MORALS and DOGMA
by: Albert Pike
PRINCE OF THE ROYAL SECRET
THE Occult Science of the
Ancient Magi was concealed under the shadows of the Ancient Mysteries: it was
imperfectly revealed or rather disfigured by the Gnostics: it is guessed at
under the obscurities that cover the pretended crimes of the Templars; and it
is found enveloped in enigmas that seem impenetrable, in the Rites of the
Magism was the Science of
Abraham and Orpheus, of Confucius and Zoroaster. It was the dogmas of this
Science that were engraven on the tables of stone by Hanoch and Trismegistus.
Moses purified and re-veiled them, for that is the meaning of the word
reveal. He covered them with a new veil, when he made of the Holy
Kabalah the exclusive heritage of the people of Israel,
and the inviolable Secret of
its priests. The Mysteries of Thebes and Eleusis preserved among the nations
some symbols of it, al-ready altered, and the mysterious key whereof was lost
among the instruments of an ever-growing superstition. Jerusalem, the
murderess of her prophets, and so often prostituted to the false gods of the
Syrians and Babylonians, had at length in its turn lost the Holy Word, when a
Prophet announced to the Magi by the consecrated Star of Initiation, came to
rend asunder the worn veil of the old Temple, in order to give the Church a
new tissue of legends and symbols, that still and ever conceals from the
Profane, and ever preserves to the Elect the same truths.
It was the remembrance of this
scientific and religious Absolute, of this doctrine that is summed up in a
word, of this Word, in fine, alternately lost and found again, that was
transmitted to the Elect of all the Ancient Initiations: it was this same
remembrance, preserved, or perhaps profaned in the celebrated Order of the
Templars, that became for all the secret associations, of the Rose-Croix, of
the Illuminati, and of the Hermetic Freemasons, the reason of their strange
rites, of their signs more or less conventional, and, above all, of their
mutual devotedness and of their power.
The Gnostics caused the Gnosis
to be proscribed by the Christians, and the official Sanctuary was closed
against the high initiation. Thus the Hierarchy of Knowledge was compromitted
by the violences of usurping ignorance, and the disorders of the Sanctuary are
reproduced in the State; for always, willingly or unwillingly, the King is
sustained by the Priest, and it is from the eternal Sanctuary of the Divine
instruction that the Powers of the Earth, to insure themselves durability,
must receive their consecration and their force.
The Hermetic Science of the
early Christian ages, cultivated also by Geber, Alfarabius, and others of the
Arabs, studied by the Chiefs of the Templars, and embodied in certain symbols
of the higher Degrees of Freemasonry, may be accurately defined as the Kabalah
in active realization, or the Magic of Works. It has three analogous Degrees,
religious, philosophical, and physical realization.
Its religious realization is
the durable foundation of the true Empire and the true Priesthood that rule in
the realm of human intellect: its philosophical realization is the
establishment of an absolute Doctrine, known in all times as the "HOLY
and of which PLUTARCH, in the
Treatise "de Iside et Osiride," speaks at large but mysteriously; and
of a Hierarchical instruction to secure the uninterrupted succession of Adepts
among the Initiates: its physical realization is the discovery and
application, in the Microcosm, or Little World, of the creative law that
incessantly peoples the great Universe.
Measure a corner of the
Creation, and multiply that space in proportional progression, and the entire
Infinite will multiply its circles filled with universes, which will pass in
proportional segments between the ideal and elongating branches of your
Compass. Now suppose that from any point whatever of the Infinite above you a
hand holds another Compass or a Square, the lines of the Celestial triangle
will necessarily meet those of the Compass of Science, to form the Mysterious
Star of Solomon.
All hypotheses scientifically
probable are the last gleams of the twilight of knowledge, or its last
shadows. Faith begins where Reason sinks exhausted. Beyond the human Reason is
the Divine Reason, to our feebleness the great Absurdity, the Infinite Absurd,
which confounds us and which we believe. For the Master, the Compass of Faith
is above the Square of Reason; but both rest upon the Holy
Scriptures and combine to form the Blazing Star of Truth.
All eyes do not see alike. Even
the visible creation is not, for all who look upon it, of one form and one
color. Our brain is a book printed within and without, and the two writings
are, with all men, more or less confused.
The primary tradition of the
single revelation has been preserved under the name of the "Kabalah," by the
Priesthood of Israel. The Kabalistic doctrine, which was also the dogma of the
Magi and of Hermes, is contained in the Sepher Yetsairah, the Sohar, and the
Talmud. According to that doctrine, the Absolute is the Being, in which The
Word Is, the Word that is the utterance and expression of being and life.
Magic is that which it is; it
is by itself, like the mathematics; for it is the exact and absolute science
of Nature and its laws.
Magic is the science of the
Ancient Magi: and the Christian religion, which has imposed silence on the
lying oracles, and put an end to the prestiges of the false Gods, itself
reveres those Magi who came from the East, guided by a Star, to adore the
Saviour of the world in His cradle.
Tradition also gives these Magi
the title of "Kings;" because initiation into Magism constitutes a
genuine royalty; and because the grand art of the Magi is styled by all the
Adepts, "The Royal Art," or the Holy Realm or Empire, Sanctum
The Star which guided them is
that same Blazing Star, the image whereof we find in all initiations. To the
Alchemists it is the sign of the Quintessence; to the Magists, the Grand
Arcanum; to the Kabalists, the Sacred Pentagram. The study of this Pentagram
could not but lead the Magi to the knowledge of the New Name which was about
to raise itself above all names, and cause all creatures capable of adoration
to bend the knee.
Magic unites in one and the
same science, whatsoever Philosophy can possess that is most certain, and
Religion of the Infallible and the Eternal. It perfectly and incontestably
reconciles these two terms that at first blush seem so opposed to each other;
faith and reason, science and creed, authority and liberty.
It supplies the human mind with
an instrument of philosophical and religious certainty, exact as the
mathematics, and accounting for the infallibility of the mathematics
Thus there is an Absolute, in
the matters of the Intelligence and of Faith. The Supreme Reason has not left
the gleams of the human understanding to vacillate at hazard. There is an
incontestable verity, there is an infallible method of knowing this verity,
and by the knowledge of it, those who accept it as a rule may give their will
a sovereign power that will make them the masters of all inferior things and
of all errant spirits; that is to say, will make them the Arbiters and Kings
of the World.
Science has its nights and its
dawns, because it gives the intellectual world a life which has its regulated
movements and its progressive phases. It is with Truths, as with the luminous
rays: nothing of what is concealed is lost; but also, nothing of what is
discovered is absolutely new. God has been pleased to give to Science, which
is the reflection of His Glory, the Seal of His Eternity.
It is not in the books of the
Philosophers, but in the religious symbolism of the Ancients, that we must
look for the footprints of Science, and re-discover the Mysteries of
Knowledge. The Priests of Egypt knew, better than we do, the laws of movement
and of life. They knew how to temper or intensify action by re-action; and
readily foresaw the realization of these effects, the
causes of which they had
determined. The Columns of Seth, Enoch, Solomon, and Hercules have symbolized
in the Magian traditions this universal law of the Equilibrium; and the
Science of the Equilibrium or balancing of Forces had led the Initiates to
that of the universal gravitation around the centres of Life, Heat, and Light.
Thales and Pythagoras learned
in the Sanctuaries of Egypt that the Earth revolved around the Sun; but they
did not attempt to make this generally known, because to do so it would have
been necessary to reveal one of the great Secrets of the Temple, that double
law of attraction and radiation or of sympathy and antipathy, of fixedness and
movement, which is the principle of Creation, and the perpetual cause of life.
This Truth was ridiculed by the Christian Lactantius, as it was long after
sought to be proven a falsehood by persecution, by Papal Rome.
So the philosophers reasoned,
while the Priests, without replying to them or even smiling at their errors,
wrote, in those Hieroglyphics that created all dogmas and all poetry, the
Secrets of the Truth.
When Truth comes into the
world, the Star of Knowledge advises the Magi of it, and they hasten to adore
the Infant who creates the Future. It is by means of the Intelligence of the
Hierarchy and the practice of obedience, that one obtains Initiation. If the
Rulers have the Divine Right to govern, the true Initiate will cheerfully
The orthodox traditions were
carried from Chaldea by Abraham. They reigned in Egypt in the time of Joseph,
together with the knowledge of the True God. Moses carried Orthodoxy out of
Egypt, and in the Secret Traditions of the Kabalah we find a Theology entire,
perfect, unique, like that which in Christianity is most grand and best
explained by the Fathers and the Doctors, the whole with a consistency and a
harmoniousness which it is not as yet given to the world to comprehend. The
Sohar, which is the Key of the Holy Books, opens also all the depths and
lights, all the obscurities of the Ancient Mythologies and of the Sciences
originally concealed in the Sanctuaries. It is true that the Secret of this
Key must be known, to enable one to make use of it, and that for even the most
penetrating intellects, not initiated in this Secret, the Sohar is absolutely
incomprehensible and almost illegible.
The Secret of the Occult
Sciences is that of Nature itself, the Secret of the generation of the Angels
and Worlds, that of the Omnipotence of God.
"Ye shall be like the Elohim,
knowing good and evil," had the Serpent of Genesis said, and the Tree of
Knowledge became the Tree of Death.
For six thousand years the
Martyrs of Knowledge toil and die at the foot of this tree, that it may again
become the Tree of Life.
The Absolute sought for
unsuccessfully by the insensate and found by the Sages, is the TRUTH, the
REALITY, and the REASON of the universal equilibrium!
Equilibrium is the Harmony that
results from the analogy of Contraries.
Until now, Humanity has been
endeavoring to stand on one foot; sometimes on one, sometimes on the other.
Civilizations have risen and
perished, either by the anarchical insanity of Despotism, or by the despotic
anarchy of Revolt.
To organize Anarchy, is the
problem which the revolutionists have and will eternally have to resolve. It
is the rock of Sisyphus that will always fall back upon them. To exist a
single instant, they are and always will be by fatality reduced to improvise a
despotism without other reason of existence than necessity, and which,
consequently, is violent and blind as Necessity. We escape from the harmonious
monarchy of Reason, only to fall under the irregular dictatorship of Folly.
enthusiasms, sometimes the miserable calculations of the materialist instinct
have led astray the nations, and God at last urges the world on toward
believing Reason and reasonable Beliefs.
We have had prophets enough
without philosophy, and philosophers without religion; the blind believers and
the skeptics resemble each other, and are as far the one as the other from the
In the chaos of universal doubt
and of the conflicts of Reason and Faith, the great men and Seers have been
but infirm and morbid artists, seeking the beau-ideal at the risk and peril of
their reason and life.
Living only in the hope to be
crowned, they are the first to do what Pythagoras in so touching a manner
prohibits in his admirable Symbols; they rend crowns, and tread them under
Light is the equilibrium of
Shadow and Lucidity.
Movement is the equilibrium of
Inertia and Activity.
Authority is the equilibrium of
Liberty and Power.
Wisdom is equilibrium in the
Thoughts, which are the scintillations and rays of the Intellect.
Virtue is equilibrium in the
Affections: Beauty is harmonious proportion in Forms.
The beautiful lives are the
accurate ones, and the magnificences of Nature are an algebra of graces and
Everything just is beautiful;
everything beautiful ought to be just.
There is, in fact, no Nothing,
no void Emptiness, in the Universe. From the upper or outer surface of our
atmosphere to that of the Sun, and to those of the Planets and remote Stars,
in different directions, Science has for hundreds of centuries imagined that
there was simple, void, empty Space. Comparing finite knowledge with the
Infinite, the Philosophers know little more than the apes! In all that "void"
space are the Infinite Forces of God, acting in an infinite variety of
directions, back and forth, and never for an instant inactive. In all of it,
active through the whole of its Infinity, is the Light that is the Visible
Manifestation of God. The earth and every other planet and sphere that is not
a Centre of Light, carries its cone of shadow with it as it flies and flashes
round in its orbit; but the darkness has no home in the Universe. To
illuminate the sphere on one side, is to project a cone of darkness on the
other; and Error also is the Shadow of the Truth with which God illuminates
In all that "Void," also, is
the Mysterious and ever Active Electricity, and Heat, and the Omnipresent
Ether. At the will of God the Invisible becomes Visible. Two invisible gases,
combined by the action of a Force of God, and compressed, become and remain
the water that fills the great basins of the seas, flows in the rivers and
rivulets, leaps forth from the rocks or springs, drops upon the earth in
rains, or whitens it with snows, and bridges the Danubes with ice, or gathers
in vast reservoirs in the earth's bosom. God manifested fills all the
extension that we foolishly call Empty Space and the Void.
And everywhere in the Universe,
what we call Life and Movement results from a continual conflict of Forces or
Impulses. Whenever that active antagonism ceases, the immobility and inertia,
which are Death, result.
If, says the Kabalah, the
Justice of God, which is Severity or the Female, alone reigned, creation of
imperfect beings such as man would from the beginning have been impossible,
because Sin being congenital with Humanity, the Infinite Justice, measuring
the Sin by the Infinity of the God offended against, must have annihilated
Humanity at the instant of its creation; and not only Humanity but the Angels,
since these also, like all created by God and less than perfect, are sinful.
Nothing imperfect would have been possible. If, on the other hand, the Mercy
or Benignity of God, the Male, were in no wise counteracted, Sin would go
unpunished, and the Universe fall into a chaos of corruption.
Let God but repeal a single
principle or law of chemical attraction or sympathy, and the antagonistic
forces equilibrated in matter, released from constraint, would instantaneously
expand all that we term matter into impalpable and invisible gases, such as
water or steam is, when, confined in a cylinder and subjected to an immense
degree of that mysterious force of the Deity which we call "heat," it is by
its expansion released.
Incessantly the great currents
and rivers of air flow and rush and roll from the equator to the frozen polar
regions, and back from these to the torrid equatorial realms. Necessarily
incident to these great, immense, equilibrated and beneficent movements,
caused by the antagonism of equatorial heat and polar cold, are the typhoons,
tornadoes, and cyclones that result from conflicts between the rushing
currents. These and the benign trade-winds result from the same great law. God
is omnipotent; but effects without causes are impossible, and these effects
cannot but sometimes be evil. The fire would not warm, if it could not also
burn, the human flesh. The most virulent poisons are the most sovereign
remedies, when given in due proportion. The Evil is the shadow of the Good,
and inseparable from it.
The Divine Wisdom limits by
equipoise the Omnipotence of the Divine Will or Power, and the result is
Beauty or Harmony. The arch rests not on a single column, but springs from one
either side. So is it also with
the Divine Justice and Mercy, and with the Human Reason and Human Faith.
That purely scholastic
Theology, issue of the Categories of Aristotle and of the Sentences of Peter
Lombard, that logic of the syllogism which argues instead of reasoning, and
finds a response to every thing by subtilizing on terms, wholly ignored the
Kabalistic dogma and wandered off into the drear vacuity of darkness. It was
less a philosophy or a wisdom than a philosophical automaton, replying by
means of springs, and uncoiling its theses like a wheeled movement. It was not
the human verb but the monotonous cry of a machine, the inanimate speech of an
Android. It was the fatal precision of mechanism, instead of a free
application of rational necessities. ST. THOMAS AQUINAS crushed with a single
blow all this scaffolding of words built one upon the other, by proclaiming
the eternal Empire of Reason, in that magnificent sentence, "A thing is not
just because GOD wills it; but GOD wills it because it is just." The
proximate consequence of this proposition, arguing from the greater to the
less, was this: "A thing is not true because ARISTOTLE has said it;
but ARISTOTLE could not reasonably say it unless it was true. Seek
then, first of all, the TRUTH and JUSTICE, and the Science of
ARISTOTLE will be given you in addition."
It is the fine dream of the
greatest of the Poets, that Hell, become useless, is to be closed at length,
by the aggrandizement of Heaven; that the problem of Evil is to receive its
final solution, and Good alone, necessary and triumphant, is to reign in
Eternity. So the Persian dogma taught that AHRIMAN and his subordinate
ministers of Evil were at last, by means of a Redeemer and Mediator, to be
reconciled with Deity, and all Evil to end. But unfortunately, the philosopher
forgets all the laws of equilibrium, and seeks to absorb the Light in a
splendor without shadow, and movement in an absolute repose that would be the
cessation of life. So long as there shall be a visible light, there will be a
shadow proportional to this Light, and whatever is illuminated will cast its
cone of shadow. Repose will never be happiness, if it is not balanced by an
analogous and contrary movement. This is the immutable law of Nature, the
Eternal Will of the JUSTICE which is GOD.
The same reason necessitates
Evil and Sorrow in Humanity, which renders indispensable the bitterness of the
waters of the
seas. Here also, Harmony can
result only from the analogy of contraries, and what is above exists by reason
of what is below. It is the depth that determines the height; and if the
valleys are filled up, the mountains disappear: so, if the shadows are
effaced, the Light is annulled, which is only visible by the graduated
contrast of gloom and splendor, and universal obscurity will be produced by an
immense dazzling. Even the colors in the Light only exist by the presence of
the shadow: it is the threefold alliance of the day and night, the luminous
image of the dogma, the Light made Shadow, as the Saviour is the Logos made
man: and all this reposes on the same law, the primary law of creation, the
single and absolute law of Nature, that of the distinction and harmonious
ponderation of the contrary forces in the universal equipoise.
The two great columns of the
Temple that symbolizes the Universe are Necessity, or the omnipotent Will of
God, which nothing can disobey, and Liberty, or the free-will of His
creatures. Apparently and to our human reason antagonistic, the same Reason is
not incapable of comprehending how they can be in equipoise. The Infinite
Power and Wisdom could so plan the Universe and the Infinite Succession of
things as to leave man free to act, and, foreseeing what each would at every
instant think and do, to make of the free-will and free-action of each an
instrument to aid in effecting its general purpose. For even a man, foreseeing
that another will do a certain act, and in nowise controlling or even
influencing him may use that action as an instrument to effect his own
The Infinite Wisdom of God
foresees what each will do, and uses it as an instrument, by the exertion of
His Infinite Power, which yet does not control the Human action so as to
annihilate its freedom. The result is Harmony, the third column that up-holds
the Lodge. The same Harmony results from the equipoise of Necessity and
Liberty. The will of God is not for an instant defeated nor thwarted, and this
is the Divine Victory; and yet He does not tempt nor constrain men to do Evil,
and thus His Infinite Glory is unimpaired. The result is Stability, Cohesion,
and Permanence in the Universe, and undivided Dominion and Autocracy in the
Deity. And these, Victory, Glory, Stability, and Dominion, are the last four
Sephiroth of the Kabalah.
I Am, God said to Moses, that
which Is, Was and Shall forever
[paragraph continues] Be. But the Very God, in His
unmanifested Essence, conceived of as not yet having created and as Alone, has
no Name. Such was the doctrine of all the ancient Sages, and it is so
expressly declared in the Kabalah. יהוה is the Name of the Deity manifested in
a single act, that of Creation, and containing within Himself, in idea and
actuality, the whole Universe, to be invested with form and be materially
developed during the eternal succession of ages. As God never WAS NOT, so He
never THOUGHT not, and the Universe has no more had a beginning than the
Divine Thought of which it is the utterance,--no more than the Deity Himself.
The duration of the Universe is but a point halfway upon the infinite line of
eternity; and God was not inert and uncreative during the eternity that
stretches behind that point. The Archetype of the Universe did never not exist
in the Divine Mind. The Word was in the BEGINNING with God, and WAS God. And
the Ineffable NAME is that, not of the Very Essence but of the Absolute,
manifested as Being or Existence. For Existence or Being, said the
Philosophers, is limitation; and the Very Deity is not limited nor defined,
but is all that may possibly be, besides all that is, was, and shall
Reversing the letters of the
Ineffable Name, and dividing it, it becomes bi-sexual, as the word יה, Yud-He
or JAH is, and discloses the meaning of much of the obscure language of the
Kabalah, and is The Highest of which the Columns Jachin and Boaz are the
symbol. "In the image of Deity," we are told, "God created the Man; Male and
Female created He them:" and the writer, symbolizing the Divine by the
Human, then tells us that the woman, at first contained in the man, was taken
from his side. So Minerva, Goddess of Wisdom, was born, a woman and in armor,
of the brain of Jove; Isis was the sister before she was the wife of Osiris,
and within BRAHM, the Source of all, the Very God, without sex or name, was
developed MAYA, the Mother of all that is. The WORD is the First and
Only-begotten of the Father; and the awe with which the Highest Mysteries were
regarded has imposed silence in respect to the Nature of the Holy Spirit. The
Word is Light, and the Life of Humanity.
It is for the Adepts to
understand the meaning of the Symbols.
Return now, with us, to the
Degrees of the Blue Masonry, and for your last lesson, receive the explanation
of one of their Symbols.
You see upon the altar of those
Degrees the SQUARE and the COMPASS, and you remember how they lay upon the
altar in each Degree.
The SQUARE is an instrument
adapted for plane surfaces only, and therefore appropriate to Geometry, or
measurement of the Earth, which appears to be, and was by the Ancients
supposed to be, a plane. The COMPASS is an instrument that has relation to
spheres and spherical surfaces, and is adapted to spherical trigonometry, or
that branch of mathematics which deals with the Heavens and the orbits of the
The SQUARE, therefore, is a
natural and appropriate Symbol of this Earth and the things that belong to it,
are of it, or concern it. The Compass is an equally natural and appropriate
Symbol of the Heavens, and of all celestial things and celestial natures.
You see at the beginning of
this reading, an old Hermetic Symbol, copied from the "MATERIA PRIMA" of
Valentinus, printed at Franckfurt, in 1613, with a treatise entitled "AZOTH."
Upon it you see a Triangle upon a Square, both of these contained in a circle;
and above this, standing upon a dragon, a human body, with two arms only, but
two heads, one male and the other female. By the side of the male head is the
Sun, and by that of the female head, the Moon, the crescent within the circle
of the full moon. And the hand on the male side holds a Compass,
and that on the female side, a Square.
The Heavens and the Earth were
personified as Deities, even among the Aryan Ancestors of the European nations
of the Hindus, Zends, Bactrians, and Persians; and the Rig Veda Sanhita
contains hymns addressed to them as gods. They were deified also among the
Phnicians; and among the Greeks OURANOS and GEA, Heaven and Earth, were sung
as the most ancient of the Deities, by Hesiod.
It is the great, fertile,
beautiful MOTHER, Earth, that produces, with limitless profusion of
beneficence, everything that ministers to the needs, to the comfort, and to
the luxury of man. From her teeming and inexhaustible bosom come the fruits,
the grain, the flowers, in their season. From it comes all that feeds the
animals which serve man as laborers and for food. She, in the fair
[paragraph continues] Springtime, is green with abundant
grass, and the trees spring from her soil, and from her teeming vitality take
their wealth of green leaves. In her womb are found the useful and valuable
minerals; hers are the seas the swarm with life; hers the rivers that furnish
food and irrigation, and the mountains that send down the streams which swell
into these rivers; hers the forests that feed the sacred fires for the
sacrifices, and blaze upon the domestic hearths. The EARTH, therefore, the
great PRODUCER, was always represented as a female, as the
MOTHER,--Great, Bounteous, Beneficent Mother Earth.
On the other hand, it is the
light and heat of the Sun in the Heavens, and the rains that seem to come from
them, that in the Springtime make fruitful this bountifully-producing Earth,
that restore life and warmth to her veins, chilled by Winter, set running free
her streams, and beget, as it were, that greenness and that abundance
of which she is so prolific. As the procreative and generative agents, the
Heavens and the Sun have always been regarded as male; as the
generators that fructify the Earth and cause it to produce.
The Hermaphroditic figure is
the Symbol of the double nature anciently assigned to the Deity, as Generator
and Producer, as BRAHM and MAYA among the Aryans, Osiris and Isis among the
Egyptians. As the Sun was male, so the Moon was female; and Isis was both the
sister and the wife of Osiris. The Compass, therefore, is the Hermetic Symbol
of the Creative Deity, and the Square of the productive Earth or Universe.
From the Heavens come the
spiritual and immortal portion of man; from the Earth his material and mortal
portion. The Hebrew Genesis says that YEHOUAH formed man of the dust of the
Earth, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life. Through the seven
planetary spheres, represented by the Mystic Ladder of the Mithriac
Initiations, and it by that which Jacob saw in his dream (not with three,
but with seven steps), the Souls, emanating from the Deity, descended,
to be united to their human bodies; and through those seven spheres they must
re-ascend, to return to their origin and home in the bosom of the Deity.
The COMPASS, therefore, as the
Symbol of the Heavens, represents the spiritual, intellectual, and
moral portion of this double nature of Humanity; and the SQUARE, as the Symbol
of the Earth, its material, sensual, and baser portion.
"Truth and Intelligence," said
one of the Ancient Indian Sects of Philosophers, "are the Eternal attributes
of God, not of the individual Soul, which is susceptible both of knowledge and
ignorance, of pleasure and pain; therefore God and the individual Soul are
distinct:" and this expression of the ancient Nyaya Philosophers, in regard to
Truth, has been handed down to us through the long succession of ages, in the
lessons of Freemasonry, wherein we read, that "Truth is a Divine Attribute,
and the foundation of every virtue."
"While embodied in matter,"
they said, "the Soul is in a state of imprisonment, and is under the influence
of evil passions; but having, by intense study, arrived at the knowledge of
the elements and principles of Nature, it attains unto the place of TIE
ETERNAL; in which state of happiness, its individuality does not cease."
The vitality which animates the
mortal frame, the Breath of Life of the Hebrew Genesis, the Hindu Philosophers
in general held, perishes with it; but the Soul is divine, an emanation of the
Spirit of God, but not a portion of that Spirit. For they compared it
to the heat and light sent forth from the Sun, or to a ray of that
light, which neither lessens nor divides its own essence.
However created, or invested
with separate existence, the Soul, which is but the creature of the Deity,
cannot know the mode of its creation, nor comprehend its own individuality. It
cannot even comprehend how the being which it and the body constitute, can
feel pain, or see, or hear. It has pleased the Universal Creator to set bounds
to the scope of our human and finite reason, beyond which it cannot reach; and
if we are capable of comprehending the mode and manner of the creation or
generation of the Universe of things, He has been pleased to conceal it from
us by an impenetrable veil, while the words used to express the act have no
other definite meaning than that He caused that Universe to commence to exist.
It is enough for us to know,
what Masonry teaches, that we are not all mortal; that the Soul or Spirit, the
intellectual and reasoning portion of ourself, is our Very Self, is not
subject to decay and dissolution, but is simple and immaterial, survives the
death of the body, and is capable of immortality; that it is also capable
of improvement and advancement, of increase of knowledge of
the things that are divine, of
becoming wiser and better, and more and more worthy of immortality; and that
to become so, and to help to improve and benefit others and all our race, is
the noblest ambition and highest glory that we can entertain and attain unto,
in this momentary and imperfect life.
In every human being the Divine
and the Human are intermingled. In every one there are the Reason and the
Moral sense, the passions that prompt to evil, and the sensual appetites. "If
ye live after the flesh, ye shall die," said Paul, writing to the Christians
at Rome, "but if ye through the spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye
shall live. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of
God." "The flesh lusteth against the spirit, and the spirit against the
flesh," he said, writing to the Christians of Galatia, "and these are contrary
the one to the other, so that ye cannot do the things that ye would." "That
which I do, I do not willingly do," he wrote to the Romans, "for what I wish
to do, that I do not do, but that which I hate I do. It is no more I that do
it, but sin that dwelleth in me. To will, is present with me; but how to
perform that which is good, I find not. For, I do not do the good that I
desire to do; and the evil that I do not wish to do, that I do do. I find then
a law, that when I desire to do good, evil is present with me; for I
delight in the law of God after the inward man, but I see another law in my
members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to
the law of sin which is in my members. . . So then, with the mind I myself
serve the law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin."
Life is a battle, and to fight
that battle heroically and well is the great purpose of every man's existence,
who is worthy and fit to live at all. To stem the strong currents of
adversity, to advance in despite of all obstacles, to snatch victory from the
jealous grasp of fortune, to become a chief and a leader among men, to rise to
rank and power by eloquence, courage, perseverance, study, energy, activity,
discouraged by no reverses, impatient of no delays, deterred by no hazards; to
win wealth, to subjugate men by our intellect, the very elements by our
audacity, to succeed, to prosper, to thrive;--thus it is, according to the
general understanding, that one fights well the battle of life. Even to
succeed in business by that boldness which halts for no risks, that audacity
which stakes all upon hazardous chances; by the shrewdness of
the close dealer, the boldness
of the unscrupulous operator, even by the knaveries of the stock-board and the
gold-room; to crawl up into place by disreputable means or the votes of brutal
ignorance,--these also are deemed to be among the great successes of life.
But that which is the greatest
battle, and in which the truest honor and most real success are to be won, is
that which our intellect and reason and moral sense, our spiritual natures,
fight against our sensual appetites and evil passions, our earthly and
material or animal nature. Therein only are the true glories of heroism to be
won, there only the successes that entitle us to triumphs.
In every human life that battle
is fought; and those who win elsewhere, often suffer ignominious defeat and
disastrous rout, and discomfiture and shameful downfall in this encounter.
You have heard more than one
definition of freemasonry. The truest and the most significant you have yet to
hear. It is taught to the entered Apprentice, the Fellow-Craft, and the
Master, and it is taught in every Degree through which you have advanced to
this. It is a definition of what Freemasonry is, of what its purposes and its
very essence and spirit are; and it has for every one of us the force and
sanctity of a divine law, and imposes on every one of us a solemn obligation.
It is symbolized and taught,
to the Apprentice as well as to you, by the COMPASS and the SQUARE;
upon which, as well as upon the Book of your Religion and the Book of the law
of the Scottish Freemasonry, you have taken so many obligations. As a Knight,
you have been taught it by the Swords, the symbols of HONOR and DUTY, on which
you have taken your vows: it was taught you by the BALANCE, the symbol of all
Equilibrium, and by the CROSS, the symbol of devotedness and self-sacrifice;
but all that these teach and contain is taught and contained, for Entered
Apprentice, Knight, and Prince alike, by the Compass and the Square.
For the Apprentice, the points
of the Compass are beneath the Square. For the Fellow-Craft, one is above and
one beneath. For the Master, both are dominant, and have rule, control, and
empire over the symbol of the earthly and the material.
FREEMASONRY is the
subjugation of the Human that is in man by the Divine; the Conquest of the
Appetites and Passions by the Moral Sense and the Reason; a continual effort,
struggle, and warfare of the Spiritual against the Material and Sensual.
victory, when it has been
achieved and secured, and the conqueror may rest upon his shield and wear the
well-earned laurels, is the true HOLY EMPIRE.
To achieve it, the Mason must
first attain a solid conviction, founded upon reason, that he hath within him
a spiritual nature, a soul that is not to die when the body is dissolved, but
is to continue to exist and to advance toward perfection through all the ages
of eternity, and to see more and more clearly, as it draws nearer unto God,
the Light of the Divine Presence. This the Philosophy of the Ancient and
Accepted Rite teaches him; and it encourages him to persevere by helping him
to believe that his free will is entirely consistent with God's Omnipotence
and Omniscience; that He is not only infinite in power, and of infinite
wisdom, but of infinite mercy, and an infinitely tender pity and love for the
frail and imperfect creatures that He has made.
Every Degree of the Ancient and
Accepted Scottish Rite, from the first to the thirty-second, teaches by its
ceremonial as well as by its instruction, that the noblest purpose of life and
the highest duty of a man are to strive incessantly and vigorously to win the
mastery of everything, of that which in him is spiritual and divine, over that
which is material and sensual; so that in him also, as in the Universe which
God governs, Harmony and Beauty may be the result of a just equilibrium.
You have been taught this in
those Degrees, conferred in the Lodge of Perfection, which inculcate
particularly the practical morality of Freemasonry. To be true, under whatever
temptation to be false; to be honest in all your dealings, even if great
losses should be the consequence; to be charitable, when selfishness would
prompt you to close your hand, and deprivation of luxury or comfort must
follow the charitable act; to judge justly and impartially, even in your own
case, when baser impulses prompt you to do an injustice in order that you may
be benefited or justified; to be tolerant, when passion prompts to intolerance
and persecution; to do that which is right, when the wrong seems to promise
larger profit; and to wrong no man of anything that is his, however easy it
may seem so to enrich yourself;--in all these things and others which you
promised in those Degrees, your spiritual nature is taught and encouraged to
assert its rightful dominion over your appetites and passions.
The philosophical Degrees have
taught you the value of knowledge,
the excellence of truth, the
superiority of intellectual labor, the dignity and value of your soul, the
worth of great and noble thoughts; and thus endeavored to assist you to rise
above the level of the animal appetites and passions, the pursuits of greed
and the miserable struggles of ambition, and to find purer pleasure and nobler
prizes and rewards in the acquisition of knowledge, the enlargement of the
intellect, the interpretation of the sacred writing of God upon the great
pages of the Book of Nature.
And the Chivalric Degrees have
led you on the same path, by showing you the excellence of generosity,
clemency, forgiveness of injuries, magnanimity, contempt of danger, and the
paramount obligations of Duty and Honor. They have taught you to over-come the
fear of death, to devote yourself to the great cause of civil and religious
Liberty, to be the Soldier of all that is just, right, and true; in the midst
of pestilence to deserve your title of Knight Commander of the Temple, and
neither there nor Elsewhere to desert your post and flee dastard-like from the
foe. In all this, you assert the superiority and right to dominion of that in
you which is spiritual and divine. No base fear of danger or death, no sordid
ambitions or pitiful greeds or base considerations can tempt a true Scottish
Knight to dishonor, and so make his intellect, his reason, his soul, the
bond-slave of his appetites, of his passions, of that which is material and
animal, selfish and brutish in his nature.
It is not possible to create a
true and genuine Brotherhood upon any theory of the baseness of human nature:
nor by a community of belief in abstract propositions as to the nature of the
Deity, the number of His persons, or other theorems of religious faith: nor by
the establishment of a system of association simply for mutual relief, and by
which, in consideration of certain payments regularly made, each becomes
entitled to a certain stipend in case of sickness, to attention then, and to
the ceremonies of burial after death.
There can be no genuine
Brotherhood without mutual regard, good opinion and esteem, mutual charity,
and mutual allowance for faults and failings. It is those only who learn
habitually to think better of each other, to look habitually for the good that
is in each other, and expect, allow for, and overlook, the evil, who can be
Brethren one of the other, in any true sense of the word. Those who gloat over
the failings of one another, who think each
other to be naturally base and
low, of a nature in which the Evil predominates and excellence is not to be
looked for, cannot be even friends, and much less Brethren.
No one can have a right to
think meanly of his race, unless he also thinks meanly of himself. If, from a
single fault or error, he judges of the character of another, and takes the
single act as evidence of the whole nature of the man and of the whole course
of his life, he ought to consent to be judged by the same rule, and to admit
it to be right that others should thus uncharitably condemn himself. But such
judgments will become impossible when he incessantly reminds himself that in
every man who lives there is an immortal Soul endeavoring to do that which is
right and just; a Ray, however small, and almost inappreciable, from the Great
Source of Light and Intelligence, which ever struggles upward amid all the
impediments of sense and the obstructions of the passions; and that in every
man this ray continually wages war against his evil passions and his unruly
appetites, or, if it has succumbed, is never wholly extinguished and
annihilated. For he will then see that it is not victory, but the struggle
that de-serves honor; since in this as in all else no man can always command
success. Amid a cloud of errors, of failure, and short-comings, he will look
for the struggling Soul, for that which is good in every one amid the evil,
and, believing that each is better than from his acts and omissions he seems
to be, and that God cares for him still, and pities him and loves him, he will
feel that even the erring sinner is still his brother, still entitled to his
sympathy, and bound to him by the indissoluble ties of fellowship.
If there be nothing of the
divine in man, what is he, after all, but a more intelligent animal? He hath
no fault nor vice which some beast hath not; and therefore in his vices he is
but a beast of a higher order; and he hath hardly any moral excellence,
perhaps none, which some animal hath not in as great a degree,--even the more
excellent of these, such as generosity, fidelity, and magnanimity.
Bardesan, the Syrian Christian,
in his Book of the Laws of Countries, says, of men, that "in the things
belonging to their bodies, they maintain their nature like animals, and in the
things which belong to their minds, they do that which they wish, as being
free and with power, and as the likeness of God"; and Meliton, Bishop of
Sardis, in his Oration to Antoninus Cęsar,
says, "Let Him, the ever-living
God, be always present in thy mind; for thy mind itself is His likeness, for
it, too, is invisible and impalpable, and without form. . . As He exists
forever, so thou also, when thou shalt have put off this which is visible and
corruptible, shalt stand before Him forever, living and endowed with
As a matter far above our
comprehension, and in the Hebrew Genesis the words that are used to express
the origin of things are of uncertain meaning, and with equal propriety may be
translated by the word "generated," "produced," "made," or "created," we need
not dispute nor debate whether the Soul or Spirit of man be a ray that has
emanated or flowed forth from the Supreme Intelligence, or whether the
Infinite Power hath called each into existence from nothing, by a mere
exertion of Its will, and endowed it with immortality, and with intelligence
like unto the Divine Intelligence: for, in either case it may be said that in
man the Divine is united to the Human. Of this union the equilateral Triangle
inscribed within the Square is a Symbol.
We see the Soul, Plato said, as
men see the statue of Glaucus, recovered from the sea wherein it had lain many
years--which viewing, it was not easy, if possible, to discern what was its
original nature, its limbs having been partly broken and partly worn and by
defacement changed, by the action of the waves, and shells, weeds, and pebbles
adhering to it, so that it more resembled some strange monster than that which
it was when it left its Divine Source. Even so, he said, we see the Soul,
deformed by innumerable things that have done it harm, have mutilated and
defaced it. But the Mason who hath the ROYAL SECRET can also with him argue,
from beholding its love of wisdom, its tendency toward association with what
is divine and immortal, its larger aspirations, its struggles, though they may
have ended in defeat, with the impediments and enthralments of the senses and
the passions, that when it shall have been rescued from the material
environments that now prove too strong for it, and be freed from the deforming
and disfiguring accretions that here adhere to it, it will again be seen in
its true nature, and by degrees ascend by the mystic ladder of the Spheres, to
its first home and place of origin.
The ROYAL SECRET, of which you
are Prince, if you are a true Adept, if knowledge seems to you advisable, and
Philosophy is, for you, radiant with a divine beauty, is that which the Sohar
terms The Mystery of the
BALANCE. It is the Secret of the UNIVERSAL EQUILIBRIUM:--
--Of that Equilibrium in the
Deity, between the Infinite Divine WISDOM and the Infinite Divine POWER, from
which result the Stability of the Universe, the unchangeableness of the Divine
Law, and the Principles of Truth, Justice, and Right which are a part of it;
and the Supreme Obligation of the Divine Law upon all men, as superior to all
other law, and forming a part of all the laws of men and nations.
--Of that Equilibrium also,
between the Infinite Divine JUSTICE and the Infinite Divine MERCY, the result
of which is the Infinite Divine EQUITY, and the Moral Harmony or Beauty of the
Universe. By it the endurance of created and imperfect natures in the presence
of a Perfect Deity is made possible; and for Him, also, as for us, to love is
better than to hate, and Forgiveness is wiser than Revenge or Punishment.
--Of that Equilibrium between
NECESSITY and LIBERTY, between the action of the DIVINE Omnipotence and the
Free-will of man, by which vices and base actions, and ungenerous thoughts and
words are crimes and wrongs, justly punished by the law of cause and
consequence, though nothing in the Universe can happen or be done contrary to
the will of God; and without which co-existence of Liberty and Necessity, of
Free-will in the creature and Omnipotence in the Creator, there could be no
religion, nor any law of right and wrong, or merit and demerit, nor any
justice in human punishments or penal laws.
--Of that Equilibrium between
Good and Evil, and Light and Darkness in the world, which assures us that all
is the work of the Infinite Wisdom and of an Infinite Love; and that there is
no rebellious demon of Evil, or Principle of Darkness co-existent and in
eternal controversy with God, or the Principle of Light and of Good: by
attaining to the knowledge of which equilibrium we can, through Faith, see
that the existence of Evil, Sin, Suffering, and Sorrow in the world, is
consistent with the Infinite Goodness as well as with the Infinite Wisdom of
Sympathy and Antipathy,
Attraction and Repulsion, each a Force of nature, are contraries, in the souls
of men and in the Universe of spheres and worlds; and from the action and
opposition of each against the other, result Harmony, and that movement which
is the Life of the Universe and the Soul alike.
[paragraph continues] They
are not antagonists of each other. The force that repels a Planet from the Sun
is no more an evil force, than that which attracts the Planet toward
the central Luminary; for each is created and exerted by the Deity, and the
result is the harmonious movement of the obedient Planets in their elliptic
orbits, and the mathematical accuracy and unvarying regularity of their
--Of that Equilibrium between
Authority and Individual Action which constitutes Free Government, by settling
on immutable foundations Liberty with Obedience to Law, Equality with
Subjection to Authority, and Fraternity with Subordination to the Wisest and
the Best: and of that Equilibrium between the Active Energy of the Will of the
Present, expressed by the Vote of the People, and the Passive Stability and
Permanence of the Will of the Past, expressed in constitutions of government,
written or unwritten, and in the laws and customs, gray with age and
sanctified by time, as precedents and authority; which is represented by the
arch resting on the two columns, Jachin and Boaz, that stand at the portals of
the Temple builded by Wisdom, on one of which Masonry sets the celestial
Globe, symbol of the spiritual part of our composite nature, and on the other
the terrestrial Globe, symbol of the material part.
--And, finally, of that
Equilibrium, possible in ourselves, and which Masonry incessantly labors to
accomplish in its Initiates, and demands of its Adepts and Princes (else
unworthy of their titles), between the Spiritual and Divine and the Material
and Human in man; between the Intellect, Reason, and Moral Sense on one side,
and the Appetites and Passions on the other, from which result the Harmony and
Beauty of a well-regulated life.
Which possible Equilibrium
proves to us that our Appetites and Senses also are Forces given unto us by
God, for purposes of good, and not the fruits of the malignancy of a Devil, to
be detested, mortified, and, if possible, rendered inert and dead: that they
are given us to be the means by which we shall be strengthened and incited to
great and good deeds, and are to be wisely used, and not abused; to be
controlled and kept within due bounds by the Reason and the Moral Sense; to be
made useful instruments and servants, and not permitted to become the managers
and masters, using our intellect and reason as base instruments for their
And this Equilibrium teaches
us, above all, to reverence ourselves as immortal souls, and to have respect
and charity for others, who are even such as we are, partakers with us of the
Divine Nature, lighted by a ray of the Divine Intelligence, struggling, like
us, toward the light; capable, like us, of progress upward toward perfection,
and deserving to be loved and pitied, but never to be hated nor despised; to
be aided and encouraged in this life-struggle, and not to be abandoned nor
left to wander in the darkness alone, still less to be trampled upon in our
own efforts to ascend.
From the mutual action and
re-action of each of these pairs of opposites and contraries results that
which with them forms the Triangle, to all the Ancient Sages the expressive
symbol of the Deity; as from Osiris and Isis, Har-oeri, the Master of Light
and Life, and the Creative Word. At the angles of one stand, symbolically, the
three columns that support the Lodge, itself a symbol of the Universe, Wisdom,
Power, and Harmony or Beauty. One of these symbols, found on the Tracing-Board
of the Apprentice's Degree, teaches this last lesson of Freemasonry. It is the
right-angled Triangle, representing man, as a union of the spiritual and
material, of the divine and human. The base, measured by the number 3, the
number of the Triangle, represents the Deity and the Divine; the
perpendicular, measured by the number 4, the number of the Square, represents
the Earth, the Material, and the Human; and the hypothenuse, measured by 5,
represents that nature which is produced by the union of the Divine and Human,
the Soul and the Body; the squares, 9 and 16, of the base and perpendicular,
added together, producing 25, the square root whereof is 5, the measure of the
And as in each Triangle of
Perfection, one is three and three are one, so man is one, though of a double
nature; and he attains the purposes of his being only when the two natures
that are in him are in just equilibrium; and his life is a success only when
it too is a harmony, and beautiful, like the great Harmonies of God and the
Such, my Brother, is the TRUE
WORD of a Master Mason; such the true ROYAL SECRET, which makes possible, and
shall at length make real, the HOLY EMPIRE of true Masonic Brotherhood.
GLORIA DEI EST
CELARE VERBUM. AMEN.