduct its streams in the right channels; if he can do better for the
poor than to bestow alms upon them–even to think of them, and devise
plans for their elevation in knowledge and virtue, instead of forever
opening the old reservoirs and resources for their improvidence; if he
has sufficient heart and soul to do all this, or part of it; if wealth
would be to him the handmaid of exertion, facilitating effort, and
giving success to endeavor; then may he lawfully, and yet warily and
modestly, desire it. But if it is to do nothing for him, but to minister
ease and indulgence, and to place his children in the same bad school,
then there is no reason why he should desire it.

What is there glorious in the world, that is not the product of labor,
either of the body or of the mind? What is history, but its record? What
are the treasures of genius and art, but its work? What are cultivated
fields, but its toil? The busy marts, the rising cities, the enriched
empires of the world are but the great treasure-houses of labor. The
pyramids of Egypt, the castles and towers and temples of Europe, the
buried cities of Italy and Mexico, the canals and railroads of
Christendom, are but tracks, all round the world, of the mighty
footsteps of labor. Without it antiquity would not have been. Without
it, there would be no memory of the past, and no hope for the future.

Even utter indolence reposes on treasures that labor at some time gained
and gathered. He that does nothing, and yet does not starve, has still
his significance; for he is a standing proof that somebody has at some
time worked. But not to such does Masonry do honor. It honors the
Worker, the Toiler; him who produces and not alone consumes; him who
puts forth his hand to add to the treasury of human comforts, and not
alone to take away. It honors him who goes forth amid the struggling
elements to fight his battle, and who shrinks not, with cowardly
effeminacy, behind pillows of ease. It honors the strong muscle, and
the manly nerve, and the resolute and brave heart, the sweating brow,
and the toiling brain. It honors the great and beautiful offices of
humanity, manhood’s toil and woman’s task; paternal industry and
maternal watching and weariness; wisdom teaching and patience learning;
the brow of care that presides over the State, and many-handed labor
that toils in workshop, field, and study, beneath its mild and
beneficent sway.

God has not made a world of rich men; but rather a world of poor men; or
of men, at least, who must toil for a subsistence. That is, then, the
best condition for man, and the grand sphere of human improvement. If
the whole world could acquire wealth, (and one man is as much entitled
to it as another, when he is born); if the present generation could lay
up a complete provision for the next, as some men desire to do for their
children; the world would be destroyed at a single blow. All industry
would cease with the necessity for it; all improvement would stop with
the demand for exertion; the dissipation of fortunes, the mischiefs of
which are now countervailed by the healthful tone of society, would
breed universal disease, and break out into universal license; and the
world would sink, rotten as Herod, into the grave of its own loathsome

Almost all the noblest things that have been achieved in the world, have
been achieved by poor men; poor scholars, poor professional men, poor
artisans and artists, poor philosophers, poets, and men of genius. A
certain staidness and sobriety, a certain moderation and restraint, a
certain pressure of circumstances, are good for man. His body was not
made for luxuries. It sickens, sinks, and dies under them. His mind was
not made for indulgence. It grows weak, effeminate, and dwarfish, under
that condition. And he who pampers his body with luxuries and his mind
with indulgence, bequeaths the consequences to the minds and bodies of
his descendants, without the wealth which was their cause. For wealth,
without a law of entail to help it, has always lacked the energy even to
_keep_ its own treasures. They drop from its imbecile hand. The third
generation almost inevitably goes down the rolling wheel of fortune, and
there learns the energy necessary to rise again, if it rises at all;
heir, as it is, to the bodily diseases, and mental weaknesses, and the
soul’s vices of its ancestors, and _not_ heir to their wealth. And yet
we are, almost all of us, anxious to put our children, or to insure
that our grandchildren shall be put, on this road to indulgence, luxury,
vice, degradation, and ruin; this heirship of hereditary disease, soul
malady, and mental leprosy.

If wealth were employed in promoting mental culture at home and works of
philanthropy abroad; if it were multiplying studies of art, and building
up institutions of learning around us; if it were in every way raising
the intellectual character of the world, there could scarcely be too
much of it. But if the utmost aim, effort, and ambition of wealth be, to
procure rich furniture, and provide costly entertainments, and build
luxurious houses, and minister to vanity, extravagance, and ostentation,
there could scarcely be too little of it. To a certain extent it may
laudably be the minister of elegancies and luxuries, and the servitor of
hospitality and physical enjoyment: but just in proportion as its
tendencies, divested of all higher aims and tastes, are running that
way, they are running to peril and evil.

Nor does that peril attach to individuals and families alone. It stands,
a fearful beacon, in the experience of Cities, Republics, and Empires.
The lessons of past times, on this subject, are emphatic and solemn. The
history of wealth has always been a history of corruption and downfall.
The people never existed that could stand the trial. Boundless profusion
is too little likely to spread for any people the theatre of manly
energy, rigid self-denial, and lofty virtue. You do not look for the
bone and sinew and strength of a country, its loftiest talents and
virtues, its martyrs to patriotism or religion, its men to meet the days
of peril and disaster, among the children of ease, indulgence, and

In the great march of the races of men over the earth, we have always
seen opulence and luxury sinking before poverty and toil and hardy
nurture. That is the law which has presided over the great processions
of empire. Sidon and Tyre, whose merchants possessed the wealth of
princes; Babylon and Palmyra, the seats of Asiatic luxury; Rome, laden
with the spoils of a world, overwhelmed by her own vices more than by
the hosts of her enemies; all these, and many more, are examples of the
destructive tendencies of immense and unnatural accumulation: and men
must become more generous and benevolent, not more selfish and
effeminate, as they become more rich, or the history of modern wealth
will follow in the sad train of all past examples.

All men desire distinction, and feel the need of some ennobling object
in life. Those persons are usually most happy and satisfied in their
pursuits, who have the loftiest ends in view. Artists, mechanicians, and
inventors, all who seek to find principles or develop beauty in their
work, seem most to enjoy it. The farmer who labors for the beautifying
and scientific cultivation of his estate, is more happy in his labors
than one who tills his own land for a mere subsistence. This is one of
the signal testimonies which all human employments give to the high
demands of our nature. To gather wealth never gives such satisfaction as
to bring the humblest piece of machinery to perfection: at least, when
wealth is sought for display and ostentation, or mere luxury, and ease,
and pleasure; and not for ends of philanthropy, the relief of kindred,
or the payment of just debts, or as a means to attain some other great
and noble object.

With the pursuits of multitudes is connected a painful conviction that
they neither supply a sufficient object, nor confer any satisfactory
honor. Why work, if the world is soon not to know that such a being ever
existed; and when one can perpetuate his name neither on canvas nor on
marble, nor in books, nor by lofty eloquence, nor statesmanship?

The answer is, that every man has a work to do in himself, greater and
sublimer than any work of genius; and works upon a nobler material than
wood or marble–upon his own soul and intellect, and may so attain the
highest nobleness and grandeur known on earth or in Heaven; may so be
the greatest of artists, and of authors, and his life, which is far more
than speech, may be eloquent.

The great author or artist only portrays what every man should _be_. He
_conceives_, what we should _do_. He conceives, and represents moral
beauty, magnanimity, fortitude, love, devotion, forgiveness, the soul’s
greatness. He portrays virtues, commended to our admiration and
imitation. To embody these portraitures in our lives is the practical
realization of those great ideals of art. The magnanimity of Heroes,
celebrated on the historic or poetic page; the constancy and faith of
Truth’s martyrs; the beauty of love and piety glowing on the canvas; the
delineations of Truth and Right, that flash from the lips of the
Eloquent, are, in their essence only that which every man may feel and
practise in the daily walks of life. The work of virtue is nobler than
any work of genius; for it is a nobler thing to _be_ a hero than to
_describe_ one, to _endure_ martyrdom than to _paint_ it, to _do_ right
than to _plead_ for it. Action is greater than writing. A good man is a
nobler object of contemplation than a great author. There are but two
things worth living for: to do what is worthy of being written; and to
write what is worthy of being read; and the greater of these is _the

Every man has to do the noblest thing that any man can do or describe.
There is a wide field for the courage, cheerfulness, energy, and dignity
of human existence. Let therefore no Mason deem his life doomed to
mediocrity or meanness, to vanity or unprofitable toil, or to any ends
less than immortal. No one can truly say that the grand prizes of life
are for others, and he can do nothing. No matter how magnificent and
noble an act the author can describe or the artist paint, it will be
still nobler for you to go and _do_ that which one describes, or _be_
the model which the other draws.

The loftiest action that ever was described is not more magnanimous than
that which we may find occasion to do, in the daily walks of life; in
temptation, in distress, in bereavement, in the solemn approach to
death. In the great Providence of God, in the great ordinances of our
being, there is opened to every man a sphere for the noblest action. It
is not even in extraordinary situations, where all eyes are upon us,
where all our energy is aroused, and all our vigilance is awake, that
the highest efforts of virtue are usually demanded of us; but rather in
silence and seclusion, amidst our occupations and our homes; in wearing
sickness, that makes no complaint; in sorely-tried honesty, that asks no
praise; in simple disinterestedness, hiding the hand that resigns its
advantage to another.

Masonry seeks to ennoble common life. Its work is to go down into the
obscure and unsearched records of daily conduct and feeling; and to
portray, not the ordinary virtue of an extraordinary life; but the more
extraordinary virtue of ordinary life. What is done and borne in the
shades of privacy, in the hard and beaten path of daily care and toil,
full of uncelebrated sacrifices; in the suffering, and sometimes
insulted suffering, that wears to the world a cheerful brow; in the long
strife of the spirit, resisting pain, penury, and neglect, carried on in
the inmost depths of the heart;–what is done, and borne, and wrought,
and won there, is a higher glory, and shall inherit a brighter crown.

On the volume of Masonic life one bright word is written, from which on
every side blazes an ineffable splendor. That word is DUTY.

To aid in securing to all labor permanent employment and its just
reward: to help to hasten the coming of that time when no one shall
suffer from hunger or destitution, because, though willing and able to
work, he can find no employment, or because he has been overtaken by
sickness in the midst of his labor, are part of your duties as a Knight
of the Royal Axe. And if we can succeed in making some small nook of
God’s creation a little more fruitful and cheerful, a little better and
more worthy of Him,–or in making some one or two human hearts a little
wiser, and more manful and hopeful and happy, we shall have done work,
worthy of Masons, and acceptable to our Father in Heaven.



Among most of the Ancient Nations there was, in addition to their public
worship, a private one styled the Mysteries; to which those only were
admitted who had been prepared by certain ceremonies called initiations.

The most widely disseminated of the ancient worships were those of Isis,
Orpheus, Dionusos, Ceres and Mithras. Many barbarous nations received
the knowledge of the Mysteries in honor of these divinities from the
Egyptians, before they arrived in Greece; and even in the British Isles
the Druids celebrated those of Dionusos, learned by them from the

The Mysteries of Eleusis, celebrated at Athens in honor of Ceres,
swallowed up, as it were, all the others. All the neighboring nations
neglected their own, to celebrate those of Eleusis; and in a little
while all Greece and Asia Minor were filled with the Initiates. They
spread into the Roman Empire, and even beyond its limits, “those holy
and august Eleusinian Mysteries,” said Cicero, “in which the people of
the remotest lands are initiated.” Zosimus says that they embraced the
whole human race; and Aristides termed them the common temple of the
whole world.

There were, in the Eleusinian feasts, two sorts of Mysteries, the great,
and the little. The latter were a kind of preparation for the former;
and everybody was admitted to them. Ordinarily there was a novitiate of
three, and sometimes of four years.

Clemens of Alexandria says that what was taught in the great Mysteries
concerned the Universe, and was the completion and perfection of all
instruction; wherein things were seen as they were, and nature and her
works were made known.

The ancients said that the Initiates would be more happy after death
than other mortals; and that, while the souls of the Profane on leaving
their bodies, would be plunged in the mire, and remain buried in
darkness, those of the Initiates would fly to the Fortunate Isles, the
abode of the Gods.

Plato said that the object of the Mysteries was to re-establish the soul
in its primitive purity, and in that state of perfection which it had
lost. Epictetus said, “whatever is met with therein has been instituted
by our Masters, for the instruction of man and the correction of

Proclus held that initiation elevated the soul, from a material,
sensual, and purely human life, to a communion and celestial intercourse
with the Gods; and that a variety of things, forms, and species were
shown Initiates, representing the first generation of the Gods.

Purity of morals and elevation of soul were required of the Initiates.
Candidates were required to be of spotless reputation and irreproachable
virtue. Nero, after murdering his mother, did not dare to be present at
the celebration of the Mysteries: and Antony presented himself to be
initiated, as the most infallible mode of proving his innocence of the
death of Avidius Cassius.

The Initiates were regarded as the only fortunate men. “It is upon us
alone,” says Aristophanes, “shineth the beneficent day-star. We alone
receive pleasure from the influence of his rays; we, who are initiated,
and who practise toward citizen and stranger every possible act of
justice and piety.” And it is therefore not surprising that, in time,
initiation came to be considered as necessary as baptism afterward was
to the Christians; and that not to have been admitted to the Mysteries
was held a dishonor.

“It seems to me,” says the great orator, philosopher, and moralist,
Cicero, “that Athens, among many excellent inventions, divine and very
useful to the human family, has produced none comparable to the
Mysteries, which for a wild and ferocious life have substituted humanity
and urbanity of manners. It is with good reason they use the term
_initiation_; for it is through them that we in reality have learned the
first principles of life; and they not only teach us to live in a manner
more consoling and agreeable, but they soften the pains of death by the
hope of a better life hereafter.”

Where the Mysteries originated is not known. It is supposed they came
from India, by the way of Chaldæa, into Egypt, and thence were carried
into Greece. Wherever they arose, they were practised among all the
ancient nations; and, as was usual, the Thracians, Cretans, and
Athenians each claimed the honor of invention, and each insisted that
they had borrowed nothing from any other people.

In Egypt and the East, all religion, even in its most poetical forms,
was more or less a mystery; and the chief reason why, in Greece, a
distinct name and office were assigned to the Mysteries, was because the
superficial popular theology left a want unsatisfied, which religion in
a wider sense alone could supply. They were practical acknowledgments of
the insufficiency of the popular religion to satisfy the deeper thoughts
and aspirations of the mind. The vagueness of symbolism might perhaps
reach what a more palpable and conventional creed could not. The former,
by its indefiniteness, acknowledged the abstruseness of its subject; it
treated a mysterious subject mystically; it endeavored to illustrate
what it could not explain; to excite an appropriate feeling, if it could
not develop an adequate idea; and made the image a mere subordinate
conveyance for the conception, which itself never became too obvious or

The instruction now conveyed by books and letters was of old conveyed by
symbols; and the priest had to invent or to perpetuate a display of
rites and exhibitions, which were not only more attractive to the eye
than words, but often to the mind more suggestive and pregnant with

Afterward, the institution became rather moral and political, than
religious. The civil magistrates shaped the ceremonies to political ends
in Egypt; the sages who carried them from that country to Asia, Greece,
and the North of Europe, were all kings or legislators. The chief
magistrate presided at those of Eleusis, represented by an officer
styled _King_: and the Priest played but a subordinate part.

The Powers revered in the Mysteries were all in reality Nature-Gods;
none of whom could be consistently addressed as mere heroes, because
their nature was confessedly super-heroic. The Mysteries, only in fact a
more solemn expression of the religion of the ancient poetry, taught
that doctrine of the Theocracia or Divine Oneness, which even poetry
does not entirely conceal. They were not in any open hostility with the
popular religion, but only a more solemn exhibition of its symbols; or
rather a part of itself in a more impressive form. The essence of all
Mysteries, as of all polytheism, consists in this, that the conception
of an unapproachable Being, single, eternal, and unchanging, and that
of a God of Nature, whose manifold power is immediately revealed to the
senses in the incessant round of movement, life, and death, fell asunder
in the treatment, and were separately symbolized. They offered a
perpetual problem to excite curiosity, and contributed to satisfy the
all-pervading religious sentiment, which if it obtain no nourishment
among the simple and intelligible, finds compensating excitement in a
reverential contemplation of the obscure.

Nature is as free from dogmatism as from tyranny; and the earliest
instructors of mankind not only adopted her lessons, but as far as
possible adhered to her method of imparting them. They attempted to
reach the understanding through the eye; and the greater part of all
religious teaching was conveyed through this ancient and most impressive
mode of “exhibition” or demonstration. The Mysteries were a sacred
drama, exhibiting some legend significant of Nature’s change, of the
visible Universe in which the divinity is revealed, and whose import was
in many respects as open to the Pagan, as to the Christian. Beyond the
current traditions or sacred recitals of the temple, few explanations
were given to the spectators, who were left, as in the school of nature,
to make inferences for themselves.

The method of indirect suggestion, by allegory or symbol, is a more
efficacious instrument of instruction than plain didactic language;
since we are habitually indifferent to that which is acquired without
effort: “The initiated are few, though many bear the thyrsus.” And it
would have been impossible to provide a lesson suited to every degree of
cultivation and capacity, unless it were one framed after Nature’s
example, or rather a representation of Nature herself, employing her
universal symbolism instead of technicalities of language, inviting
endless research, yet rewarding the humblest inquirer, and disclosing
its secrets to every one in Proportion to his preparatory training and
power to comprehend them.

Even if destitute of any formal or official enunciation of those
important truths, which even in a cultivated age it was often found
inexpedient to assert except under a veil of allegory, and which
moreover lose their dignity and value in proportion as they are learned
mechanically as dogmas, the shows of the Mysteries certainly contained
suggestions if not lessons, which in the opinion not of one competent
witness only, but of many, were adapted to elevate the character of the
spectators, enabling them to augur something of the purposes of
existence, as well as of the means of improving it, to live better and
to die happier.

Unlike the religion of books or creeds, these mystic shows and
performances were not the reading of a lecture, but the opening of a
problem, implying neither exemption from research, nor hostility to
philosophy: for, on the contrary, philosophy is the great Mystagogue or
Arch-Expounder of symbolism: though the interpretations by the Grecian
Philosophy of the old myths and symbols were in many instances as
ill-founded, as in others they are correct.

No better means could be devised to rouse a dormant intellect, than
those impressive exhibitions, which addressed it through the
imagination: which, instead of condemning it to a prescribed routine of
creed, invited it to seek, compare, and judge. The alteration from
symbol to dogma is as fatal to beauty of expression, as that from faith
to dogma is to truth and wholesomeness of thought.

The first philosophy often reverted to the natural mode of teaching; and
Socrates, in particular, is said to have eschewed dogmas, endeavoring,
like the Mysteries, rather to awaken and develop in the minds of his
hearers the ideas with which they were already endowed or pregnant, than
to fill them with ready-made adventitious opinions.

So Masonry still follows the ancient manner of teaching. Her symbols are
the instruction she gives; and the lectures are but often partial and
insufficient one-sided endeavors to interpret those symbols. He who
would become an accomplished Mason, must not be content merely to hear
or even to understand the lectures, but must, aided by them, and they
having as it were marked out the way for him, study, interpret, and
develop the symbols for himself.

The earliest speculation endeavored to express far more than it could
distinctly comprehend; and the vague impressions of the mind found in
the mysterious analogies of phenomena their most apt and energetic
representations. The Mysteries, like the symbols of Masonry, were but an
image of the eloquent analogies of Nature; both those and these
revealing no new secret to such as were or are unprepared, or incapable
of interpreting their significance.

Everywhere in the old Mysteries, and in all the symbolisms and
ceremonial of the Hierophant was found the same mythical personage, who,
like Hermes, or Zoroaster, unites Human Attributes with Divine, and is
himself the God whose worship he introduced, teaching rude men the
commencements of civilization through the influence of song, and
connecting with the symbol of his death, emblematic of that of Nature,
the most essential consolations of religion.

The Mysteries embraced the three great doctrines of Ancient Theosophy.
They treated of God, Man, and Nature. Dionusos, whose Mysteries Orpheus
is said to have founded, was the God of Nature, or of the moisture which
is the life of Nature, who prepares in darkness the return of life and
vegetation, or who is himself the Light and Change evolving their
varieties. He was theologically one with Hermes, Prometheus, and
Poseidon. In the Egean Islands he is Butes, Dardanus, Himeros, or
Imbros. In Crete he appears as Iasius or Zeus, whose worship remaining
unveiled by the usual forms of mystery, betrayed to profane curiosity
the symbols, which, if irreverently contemplated, were sure to be
misunderstood. In Asia he is the long-stoled Bassareus coalescing with
the Sabazius of the Phrygian Corybantes: the same with the mystic
Iacchus, nursling or son of Ceres, and with the dismembered Zagreus, son
of Persephoné.

In symbolical forms the Mysteries exhibited THE ONE, of which THE
MANIFOLD is an infinite illustration, containing a moral lesson,
calculated to guide the soul through life, and to cheer it in death. The
story of Dionusos was profoundly significant. He was not only creator of
the world, but guardian, liberator, and Savior of the soul. God of the
many-colored mantle, he was the resulting manifestation personified, the
all in the many, the varied year, life passing into innumerable forms.

The spiritual regeneration of man was typified in the Mysteries by the
second birth of Dionusos as offspring of the Highest; and the agents and
symbols of that regeneration were the elements that affected Nature’s
periodical purification–the air, indicated by the mystic fan or winnow;
the fire, signified by the torch; and the baptismal water, for water is
not only cleanser of all things, but the genesis or source of all.

These notions, clothed in ritual, suggested the soul’s reformation and
training, the moral purity formally proclaimed at Eleusis. He only was
invited to approach, who was “of clean hands and ingenuous speech, free
from all pollution, and with a clear conscience.” “Happy the man,” say
the initiated in Euripides and Aristophanes, “who purifies his life,
and who reverently consecrates his soul in the thiăsos of the God. Let
him take heed to his lips that he utter no profane word; let him be just
and kind to the stranger, and to his neighbor; let him give way to no
vicious excess, lest he make dull and heavy the organs of the spirit.
Far from the mystic dance of the thiăsos be the impure the evil speaker,
the seditious citizen, the selfish hunter after gain, the traitor; all
those, in short, whose practices are more akin to the riot of Titans
than to the regulated life of the Orphici, or the Curetan order of the
Priests of Idæan Zeus.”

The votary, elevated beyond the sphere of his ordinary faculties, and
unable to account for the agitation which overpowered him, seemed to
become divine in proportion as he ceased to be human; to be a dæmon or
god. Already, in imagination, the initiated were numbered among the
beatified. They alone enjoyed the true life, the Sun’s true lustre,
while they hymned their God beneath the mystic groves of a mimic
Elysium, and were really renovated or regenerated under the genial
influence of their dances.

“They whom Proserpina guides in her mysteries,” it was said, “who
imbibed her instruction and spiritual nourishment, rest from their
labors and know strife no more. Happy they who witness and comprehend
these sacred ceremonies! They are made to know the meaning of the riddle
of existence by observing its aim and termination as appointed by Zeus;
they partake a benefit more valuable and enduring than the grain
bestowed by Ceres; for they are exalted in the scale of intellectual
existence, and obtain sweet hopes to console them at their death.”

No doubt the ceremonies of initiation were originally few and simple. As
the great truths of the primitive revelation faded out of the memories
of the masses of the People, and wickedness became rife upon the earth,
it became necessary to discriminate, to require longer probation and
satisfactory tests of the candidates, and by spreading around what at
first were rather schools of instruction than mysteries, the veil of
secrecy, and the pomp of ceremony, to heighten the opinion of their
value and importance.

Whatever pictures later and especially Christian writers may draw of the
Mysteries, they must, not only originally, but for many ages, have
continued pure; and the doctrines of natural religion and morals there
taught, have been of the highest importance; because both the most
virtuous as well as the most learned and philosophic of the ancients
speak of them in the loftiest terms. That they ultimately became
degraded from their high estate, and corrupted, we know.

The rites of initiation became progressively more complicated. Signs and
tokens were invented by which the Children of Light could with facility
make themselves known to each other. Different Degrees were invented, as
the number of Initiates enlarged, in order that there might be in the
inner apartment of the Temple a favored few, to whom alone the more
valuable secrets were entrusted, and who could wield effectually the
influence and power of the Order.

Originally the Mysteries were meant to be the beginning of a new life of
reason and virtue. The initiated or esoteric companions were taught the
doctrine of the One Supreme God, the theory of death and eternity, the
hidden mysteries of Nature, the prospect of the ultimate restoration of
the soul to that state of perfection from which it had fallen, its
immortality, and the states of reward and punishment after death. The
uninitiated were deemed Profane, unworthy of public employment or
private confidence, sometimes proscribed as Atheists, and certain of
ever-lasting punishment beyond the grave.

All persons were initiated into the lesser Mysteries; but few attained
the greater, in which the true spirit of them, and most of their secret
doctrines were hidden. The veil of secrecy was impenetrable, sealed by
oaths and penalties the most tremendous and appalling. It was by
initiation only, that a knowledge of the Hieroglyphics could be
obtained, with which the walls, columns, and ceilings of the Temples
were decorated, and which, believed to have been communicated to the
Priests by revelation from the celestial deities, the youth of all ranks
were laudably ambitious of deciphering.

The ceremonies were performed at dead of night, generally in apartments
under-ground, but sometimes in the centre of a vast Pyramid, with every
appliance that could alarm and excite the candidate. Innumerable
ceremonies, wild and romantic, dreadful and appalling, had by degrees
been added to the few expressive symbols of primitive observances, under
which there were instances in which the terrified aspirant actually
expired with fear.

The pyramids were probably used for the purposes of initiation, as were
caverns, pagodas, and labyrinths; for the ceremonies required many
apartments and cells, long passages and wells. In Egypt a principal
place for the Mysteries was the island of Philæ on the Nile, where a
magnificent Temple of Osiris stood, and his relics were said to be

With their natural proclivities, the Priesthood, that select and
exclusive class, in Egypt, India, Phœnicia, Judea and Greece as well as
in Britain and Rome, and wherever else the Mysteries were known, made
use of them to build wider and higher the fabric of their own power. The
purity of no religion continues long. Rank and dignities succeed to the
primitive simplicity. Unprincipled, vain, insolent, corrupt, and venal
men put on God’s livery to serve the Devil withal; and luxury, vice,
intolerance, and pride depose frugality, virtue, gentleness, and
humility, and change the altar where they should be servants, to a
throne on which they reign.

But the Kings, Philosophers, and Statesmen, the wise and great and good
who were admitted to the Mysteries, long postponed their ultimate
self-destruction, and restrained the natural tendencies of the
Priesthood. And accordingly Zosimus thought that the neglect of the
Mysteries after Diocletian abdicated, was the chief cause of the decline
of the Roman Empire; and in the year 364, the Proconsul of Greece would
not close the Mysteries, notwithstanding a law of the Emperor
Valentinian, lest the people should be driven to desperation, if
prevented from performing them; upon which, as they believed, the
welfare of mankind wholly depended. They were practised in Athens until
the 8th century, in Greece and Rome for several centuries after Christ;
and in Wales and Scotland down to the 12th century.

The inhabitants of India originally practised the Patriarchal religion.
Even the later worship of Vishnu was cheerful and social; accompanied
with the festive song, the sprightly dance, and the resounding cymbal,
with libations of milk and honey, garlands, and perfumes from aromatic
woods and gums.

There perhaps the Mysteries commenced; and in them, under allegories,
were taught the primitive truths. We cannot, within the limits of this
lecture, detail the ceremonies of initiation; and shall use general
language, except where something from those old Mysteries still remains
in Masonry.

The Initiate was invested with a cord of three threads, so twined as to
make three times three, and called _zennar_. Hence comes our cable-tow.
It was an emblem of their triune Deity, the remembrance of whom we also
preserve in the three chief officers of our Lodges, presiding in the
three quarters of that Universe which our Lodges represent; in our three
greater and three lesser lights, our three movable and three immovable
jewels, and the three pillars that support our Lodges.

The Indian Mysteries were celebrated in subterranean caverns and grottos
hewn in the solid rock; and the Initiates adored the Deity, symbolized
by the solar fire. The candidate, long wandering in darkness, truly
wanted Light, and the worship taught him was the worship of God, the
Source of Light. The vast Temple of Elephanta, perhaps the oldest in the
world, hewn out of the rock, and 135 feet square, was used for
initiations; as were the still vaster caverns of Salsette, with their
300 apartments.

The periods of initiation were regulated by the increase and decrease of
the moon. The Mysteries were divided into four steps or Degrees. The
candidate might receive the first at eight years of age, when he was
invested with the zennar. Each Degree dispensed something of perfection.
“Let the wretched man,” says the Hitopadesa, “practise virtue, whenever
he enjoys one of the three or four religious Degrees; let him be
even-minded with all created things, and that disposition will be the
source of virtue.”

After various ceremonies, chiefly relating to the unity and trinity of
the Godhead, the candidate was clothed in a linen garment without a
seam, and remained under the care of a Brahmin until he was twenty years
of age, constantly studying and practising the most rigid virtue. Then
he underwent the severest probation for the second Degree, in which he
was sanctified by the sign of the cross, which, pointing to the four
quarters of the compass, was honored as a striking symbol of the
Universe by many nations of antiquity, and was imitated by the Indians
in the shape of their temples.

Then he was admitted to the Holy Cavern, blazing with light, where, in
costly robes, sat, in the East, West, and South, the three chief
Hierophants, representing the Indian tri-une Deity. The ceremonies there
commenced with an anthem to the Great God of Nature; and then followed
this apostrophe: “O mighty Being! greater than Brahma! we bow down
before Thee as the primal Creator! Eternal God of Gods! The World’s
Mansion! Thou art the Incorruptible Being, distinct from all things
transient! Thou art before all Gods, the Ancient Absolute Existence, and
the Supreme Supporter of the Universe! Thou art the Supreme Mansion; and
by Thee, O Infinite Form, the Universe was spread abroad.”

The candidate, thus taught the first great primitive truth was called
upon to make a formal declaration, that he would be tractable and
obedient to his superiors; that he would keep his body pure; govern his
tongue, and observe a passive obedience in receiving the doctrines and
traditions of the Order; and the firmest secrecy in maintaining
inviolable its hidden and abstruse mysteries. Then he was sprinkled with
water (whence our _baptism_); certain words, now unknown, were whispered
in his ear; and he was divested of his shoes, and made to go three times
around the cavern. Hence our three circuits; hence we were neither
barefoot nor shod: and the words were the Pass-words of that Indian

The Gymnosophist Priests came from the banks of the Euphrates into
Ethiopia, and brought with them their sciences and their doctrines.
Their principal College was at Meroe, and their Mysteries were
celebrated in the Temple of Amun, renowned for his oracle. Ethiopia was
then a powerful State, which preceded Egypt in civilization, and had a
theocratic government. Above the King was the Priest, who could put him
to death in the name of the Deity. Egypt was then composed of the
Thebaid only. Middle Egypt and the Delta were a gulf of the
Mediterranean. The Nile by degrees formed an immense marsh, which,
afterward drained by the labor of man, formed Lower Egypt; and was for
many centuries governed by the Ethiopian Sacerdotal Caste, of Arabic
origin; afterward displaced by a dynasty of warriors. The magnificent
ruins of Axoum, with its obelisks and hieroglyphics, temples, vast tombs
and pyramids, around ancient Meroe, are far older than the pyramids near

The Priests, taught by Hermes, embodied in books the occult and hermetic
sciences, with their own discoveries and the revelations of the Sibyls.
They studied particularly the most abstract sciences, discovered the
famous geometrical theorems which Pythagoras afterward learned from
them, calculated eclipses, and regulated, nineteen centuries before
Cæsar, the Julian year. They descended to practical investigations as
to the necessities of life, and made known their discoveries to the
people; they cultivated the fine arts, and inspired the people with that
enthusiasm which produced the avenues of Thebes, the Labyrinth, the
Temples of Karnac, Denderah, Edfou, and Philæ, the monolithic obelisks,
and the great Lake Moeris, the fertilizer of the country.

The wisdom of the Egyptian Initiates, the high sciences and lofty
morality which they taught, and their immense knowledge, excited the
emulation of the most eminent men, whatever their rank and fortune; and
led them, despite the complicated and terrible trials to be undergone,
to seek admission into the Mysteries of Osiris and Isis.

From Egypt, the Mysteries went to Phoenicia, and were celebrated at
Tyre. Osiris changed his name, and become Adoni or Dionusos, still the
representative of the Sun; and afterward these Mysteries were introduced
successively into Assyria, Babylon, Persia, Greece, Sicily, and Italy.
In Greece and Sicily, Osiris took the name of Bacchus, and Isis that of
Ceres, Cybele, Rhea and Venus.

Bar Hebraeus says: “Enoch was the first who invented books and different
sorts of writing. The ancient Greeks declare that Enoch is the same as
Mercury Trismegistus [Hermes], and that he taught the sons of men the
art of building cities, and enacted some admirable laws…. He
discovered the knowledge of the Zodiac, and the course of the Planets;
and he pointed out to the sons of men, that they should worship God,
that they should fast, that they should pray, that they should give
alms, votive offerings, and tenths. He reprobated abominable foods and
drunkenness, and appointed festivals for sacrifices to the Sun, at each
of the Zodiacal Signs.”

Manetho extracted his history from certain pillars which he discovered
in Egypt, whereon inscriptions had been made by Thoth, or the first
Mercury [or Hermes], in the sacred letters and dialect: but which were
after the flood translated from that dialect into the Greek tongue, and
laid up in the private recesses of the Egyptian Temples. These pillars
were found in subterranean caverns, near Thebes and beyond the Nile, not
far from the sounding statue of Memnon, in a place called Syringes;
which are described to be certain winding apartments underground; made,
it is said, by those who were skilled in ancient rites; who, foreseeing
the coming of the Deluge, and fearing lest the memory of their
ceremonies should be obliterated, built and contrived vaults, dug with
vast labor, in several places.

From the bosom of Egypt sprang a man of consummate wisdom, initiated in
the secret knowledge of India, of Persia, and of Ethiopia, named Thoth
or Phtha by his compatriots, Taaut by the Phoenicians, Hermes
Trismegistus by the Greeks, and Adris by the Rabbins. Nature seemed to
have chosen him for her favorite and to have lavished on him all the
qualities necessary to enable him to study her and to know her
thoroughly. The Deity had, so to say, infused into him the sciences and
the arts, in order that he might instruct the whole world.

He invented many things necessary for the uses of life, and gave them
suitable names; he taught men how to write down their thoughts and
arrange their speech; he instituted the ceremonies to be observed in the
worship of each of the Gods; he observed the course of the stars; he
invented music, the different bodily exercises, arithmetic, medicine,
the art of working in metals, the lyre with three strings; he regulated
the three tones of the voice, the _sharp_, taken from autumn, the
_grave_ from winter, and the _middle_ from spring, there being then but
three seasons. It was he who taught the Greeks the mode of interpreting
terms and things, whence they gave him the name of [Greek: Hermes]
[_Hermes_], which signifies _Interpreter_.

In Egypt he instituted hieroglyphics: he selected a certain number of
persons whom he judged fitted to be the depositaries of his secrets, of
such only as were capable of attaining the throne and the first offices
in the Mysteries; he united them in a body, created them _Priests of the
Living God_, instructed them in the sciences and arts, and explained to
them the symbols by which they were veiled. Egypt, 1500 years before the
time of Moses, revered in the Mysteries ONE SUPREME GOD, called the ONLY
UNCREATED. Under Him it paid homage to seven principal deities. It is to
Hermes, who lived at that period, that we must attribute the concealment
or _veiling_ [_velation_] of the Indian worship, which Moses _unveiled_
or _revealed_, changing nothing of the laws of Hermes, except the
plurality of his mystic Gods.

The Egyptian Priests related that Hermes, dying, said: “Hitherto I have
lived an exile from my true country: now I return thither. Do not weep
for me: I return to that celestial country whither each goes in his
turn. There is God. This life is but a death.” This is precisely the
creed of the old Buddhists of Samaneans, who believed that from time to
time God sent Buddhas on earth, to reform men, to wean them from their
vices, and lead them back into the paths of virtue.

Among the sciences taught by Hermes, there were secrets which he
communicated to the Initiates only upon condition that they should bind
themselves, by a terrible oath, never to divulge them, except to those
who, after long trial, should be found worthy to succeed them. The Kings
even prohibited the revelation of them on pain of death. This secret was
styled the Sacerdotal Art, and included alchemy, astrology, magism
[magic], the science of spirits, etc. He gave them the key to the
Hieroglyphics of all these secret sciences, which were regarded as
sacred, and kept concealed in the most secret places of the Temple.

The great secrecy observed by the initiated Priests, for many years, and
the lofty sciences which they professed, caused them to be honored and
respected throughout all Egypt, which was regarded by other nations as
the college, the sanctuary, of the sciences and arts. The mystery which
surrounded them strongly excited curiosity. Orpheus metamorphosed
himself, so to say, into an Egyptian. He was initiated into Theology and
Physics. And he so completely made the ideas and reasonings of his
teachers his own, that his Hymns rather bespeak an Egyptian Priest than
a Grecian Poet: and he was the first who carried into Greece the
Egyptian fables.

Pythagoras, ever thirsty for learning, consented even to be circumcised,
in order to become one of the Initiates: and the occult sciences were
revealed to him in the innermost part of the sanctuary.

The Initiates in a particular science, having been instructed by fables,
enigmas, allegories, and hieroglyphics, wrote mysteriously whenever in
their works they touched the subject of the Mysteries, and continued to
conceal science under a veil of fictions.

When the destruction by Cambyses of many cities, and the ruin of nearly
all Egypt, in the year 528 before our era, dispersed most of the Priests
into Greece and elsewhere, they bore with them their sciences, which
they continued to teach enigmatically, that is to say, ever enveloped in
the obscurities of fables and hieroglyphics; to the end that the vulgar
herd, seeing, might see nothing, and hearing, might comprehend nothing.
All the writers drew from this source: but these Mysteries, concealed
under so many unexplained envelopes, ended in giving birth to a swarm of
absurdities, which, from Greece, spread over the whole earth.

In the Grecian Mysteries, as established by Pythagoras, there were three
Degrees. A preparation of five years’ abstinence and silence was
required. If the candidate was found to be passionate or intemperate,
contentious, or ambitious of worldly honors and distinctions, he was

In his lectures, Pythagoras taught the mathematics, as a medium whereby
to prove the existence of God from observation and by means of reason;
grammar, rhetoric, and logic, to cultivate and improve that reason,
arithmetic, because he conceived that the ultimate benefit of man
consisted in the science of numbers, and geometry, music, and astronomy,
because he conceived that man is indebted to them for a knowledge of
what is really good and useful.

He taught the true method of obtaining a knowledge of the Divine laws of
purifying the soul from its imperfections, of searching for truth, and
of practising virtue; thus imitating the perfections of God. He thought
his system vain, if it did not contribute to expel vice and introduce
virtue into the mind. He taught that the two most excellent things were,
to speak the truth, and to render benefits to one another. Particularly
he inculcated Silence, Temperance, Fortitude, Prudence, and Justice. He
taught the immortality of the soul, the Omnipotence of God, and the
necessity of personal holiness to qualify a man for admission into the
Society of the Gods.

Thus we owe the particular mode of instruction in the Degree of
Fellow-Craft to Pythagoras; and that Degree is but an imperfect
reproduction of his lectures. From him, too, we have many of our
explanations of the symbols. He arranged his assemblies due East and
West, because he held that Motion began in the East and proceeded to the
West. Our Lodges are said to be due East and West, because the Master
represents the rising Sun, and of course must be in the East. The
pyramids, too, were built precisely by the four cardinal points. And our
expression, that our Lodges extend upward to the Heavens, comes from the
Persian and Druidic custom of having to their Temples no roofs but the

Plato developed and spiritualized the philosophy of Pythagoras. Even
Eusebius the Christian admits, that he reached to the vestibule of
Truth, and stood upon its threshold.

The Druidical ceremonies undoubtedly came from India; and the Druids
were originally Buddhists. The word _Druidh_, like the word _Magi_,
signifies wise or learned men; and they were at once philosophers,
magistrates, and divines.

There was a surprising uniformity in the Temples, Priests, doctrines,
and worship of the Persian Magi and British Druids. The Gods of Britain
were the same as the Cabiri of Samothrace. Osiris and Isis appeared in
their Mysteries, under the names of Hu and Ceridwen; and like those of
the primitive Persians, their Temples were enclosures of huge unhewn
stones, some of which still remain, and are regarded by the common
people with fear and veneration. They were generally either circular or
oval. Some were in the shape of a circle to which a vast serpent was
attached. The circle was an Eastern symbol of the Universe, governed by
an Omnipotent Deity whose centre is everywhere, and his circumference
nowhere: and the egg was an universal symbol of the world. Some of the
Temples were winged, and some in the shape of a cross; the winged ones
referring to Kneph, the winged Serpent-Deity of Egypt; whence the name
of _Navestock_, where one of them stood. Temples in the shape of a cross
were also found in Ireland and Scotland. The length of one of these vast
structures, in the shape of a serpent, was nearly three miles.

The grand periods for initiation into the Druidical Mysteries, were
quarterly; at the equinoxes and solstices. In the remote times when they
originated, these were the times corresponding with the 13th of
February, 1st of May, 19th of August, and 1st of November. The time of
annual celebration was May-Eve, and the ceremonial preparations
commenced at midnight, on the 29th of April. When the initiations were
over, on May-Eve, fires were kindled on all the cairns and cromlechs in
the island, which burned all night to introduce the sports of May-day.
The festival was in honor of the Sun. The initiations were performed at
midnight; and there were three Degrees.

The Gothic Mysteries were carried Northward from the East, by Odin; who,
being a great warrior, modelled and varied them to suit his purposes and
the genius of his people. He placed over their celebration twelve
Hierophants, who were alike Priests, Counsellors of State, and Judges
from whose decision there was no appeal.

He held the numbers three and nine in peculiar veneration and was
probably himself the Indian Buddha. Every thrice-three months,
thrice-three victims were sacrificed to the tri-une God.

The Goths had three great festivals; the most magnificent of which
commenced at the winter solstice, and was celebrated in honor of Thor,
the Prince of the Power of the Air. That being the longest night in the
year, and the one after which the Sun comes Northward, it was
commemorative of the Creation; and they termed it mother-night, as the
one in which the creation of the world and light from the primitive
darkness took place. This was the _Yule, Juul,_ or _Yeol_ feast, which
afterward became Christmas. At this feast the initiations were
celebrated. Thor was the Sun, the Egyptian Osiris and Kneph, the
Phœnician Bel or Baal. The initiations were had in huge intricate
caverns, terminating, as all the Mithriac caverns did, in a spacious
vault, where the candidate _was brought to light_.

Joseph was undoubtedly initiated. After he had interpreted Pharaoh’s
dream, that Monarch made him his Prime Minister, let him ride in his
second chariot, while they proclaimed before him, ABRECH![1] and set him
over the land of Egypt. In addition to this, the King gave him a new
name, Tsapanat-Paänakh, and married him to Asanat, daughter of Potai
Parang, a Priest of An or Hieropolis, where was the Temple of Athom-Re,
the Great God of Egypt; thus completely naturalizing him. He could not
have contracted this marriage, nor have exercised that high dignity,
without being first initiated in the Mysteries. When his Brethren came
to Egypt the second time, the Egyptians of his court could not eat with
them, as that would have been abomination, though they ate with Joseph;
who was therefore regarded not as a foreigner, but as one of themselves:
and when he sent and brought his brethren back, and charged them with
taking his cup, he said, “Know ye not that a man like me practises
divination?” thus assuming the Egyptian of high rank initiated into the
Mysteries, and as such conversant with the occult sciences.

[Footnote 1: An Egyptian word, meaning, _”Bow down.”_]

So also must Moses have been initiated: for he was not only brought up
in the court of the King, as the adopted son of the King’s daughter,
until he was forty years of age; but he was instructed in all the
learning of the Egyptians, and married afterward the daughter of
Yethrū, a Priest of An likewise. Strabo and Diodorus both assert that he
was himself a Priest of Heliopolis. Before he went into the Desert,
there were intimate relations between him and the Priesthood; and he had
successfully commanded, Josephus informs us, an army sent by the King
against the Ethiopians. Simglicius asserts that Moses received from the
Egyptians, in the Mysteries, the doctrines which he taught to the
Hebrews: and Clemens of Alexandria and Philo say that he was a
Theologian and Prophet, and interpreter of the Sacred Laws. Manetho,
cited by Josephus, says he was a Priest of Heliopolis, and that his true
and original (Egyptian) name was Asersaph or Osarsiph.

And in the institution of the Hebrew Priesthood, in the powers and
privileges, as well as the immunities and sanctity which he conferred
upon them, he closely imitated the Egyptian institutions; making
_public_ the worship of that Deity whom the Egyptian Initiates
worshipped in private; and strenuously endeavoring to keep the people
from relapsing into their old mixture of Chaldaic and Egyptian
superstition and idol-worship, as they were ever ready and inclined to
do; even Aharūn, upon their first clamorous discontent, restoring the
worship of Apis; as an image of which Egyptian God he made the golden

The Egyptian Priests taught in their great Mysteries, that there was one
God, Supreme and Unapproachable, who had _conceived_ the Universe by His
Intelligence, before He _created_ it by His Power and Will. They were no
Materialists nor Pantheists; but taught that Matter was not eternal or
co-existent with the great First Cause, but created by Him.

The early Christians, taught by the founder of their Religion, but in
greater perfection, those primitive truths that from the Egyptians had
passed to the Jews, and been preserved among the latter by the Essenes,
received also the institution of the Mysteries; adopting as their object
the building of the symbolic Temple, preserving the old Scriptures of
the Jews as their sacred book, and as the fundamental law, which
furnished the new veil of initiation with the Hebraic words and
formulas, that, corrupted and disfigured by time and ignorance, appear
in many of our Degrees.

Such, my Brother, is the doctrine of the first Degree of the Mysteries,
or that of Chief of the Tabernacle, to which you have now been
admitted, and the moral lesson of which is, devotion to the service of
God, and disinterested zeal and constant endeavor for the welfare of
men. You have here received only hints of the true objects and purposes
of the Mysteries. Hereafter, if you are permitted to advance, you will
arrive at a more complete understanding of them and of the sublime
doctrines which they teach. Be content, therefore, with that which you
have seen and heard and await patiently the advent of the greater light.




Symbols were the almost universal language of ancient theology. They
were the most obvious method of instruction; for, like nature herself,
they addressed the understanding through the eye; and the most ancient
expressions denoting communication of religious knowledge, signify
ocular exhibition. The first teachers of mankind borrowed this method of
instruction; and it comprised an endless store of pregnant
hieroglyphics. These lessons of the olden time were the riddles of the
Sphynx, tempting the curious by their quaintness, but involving the
personal risk of the adventurous interpreter. “The Gods themselves,” it
was said, “disclose their intentions to the wise, but to fools their
teaching is unintelligible;” and the King of the Delphic Oracle was said
not to _declare_, nor on the other hand to _conceal_; but emphatically
to “_intimate_ or _signify_.”

The Ancient Sages, both barbarian and Greek, involved their meaning in
similar indirections and enigmas; their lessons were conveyed either in
visible symbols, or in those “parables and dark sayings of old,” which
the Israelites considered it a sacred duty to hand down unchanged to
successive generations. The explanatory tokens employed by man, whether
emblematical objects or actions, symbols or mystic ceremonies, were like
the mystic signs and portents either in dreams or by the wayside,
supposed to be significant of the intentions of the Gods; both required
the aid of anxious thought and skillful interpretation. It was only by a
correct appreciation of analogous problems of nature, that the will of
Heaven could be understood by the Diviner, or the lessons of Wisdom
become manifest to the Sage.

The Mysteries were a series of symbols; and what was _spoken_ there
consisted wholly of accessory explanations of the act or image; sacred
commentaries, explanatory of established symbols; with little of those
independent traditions embodying physical or moral speculation, in which
the elements or planets were the actors, and the creation and
revolutions of the world were intermingled with recollections of ancient
events: and yet with so much of that also, that nature became her own
expositor through the medium of an arbitrary symbolical instruction; and
the ancient views of the relation between the human and divine received
dramatic forms.

There has ever been an intimate alliance between the two systems, the
symbolic and the philosophical, in the allegories of the monuments of
all ages, in the symbolic writings of the priests of all nations, in the
rituals of all secret and mysterious societies; there has been a
constant series, an invariable uniformity of principles, which come from
an aggregate, vast, imposing, and true, composed of parts that fit
harmoniously only there.

Symbolical instruction is recommended by the constant and uniform usage
of antiquity; and it has retained its influence throughout all ages, as
a system of mysterious communication. The Deity, in his revelations to
man, adopted the use of material images for the purpose of enforcing
sublime truths; and Christ taught by symbols and parables. The
mysterious knowledge of the Druids was embodied in signs and symbols.
Taliesin, describing his initiation, says: “The secrets were imparted to
me by the old Giantess (_Ceridwen_, or _Isis_), without the use of
audible language.” And again he says, “I am a _silent_ proficient.”

Initiation was a school, in which were taught the truths of primitive
revelation, the existence and attributes of one God, the immortality of
the Soul, rewards and punishments in a future life, the phenomena of
Nature, the arts, the sciences, morality, legislation, philosophy, and
philanthropy, and what we now style psychology and metaphysics, with
animal magnetism, and the other occult sciences.

All the ideas of the Priests of Hindostan, Persia, Syria, Arabia,
Chaldæa, Phœnicia, were known to the Egyptian Priests. The rational
Indian philosophy, after penetrating Persia and Chaldæa, gave birth to
the Egyptian Mysteries. We find that the use of Hieroglyphics was
preceded in Egypt by that of the easily understood symbols and figures,
from the mineral, animal, and vegetable kingdoms, used by the Indians,
Persians, and Chaldæans to express their thoughts; and this primitive
philosophy was the basis of the modern philosophy of Pythagoras and

All the philosophers and legislators that made Antiquity illustrious,
were pupils of the initiation; and all the beneficent modifications in
the religions of the different people instructed by them were owing to
their institution and extension of the Mysteries. In the chaos of
popular superstitions, those Mysteries alone kept man from lapsing into
absolute brutishness. Zoroaster and Confucius drew their doctrines from
the Mysteries. Clemens of Alexandria, speaking of the Great Mysteries,
says: “Here ends all instruction. Nature and all things are seen and
known.” Had moral truths alone been taught the Initiate, the Mysteries
could never have deserved nor received the magnificent eulogiums of the
most enlightened men of Antiquity,–of Pindar, Plutarch, Isocrates,
Diodorus, Plato, Euripides, Socrates, Aristophanes, Cicero, Epictetus,
Marcus Aurelius, and others;–philosophers hostile to the Sacerdotal
Spirit, or historians devoted to the investigation of Truth. No: all the
sciences were taught there; and those oral or written traditions briefly
communicated, which reached back to the first age of the world.

Socrates said, in the Phædo of Plato: “It well appears that those who
established the Mysteries, or secret assemblies of the initiated, were
no contemptible personages, but men of great genius, who in the early
ages strove to teach us, under enigmas, that he who shall go to the
invisible regions without being purified, will be precipitated into the
abyss; while he who arrives there, purged of the stains of this world,
and accomplished in virtue, will be admitted to the dwelling-place of
the Deity…. The initiated are certain to attain the company of the

Pretextatus, Proconsul of Achaia, a man endowed with all the virtues,
said, in the 4th century, that to deprive the Greeks of those Sacred
Mysteries which bound together the whole human face, would make life

Initiation was considered to be a mystical death; a descent into the
infernal regions, where every pollution, and the stains and
imperfections of a corrupt and evil life were purged away by fire and
water; and the perfect _Epopt_ was then said to be _regenerated_,
_new-born_, restored to a _renovated_ existence of _life_, _light_, and
_purity_; and placed under the Divine Protection.

A new language was adapted to these celebrations, and also a language of
hieroglyphics, unknown to any but those who had received the highest
Degree. And to them ultimately were confined the learning, the morality,
and the political power of every people among which the Mysteries were
practised. So effectually was the knowledge of the hieroglyphics of the
highest Degree hidden from all but a favored few, that in process of
time their meaning Was entirely lost, and none could interpret them. If
the same hieroglyphics were employed in the higher as in the lower
Degrees, they had a different and more abstruse and figurative meaning.
It was pretended, in later times, that the sacred hieroglyphics and
language were the same that were used by the Celestial Deities.
Everything that could heighten the mystery of initiation was added,
until the very name of the ceremony possessed a strange charm, and yet
conjured up the wildest fears. The greatest rapture came to be expressed
by the word that signified to pass through the Mysteries.

The Priesthood possessed one third of Egypt. They gained much of their
influence by means of the Mysteries, and spared no means to impress the
people with a full sense of their importance. They represented them as
the beginning of a new life of reason and virtue: the initiated, or
esoteric companions were said to entertain the most agreeable
anticipations respecting death and eternity, to comprehend all the
hidden mysteries of Nature, to have their souls restored to the original
perfection from which man had fallen; and at their death to be borne to
the celestial mansions of the Gods. The doctrines of a future state of
rewards and punishments formed a prominent feature in the Mysteries; and
they were also believed to assure much temporal happiness and
good-fortune, and afford absolute security against the most imminent
dangers by land and sea. Public odium was cast on those who refused to
be initiated. They were considered profane, unworthy of public
employment or private confidence; and held to be doomed to eternal
punishment as impious. To betray the secrets of the Mysteries, to wear
on the stage the dress of an Initiate, or to hold the Mysteries up to
derision, was to incur death at the hands of public vengeance.

It is certain that up to the time of Cicero, the Mysteries still
retained much of their original character of sanctity and purity. And at
a later day, as we know, Nero, after committing a horrible crime, did
not dare, even in Greece, to aid in the celebration of the Mysteries;
nor at a still later day was Constantine, the Christian Emperor, allowed
to do so, after his murder of his relatives.

Everywhere, and in all their forms, the Mysteries were funereal; and
celebrated the mystical death and restoration to life of some divine or
heroic personage: and the details of the legend and the mode of the
death varied in the different Countries where the Mysteries were

Their explanation belongs both to astronomy and mythology; and the
Legend of the Master’s Degree is but another form of that of the
Mysteries, reaching back, in one shape or other, to the remotest

Whether Egypt originated the legend, or borrowed it from India or
Chaldæa, it is now impossible to know. But the Hebrews received the
Mysteries from the Egyptians; and of course were familiar with _their
legend_,–known as it was to those Egyptian Initiates, Joseph and Moses.
It was the fable (or rather the _truth_ clothed in allegory and figures)
of OSIRIS, the Sun, Source of Light and Principle of Good, and TYPHON,
the Principle of Darkness and Evil. In all the histories of the Gods and
Heroes lay couched and hidden astronomical details and the history of
the operations of visible Nature; and those in their turn were also
symbols of higher and profounder truths. None but rude uncultivated
intellects could long consider the Sun and Stars and the Powers of
Nature as Divine, or as fit objects of Human Worship; and _they_ will
consider them so while the world lasts; and ever remain ignorant of the
great Spiritual Truths of which these are the hieroglyphics and

A brief summary of the Egyptian legend will serve to show the leading
idea on which the Mysteries among the Hebrews were based.

Osiris, said to have been an ancient King of Egypt, was the Sun; and
Isis, his wife, the Moon: and his history recounts, in poetical and
figurative style, the annual journey of the Great Luminary of Heaven
through the different Signs of the Zodiac.

In the absence of Osiris, Typhon, his brother, filled with envy and
malice, sought to usurp his throne; but his plans were frustrated by
Isis. Then he resolved to kill Osiris. This he did, by persuading him to
enter a coffin or sarcophagus, which he then flung into the Nile. After
a long search, Isis found the body, and concealed it in the depths of a
forest; but Typhon, finding it there, cut it into fourteen pieces, and
scattered them hither and thither. After tedious search, Isis found
thirteen pieces, the fishes having eaten the other (the privates), which
she replaced of wood, and buried the body at Philæ; where a temple of
surpassing magnificence was erected in honor of Osiris.

Isis, aided by her son Orus, Horus or Har-oeri, warred against Typhon,
slew him, reigned gloriously, and at her death was reunited to her
husband, in the same tomb.

Typhon was represented as born of the earth; the upper part of his body
covered with feathers, in stature reaching the clouds, his arms and legs
covered with scales, serpents darting from him on every side, and fire
flashing from his mouth. Horus, who aided in slaying him, became the God
of the Sun, answering to the Grecian Apollo; and Typhon is but the
anagram of Python, the great serpent slain by Apollo.

The word Typhon, like Eve, signifies _a serpent_, and _life_.[2] By its
form the serpent symbolizes life, which circulates through all nature.
When, toward the end of autumn, the Woman (Virgo), in the constellations
seems (upon the Chaldæan sphere) to crush with her heel the head of the
serpent, this figure foretells the coming of winter, during which life
seems to retire from all beings, and no longer to circulate through
nature. This is why Typhon signifies also a serpent, the symbol of
winter, which, in the Catholic Temples, is represented surrounding the
Terrestrial Globe, which surmounts the heavenly cross, emblem of
redemption. If the word Typhon is derived from _Tupoul_, it signifies a
tree which produces apples (_mala_, evils), the Jewish origin of the
fall of man. Typhon means also one who supplants, and signifies the
human passions, which expel from our hearts the lessons of wisdom. In
the Egyptian Fable, Isis wrote the sacred word for the instruction of
men, and Typhon effaced it as fast as she wrote it. In morals, his name
signifies _Pride_, _Ignorance_, and _Falsehood_.

[Footnote 2: [Hebrew:] Tsapanai, in Hebrew, means a serpent.]

When Isis first found the body, where it had floated ashore near Byblos,
a shrub of _erica_ or tamarisk near it had, by the virtue of the body,
shot up into a tree around it, and protected it; and hence our sprig of
acacia. Isis was also aided in her search by Anubis, in the shape of a
dog. He was Sirius or the Dog-Star, the friend and counsellor of Osiris,
and the inventor of language, grammar, astronomy, surveying, arithmetic,
music, and medical science; the first maker of laws; and who taught the
worship of the Gods, and the building of Temples.

In the Mysteries, the nailing up of the body of Osiris in the chest or
ark was termed the _aphanism_, or disappearance [of the Sun at the
Winter Solstice, below the Tropic of Capricorn], and the recovery of the
different parts of his body by Isis, the _Euresis_, finding. The
candidate went through a ceremony representing this, in all the
Mysteries everywhere. The main facts in the fable were the same in all
countries; and the prominent Deities were everywhere a male and a

In Egypt they were Osiris and Isis: in India, Mahadeva and Bhavani: in
Phœnicia, Thammuz (or Adonis) and Astarte: in Phrygia, Atys and Cybele:
in Persia, Mithras and Asis: in Samothrace and Greece, Dionusos or
Sabazeus and Rhea: in Britain, Hu and Ceridwen: and in Scandinavia,
Woden and Frea: and in every instance these Divinities represented the
Sun and the Moon.

The mysteries of Osiris, Isis, and Horus, seem to have been the model of
all other ceremonies of initiation subsequently established among the
different peoples of the world. Those of Atys and Cybele, celebrated in
Phrygia; those of Ceres and Proserpine, at Eleusis and many other places
in Greece, were but copies of them. This we learn from Plutarch,
Diodorus Siculus, Lactantius, and other writers; and in the absence of
direct testimony should necessarily infer it from the similarity of the
adventures of these Deities; for the ancients held that the Ceres of the
Greeks was the same as the Isis of the Egyptians; and Dionusos or
Bacchus as Osiris.

In the legend of Osiris and Isis, as given by Plutarch, are many details
and circumstances other than those that we have briefly mentioned; and
all of which we need not repeat here. Osiris married his sister Isis;
and labored publicly with her to ameliorate the lot of men. He taught
them agriculture, while Isis invented laws. He built temples to the
Gods, and established their worship. Both were the patrons of artists
and their useful inventions; and introduced the use of iron for
defensive weapons and implements of agriculture, and of gold to adorn
the temples of the Gods. He went forth with an army to conquer men to
civilization, teaching the people whom he overcame to plant the vine and
sow grain for food.

Typhon, his brother, slew him when the sun was in the sign of the
Scorpion, that is to say, at the Autumnal Equinox. They had been rival
claimants, says Synesius, for the throne of Egypt, as Light and Darkness
contend ever for the empire of the world. Plutarch adds, that at the
time when Osiris was slain, the moon was at its full; and therefore it
was in the sign opposite the Scorpion, that is, the Bull, the sign of
the Vernal Equinox.

Plutarch assures us that it was to represent these events and details
that Isis established the Mysteries, in which they were reproduced by
images, symbols, and a religious ceremonial, whereby they were imitated:
and in which lessons of piety were given, and consolations under the
misfortunes that afflict us here below. Those who instituted these
Mysteries meant to strengthen religion and console men in their sorrows
by the lofty hopes found in a religious faith, whose principles were
represented to them covered by a pompous ceremonial, and under the
sacred veil of allegory.

Diodorus speaks of the famous columns erected near Nysa, in Arabia,
where, it was said, were two of the tombs of Osiris and Isis. On one was
this inscription: “I am Isis, Queen of this country. I was instructed by
Mercury. No one can destroy the laws which I have established. I am the
eldest daughter of Saturn, most ancient of the Gods. I am the wife and
sister of Osiris the King. I first made known to mortals the use of
wheat. I am the mother of Orus the King. In my honor was the city of
Bubaste built. Rejoice, O Egypt, rejoice, land that gave me birth!” …
And on the other was this: “I am Osiris the King, who led my armies into
all parts of the world, to the most thickly inhabited countries of
India, the North, the Danube, and the Ocean. I am the eldest son of
Saturn: I was born of the brilliant and magnificent egg, and my
substance is of the same nature as that which composes light. There is
no place in the Universe where I have not appeared, to bestow my
benefits and make known my discoveries.” The rest was illegible.

To aid her in the search for the body of Osiris, and to nurse her infant
child Horus, Isis sought out and took with her Anubis, son of Osiris,
and his sister Nephte. He, as we have said, was Sirius, the brightest
star in the Heavens. After finding him, she went to Byblos, and seated
herself near a fountain, where she had learned that the sacred chest had
stopped which contained the body of Osiris. There she sat, sad and
silent, shedding a torrent of tears. Thither came the women of the Court
of Queen Astarte, and she spoke to them, and dressed their hair, pouring
upon it deliciously perfumed ambrosia. This known to the Queen, Isis
was engaged as nurse for her child, in the palace, one of the columns of
which was made of the erica or tamarisk, that had grown up over the
chest containing Osiris, cut down by the King, and unknown to him, still
enclosing the chest: which column Isis afterward demanded, and from it
extracted the chest and the body, which, the latter wrapped in thin
drapery and perfumed, she carried away with her.

Blue Masonry, ignorant of its import, still retains among its emblems
one of a woman weeping over a broken column, holding in her hand a
branch of acacia, myrtle, or tamarisk, while Time, we are told, stands
behind her combing out the ringlets of her hair. We need not repeat the
vapid and trivial explanation there given, of this representation of
_Isis_, weeping at Byblos, over the column torn from the palace of the
King, that contained the body of Osiris, while Horus, the God of Time,
pours ambrosia on her hair.

Nothing of this recital was historical; but the whole was an allegory or
sacred fable, containing a meaning known only to those who were
initiated into the Mysteries. All the incidents were astronomical, with
a meaning still deeper lying behind _that_ explanation, and so hidden by
a double veil. The Mysteries, in which these incidents were represented
and explained, were like those of Eleusis in their object, of which
Pausanias, who was initiated, says that the Greeks, from the remotest
antiquity, regarded them as the best calculated of all things to lead
men to piety: and Aristotle says they were the most valuable of all
religious institutions, and thus were called mysteries par excellence;
and the Temple of Eleusis was regarded as, in some sort, the common
sanctuary of the whole earth, where religion had brought together all
that was most imposing and most august.

The object of all the Mysteries was to inspire men with piety, and to
console them in the miseries of life. That consolation, so afforded, was
the hope of a happier future, and of passing, after death, to a state of
eternal felicity.

Cicero says that the Initiates not only received lessons which made life
more agreeable, but drew from the ceremonies happy hopes for the moment
of death. Socrates says that those who were so fortunate as to be
admitted to the Mysteries, possessed, when dying, the most glorious
hopes for eternity. Aristides says that they not only procure the
Initiates consolations in the present life, and means of deliverance
from the great weight of their evils, but also the precious advantage of
passing after death to a happier state.

Isis was the Goddess of Sais; and the famous Feast of Lights was
celebrated there in her honor. There were celebrated the Mysteries, in
which were represented the death and subsequent restoration to life of
the God Osiris, in a secret ceremony and scenic representation of his
sufferings, called the Mysteries of Night.

The Kings of Egypt often exercised the functions of the Priesthood; and
they were initiated into the sacred science as soon as they attained the
throne. So at Athens, the First Magistrate, or Archon-King,
superintended the Mysteries. This was an image of the union that existed
between the Priesthood and Royalty, in those early times when
legislators and kings sought in religion a potent political instrument.

Herodotus says, speaking of the reasons why animals were deified in
Egypt: “If I were to explain these reasons, I should be led to the
disclosure of those holy matters which I particularly wish to avoid, and
which, but from necessity, I should not have discussed at all.” So he
says, “The Egyptians have at Sais the tomb of a certain personage, whom
I do not think myself permitted to specify. It is behind the Temple of
Minerva.” [The latter, so called by the Greeks, was really Isis, whose
was the often-cited enigmatical inscription, “I am what was and is and
is to come. No mortal hath yet unveiled me.”] So again he says: “Upon
this lake are represented by night the accidents which happened to him
whom I dare not name. The Egyptians call them their Mysteries.
Concerning these, at the same time that I confess myself sufficiently
informed, I feel myself compelled to be silent. Of the ceremonies also
in honor of Ceres, I may not venture to speak, further than the
obligations of religion will allow me.”

It is easy to see what was the great object of initiation and the
Mysteries; whose first and greatest fruit was, as all the ancients
testify, to civilize savage hordes, to soften their ferocious manners,
to introduce among them social intercourse, and lead them into a way of
life more worthy of men. Cicero considers the establishment of the
Eleusinian Mysteries to be the greatest of all the benefits conferred by
Athens on other commonwealths; their effects having been, he says, to
civilize men, soften their savage and ferocious manners, and teach them
the true principles of morals, which _initiate_ man into the only kind
of life worthy of him. The same philosophic orator, in a passage where
he apostrophizes Ceres and Proserpine, says that mankind owes these
Goddesses the first elements of moral life, as well as the first means
of sustenance of physical life; knowledge of the laws, regulation of
morals, and those examples of civilization which have improved the
manners of men and cities.

Bacchus in Euripides says to Pentheus, that his new institution (the
Dionysiac Mysteries) deserved to be known, and that one of its great
advantages was, that it proscribed all impurity: that these were the
Mysteries of Wisdom, of which it would be imprudent to speak to persons
not initiated: that they were established among the Barbarians, who in
that showed greater wisdom than the Greeks, who had not yet received

This double object, political and religious,–one teaching our duty to
men, and the other what we owe to the Gods; or rather, respect for the
Gods calculated to maintain that which we owe the laws, is found in that
well-known verse of Virgil, borrowed by him from the ceremonies of
initiation: “Teach me to respect Justice and the Gods.” This great
lesson, which the Hierophant impressed on the Initiates, after they had
witnessed a representation of the Infernal regions, the Poet places
after his description of the different punishments suffered by the
wicked in Tartarus, and immediately after the description of that of

Pausanias, likewise, at the close of the representation of the
punishments of Sisyphus and the daughters of Danaus, in the Temple at
Delphi, makes this reflection; that the crime or impiety which in them
had chiefly merited this punishment, was the contempt which they had
shown for the Mysteries of Eleusis. From this reflection of Pausanias,
who was an Initiate, it is easy to see that the Priests of Eleusis, who
taught the dogma of punishment in Tartarus, included among the great
crimes deserving these punishments, contempt for and disregard of the
Holy Mysteries; whose object was to lead men to piety, and thereby to
respect for justice and the laws, chief object of their institution, if
not the only one, and to which the needs and interest of religion itself
were subordinate; since the latter was but a means to lead more surely
to the former; for the whole force of religious opinions being in the
hands of the legislators to be wielded, they were sure of being better

The Mysteries were not merely simple lustrations and the observation of
some arbitrary formulas and ceremonies; nor a means of reminding men of
the ancient condition of the race prior to civilization: but they led
men to piety by instruction in morals and as to a future life; which at
a very early day, if not originally, formed the chief portion of the

Symbols were used in the ceremonies, which referred to agriculture, as
Masonry has preserved the ear of wheat in a symbol and in one of her
words; but their principal reference was to astronomical phenomena. Much
was no doubt said as to the condition of brutality and degradation in
which man was sunk before the institution of the Mysteries; but the
allusion was rather metaphysical, to the ignorance of the uninitiated,
than to the wild life of the earliest men.

The great object of the Mysteries of Isis, and in general of all the
Mysteries, was a great and truly politic one. It was to ameliorate our
race, to perfect its manners and morals, and to restrain society by
stronger bonds than those that human laws impose. They were the
invention of that ancient science and wisdom which exhausted all its
resources to make legislation perfect; and of that philosophy which has
ever sought to secure the happiness of man, by purifying his soul from
the passions which can trouble it, and as a necessary consequence
introduce social disorder. And that they were the work of genius is
evident from their employment of all the sciences, a profound knowledge
of the human heart, and the means of subduing it.

It is a still greater mistake to imagine that they were the inventions
of charlatanism, and means of deception. They may in the lapse of time
have degenerated into imposture and schools of false ideas; but they
were not so at the beginning; or else the wisest and best men of
antiquity have uttered the most willful falsehoods. In process of time
the very allegories of the Mysteries themselves, Tartarus and its
punishments, Minos and the other judges of the dead, came to be
misunderstood, and to be false because they were so; while at first they
were true, because they were recognized as merely the arbitrary forms in
which truths were enveloped.

The object of the Mysteries was to procure for man a real felicity on
earth by the means of virtue; and to that end he was taught that his
soul was immortal; and that error, sin, and vice must needs, by an
inflexible law, produce their consequences. The rude representation of
physical torture in Tartarus was but an image of the certain,
unavoidable, eternal consequences that flow by the law of God’s
enactment from the sin committed and the vice indulged in. The poets and
mystagogues labored to propagate these doctrines of the soul’s
immortality and the certain punishment of sin and vice, and to accredit
them with the people, by teaching them the former in their poems, and
the latter in the sanctuaries; and they clothed them with the charms,
the one of poetry, and the other of spectacles and magic illusions.

They painted, aided by all the resources of art, the virtuous man’s
happy life after death, and the horrors of the frightful prisons
destined to punish the vicious. In the shades of the sanctuaries, these
delights and horrors were exhibited as spectacles, and the Initiates
witnessed religious dramas, under the name of _initiation_ and
_mysteries_. Curiosity was excited by secrecy, by the difficulty
experienced in obtaining admission, and by the tests to be undergone.
The candidate was amused by the variety of the scenery, the pomp of the
decorations, the appliances of machinery. Respect was inspired by the
gravity and dignity of the actors and the majesty of the ceremonial; and
fear and hope, sadness and delight, were in turns excited.

The Hierophants, men of intellect, and well understanding the
disposition of the people and the art of controlling them, used every
appliance to attain that object, and give importance and impressiveness
to their ceremonies. As they covered those ceremonies with the veil of
Secrecy, so they preferred that Night should cover them with its wings.
Obscurity adds to impressiveness, and assists illusion; and they used it
to produce an effect upon the astonished Initiate. The ceremonies were
conducted in caverns dimly lighted: thick groves were planted around the
Temples, to produce that gloom that impresses the mind with a religious

The very word _mystery_, according to Demetrius Phalereus, was a
metaphorical expression that denoted the secret awe which darkness and
gloom inspired. The night was almost always the time fixed for their
celebration; and they were ordinarily termed _nocturnal_ ceremonies.
Initiations into the Mysteries of Samothrace took place at night; as did
those of Isis, of which Apuleius speaks. Euripides makes Bacchus say,
that _his_ Mysteries were celebrated at night, because there is in night
something august and imposing.

Nothing excites men’s curiosity so much as Mystery, concealing things
which they desire to know: and nothing so much increases curiosity as
obstacles that interpose to prevent them from indulging in the
gratification of their desires. Of this the Legislators and Hierophants
took advantage, to attract the people to their sanctuaries, and to
induce them to seek to obtain lessons from which they would perhaps have
turned away with indifference, if they had been pressed upon them. In
this spirit of mystery they professed to imitate the Deity, who hides
Himself from our senses, and conceals from us the springs by which He
moves the Universe. They admitted that they concealed the highest truths
under the veil of allegory, the more to excite the curiosity of men, and
to urge them to investigation. The secrecy in which they buried their
Mysteries, had that end. Those to whom they were confided, bound
themselves, by the most fearful oaths, never to reveal them. They were
not allowed even to speak of these important secrets with any others
than the initiated; and the penalty of death was pronounced against any
one indiscreet enough to reveal them, or found in the Temple without
being an Initiate; and any one who had betrayed those secrets, was
avoided by all, as excommunicated.

Aristotle was accused of impiety, by the Hierophant Eurymedon, for
having sacrificed to the manés of his wife, according to the rite used
in the worship of Ceres. He was compelled to flee to Chalcis; and to
purge his memory from this stain, he directed, by his will, the erection
of a Statue to that Goddess. Socrates, dying, sacrificed to Esculapius,
to exculpate himself from the suspicion of Atheism. A price was set on
the head of Diagoras, because he had divulged the Secret of the
Mysteries. Andocides was accused of the same crime, as was Alcibiades,
and both were cited to answer the charge before the inquisition at
Athens, where the People were the Judges. Æschylus the Tragedian was
accused of having represented the Mysteries on the stage; and was
acquitted only on proving that he had never been initiated.

Seneca, comparing Philosophy to initiation, says that the most sacred
ceremonies could be known to the adepts alone: but that many of their
precepts were known even to the Profane. Such was the case with the
doctrine of a future life, and a state of rewards and punishments beyond
the grave. The ancient legislators clothed this doctrine in the pomp of
a mysterious ceremony, in mystic words and magical representations, to
impress upon the mind the truths they taught, by the strong influence of
such scenic displays upon the senses and imagination.

In the same way they taught the origin of the soul, its fall to the
earth past the spheres and through the elements, and its final return to
the place of its origin, when, during the continuance of its union with
earthly matter, the sacred fire, which formed its essence, had
contracted no stains, and its brightness had not been marred by foreign
particles, which, denaturalizing it, weighed it down and delayed its
return. These metaphysical ideas, with difficulty comprehended by the
mass of the Initiates, were represented by figures, by symbols, and by
allegorical analogies; no idea being so abstract that men do not seek to
give it expression by, and translate it into, sensible images.

The attraction of Secrecy was enhanced by the difficulty of obtaining
admission. Obstacles and suspense redoubled curiosity. Those who aspired
to the initiation of the Sun and in the Mysteries of Mithras in Persia,
underwent many trials. They commenced by easy tests and arrived by
degrees at those that were most cruel, in which the life of the
candidate was often endangered. Gregory Nazianzen terms them _tortures_
and mystic _punishments_. No one can be initiated, says Suidas, until
after he has proven, by the most terrible trials, that he possesses a
virtuous soul, exempt from the sway of every passion, and at it were
impassible. There were twelve principal tests; and some make the number

The trials of the Eleusinian initiations were not so terrible; but they
were severe; and the suspense, above all, in which the aspirant was kept
for several years [the memory of which is retained in Masonry by the
_ages_ of those of the different Degrees], or the interval between
admission to the _inferior_ and initiation in the _great_ Mysteries, was
a species of torture to the curiosity which it was desired to excite.
Thus the Egyptian Priests tried Pythagoras before admitting him to know
the secrets of the sacred science. He succeeded, by his incredible
patience and the courage with which he surmounted all obstacles, in
obtaining admission to their society and receiving their lessons. Among
the Jews, the Essenes admitted none among them, until they had passed
the tests or several Degrees.

By initiation, those who before were _fellow-citizens_ only, became
_brothers_, connected by a closer bond than before, by mean of a
religious fraternity, which, bringing men nearer together united them
more strongly: and the weak and the poor could more readily appeal for
assistance to the powerful and the wealthy, with whom religious
association gave them a closer fellowship.

The Initiate was regarded as the favorite of the Gods. For him alone
Heaven opened its treasures. Fortunate during life, he could, by virtue
and the favor of Heaven, promise himself after death an eternal

The Priests of the Island of Samothrace promised favorable winds and
prosperous voyages to those who were initiated. It was promised them
that the CABIRI, and Castor and Pollux, the DIOSCURI, should appear to
them when the storm raged, and give them calms and smooth seas: and the
Scholiast of Aristophanes says that those initiated in the Mysteries
there were just men, who were privileged to escape from great evils and

The Initiate in the Mysteries of Orpheus, after he was purified, was
considered as released from the empire of evil, and transferred to a
condition of life which gave him the happiest hopes. “I have emerged
from evil,” he was made to say, “and have attained good.” Those
initiated in the Mysteries of Eleusis believed that the Sun blazed with
a pure splendor for them alone. And, as we see in the case of Pericles,
they flattered themselves that Ceres and Proserpine inspired them and
gave them wisdom and counsel.

Initiation dissipated errors and banished misfortune: and after having
filled the heart of man with joy during life, it gave him the most
blissful hopes at the moment of death. We owe it to the Goddesses of
Eleusis, says Socrates, that we do not lead the wild life of the
earliest men: and to them are due the flattering hopes which initiation
gives us for the moment of death and for all eternity. The benefit which
we reap from these august ceremonies, says Aristides, is not only
present joy, a deliverance and enfranchisement from the old ills; but
also the sweet hope which we have in death of passing to a more
fortunate state. And Theon says that participation of the Mysteries is
the finest of all things, and the source of the greatest blessings. The
happiness promised there was not limited to this mortal life; but it
extended beyond the grave. There a new life was to commence, during
which the Initiate was to enjoy a bliss without alloy and without limit.
The Corybantes promised eternal life to the Initiates of the Mysteries
of Cybele and Atys.

Apuleius represents Lucius, while still in the form of an ass, as
addressing his prayers to Isis, whom he speaks of as the same as Ceres,
Venus, Diana, and Proserpine, and as illuminating the walls of many
cities simultaneously with her feminine lustre, and substituting her
quivering light for the bright rays of the Sun. She appears to him in
his vision as a beautiful female, “over whose divine neck her long thick
hair hung in graceful ringlets.” Addressing him, she says, “The parent
of Universal nature attends thy call. The mistress of the Elements,
initiative germ of generations, Supreme of Deities, Queen of departed
spirits, first inhabitant of Heaven, and uniform type of all the Gods
and Goddesses, propitiated by thy prayers, is with thee. She governs
with her nod the luminous heights of the firmament, the salubrious
breezes of the ocean; the silent deplorable depths of the shades below;
one Sole Divinity under many forms, worshipped by the different nations
of the Earth under many titles, and with various religious rites.”

Directing him how to proceed, at her festival, to re-obtain his human
shape, she says: “Throughout the entire course of the remainder of thy
life, until the very last breath has vanished from thy lips, thou art
devoted to my service…. Under my protection will thy life be happy and
glorious: and when, thy days being spent, thou shalt descend to the
shades below, and inhabit the Elysian fields, there also, even in the
subterranean hemisphere, shalt thou pay frequent worship to me, thy
propitious patron: and yet further: if through sedulous obedience,
religious devotion to my ministry, and inviolable chastity, thou shalt
prove thyself a worthy object of divine favor, then shalt thou feel the
influence of the power that I alone possess. The number of thy days
shall be prolonged beyond the Ordinary decrees of fate.”

In the procession of the festival, Lucius saw the image of the Goddess,
on either side of which were female attendants, that, “with ivory combs
in their hands, made believe, by the motion of their arms and the
twisting of their fingers, to comb and ornament the Goddess’ royal
hair.” Afterward, clad in linen robes, came the initiated. “The hair of
the women was moistened by perfume, and enveloped in a transparent
covering; but the men, terrestrial stars, as it were, of the great
religion, were thoroughly shaven, and their bald heads shone

Afterward came the Priests, in robes of white linen. The first bore a
lamp in the form of a boat, emitting flame from an orifice in the
middle: the second, a small altar: the third, a golden palm-tree: and
the fourth displayed the figure of a left hand, the palm open and
expanded, “representing thereby a symbol of equity and fair-dealing, of
which the left hand, as slower than the right hand, and more void of
skill and craft, is therefore an appropriate emblem.”

After Lucius had, by the grace of Isis, recovered his human form, the
Priest said to him, “Calamity hath no hold on those whom our Goddess
hath chosen for her service, and whom her majesty hath vindicated.” And
the people declared that he was fortunate to be “thus after a manner
born again, and at once betrothed to the service of the Holy Ministry.”

When he urged the Chief Priest to initiate him, he was answered that
there was not a single one among the initiated, of a mind so depraved,
or so bent on his own destruction, as, without receiving a special
command from Isis, to dare to undertake her ministry rashly and
sacrilegiously, and thereby commit an act certain to bring upon himself
a dreadful injury. “For”, continued the Chief Priest, “the gates of the
shades below, and the care of our life being in the hands of the
Goddess,–_the ceremony of initiation into the Mysteries is_, as it
were, _to suffer death_, with the precarious chance of resuscitation.
Wherefore the Goddess, in the wisdom of her Divinity, hath been
accustomed to select as persons to whom the secrets of her religion can
with propriety be entrusted, those who, standing as it were on the
utmost limit of the course of life they have completed, _may through her
Providence be in a manner born again_, and commence the career of a new

When he was finally to be initiated, he was conducted to the nearest
baths, and after having bathed, the Priest first solicited forgiveness
of the Gods, and then sprinkled him all over with the clearest and
purest water, and conducted him back to the Temple, “where,” says
Apuleius, “after giving me some instruction, that mortal tongue is not
permitted to reveal, he bade me for the succeeding ten days restrain my
appetite, eat no animal food, and drink no wine.”

These ten days elapsed, the Priest led him into the inmost recesses of
the Sanctuary. “And here, studious reader,” he continues, “peradventure
thou wilt be sufficiently anxious to know all that was said and done,
which, were it lawful to divulge, I would tell thee; and, wert thou
permitted to hear, thou shouldst know. Nevertheless, although the
disclosure would affix the penalty of rash curiosity to my tongue as
well as thy ears, yet will I, for fear thou shouldst be too long
tormented with religious longing, and suffer the pain of protracted
suspense, tell the truth notwithstanding. Listen then to what I shall
relate. _I approached the abode of death; with my foot I pressed the
threshold of Proserpine’s Palace. I was transported through the
elements, and conducted back again. At midnight I saw the bright light
of the sun shining. I stood in the presence of the Gods, the Gods of
Heaven and of the Shades below; ay, stood near and worshipped._ And now
have I told thee such things that, hearing, thou necessarily canst not
understand; and being beyond the comprehension of the Profane, I can
enunciate without committing a crime.”

After night had passed, and the morning had dawned, the usual ceremonies
were at an end. Then he was consecrated by twelve stoles being put upon
him, clothed, crowned with palm-leaves, and exhibited to the people. The
remainder of that day was celebrated as his birthday and passed in
festivities; and on the third day afterward, the same religious
ceremonies were repeated, including a religious breakfast, _”followed by
a final consummation of ceremonies_.”

A year afterward, he was warned to prepare for initiation into the
Mysteries of “the Great God, Supreme Parent of all the other Gods, the
invincible OSIRIS.” “For,” says Apuleius, “although there is a strict
connexion between the religions of both Deities, AND EVEN THE ESSENCE OF
BOTH DIVINITIES IS IDENTICAL, the ceremonies of the respective
initiations are considerably different.”

Compare with this hint the following language of the prayer of Lucius,
addressed to Isis; and we may judge what doctrines were taught in the
Mysteries, in regard to the Deity: “O Holy and Perpetual Preserver of
the Human Race! ever ready to cherish Mortals by Thy munificence, and to
afford Thy sweet maternal affection to the wretched under misfortune;
Whose bounty is never at rest, neither by day nor by night, nor
throughout the very minutest particle of duration; Thou who stretchest
forth Thy health-bearing right hand over the land and over the sea for
the protection of mankind, to disperse the storms of life, to unravel
the inextricable entanglement of the web of fate, to mitigate the
tempests of fortune, and restrain the malignant influences of the
stars,–_the Gods in Heaven adore Thee, the Gods in the shades below do
Thee homage, the stars obey Thee, the Divinities rejoice in Thee, the
elements and the revolving seasons serve Thee!_ At Thy nod the winds
breathe, clouds gather, seeds grow, buds germinate; _in obedience to

Then he was initiated into the nocturnal Mysteries of Osiris and
Serapis: and afterward into those of Ceres at Rome: but of the
ceremonies in these initiations, Apuleius says nothing.

Under the Archonship of Euclid, bastards and slaves were excluded from
initiation; and the same exclusion obtained against the Materialists or
Epicureans who denied Providence and consequently the utility of
initiation. By a natural progress, it came at length to be considered
that the gates of Elysium would open only for the Initiates, whose souls
had been purified and regenerated in the sanctuaries. But it was never
held, on the other hand, that initiation alone sufficed. We learn from
Plato, that it was also necessary for the soul to be purified from every
stain: and that the purification necessary was such as gave virtue,
truth, wisdom, strength, justice, and temperance.

Entrance to the Temples was forbidden to all who had committed homicide,
even if it were involuntary. So it is stated by both Isocrates and
Theon. Magicians and Charlatans who made trickery a trade, and impostors
pretending to be possessed by evil spirits, were excluded from the
sanctuaries. Every impious person and criminal was rejected; and
Lampridius states that before the celebration of the Mysteries, public
notice was given, that none need apply to enter but those against whom
their consciences uttered no reproach, and who were certain of their own

It was required of the Initiate that his heart and hands should be free
from any stain. Porphyry says that man’s soul, at death, should be
enfranchised from all the passions, from hate, envy, and the others;
and, in a word, _be as pure as it is required to be in the Mysteries_.
Of course it is not surprising that parricides and perjurers, and
others who had committed crimes against God or man, could not be

In the Mysteries of Mithras, a lecture was repeated to the Initiate on
the subject of Justice. And the great moral lesson of the Mysteries, to
which all their mystic ceremonial tended, expressed in a single line by
Virgil, was _to practise Justice and revere the Deity_;–thus recalling
men to justice, by connecting it with the justice of the Gods, who
require it and punish its infraction. The Initiate could aspire to the
favors of the Gods, only because and while he respected the rights of
society and those of humanity. “The sun,” says the chorus of Initiates
in Aristophanes, “burns with a pure light for us alone, who, admitted to
the Mysteries, observe the laws of piety in our intercourse with
strangers and our fellow-citizens.” The rewards of initiation were
attached to the practice of the social virtues. It was not enough to be
initiated merely. It was necessary to be faithful to the _laws_ of
initiation, which imposed on men duties in regard to their kind. Bacchus
allowed none to participate in his Mysteries, but men who conformed to
the rules of piety and justice. Sensibility, above all, and compassion
for the misfortunes of others, were precious virtues, which initiation
strove to encourage. “Nature,” says Juvenal, “has created us
compassionate, since it has endowed us with tears. Sensibility is the
most admirable of our senses. What man is truly worthy of the torch of
the Mysteries; who such as the Priest of Ceres requires him to be, if he
regards the misfortunes of others as wholly foreign to himself?”

All who had not used their endeavors to defeat a conspiracy; and those
who had on the contrary fomented one; those citizens who had betrayed
their country, who had surrendered an advantageous post or place, or the
vessels of the State, to the enemy; all who had supplied the enemy with
money; and in general, all who had come short of their duties as honest
men and good citizens, were excluded from the Mysteries of Eleusis. To
be admitted there, one must have lived equitably, and with sufficient
good fortune not to be regarded as hated by the Gods.

Thus the Society of the Initiates was, in its principle, and according
to the true purpose of its institution, a society of virtuous men, who
labored to free their souls from the tyranny of the passions, and to
develop the germ of all the social virtues. And this was the meaning of
the idea, afterward misunderstood, that entry into Elysium was only
allowed to the Initiates: because entrance to the sanctuaries was
allowed to the virtuous only, and Elysium was created for virtuous souls

The precise nature and details of the doctrines as to a future life, and
rewards and punishments there, developed in the Mysteries, is in a
measure uncertain. Little direct information in regard to it has come
down to us. No doubt, in the ceremonies there was a scenic
representation of Tartarus and the judgment of the dead, resembling that
which we find in Virgil: but there is as little doubt that these
representations were explained to be allegorical. It is not our purpose
here to repeat the descriptions given of Elysium and Tartarus. That
would be aside from our object. We are only concerned with the great
fact that the Mysteries taught the doctrine of the soul’s immortality,
and that, in some shape, suffering, pain, remorse, and agony, ever
follow sin as its consequences.

Human ceremonies are indeed but imperfect symbols; and the alternate
baptisms in fire and water intended to purify us into immortality, are
ever in this world interrupted at the moment of their anticipated
completion. Life is a mirror which reflects only to deceive, a tissue
perpetually interrupted and broken, an urn forever fed, yet never full.

All initiation is but introductory to the great change of death Baptism,
anointing, embalming, obsequies by burial or fire, are preparatory
symbols, like the initiation of Hercules before descending to the
Shades, pointing out the mental change which ought to precede the
renewal of existence. Death is the true initiation, to which sleep is
the introductory or minor mystery. It is the final rite which united the
Egyptian with his God, and which opens the same promise to all who are
duly prepared for it.

The body was deemed a prison for the soul; but the latter was not
condemned to eternal banishment and imprisonment. The Father of the
Worlds permits its chains to be broken, and has provided in the course
of Nature the means of its escape. It was a doctrine of immemorial
antiquity, shared alike by Egyptians, Pythagoreans, the Orphici, and by
that characteristic Bacchic Sage, “the Preceptor of the Soul,” Silenus,
that death is far better than life; that the real death belongs to those
who on earth are immersed in the Lethe of its passions and fascinations,
and that the true life commences only when the soul is emancipated for
its return.

And in this sense, as presiding over life and death, Dionusos is in the
highest sense _the_ LIBERATOR: since, like Osiris, he frees the soul,
and guides it in its migrations beyond the grave, preserving it from the
risk of again falling under the slavery of matter or of some inferior
animal form, the purgatory of Metempsychosis; and exalting and
perfecting its nature through the purifying discipline of his Mysteries.
“The great consummation of all philosophy,” said Socrates, professedly
quoting from traditional and mystic sources, “is _Death_: He who pursues
philosophy aright, _is studying how to die_.”

All soul is part of the Universal Soul, whose totality is Dionusos; and
it is therefore he who, as Spirit of Spirits, leads back the vagrant
spirit to its home, and accompanies it through the purifying processes,
both real and symbolical, of its earthly transit. He is therefore
emphatically the _Mystes_ or Hierophant, the great Spiritual Mediator of
Greek religion.

The human soul is itself [Greek: δαιμονιος] a God _within_ the mind,
capable through its own power of rivalling the canonization of the Hero,
of making itself immortal by the practice of the good, and the
contemplation of the beautiful and true. The removal to the Happy
Islands could only be understood mythically; everything earthly must
die; Man, like Œdipus, is wounded from his birth, his real elysium can
exist only beyond the grave. Dionusos died and descended to the shades.
His passion was the great Secret of the Mysteries; as Death is the Grand
Mystery of existence. His death, typical of Nature’s Death, or of her
periodical decay and restoration, was one of the many symbols of the
_palingenesia_ or second birth of man.

Man descended from the elemental Forces or Titans [Elohim], who fed on
the body of the Pantheistic Deity creating the Universe by
self-sacrifice, commemorates in sacramental observance this mysterious
passion; and while partaking of the raw flesh of the victim, seems to be
invigorated by a fresh draught from the fountain of universal life, to
receive a new pledge of regenerated existence. Death is the inseparable
antecedent of life; the seed dies in order to produce the plant, and
earth itself is rent asunder and dies at the birth of Dionusos. Hence
the significancy of the _phallus_, or of its inoffensive substitute, the
obelisk, rising as an emblem of resurrection by the tomb of buried Deity
at Lerna or at Sais.

Dionusos-Orpheus descended to the Shades to recover the lost Virgin of
the Zodiac, to bring back his mother to the sky as Thyone; or what has
the same meaning, to consummate his eventful marriage with Persephone,
thereby securing, like the nuptials of his father with Semele or Danaë,
the perpetuity of Nature. His under-earth office is the depression of
the year, the wintry aspect in the alternations of bull and serpent,
whose united series makes up the continuity of Time, and in which,
physically speaking, the stern and dark are ever the parents of the
beautiful and bright.

It was this aspect, sombre for the moment, but bright by anticipation,
which was contemplated in the Mysteries: the human sufferer was consoled
by witnessing the severer trials of the Gods; and the vicissitudes of
life and death, expressed by apposite symbols, such as the sacrifice or
submersion of the Bull, the extinction and re-illumination of the torch,
excited corresponding emotions of alternate grief and joy, that play of
passion which was present at the origin of Nature, and which accompanies
all her changes.

The greater Eleusiniæ; were celebrated in the month Boëdromion, when the
seed was buried in the ground, and when the year, verging to its
decline, disposes the mind to serious reflection. The first days of the
ceremonial were passed in sorrow and anxious silence, in fasting and
expiatory or lustral offices. On a sudden, the scene was changed: sorrow
and lamentation were discarded, the glad name of Iacchus passed from
mouth to mouth, the image of the God, crowned with myrtle and bearing a
lighted torch, was borne in joyful procession from the Ceramicus to
Eleusis, where, during the ensuing night, the initiation was completed
by an imposing revelation. The first scene was in the [Greek: προναος],
or outer court of the sacred enclosure, where amidst utter darkness, or
while the meditating God, the star illuminating the Nocturnal Mystery,
alone carried an unextinguished torch, the candidates were overawed with
terrific sounds and noises, while they painfully groped their way, as in
the gloomy cavern of the soul’s sublunar migration; a scene justly
compared to the passage of the Valley of the Shadow of Death. For by the
immutable law exemplified in the trials of Psyche, man must pass through
the terrors of the under-world, before he can reach the height of
Heaven. At length the gates of the _adytum_ were thrown open, a
supernatural light streamed from the illuminated statue of the Goddess,
and enchanting sights and sounds, mingled with songs and dances, exalted
the communicant to a rapture of supreme felicity, realizing, as far as
sensuous imagery could depict, the anticipated reunion with the Gods.

In the dearth of direct evidence as to the detail of the ceremonies
enacted, or of the meanings connected with them, their tendency must be
inferred from the characteristics of the contemplated deities with their
accessory symbols and mythi, or from direct testimony as to the value of
the Mysteries generally.

The ordinary phenomena of vegetation, the death of the seed in giving
birth to the plant, connecting the sublimest hopes with the plainest
occurrences, was the simple yet beautiful formula assumed by the great
mystery in almost all religions, from the Zend-Avesta to the Gospel. As
Proserpina, the divine power is as the seed decaying and destroyed; as
Artemis, she is the principle of its destruction; but Artemis Proserpina
is also Cotē Soteria, the Saviour, who leads the Spirits of Hercules and
Hyacinthus to Heaven.

Many other emblems were employed in the Mysteries,–as the dove, the
myrtle-wreath, and others, all significant of life rising out of death,
and of the equivocal condition of dying yet immortal man.

The horrors and punishments of Tartarus, as described in the Phædo and
the Æneid, with all the ceremonies of the judgments of Minos, Eacus, and
Rhadamanthus, were represented, sometimes more and sometimes less fully,
in the Mysteries; in order to impress upon the minds of the Initiates
this great lesson,–that we should be ever prepared to appear before the
Supreme Judge, with a heart pure and spotless; as Socrates teaches in
the Gorgias. For the soul stained with crimes, he says, to descend to
the Shades, is the bitterest ill. To adhere to Justice and Wisdom, Plato
holds, is our duty, that we may some day take that lofty road that leads
toward the heavens, and avoid most of the evils to which the soul is
exposed in its subterranean journey of a thousand years. And so in the
Phædo, Socrates teaches that we should seek here below to free our soul
of its passions, in order to be ready to enter our appearance, whenever
Destiny summons us to the Shades.

Thus the Mysteries inculcated a great moral truth, veiled with a fable
of huge proportions and the appliances of an impressive spectacle, to
which, exhibited in the sanctuaries, art and natural magic lent all
they had that was imposing. They sought to strengthen men against the
horrors of death and the fearful idea of utter annihilation. Death, says
the author of the dialogue, entitled _Axiochus_, included in the works
of Plato, is but a passage to a happier state; but one must have lived
well, to attain that most fortunate result. So that the doctrine of the
immortality of the soul was consoling to the virtuous and religious man
alone; while to all others it came with menaces and despair, surrounding
them with terrors and alarms that disturbed their repose during all
their life.

For the material horrors of Tartarus, allegorical to the Initiate, were
real to the mass of the Profane; nor in latter times, did, perhaps many
Initiates read rightly the allegory. The triple-walled prison, which the
condemned soul first met, round which swelled and surged the fiery waves
of Phlegethon, wherein rolled roaring, huge, blazing rocks; the great
gate with columns of adamant, which none save the Gods could crush;
Tisiphone, their warder, with her bloody robes; the lash resounding on
the mangled bodies of the miserable unfortunates, their plaintive
groans, mingled in horrid harmony with the clashings of their chains;
the Furies, lashing the guilty with their snakes; the awful abyss where
Hydra howls with its hundred heads, greedy to devour; Tityus, prostrate,
and his entrails fed upon by the cruel vulture: Sisyphus, ever rolling
his rock; Ixion on his wheel; Tantalus tortured by eternal thirst and
hunger, in the midst of water and with declicious fruits touching his
head; the daughters of Danaus at their eternal, fruitless task; beasts
biting and venomous reptiles stinging; and devouring flame eternally
consuming bodies ever renewed in endless agony; all these sternly
impressed upon the people the terrible consequences of sin and vice, and
urged them to pursue the paths of honesty and virtue.

And if, in the ceremonies of the Mysteries, these material horrors were
explained to the Initiates as mere symbols of the unimaginable torture,
remorse, and agony that would rend the immaterial soul and rack the
immortal spirit, they were feeble and insufficient in the same mode and
measure only, as all material images and symbols fall short of that
which is beyond the cognizance of our senses: and the grave Hierophant,
the imagery, the paintings, the dramatic horrors, the funeral
sacrifices, the august mysteries, the solemn silence of the sanctuaries,
were none the less impressive, because they were known to be but
symbols, that with material shows and images made the imagination to be
the teacher of the intellect.

So, too, it was represented, that except for the gravest sins there was
an opportunity for expiation; and the tests of _water_, _air_, and
_fire_ were represented; by means of which, during the march of many
years, the soul could be purified, and rise toward the ethereal regions;
that ascent being more or less tedious and laborious, according as each
soul was more or less clogged by the gross impediments of its sins and
vices. Herein was shadowed forth, (how distinctly taught the Initiates
we know not), the doctrine that pain and sorrow, misfortune and remorse,
are the inevitable _consequences_ that flow from sin and vice, as effect
flows from cause; that by each sin and every act of vice the soul drops
back and loses ground in its advance toward perfection: and that the
ground so lost is and will be in reality never so recovered as that the
sin shall be as if it never had been committed; but that throughout all
the eternity of its existence, each soul shall be conscious that every
act of vice or baseness it did on earth has made the distance greater
between itself and ultimate perfection.

We see this truth glimmering in the doctrine, taught in the Mysteries,
that though slight and ordinary offences could be expiated by penances,
repentance, acts of beneficence, and prayers, grave crimes were mortal
sins, beyond the reach of all such remedies. Eleusis closed her gates
against Nero: and the Pagan Priests told Constantine that among all
their modes of expiation there was none so potent as could wash from
_his_ soul the dark spots left by the murder of his wife, and his
multiplied perjuries and assassinations.

The object of the ancient initiations being to ameliorate mankind and to
perfect the intellectual part of man, the nature of the human soul, its
origin, its destination, its relations to the body and to universal
nature, all formed part of the mystic science; and to them in part the
lessons given to the Initiate were directed. For it was believed that
initiation tended to his perfection, and to preventing the divine part
within him, overloaded with matter gross and earthy, from being plunged
into gloom, and impeded in its return to the Deity. The soul, with them,
was not a mere conception or abstraction; but a reality including in
itself life and thought; or, rather, of whose essence it was to live and

It was material; but not brute, inert, inactive, lifeless, motionless,
formless, lightless matter. It was held to be active, reasoning,
thinking; its natural home in the highest regions of the Universe,
whence it descended to illuminate, give form and movement to, vivify,
animate, and carry with itself the baser matter; and whither it
unceasingly tends to reascend, when and as soon as it can free itself
from its connection with that matter. From that substance, divine,
infinitely delicate and active, essentially luminous, the souls of men
were formed, and by it alone, uniting with and organizing their bodies,
men _lived_.

This was the doctrine of Pythagoras, who learned it when he received the
Egyptian Mysteries: and it was the doctrine of all who, by means of the
ceremonial of initiation, thought to purify the soul. Virgil makes the
spirit of Anchises teach it to Æneas: and all the expiations and
lustrations used in the Mysteries were but symbols of those intellectual
ones by which the soul was to be purged of its vice-spots and stains,
and freed of the incumbrance of its earthly prison, so that it might
rise unimpeded to the source from which it came.

Hence sprung the doctrine of the transmigration of souls; which
Pythagoras taught as an allegory, and those who came after him received
literally. Plato, like him, drew his doctrines from the East and the
Mysteries, and undertook to translate the language of the symbols used
there, into that of Philosophy; and to prove by argument and
philosophical deduction, what, _felt_ by the consciousness, the
Mysteries taught by symbols as an indisputable fact,–the immortality of
the soul. Cicero did the same; and followed the Mysteries in teaching
that the Gods were but mortal men, who for their great virtues and
signal services had deserved that their souls should, after death, be
raised to that lofty rank.

It being taught in the Mysteries, either by way of allegory, the meaning
of which was not made known except to a select few, or, perhaps only at
a later day, as an actual reality, that the souls of the vicious dead
passed into the bodies of those animals to whose nature their vices had
most affinity, it was also taught that the soul could avoid these
transmigrations, often successive and numerous, by the practice of
virtue, which would acquit it of them, free it from the circle of
successive generations, and restore it at once to its source. Hence
nothing was so ardently prayed for by the Initiates, says Proclus, as
this happy fortune, which, delivering them from the empire of Evil,
would restore them to their true life, and conduct them to the place of
final rest. To this doctrine probably referred those figures of animals
and monsters which were exhibited to the Initiate, before allowing him
to see the sacred light for which he sighed.

Plato says, that souls will not reach the term of their ills, until the
revolutions of the world have restored them to their primitive
condition, and purified them from the stains which they have contracted
by the contagion of fire, earth, and air. And he held that they could
not be allowed to enter Heaven, until they had distinguished themselves
by the practice of virtue in some one of three several bodies. The
Manicheans allowed five: Pindar, the same number as Plato; as did the

And Cicero says, that the ancient soothsayers, and the interpreters of
the will of the Gods, in their religious ceremonies and initiations,
taught that we expiate here below the crimes committed in a prior life;
and for that are born. It was taught in these Mysteries, that the soul
passes through several states, and that the pains and sorrows of this
life are an expiation of prior faults.

This doctrine of transmigration of souls obtained, as Porphyry informs
us, among the Persians and Magi. It was held in the East and the West,
and that from the remotest antiquity. Herodotus found it among the
Egyptians, who made the term of the circle of migrations from one human
body, through animals, fishes, and birds, to another human body, three
thousand years. Empedocles even held that souls went into plants. Of
these, the laurel was the noblest, as of animals the lion; both being
consecrated to the Sun, to which, it was held in the Orient, virtuous
souls were to return. The Curds, the Chinese, the Kabbalists, all held
the same doctrine. So Origen held, and the Bishop Synesius, the latter
of whom had been initiated, and who thus prayed to God: “O Father, grant
that my soul, reunited to the light, may not be plunged again into the
defilements of earth!” So the Gnostics held; and even the Disciples of
Christ inquired if the man who was born blind, was not so punished for
some sin that he had committed before his birth.

Virgil, in the celebrated allegory in which he develops the doctrines
taught in the Mysteries, enunciated the doctrine, held by most of the
ancient philosophers, of the pre-existence of souls, in the eternal fire
from which they emanate; that fire which animates the Stars, and
circulates in every part of Nature: and the purifications of the soul,
by fire, water, and air, of which he speaks, and which three modes were
employed in the Mysteries of Bacchus, were symbols of the passage of the
soul into different bodies.

The relations of the human soul with the rest of nature were a chief
object of the science of the Mysteries. The man was there brought face
to face with entire nature. The world, and the spherical envelope that
surrounds it, were represented by a mystic egg, by the side of the image
of the Sun-God whose Mysteries were celebrated. The famous Orphic egg
was consecrated to Bacchus in his Mysteries. It was, says Plutarch, an
image of the Universe, which engenders everything, and contains
everything in its bosom. “Consult,” says Macrobius, “the Initiates of
the Mysteries of Bacchus, who honor with special veneration the sacred
egg.” The rounded and almost spherical form of its shell, he says, which
encloses it on every side, and confines within itself the principles of
life, is a symbolic image of the world; and the world is the universal
principle of all things.

This symbol was borrowed from the Egyptians, who also consecrated the
egg to Osiris, germ of Light, himself born, says Diodorus, from that
famous egg. In Thebes, in Upper Egypt, he was represented as emitting it
from his mouth, and causing to issue from it the first principle of heat
and light, or the Fire-God, Vulcan, or Phtha. We find this egg even in
Japan, between the horns of the famous Mithriac Bull, whose attributes
Osiris, Apis, and Bacchus all borrowed.

Orpheus, author of the Grecian Mysteries, which he carried from Egypt to
Greece, consecrated this symbol: and taught that matter, uncreated and
informous, existed from all eternity, unorganized, as chaos; containing
in itself the Principles of all Existences confused and intermingled,
light with darkness, the dry with the humid, heat with cold; from which,
it after long ages taking the shape of an immense egg, issued the purest
matter, or first substance, and the residue was divided into the four
elements, from which proceeded heaven and earth and all things else.
This grand Cosmogonic idea he taught in the Mysteries; and thus the
Hierophant explained the meaning of the mystic egg, seen by the
Initiates in the Sanctuary.

Thus entire Nature, in her primitive organization, was presented to him
whom it was wished to instruct in her secrets and initiate in her
mysteries; and Clemens of Alexandria might well say that initiation was
a real physiology.

So Phanes, the Light-God, in the Mysteries of the New Orphics, emerged
from the egg of chaos: and the Persians had the great egg of Ormuzd. And
Sanchoniathon tells us that in the Phœnician theology, the matter of
chaos took the form of an egg; and he adds: “Such are the lessons which
the Son of Thabion, first Hierophant of the Phœnicians, turned into
allegories, in which physics and astronomy intermingled, and which he
taught to the other Hierophants, whose duty it was to preside at orgies
and initiations; and who, seeking to excite the astonishment and
admiration of mortals, faithfully transmitted these things to their
successors and the Initiates.”

In the Mysteries was also taught the division of the Universal Cause
into an Active and a Passive cause; of which two, Osiris and Isis,–the
heavens and the earth were symbols. These two First Causes, into which
it was held that the great Universal First Cause at the beginning of
things divided itself, were the two great Divinities, whose worship was,
according to Varro, inculcated upon the Initiates at Samothrace. “As is
taught,” he says, “in the initiation into the Mysteries at Samothrace,
Heaven and Earth are regarded as the two first Divinities. They are the
potent Gods worshipped in that Island, and whose names are consecrated
in the books of our Augurs. One of them is male and the other female;
and they bear the same relation to each other as the soul does to the
body, humidity to dryness.” The Curetes, in Crete, had builded an altar
to Heaven and to Earth; whose Mysteries they celebrated at Gnossus, in a
cypress grove.

These two Divinities, the Active and Passive Principles of the Universe,
were commonly symbolized by the generative parts of man and woman; to
which, in remote ages, no idea of indecency was attached; the _Phallus_
and _Cteis_, emblems of generation and production, and which, as such,
appeared in the Mysteries. The Indian Lingam was the union of both, as
were the boat and mast and the point within a circle: all of which
expressed the same philosophical idea as to the Union of the two great
Causes of Nature, which concur, one actively and the other passively, in
the generation of all beings: which were symbolized by what we now term
_Gemini_, the Twins, at that remote period when the Sun was in that
Sign at the Vernal Equinox, and when they were Male and Female; and of
which the Phallus was perhaps taken from the generative organ of the
Bull, when about twenty-five hundred years before our era he opened that
equinox, and became to the Ancient World the symbol of the creative and
generative Power.

The Initiates at Eleusis commenced, Proclus says, by invoking the two
great causes of nature, the Heavens and the Earth, on which in
succession they fixed their eyes, addressing to each a prayer. And they
deemed it their duty to do so, he adds, because they saw in them the
Father and Mother of all generations. The concourse of these two agents
of the Universe was termed in theological language a _marriage_.
Tertullian, accusing the Valentinians of having borrowed these symbols
from the Mysteries of Eleusis, yet admits that in those Mysteries they
were explained in a manner consistent with decency, as representing the
powers of nature. He was too little of a philosopher to comprehend the
sublime esoteric meaning of these emblems, which will, if you advance,
in other Degrees be unfolded to you.

The Christian Fathers contented themselves with reviling and ridiculing
the use of these emblems. But as they in the earlier times created no
indecent ideas, and were worn alike by the most innocent youths and
virtuous women, it will be far wiser for us to seek to penetrate their
meaning. Not only the Egyptians, says Diodorus Siculus, but every other
people that consecrate this symbol (the Phallus), deem that they thereby
do honor to the Active Force of the universal generation of all living
things. For the same reason, as we learn from the geographer Ptolemy, it
was revered among the Assyrians and Persians. Proclus remarks that in
the distribution of the Zodiac among the twelve great Divinities, by
ancient astrology, six signs were assigned to the male and six to the
female principle.

There is another division of nature, which has in all ages struck all
men, and which was not forgotten in the Mysteries; that of Light and
Darkness, Day and Night, Good and Evil; which mingle with, and clash
against, and pursue or are pursued by each other throughout the
Universe. The Great Symbolic Egg distinctly reminded the Initiates of
this great division of the world. Plutarch, treating of the dogma of a
Providence, and of that of the two principles of Light and Darkness,
which he regarded as the basis of the Ancient Theology, of the Orgies
and the Mysteries, as well among the Greeks as the Barbarians,–a
doctrine whose origin, according to him, is lost in the night of
time,–cites, in support of his opinion, the famous Mystic Egg of the
disciples of Zoroaster and the Initiates in the Mysteries of Mithras.

To the Initiates in the Mysteries of Eleusis was exhibited the spectacle
of these two principles, in the successive scenes of Darkness and Light
which passed before their eyes. To the profoundest darkness, accompanied
with illusions and horrid phantoms, succeeded the most brilliant light,
whose splendor blazed round the statue of the Goddess. The candidate,
says Dion Chrysostomus, passed into a mysterious temple, of astonishing
magnitude and beauty, where were exhibited to him many mystic scenes;
where his ears were stunned with many voices; and where Darkness and
Light successively passed before him. And Themistius in like manner
describes the Initiate, when about to enter into that part of the
sanctuary tenanted by the Goddess, as filled with fear and religious
awe, wavering, uncertain in what direction to advance through the
profound darkness that envelopes him. But when the Hierophant has opened
the entrance to the inmost sanctuary, and removed the robe that hides
the Goddess,