Part 2 of 2
The name of the Phoenician artificer is, in Samuel and Kings,
[2 Sam. v. 11; 1 Kings v. 15; 1 Kings vii. 40]. In Chronicles it is
with the addition of
[2 Chron. ii. 12]; and of [2 Chron. iv. 16].
It is merely absurd to add the word "Abif," or "Abiff, " as part of the name of the artificer. And it is almost as absurd to add the word "Abi," which was a title and not part of the name. Joseph says [Gen. xlv. 8], "God has constituted me 'Ab l'Paraah, as Father to Paraah, i.e., Vizier or Prime Minister." So Haman was called the Second Father of Artaxerxes; and when King Khurum used the phrase "Khurum Abi, " he meant that the artificer he sent Schlomoh was the principal or chief workman in his line at Tsur.
A medal copied by Montfaucon exhibits a female nursing a child, with ears of wheat in her hand, and the legend (Iao). She is seated on clouds, a star at her head, and three ears of wheat rising from an altar before her.
HORUS was the mediator, who was buried three days, was regenerated, and triumphed over the evil principle.
The word HERI, in Sanscrit, means Shepherd, as well as Savior. CRISHNA is called Heri, as Jesus called Himself the Good Shepherd.
Khur, means an aperture of a window, a cave, or the eye. Also it means white. In Syriac,
also means an opening, and noble, free-born, high-born.
KHURM means consecrated, devoted; in AEthiopic
. It is the name of a city, [Josh. xix. 38]; and of a man, [Ezr. ii. 32, x. 31; Neh. iii. 11].
Khirah, means nobility, a noble race.
Buddha is declared to comprehend in his own person the essence of the Hindu Trimurti; and hence the tri-literal monosyllable Om or Aum is applied to him as being essentially the same as Brahma-Vishnu-Siva. He is the same as Hermes, Thoth, Taut, and Teutates. One of his names is Heri-maya or Hermaya, which are evidently the same name as Hermes and Khirm or Khurm. Heri, in Sanscrit, means Lord.
A learned Brother places over the two symbolic pillars, from right to left, the two words
IHU and BAL: followed by the hieroglyphic equivalent
of the Sun-God, Amun-ra. Is it an accidental coincidence, that in the name of each murderer are the two names of the Good and Evil Deities of the Hebrews; for Yu-bel is but Yehu-Bal or Yeho-Bal? and that the three final syllables of the names, a, o, um, make A.'.U.'.M.'. the sacred word of the Hindoos, meaning the Triune God, Life-giving, Life-preserving, Life-destroying: represented by the mystic character
The genuine acacia, also, is the thorny tamarisk, the same tree which grew up around the body of Osiris. It was a sacred tree among the Arabs, who made of it the idol Al-Uzza, which Mohammed destroyed. It is abundant as a bush in the Desert of Thur: and of it the "crown of thorns" was composed, which was set on the forehead of Jesus of Nazareth. It is a fit type of immortality on account of its tenacity of life; for it has been known, when planted as a door-post, to take root again and shoot out budding boughs over the threshold.
Every commonwealth must have its periods of trial and transition, especially if it engages in war. It is certain at some time to be wholly governed by agitators appealing to all the baser elements of the popular nature; by moneyed corporations; by those enriched by the depreciation of government securities or paper; by small attorneys, schemers, money-jobbers, speculators and adventurers--an ignoble oligarchy, enriched by the distresses of the State, and fattened on the miseries of the people. Then all the deceitful visions of equality and the rights of man end; and the wronged and plundered State can regain a real liberty only by passing through "great varieties of untried being," purified in its transmigration by fire and blood.
In a Republic, it soon comes to pass that parties gather round the negative and positive poles of some opinion or notion, and that the intolerant spirit of a triumphant majority will allow no deviation from the standard of orthodoxy which it has set up for itself. Freedom of opinion will be professed and pretended to, but every one will exercise it at the peril of being banished fro n political communion with those who hold the reins and prescribe the policy to be pursued. Slavishness to party and obsequiousness to the popular whims go hand in hand. Political independence only occurs in a fossil state; and men's opinions grow out of the acts they have been constrained to do or sanction. Flattery, either of individual or people, corrupts both the receiver and the giver; and adulation is not of more service to the people than to kings. A Cæsar, securely seated in power, cares less for it than a free democracy; nor will his appetite for it grow to exorbitance, as that of a people will, until it becomes insatiate. The effect of liberty to individuals is, that they may do what they please; to a people, it is to a great extent the same. If accessible to flattery, as this is always interested, and resorted to on low and base motives, and for evil purposes, either individual or people is sure, in doing what it pleases, to do what in honor and conscience should have been left undone. One ought not even to risk congratulations, which may soon be turned into complaints; and as both individuals and peoples are prone to make a bad use of power, to flatter them, which is a sure way to mislead them, well deserves to be called a crime.
The first principle in a Republic ought to be, "that no man or set of men is entitled to exclusive or separate emoluments or privileges from the community, but in consideration of public services; which not being descendible, neither ought the offices of magistrate, legislature, nor judge, to be hereditary." It is a volume of Truth and Wisdom, a lesson for the study of nations, embodied in a single sentence, and expressed in language which every man can understand. If a deluge of despotism were to overthrow the world, and destroy all institutions under which freedom is protected, so that they should no longer be remembered among men, this sentence, preserved, would be sufficient to rekindle the fires of liberty and revive the race of free men.
But, to preserve liberty, another must be added: "that a free State does not confer office as a reward, especially for questionable services, unless she seeks her own ruin; but all officers are employed by her, in consideration solely of their will and ability to render service in the future; and therefore that the best and most competent are always to be preferred."
For, if there is to be any other rule, that of hereditary succession is perhaps as good as any. By no other rule is it possible to preserve the liberties of the State. By no other to intrust the power of making the laws to those only who have that keen instinctive sense of injustice and wrong which enables them to detect baseness and corruption in their most secret hiding-places, and that moral courage and generous manliness and gallant independence that make them fearless in dragging out the perpetrators to the light of day, and calling down upon them the scorn and indignation of the world. The flatterers of the people are never such men. On the contrary, a time always comes to a Republic, when it is not content, like Tiberius, with a single Sejanus, but must have a host; and when those most prominent in the lead of affairs are men without reputation, statesmanship, ability, or information, the mere hacks of party, owing their places to trickery and want of qualification, with none of the qualities of head or heart that make great and wise men, and, at the same time, filled with all the narrow conceptions and bitter intolerance of political bigotry. These die; and the world is none the wiser for what they have said and done. Their names sink in the bottomless pit of oblivion; but their acts of folly or knavery curse the body politic and at last prove its ruin.
Politicians, in a free State, are generally hollow, heartless, and selfish. Their own aggrandisement is the end of their patriotism; and they always look with secret satisfaction on the disappointment or fall of one whose loftier genius and superior talents over-shadow their own self-importance, or whose integrity and incorruptible honor are in the way of their selfish ends. The influence of the small aspirants is always against the great man. His accession to power may be almost for a lifetime. One of themselves will be more easily displaced, and each hopes to succeed him; and so it at length comes to pass that men impudently aspire to and actually win the highest stations, who are unfit for the lowest clerkships; and incapacity and mediocrity become the surest passports to office.
The consequence is, that those who feel themselves competent and qualified to serve the people, refuse with disgust to enter into the struggle for office, where the wicked and jesuitical doctrine that all is fair in politics is an excuse for every species of low villainy; and those who seek even the highest places of the State do not rely upon the power of a magnanimous spirit, on the sympathizing impulses of a great soul, to stir and move the people to generous, noble, and heroic resolves, and to wise and manly action; but, like spaniels erect on their hind legs, with fore-paws obsequiously suppliant, fawn, flatter, and actually beg for votes. Rather than descend to this, they stand contemptuously aloof, disdainfully refusing to court the people, and acting on the maxim, that "mankind has no title to demand that we shall serve them in spite of themselves."
It is lamentable to see a country split into factions, each following this or that great or brazen-fronted leader with a blind, unreasoning, unquestioning hero-worship; it is contemptible to see it divided into parties, whose sole end is the spoils of victory, and their chiefs the low, the base, the venal and the small. Such a country is in the last stages of decay, and near its end, no matter how prosperous it may seem to be. It wrangles over the volcano and the earthquake. But it is certain that no government can be conducted by the men of the people, and for the people, without a rigid adherence to those principles which our reason commends as fixed and sound. These must be the tests of parties, men, and measures. Once determined, they must be inexorable in their application, and all must either come up to the standard or declare against it. Men may betray: principles never can. Oppression is one invariable consequence of misplaced confidence in treacherous man, it is never the result of the working or application of a sound, just, well-tried principle. Compromises which bring fundamental principles into doubt, in order to unite in one party men of antagonistic creeds, are frauds, and end in ruin, the just and natural consequence of fraud. Whenever you have settled upon your theory and creed, sanction no departure from it in practice, on any ground of expediency. It is the Master's word. Yield it up neither to flattery nor force! Let no defeat or persecution rob you of it! Believe that he who once blundered in statesmanship will blunder again; that such blunders are as fatal as crimes; and that political near-sightedness does not improve by age. There are always more impostors than seers among public men, more false prophets than true ones, more prophets of Baal than of Jehovah; and Jerusalem is always in danger from the Assyrians.
Sallust said that after a State has been corrupted by luxury and idleness, it may by its mere greatness bear up under the burden of its vices. But even while he wrote, Rome, of which he spoke, had played out her masquerade of freedom. Other causes than luxury and sloth destroy Republics. If small, their larger neighbors extinguish them by absorption. If of great extent, the cohesive force is too feeble to hold them together, and they fall to pieces by their own weight. The paltry ambition of small men disintegrates them. The want of wisdom in their councils creates exasperating issues. Usurpation of power plays its part, incapacity seconds corruption, the storm rises, and the fragments of the incoherent raft strew the sandy shores, reading to mankind another lesson for it to disregard.
The Forty-seventh Proposition is older than Pythagoras. It is this: "In every right-angled triangle, the sum of the squares of the base and perpendicular is equal to the square of the hypothenuse."
The square of a number is the product of that number, multi-plied by itself. Thus, 4 is the square of 2, and 9 of 3.
The first ten numbers are: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10; their squares are 1, 4, 9, 16, 25, 36, 49, 64, 81, 100; and 3, 5, 7, 9, 11, 13, 15, 17, 19 are the differences between each square and that which precedes it; giving us the sacred numbers, 3, 5, 7, and 9.
Of these numbers, the square of 3 and 4, added together, gives the square of 5; and those of 6 and 8, the square of 10; and if a right-angled triangle be formed, the base measuring 3 or 6 parts, and the perpendicular 4 or 8 parts, the hypothenuse will be 5 or 10 parts; and if a square is erected on each side, these squares being subdivided into squares each side of which is one part in length, there will be as many of these in the square erected on the hypothenuse as in the other two squares together.
Now the Egyptians arranged their deities in Triads--the FATHER or the Spirit or Active Principle or Generative Power; the MOTHER, or Matter, or the Passive Principle, or the Conceptive Power; and the SON, Issue or Product, the Universe, proceeding from the two principles. These were OSIRIS, ISIS, and HORUS. In the same way, PLATO gives us Thought the Father; Primitive Matter the Mother; and Kosmos the World, the Son, the Universe animated by a soul. Triads of the same kind are found in the Kabalah.
PLUTARCH says, in his book De Iside et Osiride, "But the better and diviner nature consists of three, that which exists within the Intellect only, and Matter, and that which proceeds from these, which the Greeks call Kosmos; of which three, Plato is wont to call the Intelligible, the 'Idea, Exemplar, and Father'; Matter, 'the Mother, the Nurse, and the place and receptacle of generation'; and the issue of these two, 'the Offspring and Genesis,'" the Kosmos, "a word signifying equally Beauty and Order, or the Universe itself." You will not fail to notice that Beauty is symbolized by the Junior Warden in the South. Plutarch continues to say that the Egyptians compared the universal nature to what they called the most beautiful and perfect triangle, as Plato does, in that nuptial diagram, as it is termed, which he has introduced into his Commonwealth. Then he adds that this triangle is right-angled, and its sides respectively as 3, 4, and 5; and he says, "We must suppose that the perpendicular is designed by them to represent the masculine nature, the base the feminine, and that the hypothenuse is to be looked upon as the offspring of both; and accordingly the first of them will aptly enough represent OSIRIS, or the prime cause; the second, ISIS, or the receptive capacity; the last, HORUS, or the common effect of the other two. For 3 is the first number which is composed of even and odd; and 4 is a square whose side is equal to the even number 2; but 5, being generated, as it were, out of the preceding numbers, 2 and 3, may be said to have an equal relation to both of them, as to its common parents."
The clasped hands is another symbol which was used by PYTHAGORAS. It represented the number 10, the sacred number in which all the preceding numbers were contained; the number expressed by the mysterious TETRACTYS, a figure borrowed by him and the Hebrew priests alike from the Egyptian sacred science, and which ought to be replaced among the symbols of the Master's Degree, where it of right belongs. The Hebrews formed it thus, with the letters of the Divine name:
The Tetractys thus leads you, not only to the study of the Pythagorean philosophy as to numbers, but also to the Kabalah, and will aid you in discovering the True Word, and understanding what was meant by "The Music of the Spheres." Modern science strikingly confirms the ideas of Pythagoras in regard to the properties of numbers, and that they govern in the Universe. Long before his time, nature had extracted her cube-roots and her squares.
All the FORCES at man's disposal or under man's control, or subject to man's influence, are his working tools. The friendship and sympathy that knit heart to heart are a force like the attraction of cohesion, by which the sandy particles became the solid rock. If this law of attraction or cohesion were taken away, the material worlds and suns would dissolve in an instant into thin invisible vapor. If the ties of friendship, affection, and love were annulled, mankind would become a raging multitude of wild and savage beasts of prey. The sand hardens into rock under the immense superincumbent pressure of the ocean, aided sometimes by the irresistible energy of fire; and when the pressure of calamity and danger is upon an order or a country, the members or the citizens ought to be the more closely united by the cohesion of sympathy and inter-dependence.
Morality is a force. It is the magnetic attraction of the heart toward Truth and Virtue. The needle, imbued with this mystic property, and pointing unerringly to the north, carries the mariner safely over the trackless ocean, through storm and darkness, until his glad eyes behold the beneficent beacons that welcome him to safe and hospitable harbor. Then the hearts of those who love him are gladdened, and his home made happy; and this gladness and happiness are due to the silent, unostentatious, unerring monitor that was the sailor's guide over the weltering waters. But if drifted too far northward, he finds the needle no longer true, but pointing elsewhere than to the north, what a feeling of helplessness falls upon the dismayed mariner, what utter loss of energy and courage! It is as if the great axioms of morality were to fail and be no longer true, leaving the human soul to drift helplessly, eyeless like Prometheus, at the mercy of the uncertain, faithless currents of the deep.
Honor and Duty are the pole-stars of a Mason, the Dioscuri, by never losing sight of which he may avoid disastrous shipwreck. These Palinurus watched, until, overcome by sleep, and the vessel no longer guided truly, he fell into and was swallowed up by the insatiable sea. So the Mason who loses sight of these, and is no longer governed by their beneficent and potential force, is lost, and sinking out of sight, will disappear unhonored and unwept.
The force of electricity, analogous to that of sympathy, and by means of which great thoughts or base suggestions, the utterances of noble or ignoble natures, flash instantaneously over the nerves of nations; the force of growth, fit type of immortality, lying dormant three thousand years in the wheat-grains buried with their mummies by the old Egyptians; the forces of expansion and contraction, developed in the earthquake and the tornado, and giving birth to the wonderful achievements of steam, have their parallelisms in the moral world, in individuals, and nations. Growth is a necessity for nations as for men. Its cessation is the beginning of decay. In the nation as well as the plant it is mysterious, and it is irresistible. The earthquakes that rend nations asunder, overturn thrones, and engulf monarchies and republics, have been long prepared for, like the volcanic eruption. Revolutions have long roots in the past. The force exerted is in direct proportion to the previous restraint and compression. The true statesman ought to see in progress the causes that are in due time to produce them; and he who does not is but a blind leader of the blind.
The great changes in nations, like the geological changes of the earth, are slowly and continuously wrought. The waters, falling from Heaven as rain and dews, slowly disintegrate the granite mountains; abrade the plains, leaving hills and ridges of denudation as their monuments; scoop out the valleys, fill up the seas, narrow the rivers, and after the lapse of thousands on thousands of silent centuries, prepare the great alluvia for the growth of that plant, the snowy envelope of whose seeds is to employ the looms of the world, and the abundance or penury of whose crops shall determine whether the weavers and spinners of other realms shall have work to do or starve.
So Public Opinion is an immense force; and its currents are as inconstant and incomprehensible as those of the atmosphere. Nevertheless, in free governments, it is omnipotent; and the business of the statesman is to find the means to shape, control, and direct it. According as that is done, it is beneficial and conservative, or destructive and ruinous. The Public Opinion of the civilized world is International Law; and it is so great a force, though with no certain and fixed boundaries, that it can even constrain the victorious despot to be generous, and aid an oppressed people in its struggle for independence.
Habit is a great force; it is second nature, even in trees. It is as strong in nations as in men. So also are Prejudices, which are given to men and nations as the passions are,--as forces, valuable, if properly and skillfully availed of; destructive, if unskillfully handled.
Above all, the Love of Country, State Pride, the Love of Home, are forces of immense power. Encourage them all. Insist upon them in your public men. Permanency of home is necessary to patriotism. A migratory race will have little love of country. State pride is a mere theory and chimera, where men remove from State to State with indifference, like the Arabs, who camp here to-day and there to-morrow.
If you have Eloquence, it is a mighty force. See that you use it for good purposes--to teach, exhort, ennoble the people, and not to mislead and corrupt them. Corrupt and venal orators are the assassins of the public liberties and of public morals.
The Will is a force; its limits as yet unknown. It is in the power of the will that we chiefly see the spiritual and divine in man. There is a seeming identity between his will that moves other men, and the Creative Will whose action seems so incomprehensible. It is the men of will and action, not the men of pure intellect, that govern the world.
Finally, the three greatest moral forces are FAITH, which is the only true WISDOM, and the very foundation of all government; HOPE, which is STRENGTH, and insures success; and CHARITY, which is BEAUTY, and alone makes animated, united effort possible. These forces are within the reach of all men; and an association of men, actuated by them, ought to exercise an immense power in the world. If Masonry does not, it is because she has ceased to possess them.
Wisdom in the man or statesman, in king or priest, largely consists in the due appreciation of these forces; and upon the general non-appreciation of some of them the fate of nations often depends. What hecatombs of lives often hang upon the not weighing or not sufficiently weighing the force of an idea, such as, for example, the reverence for a flag, or the blind attachment to a form or constitution of government!
What errors in political economy and statesmanship are committed in consequence of the over-estimation or under-estimation of particular values, or the non-estimation of some among them! Everything, it is asserted, is the product of human labor; but the gold or the diamond which one accidentally finds without labor is not so. What is the value of the labor bestowed by the husbandman upon his crops, compared with the value of the sunshine and rain, without with his labor avails nothing? Commerce carried on by the labor of man, adds to the value of the products of the field, the mine, or the workshop, by their transportation to different markets; but how much of this increase is due to the rivers down which these products float, to the winds that urge the keels of commerce over the ocean!
Who can estimate the value of morality and manliness in a State, of moral worth and intellectual knowledge? These are the sunshine and rain of the State. The winds, with their change-able, fickle, fluctuating currents, are apt emblems of the fickle humors of the populace, its passions, its heroic impulses, its enthusiasms. Woe to the statesman who does not estimate these as values!
Even music and song are sometimes found to have an incalculable value. Every nation has some song of a proven value, more easily counted in lives than dollars. The Marseillaise was worth to revolutionary France, who shall say how many thousand men?
Peace also is a great element of prosperity and wealth; a value not to be calculated. Social intercourse and association of men in beneficent Orders have a value not to be estimated in coin. The illustrious examples of the Past of a nation, the memories and immortal thoughts of her great and wise thinkers, statesmen, and heroes, are the invaluable legacy of that Past to the Present and Future. And all these have not only the values of the loftier and more excellent and priceless kind, but also an actual money-value, since it is only when co-operating with or aided or enabled by these, that human labor creates wealth. They are of the chief elements of material wealth, as they are of national manliness, heroism, glory, prosperity, and immortal renown.
Providence has appointed the three great disciplines of War, the Monarchy and the Priesthood, all that the CAMP, the PALACE, and the TEMPLE may symbolize, to train the multitudes forward to intelligent and premeditated combinations for all the great purposes of society. The result will at length be free governments among men, when virtue and intelligence become qualities of the multitudes; but for ignorance such governments are impossible. Man advances only by degrees. The removal of one pressing calamity gives courage to attempt the removal of the remaining evils, rendering men more sensitive to them, or perhaps sensitive for the first time. Serfs that writhe under the whip are not disquieted about their political rights; manumitted from personal slavery, they become sensitive to political oppression. Liberated from arbitrary power, and governed by the law alone, they begin to scrutinize the law itself, and desire to be governed, not only by law, but by what they deem the best law. And when the civil or temporal despot-ism has been set aside, and the municipal law has been moulded on the principles of an enlightened jurisprudence, they may wake to the discovery that they are living under some priestly or ecclesiastical despotism, and become desirous of working a reformation there also.
It is quite true that the advance of humanity is slow, and that it often pauses and retrogrades. In the kingdoms of the earth we do not see despotisms retiring and yielding the ground to self-governing communities. We do not see the churches and priesthoods of Christendom relinquishing their old task of governing men by imaginary terrors. Nowhere do we see a populace that could be safely manumitted from such a government. We do not see the great religious teachers aiming to discover truth for themselves and for others; but still ruling the world, and contented and compelled to rule the world, by whatever dogma is already accredited; themselves as much bound down by this necessity to govern, as the populace by their need of government. Poverty in all its most hideous forms still exists in the great cities; and the cancer of pauperism has its roots in the hearts of kingdoms. Men there take no measure of their wants and their own power to supply them, but live and multiply like the beasts of the field,--Providence having apparently ceased to care for them. Intelligence never visits these, or it makes its appearance as some new development of villainy. War has not ceased; still there are battles and sieges. Homes are still unhappy, and tears and anger and spite make hells where there should be heavens. So much the more necessity for Masonry! So much wider the field of its labors! So much the more need for it to begin to be true to itself, to revive from its asphyxia, to repent of its apostasy to its true creed!
Undoubtedly, labor and death and the sexual passion are essential and permanent conditions of human existence, and render perfection and a millennium on earth impossible. Always,--it is the decree of Fate!--the vast majority of men must toil to live, and cannot find time to cultivate the intelligence. Man, knowing he is to die, will not sacrifice the present enjoyment for a greater one in the future. The love of woman cannot die out; and it has a terrible and uncontrollable fate, increased by the refinements of civilization. Woman is the veritable syren or goddess of the young. But society can be improved; and free government is possible for States; and freedom of thought and conscience is no longer wholly utopian. Already we see that Emperors prefer to be elected by universal suffrage; that States are conveyed to Empires by vote; and that Empires are administered with something of the spirit of a Republic, being little else than democracies with a single head, ruling through one man, one representative, instead of an assembly of representatives. And if Priesthoods still govern, they now come before the laity to prove, by stress of argument, that they ought to govern. They are obliged to evoke the very reason which they are bent on supplanting.
Accordingly, men become daily more free, because the freedom of the man lies in his reason. He can reflect upon his own future conduct, and summon up its consequences; he can take wide views of human life, and lay down rules for constant guidance. Thus he is relieved of the tyranny of sense and passion, and enabled at any time to live according to the whole light of the knowledge that is within him, instead of being driven, like a dry leaf on the wings of the wind, by every present impulse. Herein lies the freedom of the man as regarded in connection with the necessity imposed by the omnipotence and fore-knowledge of God. So much light, so much liberty. When emperor and church appeal to reason there is naturally universal suffrage.
Therefore no one need lose courage, nor believe that labor in the cause of Progress will be labor wasted. There is no waste in nature, either of Matter, Force, Act, or Thought. A Thought is as much the end of life as an Action; and a single Thought sometimes works greater results than a Revolution, even Revolutions themselves. Still there should not be divorce between Thought and Action. The true Thought is that in which life culminates. But all wise and true Thought produces Action. It is generative, like the light; and light and the deep shadow of the passing cloud are the gifts of the prophets of the race. Knowledge, laboriously acquired, and inducing habits of sound Thought,--the reflective character,--must necessarily be rare. The multitude of laborers cannot acquire it. Most men attain to a very low standard of it. It is incompatible with the ordinary and indispensable avocations of life. A whole world of error as well as of labor, go to make one reflective man. In the most advanced nation of Europe there are more ignorant than wise, more poor than rich, more automatic laborers, the mere creatures of habit, than reasoning and reflective men. The proportion is at least a thousand to one. Unanimity of opinion is so obtained. It only exists among the multitude who do not think, and the political or spiritual priesthood who think for that multitude, who think how to guide and govern them. When men begin to reflect, they begin to differ. The great problem is to find guides who will not seek to be tyrants. This is needed even more in respect to the heart than the head. Now, every man earns his special share of the produce of human labor, by an incessant scramble, by trickery and deceit. Useful knowledge, honorably acquired, is too often used after a fashion not honest or reasonable, so that the studies of youth are far more noble than the practices of manhood. The labor of the farmer in his fields, the generous returns of the earth, the benignant and favoring skies, tend to make him earnest, provident, and grateful; the education of the market-place makes him querulous, crafty, envious, and an intolerable niggard.
Masonry seeks to be this beneficent, unambitious, disinterested guide; and it is the very condition of all great structures that the sound of the hammer and the clink of the trowel should be always heard in some part of the building. With faith in man, hope for the future of humanity, loving-kindness for our fellows, Masonry and the Mason must always work and teach. Let each do that for which he is best fitted. The teacher also is a workman. Praiseworthy as the active navigator is, who comes and goes and makes one clime partake of the treasures of the other, and one to share the treasures of all, he who keeps the beacon-light upon the hill is also at his post.
Masonry has already helped cast down some idols from their pedestals, and grind to impalpable dust some of the links of the chains that held men's souls in bondage. That there has been progress needs no other demonstration than that you may now reason with men, and urge upon them, without danger of the rack or stake, that no doctrines can be apprehended as truths if they contradict each other, or contradict other truths given us by God. Long before the Reformation, a monk, who had found his way to heresy without the help of Martin Luther, not venturing to breathe aloud into any living ear his anti-papal and treasonable doctrines, wrote them on parchment, and sealing up the perilous record, hid it in the massive walls of his monastery. There was no friend or brother to whom he could intrust his secret or pour forth his soul. It was some consolation to imagine that in a future age some one might find the parchment, and the seed be found not to have been sown in vain. What if the truth should have to lie dormant as long before germinating as the wheat in the Egyptian mummy? Speak it, nevertheless, again and again, and let it take its chance!
The rose of Jericho grows in the sandy deserts of Arabia and on the Syrian housetops. Scarcely six inches high, it loses its leaves after the flowering season, and dries up into the form of a ball. Then it is uprooted by the winds, and carried, blown, or tossed across the desert, into the sea. There, feeling the contact of the water, it unfolds itself, expands its branches, and expels its seeds from their seed-vessels. These, when saturated with water, are carried by the tide and laid on the seashore. Many are lost, as many individual lives of men are useless. But many are thrown back again from the seashore into the desert, where, by the virtue of the sea-water that they have imbibed, the roots and leaves sprout and they grow into fruitful plants, which will, in their turns, like their ancestors, be whirled into the sea. God will not be less careful to provide for the germination of the truths you may boldly utter forth. "Cast," He has said, "thy bread upon the waters, and after many days it shall return to thee again."
Initiation does not change: we find it again and again, and always the same, through all the ages. The last disciples of Pascalis Martinez are still the children of Orpheus; but they adore the realizer of the antique philosophy, the Incarnate Word of the Christians.
Pythagoras, the great divulger of the philosophy of numbers, visited all the sanctuaries of the world. He went into Judæa, where he procured himself to be circumcised, that he might be admitted to the secrets of the Kabalah, which the prophets Ezekiel and Daniel, not without some reservations, communicated to him. Then, not without some difficulty, he succeeded in being admitted to the Egyptian initiation, upon the recommendation of King Amasis. The power of his genius supplied the deficiencies of the imperfect communications of the Hierophants, and he himself became a Master and a Revealer, Pythagoras defined God: a Living and Absolute Verity clothed with Light.
He said that the Word was Number manifested by Form.
He made all descend from the Tetractys, that is to say, from the Quaternary.
God, he said again, is the Supreme Music, the nature of which is Harmony.
Pythagoras gave the magistrates of Crotona this great religious, political and social precept:
"There is no evil that is not preferable to Anarchy."
Pythagoras said, "Even as there are three divine notions and three intelligible regions, so there is a triple word, for the Hierarchical Order always manifests itself by threes. There are the word simple, the word hieroglyphical, and the word symbolic: in other terms, there are the word that expresses, the word that conceals, and the word that signifies; the whole hieratic intelligence is in the perfect knowledge of these three degrees."
Pythagoras enveloped doctrine with symbols, but carefully eschewed personifications and images, which, he thought, sooner or later produced idolatry.
The Holy Kabalah, or tradition of the children of Seth, was carried from Chaldæa by Abraham, taught to the Egyptian priesthood by Joseph, recovered and purified by Moses, concealed under symbols in the Bible, revealed by the Saviour to Saint John, and contained, entire, under hieratic figures analogous to those of all antiquity, in the Apocalypse of that Apostle.
The Kabalists consider God as the Intelligent, Animated, Living Infinite. He is not, for them, either the aggregate of existences, or existence in the abstract, or a being philosophically definable. He is in all, distinct from all, and greater than all. His name even is ineffable; and yet this name only expresses the human ideal of His divinity. What God is in Himself, it is not given to man to comprehend.
God is the absolute of Faith; but the absolute of Reason is BEING,
"I am that I am," is a wretched translation.
Being, Existence, is by itself, and because it Is. The reason of Being, is Being itself. We may inquire, "Why does something exist?" that is, "Why does such or such a thing exist?" But we cannot, without being absurd, ask, "Why Is Being?" That would be to suppose Being before Being. If Being had a cause, that cause would necessarily Be; that is, the cause and effect would be identical.
Reason and science demonstrate to us that the modes of Existence and Being balance each other in equilibrium according to harmonious and hierarchic laws. But a hierarchy is synthetized, in ascending, and becomes ever more and more monarchial. Yet the reason cannot pause at a single chief, without being alarmed at the abysses which it seems to leave above this Supreme Monarch. Therefore it is silent, and gives place to the Faith it adores.
What is certain, even for science and the reason, is, that the idea of God is the grandest, the most holy, and the most useful of all the aspirations of man; that upon this belief morality reposes, with its eternal sanction. This belief, then, is in humanity, the most real of the phenomena of being; and if it were false, nature would affirm the absurd; nothingness would give form to life, and God would at the same time be and not be.
It is to this philosophic and incontestable reality, which is termed The Idea of God, that the Kabalists give a name. In this name all others are contained. Its cyphers contain all the numbers; and the hieroglyphics of its letters express all the laws and all the things of nature.
BEING IS BEING: the reason of Being is in Being: in the Beginning is the Word, and the Word in logic formulated Speech, the spoken Reason; the Word is in God, and is God Himself, manifested to the Intelligence. Here is what is above all the philosophies. This we must believe, under the penalty of never truly knowing anything, and relapsing into the absurd skepticism of Pyrrho. The Priesthood, custodian of Faith, wholly rests upon this basis of knowledge, and it is in its teachings we must recognize the Divine Principle of the Eternal Word.
Light is not Spirit, as the Indian Hierophants believed it to be; but only the instrument of the Spirit. It is not the body of the Protoplastes, as the Theurgists of the school of Alexandria taught, but the first physical manifestation of the Divine afflatus. God eternally creates it, and man, in the image of God, modifies and seems to multiply it.
The high magic is styled "The Sacerdotal Art," and "The Royal Art." In Egypt, Greece, and Rome, it could not but share the greatnesses and decadences of the Priesthood and of Royalty. Every philosophy hostile to the national worship and to its mysteries, was of necessity hostile to the great political powers, which lose their grandeur, if they cease, in the eyes of the multitudes, to be the images of the Divine Power. Every Crown is shattered, when it clashes against the Tiara.
Plato, writing to Dionysius the Younger, in regard to the nature of the First Principle, says: "I must write to you in enigmas, so that if my letter be intercepted by land or sea, he who shall read it may in no degree comprehend it." And then he says, "All things surround their King; they are, on account of Him, and He alone is the cause of good things, Second for the Seconds and Third for the Thirds."
There is in these few words a complete summary of the Theology of the Sephiroth. "The King" is AINSOPH, Being Supreme and Absolute. From this centre, which is everywhere, all things ray forth; but we especially conceive of it in three manners and in three different spheres. In the Divine world (AZILUTH), which is that of the First Cause, and wherein the whole Eternity of Things in the beginning existed as Unity, to be afterward, during Eternity uttered forth, clothed with form, and the attributes that constitute them matter, the First Principle is Single and First, and yet not the VERY Illimitable Deity, incomprehensible, undefinable; but Himself in so far as manifested by the Creative Thought. To compare littleness with infinity,--Arkwright, as inventor of the spinning-jenny, and not the man Arkwright otherwise and beyond that. All we can know of the Very God is, compared to His Wholeness, only as an infinitesimal fraction of a unit, compared with an infinity of Units.
In the World of Creation, which is that of Second Causes [the Kabalistic World BRIAH], the Autocracy of the First Principle is complete, but we conceive of it only as the Cause of the Second Causes. Here it is manifested by the Binary, and is the Creative Principle passive. Finally: in the third world, YEZIRAH, or of Formation, it is revealed in the perfect Form, the Form of Forms, the World, the Supreme Beauty and Excellence, the Created Perfection. Thus the Principle is at once the First, the Second, and the Third, since it is All in All, the Centre and Cause of all. It is not the genius of Plato that we here admire. We recognize only the exact knowledge of the Initiate.
The great Apostle Saint John did not borrow from the philosophy of Plato the opening of his Gospel. Plato, on the contrary, drank at the same springs with Saint John and Philo; and John in the opening verses of his paraphrase, states the first principles of a dogma common to many schools, but in language especially belonging to Philo, whom it is evident he had read. The philosophy of Plato, the greatest of human Revealers, could yearn toward the Word made man; the Gospel alone could give him to the world.
Doubt, in presence of Being and its harmonies; skepticism, in the face of the eternal mathematics and the immutable laws of Life which make the Divinity present and visible everywhere, as the Human is known and visible by its utterances of word and act,--is this not the most foolish of superstitions, and the most inexcusable as well as the most dangerous of all credulities? Thought, we know, is not a result or consequence of the organization of matter, of the chemical or other action or reaction of its particles, like effervescence and gaseous explosions. On the contrary, the fact that Thought is manifested and realized in act human or act divine, proves the existence of an Entity, or Unity, that thinks. And the Universe is the Infinite Utterance of one of an infinite number of Infinite Thoughts, which cannot but emanate from an Infinite and Thinking Source. The cause is always equal, at least, to the effect; and matter cannot think, nor could it cause itself, or exist without cause, nor could nothing produce either forces or things; for in void nothingness no Forces can inhere. Admit a self-existent Force, and its Intelligence, or an Intelligent cause of it is admitted, and at once GOD IS.
The Hebrew allegory of the Fall of Man, which is but a special variation of a universal legend, symbolizes one of the grandest and most universal allegories of science.
Moral Evil is Falsehood in actions; as Falsehood is Crime in words.
Injustice is the essence of Falsehood; and every false word is an injustice.
Injustice is the death of the Moral Being, as Falsehood is the poison of the Intelligence.
The perception of the Light is the dawn of the Eternal Life, in Being. The Word of God, which creates the Light, seems to be uttered by every Intelligence that can take cognizance of Forms and will look. "Let the Light BE! The Light, in fact, exists, in its condition of splendor, for those eyes alone that gaze at it; and the Soul, amorous of the spectacle of the beauties of the Universe, and applying its attention to that luminous writing of the Infinite Book, which is called "The Visible," seems to utter, as God did on the dawn of the first day, that sublime and creative word, "BE! LIGHT!"
It is not beyond the tomb, but in life itself, that we are to seek for the mysteries of death. Salvation or reprobation begins here below, and the terrestrial world too has its Heaven and its Hell. Always, even here below, virtue is rewarded; always, even here below, vice is punished; and that which makes us sometimes believe in the impunity of evil-doers is that riches, those instruments of good and of evil, seem sometimes to be given them at hazard. But woe to unjust men, when they possess the key of gold! It opens, for them, only the gate of the tomb and of Hell.
All the true Initiates have recognized the usefulness of toil and sorrow. "Sorrow," says a German poet, "is the dog of that unknown shepherd who guides the flock of men." To learn to suffer, to learn to die, is the discipline of Eternity, the immortal Novitiate.
The allegorical picture of Cebes, in which the Divine Comedy of Dante was sketched in Plato's time, the description whereof has been preserved for us, and which many painters of the middle age have reproduced by this description, is a monument at once philosophical and magical. It is a most complete moral synthesis, and at the same time the most audacious demonstration ever given of the Grand Arcanum, of that secret whose revelation would overturn Earth and Heaven. Let no one expect us to give them its explanation! He who passes behind the veil that hides this mystery, understands that it is in its very nature inexplicable, and that it is death to those who win it by surprise, as well as to him who reveals it.
This secret is the Royalty of the Sages, the Crown of the Initiate whom we see redescend victorious from the summit of Trials, in the fine allegory of Cebes. The Grand Arcanum makes him master of gold and the light, which are at bottom the same thing, he has solved the problem of the quadrature of the circle, he directs the perpetual movement, and he possesses the philosophical stone. Here the Adepts will understand us. There is neither interruption in the toil of nature, nor gap in her work. The Harmonies of Heaven correspond to those of Earth, and the Eternal Life accomplishes its evolutions in accordance with the same laws as the life of a dog. "God has arranged all things by weight, number, and measure," says the Bible; and this luminous doctrine was also that of Plato.
Humanity has never really had but one religion and one worship. This universal light has had its uncertain mirages, its deceitful reflections, and its shadows; but always, after the nights of Error, we see it reappear, one and pure like the Sun.
The magnificences of worship are the life of religion, and if Christ wishes poor ministers, His Sovereign Divinity does not wish paltry altars. Some Protestants have not comprehended that worship is a teaching, and that we must not create in the imagination of the multitude a mean or miserable God. Those oratories that resemble poorly-furnished offices or inns, and those worthy ministers clad like notaries or lawyer's clerks, do they not necessarily cause religion to be regarded as a mere puritanic formality, and God as a Justice of the Peace?
We scoff at the Augurs. It is so easy to scoff, and so difficult well to comprehend. Did the Deity leave the whole world without Light for two score centuries, to illuminate only a little corner of Palestine and a brutal, ignorant, and ungrateful people? Why always calumniate God and the Sanctuary? Were there never any others than rogues among the priests? Could no honest and sincere men be found among the Hierophants of Ceres or Diana, of Dionusos or Apollo, of Hermes or Mithras? Were these, then, all deceived, like the rest? Who, then, constantly deceived them, without betraying themselves, during a series of centuries?--for the cheats are not immortal! Arago said, that outside of the pure mathematics, he who utters the word "impossible," is wanting in prudence and good sense.
The true name of Satan, the Kabalists say, is that of Yahveh reversed; for Satan is not a black god, but the negation of God. The Devil is the personification of Atheism or Idolatry.For the Initiates, this is not a Person, but a Force, created for good, but which may serve for evil. It is the instrument of Liberty or Free Will. They represent this Force, which presides over the physical generation, under the mythologic and horned form of the God PAN; thence came the he-goat of the Sabbat, brother of the Ancient Serpent, and the Light-bearer or Phosphor, of which the poets have made the false Lucifer of the legend.
Gold, to the eyes of the Initiates, is Light condensed. They style the sacred numbers of the Kabalah "golden numbers," and the moral teachings of Pythagoras his "golden verses." For the same reason, a mysterious book of Apuleius, in which an ass figures largely, was called "The Golden Ass."
The Pagans accused the Christians of worshipping an ass, and they did not invent this reproach, but it came from the Samaritan Jews, who, figuring the data of the Kabalah in regard to the Divinity by Egyptian symbols, also represented the Intelligence by the figure of the Magical Star adored under the name of Remphan, Science under the emblem of Anubis, whose name they changed to Nibbas, and the vulgar faith or credulity under the figure of Thartac, a god represented with a book, a cloak, and the head of an ass. According to the Samaritan Doctors, Christianity was the reign of Thartac, blind Faith and vulgar credulity erected into a universal oracle, and preferred to Intelligence and Science.
Synesius, Bishop of Ptolemaïs, a great Kabalist, but of doubtful orthodoxy, wrote:
"The people will always mock at things easy to be misunderstood; it must needs have impostures."
"A Spirit," he said, "that loves wisdom and contemplates the Truth close at hand, is forced to disguise it, to induce the multitudes to accept it. . . . Fictions are necessary to the people, and the Truth becomes deadly to those who are not strong enough to contemplate it in all its brilliance. If the sacerdotal laws allowed the reservation of judgments and the allegory of words, I would accept the proposed dignity on condition that I might be a philosopher at home, and abroad a narrator of apologues and parables
In fact, what can there be in common between the vile multitude and sublime wisdom? The truth must be kept secret, and the masses need a teaching proportioned to their imperfect reason."
Moral disorders produce physical ugliness, and in some sort realize those frightful faces which tradition assigns to the demons.
The first Druids were the true children of the Magi, and their initiation came from Egypt and Chaldæa, that is to say, from the pure sources of the primitive Kabalah. They adored the Trinity under the names of Isis or Hesus, the Supreme Harmony; of Belen or Bel, which in Assyrian means Lord, a name corresponding to that of ADONAÏ; and of Camul or Camaël, a name that in the Kabalah personifies the Divine Justice. Below this triangle of Light they supposed a divine reflection, also composed of three personified rays: first, Teutates or Teuth, the same as the Thoth of the Egyptians, the Word, or the Intelligence formulated; then Force and Beauty, whose names varied like their emblems. Finally, they completed the sacred Septenary by a mysterious image that represented the progress of the dogma and its future realizations. This was a young girl veiled, holding a child in her arms; and they dedicated this image to "The Virgin who will become a mother;--Virgini parituræ."
Hertha or Wertha, the young Isis of Gaul, Queen of Heaven, the Virgin who was to bear a child, held the spindle of the Fates, filled with wool half white and half black; because she presides over all forms and all symbols, and weaves the garment of the Ideas.
One of the most mysterious pantacles of the Kabalah, contained in the Enchiridion of Leo III., represents an equilateral triangle reversed, inscribed in a double circle. On the triangle are written, in such manner as to form the prophetic Tau, the two Hebrew words so often found appended to the Ineffable Name,
ALOHAYIM, or the Powers, and TSABAOTH, or the starry Armies and their guiding spirits; words also which symbolize the Equilibrium of the Forces of Nature and the Harmony of Numbers. To the three sides of the triangle belong the three great Names
IAHAVEH, ADONAI, and AGLA. Above the first is written in Latin, Formatio, above the second Reformatio, and above the third, Transformatio. So Creation is ascribed to the FATHER, Redemption or Reformation to the SON, and Sanctification or Transformation to the HOLY SPIRIT, answering unto the mathematical laws of Action, Reaction, and Equilibrium. IAHAVEH is also, in effect, the Genesis or Formation of dogma, by the elementary signification of the four letters of the Sacred Tetragram; ADONAI; is the realization of this dogma in the Human Form, in the Visible LORD, who is the Son of God or the perfect Man; and AGLA (formed of the initials of the four words Ath Gebur Laulaim Adonai) expresses the synthesis of the whole dogma and the totality of the Kabalistic science, clearly indicating by the hieroglyphics of which this admirable name is formed the Triple Secret of the Great Work.
Masonry, like all the Religions, all the Mysteries, Hermeticism and Alchemy, conceals its secrets from all except the Adepts and Sages, or the Elect, and uses false explanations and misinterpretations of its symbols to mislead those who deserve only to be misled; to conceal the Truth, which it calls Light, from them, and to draw them away from it. Truth is not for those who are unworthy or unable to receive it, or would pervert it. So God Himself incapacitates many men, by color-blindness, to distinguish colors, and leads the masses away from the highest Truth, giving them the power to attain only so much of it as it is profitable to them to know. Every age has had a religion suited to its capacity.
The Teachers, even of Christianity, are, in general, the most ignorant of the true meaning of that which they teach. There is no book of which so little is known as the Bible. To most who read it, it is as incomprehensible as the Sohar.
So Masonry jealously conceals its secrets, and intentionally leads conceited interpreters astray. There is no sight under the sun more pitiful and ludicrous at once, than the spectacle of the Prestons and the Webbs, not to mention the later incarnations of Dullness and Commonplace, undertaking to "explain" the old symbols of Masonry, and adding to and "improving" them, or inventing new ones.
To the Circle inclosing the central point, and itself traced between two parallel lines, a figure purely Kabalistic, these persons have added the superimposed Bible, and even reared on that the ladder with three or nine rounds, and then given a vapid interpretation of the whole, so profoundly absurd as actually to excite admiration.