III. THE MASTER.
III. THE MASTER.
* * * * * *
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
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
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 elan, 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 JEHOVA 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 itsweb. 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 agrceably, but
they soften the pains of death by the hope of a better life hereafter.
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 thc 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 heresesy 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 enigimatic 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 con1prellend them. If their
philosophical meaning was above the comlirellension of some, their moral
and political meanlngs 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 illfounded 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 knowledge.
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 omce 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
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 Lycaea, 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 other.
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, grced, 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 findways 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 dismen1berment 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 itself.
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 dared 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 retaliationJ 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
* * * * * *
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 n1an, 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 mys terious 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 eternal.
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
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 tlle 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 thc 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 an1ong
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
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 enthralhment 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 Chaldcean 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 crwnble, 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 worsl1ip. They personified
him as BRAHMA, AMUN, OSRIS, BEL, ADONIS, MALKARTH, MITHRAS, and APOLLO; and
the 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 Khairum or Khurum is a compound one. Gesenius renders Khurum by
the word noble or free-born: Khur 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 Sun.
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 Kuros. Kurios, Lord, in Greek, like Adonai, Lord,
in Phcenician 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.
Hewnes 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 Achor.
We know, through a precise testimony in the ancient annals of Tsur, that
the principal festivity of Mal-karth, the incarnation of the Sun at the
Winter Solstice, held at Tsur, 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 AEneid, 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 Tsur. Thus, while the temple was being erected, the death
and resurrection of a Sun-God was annually represented at Tsur, by
Solomon's ally, at the winter solstice, by the pyre of MAL-KARIH, the
AROERIS or HAR-oeris, the elder HORUS, is from the same old root that in
the Hebrew has the form Aur, or, with the definite article prefixed, Haur,
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 "Haroeri, 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 Isrs; 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 side.
Again, the Hebrewword Khi, means "living;" and ram, "was, or shall be,
raised or lifted up." The latter is the same as room, aroom, harum, whence
Aram, for Syria, or Aramoea, High-land. Khairum, therefore, would mean "was
raised up to life, or living."
So, in Arabic, hrm, an unused root, meant, "was high," "made great,"
"exalted;" and Hirm means an ox, the symbol of the Sun in Taurus, at the
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 Ouro, and the Hebrew Aur, 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 Tsur. You will not fail to notice that
in the name of each murderer of Khurum, 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.
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.
in the ancient Phcenician character, and in the Samaritan, 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.
is simply Father, when it is in construction, that is, when it precedes
another word, and in English the preposition "of" is interposed, as Abi-Al,
the Father of Al.
Also, the final Yod means "my"; so that by itself means "My father. David
my father, 2 Chron. ii. 3.
(Vav) final is the possessive pronoun "his"; and Abiu (which we read
"Abif") means "of my father's." Its full meaning, as connected with the
name of Khurum, no doubt is, "formerly one of my father's servants," or
The name of the Phcenician artificer is, in Samuel and Kings, [2 Sam. v.
11; 1 Kings v. 15; 1 Kings vii. 40]. In Chronicles it is with the addition
of [2 Chron. ii. 12]; and of [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 Khurum used the phrase "Khurum Abi," he meant that the artificer he
sent Schlomoh was the principal or chief workman in his line at Tsur.
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 Savior. CRISHNA is
called Heri, as Jesus called Himself the Good Shepherd.
Khur, means an aperture of a window, a cave, or the eye. Also it means white.
It also means an opening, and noble, free-born, high-born.
KHURM means consecrated, devoted; in AEthiopic. It is the name of a city,
[Josh. xix. 38]; and of a man, [Ezr. ii. 32, x. 31; Neh. iii. 11].
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
Hermaya, which are evidently the same name as Hermes and Khirm or Khurm.
Heri, in Sanscrit, means Lord.
A learned Brother places over the two symbolic pillars, from right to left,
the two words IHU and BAL: followed by the hieroglyphic equivalent, 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 ?
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 Ccesar, 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 omces 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 freemen.
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
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
Liberius, 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 once.
The consequence is, that those who feel themselves competent and qualified
to serve the people, refuse with digust 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
* * * * * *
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 snlall. 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 thelll 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 OSRIS, 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. When 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
* * * * * *
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 TERACTYS, 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
* * * * * *
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, Iying 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 independence.
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, are 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 sumciently 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
markcts; 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
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 tbeir
political rights; manumitted from personal slavery, they be come 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
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 aud 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
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 ougllt to govern. They are obliged to evoke
the very reason which they are bent on supplanting.
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 autornatic 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
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 venturine to breathe aloud into any
living ear his anti-papal and treasonable doctrines, wrote them on
parchment, and sealing up theperilous 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 Light.
He said that the Word was Number manifested by Form.
He made all descend from the Tetyactys, that is to say, from the Quaternary.
God, he said again, is the Supreme Music, the nature of which is Harmony.
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 free
intelligible regions, so there is a triple word, for the Hierarehical 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
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
Chaldcea 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, "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
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 simle 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 it.
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, whichlose 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 Bhilo, 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 Is.
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.
Injustice is the death of the Moral Being, as Falsehood is the poison of
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 pwlished; 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 Arcanun1 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 Peace?
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 Ptolemais, a great Kabalist, but of doubtful orthodoxy,
"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 Trufh 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 reason."
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 Chaldaea, 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 Belerl or Bel, which in Assyrian means Lord,
a name corresponding to that of ADONAI; and of Camul or Camael, 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
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, and 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 IAHAVEH, ADONAI,
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; ADONAI; 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 Laulaim
Adonai) expresses the synthesis of the whole dogma and the totality of the
Kabali.stic 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 tl1em, and todraw 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.