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MORALS and DOGMA by ALBERT PIKE

Morals and Dogma of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry , prepared for the Supreme Council of the Thirty Third Degree for the Southern Jurisdiction of the United States. Charleston, 1871.

Chapters: 10 - Elu of the Fifteen, 11 - Elu of the Twelve, 12 - Master Architect, 13 - Royal Arch of Solomon, 14 - Perfect Elu

X. ILLUSTRIOUS ELECT OF THE FIFTEEN.
[Elu of the Fifteen ]

THIS Degree is devoted to the same objects as those of the Elu of Nine;
and also to the cause of Toleration and Liberality against Fanaticism and
Persecution, political and religious; and to that of Education, Instruction,
and Enlightenment against Error, Barbarism, and Ignorance. To these
objects you have irrevocably and forever devoted your hand, your heart,
and your intellect; and whenever in your presence a Chapter of this
Degree is opened, you will be most solemnly reminded of your vows here
taken at the altar.
Toleration, holding that every other man has the same right to his opinion
and faith that we have to ours; and liberality, holding that as no human
being can with certainty say, in the clash and conflict of hostile faiths and
creeds, what is truth, or that he is surely in possession of it, so every one
should feel that it is quite possible that another equally honest and sincere
with himself, and yet holding the contrary opinion, may himself be in
possession of the truth, and that whatever one firmly and conscientiously
believes, is truth, to him - these are the mortal enemies of that fanaticism
which persecutes for opinion's sake, and initiates crusades against
whatever it, in its imaginary holiness, deems to be contrary to the law of
God or verity of dogma. And education, instruction, and enlightenment are
the most certain means by which fanaticism and intolerance can be
rendered powerless.
No true Mason scoffs at honest convictions and an ardent zeal in the
cause of what one believes to be truth and justice. But he
does absolutely deny the right of any man to assume the prerogative of
Deity, and condemn another's faith and opinions as deserving to be
punished because heretical. Nor does he approve the course of those who
endanger the peace and quiet of great nations, and the best interest of
their own race by indulging in a chimerical and visionary philanthropy - a
luxury which chiefly consists in drawing their robes around them to avoid
contact with their fellows, and proclaiming themselves holier than they.
For he knows that such follies are often more calamitous than the ambition
of kings; and that intolerance and bigotry have been infinitely greater
curses to mankind than ignorance and error. Better any error than
persecution! Better any opinion than the thumb-screw, the rack, and the
stake! And he knows also how unspeakably absurd it is, for a creature to
whom himself and everything around him are mysteries, to torture and
slay others, because they cannot think as he does in regard to the
profoundest of those mysteries, to understand which is utterly beyond the
comprehension of either the persecutor or the persecuted.
Masonry is not a religion. He who makes of it a religious belief, falsifies
and denaturalizes it. The Brahmin, the Jew, the Mahometan, the Catholic,
the Protestant, each professing his peculiar religion, sanctioned by the
laws, by time, and by climate, must needs retain it, and cannot have two
religions; for the social and sacred laws adapted to the usages, manners,
and prejudices of particular countries, are the work of men.
But Masonry teaches, and has preserved in their purity, the cardinal tenets
of the old primitive faith, which underlie and are the foundation of all
religions. All that ever existed have had a basis of truth; and all have
overlaid that truth with errors. The primitive truths taught by the Redeemer
were sooner corrupted, and intermingled and alloyed with fictions than
when taught to the first of our race. Masonry is the universal morality
which is suitable to the inhabitants of every clime, to the man of every
creed. It has taught no doctrines, except those truths that tend directly to
the well-being of man; and those who have attempted to direct it toward
useless vengeance, political ends, and Jesuitism, have merely perverted it
to purposes foreign to its pure spirit and real nature.
Mankind outgrows the sacrifices and the mythologies of the childhood of
the world. Yet it is easy for human indolence to
linger near these helps, and refuse to pass further on. So the
unadventurous Nomad in the Tartarian wild keeps his flock in the same
close-cropped circle where they first learned to browse, while the
progressive man roves ever forth "to fresh fields and pastures new."
The latter is the true Mason; and the best and indeed the only good
Mason is he who with the power of business does the work of life; the
upright mechanic, merchant, or farmer, the man with the power of thought,
of justice, or of love, he whose whole life is one great act of performance
of Masonic duty. The natural case of the strength of a strong man or the
wisdom of a wise one, is to do the work of a strong man or a wise one.
The natural work of Masonry is practical life; the use of all the faculties in
their proper spheres, and for their natural function. Love of Truth, justice,
and generosity as attributes of God, must appear in a life marked by these
qualities; that is the only effectual ordinance of Masonry. A profession of
one's convictions, joining the Order, assuming the obligations, assisting at
the ceremonies, are of the same value in science as in Masonry; the
natural form of Masonry is goodness, morality, living a true, just,
affectionate, self-faithful life, from the motive of a good man. It is loyal
obedience to God's law.
The good Mason does the good thing which comes in his way, and
because it comes in his way; from a love of duty, and not merely because
a law, enacted by man or God, commands his will to do it. He is true to his
mind, his conscience, heart, and soul, and feels small temptation to do to
others what he would not wish to receive from them. He will deny himself
for the sake of his brother near at hand. His desire attracts in the line of
his duty, both being in conjunction. Not in vain does the poor or the
oppressed look up to him. You find such men in all Christian sects,
Protestant and Catholic, in all the great religious parties of the civilized
world, among Buddhists, Mahometans, and Jews. They are kind fathers,
generous citizens, unimpeachable in their business, beautiful in their daily
lives. You see their Masonry in their work and in their play. It appears in all
the forms of their activity, individual, domestic, social, ecclesiastical, or
political. True Masonry within must be morality without. It must become
eminent morality, which is philanthropy. The true Mason loves not only his
kindred and his country, but all mankind; not only
the good, but also the evil, among his brethren. He has more goodness
than the channels of his daily life will hold. It runs over the banks, to water
and to feed a thousand thirsty plants. Not content with the duty that lies
along his track, he goes out to seek it; not only willing, he has a salient
longing to do good, to spread his truth, his justice, his generosity, his
Masonry over all the world. His daily life is a profession of his Masonry,
published in perpetual good-will to men. He can not be a persecutor.
Not more naturally does the beaver build or the mocking-bird sing his own
wild, gushing melody, than the true Mason lives in this beautiful outward
life. So from the perennial spring swells forth the stream, to quicken the
meadow with new access of green, and perfect beauty bursting into
bloom. Thus Masonry does the work it was meant to do. The Mason does
not sigh and weep, and make grimaces. He lives right on. If his life is, as
whose is not, marked with errors, and with sins, he ploughs over the
barren spot with his remorse, sows with new seed, and the old desert
blossoms like a rose. He is not confined to set forms of thought, of action,
or of feeling. He accepts what his mind regards as true, what his
conscience decides is right, what his heart deems generous and noble;
and all else he puts far from him. Though the ancient and the honorable of
the Earth bid him bow down to them, his stubborn knees bend only at the
bidding of his manly soul. His Masonry is his freedom before God, not his
bondage unto men. His mind acts after the universal law of the intellect,
his conscience according to the universal moral law, his affections and his
soul after the universal law of each, and so he is strong with the strength
of God, in this four-fold way communicating with Him.
The old theologies, the philosophies of religion of ancient times, will not
suffice us now. The duties of life are to be done; we are to do them,
consciously obedient to the law of God, not atheistically, loving only our
selfish gain. There are sins of trade to be corrected. Everywhere morality
and philanthropy are needed. There are errors to be made way with, and
their place supplied with new truths, radiant with the glories of Heaven.
There are great wrongs and evils, in Church and State, in domestic,
social, and public life, to be righted and outgrown. Masonry cannot in our
age forsake the broad way of life. She must journey on in the open street,
appear in the crowded square, and teach men by her deeds, her life more
eloquent than any lips.
This Degree is chiefly devoted to TOLERATION; and it inculcates in the
strongest manner that great leading idea of the Ancient Art, that a belief in
the one True God, and a moral and virtuous life, constitute the only
religious requisites needed to enable a man to be a Mason.
Masonry has ever the most vivid remembrance of the terrible and artificial
torments that were used to put down new forms of religion or extinguish
the old. It sees with the eye of memory the ruthless extermination of all the
people of all sexes and ages, because it was their misfortune not to know
the God of the Hebrews, or to worship Him under the wrong name, by the
savage troops of Moses and Joshua. It sees the thumb-screws and the
racks, the whip, the gallows, and the stake, the victims of Diocletian and
Alva, the miserable Covenanters, the Non-Conformists, Servetus burned,
and the unoffending Quaker hung. It sees Cranmer hold his arm, now no
longer erring, in the flame until the hand drops off in the consuming heat. It
sees the persecutions of Peter and Paul, the martyrdom of Stephen, the
trials of Ignatius, Polycarp, Justin, and Irenĉus; and then in turn the
sufferings of the wretched Pagans under the Christian Emperors, as of the
Papists in Ireland and under Elizabeth and the bloated Henry. The Roman
Virgin naked before the hungry lions; young Margaret Graham tied to a
stake at low-water mark, and there left to drown, singing hymns to God
until the savage waters broke over her head; and all that in all ages have
suffered by hunger and nakedness, peril and prison, the rack, the stake,
and the sword, - it sees them all, and shudders at the long roll of human
atrocities. And it sees also the oppression still practised in the name of
religion - men shot in a Christian jail in Christian Italy for reading the
Christian Bible; in almost every Christian State, laws forbidding freedom of
speech on matters relating to Christianity; and the gallows reaching its
arm over the pulpit.
The fires of Moloch in Syria, the harsh mutilations in the name of Astarte,
Cybele, Jehovah; the barbarities of imperial Pagan Torturers; the still
grosser torments which Roman-Gothic Christians in Italy and Spain
heaped on their brother-men; the fiendish cruelties to which Switzerland,
France, the Netherlands, England, Scotland, Ireland, America, have been
witnesses, are none too powerful to warn man of the unspeakable evils
which follow from mistakes and errors in the matter of religion, and
especially from
investing the God of Love with the cruel and vindictive passions of erring
humanity, and making blood to have a sweet savor in his nostrils, and
groans of agony to be delicious to his ears.
Man never had the right to usurp the unexercised prerogative of God, and
condemn and punish another for his belief. Born in a Protestant land, we
are of that faith. If we had opened our eyes to the light under the shadows
of St. Peter's at Rome, we should have been devout Catholics; born in the
Jewish quarter of Aleppo, we should have contemned Christ as an
imposter; in Constantinople, we should have cried "Allah il Allah, God is
great and Mahomet is his prophet!" Birth, place, and education give us our
faith. Few believe in any religion because they have examined the
evidences of its authenticity, and made up a formal judgment, upon
weighing the testimony. Not one man in ten thousand knows anything
about the proofs of his faith. We believe what we are taught; and those are
most fanatical who know least of the evidences on which their creed is
based. Facts and testimony are not, except in very rare instances, the
ground-work of faith. It is an imperative law of God's Economy, unyielding
and inflexible as Himself, that man shall accept without question the belief
of those among whom he is born and reared; the faith so made a part of
his nature resists all evidence to the contrary; and he will disbelieve even
the evidence of his own senses, rather than yield up the religious belief
which has grown up in him, flesh of his flesh and bone of his bone.
What is truth to me is not truth to another. The same arguments and
evidences that convince one mind make no impression on another. This
difference is in men at their birth. No man is entitled positively to assert
that he is right, where other men, equally intelligent and equally wellinformed,
hold directly the opposite opinion. Each thinks it impossible for
the other 'to be sincere, and each, as to that, is equally in error. "What is
truth?" was a profound question, the most suggestive one ever put to man.
Many beliefs of former and present times seem incomprehensible. They
startle us with a new glimpse into the human soul, that mysterious thing
more mysterious the more we note its workings. Here is a man superior to
myself in intellect and learning; and yet he sincerely believes what seems
to me too absurd to merit confutation; and I cannot conceive, and
sincerely do not believe,that he is both sane and honest. 
And yet he is both. His reason is as perfect as mine, and he is as honest as I.
The fancies of a lunatic are realities, to him. Our dreams are realities while
they last; and, in the Past, no more unreal than what we have acted in our
waking hours. No man can say that he hath as sure possession of the
truth as of a chattel. When men entertain opinions diametrically opposed
to each other, and each is honest, who shall decide which hath the Truth;
and how can either say with certainty that he hath it? We know not what is
the truth. That we ourselves believe and feel absolutely certain that our
own belief is true, is in reality not the slightest proof of the fact, seem it
never so certain and incapable of doubt to us. No man is responsible for
the rightness of his faith; but only for the uprightness of it.
Therefore no man hath or ever had a right to persecute another for his
belief; for there cannot be two antagonistic rights; and if one can
persecute another, because he himself is satisfied that the belief of that
other is erroneous, the other has, for the same reason, equally as certain
a right to persecute him.
The truth comes to us tinged and colored with our prejudices and our
preconceptions, which are as old as ourselves, and strong with a divine
force. It comes to us as the image of a rod comes to us through the water,
bent and distorted. An argument sinks into and convinces the mind of one
man, while from that of another it rebounds like a ball of ivory dropped on
marble. It is no merit in a man to have a particular faith, excellent and
sound and philosophic as it may be, when he imbibed it with his mother's
milk. It is no more a merit than his prejudices and his passions.
The sincere Moslem has as much right to persecute us, as we to
persecute him; and therefore Masonry wisely requires no more than a
belief in One Great All-Powerful Deity, the Father and Preserver of the
Universe. Therefore it is she teaches her votaries that toleration is one of
the chief duties of every good Mason, a component part of that charity
without which we are mere hollow images of true Masons, mere sounding
brass and tinkling cymbals.
No evil hath so afflicted the world as intolerance of religious opinion. The
human beings it has slain in various ways, if once and together brought to
life, would make a nation of people; left to live and increase, would have
doubled the population of the civilized portion of the globe; among which
civilized portion it chiefly is that religious wars are waged. 
The treasure and the human labor
thus lost would have made the earth a garden, in which, but for his evil
passions, man might now be as happy as in Eden.
No man truly obeys the Masonic law who merely tolerates those whose
religious opinions are opposed to his own. Every man's opinions are his
own private property, and the rights of all men to maintain each his own
are perfectly equal. Merely to tolerate, to bear with an opposing opinion, is
to assume it to be heretical; and assert the right to persecute, if we would;
and claim our toleration of it as a merit. The Mason's creed goes further
than that. No man, it holds, has any right in any way to, interfere with the
religious belief of another. It holds that each mat] is absolutely sovereign
as to his own belief, and that belief is a matter absolutely foreign to all who
do not entertain the same belief; and that, if there were any right of
persecution at all, it would in all cases be a mutual right; because one
party has the same right as the other to sit as judge in his own case; and
God is the only magistrate that can rightfully decide between them. To
1hat great judge, Masonry refers the matter; and opening wide its portals,
it invites to enter there and live in peace and harmony, the Protestant, the
Catholic, the Jew, the Moslem; every man who will lead a truly virtuous
and moral life, love his brethren, sinister to the sick and distressed, and
believe in the ONE, All Powerful, All-Wise, everywhere - Present GOD,
Architect, Creator, and Preserver of all things, by whose universal law of
Harmony ever rolls on this universe, the great, vast, infinite circle of
successive Death and Life:- to whose INEFFABLE NAME let all true
Masons pay profoundest homage! for whose thousand blessings poured
upon us, let us feel the sincerest gratitude, now, henceforth, and forever!
We may well be tolerant of each other's creed; for in every faith there are
excellent moral precepts. Far in the South of Asia, Zoroaster taught this
doctrine: "On commencing a journey, the Faithful should turn his thoughts
toward Ormuzd, and confess him, in the purity of his heart, to be King of
the World; he should love him, do him homage, and serve him. He must
be upright and charitable, despise the pleasures of the body, and avoid
pride and haughtiness, and vice in all its forms, and especially 'falsehood,
one of the basest sins of which man can be guilty. He must forget injuries 
and not avenge himself. He must honor the memory of
his parents and relatives. At night, before retiring to sleep, he should
rigorously examine his conscience, and repent of the faults which
weakness or ill-fortune had caused him to commit." He was required to
pray for strength to persevere in the Good, and to obtain forgiveness for
his errors. It was his duty to confess his faults to a Magus, or to a layman
renowned for his virtues, or to the Sun. Fasting and maceration were
prohibited; and, on the contrary, it was his duty suitably to nourish the
body and to maintain its vigor, that his soul might be strong to resist the
Genius of Darkness; that he might more attentively read the Divine Word,
and have more courage to perform noble deeds.
And in the North of Europe the Druids taught devotion to friends,
indulgence for reciprocal wrongs, love of deserved praise, prudence,
humanity, hospitality, respect for old age, disregard of the future,
temperance, contempt of death, and a chivalrous deference to woman.
Listen to these maxims from the Hava Maal, or Sublime Book of Odin:
"If thou hast a friend, visit him often; the path will grow over with grass,
and the trees soon cover it, if thou dost not constantly walk upon it. He is a
faithful friend, who, having but two loaves, gives his friend one. Be never
first to break with thy friend; sorrow wrings the heart of him who has no
one save himself with whom to take counsel. There is no virtuous man
who has not some vice, no bad man who has not some virtue. Happy he
who obtains the praise and good-will of men; for all that depends on the
will of another is hazardous and uncertain. Riches flit away in the twinkling
of an eye; they are the most inconstant of friends; flocks and herds perish,
parents die, friends are not immortal, thou thyself diest; I know but one
thing that doth not die, the judgment that is passed upon the dead. Be
humane toward those whom thou meetest on the road. If the guest that
cometh to thy house is a - cold, give him fire; the man who has journeyed
over the mountains needs food and dry garments. Mock not at the aged;
for words full of sense come often from the wrinkles of age. Be moderately
wise, and not over-prudent. Let no one seek to know his destiny, if he
would sleep tranquilly. There is no malady more cruel than to be
discontented with our lot. The glutton eats his own death; and the wise
man laughs at the fool's greediness. Nothing is more injurious to the
young than excessive drinking; 
the more one drinks the more he loses his reason; the
bird of forgetfulness sings before those who intoxicate themselves, and
wiles away their souls. Man devoid of sense believes he will live always if
he avoids war; but, if the lances spare him, old age will give him no
quarter. Better live well than live long. When a man lights a fire in his
house, death comes before it goes out."
And thus said the Indian books: "Honor thy father and mother. Never
forget the benefits thou hast received. Learn while thou art young. Be
submissive to the laws of thy country. . Seek the company of virtuous
men. Speak not of God but with respect. Live on good terms with thy
fellow-citizens. Remain in thy proper place. Speak ill of no one. Mock at
the bodily infirmities of none. Pursue not unrelentingly a conquered
enemy. Strive to acquire a good reputation. Take counsel with wise men.
The more one learns, the more he acquires the faculty of learning,
Knowledge is the most permanent wealth. As well be dumb as ignorant.
The true use of knowledge is to distinguish good from evil. Be not a
subject of shame to thy parents. What one learns in youth endures like the
engraving upon a rock. He is wise who knows himself. Let thy books be
thy best friends. When thou attainest an hundred years, cease to learn.
Wisdom is solidly planted, even on the shifting ocean. Deceive no one, not
even thine enemy. Wisdom is a treasure that everywhere commands its
value. Speak mildly, even to the poor. It is sweeter to forgive than to take
vengeance. Gaming and quarrels lead to misery. There is no true merit
without the practice of virtue. To honor our mother is the most fitting
homage we can pay the Divinity. There is no tranquil sleep without a clear
conscience. He badly understands his interest who breaks his word."
Twenty-four centuries ago these were the Chinese Ethics:
"The Philosopher [Confucius] said, 'SAN! my doctrine is simple, and easy
to be understood.' THSENG-TSEU replied, 'that is certain.' The
Philosopher having gone out, the disciples asked what their master had
meant to say. THSENG--TSEU responded, 'The doctrine of our Master
consists solely in being upright of heart, and loving our neighbor as we
love ourself."'
About a century later, the Hebrew law said, "If any man hate his neighbor
... then shall ye do unto him, as he had thought to
do unto his brother . . . Better is a neighbor that is near, than a. brother
afar off ... Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself."
In the same fifth century before Christ, SOCRATES the Grecian said,
"Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself."
Three generations earlier, ZOROASTER had said to the Persians: "Offer
up thy grateful prayers to the Lord, the most just and pure Ormuzd, the
supreme and adorable God, who thus declared to his Prophet Zerdusht:
'Hold it not meet to do unto others what thou wouldst not desire done unto
thyself; do that unto the people, which, when done to thyself, is not
disagreeable unto thee."'
The same doctrine had been long taught in the schools of Babylon,
Alexandria, and Jerusalem. A Pagan declared to the Pharisee HILLEL that
he was ready to embrace the Jewish religion, if he could make known to
him in a few words a summary of the whole law of Moses. "That which
thou likest not done to thyself," said Hillel, "do it not unto thy neighbor.
Therein is all the law: the rest is nothing but the commentary upon it."
"Nothing is more natural," said CONFUCIUS, "nothing more simple, than
the principles of that morality which I endeavor, by salutary maxims, to
inculcate in you . . . It is humanity; which is to say, that universal charity
among all of our species, without distinction. It is uprightness ; that is, that
rectitude of spirit and of heart, which make; one seek for truth in
everything, and desire it, without deceiving one's self or others. It is,
finally, sincerity or good faith; which is to say, that frankness, that
openness of heart, tempered by self-reliance, which excludes all feints
and all disguising, as much in speech as in action."
To diffuse useful information, to further intellectual refinement, sure
forerunner of moral improvement, to hasten the coming of the great day,
when the dawn of general knowledge shalt ,chase away the lazy, lingering
mists of ignorance and error, even from the base of the great social
pyramid, is indeed a high calling, in which the most splendid talents and
consummate virtue may well press onward, eager to bear a part. From the
Masonic ranks ought to go forth those whose genius and not their
ancestry ennoble them, to open to all ranks the temple of science, and by
their own example to make the humblest men emulous to climb steps no
longer inaccessible, and enter the unfolded gates burning in the sun.
The highest intellectual cultivation is perfectly compatible with
the daily cares and toils of working-men. A keen relish for the most
sublime truths of science belongs alike to every class of Mankind. And, as
philosophy was taught in the sacred groves of Athens, and under the
Portico, and in the old Temples of Egypt and India, so in our Lodges ought
Knowledge to be dispensed, the Sciences taught, and the Lectures
become like the teachings of Socrates and Plato, of Agassiz and Cousin.
Real knowledge never permitted either turbulence or unbelief; but its
progress is the forerunner of liberality and enlightened toleration. Whoso
dreads these may well tremble; for he may be well assured that their day
is at length come, and must put to speedy flight the evil spirits of tyranny
and persecution, which haunted the long night now gone down the sky.
And it is to be hoped that the time will soon arrive, when, as men will no
longer suffer themselves to be led blindfolded in ignorance, so will they no
more yield to the vile principle of judging and treating their fellowcreatures,
not according to the intrinsic merit of their actions, but
according to the accidental and involuntary coincidence of their opinions.
Whenever we come to treat with entire respect those who conscientiously
differ from ourselves, the only practical effect of a difference will be, to
make us enlighten the ignorance on one side or the other, from which it
springs, by instructing them, if it be theirs; ourselves, if it be our own; to
the end that the only kind of unanimity may be produced which is
desirable among rational beings, - the agreement proceeding from full
conviction after the freest discussion.
The Elu of Fifteen ought therefore to take the lead of his fellow-citizen, not
in frivolous amusements, not in the degrading pursuits of the ambitious
vulgar; but in the truly noble task of enlightening the mass of his
countrymen, and of leaving his own name encircled, not with barbaric
splendor, or attached to courtly gewgaws, but illustrated by the honors
most worthy of our rational nature; coupled with the diffusion of
knowledge, and gratefully pronounced by a few, at least, whom his wise
beneficence has rescued from ignorance and vice.
We say to him, in the words of the great Roman: "Men in no respect so
nearly approach to the Deity, as when they confer benefits on men. To
serve and do good to as many as possible, - there is nothing greater in
your fortune than that you should be able,
and nothing finer in your nature, than that you should be desirous to do
this." This is the true mark for the aim of every man and Mason who either
prizes the enjoyment of pure happiness, or sets a right value upon a high
and unsullied renown. And if the benefactors of mankind, when they rest
from their noble labors, shall be permitted to enjoy hereafter, as an
appropriate reward of their virtue, the privilege of looking down upon the
blessings with which their exertions and charities, and perhaps their toils
and sufferings have clothed the scene of their former existence, it will not,
in a state of exalted purity and wisdom, be the founders of mighty
dynasties, the conquerors of new empires, the Cĉsars, Alexanders, and
Tamerlanes; nor the mere Kings and Counsellors, Presidents and
Senators, who have lived for their party chiefly, and for their country only
incidentally, often sacrificing to their own aggrandizement or that of their
faction the good of their fellow-creatures; - it will not be they who will be
gratified by contemplating the monuments of their inglorious fame; but
those will enjoy that delight and march in that triumph, who can trace the
remote effects of their enlightened benevolence in the improved condition
of their species, and exult in the reflection, that the change which they at
last, perhaps after many years, survey, with eyes that age and sorrow can
make dim no more, - of Knowledge become Power, - Virtue sharing that
Empire, - Superstition dethroned, and Tyranny exiled, is, if even only in
some small and very slight degree, yet still in some degree, the fruit,
precious if costly, and though late repaid yet long enduring, of their own
self-denial and strenuous exertion, of their own mite of charity and aid to
education wisely bestowed, and of the hardships and hazards which they
encountered here below.
Masonry requires of its Initiates and votaries nothing that is impracticable.
It does not demand that they should undertake to climb to those lofty and
sublime peaks of a theoretical and imaginary unpractical virtue, high and
cold and remote as the eternal snows that wrap the shoulders of
Chimborazo, and at least as inaccessible as they. It asks that alone to be
done which is easy to be done. It overtasks no one's strength, and asks no
one to go beyond his means and capacities. It does not expect one whose
business or profession yields him little more than the wants of himself and
his family require, and whose time is necessarily occupied by his daily
vocations, to abandon or neglect the business
by which he and his children live, and devote himself and his means to the
diffusion of knowledge among men. It does not expect him to publish
books for the people, or to lecture, to the ruin of his private affairs, or to
found academies and colleges, build up libraries, and entitle himself to
statues.
But it does require and expect every man of us to do something, within
and according to his means; and there is no Mason who cannot do some
thing, if not alone, then by combination and association.
If a Lodge cannot aid in founding a school or an academy it can still do
something. It can educate one boy or girl, at least, the child of some poor
or departed brother. And it should never be forgotten, that in the poorest
unregarded child that seems abandoned to ignorance and vice may
slumber the virtues of a Socrates, the intellect of a Bacon or a Bossuet,
the genius of a Shakespeare, the capacity to benefit mankind of a
Washington; and that in rescuing him from the mire in which he is
plunged, and giving him the means of education and development, the
Lodge that does it may be the direct and immediate means of conferring
upon the world as great a boon as that given it by John Faust the boy of
Mentz; may perpetuate the liberties of a country and change the destinies
of nations, and write a new chapter in the history of the world.
For we never know the importance of the act we do. The daughter of
Pharaoh little thought what she was doing for the human race, and the
vast unimaginable consequences that depended on her charitable act,
when she drew the little child of a Hebrew woman from among the rushes
that grew along the bank of the Nile, and determined to rear it as if it were
her own.
How often has an act of charity, costing the doer little, given to the world a
great painter, a great musician, a great inventor! How often has such an
act developed the ragged boy into the benefactor of his race! On what
small and apparently unimportant circumstances have turned and hinged,
the fates of the world's great conquerors. There is no law that limits the
returns that shall be reaped from a single good deed. The widow's mite
may not only be as acceptable to God, but may produce as great results
as the rich man's costly offering. The poorest boy, helped by benevolence,
may come to lead armies, to control senates, to decide an peace and war,
to dictate to cabinets; and his magnificent thoughts and noble words may 
be law many years hereafter to millions of men yet unborn.
But the opportunity to effect a great good does not often occur to any one.
It is worse than folly for one to lie idle and inert, and expect the accident to
befall him, by which his influences shall live forever. He can expect that to
happen, only in consequence of one or many or all of a long series of acts.
He can expect to benefit the world only as men attain other results; by
continuance, by persistence, by a steady and uniform habit of laboring for
the enlightenment of the world, to the extent of his means and capacity.
For it is, in all instances, by steady labor, by giving enough of application
to our work, and having enough of time for the doing of it, by regular
pains-taking, and the plying of constant assiduities, and not by any
process of legerdemain, that we secure the strength and the staple of real
excellence. It was thus that Demosthenes, clause after clause, and
sentence after sentence, elaborated to the uttermost his immortal orations.
It was thus that Newton pioneered his way, by the steps of an ascending
geometry, to the mechanism of the Heavens, and Le Verrier added a
planet to our Solar System.
It is a most erroneous opinion that those who have left the most
stupendous monuments of intellect behind them, were not differently
exercised from the rest of the species, but only differently gifted; that they
signalized themselves only by their talent, and hardly ever by their
industry; for it is in truth to the most strenuous application of those
commonplace faculties which are diffused among all, that they are
indebted for the glories which now encircle their remembrance and their
name.
We must not imagine it to be a vulgarizing of genius, that it should be
lighted up in any other way than by a direct inspiration from Heaven nor
overlook the steadfastness of purpose, the devotion to some single but
great object, the unweariedness of labor that is given, not in convulsive
and preternatural throes, but by little and little as the strength of the mind
may bear it; the accumulation of many small efforts, instead of a few grand
and gigantic, but perhaps irregular movements, on the part of energies
that are marvellous; by which former alone the great results are brought
out that write their enduring records on the face of the earth and in the
history of nations and of man.
We must not overlook these elements, to which genius owes the best and
proudest of her achievements; nor imagine that qualities so generally
possessed as patience and pains-taking, and resolute industry, have no
share in upholding a distinction so illustrious as that of the benefactor of
his kind.
We must not forget that great results are most ordinarily produced by an
aggregate of many contributions and exertions; as it is the invisible
particles of vapor, each separate and distinct from the other, that, rising
from the oceans and their bays and gulfs, from lakes and rivers, and wide
morasses and overflowed plains, float away as clouds, and distill upon the
earth in dews, and fall in showers and rain and snows upon the broad
plains and rude mountains, and make the great navigable streams that are
the arteries along which flows the life-blood of a country.
And so Masonry can do much, if each Mason be content to do his share,
and if their united efforts are directed by wise counsels to a common
purpose. "It is for God and for Omnipotency to do mighty things in a
moment; but by degrees to grow to greatness is the course that He hath
left for man."
If Masonry will but be true to her mission, and Masons to their promises
and obligations - if, re-entering vigorously upon a career of beneficence,
she and they will but pursue it earnestly and unfalteringly, remembering
that our contributions to the cause of charity and education then deserve
the greatest credit when it costs us something, the curtailing of a comfort
or the relinquishment of a luxury, to make them - if we will but give aid to
what were once Masonry's great schemes for human improvement, not
fitfully and spasmodically, but regularly and incessantly, as the vapors rise
and the springs run, and as the sun rises and the stars come up into the
heavens, then we may be sure that great results will be attained and a
great work done. And then it will most surely be seen that Masonry is not
effete or impotent, nor degenerated nor drooping to a fatal decay.


 


 

XI. SUBLIME ELECT OF THE TWELVE
OR
PRINCE AMETH.

[Elu of the Twelve.]

The duties of a Prince Ameth are, to be earnest, true, reliable, and
sincere; to protect the people against illegal impositions and exactions; to
contend for their political rights, and to see, as far as he may or can, that
those bear the burdens who reap the benefits of the Government.
You are to be true unto all men.
You are to be frank and sincere in all things.
You are to be earnest in doing whatever it is your duty to do.
And no man must repent that he has relied upon your resolve, your
profession, or your word.
The great distinguishing characteristic of a Mason is sympathy with his
kind. He recognizes in the human race one great family, all connected
with himself by those invisible links, and that mighty net-work of
circumstance, forged and woven by God.
Feeling that sympathy, it is his first Masonic duty to serve his fellow-man.
At his first entrance into the Order, he ceases to be isolated, and
becomes one of a great brotherhood, assuming now duties toward every
Mason that lives, as every Mason at the same moment assumes them
toward him.
Nor are those duties on his part confined to Masons alone. He assumes
many in regard to his country, and especially toward the great, suffering
masses of the common people; for they too are his brethren, and God
hears them, inarticulate as the moanings of their misery are. By all proper
means, of persuasion and influence, and otherwise, if the occasion 
and emergency require, he is bound to defend them against oppression, 
and tyrannical and illegal exactions.
He labors equally to defend and to improve the people. He does not
flatter them to mislead them, nor fawn upon them to rule them, nor
conceal his opinions to humor them, nor tell them that they can never err,
and that their voice is the voice of God. He knows that the safety of every
free government, and its continuance and perpetuity depend upon the
virtue and intelligence of the common people; and that, unless their liberty
is of such a kind as arms can neither procure nor take away; unless it is
the fruit of manly courage, of justice, temperance, and generous virtue -
unless, being such, it has taken deep root in the minds and hearts of the
people at large, there will not long be wanting those who will snatch from
them by treachery what they have acquired by arms or institutions.
He knows that if, after being released from the toils of war, the people
neglect the arts of peace; if their peace and liberty be a state of warfare; if
war be their only virtue, and the summit of their praise, they will soon find
peace the most adverse to their interests. It will be only a more
distressing war; and that which they imagined liberty will be the worst of
slavery. For, unless by the means of knowledge and morality, not frothy
and loquacious, but genuine, unadulterated, and sincere, they clear the
horizon of the mind from those mists of error and passion which arise from
ignorance and vice, they will always have those who will bend their necks
to the yoke as if they were brutes; who, notwithstanding all their triumphs,
will put them up to the highest bidder, as if they were mere booty made in
war; and find an exuberant source of wealth and power, in the people's
ignorance, prejudice, and passions.
The people that does not subjugate the propensity of the wealthy to
avarice, ambition, and sensuality, expel luxury from them and their
families, keep down pauperism, diffuse knowledge among the poor, and
labor to raise the abject from the mire of vice and low indulgence, and to
keep the industrious from starving in sight of luxurious festivals, will find
that it has cherished, in that avarice, ambition, sensuality, selfishness,
and luxury of the one class, and that degradation, misery, drunkenness,
ignorance, and brutalization of the other, more stubborn and intractable
despots at home than it ever encountered in the field; and even its very 
bowels will be continually teeming with the intolerable progeny of tyrants.
These are the first enemies to be subdued; this constitutes the campaign
of Peace; these are triumphs, difficult indeed, but bloodless; and far more
honorable than those trophies which are purchased only by slaughter and
rapine; and if not victors in this service, it is in vain to have been
victorious over the despotic enemy in the field.
For if any people thinks that it is a grander; a more beneficial, or a wiser
policy, to invent subtle expedients by stamps and imposts, for increasing
the revenue and draining the life-blood of an impoverished people; to
multiply its naval and military force; to rival in craft the ambassadors of
foreign states; to plot the swallowing up of foreign territory; to make crafty
treaties and alliances; to rule prostrate states and abject provinces by fear
and force; than to administer unpolluted justice to the people, to relieve
the condition and raise the estate of the toiling masses, redress the
injured and succor the distressed and conciliate the discontented, and
speedily restore to every one his own; then that people is involved in a
cloud of error, and will too late perceive, when the illusion of these mighty
benefits has vanished, that in neglecting these, which it thought inferior
considerations, it has only been precipitating its own ruin and despair.
Unfortunately, every age presents its own special problem, most difficult
and often impossible to solve; and that which this age offers, and forces
upon the consideration of all chinking men, is this - how, in a populous
and wealthy country, blessed with free institutions and a constitutional
government, are the great masses of the manual-labor class to be
enabled to have steady work at fair wages, to be kept from starvation, and
their children from vice and debauchery, and to be furnished with that
degree, not of mere reading and writing, but of knowledge, that shall fit
them intelligently to do the duties and exercise the privileges of freemen;
even to be intrusted with the dangerous right of suffrage?
For though we do not know why God, being infinitely merciful as well as
wise, has so ordered it, it seems to be unquestionably his law, that even
in civilized and Christian countries, the large mass of the population shall
be fortunate, if, during their whole life, from infancy to old age, in health
and sickness, they have enough of the commonest and coarsest food to
keep themselves and their
children from the continual gnawing of hunger - enough of the commonest
and coarsest clothing to protect themselves and their little ones from
indecent exposure and the bitter cold; and if they have over their heads
the rudest shelter.
And He seems to have enacted this law - which no human community has
yet found the means to abrogate - that when a country becomes
populous, capital shall concentrate in the hands of a limited number of
persons, and labor become more and more at its mercy, until mere
manual labor, that of the weaver and ironworker, and other artisans,
eventually ceases to be worth more than a bare subsistence, and often, in
great cities and vast extents of country not even that, and goes or crawls
about in rags, begging, and starving for want of work.
While every ox and horse can find work, and is worth being fed, it is not
always so with man. To be employed, to have a chance to work at
anything like fair wages, becomes the great engrossing object of a man's
life. The capitalist can live without employing the laborer, and discharges
him whenever that labor ceases to be profitable. At the moment when the
weather is most inclement, provisions dearest, and rents highest, he turns
him off to starve. If the day-laborer is taken sick, his wages stop. When
old, he has no pension to retire upon. His children cannot be sent to
school; for before their bones are hardened they must get to work lest
they starve. The man, strong and able-bodied, works for a shilling or two
a day, and the woman shivering over her little pan of coals, when the
mercury drops far below zero, after her hungry children have wailed
themselves to sleep, sews by the dim light of her lonely candle, for a bare
pittance, selling her life to him who bargained only for the work of her
needle.
Fathers and mothers slay their children, to have the burial-fees, that with
the price of one child's life they may continue life in those that survive.
Little girls with bare feet sweep the street-crossings, when the winter wind
pinches them, and beg piteously for pennies of those who wear warm
furs. Children grow up in squalid misery and brutal ignorance; want
compels virgin and wife to prostitute themselves; women starve and
freeze, and lean up against the walls of workhouses, like bundles of foul
rags, all night long, and night after night, when the cold rain falls, and
there chances to be no room for them within; and hundreds of families are
crowded into a single building, rife with horrors and teeming
with foul air and pestilence; where men, women and children huddle together
in their filth; all ages and all colors sleeping indiscriminately together; while, in
a great, free, Republican State, in the full vigor of its youth and strength, one
person in every seventeen is a pauper receiving charity.
How to deal with this apparently inevitable evil and mortal disease is by far the
most important of all social problems. What is to be done with pauperism and
over-supply of labor? How is the life of any country to last, when brutality and
drunken semi-barbarism vote, and hold offices in their gift, and by fit
representatives of themselves control a government? How, if not wisdom and
authority, but turbulence and low vice are to exalt to senatorships miscreants
reeking with the odors and pollution of the hell, the prize-ring, the brothel, and
the stock-exchange, where gambling is legalized and rascality is laudable?
Masonry will do all in its power, by direct exertion and cooperation, to improve
and inform as well as to protect the people; to better their physical condition,
relieve their miseries, supply their wants, and minister to their necessities. Let
every Mason in this good work do all that may be in his power.
For it is true now, as it always was and always will be, that to be free is the
same thing as to be pious, to be wise, to be temperate and just, to be frugal
and abstinent, and to be magnanimous and brave; and to be the opposite of all
these is the same as to be a slave. And it usually happens, by the
appointment, and, as it were, retributive justice of the Deity, that that people
which cannot govern themselves, and moderate their passions, but crouch
under the slavery of their lusts and vices, are delivered up to the sway of those
whom they abhor, and made to submit to an involuntary servitude.
And it is also sanctioned by the dictates of justice and by the constitution of
Nature, that he who, from the imbecility or derangement of his intellect, is
incapable of governing himself, should, like a minor, be committed to the
government of another.
Above all things let us never forget that mankind constitutes one great
brotherhood; all born to encounter suffering and sorrow, and therefore bound
to sympathize with each other.
For no tower of Pride was ever yet high enough to lift its possessor above the
trials and fears and frailities of humanity. No human hand ever built the wall,
nor ever shall, that will keep out
affliction, pain, and infirmity. Sickness and sorrow, trouble and death, are
dispensations that level everything. They know none, high nor low. The
chief wants of life, the great and grave necessities of the human soul, give
exemption to none. They make all poor, all weak. They put supplication in
the mouth of every human being, as truly as in that of the meanest
beggar.
But the principle of misery is not an evil principle. We err, and the
consequences teach us wisdom. All elements, all the laws of things
around us, minister to this end; and through the paths of painful error and
mistake, it is the design of Providence to lead us to truth and happiness. If
erring only taught us to err; if mistakes confirmed us in imprudence; if the
miseries caused by vicious indulgence had a natural tendency to make us
more abject slaves of vice, then suffering would be wholly evil. But, on the
contrary, all tends and is designed to produce amendment and
improvement. Suffering is the discipline of virtue; of that which is infinitely
better than happiness, and yet embraces in itself all essential happiness.
It nourishes, invigorates, and perfects it. Virtue is the prize of the
severely-contested race and hard-fought battle; and it is worth all the
fatigue and wounds of the conflict. Man should go forth with a brave and
strong heart, to battle with calamity. He is to master it, and not let it
become his master. He is not to forsake the post of trial and of peril; but to
stand firmly in his lot, until the great word of Providence shall bid him fly,
or bid him sink. With resolution and courage the Mason is to do the work
which it is appointed for him to do, looking through the dark cloud of
human calamity, to the end that rises high and bright before him. The lot
of sorrow is great and sublime. None suffer forever, nor for nought, nor
without purpose. It is the ordinance of God's wisdom, and of His Infinite
Love, to procure for us infinite happiness and glory.
Virtue is the truest liberty; nor is he free who stoops to passions; nor he in
bondage who serves a noble master. Examples are the best and most
lasting lectures; virtue the best example. He that hath done good deeds
and set good precedents, in sincerity, is happy. Time shall not outlive his
worth. He lives truly after death, whose good deeds are his pillars of
remembrance; and no day but adds some grains to his heap of glory.
Good works are seeds, that after sowing return us a continual harvest;
and the memory of noble actions is more enduring than monuments of
marble.
Life is a school. The world is neither prison nor penitentiary, nor a palace
of ease, nor an amphitheatre for games and spectacles; but a place of
instruction, and discipline. Life is given for moral and spiritual training;
and the entire course of the great school of life is an education for virtue,
happiness, and a future existence. The periods of Life are its terms; all
human conditions, its forms; all human employments, its lessons. Families
are the primary departments of this moral education; the various circles of
society, its advanced stages; Kingdoms and Republics, its universities.
Riches and Poverty, Gayeties and Sorrows, Marriages and Funerals, the
ties of life bound or broken, fit and fortunate, or untoward and painful, are
all lessons. Events are not blindly and carelessly flung together.
Providence does not school one man, and screen another from the fiery
trial of its lessons. It has neither rich favorites nor poor victims. One event
happeneth to all. One end and one design concern and urge all men.
The prosperous man has been at school. Perhaps he has thought that it
was a great thing, and he a great personage; but he has been merely a
pupil. He thought, perhaps, that he was Master, and had nothing to do,
but to direct and command; but there was ever a Master above him, the
Master of Life. He looks not at our splendid state, or our many
pretensions, nor at the aids and appliances of our learning; but at our
learning itself. He puts the poor and the rich upon the same form; and
knows no difference between them, but their progress.
If from prosperity we have learned moderation, temperance, candor,
modesty, gratitude to God, and generosity to man, then we are entitled to
be honored and rewarded. If we have learned selfishness, selfindulgence,
wrong-doing, and vice, to forget and overlook our less
fortunate brother, and to scoff at the providence of God, then we are
unworthy and dishonored, though we have been nursed in affluence, or
taken our degrees from the lineage of an hundred noble descents; as truly
so, in the eye of Heaven, and of all right-thinking men, as though we lay,
victims of beggary and disease, in the hospital, by the hedge, or on the
dung-hill. The most ordinary human equity looks not at the school, but at
the scholar; and the equity of Heaven will not look beneath that mark.
The poor man also is at school. Let him take care that he
learn, rather than complain. Let him hold to his integrity, his candor, and
his kindness of heart. Let him beware of envy, and of bondage, and keep
his self-respect. The body's toil is nothing. Let him beware of the mind's
drudgery and degradation. While he betters his condition if he can, let
him be more anxious to better his soul. Let him be willing, while poor, and
even if always poor, to learn poverty's great lessons, fortitude,
cheerfulness, contentment, and implicit confidence in God's Providence.
With these, and patience, calmness, self-command, disinterestedness,
and affectionate kindness, the humble dwelling may be hallowed, and
made more dear and noble than the loftiest palace. Let him, above all
things, see that he lose not his independence. Let him not cast himself, a
creature poorer than the poor, an indolent, helpless, despised beggar, oft
the kindness of others. Every man should choose to have God for his
Master, rather than man; and escape not from this school, either by
dishonesty or alms-taking, lest he fall into that state, worse than disgrace,
where he can have no respect for himself.
The ties of Society teach us to love one another. That is a miserable
society, where the absence of affectionate kindness is sought to be
supplied by punctilious decorum, graceful urbanity, and polished
insincerity; where ambition, jealousy, and distrust rule, in place of
simplicity, confidence, and kindness.
So, too, the social state teaches modesty and gentleness; and from
neglect, and notice unworthily bestowed on others, and injustice, and the
world's failure to appreciate us, we learn patience and quietness, to be
superior to society's opinion, not cynical and bitter, but gentle, candid,
and affectionate still.
Death is the great Teacher, stern, cold, inexorable, irresistible; whom the
collected might of the world cannot stay or ward off. The breath, that
parting from the lips of King or beggar, scarcely stirs the hushed air,
cannot be bought, or brought back for a moment, with the wealth of
Empires. What a lesson is this, teaching our frailty and feebleness, and
an Infinite Power beyond us! It is a fearful lesson, that never becomes
familiar. It walks through the earth in dread mystery, and lays it hands
upon all. It is a universal lesson, that is read everywhere and by all men.
Its message comes every year and every day. The past years are
crowded with its sad and solemn mementoes; and death's finger traces its
handwriting upon the walls of every human habitation.
It teaches us Duty; to act our part well; to fulfill the work assigned us.
When one is dying, and after he is dead, there is but one question: Has
he lived well? There is no evil in death but that which life makes.
There are hard lessons in the school of God's Providence; and yet the
school of life is carefully adjusted, in all its arrangements and tasks, to
man's powers and passions. There is no extravagance in its teachings;
nor is anything done for 'the sake of present effect. The whole course of
human life is a conflict with difficulties; and, if rightly conducted, a
progress in improvement. It is never too late for man to learn. Not part
only, but the whole, of life is a school. There never comes a time, even
amidst the decays of age, when it is fit to lay aside the eagerness of
acquisition, or the cheerfulness of endeavor. Man walks, all through the
course of life, in patience and strife, and sometimes in darkness; for, from
patience is to come perfection; from strife, triumph is to issue; from the
cloud of darkness the lightning is to flash that shall open the way to
eternity.
Let the Mason be faithful in the school of life, and to all its lessons! Let
him not learn nothing, nor care not whether he learns or not. Let not the
years pass over him, witnesses of only his sloth and indifference; or see
him zealous to acquire everything but virtue. Nor let him labor only for
himself; nor forget that the humblest man that lives is his brother, and
hath a claim on his sympathies and kind offices; and that beneath the
rough garments which labor wears may beat hearts as noble as throb
under the stars of princes.
God, who counts by souls, not stations,
Loves and pities you and me;
For to Him all vain distinctions
Are as pebbles on the sea.
Nor are the other duties inculcated in this Degree of less importance.
Truth, a Mason is early told, is a Divine attribute and the foundation of
every virtue; and frankness, reliability, sincerity, straightforwardness,
plain-dealing, are but different modes in which Truth develops itself. The
dead, the absent, the innocent, and those that trust him, no Mason will
deceive willingly. To all these he owes a nobler justice, in that they are
the most certain trials of human Equity. Only the most abandoned of men,
said Cicero, will deceive him, who would have remained uninjured if he had not
trusted. All the noble deeds that have beat their marches through
succeeding ages have proceeded from men of truth and genuine courage.
The man who is always true is both virtuous and wise; and thus possesses
the greatest guards of safety: for the law has not power to strike the
virtuous; nor can fortune subvert the wise.
The bases of Masonry being morality and virtue, it is by studying one and
practising the other, that the conduct of a Mason becomes irreproachable.
The good of Humanity being its principal object, disinterestedness is one of
the first virtues that it requires of its members; for that is the source of
justice and beneficence.
To pity the misfortunes of others; to be humble, but without meanness; to
be proud, but without arrogance; to abjure every sentiment of hatred and
revenge; to show himself magnanimous and liberal, without ostentation and
without profusion; to be the enemy of vice; to pay homage to wisdom and
virtue; to respect innocence; to be constant and patient in adversity, and
modest in prosperity; to avoid every irregularity that stains the soul and
distempers the body - it is by following these precepts that a Mason will
become a good citizen, a faithful husband, a tender father, an obedient son,
and a true brother; will honor friendship, and fulfill with ardor the duties
which virtue and the social relations impose upon him.
It is because Masonry imposes upon us these duties that it is properly and
significantly styled work; and he who imagines that he becomes a Mason by
merely taking the first two or three Degrees, and that he may, having
leisurely stepped upon that small elevation, thenceforward worthily wear
the honors of Masonry, without labor or exertion, or self-denial or sacrifice,
and that there is nothing to be done in Masonry, is strangely deceived.
Is it true that nothing remains to be done in Masonry?
Does one Brother no longer proceed by law against another Brother of his
Lodge, in regard to matters that could be easily settled within the Masonic
family circle?
Has the duel, that hideous heritage of barbarism, interdicted among
Brethren by our fundamental laws, and denounced by the municipal code,
yet disappeared from the soil we inhabit? Do Masons of high rank
religiously refrain from it; or do they not,
bowing to a corrupt public opinion, submit to its arbitrament, despite the
scandal which it occasions to the Order, and in violation of the feeble
restraint of their oath?
Do Masons no longer form uncharitable opinions of their Brethren, enter
harsh judgments against them, and judge themselves by one rule and their
Brethren by another?
Has Masonry any well-regulated system of charity? Has it done that which it
should have done for the cause of education? Where are its schools, its
academies, its colleges, its hospitals, and infirmaries?
Are political controversies now conducted with no violence and bitterness?
Do Masons refrain from defaming and denouncing their Brethren who differ
with them in religious or political opinions?
What grand social problems or useful projects engage our attention at our
communications? Where in our Lodges are lectures habitually delivered for
the real instruction of the Brethren? Do not our sessions pass in the
discussion of minor matters of business, the settlement of points of order
and questions of mere administration, and the admission and advancement
of Candidates, whom after their admission we take no pains to instruct?
In what Lodge are our ceremonies explained and elucidated; corrupted as
they are by time, until their true features can scarcely be distinguished; and
where are those great primitive truths of revelation taught, which Masonry
has preserved to the world?
We have high dignities and sounding titles. Do their possessors qualify
themselves to enlighten the world in respect to the aims and objects of
Masonry? Descendants of those Initiates who governed empires, does your
influence enter into practical life and operate efficiently in behalf of wellregulated
and constitutional liberty?
Your debates should be but friendly conversations. You need concord,
union, and peace. Why then do you retain among you men who excite
rivalries and jealousies; why permit great and violent controversy and
ambitious pretensions'? Now do your own words and acts agree? If your
Masonry is a nullity, how can you exercise any influence on others?
Continually you praise each other, and utter elaborate and high
wrought eulogies upon the Order. Everywhere you assume that you are
what you should be, and nowhere do you look upon yourselves as you
are. Is it true that all our actions are so many acts of homage to virtue?
Explore the recesses of your hearts; let us examine ourselves with an
impartial eye, and make answer to our own questioning! Can we bear to
ourselves the consoling testimony that we always rigidly perform our
duties; that we even half perform them?
Let us away with this odious self-flattery! Let us be men, if we cannot be
sages! The laws of Masonry, above others excellent, cannot wholly
change men's natures. They enlighten them, they point out the true way;
but they can lead them in it, only by repressing the fire of their passions,
and subjugating their selfishness. Alas, these conquer, and Masonry is
forgotten!
After praising each other all our lives, there are always excellent Brethren,
who, over our coffins, shower unlimited eulogies. Every one of us who
dies, however useless his life, has been a model of all the virtues, a very
child of the celestial light. In Egypt, among our old Masters, where
Masonry was more cultivated than vanity, no one could gain admittance to
the sacred asylum of the tomb until he had passed under the most solemn
judgment. A grave tribunal sat in judgment upon all, even the kings. They
said to the dead, "Whoever thou art, give account to thy country of thy
actions! What hast thou done with thy time and life? The law interrogates
thee, thy country hears thee, Truth sits in judgment on thee!" Princes
came there to be judged, escorted only by their virtues and their vices. A
public accuser recounted the history of the dead man's life, and threw the
blaze of the torch of truth on all his actions. If it were adjudged that he
had led an evil life, his memory was condemned in the presence of the
nation, and his body was denied the honors of sepulture. What a lesson
the old Masonry taught to the sons of the people!
Is it true that Masonry is effete; that the acacia, withered, affords no
shade; that Masonry no longer marches in the advance-guard of Truth?
No. Is freedom yet universal? Have ignorance and prejudice disappeared
from the earth? Are there no longer enmities among men? Do cupidity
and falsehood no longer exist? Do toleration and harmony prevail among
religious and political sects? There are works yet left for Masonry to
accomplish, greater than the twelve labors of Hercules: to advance ever
resolutely and steadily; to enlighten the minds of the people, to
reconstruct society, to reform the laws, and to improve the public morals.
The eternity in front of it is as infinite as the one behind. And Masonry
cannot cease to labor in the cause of social progress, without ceasing to
be true to itself, Masonry.


 


 

XII. GRAND MASTER ARCHITECT. 
[Master Architect.] 


THE great duties that are inculcated by the lessons taught by the workinginstruments 
of a Grand Master Architect, demanding so much of us, and 
taking for granted the capacity to perform them faithfully and fully, bring us 
at once to reflect upon the dignity of human nature, and the vast powers 
and capacities of the human soul; and to that theme we invite your 
attention in this Degree. Let us begin to rise from earth toward the Stars. 
Evermore the human soul struggles toward the light, toward God, and the 
Infinite. It is especially so in its afflictions. Words go but a little way into the 
depths of sorrow. The thoughts that writhe there in silence, that go into the 
stillness of Infinitude and Eternity, have no emblems. Thoughts enough 
come there, such as no tongue ever uttered. They do not so much want 
human sympathy, as higher help. There is a loneliness in deep sorrow 
which the Deity alone can relieve. Alone, the mind wrestles with the great 
problem of calamity, and seeks the solution from the Infinite Providence of 
Heaven, and thus is led directly to God. 
There are many things in us of which we are not distinctly conscious. To 
waken that slumbering consciousness into life, and so to lead the soul up 
to the Light, is one office of every great ministration to human nature, 
whether its vehicle be the pen, the pencil, or the tongue. We are 
unconscious of the intensity and awfulness of the life within us. Health and 
sickness, joy and sorrow, success and disappointment, life and death, 
love and loss, are familiar words upon our lips; and we do not know to what 
depths they point within us. 
We seem never to know what any thing means or is worth until we have 
lost it. Many an organ, nerve, and fibre in our bodily frame performs its 
silent part for years, and we are quite unconscious of its value. It is not 
until it is injured that we discover that value, and find how essential it was 
to our happiness and comfort. We never know the full significance of the 
words “property," "ease," and "health;" the wealth of meaning in the fond 
epithets, "parent,” “child," "beloved," and "friend," until the thing or the 
person is taken away; until, in place of the bright, visible being, comes the 
awful and desolate shadow, where nothing is: where we stretch out our 
hands in vain, and strain our eyes upon dark and dismal vacuity. Yet, in 
that vacuity, we do not lose the object that we loved. It becomes only the 
more real to us. Our blessings not only brighten when they depart, but are 
fixed in enduring reality; and love and friendship receive their everlasting 
seal under the cold impress of death. 
A dim consciousness of infinite mystery and grandeur lies beneath all the 
commonplace of life. There is an awfulness and a majesty around us, in 
all our little worldliness. The rude peasant from the Apennines, asleep at 
the foot of a pillar in a majestic Roman church, seems not to hear or see, 
but to, dream only of the herd he feeds or the ground he tills in the 
mountains. But the choral symphonies fall softly upon his ear, and the 
gilded arches are dimly seen through his half-slumbering eyelids. 
So the soul, however given up to the occupations of daily life, cannot quite 
lose the sense of where it is, and of what is above it and around it. The 
scene of its actual engagements may be small; the path of its steps, 
beaten and familiar; the objects it handles, easily spanned, and quite worn 
out with daily uses. So it may be, and amidst such things that we all live. 
So we live our little life; but Heaven is above us and all around and close 
to us; and Eternity is before us and behind us; and suns and stars are 
silent witnesses and watchers over us. We are enfolded by Infinity. Infinite 
Powers and Infinite spaces lie all around us. The dread arch of Mystery 
spreads over us, and no voice ever pierced it. Eternity is enthroned amid 
Heaven's myriad starry heights; and no utterance or word ever came from 
those far-off and silent spaces. Above, is that awful majesty; around us, 
everywhere, it stretches off into infinity; and beneath it is this little struggle 
of life, this poor day's conflict, this busy ant-hill of Time. 
But from that ant-hill, not only the talk of the streets, the sounds of music 
and revelling, the stir and tread of a multitude, the shout of joy and the 
shriek of agony go up into the silent and all-surrounding Infinitude; but 
also, amidst the stir and noise of visible life, from the inmost bosom of the 
visible man, there goes up an imploring call, a beseeching cry, an asking, 
unuttered, and unutterable, for revelation, wailingly and in almost 
speechless agony praying the dread arch of mystery to break, and the 
stars that roll above the waves of mortal trouble, to speak; the enthroned 
majesty of those awful heights to find a voice; the mysterious and 
reserved heavens to come near; and all to tell us what they alone know; to 
give us information of the loved and lost; to make known to us what we 
are, and whither we are going. 
Man is encompassed with a dome of incomprehensible wonders. In him 
and about him is that which should fill his life with majesty and 
sacredness. Something of sublimity and sanctity has thus flashed down 
from heaven into the heart of every one that lives. There is no being so 
base and abandoned but hath some traits of that sacredness left upon 
him; something, so much perhaps in discordance with his general repute, 
that he hides it from all around him; some sanctuary in his soul, where no 
one may enter; some sacred inclosure, where the memory of a child is, or 
the image of a venerated parent, or the remembrance of a pure love, or 
the echo of some word of kindness once spoken to him; an echo that will 
never die away. 
Life is no negative, or superficial or worldly existence. Our steps are 
evermore haunted with thoughts, far beyond their own range, which some 
have regarded as the reminiscences of a preexistent state. So it is with us 
all, in the beaten and worn track of this worldly pilgrimage. There is more 
here, than the world we live in. It is not all of life to live. An unseen and 
infinite presence is here; a sense of something greater than we possess; a 
seeking, through all the void wastes of life, for a good beyond it; a crying 
out of the heart for interpretation; a memory of the dead, touching 
continually some vibrating thread in this great tissue of mystery. 
We all not only have better intimations, but are capable of better things
than we know. The pressure of some great emergency would develop in 
us powers, beyond the worldly bias of our spirits; and Heaven so deals 
with us, from time to time, as to call forth those better things. There is 
hardly a family in the world go selfish, but that, if one in it were doomed to 
die - one, to be selected by the others, - it would be utterly impossible for 
its members, parents and children, to choose out that victim; but that each 
would say, "I will die; but I cannot choose." And in how many, if that dire 
extremity had come, would not one and another step forth, freed from the 
vile meshes of ordinary selfishness, and say, like the Roman father and 
son, "Let the blow fall on me!" There are greater and better things in us all, 
than the world takes account of, or than we take note of; if we would but 
find them out. And it is one part of our Masonic culture to find these traits 
of power and sublime devotion, to revive these faded impressions of 
generosity and self-sacrifice, the almost squandered bequests of God's 
love and kindness to our souls; and to induce us to yield ourselves to their 
guidance and control. 
Upon all conditions of men presses down one impartial law. To all 
situations, to all fortunes, high or low, the mind gives their character. They 
are, in effect, not what they are in themselves, but what they are to the 
feeling of their possessors. The King may be mean, degraded, miserable; 
the slave of ambition, fear, voluptuousness, and every low passion. The 
Peasant may be the real Monarch, the moral master of his fate, a free and 
lofty being, more than a Prince in happiness, more than a King in honor. 
Man is no bubble upon the sea of his fortunes, helpless and irresponsible 
upon the tide of events. Out of the same circumstances, different men 
bring totally different results. The same difficulty, distress, poverty, or 
misfortune, that breaks down one man, builds up another and makes him 
strong. It is the very attribute and glory of a man, that he can bend the 
circumstances of his condition to the intellectual and moral purposes of his 
nature, and it is the power and mastery of his will that chiefly distinguish 
him from the brute. 
The faculty of moral will, developed in the child, is a new element of his 
nature. It is a new power brought upon the scene, and a ruling power, 
delegated from Heaven. Never was a human being sunk so low that he 
had not, by God's gift, the power to rise, Because God commands him to 
rise, it is certain that he can rise.
Every man has the power, and should use it, to make all situations, trials, 
and temptations instruments to promote his virtue and happiness; and is 
so far from being the creature of circumstances, that he creates and 
controls them, making them to be all that they are, of evil or of good, to 
him as a moral being. 
Life is what we make it, and the world is what we make it. The eyes of the 
cheerful and of the melancholy man are fixed upon the same creation; but 
very different are the aspects which it bears to them. To the one, it is all 
beauty and gladness; the waves of ocean roll in light, and the mountains 
are covered with day. Life, to him, flashes, rejoicing, upon every flower 
and every tree that trembles in the breeze. There is more to him, 
everywhere, than the eye sees; a presence of profound joy on hill and 
valley, and bright, dancing water. The other idly or mournfully gazes at the 
same scene, and everything wears a dull, dim, and sickly aspect. The 
murmuring of the brooks is a discord to him, the great roar of the sea has 
an angry and threatening emphasis, the solemn music of the pines sings 
the requiem of his departed happiness; the cheerful light shines garishly 
upon his eyes and offends him. The great train of the seasons passes 
before him like a funeral procession; and he sighs, and turns impatiently 
away. The eye makes that which it looks upon; the ear makes its own 
melodies and discords; the world without reflects the world within. 
Let the Mason never forget that life and the world are what we make them 
by our social character; by our adaptation, or want of adaptation to the 
social conditions, relationships, and pursuits of the world. To the selfish, 
the cold, and the insensible, to the haughty and presuming, to the proud, 
who demand more than they are likely to receive, to the jealous, ever 
afraid they shall not receive enough, to those who are unreasonably 
sensitive about the good or ill opinions of others, to all violators of the 
social laws, the rude, the violent, the dishonest, and the sensual, - to all 
these, the social condition, from its very nature, will present annoyances, 
disappointments, and pains, appropriate to their several characters. The 
benevolent affections will not revolve around selfishness; the cold-hearted 
must expect to meet coldness; the proud, haughtiness; the passionate, 
anger; and the violent, rudeness. Those who forget the rights of others, 
must not be surprised if their own are forgotten; and those who stoop to 
the lowest embraces of sense must not wonder, if others are not 
concerned to find their prostrate honor, and lift it up to the remembrance
and respect of the world. 
To the gentle, many will be gentle; to the kind, many will be kind. A good 
man will find that there is goodness in the world; an honest man will find 
that there is honesty in the world; and a man of principle will find principle 
and integrity in the minds of others. 
There are no blessings which the mind may not convert into the bitterest 
of evils; and no trials which it may not transform into the noblest and 
divinest blessings. There are no temptations from which assailed virtue 
may not gain strength, instead of falling before them, vanquished and 
subdued. It is true that temptations have a great power, and virtue often 
falls; but the might of these temptations lies not in themselves, but in the 
feebleness of our own virtue, and the weakness of our own hearts. We 
rely too much on the strength of our ramparts and bastions, and allow the 
enemy to make his approaches, by trench and parallel, at his leisure. The 
offer of dishonest gain and guilty pleasure makes the honest man more 
honest, and the pure man more pure. They raise his virtue to the height of 
towering indignation. The fair occasion, the safe opportunity, the tempting 
chance become the defeat and disgrace of the tempter. The honest and 
upright man does not wait until temptation has made its approaches and 
mounted its batteries on the last parallel. 
But to the impure, the dishonest, the false-hearted, the corrupt, and the 
sensual, occasions come every day, and in every scene, and through 
every avenue of thought and imagination. He is prepared to capitulate 
before the first approach is commenced; and sends out the white flag 
when the enemy's advance comes in sight of his walls. He makes 
occasions; or, if opportunities come not, evil thoughts come, and he 
throws wide open the gates of his heart and welcomes those bad visitors, 
and entertains them with a lavish hospitality. 
The business of the world absorbs, corrupts, and degrades one mind, 
while in another it feeds and nurses the noblest independence, integrity, 
and generosity. Pleasure is a poison to some, and a healthful refreshment 
to others. To one, the world is a great harmony, like a noble strain of 
music with infinite modulations; to another, it is a huge factory, the clash 
and clang of whose machinery jars upon his ears and frets him to 
madness. Life is substantially
the same thing to all who partake of its lot. Yet some rise to virtue and 
glory; while others, undergoing the same discipline, and enjoying the 
same privileges, sink to shame and perdition. 
Thorough, faithful, and honest endeavor to improve, is always successful, 
and the highest happiness. To sigh sentimentally over human misfortune, 
is fit only for the mind's childhood; and the mind's misery is chiefly its own 
fault; appointed, under the good Providence of God, as the punisher and 
corrector of its fault. In the long run, the mind will be happy, just in 
proportion to its fidelity and wisdom. When it is miserable, it has planted 
the thorns in its own path; it grasps them, and cries out in loud complaint;. 
and that complaint is but the louder confession that the thorns which grew 
there, it planted. 
A certain kind and degree of spirituality enter into the largest part of even 
the most ordinary life. You can carry on no business, without some faith in 
man. You cannot even dig in the ground, without a reliance on the unseen 
result. You cannot think or reason or even step, without confiding in the 
inward, spiritual principles of your nature. All the affections and bonds, and 
hopes and interests of life centre in the spiritual; and you know that if that 
central bond were broken, the world would rush to chaos. 
Believe that there is a God; that He is our father; that He has a paternal 
interest in our welfare and improvement; that He has given us powers, by 
means of which we may escape from sin and ruin; that He has destined us 
to a future life of endless progress toward perfection and a knowledge of 
Himself - believe this, as every Mason should, and you can live calmly, 
endure patiently, labor resolutely, deny yourselves cheerfully, hope 
steadfastly, and be conquerors in the great struggle of life. Take away any 
one of these principles, and what remains for us? Say that there is no 
God; or no way opened for hope and reformation and triumph, no heaven 
to come, no rest for the weary, no home in the bosom of God for the 
afflicted and disconsolate soul; or that God is but an ugly blind Chance 
that stabs in the dark; or a somewhat that is, when attempted to be 
defined, a nowhat, emotionless, passionless, the Supreme Apathy to 
which all things, good and evil, are alike indifferent; or a jealous God who 
revengefully visits the sins of the fathers on the children, and when the 
fathers have eaten
sour grapes, sets the children's teeth on edge; an arbitrary supreme Will, 
that has made it right to be virtuous, and wrong to lie and steal, because 
IT pleased to make it so rather than otherwise, retaining the power to 
reverse the law; or a fickle, vacillating, inconstant Deity, or a cruel, 
bloodthirsty, savage Hebrew or Puritanic one; and we are but the sport of 
chance and the victims of despair; hapless wanderers upon the face of a 
desolate, forsaken, or accursed and hated earth; surrounded by darkness, 
struggling with obstacles, toiling for barren results and empty purposes, 
distracted with doubts, and misled by false gleams of light; wanderers with 
no way, no prospect, no home; doomed and deserted mariners on a dark 
and stormy sea, without compass or course, to whom no stars appear; 
tossing helmless upon the weltering, angry waves, with no blessed haven 
in the distance whose guiding-star invites us to its welcome rest. 
The religious faith thus taught by Masonry is indispensable to the 
attainment of the great ends of life; and must therefore have been 
designed to be a part of it. We are made for this faith; and there must be 
something, somewhere, for us to believe in. We cannot grow healthfully, 
nor live happily, without it. It is therefore true. If we could cut off from any 
soul all the principles taught by Masonry, the faith in a God, in immortality, 
in virtue, in essential rectitude, that soul would sink into sin, misery, 
darkness, and ruin. If we could cut off all sense of these truths, the man 
would sink at once to the grade of the animal. 
No man can suffer and be patient, can struggle and conquer, can improve 
and be happy, otherwise than as the swine are, without conscience, 
without hope, without a reliance on a just, wise, and beneficent God. We 
must, of necessity, embrace the great truths taught by Masonry, and live 
by them, to live happily. "I put my trust in God," is the protest of Masonry 
against the belief in a cruel, angry, and revengeful God, to be feared and 
not reverenced by His creatures. 
Society, in its great relations, is as much the creation of Heaven as is the 
system of the Universe. If that bond of gravitation that holds all worlds and 
systems together, were suddenly severed, the universe would fly into wild 
and boundless chaos. And if we were to sever all the moral bonds that 
hold society together; if we could cut off from it every conviction of Truth 
and Integrity, of an authority above it, and of a conscience within it, it 
would immediately rush to disorder and frightful anarchy and ruin. 
The religion we teach is therefore as really a principle of things, and as 
certain and true, as gravitation. 
Faith in moral principles, in virtue, and in God, is as necessary for the 
guidance of a man, as instinct is for the guidance of an animal. And 
therefore this faith, as a principle of man's nature, has a mission as truly 
authentic in God's Providence, as the principle of instinct. The pleasures 
of the soul, too, must depend on certain principles. They must recognize a 
soul, its properties and responsibilities, a conscience, and the sense of an 
authority above us; and these are the principles of faith. No man can 
suffer and be patient, can struggle and conquer, can improve and be 
happy, without conscience, without hope, without a reliance on a just, 
wise, and beneficent God. We must of necessity embrace the great truths 
taught by Masonry, and live by them, to live happily. Everything in the 
universe has fixed and certain laws and principles for its action;- the star in 
its orbit, the animal in its activity, the physical man in his functions. And he 
has likewise fixed and certain laws and principles as a spiritual being. His 
soul does not die for want of aliment or guidance. For the rational soul 
there is ample provision. From the lofty pine, rocked in the darkening 
tempest, the cry of the young raven is heard; and it would be most strange 
if there were no answer for the cry and call of the soul, tortured by want 
and sorrow and agony. The total rejection of all moral and religious belief 
would strike out a principle from human nature, as essential to it as 
gravitation to the stars, instinct to animal life, the circulation of the blood to 
the human body. 
God has ordained that life shall be a social state. We are members of a 
civil community. The life of that community depends upon its moral 
condition. Public spirit, intelligence, uprightness, temperance, kindness, 
domestic purity, will make it a happy community, and give it prosperity and 
continuance. Wide-spread selfishness, dishonesty, intemperance, 
libertinism, corruption, and crime, will make it miserable, and bring about 
dissolution and speedy ruin. A whole people lives one life; one mighty 
heart heaves in its bosom; it is one great pulse of existence that throbs 
there. One stream of life flows there, with ten thousand intermingled 
branches and channels, through all the homes of human love. One sound 
as of many waters, a rapturous jubilee or a mournful sighing, comes up from
the congregated dwellings of a whole nation. 
The Public is no vague abstraction; nor should that which is done against 
that Public, against public interest, law, or virtue, press but lightly on the 
conscience. It is but a vast expansion of individual life; an ocean of tears, 
an atmosphere of sighs, or a great whole of joy and gladness. It suffers 
with the suffering of millions; it rejoices with the joy of millions. What a vast 
crime does he commit, - private man or public man, agent or contractor, 
legislator or magistrate, secretary or president,-who dares, with indignity 
and wrong, to strike the bosom of the Public Welfare, to encourage 
venality and corruption, and shameful sale of the elective franchise, or of 
office; to sow dissension, and to weaken the bonds of amity that bind a 
Nation together! What a huge iniquity, he who, with vices like the daggers 
of a parricide, dares to pierce that mighty heart, in which the ocean of 
existence is flowing! 
What an unequalled interest lies in the virtue of every one whom we love! 
In his virtue, nowhere but in his virtue, is garnered up the incomparable 
treasure. What care we for brother or friend, compared with what we care 
for his honor, his fidelity, his reputation, his kindness? How venerable is 
the rectitude of a parent! How sacred his reputation! No blight that can fall 
upon a child, is like a parent's dishonor. Heathen or Christian, every 
parent would have his child do well; and pours out upon him all the 
fullness of parental love, in the one desire that he may do well; that he 
may be worthy of his cares, and his freely bestowed pains; that he may 
walk in the way of honor and happiness. In that way he cannot walk one 
step without virtue. Such is life, in its relationships. A thousand ties 
embrace it, like the fine nerves of a delicate organization; like the strings 
of an instrument capable of sweet melodies, but easily put out of tune or 
broken, by rudeness, anger, and selfish indulgence. 
If life could, by any process, be made insensible to pain and pleasure; if 
the human heart were hard as adamant, then avarice, ambition, and 
sensuality might channel out their paths in it, and make it their beaten 
way; and none would wonder or protest. If we could be patient under the 
load of a mere worldly life; if we could bear that burden as the beasts bear 
it; then, like beasts, we might bend all our thoughts to the earth; and no 
call from the great Heavens above us would startle us from our plodding 
and earthly course. 
But we art not insensible brutes, who can refuse the call of reason and 
conscience. The soul is capable of remorse. When the great 
dispensations of life press down upon us, we weep, and suffer and 
sorrow. And sorrow and agony desire other companionships than 
worldliness and irreligion. We are not willing to bear those burdens of the 
heart, fear, anxiety, disappointment, and trouble, without any object or 
use. We are not willing to suffer, to be sick and afflicted, to have our days 
and months lost to comfort and joy, and overshadowed with calamity and 
grief, without advantage or compensation; to barter away the dearest 
treasures, the very sufferings, of the heart; to sell the life-blood from failing 
frame and fading cheek, our tears of bitterness and groans of anguish, for 
nothing. Human nature, frail, feeling, sensitive, and sorrowing, cannot bear 
to suffer for nought. 
Everywhere, human life is a great and solemn dispensation. Man, 
suffering, enjoying, loving, hating, hoping, and fearing, chained to the 
earth and yet exploring the far recesses of the universe, has the power to 
commune with God and His angels. Around this great action of existence 
the curtains of Time are drawn; but there are openings through them 
which give us glimpses of eternity. God looks down upon this scene of 
human probation. The wise and the good in all ages have interposed for it 
with their teachings and their blood. Everything that exists around us, 
every movement in nature every counsel of Providence, every 
interposition of God, centres upon one point - the fidelity of man. And even 
if the ghosts of the departed and remembered could come at midnight 
through the barred doors of our dwellings, and the shrouded dead should 
glide through the aisles of our churches and sit in our Masonic Temples, 
their teachings would be no more eloquent and impressive than the Great 
realities of life; than those memories of misspent years, those ghosts of 
departed opportunities, that, pointing to our conscience and eternity cry 
continually in our ears, "Work while the day lasts! for the night of death 
cometh, in which no man can work.” 
There are no tokens of public mourning for the calamity of the soul. Men 
weep when the body dies; and when it is borne to its last rest, they follow 
it with sad and mournful procession. But
for the dying soul there is no open lamentation; for the lost soul there are 
no obsequies. 
And yet the mind and soul of man have a value which nothing else has. 
They are worth a care which nothing else is worth; and to the single, 
solitary individual, they ought to possess an interest which nothing else 
possesses. The stored treasures of the heart, the unfathomable mines 
that are in the soul to be wrought, the broad and boundless realms of 
Thought, the freighted argosy of man's hopes and best affections, are 
brighter than gold and dearer than treasure. 
And yet the mind is in reality little known or considered. It is all which man 
permanently is, his inward being, his divine energy, his immortal thought, 
his boundless capacity, his infinite aspiration; and nevertheless, few value 
it for what it is worth. Few see a brother-mind in others, through the rags 
with which poverty has clothed it, beneath the crushing burdens of life, 
amidst the close pressure of worldly troubles, wants and sorrows. Few 
acknowledge and cheer it in that humble blot, and feel that the nobility of 
earth, and the commencing glory of Heaven are there. 
Men do not feel the worth of their own souls. They are proud of their 
mental powers; but the intrinsic, inner, infinite worth of their own minds 
they do not perceive. The poor man, admitted to a palace, feels, lofty and 
immortal being as he is, like a mere ordinary thing amid the splendors that 
surround him. He sees the carriage of wealth roll by him, and forgets the 
intrinsic and eternal dignity of his own mind in a poor and degrading envy, 
and feels as an humbler creature, because others are above him, not in 
mind, but in mensuration. Men respect themselves, according as they are 
more wealthy, higher in rank or office, loftier in the world's opinion, able to 
command more votes, more the favorites of the people or of Power. 
The difference among men is not so much in their nature and intrinsic 
power, as in the faculty of communication. Some have the capacity of 
uttering and embodying in words their thoughts. All men, more or less, feel 
those thoughts. The glory of genius and the rapture of virtue, when rightly 
revealed, are diffused and shared among unnumbered minds. When 
eloquence and poetry speak; when those glorious arts, statuary, painting, 
and music, take audible or visible shape; when patriotism, charity, and 
virtue
speak with a thrilling potency, the hearts of thousands glow with a kindred 
joy and ecstasy. If it were not so, there would be no eloquence; for 
eloquence is that to which other hearts respond; it is the faculty and power 
of making other hearts respond. No one is so low or degraded, as not 
sometimes to be touched with the beauty of goodness. No heart is made 
of materials so common, or even base, as not sometimes to respond, 
through every chord of it, to the call of honor, patriotism, generosity, and 
virtue. The poor African Slave will die for the master. or mistress, or in 
defence of the children, whom he loves. The poor, lost, scorned, 
abandoned, outcast woman will, without expectation of reward nurse 
those who are dying on every hand, utter strangers to her, with a 
contagious and horrid pestilence. The pickpocket will scale burning walls 
to rescue child or woman, unknown to him, from the ravenous flames. 
Most glorious is this capacity! A power to commune with God and His 
Angels; a reflection of the Uncreated Light; a mirror that can collect and 
concentrate upon itself all the moral splendors of the Universe. It is the 
soul alone that gives any value to the things of this world. and it is only by 
raising the soul to its just elevation above all other things, that we can look 
rightly upon the purposes of this earth. No sceptre nor throne, nor 
structure of ages, nor broad empire, can compare with the wonders and 
grandeurs of a single thought. That alone, of all things that have been 
made, comprehends the Maker of all. That alone is the key which unlocks 
all the treasures of the Universe; the power that reigns over Space, Time, 
and Eternity. That, under God, is the Sovereign Dispenser to man of all 
the blessings and glories that lie within the compass of possession, or the 
range of possibility. Virtue, Heaven, and Immortality exist not, nor ever will 
exist for us except as they exist and will exist, in the perception, feeling, 
and thought of the glorious mind. 
My Brother, in the hope that you have listened to and understood the 
Instruction and Lecture of this Degree, and that you feel the dignity of your 
own nature and the vast capacities of your own soul for good or evil, I 
proceed briefly to communicate to you the remaining instruction of this 
Degree. 
The Hebrew word, in the old Hebrew and Samaritan character, suspended 
in the East, over the five columns, is ADONAÏ, one of the names of God, 
usually translated Lord; and which the
Hebrews, in reading, always substitute for the True Name, which is for them 
ineffable. 
The five columns, in the five different orders of architecture, are emblematical to 
us of the five principal divisions of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite: 
1. - The Tuscan, of the three blue Degrees, or the primitive Masonry. 
2. - The Doric, of the ineffable Degrees, from the, fourth to the fourteenth, 
inclusive. 
3. - The Ionic, of the fifteenth and sixteenth, or second temple Degrees. 
4. - The Corinthian, of the seventeenth and eighteenth Degrees, or those of the 
new law. 
5. - The Composite, of the philosophical and chivalric Degrees intermingled, from 
the nineteenth to the thirty-second, inclusive. 
The North Star, always fixed and immutable for us, represents the point in the 
centre of the circle, or the Deity in the centre of the Universe. It is the especial 
symbol of duty and of faith. To it, and the seven that continually revolve around it, 
mystical meanings are attached, which you will learn hereafter, if you should be 
permitted to advance, when you are made acquainted with the philosophical 
doctrines of the Hebrews. 
The Morning Star, rising in the East, Jupiter, called by the Hebrews Tsadġc or 
Tsydyk, Just, is an emblem to us of the ever approaching dawn of perfection and 
Masonic light. 
The three great lights of the Lodge are symbols to us of the Power, Wisdom, and 
Beneficence of the Deity. They are also symbols of the first three Sephiroth, or 
Emanations of the Deity, according to the Kabalah, Kether, the omnipotent divine 
will; Chochmah, the divine intellectual power to generate thought, and Binah, the 
divine intellectual capacity to produce it - the two latter, usually translated 
Wisdom and Understanding, being the active and the passive, the positive and 
the negative, which we do not yet endeavor to explain to you. They are the 
columns Jachin and Boaz, that stand at the entrance to the Masonic Temple. 
In another aspect of this Degree, the Chief of the Architects [ , Rab Banaim,] 
symbolizes the constitutional executive head and chief of a free government; and 
the Degree teaches us that no free government can long endure, when the 
people cease
to select for their magistrates the best and the wisest of their statesmen; 
when, passing these by, they permit factions or sordid interests to select 
for them the small, the low, the ignoble, and the obscure, and into such 
hands commit the country's destinies. There is, after all, a "divine right" to 
govern; and it is vested in the ablest, wisest, best, of every nation. 
"Counsel is mine, and sound wisdom: I am understanding: I am power: by 
me kings do reign, and princes decree justice; by me princes rule, and 
nobles, even all the magistrates of the earth." 
For the present, my Brother, let this suffice. We welcome you among us, 
to this peaceful retreat of virtue, to a participation in our privileges, to a 
share in our joys and our sorrows.


 


 

XIII. ROYAL ARCH OF SOLOMON. 



WHETHER the legend and history of this Degree are historically true, or 
but an allegory, containing in itself a deeper truth and a profounder 
meaning, we shall not now debate. If it be but a legendary myth, you must 
find out for yourself what it means. It is certain that the word which the 
Hebrews are not now permitted to pronounce was in common use by 
Abraham, Lot, Isaac, Jacob, Laban, Rebecca, and even among tribes 
foreign to the Hebrews, before the time of Moses; and that it recurs a 
hundred times in the lyrical effusions of David and other Hebrew poets. 
We know that for many centuries the Hebrews have been forbidden to 
pronounce the Sacred Name; that wherever it occurs, they have for ages 
read the word Adonaï instead; and that under it, when the masoretic 
points, which represent the vowels, came to be used, they placed those 
which belonged to the latter word. The possession of the true 
pronunciation was deemed to confer on him who had it extraordinary and 
supernatural powers; and the Word itself, worn upon the person, was 
regarded as an amulet, a protection against personal danger, sickness, 
and evil spirits. We know that all this was a vain superstition, natural to a 
rude people, necessarily disappearing as the intellect of man became 
enlightened; and wholly unworthy of a Mason. 
It is noticeable that this notion of the sanctity of the Divine Name or 
Creative Word was common to all the ancient nations. The Sacred Word 
HOM was supposed by the ancient Persians (who were among the 
earliest emigrants from Northern India) to
be pregnant with a mysterious power; and they taught that by its utterance 
the world was created. In India it was forbidden to pronounce the word 
AUM or OM, the Sacred Name of the One Deity, manifested as Brahma, 
Vishna, and Seeva. 
These superstitious notions in regard to the efficacy of the Word, and the 
prohibition against pronouncing it, could, being errors, have formed no 
part of the pure primitive religion, or of the esoteric doctrine taught by 
Moses, and the full knowledge of which was confined to the Initiates; 
unless the whole was but an ingenious invention for the concealment of 
some other Name or truth, the interpretation and meaning whereof was 
made known only to the select few. If so, the common notions in regard to 
the Word grew up in the minds of the people, like other errors and fables 
among all the ancient nations, out of original truths and symbols and 
allegories misunderstood. So it has always been that allegories, intended 
as vehicles of truth, to be understood by the sages, have become or bred 
errors, by being literally accepted. 
It is true, that before the masoretic points were invented (which was after 
the beginning of the Christian era), the pronunciation of a word in the 
Hebrew language could not be known from the characters in which it was 
written. It was, therefore, possible for that of the name of the Deity to have 
been forgotten and lost. It is certain that its true pronunciation is not that 
represented by the word Jehovah; and therefore that that is not the true 
name of Deity, nor the Ineffable Word. 
The ancient symbols and allegories always had more than one 
interpretation. They always had a double meaning, and sometimes more 
than two, one serving as the envelope of the other. Thus the pronunciation 
of the word was a symbol; and that pronunciation and the word itself were 
lost, when the knowledge of the true nature and attributes of God faded 
out of the minds of the Jewish people. That is one interpretation - true, but 
not the inner and profoundest one. 
Men were figuratively said to forget the name of God, when they lost that 
knowledge, and worshipped the heathen deities, and burned incense to 
them on the high places, and passed their children through the fire to 
Moloch. 
Thus the attempts of the ancient Israelites and of the Initiates to ascertain 
the True Name of the Deity, and its pronunciation, and the loss of the True 
Word, are an allegory, in which are
represented the general ignorance of the true nature and attributes of 
God, the proneness of the people of Judah and Israel to worship other 
deities, and the low and erroneous and dishonoring notions of the Grand 
Architect of the Universe, which all shared except a few favored persons; 
for even Solomon built altars and sacrificed to Astarat, the goddess of the 
Tsidumm, and Malcüm, the Aamünite god, and built high places for 
Kamüs, the Moabite deity, and Malec the god of the Beni-Aamün. The true 
nature of God was unknown to them, like His name; and they worshipped 
the calves of Jeroboam, as in the desert they did that made for them by 
Aarün. 
The mass of the Hebrews did not believe in the existence of one only God 
until a late period in their history. Their. early and popular ideas of the 
Deity were singularly low and unworthy. Even while Moses was receiving 
the law upon Mount Sinai, they forced Aarün to make them an image of 
the Egyptian god Apis, and fell down and adored it. They were ever ready 
to return to the worship of the gods of the Mitzraim; and soon after the 
death of Joshua they became devout worshippers of the false gods of all 
the surrounding nations. "Ye have borne," Amos, the prophet, said to 
them, speaking of their forty years' journeying in the desert, under Moses, 
"the tabernacle of your Malec and Kaiün your idols, the star of your god, 
which ye made to yourselves." 
Among them, as among other nations, the conceptions of God formed by 
individuals varied according to their intellectual and spiritual capacities; 
poor and imperfect, and investing God with the commonest and coarest 
attributes of humanity, among the ignorant and coarse; pure and lofty 
among the virtuous and richly gifted. These conceptions gradually 
improved and became purified and ennobled, as the nation advanced in 
civilization - being lowest in the historical books, amended in the prophetic 
writings, and reaching their highest elevation among the poets. 
Among all the ancient nations there was one faith and one idea of Deity 
for the enlightened, intelligent, and educated, and another for the common 
people. To this rule the Hebrews were no exception. Yehovah, to the 
mass of the people, was like the gods of the nations around them, except 
that he was the peculiar God, first of the family of Abraham, of that of 
Isaac, and of that of Jacob, and afterward the National God; and, as they 
believed, more powerful than the other gods of the same nature 
worshipped
by their neighbors - "Who among the Baalim is like unto thee, O 
Yehovah?" - expressed their whole creed. 
The Deity of the early Hebrews talked to Adam and Eve in the garden of 
delight, as he walked in it in the cool of the day; he conversed with Kayin; 
he sat and ate with Abraham in his tent; that patriarch required a visible 
token, before he would believe in his positive promise; he permitted 
Abraham to expostulate with him, and to induce him to change his first 
determination in regard to Sodom; he wrestled with Jacob; he showed 
Moses his person, though not his face; he dictated the minutest police 
regulations and the dimensions of the tabernacle and its furniture, to the 
Israelites; he insisted on and delighted in sacrifices and burnt-offerings; he 
was angry, jealous, and revengeful, as well as wavering and irresolute; he 
allowed Moses to reason him out of his fixed resolution utterly to destroy 
his people; he commanded the performance of the most shocking and 
hideous acts of cruelty and barbarity. He hardened the heart of Pharaoh; 
he repented of the evil that he had said he would do unto the people of 
Nineveh; and he did it not, to the disgust and anger of Jonah. 
Such were the popular notions of the Deity; and either the priests had 
none better, or took little trouble to correct these notions; or the popular 
intellect was not enough enlarged to enable them to entertain any higher 
conceptions of the Almighty. 
But such were not the ideas of the intellectual and enlightened few among 
the Hebrews. It is certain that they possessed a knowledge of the true 
nature and attributes of God; as the same class of men did among the 
other nations - Zoroaster, Menu, Confucius, Socrates, and Plato. But their 
doctrines on this subject were esoteric; they did not communicate them to 
the people at large, but only to a favored few; and as they were 
communicated in Egypt and India, in Persia and Phoenicia, in Greece and 
Samothrace, in the greater mysteries, to the Initiates. 
The communication of this knowledge and other secrets, some of which 
are perhaps lost, constituted, under other names, what we now call 
Masonry, or Free or Frank-Masonry. That knowledge was, in one sense, 
the Lost Word, which was made known to the Grand Elect, Perfect, and 
Sublime Masons. It would be folly to pretend that the forms of Masonry 
were the same in those ages as they are now. The present name of the 
Order, and its titles, and the names of the Degrees now in use, were not 
then known.
Even Blue Masonry cannot trace back its authentic history, with its present 
Degrees, further than the year 1700, if so far. But, by whatever name it 
was known in this or the other country, Masonry existed as it now exists, 
the same in spirit and at heart, not only when Solomon builded the temple, 
but centuries before - before even the first colonies emigrated into 
Southern India, Persia, and Egypt, from the cradle of the human race. 
The Supreme, Self-existent, Eternal, All-wise, All-powerful, Infinitely Good, 
Pitying, Beneficent, and Merciful Creator and Preserver of the Universe 
was the same, by whatever name he was called, to the intellectual and 
enlightened men of all nations. The name was nothing, if not a symbol and 
representative hieroglyph of his nature and attributes. The name AL 
represented his remoteness above men, his inaccessibility; BAL and 
BALA, his might; ALOHIM, his various potencies; IHUH, existence and the 
generation of things. None of his names, among the Orientals, were the 
symbols of a divinely infinite love and tenderness, and all-embracing 
mercy. As MOLOCH or MALEK he was but an omnipotent monarch, a 
tremendous and irresponsible Will; as ADONAÏ, only an arbitrary LORD 
and Master; as AL Shadaï, potent and a DESTROYER. 
To communicate true and correct ideas in respect of the Deity was one 
chief object of the mysteries. In them, Khürüm the King, and Khürüm the 
Master, obtained their knowledge of him and his attributes; and in them 
that knowledge was taught to Moses and Pythagoras. 
Wherefore nothing forbids you to consider the whole legend of this 
Degree, like that of the Master's, an allegory, representing the 
perpetuation of the knowledge of the True God in the sanctuaries of 
initiation. By the subterranean vaults you may understand the places of 
initiation, which in the ancient ceremonies were generally under ground. 
The Temple of Solomon presented a symbolic image of the Universe; and 
resembled, in its arrangements and furniture, all the temples of the ancient 
nations that practised the mysteries. The system of numbers was 
intimately connected with their religions and worship, and has come down 
to us in Masonry; though the esoteric meaning with which the numbers 
used by us are pregnant is unknown to the vast majority of those who use 
them. Those numbers were especially employed that had a reference to 
the Deity, represented his attributes, or figured in the
frame-work of the world, in time and space, and formed more or less the 
bases of that frame-work. These were universally regarded as sacred, 
being the expression of order and intelligence, the utterances of Divinity 
Himself. 
The Holy of Holies of the Temple formed a cube; in which, drawn on a 
plane surface, there are 4 + 3 + 2 = 9 lines visible, and three sides or 
faces. It corresponded with the number four, by which the ancients 
presented Nature, it being the number of substances or corporeal forms, 
and of the elements, the cardinal points and seasons, and the secondary 
colors. The number three everywhere represented the Supreme Being. 
Hence the name of the Deity, engraven upon the triangular plate, and that 
sunken into the cube of agate, taught the ancient Mason, and teaches us, 
that the true knowledge of God, of His nature and His attributes is written 
by Him upon the leaves of the great Book of Universal Nature, and may be 
read there by all who are endowed with the requisite amount of intellect 
and intelligence. This knowledge of God, so written there, and of which 
Masonry has in all ages been the interpreter, is the Master Mason's Word. 
Within the Temple, all the arrangements were mystically and symbolically 
connected with the same system. The vault or ceiling, starred like the 
firmament, was supported by twelve columns, representing the twelve 
months of the year. The border that ran around the columns represented 
the zodiac, and one of the twelve celestial signs was appropriated to each 
column. The brazen sea was supported by twelve oxen, three looking to 
each cardinal point of the compass. 
And so in our day every Masonic Lodge represents the Universe. Each 
extends, we are told, from the rising to the setting sun, from the South to 
the North, from the surface of the Earth to the Heavens, and from the 
same to the centre of the globe. In it are represented the sun, moon, and 
stars; three great torches in the East, West, and South, forming a triangle, 
give it light: and, like the Delta or Triangle suspended in the East, and 
inclosing the Ineffable Name, indicate, by the mathematical equality of the 
angles and sides, the beautiful and harmonious proportions which govern 
in the aggregate and details of the Universe; while those sides and angles 
represent, by their number, three, the Trinity of Power, Wisdom, and 
Harmony, which presided at the building of this marvellous work These 
three great lights also represent the
great mystery of the three principles, of creation, dissolution or destruction, 
and reproduction or regeneration, consecrated by all creeds in their numerous 
Trinities. 
The luminous pedestal, lighted by the perpetual flame within, is a symbol of 
that light of Reason, given by God to man, by which he is enabled to read in 
the Book of Nature the record of the thought, the revelation of the attributes of 
the Deity. 
The three Masters, Adoniram, Joabert, and Stolkin, are types of the True 
Mason, who seeks for knowledge from pure motives, and that he may be the 
better enabled to serve and benefit his fellow-men; while the discontented 
and presumptuous Masters who were buried in the ruins of the arches 
represent those who strive to acquire it for unholy purposes, to gain power 
over their fellows, to gratify their pride, their vanity, or their ambition. 
The Lion that guarded the Ark and held in his mouth the key wherewith to 
open it, figuratively represents Solomon, the Lion of the Tribe of Judah, who 
preserved and communicated the key to the true knowledge of God, of His 
laws, and of the profound mysteries of the moral and physical Universe. 
ENOCH [ Khanġc], we are told, walked with God three hundred years, 
after reaching the age of sixty-five - "walked with God, and he was no more, 
for God had taken him." His name signified in the Hebrew, INITIATE or 
INITIATOR. The legend of the columns, of granite and brass or bronze, 
erected by him, is probably symbolical. That of bronze, which survived the 
flood, is supposed to symbolize the mysteries, of which Masonry is the 
legitimate successor - from the earliest times the custodian and depository of 
the great philosophical and religious truths, unknown to the world at large, 
and handed down from age to age by an unbroken current of tradition, 
embodied in symbols, emblems, and allegories. 
The legend of this Degree is thus, partially, interpreted. It is of little 
importance whether it is in anywise historical. For its value consists in the 
lessons which it inculcates, and the duties which it prescribes to those who 
receive it. The parables and allegories of the Scriptures are not less valuable 
than history. Nay, they are more so, because ancient history is little 
instructive, and truths are concealed in and symbolized by the legend and the 
myth. 
There are profounder meanings concealed in the symbols of this Degree, 
connected with the philosophical system of the Hebrew
Kabalists, which you will learn hereafter, if you should be so fortunate as 
to advance. They are unfolded in the higher Degrees. The lion [ 
Arai, Araiah, which also means the altar] still holds in his mouth the key of 
the enigma of the sphynx. 
But there is one application of this Degree, that you are now entitled to 
know; and which, remembering that Khürüm, the Master, is the symbol of 
human freedom, you would probably discover for yourself. 
It is not enough for a people to gain its liberty. It must secure it. It must not 
intrust it to the keeping, or hold it at the pleasure, of any one man. The 
keystone of the Royal Arch of the great Temple of Liberty is a fundamental 
law, charter, or constitution; the expression of the fixed habits of thought of 
the people, embodied in a written instrument, or the result of the slow 
accretions and the consolidation of centuries; the same in war as in 
peace; that cannot be hastily changed, nor be violated with impunity, but is 
sacred, like the Ark of the Covenant of God, which none could touch and 
live. 
A permanent constitution, rooted in the affections, expressing the will and 
judgment, and built upon the instincts and settled habits of thought of the 
people, with an independent judiciary, an elective legislature of two 
branches, an executive responsible to the people, and the right of trial by 
jury, will guarantee the liberties of a people, if it be virtuous and temperate, 
without luxury, and without the lust of conquest and dominion, and the 
follies of visionary theories of impossible perfection. 
Masonry teaches its Initiates that the pursuits and occupations of this life, 
its activity, care, and ingenuity, the predestined developments of the 
nature given us by God, tend to promote His great design, in making the 
world; and are not at war with the great purpose of life. It teaches that 
everything is beautiful in its time, in its place, in its appointed office; that 
everything which man is put to do, if rightly and faithfully done, naturally 
helps to work out his salvation; that if he obeys the genuine principles of 
his calling, he will be a good man: and that it is only by neglect and nonperformance 
of the task set for him by Heaven, by wandering into idle 
dissipation, or by violating their beneficent and lofty spirit, that he becomes 
a bad man. The appointed action of life is the great training of Providence; 
and if man yields himself
to it, he will need neither churches nor ordinances, except for the 
expression of his religious homage and gratitude. 
For there is a religion of toil. It is not all drudgery, a mere stretching of the 
limbs and straining of the sinews to tasks. It has a meaning and an intent. 
A living heart pours life-blood into the toiling arm; and warm affections 
inspire and mingle with man's labors. They are the home affections. Labor 
toils a-field, or plies its task in cities, or urges the keels of commerce over 
wide oceans; but home is its centre; and thither it ever goes with its 
earnings, with the means of support and comfort for others; offerings 
sacred to the thought of every true man, as a sacrifice at a golden shrine. 
Many faults there are amidst the toils of life; many harsh and hasty words 
are uttered; but still the toils go on, weary and hard and exasperating as 
they often are. For in that home is age or sickness, or helpless infancy, or 
gentle childhood, or feeble woman, that must not want. If man had no 
other than mere selfish impulses, the scene of labor which we behold 
around us would not exist. 
The advocate who fairly and honestly presents his case, with feeling of 
true self-respect, honor, and conscience, to help the tribunal on towards 
the right conclusion, with a conviction that God's justice reigns there, is 
acting a religious part, leading that day religious life; or else right and 
justice are no part of religion Whether, during all that day, he has once 
appealed, in form or in terms, to his conscience, or not; whether he has 
once spoken of religion and God, or not; if there has been the inward 
purpose, the conscious intent and desire, that sacred justice should 
triumph, he has that day led a good and religious life, and made most a 
essential contribution to that religion of life and of society, the cause of 
equity between man and man, and of truth and right action in the world. 
Books, to be of religious tendency in the Masonic sense, need not be 
books of sermons, of pious exercises, or of prayers. Whatever inculcates 
pure, noble, and patriotic sentiments, or touches the heart with the beauty 
of virtue, and the excellence of an upright life, accords with the religion of 
Masonry, and is the Gospel of literature and art. That Gospel is preached 
from many a book and painting, from many a poem and fiction, and review 
and newspaper; and it is a painful error and miserable narrowness, not to 
recognize these wide-spread agencies of Heaven's providing; not
to see and welcome these many-handed coadjutors, to the great and good 
cause. The oracles of God do not speak from the pulpit alone. 
There is also a religion of society. In business, there is much more than 
sale, exchange, price, payment; for there is the sacred faith of man in 
man. When we repose perfect confidence in the integrity of another; when 
we feel that he will not swerve from the right, frank, straightforward, 
conscientious course, for any temptation; his integrity and 
conscientiousness are the image of God to us; and when we believe in it, 
it is as great and generous an act, as when we believe in the rectitude of 
the Deity. 
In gay assemblies for amusement, the good affections of life gush and 
mingle. If they did not, these gathering-places would be as dreary and 
repulsive as the caves and dens of outlaws and robbers. When friends 
meet, and hands are warmly pressed, and the eye kindles and the 
countenance is suffused with gladness, there is a religion between their 
hearts; and each loves and worships the True and Good that is in the 
other. It is not policy, or self-interest, or selfishness that spreads such a 
charm around that meeting, but the halo of bright and beautiful affection. 
The same splendor of kindly liking, and affectionate regard, shines like the 
soft overarching sky, over all the world; over all places where men meet, 
and walk or toil together; not over lovers' bowers and marriage-altars 
alone, not over the homes of purity and tenderness alone; but over all 
tilled fields, and busy workshops, and dusty highways, and paved streets. 
There is not a worn stone upon the sidewalks, but has been the altar of 
such offerings of mutual kindness; nor a wooden pillar or iron railing 
against which hearts beating with affection have not leaned. How many 
soever other elements there are in the stream of life flowing through these 
channels, that is surely here and everywhere; honest, heartfelt, 
disinterested, inexpressible affection. 
Every Masonic Lodge is a temple of religion; and its teachings are 
instruction in religion. For here are inculcated disinterestedness, affection, 
toleration, devotedness, patriotism, truth, a generous sympathy with those 
who suffer and mourn, pity for the fallen, mercy for the erring, relief for 
those in want, Faith, Hope, and Charity. Here we meet as brethren, to 
learn to know and love each other. Here we greet each other gladly, are 
lenient to each other's faults, regardful of each other's feelings, ready to 
relieve
each other's wants. This is the true religion revealed to the ancient 
patriarchs; which Masonry has taught for many centuries, and which it will 
continue to teach as long as time endures. If unworthy passions, or 
selfish, bitter, or revengeful feelings, contempt, dislike, hatred, enter here, 
they are intruders and n t welcome, strangers uninvited, and not guests. 
Certainly there are many evils and bad passions, and much hate and 
contempt and unkindness everywhere in the world. We cannot refuse to 
see the evil -that is in life. But all is not evil. We still see God in the world. 
There is good amidst the evil. The hand of mercy leads wealth to the 
hovels of poverty and sorrow. Truth and simplicity live amid many wiles 
and sophistries. There are good hearts underneath gay robes, and under 
tattered garments also. 
Love clasps the hand of love, amid all the envyings and distractions of 
showy competition; fidelity, pity, and sympathy hold the long night-watch 
by the bedside of the suffering neighbor, amidst the surrounding poverty 
and squalid misery. Devoted men go from city to city to nurse those 
smitten down by the terrible pestilence that renews at intervals its 
mysterious marches. Women well-born and delicately nurtured nursed the 
wounded soldiers in hospitals, before it became fashionable to do so; and 
even poor lost women, whom God alone loves and pities, tend the plaguestricken 
with a patient and generous heroism. Masonry and its kindred 
Orders teach men to love each other, feed the hungry, clothe the naked, 
comfort the sick, and bury the friendless dead. Everywhere God finds and 
blesses the kindly office, the pitying thought, and the loving heart. 
There is an element of good in all men's lawful pursuits and a divine spirit 
breathing in all their lawful affections. The ground on which they tread is 
holy ground. There is a natural religion of life, answering, with however 
many a broken tone, to the religion of nature. There is a beauty and glory 
in Humanity., in man, answering, with however many a mingling shade, to 
the loveliness of soft landscapes and swelling hills, and the wondrous 
Men may be virtuous, self-improving, and religious in their employments. 
Precisely for that, those employments were made. All their social relations, 
friendship, love , the ties of family, were made to be holy. They may be 
religious, not by a kind of protest
and resistance against their several vocations; but by conformity to their 
true spirit. Those vocations do not exclude religion; but demand it, for their 
own perfection. They may be religious laborers, whether in field or factory; 
religious physicians, lawyers, sculptors, poets, painters, and musicians. 
They may be religious in all the toils and in all the amusements of life. 
Their life may be a religion; the broad earth its altar; its incense the very 
breath of life; its fires ever kindled by the brightness of Heaven. 
Bound up with our poor, frail life, is the mighty thought that spurns the 
narrow span of all visible existence. Ever the soul reaches outward, and 
asks for freedom. It looks forth from the narrow and grated windows of 
sense, upon the wide immeasurable creation; it knows that around it and 
beyond it lie outstretched the infinite and everlasting paths. 
Everything within us and without us ought to stir our minds to admiration 
and wonder. We are a mystery encompassed with mysteries. The 
connection of mind with matter is a mystery; the wonderful telegraphic 
communication between the brain and every part of the body, the power 
and action of the will. Every familiar step is more than a story in a land of 
enchantment. The power of movement is as mysterious as the power of 
thought. Memory, and dreams that are the indistinct echoes of dead 
memories are alike inexplicable. Universal harmony springs from infinite 
complication. The momentum of every step we take in our dwelling 
contributes in part to the order of the Universe. We are connected by ties 
of thought, and even of matter and its forces, with the whole boundless 
Universe and all the past and coming generations of men. 
The humblest object beneath our eye as completely defies our scrutiny as 
the economy of the most distant star. Every leaf and every blade of grass 
holds within itself secrets which no human penetration will ever fathom. No 
man can tell what is its principle of life. No man can know what his power 
of secretion is. Both are inscrutable mysteries. Wherever we place our 
hand we lay it upon the locked bosom of mystery. Step where we will, we 
tread upon wonders. The sea-sands, the clods of the field, the water-worn 
pebbles on the hills, the rude masses of rock, are traced over and over, in 
every direction, with a handwriting older and more significant and sublime 
than all the ancient ruins, and all the overthrown and buried cities that past 
generations
have left upon the earth; for it is the handwriting of the Almighty. 
A Mason's great business with life is to read the book of its teaching; to 
find that life is not the doing of drudgeries, but the hearing of oracles. The 
old mythology is but a leaf in that book; for it peopled the world with 
spiritual natures; and science, many-leaved, still spreads before us the 
same tale of wonder. 
We shall be just as happy hereafter, as we are pure and upright, and no 
more, just as happy as our character prepares us to be, and no more. Our 
moral, like our mental character, is nut formed in a moment; it is the habit 
of our minds; the result of many thoughts and feelings and efforts, bound 
together by many natural and strong ties. The great law of Retribution is, 
that all coming experience is to be affected by every present feeling; every 
future moment of being must answer for every present moment; one 
moment, sacrificed to vice, or lost to improvement, is forever sacrificed 
and lost; an hour's delay to enter the right path, is to put us back so far, in 
the everlasting pursuit of happiness; and every sin, even of the best men, 
is to be thus answered for, if not according to the full measure of its illdesert, 
yet according to a rule of unbending rectitude and impartiality. 
The law of retribution presses upon every m an, whether he thinks of it or 
not. It pursues him through all the courses of life, with a step that never 
falters nor tires, and with an eye that never sleeps. If it were not so, God's 
government would not be impartial; 'there would be no discrimination; no 
moral dominion; no light shed upon the mysteries of Providence. 
Whatsoever a man soweth, that, and not something else, shall he reap. 
That which we are doing, good or evil, grave or gay, that which we do today 
and shall do to-morrow; each thought, each feeling, each action, each 
event; every passing hour, every breathing moment; all are contributing to 
form the character according to which we are to be judged. Every particle 
of influence that goes to form that aggregate, - our character, - will, in that 
future scrutiny, be sifted out from the mass; and, particle by particle, with 
ages perhaps intervening, fall a distinct contribution to the sum of our joys 
or woes. Thus every idle word and idle hour will give answer in the 
judgment. 
Let us take care, therefore, what we sow. An evil temptation comes upon 
us; the opportunity of unrighteous gain, or of unhallowed
indulgence, either in the sphere of business or pleasure, of society or 
solitude. We yield; and plant a seed of bitterness and sorrow. To-morrow it 
will threaten discovery. Agitated and alarmed, we cover the sin, and bury it 
deep in falsehood and hypocrisy. In the bosom where it lies concealed, in 
the fertile soil of kindred vices, that sin dies not, but thrives and grows; and 
other and still other germs of evil gather around the accursed root; until, 
from that single seed of corruption, there springs up in the soul all that is 
horrible in habitual lying, knavery, or vice. Loathingly, often, we take each 
downward step; but a frightful power urges us onward; and the hell of 
debt, disease, ignominy, or remorse gathers its shadows around Our 
steps even on earth; and are yet but the beginnings of sorrows. The evil 
deed may be done in a single moment; but conscience never dies, 
memory never sleeps; guilt never can become innocence; and remorse 
can never whisper peace. 
Beware, thou who art tempted to evil! Beware what thou layest up for the 
future! Beware what thou layest up in the archives of eternity! Wrong not 
thy neighbor! lest the thought of him thou injurest, and who suffers by thy 
act, be to thee a pang which years will not deprive of its bitterness! Break 
not into the house of innocence, to rifle it of its treasure; lest when many 
years have passed over thee, the moan of its distress may not have died 
away from thine ear! Build not the desolate throne of ambition in thy heart; 
nor be busy with devices, and circumventings, and selfish schemings; lest 
desolation and loneliness be on thy path, as it stretches into the long 
futurity! Live not a useless, an impious, or an injurious life! for bound up 
with that life is the immutable principle of an endless retribution, and 
elements of God's creating, which will never spend their force, but 
continue ever to unfold with the ages of eternity. Be not deceived! God 
has formed thy nature, thus to answer to the future. His law can never be 
abrogated, nor His justice eluded; and forever and ever it will be true, that 
"Whatsoever a man soweth, that also he shall reap.”


 


 

XIV.  GRAND ELECT, PERFECT, AND SUBLIME MASON.

[Perfect Elu.]

It is for each individual Mason to discover the secret of Ma-
sonry, by reflection upon its symbols and a wise consideration and
analysis of what is said and done in the work. Masonry does not
inculcate her truths. She states them, once and briefly; or hints
them, perhaps, darkly; or interposes a cloud between them and
eyes that would be dazzled by them. "Seek, and ye shall find,"
knowledge and the truth.
The practical object of Masonry is the physical and moral
amelioration and the intellectual and spiritual improvement of
individuals and society. Neither can be effected, except by the
dissemination of truth. It is falsehood in doctrines and fallacy
in principles, to which most of the miseries of men and the mis-
fortunes of nations are owing. Public opinion is rarely right on
any point; and there are and always will be important truths to
be substituted in that opinion in the place of many errors and
absurd and injurious prejudices. There are few truths that public
opinion has not at some time hated and persecuted as heresies;
and few errors that have not at some time seemed to it truths radi-
ant from the immediate presence of God. There are moral mala-
dies, also, of man and society, the treatment of which requires not
only boldness, but also, and more, prudence and discretion; since
they are more the fruit of false and pernicious doctrines, moral,
political, and religious, than of vicious inclinations.
Much of the Masonic secret manifests itself, without speech
revealing it to him who even partially comprehends all the De-
grees in proportion as he receives them; and particularly to those
who advance to the highest Degrees of the Ancient and Accepted
Scottish Rite. That Rite raises a corner of the veil, even in the
Degree of Apprentice; for it there declares that Masonry is a
worship.
Masonry labors to improve the social order by enlightening
men's minds, warming their hearts with the love of the good, in-
spiring them with the great principle of human fraternity, and
requiring of its disciples that their language and actions shall con-
form to that principle, that they shall enlighten each other, con-
trol their passions, abhor vice, and pity the vicious man as one
afflicted with a deplorable malady.
It is the universal, eternal, immutable religion, such as God
planted it in the heart of universal humanity. No creed has ever
been long-lived that was not built on this foundation. It is the
base, and they are the superstructure. "Pure religion and unde-
filed before God and the Father is this, to visit the fatherless and
widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the
world." "Is not this the fast that I have chosen ? to loose the
bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the
oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke ?" The ministers
of this religion are all Masons who comprehend it and are devoted
to it; its sacrifices to God are good works, the sacrifices of the
base and disorderly passions, the offering up of self-interest on
the altar of humanity, and perpetual efforts to attain to all the
moral perfection of which man is capable.
To make honor and duty the steady beacon-lights that shall
guide your life-vessel over the stormy seas of time; to do that
which it is right to do, not because it will insure you success, or
bring with it a reward, or gain the applause of men, or be "the
best policy," more prudent or more advisable; but because it is
right, and therefore ought to be done; to war incessantly against
error, intolerance, ignorance, and vice, and yet to pity those who
err, to be tolerant even of intolerance, to teach the ignorant, and
to labor to reclaim the vicious, are some of the duties of a Mason.
A good Mason is one that can look upon death, and see its face
with the same countenance with which he hears its story; that
can endure all the labors of his life with his soul supporting his
body, that can equally despise riches when he hath them and
when he hath them not;that is, not sadder if they are in his neigh-
bor's exchequer, nor more lifted up if they shine around about his
own walls; one that is not moved with good fortune coming to
him, nor going from him; that can look upon another man's lands
with equanimity and pleasure, as if they were his own; and yet
look upon his own, and use them too, just as if they were another
man's; that neither spends his goods prodigally and foolishly, nor
yet keeps them avariciously and like a miser; that weighs not
benefits by weight and number, but by the mind and circumstances
of him who confers them; that never thinks his charity expen-
sive, if a worthy person be the receiver; that does nothing for
opinion's sake, but everything for conscience, being as careful of
his thoughts as of his acting in markets and theatres, and in as
much awe of himself as of a whole assembly; that is, bountiful
and cheerful to his friends, and charitable and apt to forgive his
enemies; that loves his country, consults its honor, and obeys its
laws, and desires and endeavors nothing more than that he may
do his duty and honor God. And such a Mason may reckon his
life to be the life of a man, and compute his months, not by
the course of the sun, but by the zodiac and circle of his vir-
tues.
The whole world is but one republic, of which each nation is a
family, and every individual a child. Masonry, not in anywise
derogating from the differing duties which the diversity of states
requires, tends to create a new people, which, composed of men of
many nations and tongues, shall all be bound together by the
bonds of science, morality, and virtue.
Essentially philanthropic, philosophical, and progressive, it has
for the basis of its dogma a firm belief in the existence of God
and his providence, and of the immortality of the soul; for its
object, the dissemination of moral, political, philosophical, and
religious truth, and the practice of all the virtues. In every age,
its device has been, "Liberty, Equality, Fraternity," with constitu-
tional government, law, order, discipline, and subordination to
legitimate authority--government and not anarchy.
But it is neither a political party nor a religious sect. It
braces all parties and all sects, to form from among them all a vast
fraternal association. It recognizes the dignity of human nature,
and man's right to such freedom as he is fitted for; and it
knows nothing that should place one man below another, except
ignorance, debasement, and crime, and the necessity of subordina-
tion to lawful will and authority.
It is philanthropic; for it recognizes the great truth that all
men are of the same origin, have common interests, and should
co-operate together to the same end.
Therefore it teaches its members to love one another, to give to
each other mutual assistance and support in all the circumstances
of life, to share each other's pains and sorrows, as well as their
joys and pleasures; to guard the reputations, respect the opinions,
and be perfectly tolerant of the errors, of each other, in matters
of faith and beliefs.
It is philisophical because it teaches the great Truths concern-
ing the nature and existence of one Supreme Deity, and the exist-
ence and immortality of the soul. It revives the Academy of
Plato and the wise teachings of Socrates. It reiterates the max-
ims of Pythagoras, Confucius, and Zoroaster, and reverentially
enforces the sublime lessons of Him who died upon the Cross.
The ancients thought that universal humanity acted under the
influence of two opposing Principles, the Good and the Evil: of
which the Good urged men toward Truth, Independence, and De-
votedness and the Evil toward Falsehood, Servility, and Selfish-
ness. Masonry represents the Good Principle and constantly wars
against the evil one. It is the Hercules, the Osiris, the Apollo, the
Mithras, and the Ormuzd, at everlasting and deadly feud with
the demons of ignorance, brutality, baseness, falsehood, slavish-
ness of soul, intolerance, superstition, tyranny, meanness, the in-
solence of wealth, and bigotry.
When despotism and superstition, twin-powers of evil and dark-
ness, reigned everywhere and seemed invincible and immortal, it
invented, to avoid persecution, the mysteries, that is to say, the
allegory, the symbol, and the emblem, and transmitted its doc-
trines by the secret mode of initiation. Now, retaining its ancient
symbols, and in part its ancient ceremonies, it displays in every
civilized country its banner, on which in letters of living light its
great principles are written; and it smiles at the puny efforts of
kings and popes to crush it out by excommunication and inter-
diction.
Man's views in regard to God, will contain only so much posi-
tive truth as the human mind is capable of receiving; whether
that truth is attained by the exercise of reason, or communicated
by revelation. It must necessarily be both limited and alloyed, to
bring it within the competence of finite human intelligence. Be-
ing finite, we can form no correct or adequate idea of the Infinite;
being material, we can form no clear conception of the Spiritual.
We do believe in and know the infinity of Space and Time, and
the spirituality of the Soul; but the idea of that infinity and
spirituality eludes us. Even Omnipotence cannot infuse infinite
conceptions into finite minds; nor can God, without first entirely
changing the conditions of our being, pour a complete and full
knowledge of His own nature and attributes into the narrow
capacity of a human soul. Human intelligence could not grasp
it, nor human language express it. The visible is, necessarily, the
measure of the invisible.
The consciousness of the individual reveals itself alone. His
knowledge cannot pass beyond the limits of his own being. His
conceptions of other things and other beings are only his concep-
tions. They are not those things or beings themselves. The living
principle of a living Universe must be INFINITE; while all our
ideas and conceptions are finite, and applicable only to finite beings.
The Deity is thus not an object of knowledge, but of faith; not
to be approached by the understanding, but by the moral sense;
not to be conceived, but to be felt. All attempts to embrace the
Infinite in the conception of the Finite are, and must be only ac-
commodations to the frailty of man. Shrouded from human com-
prehension in an obscurity from which a chastened imagination is
awed back, and Thought retreats in conscious weakness, the
Divine Nature is a theme on which man is little entitled to dog-
matize. Here the philosophic Intellect becomes most painfully
aware of its own insufficiency.
And yet it is here that man most dogmatizes, classifies and de-
scribes God's attributes, makes out his map of God's nature, and
his inventory of God's qualities, feelings, impulses, and passions;
and then hangs and burns his brother, who, as dogmatically as he,
makes out a different map and inventory. The common under-
standing has no humility. Its God is an incarnate Divinity. Im-
perfection imposes its own limitations on the Illimitable, and
clothes the Inconceivable Spirit of the Universe in forms that
come within the grasp of the senses and the intellect, and are
derived from that infinite and imperfect nature which is but God's
creation.
We are all of us, though not all equally, mistaken. The cher-
ished dogmas of each of us are not, as we fondly suppose, the pure
truth of God; but simply our own special form of error, our
guesses at truth, the refracted and fragmentary rays of light that
have fallen upon our own minds. Our little systems have their
day, and cease to be; they are but broken lights of God; and He
is more than they. Perfect truth is not attainable anywhere. We
style this Degree that of Perfection; and yet what it teaches is
imperfect and defective. Yet we are not to relax in the pursuit
of truth, nor contentedly acquiesce in error. It is our duty always
to press forward in the search; for though absolute truth is unat-
tainable, yet the amount of error in our views is capable of pro-
gressive and perpetual diminution; and thus Masonry is a con-
tinual struggle toward the light.
All errors are not equally innocuous. That which is most in-
jurious is to entertain unworthy conceptions of the nature and
attributes of God; and it is this that Masonry symbolizes by igno-
rance of the True Word. The true word of a Mason is, not the
entire, perfect, absolute truth in regard to God; but the highest
and noblest conception of Him that our minds are capable of
forming; and this word is Ineffable, because one man cannot
communicate to another his own conception of Deity; since every
man's conception of God must be proportioned to his mental cul-
tivation and intellectual powers, and moral excellence. God is, as
man conceives Him, the reflected image of man himself.
For every man's conception of God must vary with his mental
cultivation and mental powers. If any one contents himself with
any lower image than his intellect is capable of grasping, then he
contents himself with that which is false to him, as well as false in
fact. If lower than he can reach, he must needs feel it to be false.
And if we, of the nineteenth century after Christ, adopt the con-
ceptions of the nineteenth century before Him; if our conceptions
of God are those of the ignorant, narrow-minded, and vindictive
Israelite; then we think worse of God, and have a lower, meaner,
and more limited view of His nature, than the faculties which He
has bestowed are capable of grasping. The highest view we can
form is nearest to the truth. If we acquiesce in any lower one,
we acquiesce in an untruth. We feel that it is an affront and an
indignity to Him, to conceive of Him as cruel, short-sighted, ca-
pricious, and unjust; as a jealous, an angry, a vindictive Being.
When we examine our conceptions of His character, if we can
conceive of a loftier, nobler, higher, more beneficent, glorious, and
magnificent character, then this latter is to us the true conception
of Deity; for nothing can be imagined more excellent than He.
Religion, to obtain currency and influence with the great mass
of mankind, must needs be alloyed with such an amount of error
as to place it far below the standard attainable by the higher
human capacities. A religion as pure as the loftiest and most cul-
tivated human reason could discern, would not be comprehended
by, or effective over, the less educated portion of mankind. What
is Truth to the philosopher, would not be Truth, nor have the
effect of Truth, to the peasant. The religion of the many must
necessarily be more incorrect than that of the refined and reflective
few, not so much in its essence as in its forms, not so much in the
spiritual idea which lies latent at the bottom of it, as in the sym-
bols and dogmas in which that idea is embodied. The truest
religion would, in many points, not be comprehended by the igno-
rant, nor consolatory to them, nor guiding and supporting for
them. The doctrines of the Bible are often not clothed in the
language of strict truth, but in that which was fittest to convey
to a rude and ignorant people the practical essentials of the doc-
trine. A perfectly pure faith, free from all extraneous admixtures,
a system of noble theism and lofty morality, would find too little
preparation for it in the common mind and heart, to admit of
prompt reception by the masses of mankind; and Truth might
not have reached us, if it had not borrowed the wings of Error.
The Mason regards God as a Moral Governor, as well as an
Original Creator; as a God at hand, and not merely one afar off
in the distance of infinite space, and in the remoteness of Past
or Future Eternity. He conceives of Him as taking a watchful
and presiding interest in the affairs of the world, and as influenc-
ing the hearts and actions of men.
To him, God is the great Source of the World of Life and Mat-
ter; and man, with his wonderful corporeal and mental frame,
His direct work. He believes that God has made men with differ-
ent intellectual capacities, and enabled some, by superior intellect-
ual power, to see and originate truths which are hidden from the
mass of men. He believes that when it is His will that mankind
should make some great step forward, or achieve some pregnant
discovery, He calls into being some intellect of more than ordi-
nary magnitude and power, to give birth to new ideas, and
grander conceptions of the Truths vital to Humanity.
We hold that God has so ordered matters in this beautiful and
harmonious, but mysteriously-governed Universe, that one great
mind after another will arise, from time to time, as such are
needed, to reveal to men the truths that are wanted, and the
amount of truth than can be borne. He so arranges, that nature
and the course of events shall send men into the world, endowed
with that higher mental and moral organization, in which grand
truths, and sublime gleams of spiritual light will spontaneously
and inevitably arise. These speak to men by inspiration.
Whatever Hiram really was, he is the type, perhaps an imag-
inary type, to us, of humanity in its highest phase; an exemplar
of what man may and should become, in the course of ages, in his
progress toward the realization of his destiny; an individual gifted
with a glorious intellect, a noble soul, a fine organization, and a
perfectly balanced moral being; an earnest of what humanity may
be, and what we believe it will hereafter be in God's good time;
the possibility of the race made real.
The Mason believes that God has arranged this glorious but per-
plexing world with a purpose, and on a plan. He holds that every
man sent upon this earth, and especially every man of superior
capacity, has a duty to perform, a mission to fulfill, a baptism to
be baptized with; that every great and good man possesses some
portion of God's truth, which he must proclaim to the world, and
which must bear fruit in his own bosom. In a true and simple
sense, he believes all the pure, wise, and intellectual to be inspired,
and to be so for the instruction, advancement, and elevation of
mankind. That kind of inspiration, like God's omnipresence, is
not limited to the few writers claimed by Jews, Christians, or
Moslems, but is co-extensive with the race. It is the consequence
of a faithful use of our faculties. Each man is its subject, God is
its source, and Truth its only test. It differs in degrees, as the
intellectual endowments, the moral wealth of the soul, and the de-
gree of cultivation of those endowments and faculties differ. It is
limited to no sect, age, or nation. It is wide as the world and
common as God. It was not given to a few men, in the infancy
of mankind, to monopolize inspiration, and bar God out of the
soul. We are not born in the dotage and decay of the world. The
stars are beautiful as in their prime; the most ancient Heavens
are fresh and strong. God is still everywhere in nature. Wher-
ever a heart beats with love, wherever Faith and Reason utter
their oracles, there is God, as formerly in the hearts of seers and
prophets. No soil on earth is so holy as the good man's heart;
nothing is so full of God. This inspiration is not given to the
learned alone, not alone to the great and wise, but to every faithful
child of God. Certain as the open eye drinks in the light, do the
pure in heart see God; and he who lives truly, feels Him as a pres-
ence within the soul. The conscience is the very voice of Deity.
Masonry, around whose altars the Christian, the Hebrew, the
Moslem, the Brahmin, the followers of Confucius and Zoroaster,
can assemble as brethren and unite in prayer to the one God who
is above all the Baalim, must needs leave it to each of its Initiates
to look for the foundation of his faith and hope to the written
scriptures of his own religion. For itself it finds those truths
definite enough, which are written by the finger of God upon the
heart of man and on the pages of the book of nature. Views of
religion and duty, wrought out by the meditations of the studious,
confirmed by the allegiance of the good and wise, stamped as
sterling by the response they find in every uncorrupted mind, com-
mend themselves to Masons of every creed, and may well be ac-
cepted by all.
The Mason does not pretend to dogmatic certainty, nor vainly
imagine such certainty attainable. He considers that if there
were no written revelation, he could safely rest the hopes that ani-
mate him and the principles that guide him, on the deductions of
reason and the convictions of instinct and consciousness. He can
find a sure foundation for his religious belief, in these deductions
of the intellect and convictions of the heart. For reason proves
to him the existence and attributes of God; and those spiritual
instincts which he feels are the voice of God in his soul, infuse
into his mind a sense of his relation to God, a conviction of the
beneficence of his Creator and Preserver, and a hope of future ex-
istence; and his reason and conscience alike unerringly point to
virtue as the highest good, and the destined aim and purpose of
man's life.
He studies the wonders of the Heavens, the frame-work and
revolutions of the Earth, the mysterious beauties and adaptations
of animal existence, the moral and material constitution of the
human creature, so fearfully and wonderfully made; and is satis-
fied that God IS; and that a Wise and Good Being is the author
of the starry Heavens above him, and of the moral world within
him; and his mind finds an adequate foundation for its hopes, its
worship, its principles of action, in the far-stretching Universe, in
the glorious firmament, in the deep, full soul, bursting with un-
utterable thoughts.
These are truths which every reflecting mind will unhesitatingly
receive, as not to be surpassed, nor capable of improvement; and
fitted, if obeyed, to make earth indeed a Paradise, and man only a
little lower than the angels. The worthlessness of ceremonial
observances, and the necessity of active virtue; the enforcement
of purity of heart as the security for purity of life, and of the
government of the thoughts, as the originators and forerunners of
action; universal philanthropy, requiring us to love all men, and
to do unto others that and that only which we should think it
right, just, and generous for them to do unto us; forgiveness of
injuries; the necessity of self-sacrifice in the discharge of duty;
humility; genuine sincerity, and being that which we seem to be;
all these sublime precepts need no miracle, no voice from the
clouds, to recommend them to our allegiance, or to assure us of
their divine origin. They command obedience by virtue of their
inherent rectitude and beauty; and have been, and are, and will
be the law in every age and every country of the world. God
revealed them to man in the beginning.
To the Mason, God is our Father in Heaven, to be Whose
especial children is the sufficient reward of the peacemakers, to see
Whose face the highest hope of the pure in heart; Who is ever at
hand to strengthen His true worshippers; to Whom our most fer-
vent love is due, our most humble and patient submission; Whose
most acceptable worship is a pure and pitying heart and a benefi-
cent life; in Whose constant presence we live and act, to Whose
merciful disposal we are resigned by that death which, we hope
and believe, is but the entrance to a better life; and Whose wise
decrees forbid a man to lap his soul in an elysium of mere indolent
content.
As to our feelings toward Him and our conduct toward man,
Masonry teaches little about which men can differ, and little from
which they can dissent. He is our Father; and we are all breth-
ren. This much lies open to the most ignorant and busy, as fully
as to those who have most leisure and are most learned. This
needs no Priest to teach it, and no authority to indorse it; and if
every man did that only which is consistent with it, it would exile
barbarity, cruelty, intolerance, uncharitableness, perfidy, treach-
ery, revenge, selfishness, and all their kindred vices and bad pas-
sions beyond the confines of the world.
The true Mason, sincerely holding that a Supreme God created
and governs this world, believes also that He governs it by laws,
which, though wise, just, and beneficent, are yet steady, unwaver-
ing, inexorable. He believes that his agonies and sorrows are or-
dained for his chastening, his strengthening, his elaboration and
development; because they are the necessary results of the opera-
tion of laws, the best that could be devised for the happiness and
purification of the species, and to give occasion and opportunity
for the practice of all the virtues, from the homeliest and most
common, to the noblest and most sublime; or perhaps not even
that, but the best adapted to work out the vast, awful, glorious,
eternal designs of the Great Spirit of the Universe. He believes
that the ordained operations of nature, which have brought misery
to him, have, from the very unswerving tranquility of their
career, showered blessings and sunshine upon many another path;
that the unrelenting chariot of Time, which has crushed or maimed
him in its allotted course, is pressing onward to the accomplish-
ment of those serene and mighty purposes, to have contributed to
which, even as a victim, is an honor and a recompense. He takes
this view of Time and Nature and God, and yet bears his lot with-
out murmur or distrust; because it is a portion of a system, the
best possible, because ordained by God. He does not believe that
God loses sight of him, while superintending the march of the
great harmonies of the Universe; nor that it was not foreseen,
when the Universe was created, its laws enacted, and the long suc-
cession of its operations pre-ordained, that in the great march of
those events, he would suffer pain and undergo calamity. He be-
lieves that his individual good entered into God's consideration, as
well as the great cardinal results to which the course of all things
is tending.
Thus believing, he has attained an eminence in virtue, the high-
est, amid passive excellence, which humanity can reach. He finds
his reward and his support in the reflection that he is an unreluc-
tant and self-sacrificing co-operator with the Creator of the Uni-
verse; and in the noble consciousness of being worthy and capable
of so sublime a conception, yet so sad a destiny. He is then truly
entitled to be called a Grand Elect, Perfect, and Sublime Mason.
He is content to fall early in the battle, if his body may but form
a stepping-stone for the future conquests of humanity.
It cannot be that God, Who, we are certain, is perfectly good,
can choose us to suffer pain, unless either we are ourselves to re-
ceive from it an antidote to what is evil in ourselves, or else as
such pain is a necessary part in the scheme of the Universe, which
as a whole is good. In either case, the Mason receives it with
submission. He would not suffer unless it was ordered so. What-
ever his creed, if he believes that God is, and that He cares for
His creatures, he cannot doubt that; nor that it would not have
been so ordered, unless it was either better for himself, or for
some other persons, or for some things. To complain and lament
is to murmur against God's will, and worse than unbelief.
The Mason, whose mind is cast in a nobler mould than those of
the ignorant and unreflecting, and is instinct with a diviner life,-
who loves truth more than rest, and the peace of Heaven rather
than the peace of Eden,--to whom a loftier being brings severer
cares,--who knows that man does not live by pleasure or content
alone, but by the presence of the power of God,--must cast be-
hind him the hope of any other repose or tranquillity, than that
which is the last reward of long agonies of thought; he must re-
linquish all prospect of any Heaven save that of which trouble is
the avenue and portal; he must gird up his loins, and trim his
lamp, for a work that must be done, and must not be negligently
done. If he does not like to live in the furnished lodgings of tra-
dition, he must build his own house, his own system of faith and
thought, for himself.
The hope of success, and not the hope of reward, should be our
stimulating and sustaining power. Our object, and not ourselves,
should be our inspiring thought. Selfishness is a sin, when tem-
porary, and for time. Spun out to eternity, it does not become
celestial prudence. We should toil and die, not for Heaven or
Bliss, but for Duty.
In the more frequent cases, where we have to join our efforts to
those of thousands of others, to contribute to the carrying forward
of a great cause; merely to till the ground or sow the seed for a
very distant harvest, or to prepare the way for the future advent
of some great amendment; the amount which each one contrib-
utes to the achievement of ultimate success, the portion of the
price which justice should assign to each as his especial produc-
tion, can never be accurately ascertained. Perhaps few of those
who have ever labored, in the patience of secrecy and silence, to
bring about some political or social change, which they felt con-
vinced would ultimately prove of vast service to humanity, lived
to see the change effected, or the anticipated good flow from it.
Fewer still of them were able to pronounce what appreciable
weight their several efforts contributed to the achievement of the
change desired. Many will doubt, whether, in truth, these exer-
tions have any influence whatever; and, discouraged, cease all
active effort.
Not to be thus discouraged, the Mason must labor to elevate
and purify his motives, as well as sedulously cherish the convic-
tion, assuredly a true one, that in this world there is no such thing
as effort thrown away; that in all labor there is profit; that all
sincere exertion, in a righteous and unselfish cause, is necessarily
followed, in spite of all appearance to the contrary, by an appro-
priate and proportionate success; that no bread cast upon the
waters can be wholly lost; that no seed planted in the ground can
fail to quicken in due time and measure; and that, however we
may, in moments of despondency, be apt to doubt, not only
whether our cause will triumph, but whether, if it does, we shall
have contributed to its triumph,--there is One, Who has not
only seen every exertion we have made, but Who can assign
the exact degree in which each soldier has assisted to gain the
great victory over social evil. No good work is done wholly in
vain.
The Grand Elect, Perfect, and Sublime Mason will in nowise
deserve that honorable title, if he has not that strength, that will,
that self-sustaining energy; that Faith, that feeds upon no earthly
hope, nor ever thinks of victory, but, content in its own consum-
mation, combats, because it ought to combat, rejoicing fights, and
still rejoicing falls.
The Augean Stables of the World, the accumulated uncleanness
and misery of centuries, require a mighty river to cleanse them
thoroughly away; every drop we contribute aids to swell that
river and augment its force, in a degree appreciable by God,
though not by man; and he whose zeal is deep and earnest, will
not be over-anxious that his individual drops should be distin-
guishable amid the mighty mass of cleansing and fertilizing
waters; far less that, for the sake of distinction, it should flow in
ineffective singleness away.
The true Mason will not be careful that his name should be
inscribed upon the mite which he casts into the treasury of God.
It suffices him to know that if he has labored, with purity of pur-
pose, in any good cause, he must have contributed to its success;
that the degree in which he has contributed is a matter of infi-
nitely small concern; and still more, that the consciousness of
having so contributed, however obscurely and unnoticed, is his
sufficient, even if it be his sole, reward. Let every Grand Elect,
Perfect, and Sublime Mason cherish this faith. It is a duty. It
is the brilliant and never-dying light that shines within and
through the symbolic pedestal of alabaster, on which reposes the
perfect cube of agate, symbol of duty, inscribed with the divine
name of God. He who industriously sows and reaps is a good
laborer, and worthy of his hire. But he who sows that which
shall be reaped by others, by those who will know not of and care
not for the sower, is a laborer of a nobler order, and, worthy of a
more excellent reward.
The Mason does not exhort others to an ascetic undervaluing
of this life, as an insignificant and unworthy portion of existence;
for that demands feelings which are unnatural, and which, there-
fore, if attained, must be morbid, and if merely professed, insin-
cere; and teaches us to look rather to a future life for the com-
pensation of social evils, than to this life for their cure; and so
does injury to the cause of virtue and to that of social progress.
Life is real, and is earnest, and it is full of duties to be performed.
It is the beginning of our immortality. Those only who feel a
deep interest and affection for this world will work resolutely for
its amelioration; those whose affections are transferred to Heaven,
easily acquiesce in the miseries of earth, deeming them hopeless,
befitting, and ordained; and console themselves with the idea of
the ammends which are one day to be theirs. It is a sad truth, that
those most decidedly given to spiritual contemplation, and to
making religion rule in their hearts, are often most apathetic to-
ward all improvement of this world's systems, and in many cases
virtual conservatives of evil, and hostile to political and social re-
form, as diverting men's energies from eternity.
The Mason does not war with his own instincts, macerate the
body into weakness and disorder, and disparage what he sees to be
beautiful, knows to be wonderful, and feels to be unspeakably
dear and fascinating. He does not put aside the nature which
God has given him, to struggle after one which He has not be-
stowed. He knows that man is sent into the world, not a spir-
itual, but a composite being, made up of body and mind, the body
having, as is fit and needful in a material world, its full, rightful,
and allotted share. His life is guided by a full recognition of this
fact. He does not deny it in bold words, and admit it in weak-
nesses and inevitable failings. He believes that his spirituality
will come in the next stage of his being, when he puts on the spir-
itual body; that his body will be dropped at death; and that, until
then, God meant it to be commanded and controlled, but not neg-
lected, despised, or ignored by the soul, under pain of heavy con-
sequences. 
Yet the Mason is not indifferent as to the fate of the soul, after
its present life, as to its continued and eternal being, and the char-
acter of the scenes in which that being will be fully developed.
These are to him topics of the proroundest interest, and the most
ennobling and refining contemplation. They occupy much of his
leisure; and as he becomes familiar with the sorrows and calami-
ties of this life, as his hopes are disappointed and his visions of
happiness here fade away; when life has wearied him in its
race of hours; when he is harassed and toil-worn, and the bur-
den of his years weighs heavy on him, the balance of attraction
gradually inclines in favor of another life; and he clings to his
lofty speculations with a tenacity of interest which needs no in-
junction, and will listen to no prohibition. They are the consol-
ing privilege of the aspiring, the wayworn, the weary, and the
bereaved.
To him the contemplation of the Future lets in light upon the
Present, and develops the higher portions of his nature. He en-
deavors rightly to adjust the respective claims of Heaven and
earth upon his time and thought, so as to give the proper propor-
tions thereof to performing the duties and entering into the inter-
ests of this world, and to preparation for a better; to the cultiva-
tion and purification of his own character, and to the public service
of his fellow-men.
The Mason does not dogmatize, but entertaining and uttering
his own convictions, he leaves every one else free to do the same;
and only hopes that the time will come, even if after the lapse of
ages, when all men shall form one great family of brethren, and
one law alone, the law of love, shall govern God's whole Uni-
verse.
Believe as you may, my brother; if the Universe is not, to you,
without a God, and if man is not like the beast that perishes, but
hath an immortal soul, we welcome you among us, to wear, as we
wear, with humility, and conscious of your demerits and short-
comings, the title of Grand Elect, Perfect, and Sublime Mason.
It is not without a secret meaning, that twelve was the num-
ber of the Apostles of Christ, and seventy-two that of his Dis-
ciples: that John addressed his rebukes and menaces to the Seven
churches, the number of the Archangels and the Planets. At
Babylon were the Seven Stages of Bersippa, a pyramid of Seven
stories, and at Ecbatana Seven concentric inclosures, each of a
different color. Thebes also had Seven gates, and the same num-
ber is repeated again and again in the account of the flood. The
Sephiroth, or Emanations, ten in number, three in one class, and
seven in the other, repeat the mystic numbers of Pythagoras.
Seven Amschaspands or planetary spirits were invoked with
Ormuzd: Seven inferior Rishis of Hindustan were saved with the
head of their family in an ark: and Seven ancient personages
alone returned with the British just man, Hu, from the dale of
the grievous waters. There were Seven Heliadae, whose father
Helias, or the Sun, once crossed the sea in a golden cup; Seven
Titans, children of the older Titan, Kronos or Saturn; Seven
Corybantes; and Seven Cabiri, sons of Sydyk; Seven primeval
Celestial spirits of the Japanese, and Seven Karlesters who
escaped from the deluge and began to be the parents of a new
race, on the summit of Mount Albordi. Seven Cyclopes, also,
built the walls of Tiryus.
Celus, as quoted by Origen, tells us that the Persians repre-
sented by symbols the two-fold motion of the stars, fixed and
planetary, and the passage of the Soul through their successive
spheres. They erected in their holy caves, in which the mystic
rites of the Mithriac Initiations were practised, what he denomi-
nates a high ladder, on the Seven steps of which were Seven
gates or portals, according to the number of the Seven principal
heavenly bodies. Through these the aspirants passed, until they
reached the summit of the whole; and this passage was styled a
transmigration through the spheres.
Jacob saw in his dream a ladder planted or set on the earth,
and its top reaching to Heaven, and the Malaki Alohim ascending
and descending on it, and above it stood IHUH, declaring Himself
to be Ihuh-Alhi Abraham. The word translated ladder, is
Salam, from Salal, raised, elevated, reared up, exalted, piled
up into a heap, Aggeravit. Salalah, means a heap, rampart,
or other accumulation of earth or stone, artificially made; and
Salaa or Salo, is a rock or cliff or boulder, and the name of
the city of Petra. There is no ancient Hebrew word to designate
a pyramid.
The symbolic mountain Meru was ascended by Seven steps or
stages; and all the pyramids and artificial tumuli and hillocks
thrown up in flat countries were imitations of this fabulous and
mystic mountain, for purposes of worship. These were the "High
Places" so often mentioned in the Hebrew books, on which the
idolaters sacrificed to foreign gods.
The pyramids were sometimes square, and sometimes round.
The sacred Babylonian tower [Magdol], dedicated to the
great Father Bal, was an artificial hill, of pyramidal shape, and
Seven stages, built of brick, and each stage of a different color,
representing the Seven planetary spheres by the appropriate color
of each planet. Meru itself was said to be a single mountain, ter-
minating in three peaks, and thus a symbol of the Trimurti. The
great Pagoda at Tanjore was of six stories, surmounted by a tem-
ple as the seventh, and on this three spires or towers. An ancient
pagoda at Deogur was surmounted by a tower, sustaining the
mystic egg and a trident. Herodotus tells us that the Temple of
Bal at Babylon was a tower composed of Seven towers, resting on
an eighth that served as basis, and successively diminishing in
size from the bottom to the top; and Strabo tells us it was a
pyramid.
Faber thinks that the Mithriac ladder was really a pyramid with
Seven stages, each provided with a narrow door or aperture,
through each of which doors the aspirant passed, to reach the
summit, and then descended through similar doors on the opposite
side of the pyramid; the ascent and descent of the Soul being
thus represented.
Each Mithriac cave and all the most ancient temples were
tended to symbolize the Universe, which itself was habitually
called the Temple and habitation of Deity. Every temple was
the world in miniature; and so the whole world was one grand
temple. The most ancient temples were roofless; and therefore
the Persians, Celts, and Scythians strongly disliked artificial cov-
ered edifices. Cicero says that Xerxes burned the Grecian tem-
ples, on the express ground that the whole world was the Magnifi-
cent Temple and Habitation of the Supreme Deity. Macrobius
says that the entire Universe was judiciously deemed by many the
Temple of God. Plato pronounced the real Temple of the Deity
to be the world; and Heraclitus declared that the Universe, varie-
gated with animals and plants and stars was the only genuine
Temple of the Divinity.
How completely the Temple of Solomon was symbolic, is
manifest, not only from the continual reproduction in it of
the sacred numbers and of astrological symbols in the histor-
ical descriptions of it; but also, and yet more, from the de-
tails of the imaginary reconstructed edifice, seen by Ezekiel
in his vision. The Apocalypse completes the demonstration,
and shows the kabalistic meanings of the whole. The Sym-
bola Architectonica are found on the most ancient edifices;
and these mathematical figures and instruments, adopted by
the Templars, and identical with those on the gnostic seals and
abraxae, connect their dogma with the Chaldaic, Syriac, and
Egyptian Oriental philosophy. The secret Pythagorean doc-
trines of numbers were preserved by the monks of Thibet, by
the Hierophants of Egypt and Eleusis, at Jerusalem, and in
the circular Chapters of the Druids; and they are especially
consecrated in that mysterious book, the Apocalypse of Saint
John.
All temples were surrounded by pillars, recording the number
of the constellations, the signs of the zodiac, or the cycles of the
planets; and each one was a microcosm or symbol of the Universe,
having for roof or ceiling the starred vault of Heaven.
All temples were originally open at the top, having for roof the
sky. Twelve pillars described the belt of the zodiac. Whatever
the number of the pillars, they were mystical everywhere. At
Abury, the Druidic temple reproduced all the cycles by its col-
umns. Around the temples of Chilminar in Persia, of Baalbec,
and of Tukhti Schlomoh in Tartary, on the frontier of China,
stood forty pillars. On each side of the temple at Paestum were
fourteen, recording the Egyptian cycle of the dark and light sides
of the moon, as described by Plutarch; the whole thirty-eight
that surrounded them recording the two meteoric cycles so often
found in the Druidic temples.
The theatre built by Scaurus, in Greece, was surrounded by
360 columns; the Temple at Mecca, and that at Iona in Scotland,
by 360 stones.


MORALS and DOGMA by Albert Pike | Go to BOOK INDEX

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