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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: 19 - Pontiff, 20 - Master of the Symbolic Lodge, 21 - Noachite or Prussian Knight, 22 - Knight of the Royal Axe or Prince of Libanus, 23 - Chief of the Tabernacle

XIX. GRAND PONTIFF.

The true Mason labors for the benefit of those who are to come
after him, and for the advancement and improvement of his race.
That is a poor ambition which contents itself within the limits of
a single life. All men who deserve to live, desire to survive their
funerals, and to live afterward in the good that they have done
mankind, rather than in the fading characters written in men's
memories. Most men desire to leave some work behind them that
may outlast their own day and brief generation. That is an in-
stinctive impulse, given by God, and often found in the rudest
human heart; the surest proof of the soul's immortality, and of
the fundamental difference between man and the wisest brutes.
To plant the trees that, after we are dead, shall shelter our chil-
dren, is as natural as to love the shade of those our fathers planted.
The rudest unlettered husbandman, painfully conscious of his own
inferiority, the poorest widowed mother, giving her life-blood to
those who pay only for the work of her needle, will toil and stint
themselves to educate their child, that he may take a higher sta-
tion in the world than they;--and of such are the world's greatest
benefactors.
In his influences that survive him, man becomes immortal, be-
fore the general resurrection. The Spartan mother, who, giving
her son his shield, said, "WITH IT, OR UPON IT!" afterward shared
the government of Lacedaemon with the legislation of Lycurgus;
for she too made a law, that lived after her; and she inspired the
Spartan soldiery that afterward demolished the walls of Athens,
and aided Alexander to conquer the Orient. The widow who gave
Marion the fiery arrows to burn her own house, that it might no
longer shelter the enemies of her infant country, the house where
she had lain upon her husband's bosom, and where her children
had been born, legislated more effectually for her State than Locke
or Shaftesbury, or than many a Legislature has done, since that
State won its freedom.
It was of slight importance to the Kings of Egypt and the
Monarchs of Assyria and Phcenicia, that the son of a Jewish
woman, a foundling, adopted by the daughter of Sesostris Ramses,
slew an Egyptian that oppressed a Hebrew slave, and fled into the
desert, to remain there forty years. But Moses, who might other-
wise have become Regent of Lower Egypt, known to us only by a
tablet on a tomb or monument, became the deliverer of the Jews,
and led them forth from Egypt to the frontiers of Palestine, and
made for them a law, out of which grew the Christian faith; and
so has shaped the destinies of the world. He and the old Roman
lawyers, with Alfred of England, the Saxon Thanes and Norman
Barons, the old judges and chancellors, and the makers of the
canons, lost in the mists and shadows of the Past,--these are our
legislators; and we obey the laws that they enacted.
Napoleon died upon the barren rock of his exile. His bones,
borne to France by the son of a King, rest in the Hopital des In-
valides, in the great city on the Seine. His Thoughts still govern
France. He, and not the People, dethroned the Bourbon, and
drove the last King of the House of Orleans into exile. He, in
his coffin, and not the People, voted the crown to the Third Napo-
leon; and he, and not the Generals of France and England, led
their united forces against the grim Northern Despotism.
Mahomet announced to the Arabian idolaters the new creed,
"There is but one God, and Mahomet, like Moses and Christ, is
His Apostle." For many years unaided, then with the help of his
family and a few friends, then with many disciples, and last of all
with an army, he taught and preached the Koran. The religion
of the wild Arabian enthusiast converting the fiery Tribes of the
Great Desert, spread over Asia, built up the Saracenic dynasties,
conquered Persia and India, the Greek Empire, Northern Africa,
and Spain, and dashed the surges of its fierce soldiery against the
battlements of Northern Christendom. The law of Mahomet still
governs a fourth of the human race; and Turk and Arab, Moor
and Persian and Hindu, still obey the Prophet, and pray with their
faces turned toward Mecca; and he, and not the living, rules and
reigns in the fairest portions of the Orient.
Confucius still enacts the law for China; and the thoughts and
ideas of Peter the Great govern Russia. Plato and the other great
Sages of Antiquity still reign as the Kings of Philosophy, and
have dominion over the human intellect. The great Statesmen
of the past still preside in the Councils of Nations. Burke still
lingers in the House of Commons; and Berryer's sonorous tones
will long ring in the Legislative Chambers of France. The in-
fluences of Webster and Calhoun, conflicting, rent asunder the
American States, and the doctrine of each is the law and the
oracle speaking from the Holy of Holies for his own State and all
consociated with it: a faith preached and proclaimed by each at
the cannon's mouth and consecrated by rivers of blood.
It has been well said, that when Tamerlane had builded his pyr-
amid of fifty thousand human skulls, and wheeled away with his
vast armies from the gates of Damascus, to find new conquests,
and build other pyramids, a little boy was playing in the streets
of Mentz, son of a poor artisan, whose apparent importance in the
scale of beings was, compared With that of Tamerlane, as that of
a grain of sand to the giant bulk of the earth; but Tamerlane
and all his shaggy legions, that swept over the East like a hurri-
cane, have passed away, and become shadows; while printing, the
wonderful invention of John Faust, the boy of Mentz, has exerted
a greater influence on man's destinies and overturned more thrones
and dynasties than all the victories of all the blood-stained con-
querors from Nimrod to Napoleon.
Long ages ago, the Temple built by Solomon and our Ancient
Brethren sank into ruin, when the Assyrian Armies sacked Jeru-
salem. The Holy City is a mass of hovels cowering under the
dominion of the Crescent; and the Holy Land is a desert. The
Kings of Egypt and Assyria, who were contemporaries of Solo-
mon, are forgotten, and their histories mere fables. The Ancient
Orient is a shattered wreck, bleaching on the shores of Time. The
Wolf and the Jackal howl among the ruins of Thebes and of
Tyre, and the sculptured images of the Temples and Palaces of
Babylon and Nineveh are dug from their ruins and carried into
strange lands. But the quiet and peaceful Order, of which the
Son of a poor Phcenician Widow was one of the Grand Masters,
with the Kings of Israel and Tyre, has continued to increase in
stature and influence, defying the angry waves of time and the
storms of persecution. Age has not weakened its wide founda-
tions, nor shattered its columns, nor marred the beauty of its har-
monious proportions. Where rude barbarians, in the time of Solo-
mon, peopled inhospitable howling wildernesses, in France and
Britain, and in that New World, not known to Jew or Gentile,
until the glories of the Orient had faded, that Order has builded
new Temples, and teaches to its millions of Initiates those lessons
of peace, good-will, and toleration, of reliance on God and confi-
dence in man, which it learned when Hebrew and Giblemite
worked side by side on the slopes of Lebanon, and the Servant of
Jehovah and the Phoenician Worshipper of Bel sat with the hum-
ble artisan in Council at Jerusalem.
It is the Dead that govern. The Living only obey. And if
the Soul sees, after death, what passes on this earth, and watches
over the welfare of those it loves, then must its greatest happi-
ness consist in seeing the current of its beneficent influences
widening out from age to age, as rivulets widen into rivers, and
aiding to shape the destinies of individuals, families, States, the
World; and its bitterest punishment, in seeing its evil influences
causing mischief and misery, and cursing and afflicting men, long
after the frame it dwelt in has become dust, and when both name
and memory are forgotten.
We know not who among the Dead control our destinies. The
universal human race is linked and bound together by those influ-
ences and sympathies, which in the truest sense do make men's
fates. Humanity is the unit, of which the man is but a fraction.
What other men in the Past have done, said, thought, makes the
great iron network of circumstance that environs and controls us
all. We take our faith on trust. We think and believe as the Old
Lords of Thought command us; and Reason is powerless before
Authority.
We would make or annul a particular contract; but the
Thoughts of the dead Judges of England, living when their ashes
have been cold for centuries, stand between us and that which we
would do, and utterly forbid it. We would settle our estate in a
particular way; but the prohibition of the English Parliament,
its uttered Thought when the first or second Edward reigned,
comes echoing down the long avenues of time, and tells us we
shall not exercise the power of disposition as we wish. We would
gain a particular advantage of another; and the thought of the
old Roman lawyer who died before Justinian, or that of Rome's
great orator Cicero, annihilates the act, or makes the intention in-
effectual. This act, Moses forbids;that, Alfred. We would sell
our land; but certain marks on a perishable paper tell us that our
father or remote ancestor ordered otherwise; and the arm of the
dead, emerging from the grave, with peremptory gesture prohibits
the alienation. About to sin or err, the thought or wish of our
dead mother, told us when we were children, by words that died
upon the air in the utterance, and many a long year were forgot-
ten, flashes on our memory, and holds us back with a power that
is resistless.
Thus we obey the dead; and thus shall the living, when we are
dead, for weal or woe, obey us. The Thoughts of the Past are the
Laws of the Present and the Future. That which we say and do,
if its effects last not beyond our lives, is unimportant. That
which shall live when we are dead, as part of the great body of
law enacted by the dead, is the only act worth doing, the only
Thought worth speaking. The desire to do something that shall
benefit the world, when neither praise nor obloquy will reach us
where we sleep soundly in the grave, is the noblest ambition en-
tertained by man.
It is the ambition of a true and genuine Mason. Knowing the
slow processes by which the Deity brings about great results, he
does not expect to reap as well as sow, in a single lifetime. It is
the inflexible fate and noblest destiny, with rare exceptions, of the
great and good, to work, and let others reap the harvest of their
labors. He who does good, only to be repaid in kind, or in thanks
and gratitude, or in reputation and the world's praise, is like him
who loans his money, that he may, after certain months, receive it
back with interest. To be repaid for eminent services with slan-
der, obloquy, or ridicule, or at best with stupid indifference or cold
ingratitude, as it is common, so it is no misfortune, except to those
who lack the wit to see or sense to appreciate the service, or the
nobility of soul to thank and reward with eulogy, the benefactor
of his kind. His influences live, and the great Future will obey;
whether it recognize or disown the lawgiver.
Miltiades was fortunate that he was exiled; and Aristides that
he was ostracized, because men wearied of hearing him called
"The Just." Not the Redeemer was unfortunate; but those only
who repaid Him for the inestimable gift He offered them, and for
a life passed in toiling for their good, by nailing Him upon the
cross, as though He had been a slave or malefactor. The perse-
cutor dies and rots, and Posterity utters his name with execration:
but his victim's memory he has unintentionally made glorious and
immortal.
If not for slander and persecution, the Mason who would bene-
benefit his race must look for apathy and cold indifference in those
whose good he seeks, in those who ought to seek the good of
others. Except when the sluggish depths of the Human Mind
are broken up and tossed as with a storm, when at the appointed
time a great Reformer comes, and a new Faith springs up and
grows with supernatural energy, the progress of Truth is slower
than the growth of oaks; and he who plants need not expect to
gather. The Redeemer, at His death, had twelve disciples, and
one betrayed and one deserted and denied Him. It is enough for
us to know that the fruit will come in its due season. When, or
who shall gather it, it does not in the least concern us to know.
It is our business to plant the seed. It is God's right to give the
fruit to whom He pleases; and if not to us, then is our action by
so much the more noble.
To sow, that others may reap; to work and plant for those who
are to occupy the earth when we are dead; to project our influ-
ences far into the future, and live beyond our time; to rule as the
Kings of Thought, over men who are yet unborn; to bless with
the glorious gifts of Truth and Light and Liberty those who will
neither know the name of the giver, nor care in what grave his
unregarded ashes repose, is the true office of a Mason and the
proudest destiny of a man.
All the great and beneficent operations of Nature are produced
by slow and often imperceptible degrees. The work of destruction
and devastation only is violent and rapid. The Volcano and the
Earthquake, the Tornado and the Avalanche, leap suddenly into
full life and fearful energy, and smite with an unexpected blow.
Vesuvius buried Pompeii and Herculaneum in a night; and Lis-
bon fell prostrate before God in a breath, when the earth rocked
and shuddered; the Alpine village vanishes and is erased at one
bound of the avalanche;and the ancient forests fall like grass be-
fore the mower, when the tornado leaps upon them. Pestilence
slays its thousands in a day; and the storm in a night strews the
sand with shattered navies.
The Gourd of the Prophet Jonah grew up, and was withered, in
a night. But many years ago, before the Norman Conqueror
stamped his mailed foot on the neck of prostrate Saxon England,
some wandering barbarian, of the continent then unknown to the
world, in mere idleness, with hand or foot, covered an acorn with
a little earth, and passed on regardless, on his journey to the dim
Past. He died and was forgotten; but the acorn lay there still,
the mighty force within it acting in the darkness. A tender shoot
stole gently up; and fed by the light and air and frequent dews,
put forth its little leaves, and lived, because the elk or buffalo
chanced not to place his foot upon and crush it. The years
marched onward, and the shoot became a sapling, and its green
leaves went and came with Spring and Autumn. And still the
years came and passed away again, and William, the Norman Bas-
tard, parcelled England out among his Barons, and still the sapling
grew, and the dews fed its leaves, and the birds builded their nests
among its small limbs for many generations. And still the years
came and went, and the Indian hunter slept in the shade of the
sapling, and Richard Lion-Heart fought at Acre and Ascalon, and
John's bold Barons wrested from him the Great Charter; and
the sapling had become a tree; and still it grew, and thrust its
great arms wider abroad, and lifted its head still higher toward
the Heavens; strong-rooted, and defiant of the storms that roared
and eddied through its branches; and when Columbus ploughed
with his keels the unknown Western Atlantic, and Cortez and
Pizarro bathed the cross in blood; and the Puritan, the Huguenot,
the Cavalier, and the follower of Penn sought a refuge and a rest-
ing-place beyond the ocean, the Great Oak still stood, firm-rooted,
vigorous, stately, haughtily domineering over all the forest, heed-
less of all the centuries that had hurried past since the wild Indian
planted the little acorn in the forest ;--a stout and hale old tree,
with wide circumference shading many a rood of ground; and fit
to furnish timbers for a ship, to carry the thunders of the Great
Republic's guns around the world. And yet, if one had sat and
watched it every instant, from the moment when the feeble shoot
first pushed its way to the light until the eagles built among its
branches, he would never have seen the tree or sapling grow.
Many long centuries ago, before the Chaldaean Shepherds
watched the Stars, or Shufu built the Pyramids, one could have
sailed in a seventy-four where now a thousand islands gem the sur-
face of the Indian Ocean; and the deep-sea lead would nowhere
have found any bottom. But below these waves were myriads
upon myriads, beyond the power of Arithmetic to number, of
minute existences, each a perfect living creature, made by the Al-
mighty Creator, and fashioned by Him for the work it had to do
There they toiled beneath the waters, each doing its allotted work,
and wholly ignorant of the result which God intended. They
lived and died, incalculable in numbers and almost infinite in the
succession of their generations, each adding his mite to the gigan-
tic work that went on there under God's direction. Thus hath He
chosen to create great Continents and Islands; and still the coral-
insects live and work, as when they made the rocks that underlie
the valley of the Ohio.
Thus God hath chosen to create. Where now is firm land, once
chafed and thundered the great primeval ocean. For ages upon
ages the minute shields of infinite myriads of infusoria, and the
stony stems of encrinites sunk into its depths, and there, under
the vast pressure of its waters, hardened into limestone. Raised
slowly from the Profound by His hand, its quarries underlie the
soil of all the continents, hundreds of feet in thickness; and we,
of these remains of the countless dead, build tombs and palaces,
as the Egyptians, whom we call ancient, built their pyramids.
On all the broad lakes and oceans the Great Sun looks earnestly
and lovingly, and the invisible vapors rise ever up to meet him.
No eye but God's beholds them as they rise. There, in the upper
atmospere, they are condensed to mist, and gather into clouds,
and float and swim around in the ambient air. They sail with its
currents, and hover over the ocean, and roll in huge masses round
the stony shoulders of great mountains. Condensed still more by
change of temperature, they drop upon the thirsty earth in gentle
showers, or pour upon it in heavy rains, or storm against its bosom
at the angry Equinoctial. The shower, the rain, and the storm
pass away, the clouds vanish, and the bright stars again shine
clearly upon the glad earth. The rain-drops sink into the ground,
and gather in subterranean reservoirs, and run in subterranean
channels, and bubble up in springs and fountains; and from the
mountain-sides and heads of valleys the silver threads of water
begin their long journey to the ocean. Uniting, they widen into
brooks and rivulets, then into streams and rivers; and, at last, a
Nile, Ganges, a Danube, an Amazon, or a Mississippi rolls be-
tween its banks, mighty, majestic, and resistless, creating vast allu-
vial valleys to be the granaries of the world, ploughed by the
thousand keels of commerce and serving as great highways, and
as the impassable boundaries of rival nations; ever returning to
the ocean the drops that rose from it in vapor, and descended in
rain and snow and hail upon the level plains and lofty moun-
tains; and causing him to recoil for many a mile before the
long rush of their great tide.
So it is with the aggregate of Human endeavor. As the invis-
ible particles of vapor combine and coalesce to form the mists and
clouds that fall in rain on thirsty continents, and bless the great
green forests and wide grassy prairies, the waving meadows and
the fields by which men live; as the infinite myriads of drops that
the glad earth drinks are gathered into springs and rivulets and
rivers, to aid in levelling the mountains and elevating the plains,
and to feed the large lakes and restless oceans; so all Human
Thought, and Speech and Action, all that is done and said and
thought and suffered upon the Earth combine together, and flow
onward in one broad resistless current toward those great results
to which they are determined by the will of God.
We build slowly and destroy swiftly. Our Ancient Brethren
who built the Temples at Jerusalem, with many myriad blows
felled, hewed, and squared the cedars, and quarried the stones, and
carved the intricate ornaments, which were to be the Temples.
Stone after stone, by the combined effort and long toil of Appren-
tice, Fellow-Craft, and Master, the walls arose; slowly the roof
was framed and fashioned; and many years elapsed before, at
length, the Houses stood finished, all fit and ready for the Worship
of God, gorgeous in the sunny splendors of the atmosphere of
Palestine. So they were built. A single motion of the arm of a
rude, barbarous Assyrian Spearman, or drunken Roman or Gothic
Legionary of Titus, moved by a senseless impulse of the brutal
will, flung in the blazing brand; and, with no further human
agency, a few short hours sufficed to consume and melt each Tem-
ple to a smoking mass of black unsightly ruin.
Be patient, therefore, my Brother, and wait!

The issues are with God: To do,
Of right belongs to us.

Therefore faint not, nor be weary in well-doing! Be not dis-
couraged at men's apathy, nor disgusted with their follies, nor
tired of their indifference! Care not for returns and results;but
see only what there is to do, and do it, leaving the results to God!
Soldier of the Cross! Sworn Knight of Justice, Truth, and Tol-
eration! Good Knight and True!be patient and work!
The Apocalypse, that sublime Kabalistic and prophetic Sum-
mary of all the occult figures, divides its images into three Sep-
tenaries, after each of which there is silence in Heaven. There
are Seven Seals to be opened, that is to say, Seven mysteries to
know, and Seven difficulties to overcome, Seven trumpets to
sound, and Seven cups to empty.
The Apocalypse is, to those who receive the nineteenth Degree,
the Apothesis of that Sublime Faith which aspires to God alone,
and despises all the pomps and works of Lucifer. LUCIFER, the
Light-bearer! Strange and mysterious name to give to the Spirit
of Darknesss! Lucifer, the Son of the Morning! Is it he who
bears the Light, and with its splendors intolerable blinds feeble,
sensual or selfish Souls ? Doubt it not! for traditions are full of
Divine Revelations and Inspirations: and Inspiration is not of
one Age nor of one Creed. Plato and Philo, also, were inspired.
The Apocalypse, indeed, is a book as obscure as the Sohar.
It is written hieroglyphically with numbers and images; and
the Apostle often appeals to the intelligence of the Initiated.
"Let him who hath knowledge, understand! let him who under-
stands, calculate !" he often says, after an allegory or the mention
of a number. Saint John, the favorite Apostle, and the Depositary
of all the Secrets of the Saviour, therefore did not write to be
undertood by the multitude.
The Sephar Yezirah, the Sohar, and the Apocalypse are the
completest embodiments of Occultism. They contain more mean-
ings than words; their expressions are figurative as poetry and
exact as numbers. The Apocalypse sums up, completes, and sur-
passes all the Science of Abraham and of Solomon. The visions
of Ezekiel, by the river Chebar, and of the new Symbolic Temple,
are equally mysterious expressions, veiled by figures of the enig-
matic dogmas of the Kabalah, and their symbols are as little un-
derstood by the Commentators, as those of Free Masonry.
The Septenary is the Crown of the Numbers, because it unites
the Triangle of the Idea to the Square of the Form.
The more the great Hierophants were at pains to conceal their
absolute Science, the more they sought to add grandeur to and
multiply its symbols. The huge pyramids, with their triangular
sides of elevation and square bases, represented their Metaphysics,
founded upon the knowledge of Nature. That knowledge of Na-
ture had for its symbolic key the gigantic form of that huge
Sphinx, which has hollowed its deep bed in the sand, while keep-
ing watch at the feet of the Pyramids. The Seven grand monu-
ments called the Wonders of the World, were the magnificent
Commentaries on the Seven lines that composed the Pyramids,
and on the Seven mystic gates of Thebes.
The Septenary philosophy of Initiation among the Ancients
may be summed up thus:
Three Absolute Principles which are but One Principle: four
elementary forms which are but one; all forming a Single Whole,
compounded of the Idea and the Form.
The three Principles were these:
1°. BEING IS BEING.
In Philosophy, identity of the Idea and of Being or Verity;in
Religion, the first Principle, THE FATHER.
2°. BEING IS REAL.
In Philosophy, identity of Knowing and of Being or Reality;
in Religion, the LOGOS of Plato, the Demiourgos, the WORD.
3°. BEING IS LOGIC.
In Philosophy, identity of the Reason and Reality; in Religion,
Providence, the Divine Action that makes real the Good, that
which in Christianity we call THE HoLY SPIRIT.
The union of all the Seven colors is the White, the analogous
symbol of the GOOD: the absence of all is the Black, the analogous
symbol of the EVIL. There are three primary colors, Red, Yellow,
and Blue; and four secondary, Orange, Green, Indigo, and Vio-
let; and all these God displays to man in the rainbow; and they
have their analogies also in the moral and intellectual world. The
same number, Seven, continually reappears in the Apocalypse,
compounded of three and four; and these numbers relate to the
last Seven of the Sephiroth, three answering to BENIGNITY or
MERCY, SEVERITY or JUSTICE, and BEAUTY or HARMONY; and
four to Netzach, Hod, Yesod, and Malakoth, VICTORY, GLORY,
STABILITY, and DOMINATION. The same numbers also represent
the first three Sephiroth, KETNER, KHOKMAH, and BAINAH, or
Will, Wisdom, and Understanding, which, with DAATH or Intel-
lection or Thought, are also four, DAATH not being regarded as a
Sephirah, not as the Deity acting, or as a potency, energy, or at-
tribute, but as the Divine Action.
The Sephiroth are commonly figured in the Kabalah as consti-
tuting a human form, the ADAM, KADMON Or MACROCOSM. Thus
arranged, the universal law of Equipoise is three times exernpli-
fied. From that of the Divine Intellectual, Active, Masculine
ENERGY, and the Passive CAPACITY to produce Thought, the
action of THINKING results. From that of BENIGNITY and SE-
VERITY, HARMONY flows; and from that of VICTORY or an Infi-
nite overcoming, and GLORY, which, being Infinite, would seem to
forbid the existence of obstacles or opposition, results STABILITY
or PERMANENCE, which is the perfect DOMINION Of the Infinite
WILL.
The last nine Sephiroth are included in, at the same time that
they have flowed forth from, the first of all, KETHER, or the
CROWN. Each also, in succession flowed from, and yet still re-
mains included in, the one preceding it. The Will of God includes
His Wisdom, and His Wisdom is His Will specially developed and
acting. This Wisdom is the LOGOS that creates, mistaken and
personified by Simon Magus and the succeeding Gnostics. By
means of its utterance, the letter YOD, it creates the worlds, first
in the Divine Intellect as an Idea, which invested with form be-
came the fabricated World, the Universe of material reality. YOD
and HE, two letters of the Ineffable Name of the Manifested
Deity, represent the Male and the Female, the Active and the
Passive in Equilibrium, and the VAV completes the Trinity and
the Triliteral Name, the Divine Triangle, which with the
repetion of the He becomes the Tetragrammaton.
Thus the ten Sephiroth contain all the Sacred Numbers, three,
five, seven, and nine, and the perfect Number Ten, and correspond
with the Tetractys of Pythagoras.
BEING IS BEING, Ahayah Asar Ahayah. This
is the principle, the "BEGINNING."
In the Beginning was, that is to say, IS, WAS, and WILL BE,
the WORD, that is to say, the REASON that Speaks.
The Word is the reason of belief, and in it also is the expression
of the Faith which makes Science a living thing. The Word,
is the Source of Logic. Jesus is the Word Incarnate. The
accord of the Reason with Faith, of Knowledge with Belief, of
Authority with Liberty, has become in modern times the veritable
enigma of the Sphinx.
It is WISDOM that, in the Kabalistic Books of the Proverbs and
Ecclesiasticus, is the Creative Agent of God. Elsewhere in the
Hebrew writings it is Debar Iahavah, the Word of God.
It is by His uttered Word that God reveals Himself to us;
alone in the visible and invisible but intellectual creation, but
in our convictions, consciousness, and instincts. Hence it is that!
certain beliefs are universal. The conviction of all men that God
is good led to a belief in a Devil, the fallen Lucifer or Light-
bearer, Shaitan the Adversary, Ahriman and Tuphon, as an at-
tempt to explain the existence of Evil, and make it consistent with
the Infinite Power, Wisdom, and Benevolence of God.
Nothing surpasses and nothing equals, as a Summary of all the
doctrines of the Old World, those brief words engraven by
HERMES on a Stone, and known under the name of "The Tablet
of Emerald:" the Unity of Being and the Unity of the Harmonies,
ascending and descending, the progressive and proportional
scale of the Word; the immutable law of the Equilibrium, and
the proportioned progress of the universal analogies; the relation
of the Idea to the Word, giving the measure of the relation be-
tween the Creator and the Created, the necessary mathematics of
the Infinite, proved by the measures of a single corner of the
Finite ;--all this is expressed by this single proposition of the
Great Egyptian Hierophant:
"What is Superior is as that which is Inferior, and what is
Below is as that which is Above, to form the Marvels of the
Unity."


 

XX. GRAND MASTER OF ALL SYMBOLIC LODGES.

The true Mason is a practical Philosopher, who, under religious
emblems, in all ages adopted by wisdom, builds upon plans traced
by nature and reason the moral edifice of knowledge. He ought
to find, in the symmetrical relation of all the parts of this rational
edifice, the principle and rule of all his duties, the source of all
his pleasures. He improves his moral nature, becomes a better man,
and finds in the reunion of virtuous men, assembled with pure
views, the means of multiplying his acts of beneficence. Masonry
and Philosophy, without being one and the same thing, have the
same object, and propose to themselves the same end, the worship
of the Grand Architect of the Universe, acquaintance and familiar-
ity with the wonders of nature, and the happiness of humanity
attained by the constant practice of all the virtues.
As Grand Master of all Symbolic Lodges, it is your especial duty
to aid in restoring Masonry to its primitive purity. You have be-
come an instructor. Masonry long wandered in error. Instead
of improving, it degenerated from its primitive simplicity, and re-
trograded toward a system, distorted by stupidity and ignorance,
which, unable to construct a beautiful machine, made a compli-
cated one. Less than two hundred years ago, its organization was
simple, and altogether moral, its emblems, allegories, and ceremo-
nies easy to be understood, and their purpose and object readily to
be seen. It was then confined to a very small number of Degrees.
Its constitutions were like those of a Society of Essenes, written
in the first century of our era. There could be seen the primitive
Christianity, organized into Masonry, the school of Pythagoras
without incongruities or absurdities; a Masonry simple and signifi-
cant, in which it was not necessary to torture the mind to discover
reasonable interpretations; a Masonry at once religious and philo-
sophical, worthy of a good citizen and an enlightened philanthro-
pist.
Innovators and inventors overturned that primitive simplicity.
Ignorance engaged in the work of making Degrees, and trifles and
gewgaws and pretended mysteries, absurd or hideous, usurped the
place of Masonic Truth. The picture of a horrid vengeance, the
poniard and the bloody head, appeared in the peaceful Temple of
Masonry, without sufficient explanation of their symbolic meaning.
Oaths out of all proportion with their object, shocked the candi-
date, and then became ridiculous, and were wholly disregarded.
Acolytes were exposed to tests, and compelled to perform acts,
which, if real, would have been abominable; but being mere chi-
meras, were preposterous, and excited contempt and laughter only.
Eight hundred Degrees of one kind and another were invented:
Infidelity and even Jesuitry were taught under the mask of
Masonry. The rituals even of the respectable Degrees, copied and
mutilated by ignorant men, became nonsensical and trivial; and
the words so corrupted that it has hitherto been found impossible
to recover many of them at all. Candidates were made to degrade
themselves, and to submit to insults not tolerable to a man of
spirit and honor.
Hence it was that, practically, the largest portion of the Degrees
claimed by the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite, and before
it by the Rite of Perfection, fell into disuse, were merely com-
municated, and their rituals became jejune and insignificant.
These Rites resembled those old palaces and baronial castles, the
different parts of which, built at different periods remote from
one another, upon plans and according to tastes that greatly
varied, formed a discordant and incongruous whole. Judaism and
chivalry, superstition and philosophy, philanthropy and insane
hatred and longing for vengeance, a pure morality and unjust and
illegal revenge, were found strangely mated and standing hand in
hand within the Temples of Peace and Concord; and the whole
system was one grotesque commingling of incongruous things, of
contrasts and contradictions, of shocking and fantastic extrava-
gances, of parts repugnant to good taste, and fine conceptions
overlaid and disfigured by absurdities engendered by ignorance,
fanaticism, and a senseless mysticism.
An empty and sterile pomp, impossible indeed to be carried out,
and to which no meaning whatever was attached, with far-fetched
explanations that were either so many stupid platitudes or them-
selves needed an interpreter; lofty titles, arbitrarily assumed, and
to which the inventors had not condescended to attach any expla-
nation that should acquit them of the folly of assuming temporal
rank, power, and titles of nobility, made the world laugh, and the
Initiate feel ashamed.
Some of these titles we retain;but they have with us meanings
entirely consistent with that Spirit of Equality which is the foun-
dation and peremptory law of its being of all Masonry. The
Knight, with us, is he who devotes his hand, his heart, his brain,
to the Science of Masonry, and professes himself the Sworn
Soldier of Truth: the Prince is he who aims to be Chief [Prin-
ceps], first, leader, among his equals, in virtue and good deeds:
the Sovereign is he who, one of an order whose members are all
Sovereigns, is Supreme only because the law and constitutions are
so, which he administers, and by which he, like every other
brother, is governed. The titles, Puissant, Potent, Wise, and Ven-
erable, indicate that power of Virtue, Intelligence, and Wisdom,
which those ought to strive to attain who are placed in high office
by the suffrages of their brethren: and all our other titles and
designations have an esoteric meaning, consistent with modesty
and equality, and which those who receive them should fully un-
derstand. As Master of a Lodge it is your duty to instruct your
Brethren that they are all so many constant lessons, teaching the
lofty qualifications which are required of those who claim them,
and not merely idle gewgaws worn in ridiculous imitation of the
times when the Nobles and Priests were masters and the people
slaves: and that, in all true Masonry, the Knight, the Pontiff, the
Prince, and the Sovereign are but the first among their equals: and
the cordon, the clothing, and the jewel but symbols and emblems
of the virtues required of all good Masons.
The Mason kneels, no longer to present his petition for ad-
mittance or to receive the answer, no longer to a man as his su-
perior, who is but his brother, but to his God;to whom he appeals
for the rectitude of his intentions, and whose aid he asks to enable
him to keep his vows. No one is degraded by bending his knee to
God at the altar, or to receive the honor of Knighthood as Bayard
and Du Guesclin knelt. To kneel for other purposes, Masonry
does not require. God gave to man a head to be borne erect, a port
upright and majestic. We assemble in our Temples to cherish and
inculcate sentiments that conform to that loftiness of bearing
which the just and upright man is entitled to maintain, and we do
not require those who desire to be admitted among us, ignomini-
ously to bow the head. We respect man, because we respect our-
selves that he may conceive a lofty idea of his dignity as a human
being free and independent. If modesty is a virtue, humility and
obsequiousness to man are base: for there is a noble pride which
is the most real and solid basis of virtue. Man should humble him-
self before the Infinite God; but not before his erring and imper-
fect brother.
As Master of a Lodge, you will therefore be exceedingly careful
that no Candidate, in any Degree, be required to submit to any
degradation whatever; as has been too much the custom in some
of the Degrees:and take it as a certain and inflexible rule, to
which there is no exception, that real Masonry requires of no man
anything to which a Knight and Gentleman cannot honorably, and
without feeling outraged or humiliated submit.
The Supreme Council for the Southern Jurisdiction of the
United States at length undertook the indispensable and long-de-
layed task of revising and reforming the work and rituals of the
Thirty Degrees under its jurisdiction. Retaining the essentials of
the Degrees and all the means by which the members recognize one
another, it has sought out and developed the leading idea of each
Degree, rejected the puerilities and absurdities with which many
of them were disfigured, and made of them a connected system of
moral, religious, and philosophical instruction. Sectarian of no
creed, it has yet thought it not improper to use the old allegories,
based on occurrences detailed in the Hebrew and Christian books,
and drawn from the Ancient Mysteries of Egypt, Persia, Greece,
India, the Druids and the Essenes, as vehicles to communicate the
Great Masonic Truths; as it has used the legends of the Crusades,
and the ceremonies of the orders of Knighthood.
It no longer inculcates a criminal and wicked vengeance. It
has not allowed Masonry to play the assassin: to avenge the death
either of Hiram, of Charles the 1st, or of Jaques De Molay and
the Templars. The Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Ma-
sonry has now become, what Masonry at first was meant to be, a
Teacher of Great Truths, inspired by an upright and enlightened
reason, a firm and constant wisdom, and an affectionate and lib-
eral philanthropy.
It is no longer a system, over the composition and arrangement
of the different parts of which, want of reflection, chance, igno-
rance, and perhaps motives still more ignoble presided; a system
unsuited to our habits, our manners, our ideas, or the world-wide
philanthropy and universal toleration of Masonry; or to bodies
small in number, whose revenues should be devoted to the relief
of the unfortunate, and not to empty show; no longer a hetero-
geneous aggregate of Degrees, shocking by its anachronisms and
contradictions, powerless to disseminate light, information, and
moral and philosophical ideas.
As Master, you will teach those who are under you, and to whom
you will owe your office, that the decorations of many of the De-
grees are to be dispensed with, whenever the expense would inter-
fere with the duties of charity, relief, and benevolence; and to be
indulged in only by wealthy bodies that will thereby do no wrong
to those entitled to their assistance. The essentials of all the De-
grees may be procured at slight expense; and it is at the option
of every Brother to procure or not to procure, as he pleases, the
dress, decorations, and jewels of any Degree other than the 14th,
18th, 30th, and 32d.
We teach the truth of none of the legends we recite. They are
to us but parables and allegories, involving and enveloping
Masonic instruction; and vehicles of useful and interesting in-
formation. They represent the different phases of the human
mind, its efforts and struggles to comprehend nature, God, the
government of the Universe, the permitted existence of sorrow
and evil. To teach us wisdom, and the folly of endeavoring to ex-
plain to ourselves that which we are not capable of understanding,
we reproduce the speculations of the Philosophers, the Kabalists,
the Mystagogues and the Gnostics. Every one being at liberty to
apply our symbols and emblems as he thinks most consistent with
truth and reason and with his own faith, we give them such an in-
terpretation only as may be accepted by all. Our Degrees may be
conferred in France or Turkey, at Pekin, Ispahan, Rome, or Ge-
neva, in the city of Penn or in Catholic Louisiana, upon the subject
of an absolute government or the citizen of a Free State, upon Sec-
tarian or Theist. To honor the Deity, to regard all men as our
Brethren, as children, equally dear to Him, of the Supreme Creator
of the Universe, and to make himself useful to society and himself
by his labor, are its teachings to its Initiates in all the Degrees.
Preacher of Liberty, Fraternity, and Equality, it desires them to
be attained by making men fit to receive them, and by the moral
power of an intelligent and enlightened People. It lays no plots
and conspiracies. It hatches no premature revolutions; it encour-
ages no people to revolt against the constituted authorities; but
recognizing the great truth that freedom follows fitness for free-
dom as the corollary follows the axiom, it strives to prepare men
to govern themselves.
Where domestic slavery exists, it teaches the master humanity
and the alleviation of the condition of his slave, and moderate cor-
rection and gentle discipline; as it teaches them to the master of
the apprentice: and as it teaches to the employers of other men,
in mines, manufactories, and workshops, consideration and hu-
manity for those who depend upon their labor for their bread, and
to whom want of employment is starvation, and overwork is fever,
consumption, and death.
As Master of a Lodge, you are to inculcate these duties on your
brethren. Teach the employed to be honest, punctual, and faithful
as well as respectful and obedient to all proper orders: but also
teach the employer that every man or woman who desires to work,
has a right to have work to do; and that they, and those who from
sickness or feebleness, loss of limb or of bodily vigor, old age or
infancy, are not able to work, have a right to be fed, clothed, and
sheltered from the inclement elements: that he commits an awful
sin against Masonry and in the sight of God, if he closes his work-
shops or factories, or ceases to work his mines, when they do not
yield him what he regards as sufficient profit, and so dismisses his
workmen and workwomen to starve; or when he reduces the wages
of man or woman to so low a standard that they and their families
cannot be clothed and fed and comfortably housed; or by overwork
must give him their blood and life in exchange for the pittance
of their wages: and that his duty as a Mason and Brother per-
emptorily requires him to continue to employ those who else will
be pinched with hunger and cold, or resort to theft and vice: and
to pay them fair wages, though it may reduce or annul his profits
or even eat into his capital; for God hath but loaned him his
wealth, and made him His almoner and agent to invest it.
Except as mere symbols of the moral virtues and intellectual
qualities, the tools and implements of Masonry belong exclusively
to the first three Degrees. They also, however, serve to remind
the Mason who has advanced further, that his new rank is based
upon the humble labors of the symbolic Degrees, as they are im-
properly termed, inasmuch as all the Degrees are symbolic.
Thus the Initiates are inspired with a just idea of Masonry, to-
wit, that it is essentially WORK; both teaching and practising
LABOR; and that it is altogether emblematic. Three kinds of work
are necessary to the preservation and protection of man and soci-
ety: manual labor, specially belonging to the three blue Degrees;
labor in arms, symbolized by the Knightly or chivalric Degrees;
and intellectual labor, belonging particularly to the Philosophical
Degrees.
We have preserved and multiplied such emblems as have a true
and profound meaning. We reject many of the old and senseless
explanations. We have not reduced Masonry to a cold metaphy-
sics that exiles everything belonging to the domain of the imagina-
tion. The ignorant, and those half-wise in reality, but over-wise
in their own conceit, may assail our symbols with sarcasms; but
they are nevertheless ingenious veils that cover the Truth, respect-
ed by all who know the means by which the heart of man is reach-
ed and his feelings enlisted. The Great Moralists often had re-
course to allegories, in order to instruct men without repelling
them. But we have been careful not to allow our emblems to be
too obscure, so as to require far-fetched and forced interpreta-
tions. In our days, and in the enlightened land in which we live,
we do not need to wrap ourselves in veils so strange and impene-
trable, as to prevent or hinder instruction instead of furthering it;
or to induce the suspicion that we have concealed meanings which
we communicate only to the most reliable adepts, because they are
contrary to good order or the well-being of society.
The Duties of the Class of Instructors, that is, the Masons of
the Degrees from the 4th to the 8th, inclusive, are, particularly, to
perfect the younger Masons in the words, signs and tokens and
other work of the Degrees they have received; to explain to them
the meaning of the different emblems, and to expound the moral
instruction which they convey. And upon their report of pro-
ficiency alone can their pupils be allowed to advance and receive
an increase of wages.
The Directors of the Work, or those of the 9th, l0th, and 11th
Degrees are to report to the Chapters upon the regularity, activity
and proper direction of the work of bodies in the lower Degrees,
and what is needed to be enacted for their prosperity and useful-
ness. In the Symbolic Lodges, they are particularly charged to
stimulate the zeal of the workmen, to induce them to engage in
new labors and enterprises for the good of Masonry, their country
and mankind, and to give them fraternal advice when they fall
short of their duty; or, in cases that require it, to invoke against
them the rigor of Masonic law.
The Architects, or those of the 12th, 13th, and 14th, should be
selected from none but Brothers well instructed in the preceding
Degrees; zealous, and capable of discoursing upon that Masonry;
illustrating it, and discussing the simple questions of moral phil-
osophy. And one of them, at every communication, should be pre-
pared with a lecture, communicating useful knowledge or giving
good advice to the Brethren.
The Knights, of the 15th and 16th Degrees, wear the sword.
They are bound to prevent and repair, as far as may be in their
power, all injustice, both in the world and in Masonry; to protect
the weak and to bring oppressors to justice. Their works and lec-
tures must be in this spirit. They should inquire whether Masonry
fulfills, as far as it ought and can, its principal purpose, which is
to succor the unfortunate. That it may do so, they should pre-
pare propositions to be offered in the Blue Lodges calculated to
attain that end, to put an end to abuses, and to prevent or correct
negligence. Those in the Lodges who have attained the rank of
Knights, are most fit to be appointed Almoners, and charged to
ascertain and make known who need and are entitled to the charity
of the Order.
In the higher Degrees those only should be received who have
sufficient reading and information to discuss the great questions
of philosophy. From them the Orators of the Lodges should be
selected, as well as those of the Councils and Chapters. They are
charged to suggest such measures as are necessary to make Ma-
sonry entirely faithful to the spirit of its institution, both as to its
charitable purposes, and the diffusion of light and knowledge;
such as are needed to correct abuses that have crept in, and of-
fences against the rules and general spirit of the Order; and such
as will tend to make it, as it was meant to be, the great Teacher of
Mankind.
As Master of a Lodge, Council, or Chapter, it will be your duty
to impress upon the minds of your Brethren these views of the
general plan and separate parts of the Ancient and Accepted Scot-
tish Rite; of its spirit and design; its harmony and regularity; of
the duties of the officers and members;and of the particular les-
sons intended to be taught by each Degree.
Especially you are not to allow any assembly of the body over
which you may preside, to close, without recalling to the minds of
the Brethren the Masonic virtues and duties which are represented
upon the Tracing Board of this Degree. That is an imperative
duty. Forget not that, more than three thousand years ago, ZORO-
ASTER said:"Be good, be kind, be humane, and charitable; love
your fellows; console the afflicted; pardon those who have done
you wrong." Nor that more than two thousand three hundred
years ago CONFUCIUS repeated, also quoting the language of those
who had lived before himself: "Love thy neighbor as thyself: Do
not to others what thou wouldst not wish should be done to thy-
self: Forgive injuries. Forgive your enemy, be reconciled to him,
give him assistance, invoke God in his behalf!"
Let not the morality of your Lodge be inferior to that of the
Persian or the Chinese Philosopher.
Urge upon your Brethren the teaching and the unostentatious
practice of the morality of the Lodge, without regard to times,
places, religions, or peoples.
Urge them to love one another, to be devoted to one another, to
be faithful to the country, the government, and the laws: for to
serve the country is to pay a dear and sacred debt:
To respect all forms of worship, to tolerate all political and
religious opinions; not to blame, and still less to condemn the
religion of others: not to seek to make converts; but to be content
if they have the religion of Socrates; a veneration for the Creator,
the religion of good works, and grateful acknowledgment of God's
blessings:
To fraternize with all men; to assist all who are unfortunate;
and to cheerfully postpone their own interests to that of the Order:
To make it the constant rule of their lives, to think well, to
speak well, and to act well:
To place the sage above the soldier, the noble, or the prince:
and take the wise and good as their models:
To see that their professions and practice, their teachings and
conduct, do always agree:
To make this also their motto: Do that which thou oughtest
to do; let the result be what it will.
Such, my Brother, are some of the duties of that office which
you have sought to be qualified to exercise. May you perform
them well; and in so doing gain honor for yourself, and advance
the great cause of Masonry, Humanity, and Progress.

XXI. NOACHITE, OR PRUSSIAN KNIGHT.

You are especially charged in this Degree to be modest and
humble, and not vain-glorious nor filled with self-conceit. Be not
wiser in your own opinion than the Deity, nor find fault with His
works, nor endeavor to improve upon what He has done. Be
modest also in your intercourse with your fellows, and slow to
entertain evil thoughts of them, and reluctant to ascribe to them
evil intentions. A thousand presses, flooding the country with
their evanescent leaves, are busily and incessantly engaged in
maligning the motives and conduct of men and parties, and in
making one man think worse of another; while, alas, scarcely one
is found that ever, even accidentally, labors to make man think
better of his fellow.
Slander and calumny were never so insolently licentious in any
country as they are this day in ours. The most retiring disposition,
the most unobtrusive demeanor, is no shield against their poison-
ed arrows. The most eminent pulblic service only makes their
vituperation and invective more eager and more unscrupulous,
when he who has done such service presents himself as a candi-
date for the people's suffrages.
The evil is wide-spread and universal. No man, no woman, no
household, is sacred or safe from this new Inquisition. No act is
so pure or so praiseworthy, that the unscrupulous vender of lies
who lives by pandering to a corrupt and morbid public appetite
will not proclaim it as a crime. No motive is so innocent or so
laudable, that he will not hold it up as villainy. Journalism pries
into the interior of private houses, gloats over the details of do-
mestic tragedies of sin and shame, and deliberately invents and
industriously circulates the most unmitigated and baseless false-
hoods, to coin money for those who pursue it as a trade, or to
effect a temporary result in the wars of faction.
We need not enlarge upon these evils. They are apparent to all
and lamented over by all, and it is the duty of a Mason to do all
in his power to lessen, if not to remove them. With the errors
and even sins of other men, that do not personally affect us or
ours, and need not our condemnation to be odious, we have noth-
ing to do; and the journalist has no patent that makes him the
Censor of Morals. There is no obligation resting on us to trumpet
forth our disapproval of every wrongful or injudicious or im-
proper act that every other man commits. One would be ashamed
to stand on the street corners and retail them orally for pennies.
One ought, in truth, to write, or speak against no other one in
this world. Each man in it has enough to do, to watch and keep
guard over himself. Each of us is sick enough in this great
Lazaretto: and journalism and polemical writing constantly re-
mind us of a scene once witnessed in a little hospital; where it
was horrible to hear how the patients mockingly reproached each
other with their disorders and infirmities: how one, who was
wasted by consumption, jeered at another who was bloated by
dropsy: how one laughed at another's cancer of the face; and
this one again at his neighbor's lock-jaw or squint; until at last
the delirious fever-patient sprang out of his bed, and tore away
the coverings from the wounded bodies of his companions, and
nothing was to be seen but hideous misery and mutilation. Such
is the revolting work in which journalism and political partisan-
ship, and half the world outside of Masonry, are engaged.
Very generally, the censure bestowed upon men's acts, by those
who have appointed and commissioned themselves Keepers of the
Public Morals, is undeserved. Often it is not only undeserved,
but praise is deserved instead of censure, and, when the latter
is not undeserved, it is always extravagant, and therefore un-
just.
A Mason will wonder what spirit they are endowed withal, that
can basely libel at a man, even, that is fallen. If they had any
nobility of soul, they would with him condole his disasters, and
drop some tears in pity of his folly and wretchedness: and if they
were merely human and not brutal, Nature did grievous wrong to
human bodies, to curse them with souls so cruel as to strive to add
to a wretchedness already intolerable. When a Mason hears of
any man that hath fallen into public disgrace, he should have a
mind to commiserate his mishap, and not to make him more dis-
consolate. To envenom a name by libels, that already is openly
tainted, is to add stripes with an iron rod to one that is flayed with
whipping; and to every well-tempered mind will seem most in-
human and unmanly.
Even the man who does wrong and commits errors often has a
quiet home, a fireside of his own, a gentle, loving wife and inno-
cent children, who perhaps do not know of his past errors and
lapses--past and long repented of; or if they do, they love him
the better, because, being mortal, he hath erred, and being in the
image of God, he hath repented. That every blow at this husband
and father lacerates the pure and tender bosoms of that wife and
those daughters, is a consideration that doth not stay the hand of
the brutal journalist and partisan: but he strikes home at these
shrinking, quivering, innocent, tender bosoms; and then goes out
upon the great arteries of cities, where the current of life pulsates,
and holds his head erect, and calls on his fellows to laud him and
admire him, for the chivalric act he hath done, in striking
his dagger through one heart into another tender and trusting
one.
If you seek for high and strained carriages, you shall, for the
most part, meet with them in low men. Arrogance is a weed that
ever grows on a dunghill. It is from the rankness of that soil that
she hath her height and spreadings. To be modest and unaffected
with our superiors is duty; with our equals, courtesy; with our in-
feriors, nobleness. There is no arrogance so great as the pro-
claiming of other men's errors and faults, by those who under-
stand nothing but the dregs of actions, and who make it their
business to besmear deserving fames. Public reproof is like strik-
ing a deer in the herd: it not only wounds him, to the loss of
blood, but betrays him to the hound, his enemy.
The occupation of the spy hath ever been held dishonorable,
and it is none the less so, now that with rare exceptions editors
and partisans have become perpetual spies upon the actions of
ocher men. Their malice makes them nimble-eyed, apt to note a
fault and publish it, and, with a strained construction, to deprave
even those things in which the doer's intents were honest. Like
the crocodile, they slime the way of others, to make them fall;
and when that has happened, they feed their insulting envy on the
life-blood of the prostrate. They set the vices of other men on
high, for the gaze of the world, and place their virtues under-
ground, that none may note them. If they cannot wound upon
proofs, they will do it upon likelihoods: and if not upon them, they
manufacture lies, as God created the world, out of nothing; and
so corrupt the fair tempter of men's reputations; knowing that
the multitude will believe them, because affirmations are apter to
win belief, than negatives to uncredit them; and that a lie travels
faster than an eagle flies, while the contradiction limps after it at
a snail's pace, and, halting, never overtakes it. Nay, it is con-
trary to the morality of journalism, to allow a lie to be contra-
dicted in the place that spawned it. And even if that great favor
is conceded, a slander once raised will scarce ever die, or fail of
finding many that will allow it both a harbor and trust.
This is, beyond any other, the age of falsehood. Once, to be
suspected of equivocation was enough to soil a gentleman's escut-
cheon; but now it has become a strange merit in a partisan or
statesman, always and scrupulously to tell the truth. Lies are part
of the regular ammunition of all campaigns and controversies,
valued according as they are profitable and effective; and are
stored up and have a market price, like saltpetre and sulphur;
being even more deadly than they.
If men weighed the imperfections of humanity, they would
breathe less condemnation. Ignorance gives disparagement a
louder tongue than knowledge does. Wise men had rather know,
than tell. Frequent dispraises are but the faults of uncharitable
wit: and it is from where there is no judgment, that the heaviest
judgment comes; for self-examination would make all judgments
charitable. If we even do know vices in men, we can scarce
show ourselves in a nobler virtue than in the charity of concealing
them: if that be not a flattery persuading to continuance. And it
is the basest office man can fall into, to make his tongue the de-
famer of the worthy man.
There is but one rule for the Mason in this matter. If there be
virtues, and he is called upon to speak of him who owns them, let
him tell them forth impartially. And if there be vices mixed with
them, let him be content the world shall know them by some other
tongue than his. For if the evil-doer deserve no pity, his wife, his
parents, or his children, or other innocent persons who love him
may; and the bravo's trade, practised by him who stabs the de-
fenceless for a price paid by individual or party, is really no more
respectable now than it was a hundred years ago, in Venice.
Where we want experience, Charity bids us think the best, and
leave what we know not to the Searcher of Hearts; for mistakes,
suspicions, and envy often injure a clear fame; and there is least
danger in a charitable construction.
And, finally, the Mason should be humble and modest toward
the Grand Architect of the Universe, and not impugn His Wis-
dom, nor set up his own imperfect sense of Right against His
Providence and dispensations, nor attempt too rashly to explore
the Mysteries of God's Infinite Essence and inscrutable plans, and
of that Great Nature which we are not made capable to under-
stand.
Let him steer far away from all those vain philosophies, which
endeavor to account for all that is, without admitting that there is
a God, separate and apart from the Universe which is his work:
which erect Universal Nature into a God, and worship it alone:
which annihilate Spirit, and believe no testimony except that of
the bodily senses:which, by logical formulas and dextrous colloca-
tion of words, make the actual, living, guiding, and protecting God
fade into the dim mistiness of a mere abstraction and unreality,
itself a mere logical formula.
Nor let him have any alliance with those theorists who chide the
delays of Providence and busy themselves to hasten the slow
march which it has imposed upon events: who neglect the practi-
cal, to struggle after impossibilities: who are wiser than Heaven;
know the aims and purposes of the Deity, and can see a short and
more direct means of attaining them, than it pleases Him to em-
ploy: who would have no discords in the great harmony of the
Universe of things; but equal distribution of property, no subjec-
tion of one man to the will of another, no compulsory labor, and
still no starvation, nor destitution, nor pauperism.
Let him not spend his life, as they do, in building a new Tower
of Babel; in attempting to change that which is fixed by an in-
flexible law of God's enactment: but let him, yielding to the
Superior Wisdom of Providence, content to believe that the march
of events is rightly ordered by an Infinite Wisdom, and leads,
though we cannot see it, to a great and perfect result,--let him
be satisfied to follow the path pointed out by that Providence, and
to labor for the good of the human race in that mode in which
God has chosen to enact that that good shall be effected: and
above all, let him build no Tower of Babel, under the belief that
by ascending he will mount so high that God will disappear or be
superseded by a great monstrous aggregate of material forces, or
mere glittering, logical formula; but, evermore, standing humbly
and reverently upon the earth and looking with awe and confi-
dence toward Heaven, let him be satisfied that there is a real God;
a person, and not a formula; a Father and a protector, who loves,
and sympathizes, and compassionates; and that the eternal ways
by which He rules the world are infinitely wise, no matter how
far they may be above the feeble comprehension and limited vision
of man.


 

XXII. KNIGHT OF THE ROYAL AXE
OR
PRINCE OF LIBANUS.

SYMPATHY with the great laboring classes, respect for labor itself, and
resolution to do some good work in our day and generation, these are the
lessons of this Degree, and they are purely Masonic. Masonry has made a
working-man and his associates the Heroes of her principal legend, and himself
the companion of Kings. The idea is as simple and true as it is sublime. From
first to last, Masonry is work. It venerates the Grand Arckitrct of the
Universe. It commemorates the building of a Temple. Its principal emblems are
the working fools of Masons and Artisans. It preserves the name of the first
worker in brass and iron as one of its pass-words. When the Brethren meet
together, they are at labor. The Master is the overseer who sets the craft to
work and gives them proper instruction. Masonry is the apotheosis of Work.
It is the hands of brave, forgotten men that have made this great, populous,
cultivated world a world for us. It is all work, and forgotten work. The real
conquerors, creators, and eternal proprietors of every great and civilized land
are all the heroic souls that ever were in it, each in his degree: all the men
that ever felled a forest-tree or drained a marsh, or contrived a wise scheme,
or did or said a true or valiant thing therein. Genuine work alone, done
faithfully, is eternal, even as the Almighty Founder and World-builder Himself.
All work is noble: a life of ease is not for any man, nor for any God. The
Almighty Maker is not like one who, in old immemorial ages, having made his
machine of a Universe, sits ever since, and sees it go. Out of that belief
comes Atheism. The faith in an Invisible, unnamable, Directing Deity, present
everywhere in all that we see, and work, and suffer, is the essence of all
faith whatsoever.
The life of all Gods figures itself to us as a Sublime Earnest
ness,-of Infinite battle against Infinite labor Our highest religion is named
the Worship of Sorrow. For the Son of Man there is no noble crown, well-worn,
or even ill-worn, but is a crown of thorns. Man's highest destiny is not to be
happy, to love pleasant things and find them. His only true unhappiness should
be that he cannot work, and get his destiny as a man fulfilled. The day passes
swiftly over, our life passes swiftly over, and the night cometh, wherein no
man can work. That nights once come, our happiness and unhappiness are
vanished, and become as things that never were. But our work is not abolished,
and has not vanished. It remains, or the want of it remains, for endless Times
and Eternities.
Whatsoever of morality and intelligence ; what of patience, perseverance,
faithfulness, of method, insight, ingenuity, energy; in a word, whatsoever of
STRENGTH a man has in him, will lie written in the WORK he does. To work is to
try himself against Nature and her unerring, everlasting laws : and they will
return true verdict as to him. The noblest Epic is a mighty Empire slowly built
together, a mighty series of heroic deeds, a mighty conquest over chaos. Deeds
are greater than words. They have a life, mute, but undeniably ; and grow. They
people the vacuity of Time, and make it green and worthy.
Labor is the truest emblem of God, the Architect and Eternal Maker; noble
Labor, which is yet to be the King of this Earth, and sit on the highest
Throne. Men without duties to do, are like trees planted on precipices ; from
the roots of which all the earth has crumbled. Nature owns no man who is not
also a Martyr. She scorns the man who sits screened from all work, from want,
danger, hardship, the victory over which is work ; and has all his work and
battling done by other men; and yet there are men who pride themselves that
they and theirs have done no work time out of mind. So neither have the swine.
The chief of men is he who stands in the van of men, fronting the peril which
frightens back all others, and if not vanquished would devour them. Hercules
was worshipped for twelve labors. The Czar of Russia became a toiling
shipwright, and worked with his axe in the docks of Saardam ; and something
came of that. Cromwell worked, and Napoleon; and effected somewhat.
There is a perennial nobleness and even sacredness in work. Be he never so
benighted and forgetful of his high calling, there is always hope in a
man who actually and earnestly works : in Idleness alone is there perpetual
Despair. Man perfects himself by working. Jungles are cleared away. Fair
seed-fields rise instead, and stately cities ; and withal, the man himself
first ceases to be a foul unwholesome jungle and desert thereby. Even in the
meanest sort of labor, the whole soul of man is composed into a kind of real
harmony, the moment he begins to work. Doubt, Desire, Sorrow, Remorse,
Indignation, and even Despair shrink murmuring far off into their caves,
whenever the man bends himself resolutely against his task. Labor is life. From
the inmost heart of the worker rises his God-given Force, the Sacred Celestial
life essence, breathed into him by Almighty God ; and awakens him to all
nobleness, as soon as work fitly begins. By it man learns Patience, Courage,
Perseverance, Openness to light, readiness to own himself mistaken, resolution
to do better and improve. Only by labor will man continually learn the virtues.
There is no Religion in stagnation and inaction; but only in activity and
exertion. There was the deepest truth in that saying of the old monks,
"laborare est orare." "He prayeth best who liveth best all things both great
and small;" and can man love except by working earnestly to benefit that being
whom he loves?
"Work; and therein have well-being," is the oldest of Gospels; unpreached,
inarticulate, but ineradicable, and enduring forever. To make Disorder,
wherever found, an eternal enemy; to attack and subdue him, and make order of
him, the subject not of Chaos, but of Intelligence and Divinity, and of
ourselves ; to attack ignorance, stupidity and brute-mindedness, wherever
found, to smite it wisely and unweariedly, to rest not while we live and it
lives in the name of God, this is our duty as Masons; commanded us by the
Highest God. Even He, with his unspoken voice, more awful than the thunders of
Sinai, or the syllabled speech of the Hurricane, speaks to us. The Unborn Ages
; the old Graves, with their long-moldering dust speak to us. The deep
Death-Kingdoms, the Stars in their never-resting course, all Space and all
Time, silently and continually admonish us that we too must work whore it is
called to-day. Labor, wide as the Earth, has its summit in Heaven. To toil,
whether with the sweat of the brow, or of the brain or heart, is worship,-the
noblest thing yet discovered beneath the Stars. Let the weary cease to think
that labor is a curse and doom pronounced by Deity. Without it there could be
no true excellence in human nature. Without it, and pain, and sorrow,
where would be the human virtues? Where Patience, Perseverance, Submission,
Energy, Endurance, Fortitude, Bravery, Disinterestedness, Self-Sacrifice, the
noblest excellencies of the Soul?
Let him who toils complain not, nor feel humiliated ! Let him. look up, and
see his fellow-workmen there, in God's Eternity, they alone surviving there.
Even in the weak human memory they long survive, as Saints, as Heroes, and as
Gods : they alone survive, and people the unmeasured solitudes of Time.
To the primeval man, whatsoever good came, descended on him (as in mere fact,
it ever does) direct from God; whatsoever duty lay visible for him, this a
Supreme God had prescribed. For the primeval man, in whom dwelt Thought, this
Universe was all a Temple, life everywhere a Worship.
Duty is with us ever; and evermore forbids us to be idle. To work with the
hands or brain, according to our requirements and our capacities, to do that
which lies before us to do, is more honorable than rank and title. Ploughers,
spinners and builders, inventors, and men of science, poets, advocates, and
writers, all stand upon one common level, and form on grand, innumerable host,
marching ever onward since the beginning of the world : each entitled to our
sympathy and respect, each a man and our brother.
It was well to give the earth to man as a dark mass, whereon to labor. It was
well to provide rude and uprightly materials in the ore-bed and the forest, for
him to fashion into splendor and beauty. It was well, not because of that
splendor and beauty ; but because the act creating them is better than the
things themselves; because exertion is nobler than enjoyment; because the
laborer is greater and more worthy of honor than the idler. Masonry stands up
for the nobility of labor. It is Heaven's great ordinance for human
improvement.. It has been broken down for ages ; and Masonry desires to build
it up again. It has bean broken down, because men toil only because ihey must,
submitting to it as, in some sort, a degrading necessity; and desiring nothing
so much on earth as to escape from it. They fulfill the great law of labor in
the letter, but break it in the spirit: they fulfill it with the muscles, but
break it with the mind.
Masonry teaches that every idler ought to hasten to some field of labor,
manual or mental, as a chosen and coveted theatre of improvement ; but he is
not impelled to do so, under the teachings of an imperfect civilization.
On the contrary, he sits down, folds his hands, and blesses and glorifies
himself in his idleness. It is time that this opprobrium of toil were done
away. To be ashamed of toil; of the dingy workshop and dusty labor-field; of
the hard hand, stained with service more honorable than that of war; of the
soiled and weather-stained garments, on which Mother Nature has stamped, midst
sun and rain, midst fire and steam, her own heraldic honors; to be ashamed of
these tokens and titles, and envious of the flaunting robes of imbecile
idleness and vanity, is treason to Nature, impiety to Heaven, a breach of
Heaven's great Ordinance. Toil,) of brain, heart, or hand, is the only true
manhood and genuine nobility.
Labor is a more beneficent ministration than man's ignorance comprehends, or
his complaining will admit. Even when its end is hidden from him, it is not
mere blind drudgery, It is all a training, a discipline, a development of
energies, a nurse of virtues, a school bf improvement. From the poor boy who
gathers a few sticks for his mother's hearth, to the strong man who fells the
oak or guides the ship or the steam-car, every human toiler, with every weary
step and every urgent task, is obeying a wisdom far above his own wisdom, and
fulfilling a design far beyond his own design.
The great law of human industry is this : that industry, working either with
the hand or the mind, the application of our powers to some task, to the
achievement of some result, lies at the foundation of all human improvement. We
are not sent into the world like animals, to crop the spontaneous herbage of
the field, and then to lie down in indolent repose: but we are sent to dig the
soil and plough the sea; to do the business of cities and the world of
manufactories. The world is the great and appointed school of industry. In an
artificial state of society, mankind is divided into the idle and the laboring
classes; but such was not the design of Providence.
Labor is man's great function, his peculiar distinction and his privilege.
From being an animal, that eats and drinks and sleeps only, to become a worker,
and with the hand of ingenuity to pour his own thoughts into the moulds of
Nature, fashioning ttorn into forms of grace and fabrics of convenience, and
converting them to purposes of improvement and happiness, is the greatest
possible step in privilege.
The Earth and the Atmosphere are man's laboratory. With spade and
plough, with mining-shafts and furnaces and forges, with fire and steam ; midst
the noise and whirl of swift and bright machinery, and abroad in the silent
fields, man was made to be ever working, ever experimenting. And while he and
all his dwellings of care and toil are borne onward with the circling skies,
and the splendour of Heaven are around him, and their infinite depths image and
invite his thought, still in all the worlds of philosophy, in the universe of
intellect, man must be a worker. He is nothing, he can be nothing, can achieve
nothing, fulfill nothing, without working. Without it, he can gain neither
lofty improvement nor tolerable happiness. The idle must hunt down the hours as
their prey. To them Time is an enemy, clothed with armor; and they must kill
him, or :themselves die. It never yet did answer, and it never will answer for
any man to do nothing, to be exempt from all care and effort to lounge, to
walk, to ride, and to feast alone. No man can live in that way. God made a law
against it : which no human power can annul, no human ingenuity evade.
The idea that a property is to be acquired in the course of ten or twenty
years, which shall suffice for the rest of life; that by some prosperous
traffic or grand speculation, all the labor of a whole life is to be
accomplished in a brief portion of it; that by dexterous management, a large
part of the term of human existence is to be exonerated from the cares of
industry and self- denial, is founded upon a grave mistake, upon a
misconception of the true nature and design of business, and of the conditions
of human well being. The desire of accumulation for the sake of securing a life
of ease and gratification, of escaping from exertion and self-denial, is wholly
wrong, though very common.
It is better for the Mason to live while he lives, and enjoy life as it passes
to live richer and die poorer. It is best of all for him to banish from the
mind that empty dream of future indolence and indulgent ; to address himself to
the business of life, as the school of his earthly education; to settle it with
himself now that independence, if he gains it, is not to give him exemption
from employment It is best for him to know, that, in order to be a happy man,
he must always be a laborer, with the mind or the body, or with both: and that
the reasonable exertion of his powers, bodily and mental, is not to be regarded
as mere drudgery, but as a good discipline, a wise ordination, a training in
this primary school of our being, for nobler endeavors, and spheres of higher
activity hereafter


There are reasons why a Mason may lawfully and even earnestly desire a
fortune. If he can fill some fine palace, itself a work of art, with the
productions of lofty genius; if he can be the friend and helper of humble
worth; if he can seek it out, where failing health or adverse fortune presses
it hard, and soften or stay the bitter hours that are hastening it to madness
or to the grave; if he can stand between the oppressor and his prey, and bid
the fetter and the dungeon give up their victim ; if he can build up great
institutions of learning, and academies of art ; if he can open fountains of
knowledge for the people, and conduct its streams in the right channels; if he
can do better for the poor thzn to bestow alms upon them-even to think of them,
and devise plans for their elevation in knowledge and virtue, instead of
forever opening the , old reservoirs and resources for their improvidence; if
he has sufficient heart and soul to do all this, or part of it; if wealth would
be ta him the handmaid of exertion; facilitating effort, and giving success to
endeavor; then may he lawfully, and yet warily and modestly, desire it. But if
it is to do nothing for him, but (o minister ease and indulgence, and to place
his children in the same bad school, then there is no reason why he should
desire it.
What is there glorious in the world, that is not the product of labor, either
of the body or of the mind? What is history, but its record? What are the
treasures of genius and art, but its work? What are cultivated fields, but its
toil? The busy marts, the rising cities, the enriched empires of the world are
but the great treasure-houses of labor. The pyramids of Egypt, the' castles and
towers and temples of Europe, the buried cities of Italy and Mexico, the canals
and railroads of Christendom, are but tracks, all round the world, of the
mighty footsteps of labor. Without it antiquity would not have been. Without
it, there would be no memory of the past, and no hope for the future.
Even utter indolence reposes on treasures that labor at some time gained and
gathered. He that does nothing, and yet does not starve, has still his
significance ; for he is a standing proof that somebody has at some time
worked. But not to such does Masonry do honor. It honors the Worker, the
Toiler; him who produces and not alone consumes; him who puts forth his hand to
add to the treasury of human comforts, and not alone to take away. " It honors
him who goes forth amid the struggling elements to fight his battle, and who
shrinks not, with cowardly effeminacy, behind pillows of ease. It honors
the strong muscle, and the manly nerve, and the resolute and brave heart, the
sweating brow, and the toiling brain. It honors the great and beautiful offices
of humanity, manhood's toil and woman's task; paternal industry and maternal
watching and weariness ; wisdom teaching and patience learning; the brow of
care that presides over the State, and many handed labor that toils in
workshop, field, and study, beneath its mild and beneficent sway.
God has not made a world of rich men; but rather a world
of poor men; or of men, at least, who must toil for a subsistence. That is,
then, the best condition for man, and the grand sphere of human improvement.,
If the whole world could acquire wealth (and one man is as much entitled to it
as another, when he is born) ; if the present generation could lay up a
complete provision for the next, as some men desire to do for their children;
the world would be destroyed at a single blow. All industry would cease with
the necessity for it; all improvement would stop with the demand for exertion;
the dissipation of fortunes, the mischief of which are now countervailed by the
healthful tone of society, would breed universal disease, and wreak out into
universal license ; and the. world would sink, rotten as Herod, into the grave
of its own loathsome vices.
Almost all the noblest things that have been achieved in
the world, have been achieved by poor men ; poor scholars, poor professional
men, poor artisans and artists, poor philosophers, poets, and men of genius. A
certain solidness and sobriety, a certain moderation and restraint, a certain
pressure of circumstances, are good for man. liis body was not made for
luxuries. It sickens, sinks, and dies under them. His mind was not made for
indulgerice. It grows weak, effeminate, and dwarfish, under that condition. And
he who pampers his body with luxuries and his mind with indulgence, bequeaths
the consequences to the minds and bodies of his descendants, without the wealth
which was their cause. For wealth, without a law of entail to help it, has
always lacked the energy even to keep its own treasures. They drop from its
imbecile hand. The third generation almost inevitably goes down the rolling
wheel of fortune, and there learns the energy necessary to rise again, if it
rises at all ; heir, as it is, to the bodily diseases, and mental weaknesses,
and the soul's vices of its andestors, and not heir to their wealth. And yet we
are, almost all of us, anxious to put our children, or to insure that
our grandchildren shall be put, on this road to indulgence, luxury, vice,
degradation, and ruin ; this headship of hereditary disease, soul malady, and
mental leprosy.
If wealth were employed in promoting mental culture at home and works of
philanthropy abroad ; if it were multiplying studies of art, and building up
institutions of learning around us; if it were in every way raising the
intellectual character of the world, there could scarcely be too much of it.
But if the utmost aim, effort, and ambition of wealth be, to procure rich
furniture, and provide costly entertainments, and build luxurious houses, and
minister to vanity, extravagance, and ostentation, there could scarcely be too
little of it. To a certain extent it may laudably be the minister of elegancies
and luxuries, and the servitor of hospitality and physical enjoyment: but just
in proportion as its tendencies, divested of all higher aims and tastes, are
running that way, they are running to peril and evil.
Nor does that peril attach to individuals and families alone. It stands, a
fearful beacon, in the experience of Cities, Republics, and Empires. The
lessons of past times, on this subject, are emphatic and solemn. The history of
wealth has always been a history of corruption and downfall. the people never
existed that could stand the trial. Boundless profusion is too little likely to
spread for any people the theatre of manly energy, rigid self-denial, and lofty
virtue. You do not look for the bone and sinew and strength of a country, its
loftiest talents and virtues, its martyrs to patriotism or religion, its men to
meet the days of peril and disaster, among the children of ease, indulgence,
and luxury.
In the great march of the races of men over the earth, we have always seen
opulence and luxury sinking before poverty and toil and hardy nurture. That is
the law which has presided over the great professions of empire. Sidon and
Tyre, whose merchants possessed the wealth of princes ; Babylon and Palmyra,
the seats of Asiatic luxury ; Rome, laden with the spoils of a world,
overwhelmed by her own vices more than by the hosts of her enemies ; all these,
and many more, are examples of the destroytive tendencies of immense and
unnatural accumulation : and men must become more generous and benevolent, not
more selfish and effeminate, as they become more rich, or the history of modern
wealth will follow in the sad train of all past examples. All men
desire distinction, and feel the need of some ennobling object in life. Those
persons are usually most happy and satisfied in their pursuits, who have the
loftiest ends in view. Artists, mechanics, and inventors, all who seek to find
principles or develop beauty in their work, seem most to enjoy it. The farmer
who labors for the beautifying and scientific cultivation of his estate, is
more happy in his labors than one who tills his own land for a mere
subsistence. This is one of the signal testimonies which all human employments
give to the high demands of our nature. To gather wealth never gives such
satisfaction as to bring the humblest piece of machinery to perfection : at
least, when wealth is sought for display and ostentation, or mere luxury, and
ease, and pleasure ; and not for ends of philanthropy, the relief of kindred,
or the payment of just debts, or as a means to attain some other great and
noble object.
With the pursuits of multitudes is connected a painful conviction that they
neither supply a sufficient object, nor confer any satisfactory honor. Why
work, if the world is soon not to know that such a being ever existed ; and
when one can perpetuate his name neither on canvas nor on marble, nor in books,
nor by lofty eloquence, nor statesmanship ?
The answer is, that every man has a work to do in himself, greater and
sublimed than any work of genius ; and works upon a nobler material than wood
or marble-upon his own soul and intellect, and may so attain the highest
nobleness and grandeur known on earth or in Heaven; may so be the greatest of
artists, and of authors, and his life, which is far more than speech, may be
eloquent.
The great author or artist only portrays what every man should be. He
conceives, what we should do. He conceives, and represents moral beauty,
magnanimity, fortitude, love, devotion, forgiveness, the soul's greatness. He
portrays virtues, commended to our admiration and imitations. To embody these
portraitures in our lives is fhe practical realization of those great ideals of
art. The magnanimity of Heroes, celebrated on the historic or poetic page; the
constancy and faith of Truth's martyrs ; the beauty of love and piety glowing
on the canvas; the delineations of Truth and Right, that flash from the lips of
the Eloquent, are, in their essence only that which every man may feel and
practice in the daily walks of life. The work of virtue is nobler than any work
of genius ; for it is a nobler thing to be a hero than to describe one
to endure martyrdom than to paint it, to do right than to plead for it. Action
is greater than writing. A good man is a nobler object of contemplation than a
great author. There are but two things worth living for: to do what is worthy
of being written; and to write what is worthy of being read; and the greater of
these is the doing.
Every man has to do the noblest thing that any man can do or describe. There is
a wide field for the courage, cheerfulness, energy, and dignity of human
existence. Let therefore no Mason deem his life doomed to mediocrity or
meanness, to vanity or unprofitable toil, or to any ends less than immortal. No
one can truly say that the grand prizes of life are for others, and he can do
nothing. No matter how magnificent and noble an act the author can describe or
the artist paint,' it will be still nobler for you to go and do that which one
describes, or be the model which the other draws.
The loftiest action that ever was described is not more magnatemous than that
which we may find occasion to do, in the daily walks of life; in temptation, in
distress, in bereavement, in the solemn approach to death. In the great
Providence of God, in the great ordinances of our being, there is opened to
every man a sphere for the noblest action. It is not even in extraordinary
situations, where all eyes are upon us, where all our energy is aroused, and
all our vigilance is awake that the highest efforts of virtue are usually
demanded of us ; but rather in silence and seclusion, amidst our occupations
and our homes; in wearing sickness, that makes no complaint; in sorely-tried
honesty, that asks no praise ; in simple disinterestedness, hiding the hand
that resigns its advantage to another.
Masonry seeks to ennoble common life. Its work is to go down into the obscure
and researched records of daily conduct and feeling; and to portray, not the
ordinary virtue of an extraordinary life; but the more extraordinary virtue of
ordinary life. What is done and borne in the shades of privacy, in the hard and
beaten pafh of daily care and toil, full of recelebrated sacrifices; in the
suffering, and sometimes insulted suffering, that wears to the world a cheerful
brow ; in the Iong strife of the spirit, resisting pain, penury, and neglect,
carried on in the inmost depths of the heart;-what is done, and borne, and
wrought, and won there, is a higher glory, and shall inherit a brighter crown.
On the volume of Masonic life one bright word is written from which on
every side blazes an ineffable splendor. That word is DUTY. To aid in securing
to all labor permanent employment and its just reward: to help to hasten the
coming of that time when no one shall suffer from hunger or destitution,
because, though willing and able to work, he can find no employment, or because
he has been overtaken by sickness in the midst of his labor, are part of your
duties as a Knight of the Royal Axe. And if we can succeed in making some small
nook of God's creation a little more fruitful and cheerful, a little better and
more worthy of Him,-or in making some one or two human hearts a little wiser,
and more manful and hopeful and happy, we shall have done work, worthy of
Masons, and acceptable to our Father in Heaven.


 

XXIII CHIEF OF THE TABERNACLE.
AMONG most of the Ancient Nations there was, in addition to their
public worship, a private one styled the Mysteries ; to which those only
were admitted who had been prepared by certain ceremonies called
initiations.
The most widely disseminated of the ancient worships were those of
Isis, Orpheus, Dionysus, Ceres and Mathias. Many barbarous nations
received the knowledge of the Mysteries in honor of these divinities
from the Egyptians, before they arrived in Greece; and even in the
British Isles the Druids celebrated those of Dionysus, learned by them
from the Egyptians.
The Mysteries of Eleusis, celebrated at Athens in honor of Ceres,
swallowed up as it were, all the others. All the neighboring nations
neglected their own, to celebrate those of Eleusis; and in a little
while all Greece and Asia Minor were filled with the Initiates. They
spread into the Roman Empire, and even beyond its limits, "those holy
and august Eleusinian Mysteries," said Cicero, "in which the people of
the remotest lands are initiated." Zosimus says that they embraced the
whole human race ; and Aristides termed them the common temple of the
whole world.
There were, in the Eleusinian feasts, two sorts of Mysteries, the
great, and the little. The latter were a kind of preparation for the
former ; and everybody was admitted to them. Ordinarily there was a
novitiate of three, and sometimes of four years. Clement of Alexandria
says that what was taught in the great Mysteries concerned the Universe,
and was the completion and perfection of all instruction; wherein things
were seen as they were, and nature and her works were made known.
The ancients said that the Initiates would be more happy after death
than other mortals ; and that, while the souls of the Profane on leaving
their bodies, would be plunged in the mire, and remain buried in
darkness, those of the Initiates would fly to the Fortunate Isles, the
abode of the Gods.

Plato said that the object of the Mysteries was to re-establish the
soul in its primitive purity, and in that state of perfection which it
had lost. Epictetus said, "whatever is met with therein has been
instituted by our Masters, for the instruction of man and the correction
of morals."
Process held that initiation elevated the soul, from a material,
sensual, and purely human life, to a communion and celestial intercourse
with the Gods ; and that a variety of things, forms, and species were
shown Initiates, representing the first generation of the Gods.
Purity of morals and elevation of soul were required of the, Initiates.
'Candidates were required to be of spotless reputation and
irreproachable virtue. Nero, after murdering his mother, did not dare to
be present at the celebration of the Mysteries: and Antony presented
himself to be initiated, as the most infallible mode of proving his
innocence of the death of Avidius Cassius.
The Initiates were regarded as the only fortunate men. "It is upon us
alone," says Aristophanes, "shineth the beneficent daystar. We alone
receive pleasure from the influence of his rays; we, who are initiated,
and who practice toward citizen and stranger every possible act of
justice and piety." And it is therefore not surprising that, in time,
initiation came to be considered as necessary as baptism afterward was
to the Christians ; and that not to have been admitted to the Mysteries
was held a dishonor.
"It seems to me," says the great orator, philosopher, and moralist,
Cicero, "that Athens, among many excellent inventions, divine and very
useful to the human family, has produced none comparable to the
Mysteries, which for a wild and ferocious life have substituted humanity
and urbanity of manners. ĹIt is with good reason they use the term
initiation; for it is through them that we in reality have learned the
first principles of life; and they not only teach us to live in a manner
more consoling and agreeable, but they soften the pains of death by the
hope of a better life hereafter."
Where the Mysteries originated is not known. It. is supposed that they
came from India, by the way of Chaldaea, into Egypt, and thence were
carried into Greece. Wherever they arose, they were practiced among all
the ancient nations; and, as was usual, the Thracians, Cretins, and
Athenians each claimed the honor of  invention, and each insisted
that they had borrowed nothing from any other people.
In Egypt and the East, all religions even in its most poetical forms,
was more or less a mystery; and the chief reason why, in Greece, a
distinct name and office were assigned to the Mysteries, was because the
superficial popular theology left a want unsatisfied, which religion in
a wider sense alone could supply. They were practical acknowledgments of
the insufficiency of the popular religion to satisfy the deeper thoughts
and aspirations of the mind. The vagueness of symbolism might perhaps
reach what a more palpable and conventional creed could not. The former,
be its indefiniteness, acknowledged the abstruseness of its subject; it
treated a mysterious subject myopically ; it endeavored to illustrate
what it could not explain; to excite an appropriate feeling, if it could
not develop an adequate idea; and shade the image a mere subordinate
conveyance for the conception, which itself never became too obvious or
familiar.
The instruction now conveyed by books and letters was of old conveyed
by symbols; and the priest had to invent or to perpetuate a display of
rites and exhibitions, which were not only more attractive to the eye
than words, but often to the mind more suggestive and ~pregnant with
meaning.
Afterward, the institution became rather moral and political, than
religious. The civil magistrates shaped the ceremonies to political ends
in Egypt; the sages who carried them from that country to Asia, Greece;
and the North of Europe, were all kings or legislators. ,The chief
magistrate presided at those of Eleusis, represented by an officer
styled King: and the Priest played but a subordinate part.
The Powers revered in the Mysteries were all in reality Natured Gods;
none of whom could be consistently addressed as mere heroes, because
their nature was confessedly super-heroic. The Mysteries, only in fact a
more solemn expression of the religion of the ancient poetry, taught
that doctrine of the Theocracia or Divine Oneness, which even poetry
does not entirely conceal. They were not in any open hostility with the
popular religion, but only a more solemn exhibition of its symbols; or
rather a part of itself in a more impressive form. The essence of all
Mysteries, as of all polytheism, consists in this, that the conception
of an inapproachable Being, single, eternal, and unchanging, and that
 of a God of Nature, whose manifold power is immediately revealed to
the senses in the incessant round of movement, life, and. death, fell
asunder in the treatment, and were separately symbolized. They offered a
perpetual problem to excite curiosity, aqd contributed to satisfy the
all-pervading religious sentiment, which if it obtain no nourishment
among the scruple and intelligible, finds compensating excitement in a
reverential contemplation of the obscure.
Nature is as free from dogmatism as from tyranny; and
the earliest instructors of mankind not only adopted her
lessons, but as far as possible adhered to her method of imparting
them. They attempted to reach the understanding through the eye ; and
the greater part of all religious teaching was conveyed through this
ancient and most impressive mode of "exhibition" or demonstration. The
Mysteries were a sacred drama, exhibiting some legend significant of
Nature's change, of the visible Universe in
i which the divinity is revealed, and whose import was in many respects
as open to the Pagan, as to the Christian. Beyond the current traditions
or sacred recitals of the temple, few explanations were given to the
spectators, who were left, as in the school of nature, to make
inferences for themselves.
The method of indirect suggestion, by allegory or symbol, is a more
efficacious instrument of instruction than plain didactic "language ;
since we are habitually indifferent to that which is acquired without
effort : "The initiated are few, though many bear the thyrsus." And it
would have been impossible to provide a lesson suited to every degree of
cultivation and capacity, unless it were one framed after Nature's
example, or rather a representation of Nature herself, employing her
universal symbolism instead of technicalities of language, inviting
endless research, yet rewarding the humblest inquirer, and disclosing
its secrets to every one in proportion to his preparatory training and
power to comprehend them.
Even if destitute of any formal or official enunciation of those
important truths, which even in a cultivated age it was often found
inexpedient to assert except under a veil of allegory, and which
moreover lose their dignity and value in proportion as they are learned
mechanically as dogmas, the shows of the Mysteries certainly contained
suggestions if not lessons, which in the opinion not of one competent
witness only, but if many, were adapted to elevate the character of the
spectators, enabling them to augur  something of the purposes of
existence, as well as of the means of employing it, to live better and
to die happier.
Unlike the religion of books or creeds, these mystic shows performances
were not the reading of a lecture, but the opening of a problem,
implying neither exemption from research, nor hostility to philosophy :
for, on the contrary, philosophy is the great Mystagogue or
Arch-Expounder of symbolism : though the interpretations by the Grecian
Philosophy of the old myths and symbols were in many instances as
ill-founded, as in others they are correct.
No better means could be devised to rouse a dormant intellect than
those impressive exhibitions, which addressed it through the
imagination: which, instead of condemning it to a prescribed routine of
creed, invited it to seek, compare, and judge. The alteration from
symbol to dogma is as fatal to beauty of expression, as that from faith
to dogma is to truth and wholesomeness of thought
The first philosophy often reverted to the natural mode of teaching;
and Socrates, in particular, is said to have eschewed dogmas,
endeavoring, like the Mysteries, rather to awaken and develop in the
minds of his hearers the ideas with which they were already endowed or
pregnant, than to fill them with ready-made adventitious opinions.
So Masonry still follows the ancient manner of teaching. Her symbols
are the instruction she gives ; and the lectures are but often partial
and insufficient one-sided endeavors to interpret those symbols. He who
would become an accomplished Mason must not be content merely to hear or
even to understand the lectures, but must, aided by them, and they
having as it were marked out the way for him, study, interpret, and
develop the symbols for himself.
The earliest speculation endeavored to express far more than it could
distinctly comprehend ; and the vague impressions if the mind found in
the mysterious analogies of phenomena their most apt and energetic
representations. The Mysteries, like the symbols of Masonry, were but an
image of the eloquent analogies of Nature; both those and these
revealing no new secret to such as were or are unprepared, or incapable
of interpreting their significance.
Everywhere in the old Mysteries, and in all the symbolisms and
ceremonial of the Hierophant was found the same mythical personage, who,
like Hermes, or Zoroaster, unites Human Attributes  with Divine,
and is himself the God whose worship he introduced, teaching rude men
the commencements of civilization through the influence of song, and
connecting with the symbol of his death, emblematic of that of Nature,
the most essential consolations of religion.
The Mysteries embraced the three great doctrines of Ancient Theosophy.
They treated of God, Man, and Nature. Dionysus, whose Mysteries Orpheus
is said to have founded, was the God of Nature, or of the moisture which
is the life of Nature, who prepares in darkness the return of life and
vegetation, or who is him- self the Light and Change evolving their
varieties. He was theologically one with Hermes, Prometheus, and
Poseidon. In the Aegean Islands he is Butes, Dardanus, Himeros, or
Imbros. In Crete he appears as Iasius or Zeus, whose worship remaining
unveiled by the usual forms of mystery, betrayed to profane curiosity
the symbols, which, if irreverently contemplated, were sure to be
misunderstood. In Asia he is the long-stoled Bassareus coalescing with
the Sabazius of the Phrygian Corybantes : the same with the mystic
Iacchus, nursling or son of Ceres, and with the dismembered Zagreus, son
of Persephone.
In symbolical forms the Mysteries exhibited THE ONE, of which THE
MANIFOLD Is an infinite illustration, containing a moral lesson,
calculated to guide the soul through life, and to cheer it in death. The
story of Dionysus was profoundly significant. He was not only creator of
the world, but guardian, liberator, and Savior of the soul. God of the
many-colored mantle, he was the resulting manifestation personified, the
all in the many, the varied year, life passing into innumerable forms.
The spiritual regeneration of man was typified in the Mysteries by the
second birth of Dionysus as offspring of the Highest ; and the agents
and symbols of that regeneration were the elements that affected
Nature's periodical purification-the air, indicated by the mystic fan or
winnow ; the fire, signified by the torch ; and the baptismal water, for
water is not only cleanser of all things, but the genesis or source of
all.
Those notions, clothed in ritual, suggested the soul's, reformation and
training, the moral purity formally proclaimed at Eleusis. He only was
invited to approach, who was "of clean hands and ingenuous speech, free
from all pollution, and with a clear
conscience." -"Happy the man," say the initiated in Euripides and 
Aristophanes, "who purifies his life, and who reverently consecrates his
soul in the thirsts of the God. Let him take heed to his lips that he
utter no profane word; let him be just and kind to the stranger, and to
his neighbor; let him give way to no vicious excess, lest he make dull
and heavy the organs of the spirit. Far from the mystic dance of the
thirsts be the impure, the evil speaker, the seditious citizen, the
selfish hunter after gain, the traitor ; all those, in short, whose
practices are more akin to the riot of Titans than to the regulated life
of the Orphici, or the Curetan order of the Priests of Idaean Zeus."
The votary, elevated beyond the sphere of his ordinary faculties, and
unable to account for the agitation which overpowered him, seemed to
become divine. in proportion as he ceased to be human; to be a demon or
god. Already, in imagination, the initiated were numbered among the
beatified. They alone enjoyed the true life, the Sun's true lustre,
while they hymned their God beneath the mystic groves of a mimic
Elysium, and were really renovated or regenerated under the genial
influence of their dances.
"They whom Proserpine guides in her mysteries," it was said, "who
imbibed her instruction and spiritual nourishment, rest from their
labors and know strife no more. Happy they who witness and comprehend
these sacred ceremonies ! They are made to know the meaning of the
riddle of existence by observing its aim and termination as appointed by
Zeus ; they partake a benefit more valuable and enduring than the grain
bestowed by wares ; for they are exalted in the scale of intellectual
existence, and obtain sweet hopes to console them at their death."
No doubt the ceremonies of initiation were originally few and simple.
As the great truths of the primitive revelation faded out of the
memories of the masses of the People, and wickedness became rife upon
the earth, it became necessary to discriminate, to require longer
probation and satisfactory tests of the candi dates, and by spreading
around what at first were rather schools of instruction than mysteries,
the veil of secrecy, and the pomp of ceremony, to heighten the opinion
of their value and importance.
Whatever pictures later and especially Christian writers may draw of
the Mysteries, they must, not only originally, but for many ages, have
continued pure; and the doctrines of natural religion and morals there
taught, have been of the highest importance;  because both the
most virtuous as well as the most learned and philosophic of the
ancients speak of them in the loftiest terms. That they ultimately
became degraded from their high estate, and corrupted, we know.
The rites of initiation became progressively more complicated. Signs
and tokens were invented by which the Children of Light could with
facility make themselves known to each other. Differ. ant Degrees were
invented, as the number of Initiates enlarged, in order that there might
be in the inner apartment of the Temple a favored few, to whom alone the
more valuable secrets were entrusted, and who could wield effectually
the influence and power of the Order. Originally the Mysteries were
meant to be the beginning of a new life of reason and virtue. The
initiated or esoteric companions were taught the doctrine of the One
Supreme God, the theory of death and eternity, the hidden mysteries of
Nature, the prospect of the ultimate restoration of the soul to that
state of perfection from which it had fallen, its immortality, and the
states of reward and punishment after death. The uninitiated were deemed
Profane, unworthy of public employment or private confidence, sometimes
prescribed as Atheists, and certain of everlasting punishment beyond the
grave.
All persons were initiated into the lesser Mysteries; but few attained
the greater, in which the true spirit of them, and most of their secret
doctrines were hidden. The veil of secrecy was impenetrable, sealed by
oaths and penalties the most tremendous and appalling. It was by
initiation only, that a knowledge of the Hieroglyphics could be
obtained, with which the walls, columns, and ceilings of the Temples
were decorated, and which, believed to have been communicated to the
Priests by revelation from the celestial deities, the youth of all ranks
were laudably ambitious of deciphering.
The ceremonies were performed at dead of night, generally in apartments
under-ground, but sometimes in the centre of a vast pyramid, with every
appliance that could alarm and excite the candidate. Innumerable
ceremonies, wild and romantic, dreadful and appalling, had by degrees
been added to the few expressive symbols of primitive observances, under
which there were instances in which the terrified aspirant actually
expired with fear. The pyramids were probably used for the purposes of
initiation, 
as were caverns, pagodas, and labyrinths; for the ceremonies required
many apartments and cells, long passages and wells. In Egypt a principal
place for the Mysteries was the island of Philae on the Nile, where a
magnificent Temple of Osiris stood, and his relics were said to be
preserved.
With their natural proclivities, the Priesthood, that select and
exclusive class, in Egypt, India, Phoenicia, Judea and Greece, as well
as in Britain and Rome, and wherever else the Mysteries were known, made
use of them to build wider and higher the fabric of their own power. The
purity of no religion continues long. Rank and dignities succeed to the
primitive simplicity. Unprincipled, vain, insolent, corrupt, and venal
men put on God's livery to serve the Devil withal ; and luxury, vice,
intolerance, and pride depose frugality, virtue, gentleness, and
humility, and change the altar where they should be servants, to a
throne on which they reign.
But the Kings, Philosophers, and Statesmen, the wise and great and good
who were admitted to the Mysteries, long postponed their ultimate
self-destruction, and restrained the natural tendencies of the
Priesthood. And accordingly Zosimus thought that the neglect of the
Mysteries after Diocletian abdicated, was the chief cause of the decline
of the Roman Empire ; and in the year 364, the Proconsul of Greece would
not close the Mysteries, notwithstanding a law of the Emperor
Valentinian, lest the people should be driven to desperation, if
prevented from performing them; upon which, as they believed, the
welfare of mankind wholly depended. They were practiced in Athens until
the 8th century in Greece and Rome for several centuries after Christ;
and in Wales and Scotland down to the 12th century.
The inhabitants of India originally practiced the Patriarchal religion.
Even the later worship of Vishnu was cheerful and social ; accompanied
with. the festive song, the sprightly dance, and the resounding cymbal,
with libations of milk and honey, garlands, and perfumes from aromatic
woods and gums. There perhaps the Mysteries commenced; and in them,
under allegories, were taught the primitive truths. We cannot, within
the limits of this lecture, detail the ceremonies of initiation; and
shall use general language, except where something from those old
Mysteries still remains in Masonry.
The Initiate was invested with a cord of three threads, so twined
 as to make three times three, and called zennar. Hence comes our
cable-tow. It was an emblem of their tri-une Deity, the remembrance of
whom we also preserve in the three chief officers of our Lodges,
presiding in the three quarters of that Universe which our Lodges
represent; in our three greater and three lesser lights, our three
movable and three immovable jewels, and the three pillars that support
our Lodges.
The Indian Mysteries were celebrated in subterranean cavern's and
grottos hewn in the solid rock; and the Initiates adored the Deity,
symbolized by the solar fire. The candidate, long wandering in darkness,
truly wanted Light, and the worship taught him was the worship of God,
the Source of Light. The vast Temple of Elephants, perhaps the oldest in
the world, hewn out of the rock, and 135 feet square, was used for
initiations ; as were the still vaster caverns of Salsette, with their
300 apartments.
The periods of initiation were regulated by the increase and decrease
of the moon. The Mysteries were divided into four steps or Degrees. The
candidate might receive the first at eight years of age, when he was
invested with the zennar. Each Degree dispensed something of perfection.
"Let the wretched man," says the Hitopadesa, "practice virtue, whenever
he enjoys one of the three or four religious Degrees ; let him be
even-minded with all created things, and that disposition will be the
source of virtue."
After various ceremonies, chiefly relating to the unity and trinity of
the Godhead, the candidate was clothed in a linen garment without a
seam, and remained under the care of a Brahmin until he was twenty years
of age, constantly studying and practising the most rigid virtue. Then
he underwent the severest probation for the second Degree, in which he
was sanctified by the sign of the cross, which, pointing to the four
quarters of the compass, was honored as a striking symbol of the
Universe by many nations of antiquity, and was imitated by the Indians
in the shape of their temples. Then he was admitted to the Holy Cavern,
blazing with light, where, in costly robes, sat, in the East, West, and
South, the three chief Hierophants, representing the Indian tri-une
Deity. The ceremonies there commenced with an anthem to the Great God of
Nature; and then followed this apostrophe : "O mighty  primal
Creator! Eternal God of Gods! The World's Mansion! Thou art the
Incorruptible Being, distinct from all things transient! Thou art before
all Gods, the Ancient Absolute Existence, and the Supreme Supporter of
the Universe! Thou art the Supreme Mansion; and by Thee, O Infinite
Form, the Universe was spread abroad."
The candidate, thus taught the first great primitive truth, was called
upon to make a formal declaration, that he would be tractable and
obedient to his superiors; that he would keep his body pure ;. govern
his tongue, and observe a passive obedience in receiving the doctrines
and traditions of the Order ; and the firmest secrecy in maintaining
inviolable its hidden and abstruse mysteries. Then he was sprinkled with
water (whence our baptism) ;' certain words, now unknown, were whispered
in his ear; and he was divested of his shoes, and made to go three times
around the cavern. Hence our three circuits ; hence we were neither
barefoot nor shod: and the words were the Pass-words of that Indian
Degree.
The Gymnosophist Priests came from the banks of the Euphrates into
Ethiopia, and brought with them their sciences and their doctrines.
Their principal College was at Meroe, and their Mysteries were
celebrated in the Temple of Amun, renowned for his oracle. Ethiopia was
then a powerful State, which preceded Egypt in civilization, and had a
theocratic government. Above the King was the Priest, who could put him
to death in the name of the Deity. Egypt was then composed of the
Thebaid only. Middle Egypt and the Delta were a gulf of the
Mediterranean. The Nile by degrees formed an immense marsh, which,
afterward drained by the labor of man, formed Lower Egypt; and was for
many centuries governed by the Ethiopian Sacerdotal Caste, of Arabic
origin ; afterward displaced by a dynasty of warriors. The magnificent
ruins of Axiom, with its obelisks and hieroglyphics, temples, vast tombs
and pyramids, around ancient Meroe, are far older than the pyramids near
Memphis.
The Priests, taught by Hermosa embodied in books the occult and
hermetic sciences, with their own discoveries and the revelations of the
Sibyls. They studied particularly the most abstract sciences, discovered
the famous geometrical theorems which Pythagoras afterward learned from
them, calculated eclipses, and regulated, nineteen centuries before
Caesar, the Julian year. They  descended to practical
investigations as to the necessities of life, and made known their
discoveries to the people ; they cultivated the fine arts, and inspired
the people with that enthusiasm which produced the avenues of Thebes,
the Labyrinth, the Temples of Karnac, Denderah, Edfou, and Philae, the
monolithic obelisks, and the great Lake Morris, the fertilizer of the
country.
The wisdom of the Egyptian Initiates, the high sciences and lofty
morality which they taught, and their immense knowledge, excited the
emulation of the most eminent men, whatever their rank and fortune ; and
led them, despite the complicated and terrible trials to be undergone,
to seek admission into the Mysteries of Osiris and Isis.
From Egypt, the Mysteries went to Phoenicia, and were celebrated at
Tyre. Osiris changed his name, and become Adoni or Dionysos, still the
representative of the Sun ; and afterward these Mysteries were
introduced successively into Assyria, Babylon, Persia, Greece, Sicily,
and Italy. In Greece and Sicily, Osiris took the name of Bacchus, and
Isis that of Ceres, Cybele, Rhea and Venus.
Bar Hebraeus says : "Enoch was the first who invented books and
different sorts of writing. The ancient Greeks declare that Enoch is the
same as Mercury Trismegistus [Hermes], and that he taught the sons of
men the art of building cities, and enacted some admirable laws... He
discovered the knowledge of the Zodiac, and the course of the Planets ;
and he pointed out to the sons of men, that they should worship God,
that they should fast, that they should pray, that they should give
aims, votive offerings, and tenths. He reprobated abominable foods and
drunkenness, and appointed festivals for sacrifices to the Sun, at each
of the 'Zodiacal Signs."
Manetho extracted his history from certain pillars which he discovered
in Egypt, whereon inscriptions had been made by Thoth, or the first
Mercury [or Hermes], in the sacred letters and dialect: but which were
after the flood translated from that dialect into the Greek tongue, and
laid up in the private recesses of the Egyptian Temples. These pillars
were found in subterranean caverns, near Thebes and beyond the Nile, not
far from the sounding statue of Memnon, it a place called Syringes ;
which are described to be certain winding apartments underground ; made,
it is said, by those who were skilled in ancient rites; who foreseeing
the coming of the deluge, and fearing lest memory of their cere-
monies should be obliterated, built and contrived vaults, dug with vast
labor, in several places.
From the bosom of Egypt sprang a man of consummate wisdom, initiated in
the secret knowledge of India, of Persia, and of Ethiopia, named Thoth
or Phtha by his compatriots, Taaut by the Phoenicians, Hermes
Trismegistus by the Greeks, and Adris by the Rabbins. Nature seemed to
have chosen him for her favorite, and to have lavished on him all the
qualities necessary to enable him to study her and to know her
thoroughly. The Deity had, so to say, infused into him the sciences and
the arts, in order that' he might instruct the whole world.
He invented many things necessary for the uses of life, and gave them
suitable names ; he taught men how to write down their thoughts and
arrange their speech; he instituted the ceremonies to be observed in the
worship of each of the Gods; he observed the course of the stars; he
invented music, the different bodily exercises, arithmetic, medicine,
the art of working in metals, the lyre with three strings ; he regulated
the three tones of the voice, the sharp, taken from autumn, the grave
from winter, and the ,middle from spring, there being then but three
seasons. It was he who taught the Greeks the mode of interpreting terms
and things, whence they gave him the name of `Ee??? [Hermes], which
signifies Interpreter.
In Egypt he instituted hieroglyphics: he selected a certain number of
persons whom he judged fitted to be the depositaries of his secrets, of
such only as were capable of attaining the throne and the first offices
in the Mysteries; he united them in a body, created them Priests of the
Living God, instructed them in the sciences and arts, and explained to
them the symbols by which they were veiled. Egypt, 1500 years before the
time of Moses, revered in the Mysteries One SUPREME GOD, called the ONLY
UNCREATED. Under Him it paid homage to seven principal deities, it is to
Hermes, who lived at that period, that we must distribute the
concealment or veiling [velation] of the Indian worship, which Moses
unveiled or revealed, changing nothing of tbe laws of Hermes, except the
plurality of his mystic Gods.
The Egyptian Priests related that Hermes, dying, said : "Hitherto I
have lived an exile from my true country: now I return thither. Do not
weep for me : I return to that celestial country whither each goes in
his turn, There is God. This life is but a  death." This is
precisely the creed of the old Buddhists of Samaneans, who believed that
from time to time God sent Buddhaĺs on earth, to reform men, to wean
them from their vices, and lead them back into the paths of virtue.
Among the sciences taught by Hermes, there were secrets which he
communicated to the Initiates only upon condition that they should bind
themselves, by a terrible oath, never to divulge them, except to those
who, after long trial, should be found worthy to succeed them. The Kings
even prohibited the revelation of them on pain of death. This secret was
styled the Sacerdotal Art, and included alchemy, astrology, magnum
[magic], the science of spirits, etc. He gave them the key to the
Hieroglyphics of all these secret sciences, which were regarded as
sacred, and kept concealed in the roost secret places of the Temple.
The great secrecy observed by the initiated Priests, for many years,
and the lofty sciences which they professed, caused them to be honored
and respected throughout all Egypt, which was regarded by other nations
as the college, the sanctuary, of the sciences and arts. The mystery
which surrounded them strongly excited curiosity. Orpheus metamorphosed
himself, so to say, into an Egyptian. He was initiated into. Theology
and Physics. And he so completely made the ideas and seasonings of his
teachers his own, that his Hymns rather bespeak an Egyptian Priest than
a Grecian Poet : and he was the first who carried into Greece the
Egyptian fables.
Pythagoras, ever thirsty for learning, consented even to be
circumcised, in order to become one of the Initiates: and the occult
sciences were revealed to him in the innermost part of the sanctuary.
The Initiates in a particular science, having been instructed by fables,
enigmas, allegories, and hieroglyphics, wrote mysteriously whenever in
their works they touched the subject of the Mysteries, and continued to
conceal science under a veil of fictions. When the destruction by
Cambyses of many cities, and the ruin of nearly all Egypt, in the year
528 before our era, dispersed most of the Priests into Greece and
elsewhere, they bore with them their sciences, which they continued to
teach enigmatically, that is to) say, ever enveloped in the obscurities
of fables and hieroglyphics ; to the end that' the vulgar herd, seeing,
might see nothing and hearing, might comprehend nothing. All the
writers  drew from this source: but these Mysteries, concealed
under so many unexplained envelopes, ended in giving birth to a swarm of
absurdities, which, from Greece, spread over the whole earth. In the
Grecian Mysteries, as established by Pythagoras, there
were three Degrees. A preparation of five years' abstinence and silence
was required. If the candidate was found to be passionate or
intemperate, contentious, or ambitious of worldly honors and
distinctions, he was rejected.
In his lectures, Pythagoras taught the mathematics, as a medium whereby
to prove the existence of God from observation and by means of reason ;
grammar, rhetoric, and logic, to cultivate and improve that reason,
arithmetic, because he conceived that the ultimate benefit of man
consisted in the science of numbers, and geometry, music, and astronomy,
because he conceived that man is indebted to them for a knowledge of
what is really good and useful.
He taught the true method of obtaining a knowledge of the Divine laws
of purifying the soul from its imperfections, of searching for truth,
and of practicing virtue; thus imitating the perfections of God. He
thought his system vain, if it did not contribute to expel vice and
introduce virtue into the mind. He taught that the two most excellent
things were, to speak the truth, and to render benefits to one another.
particularly he inculcated Silence, Temperance, Fortitude, Prudence, and
Justice. He taught' the immortality of the soul, the Omnipotence of God,
and the necessity of personal holiness to qualify a man for admission
into the Society of the Gods.
Thus we owe the particular mode of instruction in the Degree of
Fellow-Craft to Pythagoras ; and that Degree is but an imperfect
reproduction of his lectures. From him, too, we have many of our
explanations of the symbols. He arranged his assemblies due East and
West, because he held that Motion began in the East and proceeded to the
West. Our Lodges are said to be due East and West, because the Master
represents the rising Sun, and of course must be in the East. The
pyramids, too, were built precisely by the four cardinal points. And our
expression. that our Lodges extend upward to the Heavens, comes from the
Persian and Druidic custom of having to their Temples no roofs but the
sky.
Plato developed and spiritualized. the philosophy of Pythagoras 
Even Eusebius the Christian admits, that he reached to the vestibule of
Truth, and stood upon its threshold. The Druidical ceremonies
undoubtedly came from India; and the Druids were originally Buddhists.
The word Druid, like the word Magi, signifies wise or learned men ; and
they were at once philosophers, magistrates, and ,divines.
There was a surprising uniformity in the Temples, Priests, doctrines,
and worship of the Persian Magi and British Druids. The Gods of Britain
were the same as the Cabiri of Samothrace. Osiris and Isis appeared in
their Mysteries, under the names of Hu and Ceridwen; and like those of
the primitive Persians, their Temples were enclosures of huge unhewn
stones, some of which still remain, and are regarded by the common
people with fear and veneration. They were generally either circular or
oval. Some were in the shape of a circle to which a vast serpent was
attached. The circle was an Eastern symbol of the Universe, governed by
an Omnipotent Deity whose center is everywhere, and his circumference
nowhere : and the egg was an universal symbol of the world. Some of the
Temples were winged, and some in the shape of a cross; the winged ones
referring to Kneph, the winged Serpent-Deity of Egypt ; whence the name
of Navestock, where one of them stood. Temples in the shape of a cross
were also found in Ireland and Scotland. The length of one of these vast
structures, in the shape of a serpent, was nearly three miles..
The grand periods for initiation into the Druidical Mysteries, were
quarterly; at the equinoxes and solstices. In the remote times when they
originated, these were the times corresponding with the 13th of
February, 1st of May, 19th of August, and 1st of November. The time of
annual celebration was May-Eve, and the ceremonial preparations
commences at midnight, on the 29th of April. When the initiations were
over, on May-Eve, fires were kindled on all the cairns and cromlechs in
the island, which burned all night to introduce the sports of May-day.
The festival was in honor of the Sun. The initiations were performed at
midnight ; and there were three Degrees.
The Gothic Mysteries were carried Northward from the East, by Odin ;
who, being a great warrior, modeled and varied them to suit his purposes
and the genius of his people. He placed over their celebration twelve
Hierophants, who were alike Priests, Counselors of State, and Judges
from whose decision there was no appeal. He held the numbers three
and nine in peculiar veneration, and was probably himself the Indian
Buddha. Every thrice-three months, thrice-three victims were sacrificed
to the try-une God. The Goths had three great festivals; the most
magnificent of which commenced at the winter solstice, and was
celebrated in honor of Thor, the Prince of the Power of the Air. That
being the longest night in the year, and throne after which the Sun
comes Northward, it was commemorative of the Creation ; and they termed
it mother-night, as the one in which the creation of the world and light
from the primitive darkness took place. This was the Yule, Jitul, or
Yeof feast, which afterward became Christmas. At this feast the
initiations were celebrated. Thor was the Sun, the Egyptian Osiris and
Kneph, the Physician Bel or Baal. The initiations were had in
huge-intricate caverns, terminating, as all the Mithriac caverns did, in
a spacious vault, where the candidate was brought to light.
Joseph was undoubtedly initiated. After he had interpreted Pharaoh's
dream, that Monarch made him his Prime Minister, let him ride in his
second chariot, while they proclaimed before him, ABRSCHI (*An Egytian
word,meaning, "Bow down.") and set him over the land of Egypt. In
addition to this, the King gave hid a new name, Tsapanat-Paanakh, and
married him to Asanat, daughter of Potai Paring, a Priest of An or
Hieropolis, where was the Temple of Athom-Re, the Great God of Egypt;
thus completely naturalizing him. He could not have contracted this
marriage, nor have exercised that high dignity, without being first
initiated in the Mysteries. When his Brethren came to Egypt the second
time, the Egyptians of his court could not eat with them, as that would
have been abomination, though they ate with Joseph; who was therefore
regarded not as a foreigner, but as one of themselves: and when he sent
and brought his brethren back, and charged them with taking his cup, he
said, "Know ye not that a man like me practices divination?" thus
assuming the Egyptian of high rank initiated into the Mysteries, sad as
such conversant with the occult sciences.
So also must Moses have been initiated for he was not only brought up
in the court of the King, as the adopted son of the Kingly daughter,
until he was forty years of age ; but he was instructed in all the
learning of the Egyptians, and married after ward the daughter of
Yethru, a Priest of An likewise. Strobo and Diodorus both assert that he
was himself a Priest of Heliopolis. Before he went into the Desert,
there were intimate relations between him and the Priesthood ; and he
had successfully commanded, Josephus informs us, an army sent by the
King against the Ethiopians. Simplicius asserts that Moses received from
the Egyptians, in the Mysteries, the doctrines which he taught to the
Hebrews: and Clement of Alexandria and Philo say that he was a
Theologian and Prophet, and interpreter of the Sacred Laws. Manetho,
cited by Josephus, says he was a Priest of Heliopolis, and that his true
and original (Egyptian) name was Asersaph or Osarsiph.
And in the institution of the Hebrew Priesthood, in the powers and
privileges, as well as the immunities and sanctity which he conferred
upon them, he closely imitated the Egyptian institutions ; making public
the worship of that Deity whom the Egyptian Initiates worshipped in
private ; and strenuously endeavoring to keep the people from relapsing
into their old mixture of Chaldaic and Egyptian superstition and
idol-worship, as they were ever ready and inclined to do ; even Aharun,
upon their first clamorous discontent, restoring the worship of Apis; as
an image of which Egyptian God he made the golden calf.
The Egyptian Priests taught in their great Mysteries, that there was
one God, Supreme and inapproachable, who had conceived the Universe iy
His Intelligence, before He created it by His Power and Will. They were
no Materialists nor Pantheists ; but taught that Matter was not eternal
or co-existent with the great First Cause, but created by Him.
The early Christians, taught by the founder of their Religion, but in
greater perfection, those primitive truths that from the Egyptians had
passed to the Jews, and been preserved among the latter by the Essenes,
received also the institution of the Mysteries ; adopting as their
object the building of the symbolic Temple, preserving the old
Scriptures of the Jews as their sacred book, and as the fundamental law,
which furnished the new veil of initiation with the Hebraic words and
formulas, that, corrupted and disfigured by time and ignorance, appear
in many of our Degrees.
Such, my Brother, is the doctrine of the first Degree of the Mysteries,
or that of chief of the Tabernacle, to which you have  now been
admitted, and the moral lesson of which is, devotion to the service of
God, and disinterested zeal and constant endeavor for the welfare of
men. You have here received only hints of the true objects and purposes
of the Mysteries. Hereafter, if you are permitted to advance, you will
arrive at a more complete understanding of them and of the sublime
doctrines which they teach. Be content, therefore, with that which you
have seen and heard, and await patiently the advent of the greater
light.


MORALS and DOGMA by Albert Pike | Go to BOOK INDEX

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