XXVI. PRINCE OF MERCY, OR SCOTTISH TRINITARIAN.
WHILE you were veiled in darkness, you heard repeated by the Voice of
the Great Past its most ancient doctrines. None has the right to object, if
the Christian Mason sees foreshadowed in Chrishna and Sosiosch, in
Mithras and Osiris, the Divine WORD that, as he believes, became Man,
and died upon the cross to redeem a fallen race. Nor can he object if
others see reproduced, in the WORD of the beloved Disciple, that was in
the beginning with God, and that was God, and by Whom everything was
made, only the LOGOS of Plato, and the WORD or Uttered THOUGHT or
first Emanation of LIGHT, or the Perfect REASON of the Great, Silent,
Supreme, Uncreated Deity, believed in and adored by all.
We do not undervalue the importance of any Truth. We utter no word that
can be deemed irreverent by any one of any faith. We do not tell the
Moslem that it is only important for him to believe that there is but one
God, and wholly unessential whether Mahomet was His prophet. We do
not tell the Hebrew that the Messiah whom he expects was born in
Bethlehem nearly two thousand years ago; and that he is a heretic
because he will not so believe. And as little do we tell the sincere
Christian that Jesus of Nazareth was but a man like us, or His history but
the unreal revival of an older legend. To do either is beyond our
jurisdiction. Masonry, of no one age, belongs to all time; of no one
religion, it finds its great truths in all.
To every Mason, there is a GOD; ONE, Supreme, Infinite in Goodness,
Wisdom, Foresight, justice, and Benevolence; Creator, Disposer, and
Preserver of all things. How, or by what intermediates He creates and
acts, and in what way He unfolds and manifests Himself, Masonry leaves
to creeds and Religions to inquire.
To every Mason, the soul of man is immortal. Whether it
emanates from and will return to God, and what its continued mode of
existence hereafter, each judges for himself. Masonry was not made to
To every Mason, WISDOM or INTELLIGENCE, FORCE or STRENGTH,
and HARMONY, or FITNESS and BEAUTY, are the Trinity of the
attributes of God. With the subtleties of Philosophy concerning them
Masonry does not meddle, nor decide as to the reality of the supposed
Existences which are their Personifications: nor whether the Christian
Trinity be such a personification, or a Reality of the gravest import and
To every Mason, the Infinite justice and Benevolence of God give ample
assurance that Evil will ultimately be dethroned, and the Good, the True,
and the Beautiful reign triumphant and eternal. It teaches, as it feels and
knows, that Evil, and Pain, and Sorrow exist as part of a wise and
beneficent plan, all the parts of which work together under God's eye to a
result which shall be perfection. Whether the existence of evil is rightly
explained in this creed or in that, by Typhon the Great Serpent, by
Ahriman and his Armies of Wicked Spirits, by the Giants and Titans that
war against Heaven, by the two co-existent Principles of Good and Evil,
by Satan's temptation and the fall of Man, by Lok and the Serpent Fenris,
it is beyond the domain of Masonry to decide, nor does it need to inquire.
Nor is it within its Province to determine how the ultimate triumph of Light
and Truth and Good, over Darkness and Error and Evil, is to be achieved;
nor whether the Redeemer, looked and longed for by all nations, hath
appeared in Judea, or is yet to come.
It reverences all the great reformers. It sees in Moses, the Lawgiver of the
Jews, in Confucius and Zoroaster, in Jesus of Nazareth, and in the
Arabian Iconoclast, Great Teachers of Morality, and Eminent Reformers, if
no more: and allows every brother of the Order to assign to each such
higher and even Divine Character as his Creed and Truth require.
Thus Masonry disbelieves no truth, and teaches unbelief in no creed,
except so far as such creed may lower its lofty estimate of the Deity,
degrade Him to the level of the passions of humanity, deny the high
destiny of man, impugn the goodness and benevolence of the Supreme
God, strike at those great columns of Masonry, Faith, Hope, and Charity,
or inculcate immorality, and disregard of the active duties of the Order.
Masonry is a worship; but one in which all civilized men can unite; for it
does not undertake to explain or dogmatically to settle those great
mysteries, that are above the feeble comprehension of our human
intellect. It trusts in God, and HOPES; it BELIEVES, like a child, and is
humble. It draws no sword to compel others to adopt its belief, or to be
happy with its hopes. Arid it WAITS with patience to understand the
mysteries of Nature and Nature's God hereafter.
The greatest mysteries in the Universe are those which are ever going on
around us; so trite and common to us that we never note them nor reflect
upon them. Wise men tell us of the laws that regulate the motions of the
spheres, which, flashing in huge circles and spinning on their axes, are
also ever darting with inconceivable rapidity through the infinities of
Space; while we atoms sit here, and dream that all was made for us. They
tell us learnedly of centripetal and centrifugal forces, gravity and
attraction, and all the other sounding terms invented to hide a want of
meaning. There are other forces in the Universe than those that are
Here are two minute seeds, not much unlike in appearance, and two of
larger size. Hand them to the learned Pundit, Chemistry, who tells us how
combustion goes on in the lungs, and plants are fed with phosphorus and
carbon, and the alkalies and silex. Let her decompose them, analyze
them, torture them in all the ways she knows. The net result of each is a
little sugar, a little fibrin, a little water - carbon, potassium, sodium, and
the like - one cares not to know what.
We hide them in the ground: and the slight rains moisten them, and the
Sun shines upon them, and little slender shoots spring up and grow; - and
what a miracle is the mere growth! - the force, the power, the capacity by
which the little feeble shoot, that a small worm can nip off with a single
snap of its mandibles, extracts from the earth and air and water the
different elements, so learnedly catalogued, with which it increases in
stature, and rises imperceptibly toward the sky.
One grows to be a slender, fragile, feeble stalk, soft of texture, like an
ordinary weed; another a strong bush, of woody fibre, armed with thorns,
and sturdy enough to bid defiance to the winds : the third a tender tree,
subject to be blighted by the frost, and looked down upon by all the forest;
while another spreads its
rugged arms abroad, and cares for neither frost nor ice, nor the snows that
for months lie around its roots.
But lo! out of the brown foul earth, and colorless invisible air, and limpid
rain-water, the chemistry of the seeds has extracted colors - four different
shades of green, that paint the leaves which put forth in the spring upon our
plants, our shrubs, and our trees. Later still come the flowers - the vivid
colors of the rose, the beautiful brilliance of the carnation, the modest blush
of the apple, and the splendid white of the orange. Whence come the colors
of the leaves and flowers? By what process of chemistry are they extracted
from the carbon, the phosphorus, and the lime? Is it any greater miracle to
make something out of nothing?
Pluck the flowers. Inhale the delicious perfumes; each perfect, and all
delicious. Whence have they come? By what combination of acids and
alkalies could the chemist's laboratory produce them?
And now on two comes the fruit - the ruddy apple and the golden orange.
Pluck them - open them! The texture and fabric how totally different! The
taste how entirely dissimilar - the perfume of each distinct from its flower
and from the other. Whence the taste and this new perfume? The same
earth and air and water have been made to furnish a different taste to each
fruit, a different perfume not only to each fruit, but to each fruit and its own
Is it any more a problem whence come thought and will and perception and
all the phenomena of the mind, than this, whence come the colors, the
perfumes, the taste, of the fruit and flower?
And lo! in each fruit new seeds, each gifted with the same wondrous power
of reproduction - each with the same wondrous forces wrapped up in it to
be again in turn evolved. Forces that had lived three thousand years in the
grain of wheat found in the wrappings of an Egyptian mummy; forces of
which learning and science and wisdom know no more than they do of the
nature and laws of action of God. What can we know of the nature, and
how can we understand the powers and mode of operation of the human
soul, when the glossy leaves, the pearl-white flower, and the golden fruit of
the orange are miracles wholly beyond our comprehension?
We but hide our ignorance in a cloud of words; - and the words too often are
mere combinations of sounds without any meaning.
What is the centrifugal force? A tendency to go in a particular direction! What
external "force," then, produces that tendency?
What force draws the needle round to the north? What force moves the muscle
that raises the arm, when the will determines it shall rise? Whence comes the
will itself? Is it spontaneous - a first cause, or an effect? These too are miracles;
inexplicable as the creation, or the existence and self-existence of God.
Who will explain to us the passion, the peevishness, the anger, the memory, and
affections of the small canary-wren? the consciousness of identity and the
dreams of the dog? the reasoning powers of the elephant? the wondrous
instincts, passions, government, and civil policy, and modes of communication of
ideas of the ant and bee?
Who has yet made us to understand, with all his learned words, how heat comes
to us from the Sun, and light from the remote Stars, setting out upon its journey
earth-ward from some, at the time the Chaldeans commenced to build the Tower
of Babel? Or how the image of an external object comes to and fixes itself upon
the retina of the eye; and when there, how that mere empty, unsubstantial image
becomes transmuted into the wondrous thing that we call SIGHT? Or how the
waves of the atmosphere striking upon the tympanum of the ear - those thin,
invisible waves - produce the equally wondrous phenomenon of HEARING, and
become the roar of the tornado, the crash of the thunder, the mighty voice of the
ocean, the chirping of the cricket, the delicate sweet notes and exquisite trills
and variations of the wren and mocking-bird, or the magic melody of the
instrument of Paganini?
Our senses are mysteries to us, and we are mysteries to ourselves. Philosophy
has taught us nothing as to the nature of our sensations, our perceptions, our
cognizances, the origin of our thoughts and ideas, but words. By no effort or
degree of reflection, never so long continued, can man become conscious of a
personal identity in himself, separate and distinct from his body and his brain.
We torture ourselves in the effort to gain an idea of ourselves, and weary with
the exertion. Who has yet made us understand how, from the contact with a
foreign body, the image in the eye, the wave of air impinging on the ear,
particular particles entering the nostrils, and coming in contact with the palate,
come sensations in the nerves, and from that, perception in the mind, of the
animal or the man?
What do we know of Substance? Men even doubt yet whether it exists.
Philosophers tell us that our senses make known to us only the attributes of
substance, extension, hardness, color, and the like; but not the thing itself that is
extended, solid, black or white; as we know the attributes of the Soul, its
thoughts and its perceptions, and not the Soul itself which perceives and thinks.
What a wondrous mystery is there in heat and light, existing, we know not how,
within certain limits, narrow in comparison with infinity, beyond which on every
side stretch out infinite space and the blackness of unimaginable darkness, and
the intensity of inconceivable cold! Think only of the mighty Power required to
maintain warmth and light in the central point of such an infinity, to whose
darkness that of Midnight, to whose cold that of the last Arctic Island is nothing.
And yet GOD is everywhere.
And what a mystery are the effects of heat and cold upon the wondrous fluid that
we call water! What a mystery lies hidden in every flake of snow and in every
crystal of ice, and in their final transformation into the invisible vapor that rises
from the ocean or the land, and floats above the summits of the mountains!
What a multitude of wonders, indeed, has chemistry unveiled to our eyes! Think
only that if some single law enacted by God were at once repealed, that of
attraction or affinity or cohesion, for example, the whole material world, with its
solid granite and adamant, its veins of gold and silver, its trap and porphyry, its
huge beds of coal, our own frames and the very ribs and bones of this
apparently indestructible earth, would instantaneously dissolve, with all Suns
and Stars and Worlds throughout all the Universe of God, into a thin invisible
vapor of infinitely minute particles or atoms, diffused throughout infinite space;
and with them light and heat would disappear; unless the Deity Himself be, as
the Ancient Persians thought, the Eternal Light and the Immortal Fire.
The mysteries of the Great Universe of God! How can we with our limited mental
vision expect to grasp and comprehend them! Infinite SPACE, stretching out
from us every way, without limit: infinite TIME, without beginning or end; and
WE, HERE, and NOW, in the centre of each! An infinity of suns, the nearest of
which only diminish in size, viewed with the most powerful telescope: each with
its retinue of worlds; infinite numbers of such suns, so remote from us that their
light would not reach us, journeying during an infinity of time, while the light that
reached us, from some that we seem to see, has been upon its journey for
fifty centuries: our world spinning upon its axis, and rushing ever in its
circuit round the sun; and it, the sun, and all our system revolving round
some great central point; and that, and suns, stars, and worlds evermore
flashing onward with incredible rapidity through illimitable space: and
then, in every drop of water that we drink, in every morsel of much of our
food, in the air, in the earth, in the sea, incredible multitudes of living
creatures, invisible to the naked eye, of a minuteness beyond belief, yet
organized, living, feeding, perhaps with consciousness of identity, and
memory and instinct.
Such are some of the mysteries of the great Universe of God. And yet we,
whose life and that of the world on which we live form but a point in the
centre of infinite Time: we, who nourish animalculę within, and on whom
vegetables grow without, would fain learn how God created this Universe,
would understand His Powers, His Attributes, His Emanations, His Mode
of Existence and of Action; would fain know the plan according to which
all events proceed, that plan profound as God Himself; would know the
laws by which He controls His Universe; would fain see and talk to Him
face to face, as man talks to man: and we try not to believe, because we
do not understand.
He commands us to love one another, to love our neighbor as ourself;
and we dispute and wrangle, and hate and slay each other, because we
cannot be of one opinion as to the Essence of His Nature, as to His
Attributes; whether He became man born of a woman, and was crucified;
whether the Holy Ghost is of the same substance with the Father, or only
of a similar substance; whether a feeble old man is God's Vicegerent;
whether some are elected from all eternity to be saved, and others to be
condemned and punished; whether punishment of the wicked after death
is to be eternal; whether this doctrine or the other be heresy or truth;-
drenching the world with blood, depopulating realms, and turning fertile
lands into deserts; until, for religious war, persecution, and bloodshed, the
Earth for many a century has rolled round the Sun, a charnel-house,
steaming and reeking with human gore, the blood of brother slain by
brother for opinion's sake, that has soaked into and polluted all her veins,
and made her a horror to her sisters of the Universe.
And if men were all Masons, and obeyed with all their heart
her mild and gentle, teachings, that world would be a paradise; while
intolerance and persecution make of it a hell. For this is the Masonic
Creed: BELIEVE, in God's Infinite Benevolence, Wisdom, and Justice:
HOPE, for the final triumph of Good over Evil, and for Perfect Harmony as
the final result of all the concords and discords of the Universe: and be
CHARITABLE as God is, toward the unfaith, the errors, the follies, and
the faults of men: for all make one great brotherhood.
Sen.·. W.·. Brother Junior Warden, are you a Prince of Mercy?
Jun.·. W.·. I have seen the Delta and the Holy NAMES upon it, and am an
AMETH like yourself, in the TRIPLE COVENANT, Of which we bear the
Qu.·. What is the first Word upon the Delta?
Ans.·. The Ineffable Name of Deity, the true mystery of which is known to
the Ameth alone.
Qu.·. What do the three sides of the Delta denote to us?
Ans.·. To us, and to all Masons, the three Great Attributes or
Developments of the Essence of the Deity; WISDOM, or the Reflective
and Designing Power, in which, when there was naught but God, the Plan
and Idea of the Universe was shaped and Formed: FORCE, or the
Executing and Creating Power, which instantaneously acting, realized the
Type and Idea framed by Wisdom; and the Universe, and all Stars and
Worlds, and Light and Life, and Men and Angels and all living creatures
WERE; and HARMONY, or the Preserving Power, Order, and Beauty,
maintaining the Universe in its State, and constituting the law of Harmony,
Motion, Proportion, and Progression:- WISDOM, which thought the plan;
STRENGTH, which created: HARMONY, which upholds and preserves:-
the Masonic Trinity, three Powers and one Essence: the three columns
which support the Universe, Physical, Intellectual, and Spiritual, of which
every Masonic Lodge is a type and symbol:- while to the Christian Mason,
they represent the Three that bear record in Heaven, the FATHER
WORD, and the HOLY SPIRIT, which three are ONE.
Qu.·. What do the three Greek letters upon the Delta, I.·.H.·. .·. [Iota, Eta,
and Sigma] represent?
Ans.·. Three of the Names of the Supreme Deity among the Syrians.
Phnicians and Hebrews
. IHUH [ ] Self-Ex
istence ... AL [ ] the Nature-God, or Soul of the Universe... SHADAI
[ ] Supreme Power. Also three of the Six Chief Attributes of God,
among the Kabbalists:- WISDOM [IEH], the Intellect, ( ) of the
Egyptians, the Word ( ) of the Platonists, and the Wisdom ( ) of the
Gnostics: MAGNIFICENCE [AL], the Symbol of which was the Lion's
Head: and VICTORY and GLORY [Tsabaoth], which are the two columns
JACHIN and BOAZ, that stand in the Portico of the Temple of Masonry.
To the Christian Mason they are the first three letters of the name of the
Son of God, Who died upon the cross to redeem mankind.
Qu.·. What is the first of the THREE COVENANTS, of which we bear the
Ans.·. That which God made with Noah; when He said, "I will not again
curse the earth any more for man's sake, neither will I smite any more
everything living as I have done. While the Earth remaineth, seed-time
and harvest, and cold and heat, and Winter and Summer, and day and
night shall not cease. I will establish My covenant with you, and with your
seed after you, and with every living creature. All mankind shall no more
be cut off by the waters of a flood, nor shall there any more be a flood to
destroy the earth. This is the token of My covenant: I do set My bow in the
cloud, and it shall be for a token of a covenant between Me and the earth:
an everlasting covenant between Me and every living creature on the
Qu.·. What is the second of the Three Covenants?
Ans.·. That which God made with Abraham; when He said, "I am the
Absolute Uncreated God. I will make My covenant between Me and thee,
and thou shalt be the Father of Many Nations, and Kings shall come from
thy loins. I will establish My covenant between Me and thee, and thy
descendants after thee, to the remotest generations, for an everlasting
covenant; and I will be thy God and their God, and will give thee the land
of Canaan for an everlasting possession."
Qu.·. What is the third Covenant?
Ans.·. That which God made with all men by His prophets; when He said:
"I will gather all nations and tongues, and they shall come and see My
Glory. I will create new Heavens and a new earth; and the former shall not
be remembered, nor come into mind. The Sun shall no more shine by
day, nor the Moon by night; but the Lord shall be an everlasting light and
His Spirit and His Word shall remain with men forever. The heavens shall
vanish away like vapor, and the earth shall wax old like a garment, and
they that dwell therein shall die; but my salvation shall be forever, and my
righteousness shall not end; and there shall be Light among the Gentiles,
and salvation unto the ends of the earth. The redeemed of the Lord shall
return, and everlasting joy be on their heads, and sorrow and mourning
shall flee away."
Qu.·. What is the symbol of the Triple Covenant?
Ans.·. The Triple Triangle.
Qu.·. Of what else is it the symbol to us?
Ans.·. Of the Trinity of Attributes of the Deity; and of the triple essence of
Man, the Principle of Life, the Intellectual Power, and the Soul or Immortal
Emanation from the Deity.
Qu.·. What is the first great Truth of the Sacred Mysteries?
Ans.·. No man hath seen God at any time. He is One, Eternal, All-
Powerful, All-Wise, Infinitely just, Merciful, Benevolent, and
Compassionate, Creator and Preserver of all things, the Source of Light
and Life, coextensive with Time and Space; Who thought, and with the
Thought created the Universe and all living things, and the souls of men:
THAT IS: - the PERMANENT; while everything beside is a perpetual
Qu.·. '"That is the second great Truth of the Sacred Mysteries?
Ans.·. The Soul of Man is Immortal; not the result of organization, nor an
aggregate of modes of action of matter, nor a succession of phenomena
and perceptions; but an EXISTENCE, one and identical, a living spirit, a
spark of the Great Central Light, that hath entered info and dwells in the
body; to be separated therefrom at death, and return to God who gave it:
that doth not disperse nor vanish at death, like breath or a smoke, nor can
be annihilated; but still exists and possesses activity and intelligence,
even as it existed in God, before it was enveloped in the body.
Qu.·. What is the third great Truth in Masonry?
Ans.·. The impulse which directs to right conduct, and deters from crime,
is not only older than the ages of nations and cities, but coeval with that
Divine Being Who sees and rules both Heaven and earth. Nor did Tarquin
less violate that Eternal Law, though in his reign there might have been
no written law at Rome against such violence; for the principle that impels
us to right conduct, and warns us against guilt, springs out of the nature
of things. It did not begin to be law when it was first written, nor
was it originated; but it is coeval with the Divine Intelligence itself. The
consequence of virtue is not to be made the end thereof ; and laudable
performances must have deeper roots, motives, and instigations, to give
them the stamp of virtues.
Qu.·. What is the fourth great Truth in Masonry?
Ans.·. The moral truths are as absolute as the metaphysical truths. Even
the Deity cannot make it that there should be effects without a cause, or
phenomena without substance. As little could he make it to be sinful and
evil to respect our pledged word, to love truth, to moderate our passions.
The principles of Morality are axioms, like the principles of Geometry. The
moral laws are the necessary relations that flow from the nature of things,
and they are not created by, but have existed eternally in God. Their
continued existence does not depend upon the exercise of His WILL.
Truth and Justice are of His ESSENCE. Not because we are feeble and
God omnipotent, is it our duty to obey His law. We may be forced, but are
not under obligation, to obey the stronger. God is the principle of Morality,
but not by His mere will, which, abstracted from all other of His attributes,
would be neither just nor unjust. Good is the expression of His will, in so
far as that will is itself the expression of eternal, absolute, uncreated
justice, which is in God, which His will did not create; but which it
executes and promulgates, as our will proclaims and promulgates and
executes the idea of the good which is in us. He has given us the law of
Truth and justice; but He has not arbitrarily instituted that law. justice is
inherent in His will, because it is contained in His intelligence and
wisdom, in His very nature and most intimate essence.
Qu.·. What is the fifth great Truth in Masonry?
Ans.·. There is an essential distinction between Good and Evil, what is
just and what is unjust; and to this distinction is attached, for every
intelligent and free creature, the absolute obligation of conforming to what
is good and just. Man is an intelligent and free being, - free, because he is
conscious that it is his duty, and because it is made his duty, to obey the
dictates of truth and justice, and therefore he must necessarily have the
power of doing so, which involves the power of not doing so; - capable of
comprehending the distinction between good and evil, justice and
injustice, and the obligation which accompanies it, and of naturally
adhering to that obligation, independently of any con-
tract or positive law; capable also of resisting the temptations which urge
him toward evil and injustice, and of complying with the sacred law of
That man is not governed by a resistless Fate or inexorable Destiny; but
is free to choose between the evil and the good: that justice and Right,
the Good and Beautiful, are of the essence of the Divinity, like His
Infinitude; and therefore they are laws to man: that we are conscious of
our freedom to act, as we are conscious of our identity, and the
continuance and connectedness of our existence; and have the same
evidence of one as of the other; and if we can put one in doubt, we have
no certainty of either, and everything is unreal: that we can deny our free
will and free agency, only upon the ground that they are in the nature of
things impossible; which would be to deny the Omnipotence of God.
Qu.·. What is the sixth great Truth of Masonry?
Ans.·. The necessity of practising the moral truths, is obligation. The
moral truths, necessary in the eye of reason, are obligatory on the will.
The moral obligation, like the moral truth that is its foundation, is absolute.
As the necessary truths are not more or less necessary, so the obligation
is not more or less obligatory. There are degrees of importance among
different obligations; but none in the obligation itself. We are not nearly
obliged, almost obliged. We are wholly so, or not at all. If there be any
place of refuge to which we can escape from the obligation, it ceases to
exist. If the obligation is absolute, it is immutable and universal. For if that
of to-day may not be that of to-morrow, if what is obligatory on me may not
be obligatory on you, the obligation would differ from itself, and be
variable and contingent. This fact is the principle of all morality. That
every act contrary to right and justice, deserves to be repressed by force,
and punished when committed, equally in the absence of any law or
contract: that man naturally recognizes the distinction between the merit
and demerit of actions, as he does that between justice and injustice,
honesty and dishonesty; and feels, without being taught, and in the
absence of law or contract, that it is wrong for vice to be rewarded or go
unpunished, and for virtue to be punished or left unrewarded: and that,
the Deity being infinitely just and good, it must follow as a necessary and
inflexible law that punishment shall be the result of Sin, its inevitable and
natural effect and corollary, and not a mere arbitrary vengeance.
Qu.·. What is the seventh great Truth in Masonry?
Ans.·. The immutable law of God requires, that besides respecting the
absolute rights of others, and being merely just, we should do good, be
charitable, and obey the dictates of the generous and noble sentiments of
the soul. Charity is a law, because our conscience is not satisfied nor at
ease if we have not relieved the suffering, the distressed, and the
destitute. It is to give that which he to whom you give has no right to take
or demand. To be charitable is obligatory on us. We are the Almoners of
God's bounties. But the obligation is not so precise and inflexible as the
obligation to be just. Charity knows neither rule nor limit. It goes beyond
all obligation. Its beauty consists in its liberty. "He that loveth not, knoweth
not God; FOR GOD IS LOVE. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us,
and His love is perfected in us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love,
dwelleth in God, and God in him." To be kindly affectioned one to another
with brotherly love; to relieve the necessities of the needy, and be
generous, liberal, and hospitable; to return to no man evil for evil ; to
rejoice at the good fortune of others, and sympathize with them in their
sorrows and reverses; to live peaceably with all men, and repay injuries
with benefits and kindness; these are the sublime dictates of the Moral
Law, taught from the infancy of the world, by Masonry.
Qu.·. What is the eighth great Truth in Masonry?
Ans.·. That the law which control and regulate the Universe of God, are
those of motion and harmony. We see only the isolated, incidents of
things, and with our feeble and limited capacity and, vision cannot discern
their connection, nor the mighty chords, that make the apparent discord
perfect harmony. Evil is merely apparent, and all is in reality good and
perfect. For pain and sorrow, persecution and hardships, affliction and
destitution, sickness and death are but the means, by which alone the
noblest, virtues could be developed. Without them, and without sin and
error, and wrong and outrage, as there can be no effect without an
adequate cause, there could be neither patience under suffering and
distress; nor prudence in difficulty; nor temperance to avoid excess; nor
courage to meet danger; nor truth, when to speak the truth is hazardous;
nor love, when it is met with ingratitude; nor charity for the needy and
destitute; nor forbearance and forgiveness of injuries; nor toleration of
erroneous opinions; nor charitable judgment and construction of men's
actions; nor patriotism, nor heroism, nor honor, nor self-denial, nor
generosity. These and most other virtues and excellencies would have no
existence, and even their names be unknown; and the poor virtues that
still existed, would scarce deserve the name; for life would be one flat,
dead, low level, above which none of the lofty elements of human nature
would emerge; and man would lie lapped in contented indolence and
idleness, a mere worthless negative, instead of the brave, strong soldier
against the grim legions of Evil and rude Difficulty.
Qu.·. What is the ninth great Truth in Masonry?
Ans.·. The great leading doctrine of this Degree;- that the JUSTICE, the
WISDOM, and the MERCY of God are alike infinite, alike perfect, and yet
do not in the least jar nor conflict one with the other; but form a Great
Perfect Trinity of Attributes, three and yet one: that, the principle of merit
and demerit being absolute, and every good action deserving to be
rewarded, and every bad one to be punished, and God being as just as
He is good; and yet the cases constantly recurring in this world, in which
crime and cruelty, oppression, tyranny, and injustice are prosperous,
happy, fortunate, and self-contented, and rule and reign, and enjoy all the
blessings of God's beneficence, while the virtuous and good are
unfortunate, miserable, destitute, pining away in dungeons, perishing with
cold, and famishing with hunger, slaves of oppression, and instruments
and victims of the miscreants that govern; so that this world, if there were
no existence beyond it, would be one great theatre of wrong and injustice,
proving God wholly disregardful of His own necessary law of merit and
demerit; - it follows that there must be another life in which these apparent
wrongs shall be repaired: That all the powers of man's soul tend to
infinity; and his indomitable instinct of immortality, and the universal hope
of another life, testified by all creeds, all poetry, all traditions, establish its
certainty; for man is not an orphan; but hath a Father near at hand: and
the day must come when Light and Truth, and the just and Good shall be
victorious, and Darkness, Error, Wrong, and Evil be annihilated, and
known no more forever: That the Universe is one great Harmony, in
which, according to the faith of all nations, deep-rooted in all hearts in the
primitive ages, Light will ultimately prevail over Darkness, and the Good
Principle over the Evil: and the myriad souls that have emanated from the
Divinity, purified and ennobled by the struggle
here below, will again return to perfect bliss in the bosom of God, to offend
against Whose laws will then be no longer possible.
Qu.·. What, then, is the one great lesson taught to us, as Masons, in this
Ans.·. That to that state and realm of Light and Truth and Perfection, which
is absolutely certain, all the good men on earth are tending; and if there is a
law from whose operation none are exempt, which inevitably conveys their
bodies to darkness and to dust, there is another not less certain nor less
powerful, which conducts their spirits to that state of Happiness and
Splendor and Perfection, the bosom of their Father and their God. The
wheels of Nature are not made to roll backward. Everything presses on to
Eternity. From the birth of Time an impetuous current has set in, which
bears all the sons of men toward that interminable ocean. Meanwhile,
Heaven is attracting to itself whatever is cogenial to its nature, is enriching
itself by the spoils of the Earth, and collecting within its capacious bosom
whatever is pure, permanent, and divine, leaving nothing for the last fire to
consume but the gross matter that creates concupiscence; while everything
fit for that good fortune shall be gathered and selected from the ruins of the
world, to adorn that Eternal City.
Let every Mason then obey the voice that calls him thither. Let us seek the
things that are above, and be not content with a world that must shortly
perish, and which we must speedily quit, while we neglect to prepare for
that in which we are invited to dwell forever. While everything within us and
around us reminds us of the approach of death, and concurs to teach us
that this is., not our rest, let us hasten our preparations for another world,
and earnestly implore that help and strength from our Father, which alone
can put an end to that fatal war which our desires have too long waged with
our destiny. When these move in the same, direction, and that which God's
will renders unavoidable shall become our choice, all things will be ours;
life will be divested of its vanity, and death disarmed of its terrors.
Qu.·. What are the symbols of the purification necessary to make us perfect
Ans.·. Lavation with pure water, or baptism; because to cleanse the body is
emblematical of purifying the soul; and because it conduces to the bodily
health, and virtue is the health of the soul, as sin and vice are its malady
and sickness:- unction, or anoint-
ing with oil; because thereby we are set apart and dedicated to the
service and priesthood of the Beautiful, the True, and the Good:- and
robes of white, emblems of candor, purity, and truth.
Qu.·. What is to us the chief symbol of man's ultimate redemption and
Ans.·. The fraternal supper, of bread which nourishes, and of wine which
refreshes and exhilarates, symbolical of the time which is to come, when
all mankind shall be one great harmonious brotherhood; and teaching us
these great lessons: that as matter changes ever, but no single atom is
annihilated, it is not rational to suppose that the far nobler soul does not
continue to exist beyond the grave: that many thousands who have died
before us might claim to be joint owners with ourselves of the particles
that compose our mortal bodies; for matter ever forms new combinations;
and the bodies of the ancient dead, the patriarchs before and since the
flood, the kings and common people of all ages, resolved into their
constituent elements, are carried upon the wind over all continents, and
continually enter into and form part of the habitations of new souls,
creating new bonds of sympathy and brotherhood between each man that
lives and all his race. And thus, in the bread we eat, and in the wine we
drink to-night may enter into and form part of us the identical particles of
matter that once formed parts of the material bodies called Moses,
Confucius, Plato, Socrates, or Jesus of Nazareth. In the truest sense, we
eat and drink the bodies of the dead; and cannot say that there is a single
atom of our blood or body, the ownership of which some other soul might
not dispute with us. It teaches us also the infinite beneficence of God who
sends us seedtime and harvest each in its season, and makes His
showers to fall and His sun to shine alike upon the evil and the good:
bestowing upon us unsolicited His innumerable blessings, and asking no
return. For there are no angels stationed upon the watchtowers of
creation to call the world to prayer and sacrifice; but He bestows His
benefits in silence, like a kind friend who comes at night, and, leaving his
gifts at the door, to be found by us in the morning, goes quietly away and
asks no thanks, nor ceases his kind offices for our ingratitude. And thus
the bread and wine teach us that our Mortal Body is no more WE than the
house in which we live, or the garments that we wear; but the Soul is I,
the ONE, identical, unchangeable, immortal emanation from the Diety, to
return to God and be forever happy, in His good time; as our mortal
bodies, dissolving, return to the elements from which they came, their
particles coining and going ever in perpetual genesis. To our Jewish
Brethren, this supper is symbolical of the Passover: to the Christian
Mason, of that eaten by Christ and His Disciples, when, celebrating the
Passover, He broke bread and gave it to them, saying, "Take! eat! this is
My body:" and giving them the cup, He said, "Drink ye all of it! for this is
My blood of the New Testament, which is shed for many for the remission
of sins;" thus symbolizing the perfect harmony and union between Himself
and the faithful; and His death upon the cross for the salvation of man.
The history of Masonry is the history of Philosophy. Masons do not
pretend to set themselves up for instructors of the human race: but,
though Asia produced and preserved the Mysteries, Masonry has, in
Europe and America, given regularity to their doctrines, spirit, and action,
and developed the moral advantages which mankind may reap from them.
More consistent, and more simple in its mode of procedure, it has put an
end to the vast allegorical pantheon of ancient mythologies, and itself
become a science.
None can deny that Christ taught a lofty morality. "Love one another:
forgive those that despitefully use you and persecute you: be pure of
heart, meek, humble, contented: lay not up riches on earth, but in
Heaven: submit to the powers lawfully over you: become like these little
children, or ye cannot be saved, for of such is the Kingdom of Heaven:
forgive the repentant; and cast no stone at the sinner, if you too have
sinned: do unto others as ye would have others do unto you:" such, and
not abstruse questions of theology, were His simple and sublime
The early Christians followed in His footsteps. The first preachers of the
faith had no thought of domination. Entirely animated by His saying, that
he among them should be first, who should serve with the greatest
devotion, they were humble, modest, and charitable, and they knew how
to communicate this spirit of the inner man to the churches under their
direction. These churches were at first but spontaneous meetings of all
Christians inhabiting the same locality. A pure and severe morality,
mingled with religious enthusiasm, was the characteristic of each, and
excited the admiration even of their persecutors. Everything was
in common among them; their property, their joys, and their sorrows. In
the silence of night they met for instruction and to pray together. Their
love-feasts, or fraternal repasts, ended these reunions, in which all
differences in social position and rank were effaced in the presence of a
paternal Divinity. Their sole object was to make men better, by bringing
them back to a simple worship, of which universal morality was the basis;
and to end those numerous and cruel sacrifices which everywhere
inundated with blood the altars of the gods. Thus did Christianity reform
the world, and obey the teachings of its founder. It gave to woman her
proper rank and influence; it regulated domestic life; and by admitting the
slaves to the love-feasts, it by degrees raised them above that oppression
under which half of mankind had groaned for ages.
This, in its purity, as taught by Christ Himself, was the true primitive
religion, as communicated by God to the Patriarchs. It was no new
religion, but the reproduction of the oldest of all; and its true and perfect
morality is the morality of Masonry, as is the morality of every creed of
In the early days of Christianity, there was an initiation like those of the
pagans. Persons were admitted on special conditions only. To arrive at a
complete knowledge of the doctrine, they had to pass three degrees of
instruction. The initiates were consequently divided into three classes; the
first, Auditors, the second, Catechumens, and the third, the Faithful. The
Auditors were a sort of novices, who were prepared by certain
ceremonies and certain instruction to receive the dogmas of Christianity.
A portion of these dogmas was made known to the Catechumens; who,
after particular purifications, received baptism, or the initiation of the
theogenesis (divine generation); but in the grand mysteries of that
religion, the incarnation, nativity, passion, and resurrection of Christ, none
were initiated but the Faithful. These doctrines, and the celebration of the
Holy Sacraments, particularly the Eucharist, were kept with profound
secrecy. These Mysteries were divided into two parts; the first styled the
Mass of the Catechumens; the second, the Mass of the Faithful. The
celebration of the Mysteries of Mithras was also styled a mass; and the
ceremonies used were the same. There were found all the sacraments of
the Catholic Church, even the breath of confirmation. The Priest of
Mithras promised the Initiates deliverance from sin, by means
of confession and baptism, and a future life of happiness or misery. He
celebrated the oblation of bread, image of the resurrection. The baptism
of newly-born children, extreme unction, confession of sins, - all belonged
to the Mithriac rites. The candidate was purified by a species of baptism,
a mark was impressed upon his forehead, he offered bread and water,
pronouncing certain mysterious words.
During the persecutions in the early ages of Christianity, the Christians
took refuge in the vast catacombs which stretched for miles in every
direction under the city of Rome, and are supposed to have been of
Etruscan origin. There, amid labyrinthine windings, deep caverns, hidden
chambers, chapels, and tombs, the persecuted fugitives found refuge,
and there they performed the ceremonies of the Mysteries.
The Basilideans, a sect of Christians that arose soon after the time of the
Apostles, practised the Mysteries, with the old Egyptian legend. They
symbolized Osiris by the Sun, Isis by the Moon, and Typhon by Scorpio;
and wore crystals bearing these emblems, as amulets or talismans to
protect them from danger; upon which were also a brilliant star and the
serpent. They were copied from the talismans of Persia and Arabia, and
given to every candidate, at his initiation.
Irenęaus tells us that the Simonians, one of the earliest sects of the
Gnostics, had a Priesthood of the Mysteries.
Tertullian tells us that the Valentinians, the most celebrated of all the
Gnostic schools, imitated, or rather perverted, the Mysteries of Eleusis.
Irenęaus informs us, in several curious chapters, of the Mysteries
practised by the Marcosians; and Origen gives, much information as to
the Mysteries of the Ophites; and there is no doubt that all the Gnostic
sects had Mysteries and an initiation. They all claimed to possess a
secret doctrine, coming to them directly from Jesus Christ, different from
that of the Gospels and Epistles, and superior to those communications,
which in their eyes, were merely exoteric. This secret doctrine they did not
communicate to every one; and among the extensive sect of the
Basilideans hardly one in a thousand knew it, as we learn from Irenęaus.
We know the name of only the highest class of their Initiates. They were
], and Strangers to the World [ styled Elect or Elus [ ].
They had at lest three Degrees - the Material, the Intellectual, and the
and the lesser and greater Mysteries; and the number of those who attained the
highest Degree was quite small.
Baptism was one of their most important ceremonies; and the Basilideans celebrated
the 10th of January, as the anniversary of the day on which Christ was baptized in
They had the ceremony of laying on of hands, by way of purification; and that of the
mystic banquet, emblem of that to which they believed the Heavenly Wisdom would
]. one day admit them, in the fullness of things [
Their ceremonies were much more like those of the Christians than those of Greece;
but they mingled with them much that was borrowed from the Orient and Egypt: and
taught the primitive truths, mixed with a multitude of fantastic errors and fictions.
The discipline of the secret was the concealment (occultatio) of certain tenets and
ceremonies. So says Clemens of Alexandria.
To avoid persecution, the early Christians were compelled to use great precaution,
and to hold meetings of the Faithful [of the Household of Faith] in private places,
under concealment by darkness, They assembled in the night, and they guarded
against the intrusion of false brethren and profane persons, spies who might cause
their arrest. They conversed together figuratively, and by the use of symbols, lest
cowans and eavesdroppers might overhear: and there existed among them a favored
class, or Order, who were initiated into certain Mysteries which they were bound by
solemn promise not to disclose, or even converse about, except with such as had
received them under the same sanction. They were called Brethren, the Faithful,
Stewards of the Mysteries, Superintendents, Devotees of the Secret, and
In the Hierarchi, attributed to St. Dionysius the Areopagite, the first Bishop of
Athens, the tradition of the sacrament is said to have been divided into three
Degrees, or grades, purification, initiation, and accomplishment or perfection; and it
mentions also, as part of the ceremony, the bringing to sight.
The Apostolic Constitutions, attributed to Clemens, Bishop of Rome, describe the
early church, and say: "These regulations must on no account be communicated to all
sorts of persons, because of the Mysteries contained in them." They speak of the
Deacon's duty to keep the doors, that none uninitiated should enter at the oblation.
Ostiarii, or doorkeepers, kept guard, and gave notice of the time of prayer and churchassemblies;
and also by private
signal, in times of persecution, gave notice to those within, toe able them to avoid
danger. The Mysteries were open to the Fideles or Faithful only; and no spectators
were allowed at the communion.
Tertullian, who died about A. D. 216, says in his Apology: "None are admitted to
the religious Mysteries without an oath of secrecy. We appeal to your Thracian
and Eleusinian Mysteries; and we are especially bound to this caution, because if
we prove faithless, we should not only provoke Heaven, but draw upon our heads
the utmost rigor of human displeasure. And should strangers betray us? They
know nothing but by report and hearsay. Far hence, ye Profane! is the prohibition
from all holy Mysteries."
Clemens, Bishop of Alexandria, born about A.D. 191, says, in his Stromata, that
he cannot explain the Mysteries, because he should thereby, according to the old
proverb, put a sword into the hands of a child. He frequently compares the
Discipline of the Secret with the heathen Mysteries, as to their internal and
Whenever the early Christians happened to be in company with strangers, more
properly termed the Profane, they never spoke of their sacraments, but indicated
to one another what they meant by means of symbols and secret watchwords,
disguisedly, and as by direct communication of mind with mind, and by enigmas.
Origen, born A.D. 134 or 135, answering Celsus, who had objected that the
Christians had a concealed doctrine said: "Inasmuch as the essential and
important doctrines and principles of Christianity are openly taught, it is foolish to
object that there are other things that are recondite; for this is common to Christian
discipline with that of those philosophers in whose teaching some things were
exoteric and some esoteric: and it is enough to say that it was so with some of the
disciples of Pythagoras."
The formula which the primitive church pronounced at the moment of celebrating
its Mysteries, was this: "Depart, ye Profane! Let the Catechumens, and those who
have not been admitted or initiated, go forth."
Archelaus, Bishop of Cascara in Mesopotamia, who, in the year 278, conducted a
controversy with the Manichaeans, said: "These Mysteries the church now
communicates to him who has passed through the introductory Degree. They are
not explained to the Gentiles at all; nor are they taught openly in the hearing of
Catechumens: but much that is spoken is in disguised terms that the
Faithful [ ], who possess the knowledge, may be still more informed,
and those who are not acquainted with it, may suffer no disadvantage."
Cyril, Bishop of Jerusalem, was born in the year 315, and died in 386. In
his Catechesis he says: "The Lord spake in parables to His hearers in
general; but to His disciples He explained in private the parables and
allegories which He spoke in public. The splendor of glory is for those
who are early enlightened: obscurity and darkness are the portion of the
unbelievers and ignorant. Just so the church discovers its Mysteries to
those who have advanced beyond the class of Catechumens: we employ
obscure terms with others."
St. Basil, the Great Bishop of Cęsarea, born in the year 326, and dying in
the year 376, says: "We receive the dogmas transmitted to us by writing,
and those which have descended to us from the Apostles, beneath the
mystery of oral tradition: for several things have been handed to us
without writing, lest the vulgar, too familiar with our dogmas, should lose a
due respect for them. . . . This is what the uninitiated are not permitted to
contemplate; and how should it ever be proper to write and circulate
among the people an account of them?"
St. Gregory Nazianzen, Bishop of Constantinople, A.D. 379, says: "You
have heard as much of the Mystery as we are allowed to speak openly in
the ears of all; the rest will be communicated to you in private; and that
you must retain within yourself.
. Our Mysteries are not to be made
known to strangers."
St. Ambrose, Archbishop of Milan, who was born in 340, and died in 393,
says in his work De Mysteriis: "All the Mystery should be kept concealed,
guarded by faithful silence, lest it should be inconsiderately divulged to
the ears of the Profane . . . . . It is not given to all to contemplate the
depths of our Mysteries
. that they may not be seen by those who ought
not to behold them; nor received by those who cannot preserve them."
And in another work: "He sins against God, who divulges to the unworthy
the Mysteries confided to him. The danger is not merely in violating truth,
but in telling truth, if he allow himself to give hints of them to those from
whom they ought to be concealed Beware of casting pearls before swine!
.... Every Mystery ought to be kept secret; and, as it were, to be covered
over by silence, lest it should rashly
be divulged to the ears of the Profane. Take heed that you do not
incautiously reveal the Mysteries!"
St. Augustine, Bishop of Hippo, who was born in 347, and died in 430, says
in one of his discourses: "Having dismissed the Catechumens, we have
retained you only to be our hearers; because, besides those things which
belong to all Christians in common, we are now to discourse to you of
sublime Mysteries, which none are qualified to hear, but those who, by the
Master's favor, are made partakers of them
.To have taught them openly,
would have been to betray them." And he refers to the Ark of the Covenant,
and says that it signified a Mystery, or secret of God, shadowed over by the
cherubim of glory, and honored by being veiled.
St. Chrysostom and St. Augustine speak of initiation more than fifty times. St.
Ambrose writes to those who are initiated; and initiation was not merely
baptism, or admission into the church, but it referred to initiation into the
Mysteries. To the baptized and initiated the Mysteries of religion were
unveiled; they were kept secret from the Catechumens; who were permitted
to hear the Scriptures read and the ordinary discourses delivered, in which
the Mysteries, reserved for the Faithful, were never treated of. When the
services and prayers were ended, the Catechumens and spectators all
Chrysostom, Bishop of Constantinople, was born in 354, and died in 417. He
says: "I wish to speak openly: but I dare not, on account of those who are not
initiated. I shall therefore avail myself of disguised terms, discoursing in a
shadowy manner ..... Where the holy Mysteries are celebrated, we drive
away all uninitiated persons, and then close the doors." He mentions the
acclamations of the initiated; "which," he says, "I here pass over in silence;
for it is forbidden to disclose such things to the Profane." Palladius, in his life
of Chrysostom, records, as a great outrage, that, a tumult having been
excited against him by his enemies, they forced their way into the penetralia,
where the uninitiated beheld what was not proper for them to see; and
Chrysostom mentions the same circumstance in his epistle to Pope Innocent.
St. Cyril of Alexandria, who was made Bishop in 412, and died in 444, says in
his 7th Book against Julian: "These Mysteries are so profound and so exalted,
that they can be comprehended by those only who are enlightened. I shall
not, therefore, attempt to speak of what is so admirable in them, lest by
discovering them to
the uninitiated, I should offend against the injunction not to give what is
holy to the impure, nor cast pearls before such as cannot estimate their
.. I should say much more, if I were not afraid of being heard by
those who are uninitiated: because men are apt to deride what they do
not understand. And the ignorant, not being aware of the weakness of
their minds, condemn what they ought most to venerate."
Theodoret, Bishop of Cyropolis in Syria, was born in 393, and made
Bishop in 420. In one of his three Dialogues, called the Immutable, he
introduces Orthodoxus, speaking thus: "Answer me, if you please, in
mystical or obscure terms: for perhaps there are some persons present
who are not initiated into the Mysteries." And in his preface to Ezekiel,
tracing up the secret discipline to the commencement of the Christian era,
he says: "These Mysteries are so august, that we ought to keep them with
the greatest caution."
Minucius Felix, an eminent lawyer of Rome, who lived in 212, and wrote a
defence of Christianity, says: "Many of them [the Christians] know each
other by tokens and signs (notis et insignibus), and they form a friendship
for each other, almost before they become acquainted."
The Latin Word, tessera, originally meant a square piece of wood or
stone, used in making tesselated pavements; afterward a tablet on which
anything was written, and then a cube or die. Its most general use was to
designate a piece of metal or wood, square in shape, on which the
watchword of an Army was inscribed; whence tessera came to mean the
watchword itself. There was also a tessera hospitalis, which was a piece
of wood cut into two parts, as a pledge of friendship. Each party kept one
of the parts; and they swore mutual fidelity by Jupiter. To break the
tessera was considered a dissolution of the friendship. The early
Christians used it as a Mark, the watchword of friendship. With them it
was generally in the shape of a fish, and made of bone. On its face was
inscribed the word , a fish, the initials of which represented the Greek
words, ; Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Saviour.
St. Augustine (de Fide et Svmbolis) says: "This is the faith which in a few
words is given to the Novices to be kept by a symbol; these few words are
known to all the Faithful; that by believing they may be submissive to
God; by being thus submissive, they
may live rightly; by living rightly, they may purify their hearts and with a pure heart
may understand what they believe."
Maximus Taurinus says: "The tessera is a symbol and sign by which to distinguish
between the Faithful and the Profane."
There are three Degrees in Blue Masonry; and in addition to the two words of two
syllables each, embodying the binary, three, of three syllables each. There were
three Grand Masters, the two Kings, and Khir-Om the Artificer. The candidate gains
admission by three raps, and three raps call up the Brethren. There are three
principal officers of the Lodge, three lights at the Altar, three gates -of the Temple,
all in the East, West, and South. The three lights represent the Sun, the Moon, and
Mercury; Osiris, Isis, and Horus; the Father, the Mother, and the Child; Wisdom,
Strength, and Beauty; Hakamah, Binah, and Daath; Gedulah, Geburah, nd
Tepareth. The candidate makes three circuits of the Lodge: there were three
assassins of Khir-Om, and he was slain by three blows while seeking to escape by
the three gates of the Temple. The ejaculation at his grave was repeated three
times. There are three* divisions of the Temple, and three, five, and seven Steps. A
Master works with Chalk, Charcoal, and a vessel of Clay; there are -.hree movable
and three immovable jewels. The Triangle appears among the Symbols: the two
parallel lines enclosing the circle are connected at top, as are the Columns Jachin
and Boaz, symbolizing the equilibrium which explains the great Mysteries of Nature.
This continual reproduction of the number three is not accidental, nor without a
profound meaning: and we shall find the same repeated in all the Ancient
The Egyptian Gods formed Triads, the third member in each proceeding from the
other two. Thus we have the Triad of Thebes, Amun, Maut, and Kharso; that of
Philae, Osiris, Isis, and Horus; that of Elephantinė and the Cataracts, Neph, Sate,
Osiris, Isis, and Horus were the Father, Mother, and Son; the latter being Light, the
Soul of the World, the Son, the Protogonos or First-Begotten.
Sometimes this Triad was regarded as SPIRIT, or the active Principle or Generative
Power; MATTER, or the PASSIVE Principle or Productive Capacity; and the
Universe, which proceeds from the two Principles.
We also find in Egypt this Triad or Trinity; Ammon-Ra, the Creator: Osiris-Ra. the
Giver of Fruitfulness: Horus-Ra the
Queller of Light; symbolized by the Summer, Autumn, and Spring Sun. For the
Egyptians had but three Seasons, the three gates of the Temple; and on account of
the different effects of the Sun on those three Seasons, the Deity appears in these
The Phoenician Trinity was Ulomos, Chusoros, and the Egg out of which the Universe
The Chaldean Triad consisted of Bel, [the Persian Zervana Akherana], Oromasdes,
and Ahriman; the Good and Evil Principle alike outflowing from the Father, by their
equilibrium and alternating preponderance to produce harmony. Each was to rule, in
turn, for equal periods, until finally the Evil Principle should itself become good.
The Chaldean and Persian oracles of Zoroaster give us the Triad, Fire, Light, and
Orpheus celebrates the Triad of Phanes, Ouranos, and Kronos. Corry says the Orphic
Trinity consisted of Metis, Phanes, and Ericapaeus; Will, Light or Love, and Life.
Acusilaus makes it consist of Metis, Eros, and Ęther: Will, Love, and Ether.
Phereycides of Syros, of Fire, Water, and Air or Spirit. In the two former we readily
recognize Osiris and Isis, the Sun and the Nile.
The first three of the Persian Amshaspands were BAHMAN, the Lord of LIGHT;
Ardibehest, the Lord Of FIRE; and Shariver, the Lord of SPLENDOR. These at once
lead us back to the Kabala.
Plutarch says: "The better and diviner nature consists of three; the Intelligible (i.e. that
and which exists within the Intellect only as yet), and Matter; , and that
which proceeds from these, which the Greeks call Kosmos: of which Plato calls the
Intelligible, the Idea, the Exemplar, the Father: Matter, the Mother, the Nurse, and the
receptacle and place of generation: and the issue of these two, the Offspring and
The Pythagorean fragments say: "Therefore, before the Heaven was made, there
existed Idea and Matter, and God the Demiourgos [workman or active instrument], of
the former. He made the world out of matter, perfect, only-begotten, with a soul and
intellect, and constituted it a divinity."
Plato gives us Thought, the Father; Primitive Matter, the Mother; and Kosmos, the
Son, the issue of the two Principles. Kosmos is the ensouled Universe.
With the later Platonists, the Triad was Potence, Intellect, and Spirit, Philo represents
Sanchoniathon's as Fire, Light, and
Flame, the three Sons of Genos; but this is the Alexandrian, not the
Aurelius says the Demiourgos or Creator is triple, and the three Intellects
are the three Kings: He who exists; He who possesses; He who beholds.
The first is that which exists by its essence; the second exists in the first,
and contains or possesses in itself the Universal of things; all that
afterward becomes: the third beholds this Universal, formed and
fashioned intellectually, and so having a separate existence. The Third
exists in the Second, and the Second in the First.
The most ancient Trinitarian doctrine on record is that of the Brahmins.
The Eternal Supreme Essence, called PARABRAHMA, BRAHM,
PARATMA, produced the Universe by self-reflection, and first revealed
himself as BRAHMA, the Creating Power, then as VISHNU, the
Preserving Power, and lastly as SIVA, the Destroying and Renovating
Power; the three Modes in which the Supreme Essence reveals himself in
the material Universe; but which soon to be regarded as three distinct
Deities. These three Deities came they styled the TRIMURTI, or TRIAD.
The Persians received from the Indians the doctrine of the three
principles, and changed it to that of a principle of Life, which was
individualized by the Sun, and a principle of Death, which was symbolized
by cold and darkness; parallel of the moral world; and in which the
continual and alternating struggle between light and darkness, life and
death, seemed but a phase of the great struggle between the good and
evil principles, embodied in the legend of ORMUZD and AHRIMAN.
MITHRAS, a Median reformer, was deified after his death, and invested
with the attributes of the Sun; the different astronomical phenomena being
figuratively detailed as actual incidents of his life; in the same manner as
the history of BUDDHA was invented among the Hindüs.
The Trinity of the Hindüs became among the Ethiopians and Abyssinians
NEPH-AMON, PHTHA, and NEITH - the God CREATOR, whose emblem
was a ram - MATTER, or the primitive mud, symbolized by a globe or an
egg, and THOUGHT, or the LIGHT which contains the germ of everything;
triple manifestation of one and the same God (ATHOM), considered in
three aspects, as the creative power, goodness, and wisdom. Other
Deities were speedily invented; and among them OSTRIS, represented by
the Sun, ISIS, his wife, by the Moon or Earth, TYPHON, his Brother, the
Principle of Evil and Darkness, who was the son of Osiris and Isis. And
the Trinity of OSIRIS, ISIS, and HORUS became subsequently the Chief
Gods and objects of worship of the Egyptians.
The ancient Etruscans (a race that emigrated from the Rhętian Alps into
Italy, along whose route evidences of their migration have been
discovered, and whose language none have yet succeeded in reading)
acknowledged only one Supreme God; but they had images for His
different attributes, and temples to these images. Each town had one
National Temple, dedicated to the three great attributes of God,
STRENGTH, RICHES, and WISDOM, or Tina, Talna, and Minerva. The
National Deity was always a Triad under one roof; and it was the same in
Egypt, where one Supreme God alone was acknowledged, but was
worshipped as a Triad, with different names in each different home. Each
city in Etruria might have as many gods and gates and temples as it
pleased; but three sacred gates, and one Temple to three Divine
Attributes were obligatory, wherever the laws of Tages (or Taunt or Thoth)
were received. The only gate that remains in Italy, of the olden time,
undestroyed, is the Porta del Circo at Volterra; and it has upon it the three
heads of the three National Divinities, one upon the keystone of its
magnificent arch, and one above each side-pillar.
The Buddhists hold that the God SAKYA of the Hindüs, called in Ceylon,
GAUTAMA, in India beyond the Ganges, SOMONAKODOM, and in
China, CHY-KIA, or Fo, constituted a Trinity [TRIRATNA], of BUDDHA,
DHARMA, and SANGA, - Intelligence, Law, and Union or Harmony.
The Chinese Sabęans represented the Supreme Deity as composed of
CHANG-TI, the Supreme Sovereign; TIEN, the Heavens; and TAO, the
Universal Supreme Reason and Principle of Faith; and that from Chaos,
an immense silence, an immeasurable void. without perceptible forms,
alone, infinite, immutable, moving in a circle in illimitable space, without
change or alteration, when vivified by the Principle of Truth, issued all
Beings, under the influence of TAO, Principle of Faith, who produced one,
one produced two, two produced three, and three produced all that is.
The Sclavono-Vendes typified the Trinity by the three heads of the God
TRIGLAV; and the Pruczi or Prussians by the Tri-une God, PERKOUN,
PIKOLLOS, and POTRIMPOS, the Deities of Light
and Thunder, of Hell and the Earth, its fruits and animals: and the
Scandinavians by ODIN, FREA, and THOR.
In the KABALAH, or the Hebrew traditional philosophy, the Infinite Deity,
beyond the reach of the Human Intellect, and without Name, Form, or
Limitation, was represented as developing Himself, in order to create, and
by self-limitation, in ten emanations or out-flowings, called SEPHIROTH,
or rays, The first of these, in the world AZILUTH, that is, within the Deity,
was KETHER, or the Crown, by which we understand the Divine Will or
Potency. Next came, as a pair, HAI",MAH and BAINAH, ordinarily
translated "Wisdom" and "Intelligence," the former termed the FATHER,
and the latter the MOTHER. HAKEMAH is the active Power or Energy of
Deity, by which He produces within Himself Intellection or Thinking: and
BAINAH, the passive Capacity, from which, acted on by the Power, the
Intellection flows. This Intellection is called DAATH: and it is the "WORD,"
of Plato and the Gnostics; the unuttered word, within the Deity. Here is
the origin of the Trinity of the Father, the Mother or Holy Spirit, and the
Son or Word.
Another Trinity was composed of the fourth Sephirah, GEDULAH or
KHASW, Benignity or Mercy, also termed FATHER (Aba); the fifth,
GEBURAH, Severity or Strict Justice, also termed the MOTHER (Imma);
and the sixth, the SON or Issue of these, TIPHARETH, Beauty or
Harmony. "Everything," says the SOHAR, proceeds according to the
Mystery of the Balance" - that is, by the equilibrium of Opposites: and
thus from the Infinite Mercy and the Infinite justice, in equilibrium, flows
the perfect Harmony of the Universe. Infinite POWER, which is Lawless,
and Infinite WISDOM, in Equilibrium, also produce BEAUTY or
HARMONY, as Son, Issue, or Result - the Word, or utterance of the
Thought of God. Power and Justice or Severity are the same: Wisdom
and Mercy or Benignity are the same; - in the Infinite Divine Nature.
According to Philo of Alexandria, the Supreme Being, Primitive Light or
Archetype of Light, uniting with WISDOM [ ], the mother of Creation,
forms in Himself the types of all things, and acts upon the Universe through
the WORD [ . . Logos], who dwells in God, and in whom all His powers
and attributes develop themselves; a doctrine borrowed by him from Plato.
Simon Magus and his disciples taught that the Supreme Being or Centre of
Light produced first of all, three couples of united
Existences, of both sexes, [ ... Suzugias], which were the origins of all
things: REASON and INVENTIVENESS; SPEECH and THOUGHT;
and and , CALCULATION and REFLECTION: [
Nöus and Epinoia, Phöne and Ennoia, Logismos and
Enthumėsis]; of which Ennoia or WISDOM was the first produced, and Mother
of all that exists.
Other Disciples of Simon, and with them most of the Gnostics, adopting and
Pleröma, or PLENITUDE of modifying the doctrine, taught that the
Superior Intelligences, having the Supreme Being at their head, was
composed of eight Eons [ . . Aiönes] of different sexes; . . PROFUNDITY
and SILENCE; SPIRIT and TRUTH; the WORD and LIFE; MAN and the
; and ; and and : and CHURCH: [
. Buthos and Sigė; Pneuma and Aletheia; Logos and
and Zöe; Anthröpos and Ekklėsia].
Bardesanes, whose doctrines the Syrian Christians long embraced, taught
that the unknown Father, happy in the Plenitude of His Life and Perfections,
first produced a Companion for Himself [ ... Suzugos], whom He placed
in the Celestial Paradise and who became, by Him, the Mother of CHRISTOS,
Son of the Living God: i.e. (laying aside the allegory), that the Eternal
conceived, in the silence of His decrees, the Thought of revealing Himself by
a Being who should be His image or His Son: that to the Son succeeded his
Sister and Spouse, the Holy Spirit, and they produced four Spirits of the
elements, male and female, Maio and Jabseho, Nouro and Rucho; then Seven
Mystic Couples of Spirits, and Heaven and Earth, and all that is; then seven
spirits governing the planets, twelve governing the Constellations of the
Zodiac, and thirty-six Starry Intelligences whom he called Deacons: while the
Holy Spirit [Sophia Achamoth], being both the Holy Intelligence and the Soul
of the physical world, went from the Pleröma into that material world and there
mourned her degradation, until CHRISTOS, her former spouse, coming to her
with his Divine Light and Love, guided her in the way to purification, and she
again united herself with him as his primitive Companion.
Basilides, the Christian Gnostic, taught that there were seven emanations
from the Supreme Being: The First-born, Thought, the Word, Reflection,
, , , , , Wisdom, Power, and Righteousness [ ,
and Protogonos, Nous, Logos, Phronesis, Sophia, Dunamis, and
Dikarosunė]; from whom emanated other Intelligences in succession, to the
number, in all, of three hundred and sixty-five; which were God manifested, and
composed the Plenitude of the Divine Emanations, or the God Abraxas; of which
the Thought [or Intellect, . . Nous] united itself, by baptism in the river
Jordan, with the man Jesus, servant [ . Diakonos] of the human race; but
did not suffer with Him; and the disciples of Basilides taught that the , put on
the appearance only of humanity, and that Simon of Cyrene was crucified in His
stead and ascended into Heaven.
Basilides held that out of the unrevealed God, who is at the head, of the world of
emanations, and exalted above all conception or designation
[ ], were evolved seven living, self-subsistent, ever-active
1st. NOUS .................
2d. LOGOS ...............
3d. Phronesis ............
SECOND: THE ACTIVE OR OPERATIVE POWER.
6th. Dikaiosunė .........
These Seven Powers ( .. Dunameis), with the Primal Ground out of
which they were evolved, constituted in his scheme the [Prote
Ogdoas], or First Octave, the root of all Existence. From this point, the spiritual
life proceeded to evolve out of itself continually many gradations of existence,
each lower one being still the impression, the antetype, of the immediate higher
one. He supposed there were 365 of these regions or gradations, expressed by
the mystical word
FIRST: THE INTELLECTUAL POWERS.
...................... The Mind.
................ The Reason.
........... The Thinking Power.
............ Might, accomplishing the purposes of
THIRD: THE MORAL ATTRIBUTES.
...... Holiness or Moral Perfection.
................ Inward Tranquility.
The is thus interpreted, by the usual method of reckoning Greek letters
.. a,1 .. b,1
. x,60.. a,1 . . x,200 = 365: which is
the whole Emanation-World, as the development of the Supreme Being.
In the system of Basilides, Light, Life, Soul, and Good were opposed to
Darkness, Death, Matter, and Evil, throughout the whole course of the Universe.
According to the Gnostic view, God was represented as the immanent,
incomprehensible and original source of all perfection; the unfathomable ABYSS
( . . buthos), according to Valentinus, exalted above all possibility of
designation; of whom, properly speaking, nothing can be predicated; the
of Basilides, the of Philo. From this incomprehensible Essence of
God, an immediate transition to finite things is inconceivable. Self-limitation is
the first beginning of a communication of life on the part of God - the first
passing of the hidden Deity into manifestation; and from this proceeds all further
self-developing manifestation of the Divine Essence. From this primal link in the
chain of life there are evolved, in the first place, the manifold powers or
attributes inherent in the divine Essence, which, until that first selfcomprehension,
were all hidden in the Abyss of His Essence. Each of these
attributes presents the whole divine Essence under one particular aspect; and to
each, therefore, in this respect, the title of God may appropriately be applied.
These Divine Powers evolving themselves to self-subsistence, become
thereupon the germs and principles of all further developments of life. The life
contained in them unfolds and individualizes itself more and more, but in such a
way that the successive grades of this evolution of life continually sink lower and
lower; the spirits become feebler, the further they are removed from the first link
in the series.
The first manifestation they termed
was hypostatically represented in a or
[proton katalėpton tou Theou]; which
[Nous or Logos].
In the Alexandrian Gnosis, the Platonic notion of the [Hulė] predominates.
This is the dead, the unsubstantial - the boundary that limits from without the
evolution of life in its gradually advancing progression, whereby the Perfect is
ever evolving itself into the less Perfect. This again, is represented under
various images; - at one time as the darkness that exists alongside of the light;
at another, as the void [ ,
.... Kenoma, Kenon], in opposition to the Fullness, [ .... Plėroma] of
the Divine Life; or as the shadow that accompanies the light; or as the
chaos, or the sluggish, stagnant, dark water. This matter, dead in itself,
possesses by its own nature no inherent tendency; as life of every sort is
foreign to it, itself makes no encroachment on the Divine. As, however,
the evolutions of the Divine Life (the essences developing themselves out
of the progressive emanation) become feebler, the further they are
removed from the first link in the series; and as their connection with the
first becomes looser at each successive step, there arises at the last step
of the evolution, an imperfect, defective product, which, unable to retain
its connection with the chain of Divine Life, sinks from the World of Eons
into the material chaos: or, according to the same notion, somewhat
differently expressed [according to the Ophites and to Bardesanes], a
drop from the fullness of the Divine life bubbles over into the bordering
void. Hereupon the dead matter, by commixture with the living principle,
which it wanted, first of all receives animation. But, at the same time, also,
the divine, the living, becomes corrupted by mingling with the chaotic
mass. Existence now multiplies itself. There arises a subordinate,
defective life; there is ground for a new world; a creation starts into being,
beyond the confines of the world of emanation. But, on the other hand,
since the chaotic principle of matter has acquired vitality, there now arises
a more distinct and more active opposition to the God-like - a barely
negative, blind, ungodly nature-power, which obstinately resists all
influence of the Divine; hence, as products of the spirit of the (of the
.. Pneuma Hulikon), are Satan, malignant spirits, wicked men,
in none of whom is there any reasonable or moral principle, or any
principle of a rational will; but blind passions alone have the ascendency.
In them there is the same conflict, as the scheme of Platonism supposes,
between the soul under the guidance of Divine reason [the . . Nous],
and the soul blindly resisting reason - between the [pronoia] and
the [anagė], the Divine Principle and the natural.
The Syrian Gnosis assumed the existence of an active, turbulent kingdom
of evil, or of darkness, which, by its encroachments on the kingdom of
light, brought about a commixture of the light with the darkness, of the
God-like with the ungodlike.
Even among the Platonists, some thought that along with an
organized, inert matter, the substratum of the corporeal world, there
existed from the beginning a blind, lawless motive power, an ungodlike
soul, as its original motive and active principle. As the inorganic matter
was organized into a corporeal world, by the plastic power of the Deity,
so, by the same power, law and reason were communicated to that
turbulent, irrational soul. Thus the chaos of the was transformed into
an organized world, and that blind soul into a rational principle, a
mundane soul, animating the Universe. As from the latter proceeds all
rational, spiritual life in humanity, so from the former proceeds all that is
irrational, all that is under the blind sway of passion and appetite; and all
malignant spirits are its progeny.
In one respect all the Gnostics agreed: they all held, that there was a
world purely emanating out of the vital development of God, a creation
evolved directly out of the Divine Essence, far exalted above any outward
creation produced by God's plastic power, and conditioned by pre-existing
matter. They agreed in holding that the framer of this lower world was not
the Father of that higher world of emanation; but the Demiurge [ -
], a being of a kindred nature with the Universe framed and governed
by him, and far inferior to that higher system and the Father of it.
But some, setting out from ideas which had long prevailed among certain
Jews of Alexandria, supposed that the Supreme God created and
governed the world by His ministering spirits, by the angels. At the head
of these angels stood one who had the direction and control of all;
therefore called the Artificer and Governor of the World. This Demiurge
they compared with the plastic, animating, mundane spirit of Plato and
.Deuteros Theos; the Platonists [the
Genetos], who, moreover, according to the Timęus of Plato, strives to
represent the IDEA of the Divine Reason, in that which is becoming (as
contradistinguished from that which is) and temporal. This angel is a
representative of the Supreme God, on the lower stage of existence: he
does not act independently, but merely according to the ideas inspired in
him by the Supreme God; just as the plastic, mundane soul of the
Platonists creates all things after the pattern of the ideas communicated
.... Nous - the by the Supreme .Reason [ ... ho esti zöon - the
paradeigma, of the Divine Reason hypostatized].
But these ideas transcend his limited essence; he cannot understand
them; he is merely their unconscious organ; and therefore is unable
himself to comprehend the whole scope and meaning of the work which
lie performs. As an organ under the guidance of a higher inspiration, he
reveals higher truths than he himself can comprehend. The mass of the
Jews, they held, recognized not the angel, by whom, in all the
Theophanies of the Old Testament, God revealed Himself ; they knew not
the Demiurge in his true relation to the hidden Supreme God, who never
reveals Himself in the sensible world. They confounded the type and the
archetype, the symbol and the idea. They rose no higher than the
Demiurge; they took him to be the Supreme God Himself. But the spiritual
men among them, on the contrary, clearly perceived, or at least divined,
the ideas veiled under Judaism; they rose beyond the Demiurge, to a
knowledge of the Supreme God; and are therefore properly His
. . Therapeutai]. worshippers [
Other Gnostics, who had not been followers of the Mosaic religion, but
who had, at an earlier period, framed to themselves an oriental Gnosis,
regarded the Demiurge as a being absolutely hostile to the Supreme God.
He and his angels, notwithstanding their finite nature, wish to establish
their independence: they will tolerate no foreign rule within their realm.
Whatever of a higher nature descends into their kingdom, they seek to
hold imprisoned there, lest it should raise itself above their narrow
precincts. Probably, in this system, the kingdom of the Demiurgic Angels
corresponded, for the most part, with that of the deceitful Star-Spirits, who
seek to rob man of his freedom, to beguile him by various arts of
deception, and who exercise a tyrannical sway over the things of this
world. Accordingly, in the system of these Sabęans, the seven Planet-
Spirits, and the twelve Star-Spirits of the zodiac, who sprang from an
irregular connection between the cheated Fetahil and the Spirit of
Darkness, play an important part in everything that is bad. The Demiurge
is a limited and limiting being, proud, jealous, and revengeful; and this his
character betrays itself in the Old Testament, which, the Gnostics held,
came from him. They transferred to the Demiurge himself, whatever in the
idea of God, as presented by the Old Testament, appeared to them
defective. Against his will and rule the was continually rebelling,
revolting without control against the dominion which he, the fashioner,
would exercise over it,
casting off the yoke imposed on it, and destroying the work he had begun.
The same jealous being, limited in his power, ruling with despotic sway,
they imagined they saw in nature. He strives to check the germination of
the divine seeds of life which the Supreme God of Holiness and Love,
who has no connection whatever with the sensible world, has scattered
among men. That perfect God was at most known and worshipped in
Mysteries by a few spiritual men.
The Gospel of St. John is in great measure a polemic against the
Gnostics, whose different sects, to solve the great problems, the creation
of a material world by an immaterial Being, the fall of man, the
incarnation, the redemption and restoration of the spirits called men,
admitted a long series of intelligences, intervening in a series of spiritual
operations; and which they designated by the names, The Beginning, the
Word, the Only-Begotten, Life, Light, and Spirit [Ghost]: in Greek, ,
, Mo- and [Archė, Logos, Monogenės, Zöe, ,
Phös, and Pneuma]. St. John, at the beginning of his Gospel, avers that it
was Jesus Christ who existed in the Beginning; that He was the WORD of
God by which everything was made; that He was the Only-Begotten, the
Life and the Light, and that He diffuses among men the Holy Spirit [or
Ghost], the Divine Life and Light.
So the Plėroma [ ], Plenitude or Fullness, was a favorite term with
the Gnostics, and Truth and Grace were the Gnostic Eons; and the
Simonians, Dokėtės, and other Gnostics held that the Eon Christ Jesus
was never really, but only apparently clothed with a human body: but St.
John replies that the Word did really become Flesh, and dwelt among us;
and that in Him were the Plėroma and Truth and Grace.
In the doctrine of Valentinus, reared a Christian at Alexandria, God was a
perfect Being, an Abyss [ . . Buthos], which no intelligence could
sound, because no eye could reach the invisible and ineffable heights on
which He dwelt, and no mind could comprehend the duration of His
existence; He has always been; He is the Primitive Father and Beginning
and [the . . Propatör and Proarchė]: He will BE always, and
does not grow old. The development of His Perfections produced the
intellectual world. After having passed infinite ages in repose and silence,
He manifested Himself by His Thought, source of all His manifestations,
and which received from Him the germ of His
.. Ennoia] is also creations. Being of His Being, His Thought [
termed [Charis], Grace or Joy, and , or [Sigė or Arrėton],
Silence or the Ineffable. Its first manifestation was [Nous], the
Intelligence, first of the Eons, commencement of all things, first revelation
of the Divinity, the [Monogenės], or Only-Begotten: next, Truth
Alėtheia], his companion. Their manifestations were the Word
.Zoė] and theirs, Man and the Church and .. Logos] and Life [ [
. Anthröpos and Ekklėsia]: and from these, other
twelve, six of whom were Hope, Faith, Charity, Intelligence, Happiness,
and Wisdom; or, in the Hebrew, Kesten, Kina, Amphe, Ouananim,
Thaedes, and Oubina. The harmony of the Eons, struggling to know and
be united to the Primitive God, was disturbed, and to redeem and restore
them, the Intelligence [ ] produced Christ and the Holy Spirit His
companion; who restored them to their first estate of happiness and
harmony; and thereupon they formed the Eon Jesus, born of a Virgin, to
whom the Christos united himself in baptism and who, with his
Companion Sophia-Achamoth, saved and redeemed the world.
The Marcosians taught that the Supreme Deity produced by His words the
[Logos] or Plenitude of Eons: His first utterance was a syllable of
four letters, each of which became a being; His second of four, His third of
ten, and His fourth of twelve: thirty in all, which constituted the f
The Valentinians, and others of the Gnostics, distinguished three orders
of existences: - 1st. The divine germs of life, exalted by their nature above
matter, and akin to the (Sophia], to the mundane soul and to the
Plėroma:- the spiritual natures, [Phuseis Pneumatikai]: 2d.
The natures originating in the life, divided from the former by the mixture
, - the psychical natures, of the [Phuseis Psuchikai]; with
which begins a perfectly new order of existence, an image of that higher
mind and system, in a subordinate grade; and finally, 3d. The Ungodlike
or Hylic Nature, which resists all amelioration, and whose tendency is
only to destroy - the nature of blind lust and passion.
The nature of the
relationship with God (the
[pneumatikon], the spiritual, is essential
. Homo-ousion tö Theö): hence
the life of Unity, the undivided, the
, absolutely simple (
. Ousia henike, monoeides).
[psuchikoi) is disruption into multiplicity, The essence of the
manifoldness; which, however, is subordinate to a higher unity, by which it
allows itself to be guided, first unconsciously, then consciously.
The essence of the [Hulikoi] (of whom Satan is the head), is the
direct opposite to all unity; disruption and disunion in itself, without the
least sympathy, without any point of coalescence whatever for unity;
together with an effort to destroy all unity, to extend its own inherent
disunion to everything, and to rend everything asunder. This principle has
no power to posit anything; but only to negative: it is unable to create, to
produce, to form, but only to destroy, to decompose.
By Marcus, the disciple of Valentinus, the idea of a [Logos
Tou Ontos], of a WORD, manifesting the hidden Divine Essence, in the
Creation, was spun out into the most subtle details - the entire creation
being, in his view, a continuous utterance of the Ineffable. The way in
which the germs of divine life [the
pneumatika], which lie shut up in the Eons, continually unfold and
individualize them selves more and more, is represented as a
spontaneous analysis of the several names of the Ineffable, into their
several sounds. An echo of the Plėroma falls down into the [HuIė], and
becomes the forming of a new but lower creation.
One formula of the pneumatical baptism among the Gnostics ran thus: "In
the NAME which is hidden from all the Divinities and Powers" [of the
Demiurge], "The Name of Truth" [the [Aletheial, self-manifestation of
the Buthos], which Jesus of Nazareth has put on in the light-zones of
Christ, the living Christ, through the Holy Ghost, for the redemption of the
angels, - the Name by which all things attain to Perfection." The candidate
then said: "I am established and redeemed; I am redeemed in my soul
from this world, and from all that belongs to it, by the name of , who
has redeemed the Soul of Jesus by the living Christ." The assembly then
said: "Peace (or Salvation) to all on whom this name rests!"
The boy Dionusos, torn in pieces, according to the Bacchic Mysteries, by
the Titans, was considered by the Manicheans as simply representing the
Soul, swallowed up by the powers of dark-
ness, - the divine life rent into fragments by matter: - that part of the
luminous essence of the primitive man [the [Protos
Anthropos] of Mani, the [Praön Anthröpos] of the
Valentinians, the Adam Kadmon of the Kabalah; and the Kalomorts of the
Zendavesta], swallowed up by the powers of darkness; the Mundane
Soul, mixed with matter - the seed of divine life, which had fallen into
matter, and had thence to undergo a process of purification and
The [Gnosis] of Carpocrates and his son Epiphanes consisted in
the knowledge of one Supreme Original being, the highest unity, from
whom all existence has emanated, and to whom it strives to return. The
finite spirits that rule over the several portions of the Earth, seek to
counteract this universal tendency to unity; and from their influence, their
laws, and arrangements, proceeds all that checks, disturbs, or limits the
original communion, which is the basis of nature, as the outward
manifestation of that highest Unity. These spirits, moreover, seek to retain
under their dominion the souls which, emanating from the highest Unity,
and still partaking of its nature, have lapsed into the corporeal world, and
have there been imprisoned in bodies, in order, under their dominion, to
be kept within the cycle of migration. From these finite spirits, the popular
religions of different nations derive their origin. But the souls which, from
a reminiscence of their former condition, soar upward to the
contemplation of that higher Unity, reach to such perfect freedom and
repose, as nothing afterward can disturb or limit, and rise superior to the
popular deities and religions. As examples of this sort, they named
Pythagoras, Plato, Aristotle, and Christ. They made no distinction
between the latter and the wise and good men of every nation. They
taught that any other soul which could soar to the same height of
contemplation, might be regarded as equal with Him.
The Ophites commenced their system with a Supreme Being, long
unknown to the Human race, and still so the greater number of men; the
[Buthos], or Profundity, Source of Light, and of Adam-Kadmon, the
Primitive Man, made by the Demiourgos, but perfected by the Supreme
God by the communication to him of the Spirit [ . . Pneuma]. The first
emanation was the Thought of the Supreme Deity [the .. Ennoia],
the conception of the Universe in the Thought of God.
This Thought, called also Silence ( . . Sigė), produced the Spirit [
.. Pneuma], Mother of the Living, and Wisdom of God. Together with this
Primitive Existence, Matter existed also (the Waters, Darkness, Abyss,
and Chaos), eternal like the Spiritual Principle. Buthos and His Thought,
uniting with Wisdom, made her fruitful by the Divine Light, and she
produced a perfect and an imperfect being, Christos, and a Second and
inferior wisdom, Sophia-Achamoth, who falling into chaos remained
entangled there, became enfeebled, and lost all knowledge of the
Superior Wisdom that gave her birth. Communicating movement to
Chaos, she produced Ialdabaoth, the Demiourgos, Agent of Material
Creation, and then ascended toward her first place in the scale of
creation. laldabaoth produced an angel that was his image, and this a
second, and so on in succession to the sixth after the Demiourgos: the
seven being reflections one of the other, yet different and inhabiting
seven distinct regions. The names of the six thus produced were IAO,
SABAOTH, ADONAI, ELOI, ORAI, and ASTAPHAL Ialdabaoth, to become
independent of his mother, and to pass for the Supreme Being, made the
world, and man, in his own image; and his mother caused the Spiritual
principle to pass from him into man so made; and henceforward the
contest between the Demiourgos and his mother, between light and
darkness, good and evil, was concentrated in man; and the image of
Ialdabaoth, reflected upon matter, became the Serpent-Spirit, Satan, the
Evil Intelligence. Eve, created by Ialdabaoth, had by Us Sons children
that were angels like themselves. The Spiritual light was withdrawn from
man by Sophia, and the world surrendered to the influence of evil; until
the Spirit, urged by the entreaties of Wisdom, induced the Supreme Being
to send Christos to redeem it. Compelled, despite himself, by his Mother,
Ialdabaoth caused the man Jesus to be born of a Virgin, and the Celestial
Saviour, uniting with his Sister, Wisdom, descended through the regions
of the seven angels, appeared in each under the form of its chief,
concealed his own, and entered with his sister into the man Jesus at the
baptism in Jordan. Ialdabaoth, finding that Jesus was destroying his
empire and abolishing his worship, caused the Jews to hate and crucify
Him; before which happened, Christos and Wisdom had ascended to the
celestial regions. They restored Jesus to life and gave Him an ethereal
body, in which He remained eighteen months on earth, and receiving from
Wisdom the per-
fect knowledge [
..Gnosis], communicated it to a small number of
His apostles, and then arose to the intermediate region inhabited by
laldabaoth, where, unknown to him, He sits at his right hand, taking from
him the Souls of Light purified by Christos. When nothing of the Spiritual
world shall remain subject to laldabaoth, the redemption will be
accomplished, and the end of the world, the completion of the return of
Light into the Plenitude, will occur.
Tatian adopted the theory of Emanation, of Eons, of the existence of a
God too sublime to allow Himself to be known, but displaying Himself by
Intelligences emanating from His bosom. The first of these was His spirit
.. Pneuma], God Himself, God thinking, God conceiving the
Universe. The second was the Word [
Logos], no longer merely the
Thought or Conception, but the Creative Utterance, manifestation of the
Divinity, but emanating from the Thought or Spirit; the First-Begotten,
author of the visible creation. This was the Trinity, composed of the
Father, Spirit, and Word.
The Elxaļtes adopted the Seven Spirits of the Gnostics; but named them
Heaven, Water, Spirit, The Holy Angels of Prayer, Oil, Salt, and the Earth.
The opinion of the Doketes as to the human nature of Jesus Christ, was
that most generally received among the Gnostics. They deemed the
intelligences of the Superior World too pure and too much the antagonists
of matter, to be willing to unite with it: and held that Christ, an Intelligence
of the first rank, in appearing upon the earth, did not become confounded
with matter, but took upon Himself only the appearance of a body, or at
the most used it only as an envelope.
Noėtus termed the Son the first Utterance of the Father; the Word, not by
Himself, as an Intelligence, and unconnected with the flesh, a real Son;
but a Word, and a perfect Only-Begotten; light emanated from the Light;
water flowing from its spring; a ray emanated from the Sun.
Paul of Samosata taught that Jesus Christ was the Son of Joseph and
Mary; but that the Word, Wisdom, or Intelligence of God, the [Nous]
of the Gnostics, had united itself with Him, so that He might be said to be
at once the Son of God, and God Himself.
Arius called the Saviour the first of creatures, non-emanated from God,
but really created, by the direct will of God, before time
and the ages. According to the Church, Christ was of the same nature as
God; according to some dissenters, of the same nature as man. Arius
adopted the theory of a nature analogous to both. When God resolved to
create the Human race, He made a Being which He called THE WORD,
THE SON, WISDOM [ , ,
. Logos, Uios, Sophia], to the end
that He might give existence to men. This WORD is the Ormuzd of
Zoroaster, the Ensoph of the Kabalah, the ; of Platonism and
Philonism, and the or [Sophia or Demiourgos] of the
Gnostics. He distinguished the Inferior Wisdom, or the daughter, from the
Superior Wisdom; the latter being in God, inherent in His nature, and
incapable of communication to any creature: the second, by which the
Son was made, communicated itself to Him, and therefore He Himself was
entitled to be called the Word and the Son.
Manes, founder of the Sect of the Manicheans, who had lived and been
distinguished among the Persian Magi, profited by the doctrines of
Scythianus, a Kabalist or Judaizing Gnostic of the times of the Apostles;
and knowing those of Bardesanes and Harmonius, derived his doctrines
from Zoroasterism, Christianity, and Gnosticism. He claimed to be the
[Paraklźtos] or Comforter, in the Sense of a Teacher, organ of
the Deity, but not in that of the Holy Spirit or Holy Ghost: and commenced
his Epistola Fundamenti in these words: "Manes, Apostle of Jesus Christ,
elect of God the Father; Behold the Words of Salvation, emanating from
the living and eternal fountain." The dominant idea of his doctrine was
Pantheism, derived by him from its source in the regions of India and on
the confines of China: that the cause of all that exists is in God; and at
last, God is all in all. All souls are equal - God is in all, in men, animals,
and plants. There are two Gods, one of Good and the other of Evil, each
independent, eternal, chief of a distinct Empire; necessarily, and of their
very natures, hostile to one another. The Evil God, Satan, is the Genius of
matter alone. The God of Good is infinitely his Superior, the True God;
while the other is but the chief of all that is the Enemy of God, and must in
the end succumb to His Power. The Empire of Light alone is eternal and
true; and this Empire is a great chain of Emanations, all connected with
the Supreme Being which they make manifest; all Him, under different
forms, chosen for one end, the triumph of the Good. In each
of His members lie hidden thousands of ineffable treasures. Excellent in
His Glory, incomprehensible in His Greatness, the Father has joined to
Himself those fortunate, and glorious Eons [ . . Aionźs], whose
Power and Number it is impossible to determine. This is Spinoza's Infinity
of Infinite Attributes of God. Twelve Chief Eons, at the head of all, were
the Genii of the twelve Constellations of the Zodiac, and called by Manes,
Olamin. Satan, also, Lord of the Empire of Darkness, had an Army of
Eons or Demons, emanating from his Essence, and reflecting more or
less his image, but divided and inharmonious among themselves. A war
among them brought them to the confines of the Realm of Light.
Delighted, they sought to conquer it. But the Chief of the Celestial Empire
created a Power which he placed on the frontiers of Heaven to protect his
Eons, and destroy the Empire of Evil. This was the Mother of Life, the
Soul of the World, an Emanation from the Supreme Being, too pure to
come in immediate contact with matter. It remained in the highest region;
but produced a Son, the first Man [the Kaiomorts, Adam-Kadmon,
[Protos Anthropos,] and Hivil-Zivah; of the Zend-Avesta, the
Kabalah, the Gnosis, and Sabeism]; who commenced the contest with the
Powers of Evil, but, losing part of his panoply, of his Light, his Son and
many souls born of the Light, who were devoured by the darkness, God
sent to his assistance the living Spirit, or the Son of the First Man [
. . . Uios Anthropou], or Jesus Christ. The Mother of Life, general
Principle of Divine Life, and the first Man, Primitive being that reveals the
Divine Life, are too sublime to be connected with the Empire of Darkness.
The Son of Man or Soul of the World, enters into the Darkness, becomes
its captive, to end by tempering and softening its savage nature. The
Divine Spirit, after having brought back the Primitive Man to the Empire of
Light, raises above the world that part of the Celestial Soul that remained
unaffected by being mingled with the Empire of Darkness. Placed in the
region of the Sun and Moon, this pure soul, the Son of Man, the
Redeemer or Christ, labors to deliver and attract to Himself that part of
the Light or of the Soul of the First Man diffused through matter; which
done, the world will cease to exist. To retain the rays of Light still
remaining among his Eons, and ever tending to escape and return, by
concentrating them, the Prince of Darkness, with their consent, made
Adam, whose soul was of the Divine Light, contributed by the Eons, and
his body of matter, so that he belonged to both Empires, that of Light and
that of Darkness. To prevent the light from escaping at once, the Demons
forbade Adam to eat the fruit of "knowledge of good and evil," by which he
would have known the Empire of Light and that of Darkness. He obeyed;
an Angel of Light induced him to transgress, and gave him the means of
victory; but the Demons created Eve, who seduced him into an act of
Sensualism, that enfeebled him, and bound him anew in the bonds of
matter. This is repeated in the case of every man that lives.
To deliver the soul, captive in darkness, the Principle of Light, or Genius
of the Sun, charged to redeem the Intellectual World, of which he is the
type, came to manifest Himself among men. Light appeared in the
darkness, but the darkness comprehended it not; according to the words
of St. John. The Light could not unite with the darkness. It but put on the
appearance of a human body, and took the name of Christ in the
Messiah, only to accommodate itself to the language of the Jews. The
Light did its work, turning the Jews from the adoration of the Evil
Principle, and the Pagans from the worship of Demons. But the Chief of
the Empire of Darkness caused Him to be crucified by the Jews. Still He
suffered in appearance only, and His death gave to all souls the symbol
of their enfranchisement. The person of Jesus having disappeared, there
was seen in His place a cross of Light, over which a celestial voice
pronounced these words: "The cross of Light is called The Word, Christ,
The Gate, Joy, The Bread, The Sun, The Resurrection, Jesus, The
Father, The Spirit, Life, Truth, and Grace."
With the Priscillianists there were two principles, one the Divinity, the
other, Primitive Matter and Darkness; each eternal. Satan is the son and
lord of matter; and the secondary angels and demons, children of matter.
Satan created and governs the visible world. But the soul of man
emanated from God, and is of the same substance with God. Seduced by
the evil spirits, it passes through various bodies, until, purified and
reformed, it rises to God and is strengthened by His light. These powers
of evil hold mankind in ledge; and to redeem this pledge, the Saviour,
Christ the Redeemer, came and died upon the cross of expiation, thus
discharging the written obligation. He, like all souls, was of the
same substance with God, a manifestation of the Divinity, no forming a
second person; unborn, like the Divinity, and nothing else than the
Divinity under another form.
It is useless to trace these vagaries further; and we stop at the frontiers of
the realm of the three hundred and sixty-five thousand emanations of the
Mandaītes from the Primitive Light, Fira or Ferho and Yavar; and return
contentedly to the simple and sublime creed of Masonry.
Such were some of the ancient notions concerning the Deity and taken in
connection with what has been detailed in the preceding Degrees, this
Lecture affords you a true picture of the ancient speculations. From the
beginning until now, those who have undertaken to solve the great
mystery of the creation of a material universe by an Immaterial Deity,
have interposed between the two, and between God and man, divers
manifestations of, or emanations from, or personified attributes or agents
of, the Great Supreme God, who is coexistent with Time and coextensive
The universal belief of the Orient was, that the Supreme Being did not
Himself create either the earth or man. The fragment which commences
the Book of Genesis, consisting of the first chapter and the three first
verses of the second, assigns the creation or rather the formation or
modelling of the world from matter already existing in confusion, not to
lHUH, but to the ALHIM, well known as Subordinate Deities, Forces, or
Manifestations, among the Phnicians. The second fragment imputes it
to IHUH-ALHIM,* and St. John assigns the creation to the or WORD;
and asserts that CHRIST was that WORD, as well as LIGHT and LIFE,
other emanations from the Great Primeval Deity, to which other faiths had
assigned the work of creation.
An absolute existence, wholly immaterial, in no way within the reach of
our senses; a cause, but not an effect that never was not, but existed
during an infinity of eternities, before there was anything else except Time
and Space, is wholly beyond the reach of our conceptions. The mind of
man has wearied itself in speculations as to His nature, His essence, His
attributes; and ended in being no wiser than it began. In the impossibility
of conceiving of immateriality, we feel at sea and lost whenever we go
beyond the domain of matter. And yet we know that there are Power
* The Substance, or Very Self, of which the Alohayim are the manifestations.
Forces, Causes, that are themselves not matter. We give them names,
but what they really are, and what their essence, we are wholly ignorant.
But, fortunately, it does not follow that we may not believe, or even know,
that which we cannot explain to ourselves, or that which is beyond the
reach of our comprehension. If we believed only that which our intellect
can grasp, measure, comprehend, and have distinct and clear ideas of,
we should believe scarce anything. The senses are not the witnesses that
bear testimony to us of the loftiest truths.
Our greatest difficulty is, that language is not adequate to express our
ideas; because our words refer to things, and are images of what is
substantial and material. If we use the word emanation," our mind
involuntarily recurs to something material, flowing out of some other thing
that is material; and if we reject this idea of materiality, nothing is left of
the emanation but an unreality. The word "thing" itself suggests to us that
which is material and within the cognizance and jurisdiction of the senses.
If we cut away from it the idea of materiality, it presents itself to us as no
thing, but an intangible unreality, which the mind vainly endeavors to
grasp. Existence and Being are terms that have the same color of
materiality; and when we speak of a Power or Force, the mind
immediately images to itself one physical and material thing acting upon
another. Eliminate that idea; and the Power or Force, devoid of physical
characteristics, seems as unreal as the shadow that dances on a wall,
itself a mere absence of light; as spirit is to us merely that which is not
Infinite space and infinite time are the two primary ideas. We formulize
them thus: add body to body and sphere to sphere, until the imagination
wearies; and still there will remain beyond, avoid, empty, unoccupied
SPACE, limitless, because it is void. Add event to event in continuous
succession, forever and forever, and there will still remain, before and
after, a TIME in which there was and will be no event, and also endless
because it too is void.
Thus these two ideas of the boundlessness of space and the endlessness
of time seem to involve the ideas that matter and events are limited and
finite. We cannot conceive of an infinity of worlds or of events; but only of
an indefinite number of each; for. as we struggle to conceive of their
infinity, the thought ever occurs in despite of all our efforts - there must be
space in which
there are no worlds; there must have been time when there were no events.
We cannot conceive how, if this earth moves millions of millions of miles a
million times repeated, it is still in the centre of space; nor how, if we lived
millions of millions of ages and centuries, we should still be in the centre of
eternity - with still as much space on one side as on the other; with still as
much time before us as behind; for that seems to say that the world has not
moved nor we lived at all.
Nor can we comprehend how an infinite series of worlds, added together, is
no larger than an infinite series of atoms; or an infinite series of centuries
no longer than an infinite series of seconds; both being alike infinite, and
therefore one series containing no more nor fewer units than the other.
Nor have we the capacity to form in ourselves any idea of that which is
immaterial. We use the word, but it conveys to us on1v the idea of the
absence and negation of materiality; which vanishing, Space and Time
alone, infinite and boundless, seem to us to be left.
We cannot form any conception of an effect without a cause. We cannot
but believe, indeed we know, that, how far soever we may have to run back
along the chain of effects and causes, it cannot be infinite; but we must
come at last to something which is not an effect, but the first cause: and vet
the fact is literaltv beyond our comprehension. The mind refuses to grasp
the idea of self-existence, of existence without a beginning. As well expect
the hair that grows upon our head to understand the nature and immortality
of the soul.
It does not need to go so far in search of mysteries; nor have we any right
to disbelieve or doubt the existence of a Great First Cause, itself no effect,
because we cannot comprehend it; because the words we use do not even
express it to us adequately.
We rub a needle for a little while, on a dark, inert mass of iron ore, that had
lain idle in the earth for many centuries. Something is thereby
communicated to the steel - we term it a virtue, a power, or a quality - and
then we balance it upon a pivot; and, lo! drawn by some invisible,
mysterious Power, one pole of the needle turns to the North, and there the
same Power keeps the same pole for days and years; will keep it there,
perhaps, as long as the world lasts, carry the needle where you will, and no
matter what seas or
mountains intervene between it and the North Pole of the world. And this
Power, thus acting, and indicating to the mariner his course over the
trackless ocean, when the stars shine not for many days, saves vessels
from shipwreck, families from distress, and those from sudden death on
whose lives the fate of nations and the peace of the world depend. But for
it, Napoleon might never have reached the ports of France on his return
from Egypt, nor Nelson lived to fight and win at Trafalgar. Men call this
Power Magnetism, and then complacently think that they have explained
it all; and yet they have but given a new name to an unknown thing, to
hide their ignorance. What is this wonderful Power? It is a real, actual,
active Power: that we know and see. But what its essence is, or how it
acts, we do not know, any more than we know the essence or the mode of
action of the Creative Thought and Word of God.
And again, what is that which we term galvanism and electricity, - which,
evolved by the action of a little acid on two metals, aided by a magnet,
circles the earth in a second, sending from land to land the Thoughts that
govern the transactions of individuals and nations? The mind has formed
no notion of matter, that will include it; and no name that we can give it,
helps us to understand its essence and its being. It is a Power, like
Thought and the Will. We know no more.
What is this power of gravitation that makes everything upon the earth
tend to the centre? How does it reach out its invisible hands toward the
erratic meteor-stones, arrest them in their swift course, and draw them
down to the earth's bosom? It is a power. We know no more.
What is that heat which plays so wonderful a part in the world's economy?
- that caloric, latent everywhere, within us and without us, produced by
combustion, by intense pressure, and by swift motion? Is it substance,
matter, spirit, or immaterial, a mere Force or State of Matter?
And what is light? A substance, say the books, - matter, that travels to us
from the sun and stars, each ray separable into seven, by the prism, of
distinct colors, and with distinct peculiar qualities and actions. And if a
substance, what is its essence, and what power is inherent in it, by which
it journeys incalculable myriads of miles, and reaches us ten thousand
years or more after it leaves the stars?
All power is equally a mystery. Apply intense cold to a drop of water in the
centre of a globe of iron, and the globe is shattered as the water freezes.
Confine a little of the same limpid element in a cylinder which Enceladus or
Typhon could not have risen asunder, and apply to it intense heat, and the
vast power that couched latent in the water shivers the cylinder to atoms. A
little shoot from a minute seed, a shoot so soft and tender that the least
bruise would kill it, forces its way downward into the hard, earth, to the
depth of many feet, with an energy wholly incomprehensible. What are
these mighty forces, locked up in the small seed and the drop of water?
Nay, what is LIFE itself, with all its wondrous, mighty energies, - that power
which maintains the heat within us, and prevents our bodies, that decay so
soon without it, from resolution into their original elements - Life, that
constant miracle, the nature and essence whereof have eluded all the
philosophers; and all their learned dissertations on it are a mere jargon of
No wonder the ancient Persians thought that Light and Life were one, - both
emanations from the Supreme Deity, the archetype of light. No wonder that
in their ignorance they worshipped the Sun. God breathed into man the
spirit of life, - not matter, but an emanation from Himself; not a creature
made by Him, nor a distinct existence, but a Power, like His own Thought:
and light, to those great-souled ancients, also seemed no creature, and no
gross material substance, but a pure emanation from the Deity, immortal
and indestructible like Himself.
What, indeed, is REALITY? Our dreams are as real, while they last, as the
occurrences of the daytime. We see, hear, feel, act, experience pleasure
and suffer pain, as vividly and actually in a dream as when awake. The
occurrences and transactions of a year are crowded into the limits of a
second: and the dream remembered is as real as the past occurrences of
The philosophers tell us that we have no cognizance of substance itself, but
only of its attributes: that when we see that which we call a block of marble,
our perceptions give us information only of something extended, solid,
colored, heavy, and the like; but not of the very thing itself, to which these
attributes belong. And yet the attributes do not exist without the substance.
They are not substances, but adjectives. There is no such thing or
existence as hardness, weight or color, by itself, detached from any
subject, moving first here, then there, and attaching itself to this and to the
other subject. And yet, they say, the attributes are not the subject.
So Thought, Volition, and Perception are not the soul, but its attributes;
and we have no cognizance of the soul itself, but only of them, its
manifestations. Nor of God; but only of His Wisdom, Power,
Magnificence, Truth, and other attributes.
And yet we know that there is matter, a soul within our body, a God that
lives in the Universe.
Take, then, the attributes of the soul. I am conscious that I exist and am
the same identical person that I was twenty years ago. I am conscious
that my body is not I, - that if my arms were lopped away, this person that
I call ME, would still remain, complete, entire, identical as before. But I
cannot ascertain, by the most intense and long-continued reflection, what
I am, nor where within my body I reside, nor whether I am a point, or an
expanded substance. I have no power to examine and inspect. I exist, will,
think, perceive. That I know, and nothing more. I think a noble and
sublime Thought. What is that Thought? It is not Matter, nor Spirit. It is
not a Thing; but a Power and Force. I make upon a paper certain
conventional marks, that represent that Thought. There is no Power or
Virtue in the marks I write, but only in the Thought which they tell to
others. I die, but the Thought still lives. It is a Power. It acts on men,
excites them to enthusiasm, inspires patriotism, governs their conduct,
controls their destinies, disposes of life and death. The words I speak are
but a certain succession of particular sounds, that by conventional
arrangement communicate to others the Immaterial, Intangible, Eternal
Thought. The fact that Thought continues to exist an instant, after it
makes its appearance in the soul, proves it immortal: for there is nothing
conceivable that can destroy it. The spoken words, being mere sounds,
may vanish into thin air, and the written ones, mere marks, be burned,
erased, destroyed: but the THOUGHT itself lives still, and must live on
A Human Thought, then, is an actual EXISTENCE, and a FORCE and
POWER, capable of acting upon and controlling matter as well as mind. Is
not the existence of a God, who is the immaterial soul of the Universe,
and whose THOUGHT, embodied or not embodied in His WORD, is an
Infinite Power, of Creation and pro-
duction, destruction and preservation, quite as comprehensible as the
existence of a Soul, of a Thought separated from the Soul, of the Power
of that Thought to mould the fate and influence the Destinies of
And yet we know not when that Thought comes, nor what it is. It is not
WE. We do not mould it, shape it, fashion it. It is neither our mechanism
nor our invention. It appears spontaneously, flashing, as it were, into the
soul, making that soul the involuntary instrument of its utterance to the
world. It comes to us, and seems a stranger to us, seeking a home.
As little can we explain the mighty power of the human WILL, Volition, like
Thought, seems spontaneous, an effect without a cause. Circumstances
provoke it, and serve as its occasion, but do not produce it. It springs up
in the soul, like Thought, as the waters gush upward in a spring. Is it the
manifestation of the soul, merely making apparent what passes within the
soul, or an emanation from it, going abroad and acting outwardly, itself a
real Existence, as it is an admitted Power? We can but own our
ignorance. It is certain that it acts on other souls, controls, directs them,
shapes their action, legislates for men and nations: and yet it is not
material nor visible; and the laws it writes merely n one soul of what has
passed within another.
God, therefore, is a mystery, only as everything that surrounds us, and as
we ourselves, are mysteries. We know that there is and must be a FIRST
CAUSE. His attributes, severed from Himself, are unrealities. As color and
extension, weight and hardness, do not exist apart from matter as
separate existences and substantives, spiritual or immaterial; so the
Goodness, Wisdom, justice, Mercy, and Benevolence of God are not
independent existences, personify them as men may, but attributes of the
Deity, the adjectives of One Great Substantive. But we know that He must
be Good, True, Wise, Just, Benevolent, Merciful: and in all these, and all
His other attributes, Perfect and Infinite; because we are conscious that
these are laws imposed on us by the very nature of things, necessary,
and without which the Universe would be confusion and the existence of a
God incredible. They are of His essence, and necessary, as His existence
. . Estos], of Simon Magus, the
He is the Living, Thinking, Intelligent SOUL of the Universe, the
PERMANENT, the STATIONARY[
ONE that always is [To To ON] of Plato, as
contradistinguished from the perpetual flux and reflux, or Genesis, of things.
And, as the Thought of the Soul, emanating from the Soul, becomes audible and
visible in Words, so did THE THOUGHT OF GOD, springing up within Himself,
immortal as Himself, when once conceived, - immortal before, because in
Himself, utter Itself in THE WORD, its manifestation and mode of
communication, and thus create the Material, Mental, Spiritual Universe, which,
like Him, never began to exist.
This is the real idea of the Ancient Nations: GOD, the Almighty Father, and
Source of All; His THOUGHT, conceiving the whole Universe, and willing its
creation: His WORD, uttering that THOUGHT, and thus becoming the Creator or
Demiourgos, in the whom was Life and Light, and that Light the Life of the
Nor did that Word cease at the single act of Creation; and having set going the
great machine, and enacted the laws of its motion and progression, of birth and
life, and change and death, cease to exist, or remain thereafter in inert idleness.
FOR THE THOUGHT OF GOD LIVES AND IS IMMORTAL. Embodied in the
WORD, is not only created, but it preserves. It conducts and controls the
Universe, all spheres, all worlds, all actions of mankind, and of every animate
and inanimate creature. It speaks in the soul of every man who lives. The Stars,
the Earth, the Trees, the Winds, the universal voice of Nature, tempest, and
avalanche, the Sea's roar and the grave voice of the waterfall, the hoarse
thunder and the low whisper of the brook, the song of birds, the voice of love,
the speech of men, all are the alphabet in which it communicates itself to men,
and informs them of the will and law of God, the Soul of the Universe. And thus
most truly did "THE WORD BECOME PLESH AND DWELL AMONG MEN."
God, the unknown FATHER [
Pater Agnõstos], known to us only
by His Attributes; the ABSOLUTE I AM:.. The THOUGHT of God [ .
Ennoia], and the WORD [ .... Logos], Manifestation and expression of the
Thought; . . . . Behold THE TRUE MASONIC TRINITY; the UNIVERSAL SOUL,
the THOUGHT in the Soul, the WORD, or Thought expressed; the THREE TN
ONE, of a Trinitarian Ecossais.
Here Masonry pauses, and leaves its Initiates to carry out and develop these
great Truths in such manner as to each may seem
most accordant with reason, philosophy, truth, and his religious faith. It
declines to act as Arbiter between them. It looks calmly on, while each
multiplies the intermediates between the Deity and Matter, and the
personifications of God's manifestations and attributes, to whatever extent
his reason, his conviction, or his fancy dictates.
While the Indian tells us that PARABRAHMA, BRAHM, and PARATMA
were the first Triune God, revealing Himself as BRAHMA, VISHNU, and
SIVA, Creator, Preserver, and Destroyer; ....
The Egyptian, of AMUN-RE, NEITH, and PHTHA, Creator, Matter, Thought
or Light; the Persian of his Trinity of Three Powers in ORMUZD, Sources of
Light, Fire, and Water; the Buddhists of the God SAKYA, a Trinity
composed of BUDDHA, DHARM and SANGA, - Intelligence, Law, and
Union or Harmony; the Chinese Sabeans of their Trinity of Chang-ti, the
Supreme Sovereign; Tien, the Heavens; and Tao, the Universal Supreme
Reason and Principle of all things; who produced the Unit; that, two; two,
three; and three, all that is; ....
While the Sclavono-Vend typifies his Trinity by the three heads of the God
Triglav; the Ancient Prussian points to his Triune God, Perkoun, Pikollos,
and Potrimpos, Deities of Light and Thunder, of Hell and of the Earth; the
Ancient Scandinavian to Odin, Frea, and Thor; and the old Etruscans to
TINA, TALNA, and MINIMVA, Strength, Abundance, and Wisdom; ....
While Plato tells us of the Supreme Good, the Reason or Intellect, and the
], and the Soul or Spirit; and Philo of the Archetype of Light, Wisdom [
os the Kabalists, of the Triads of the Sephiroth; . Word [
While the disciples of Simon Magus, and the many sects of the Gnostics,
confuse us with their Eons, Emanations, Powers, Wisdom Superior and
Inferior, Ialdabaoth, Adam-Kadmon, even to the three hundred and sixtyfive
thousand emanations of the Maldaites; ....
And while the pious Christian believes that the WORD dwelt in the Mortal
Body of Jesus of Nazareth, and suffered upon the Cross; and that the
HOLY GHOST was poured out upon the Apostles, and now inspires every
truly Christian Soul: . . . .
While all these faiths assert their claims to the exclusive possession of the
Truth, Masonry inculcates its old doctrine, and no more: .... That God is
ONE; that His THOUGHT uttered in His
WORD, created the Universe, and preserves it by those Eternal Laws
which are the expression of that Thought: that the Soul of Man, breathed
into him by God, is immortal as His Thoughts are; that he is free to do evil
or to choose good, responsible for his acts and punishable for his sins:
that all evil and wrong and suffering are but temporary, the discords of
one great Harmony, and that in His good time they will lead by infinite
modulations to the great, harmonic final chord and cadence of Truth,
Love, Peace, and Happiness, that will ring forever and ever under the
Arches of Heaven, among all the Stars and Worlds, and in all souls of
men and Angels.