Pike now discusses the Chivalric degrees; however, within the text he mentioned “Of this union the equilateral Triangle inscribed within the Square is a Symbol.” In essence, symbolism has deeper meanings than most people think. Take your time reading this lesson, there is a lot to ponder, but just remember, don’t take anything at face value, there is always a deeper meaning, sometimes two and three times deeper than most people can imagine, which may reveal incredible secrets and of course power. God bless:
And the Chivalric Degrees have led you on the same path, by showing you the excellence of generosity, clemency, forgiveness of injuries, magnanimity, contempt of danger, and the paramount obligations of Duty and Honor. They have taught you to over-come the fear of death, to devote yourself to the great cause of civil and religious Liberty, to be the Soldier of all that is just, right, and true; in the midst of pestilence to deserve your title of Knight Commander of the Temple, and neither there nor Elsewhere to desert your post and flee dastard-like from the foe. In all this, you assert the superiority and right to dominion of that in you which is spiritual and divine. No base fear of danger or death, no sordid ambitions or pitiful greeds or base considerations can tempt a true Scottish Knight to dishonor, and so make his intellect, his reason, his soul, the bond-slave of his appetites, of his passions, of that which is material and animal, selfish and brutish in his nature.
It is not possible to create a true and genuine Brotherhood upon any theory of the baseness of human nature: nor by a community of belief in abstract propositions as to the nature of the Deity, the number of His persons, or other theorems of religious faith: nor by the establishment of a system of association simply for mutual relief, and by which, in consideration of certain payments regularly made, each becomes entitled to a certain stipend in case of sickness, to attention then, and to the ceremonies of burial after death.
There can be no genuine Brotherhood without mutual regard, good opinion and esteem, mutual charity, and mutual allowance for faults and failings. It is those only who learn habitually to think better of each other, to look habitually for the good that is in each other, and expect, allow for, and overlook, the evil, who can be Brethren one of the other, in any true sense of the word. Those who gloat over the failings of one another, who think each other to be naturally base and low, of a nature in which the Evil predominates and excellence is not to be looked for, cannot be even friends, and much less Brethren.
No one can have a right to think meanly of his race, unless he also thinks meanly of himself. If, from a single fault or error, he judges of the character of another, and takes the single act as evidence of the whole nature of the man and of the whole course of his life, he ought to consent to be judged by the same rule, and to admit it to be right that others should thus uncharitably condemn himself. But such judgments will become impossible when he incessantly reminds himself that in every man who lives there is an immortal Soul endeavoring to do that which is right and just; a Ray, however small, and almost inappreciable, from the Great Source of Light and Intelligence, which ever struggles upward amid all the impediments of sense and the obstructions of the passions; and that in every man this ray continually wages war against his evil passions and his unruly appetites, or, if it has succumbed, is never wholly extinguished and annihilated. For he will then see that it is not victory, but the struggle that deserves honor; since in this as in all else no man can always command success. Amid a cloud of errors, of failure, and short-comings, he will look for the struggling Soul, for that which is good in every one amid the evil, and, believing that each is better than from his acts and omissions he seems to be, and that God cares for him still, and pities him and loves him, he will feel that even the erring sinner is still his brother, still entitled to his sympathy, and bound to him by the indissoluble ties of fellowship.
If there be nothing of the divine in man, what is he, after all, but a more intelligent animal? He hath no fault nor vice which some beast hath not; and therefore in his vices he is but a beast of a higher order; and he hath hardly any moral excellence, perhaps none, which some animal hath not in as great a degree,–even the more excellent of these, such as generosity, fidelity, and magnanimity.
Bardesan, the Syrian Christian, in his Book of the Laws of Countries, says, of men, that “in the things belonging to their bodies, they maintain their nature like animals, and in the things which belong to their minds, they do that which they wish, as being free and with power, and as the likeness of God”; and Meliton, Bishop of Sardis, in his Oration to Antoninus Cæsar, says, “Let Him, the ever-living God, be always present in thy mind; for thy mind itself is His likeness, for it, too, is invisible and impalpable, and without form. . . As He exists forever, so thou also, when thou shalt have put off this which is visible and corruptible, shalt stand before Him forever, living and endowed with knowledge.”
As a matter far above our comprehension, and in the Hebrew Genesis the words that are used to express the origin of things are of uncertain meaning, and with equal propriety may be translated by the word “generated,” “produced,” “made,” or “created,” we need not dispute nor debate whether the Soul or Spirit of man be a ray that has emanated or flowed forth from the Supreme Intelligence, or whether the Infinite Power hath called each into existence from nothing, by a mere exertion of Its will, and endowed it with immortality, and with intelligence like unto the Divine Intelligence: for, in either case it may be said that in man the Divine is united to the Human. Of this union the equilateral Triangle inscribed within the Square is a Symbol.
We see the Soul, Plato said, as men see the statue of Glaucus, recovered from the sea wherein it had lain many years–which viewing, it was not easy, if possible, to discern what was its original nature, its limbs having been partly broken and partly worn and by defacement changed, by the action of the waves, and shells, weeds, and pebbles adhering to it, so that it more resembled some strange monster than that which it was when it left its Divine Source. Even so, he said, we see the Soul, deformed by innumerable things that have done it harm, have mutilated and defaced it. But the Mason who hath the ROYAL SECRET can also with him argue, from beholding its love of wisdom, its tendency toward association with what is divine and immortal, its larger aspirations, its struggles, though they may have ended in defeat, with the impediments and enthralments of the senses and the passions, that when it shall have been rescued from the material environments that now prove too strong for it, and be freed from the deforming and disfiguring accretions that here adhere to it, it will again be seen in its true nature, and by degrees ascend by the mystic ladder of the Spheres, to its first home and place of origin (Albert Pike, Morals and Dogma, 1871, p. 856-858).
Next Month’s Article on GnosisMasonry:
Pike wrote, “What, in fact, is a despot, spiritual or temporal, but a crowned anarchist?”
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