The result is Harmony, the third column that up-holds the Lodge.

Free will

Pike explained God’s purpose in allowing mankind free will to act the way we do; often without our knowledge, “foreseeing what each would at every instant think and do, to make of the free-will and free-action of each an instrument to aid in effecting its general purpose.” Which, “The result is Harmony, the third column that up-holds the Lodge.” Enjoy this short lesson from our Master sage my friends:

The two great columns of the Temple that symbolizes the Universe are Necessity, or the omnipotent Will of God, which nothing can disobey, and Liberty, or the free-will of His creatures. Apparently and to our human reason antagonistic, the same Reason is not incapable of comprehending how they can be in equipoise. The Infinite Power and Wisdom could so plan the Universe and the Infinite Succession of things as to leave man free to act, and, foreseeing what each would at every instant think and do, to make of the free-will and free-action of each an instrument to aid in effecting its general purpose. For even a man, foreseeing that another will do a certain act, and in nowise controlling or even influencing him may use that action as an instrument to effect his own purposes.

The Infinite Wisdom of God foresees what each will do, and uses it as an instrument, by the exertion of His Infinite Power, which yet does not control the Human action so as to annihilate its freedom. The result is Harmony, the third column that up-holds the Lodge. The same Harmony results from the equipoise of Necessity and Liberty. The will of God is not for an instant defeated nor thwarted, and this is the Divine Victory; and yet He does not tempt nor constrain men to do Evil, and thus His Infinite Glory is unimpaired. The result is Stability, Cohesion, and Permanence in the Universe, and undivided Dominion and Autocracy in the Deity. And these, Victory, Glory, Stability, and Dominion, are the last four Sephiroth of the Kabalah (Albert Pike, Morals and Dogma, 1871, p. 848).

Next Month’s Article on GnosisMasonry:

Pike wrote, “What, in fact, is a despot, spiritual or temporal, but a crowned anarchist?”

question_everything

 Also, if you enjoyed this blog, you might want to take a look at my other blogs, Masonry and the Three Little Pigs and Gnosismasonry, which have a variety of other Masonic topics to discover. Moreover, to get regular updates from this blog, please follow me on Facebook or Twitter. I will accept your friend request if asked.

There is, in fact, no Nothing, no void Emptiness, in the Universe

Bartolomeu_Velho_1568

Pike now discusses God’s power, like when he wrote, “There is, in fact, no Nothing, no void Emptiness, in the Universe.” Better yet, “At the will of God the Invisible becomes Visible.” And he also mentioned equilibrium within the universal law, “The Evil is the shadow of the Good, and inseparable from it.” There is so much to study in this next section; enjoy my friends:

There is, in fact, no Nothing, no void Emptiness, in the Universe. From the upper or outer surface of our atmosphere to that of the Sun, and to those of the Planets and remote Stars, in different directions, Science has for hundreds of centuries imagined that there was simple, void, empty Space. Comparing finite knowledge with the Infinite, the Philosophers know little more than the apes! In all that “void” space are the Infinite Forces of God, acting in an infinite variety of directions, back and forth, and never for an instant inactive. In all of it, active through the whole of its Infinity, is the Light that is the Visible Manifestation of God. The earth and every other planet and sphere that is not a Centre of Light, carries its cone of shadow with it as it flies and flashes round in its orbit; but the darkness has no home in the Universe. To illuminate the sphere on one side, is to project a cone of darkness on the other; and Error also is the Shadow of the Truth with which God illuminates the Soul.

In all that “Void,” also, is the Mysterious and ever Active Electricity, and Heat, and the Omnipresent Ether. At the will of God the Invisible becomes Visible. Two invisible gases, combined by the action of a Force of God, and compressed, become and remain the water that fills the great basins of the seas, flows in the rivers and rivulets, leaps forth from the rocks or springs, drops upon the earth in rains, or whitens it with snows, and bridges the Danubes with ice, or gathers in vast reservoirs in the earth’s bosom. God manifested fills all the extension that we foolishly call Empty Space and the Void.

And everywhere in the Universe, what we call Life and Movement results from a continual conflict of Forces or Impulses. Whenever that active antagonism ceases, the immobility and inertia, which are Death, result.

If, says the Kabalah, the Justice of God, which is Severity or the Female, alone reigned, creation of imperfect beings such as man would from the beginning have been impossible, because Sin being congenital with Humanity, the Infinite Justice, measuring the Sin by the Infinity of the God offended against, must have annihilated Humanity at the instant of its creation; and not only Humanity but the Angels, since these also, like all created by God and less than perfect, are sinful. Nothing imperfect would have been possible. If, on the other hand, the Mercy or Benignity of God, the Male, were in no wise counteracted, Sin would go unpunished, and the Universe fall into a chaos of corruption.

Let God but repeal a single principle or law of chemical attraction or sympathy, and the antagonistic forces equilibrated in matter, released from constraint, would instantaneously expand all that we term matter into impalpable and invisible gases, such as water or steam is, when, confined in a cylinder and subjected to an immense degree of that mysterious force of the Deity which we call “heat,” it is by its expansion released.

Incessantly the great currents and rivers of air flow and rush and roll from the equator to the frozen polar regions, and back from these to the torrid equatorial realms. Necessarily incident to these great, immense, equilibrated and beneficent movements, caused by the antagonism of equatorial heat and polar cold, are the typhoons, tornadoes, and cyclones that result from conflicts between the rushing currents. These and the benign trade-winds result from the same great law. God is omnipotent; but effects without causes are impossible, and these effects cannot but sometimes be evil. The fire would not warm, if it could not also burn, the human flesh. The most virulent poisons are the most sovereign remedies, when given in due proportion. The Evil is the shadow of the Good, and inseparable from it.

The Divine Wisdom limits by equipoise the Omnipotence of the Divine Will or Power, and the result is Beauty or Harmony. The arch rests not on a single column, but springs from one on either side. So is it also with the Divine Justice and Mercy, and with the Human Reason and Human Faith.

That purely scholastic Theology, issue of the Categories of Aristotle and of the Sentences of Peter Lombard, that logic of the syllogism which argues instead of reasoning, and finds a response to every thing by subtilizing on terms, wholly ignored the Kabalistic dogma and wandered off into the drear vacuity of darkness. It was less a philosophy or a wisdom than a philosophical automaton, replying by means of springs, and uncoiling its theses like a wheeled movement. It was not the human verb but the monotonous cry of a machine, the inanimate speech of an Android. It was the fatal precision of mechanism, instead of a free application of rational necessities. ST. THOMAS AQUINAS crushed with a single blow all this scaffolding of words built one upon the other, by proclaiming the eternal Empire of Reason, in that magnificent sentence, “A thing is not just because GOD wills it; but GOD wills it because it is just.” The proximate consequence of this proposition, arguing from the greater to the less, was this: “A thing is not true because ARISTOTLE has said it; but ARISTOTLE could not reasonably say it unless it was true. Seek then, first of all, the TRUTH and JUSTICE, and the Science of ARISTOTLE will be given you in addition.”

It is the fine dream of the greatest of the Poets, that Hell, become useless, is to be closed at length, by the aggrandizement of Heaven; that the problem of Evil is to receive its final solution, and Good alone, necessary and triumphant, is to reign in Eternity. So the Persian dogma taught that AHRIMAN and his subordinate ministers of Evil were at last, by means of a Redeemer and Mediator, to be reconciled with Deity, and all Evil to end. But unfortunately, the philosopher forgets all the laws of equilibrium, and seeks to absorb the Light in a splendor without shadow, and movement in an absolute repose that would be the cessation of life. So long as there shall be a visible light, there will be a shadow proportional to this Light, and whatever is illuminated will cast its cone of shadow. Repose will never be happiness, if it is not balanced by an analogous and contrary movement. This is the immutable law of Nature, the Eternal Will of the JUSTICE which is GOD.

The same reason necessitates Evil and Sorrow in Humanity, which renders indispensable the bitterness of the waters of the seas. Here also, Harmony can result only from the analogy of contraries, and what is above exists by reason of what is below. It is the depth that determines the height; and if the valleys are filled up, the mountains disappear: so, if the shadows are effaced, the Light is annulled, which is only visible by the graduated contrast of gloom and splendor, and universal obscurity will be produced by an immense dazzling. Even the colors in the Light only exist by the presence of the shadow: it is the threefold alliance of the day and night, the luminous image of the dogma, the Light made Shadow, as the Saviour is the Logos made man: and all this reposes on the same law, the primary law of creation, the single and absolute law of Nature, that of the distinction and harmonious ponderation of the contrary forces in the universal equipoise (Albert Pike, Morals and Dogma, 1871, p.845-848).

Next Month’s Article on GnosisMasonry:

Pike wrote, “What, in fact, is a despot, spiritual or temporal, but a crowned anarchist?”

question_everything

 Also, if you enjoyed this blog, you might want to take a look at my other blogs, Masonry and the Three Little Pigs and Gnosismasonry, which have a variety of other Masonic topics to discover. Moreover, to get regular updates from this blog, please follow me on Facebook or Twitter. I will accept your friend request if asked.

For six thousand years the Martyrs of Knowledge toil and die at the foot of this tree, that it may again become the Tree of Life.

hermaphrodite_2

Pike wrote, “The Secret of the Occult Sciences is that of Nature itself, the Secret of the generation of the Angels and Worlds, that of the Omnipotence of God.” Which was followed by, “Ye shall be like the Elohim, knowing good and evil.” And “For six thousand years the Martyrs of Knowledge toil and die at the foot of this tree, that it may again become the Tree of Life.” I am often reminded that not everyone can see this knowledge that is right in front of us; and I guess this is a good thing. For so many people, despite being presented the truth, cling to their Postmodern thinking. How little have we changed as a culture. As the old adage goes, “you can take a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink it.” Enjoy this short lesson my friends:

The Secret of the Occult Sciences is that of Nature itself, the Secret of the generation of the Angels and Worlds, that of the Omnipotence of God.

Ye shall be like the Elohim, knowing good and evil,” had the Serpent of Genesis said, and the Tree of Knowledge became the Tree of Death.

For six thousand years the Martyrs of Knowledge toil and die at the foot of this tree, that it may again become the Tree of Life.

The Absolute sought for unsuccessfully by the insensate and found by the Sages, is the TRUTH, the REALITY, and the REASON of the universal equilibrium!

Equilibrium is the Harmony that results from the analogy of Contraries.

Until now, Humanity has been endeavoring to stand on one foot; sometimes on one, sometimes on the other.

Civilizations have risen and perished, either by the anarchical insanity of Despotism, or by the despotic anarchy of Revolt.

To organize Anarchy, is the problem which the revolutionists have and will eternally have to resolve. It is the rock of Sisyphus that will always fall back upon them. To exist a single instant, they are and always will be by fatality reduced to improvise a despotism without other reason of existence than necessity, and which, consequently, is violent and blind as Necessity. We escape from the harmonious monarchy of Reason, only to fall under the irregular dictatorship of Folly.

Sometimes superstitious enthusiasms, sometimes the miserable calculations of the materialist instinct have led astray the nations, and God at last urges the world on toward believing Reason and reasonable Beliefs.

We have had prophets enough without philosophy, and philosophers without religion; the blind believers and the skeptics resemble each other, and are as far the one as the other from the eternal salvation.

In the chaos of universal doubt and of the conflicts of Reason and Faith, the great men and Seers have been but infirm and morbid artists, seeking the beau-ideal at the risk and peril of their reason and life.

Living only in the hope to be crowned, they are the first to do what Pythagoras in so touching a manner prohibits in his admirable Symbols; they rend crowns, and tread them under foot.

Light is the equilibrium of Shadow and Lucidity.

Movement is the equilibrium of Inertia and Activity.

Authority is the equilibrium of Liberty and Power.

Wisdom is equilibrium in the Thoughts, which are the scintillations and rays of the Intellect.

Virtue is equilibrium in the Affections: Beauty is harmonious proportion in Forms.

The beautiful lives are the accurate ones, and the magnificences of Nature are an algebra of graces and splendors.

Everything just is beautiful; everything beautiful ought to be just (Albert Pike, Morals and Dogma, 1871, p. 844-845).

 Also, if you enjoyed this blog, you might want to take a look at my other blogs, Masonry and the Three Little Pigs and Gnosismasonry, which have a variety of other Masonic topics to discover. Moreover, to get regular updates from this blog, please follow me on Facebook or Twitter. I will accept your friend request if asked.

Next Month’s Article on GnosisMasonry:

Pike wrote, “What, in fact, is a despot, spiritual or temporal, but a crowned anarchist?”

question_everything

If the Rulers have the Divine Right to govern, the true Initiate will cheerfully obey.

levi

There is so much to study in this next lesson from Pike; but first and foremost is, “If the Rulers have the Divine Right to govern, the true Initiate will cheerfully obey.” How often Pike reminds the Free-Mason to be a humble student of the Craft. Nevertheless, many brothers are quick to tell another he is wrong. Furthermore, Pike mentioned Sanctum Regnum, if you get a chance, look it up; this refers to a book about Magic written by Eliphas Levi. And Pike made mention, “Magic unites in one and the same science, whatsoever Philosophy can possess that is most certain, and Religion of the Infallible and the Eternal.” You see, we have become deceived about the term Magic. This is further explained, “It is not in the books of the Philosophers, but in the religious symbolism of the Ancients, that we must look for the footprints of Science, and rediscover the Mysteries of Knowledge. The Priests of Egypt knew, better than we do, the laws of movement and of life.” I leave the rest for you to explore for yourself. Needless to say, Pike is on a roll again:

Tradition also gives these Magi the title of “Kings;” because initiation into Magism constitutes a genuine royalty; and because the grand art of the Magi is styled by all the Adepts, “The Royal Art,” or the Holy Realm or Empire, Sanctum Regnum.

The Star which guided them is that same Blazing Star, the image whereof we find in all initiations. To the Alchemists it is the sign of the Quintessence; to the Magists, the Grand Arcanum; to the Kabalists, the Sacred Pentagram. The study of this Pentagram could not but lead the Magi to the knowledge of the New Name which was about to raise itself above all names, and cause all creatures capable of adoration to bend the knee.

Magic unites in one and the same science, whatsoever Philosophy can possess that is most certain, and Religion of the Infallible and the Eternal. It perfectly and incontestably reconciles these two terms that at first blush seem so opposed to each other; faith and reason, science and creed, authority and liberty.

It supplies the human mind with an instrument of philosophical and religious certainty, exact as the mathematics, and accounting for the infallibility of the mathematics themselves.

Thus there is an Absolute, in the matters of the Intelligence and of Faith. The Supreme Reason has not left the gleams of the human understanding to vacillate at hazard. There is an incontestable verity, there is an infallible method of knowing this verity, and by the knowledge of it, those who accept it as a rule may give their will a sovereign power that will make them the masters of all inferior things and of all errant spirits; that is to say, will make them the Arbiters and Kings of the World.

Science has its nights and its dawns, because it gives the intellectual world a life which has its regulated movements and its progressive phases. It is with Truths, as with the luminous rays: nothing of what is concealed is lost; but also, nothing of what is discovered is absolutely new. God has been pleased to give to Science, which is the reflection of His Glory, the Seal of His Eternity.

It is not in the books of the Philosophers, but in the religious symbolism of the Ancients, that we must look for the footprints of Science, and rediscover the Mysteries of Knowledge. The Priests of Egypt knew, better than we do, the laws of movement and of life. They knew how to temper or intensify action by reaction; and readily foresaw the realization of these effects, the causes of which they had determined. The Columns of Seth, Enoch, Solomon, and Hercules have symbolized in the Magian traditions this universal law of the Equilibrium; and the Science of the Equilibrium or balancing of Forces had led the Initiates to that of the universal gravitation around the centres of Life, Heat, and Light.

Thales and Pythagoras learned in the Sanctuaries of Egypt that the Earth revolved around the Sun; but they did not attempt to make this generally known, because to do so it would have been necessary to reveal one of the great Secrets of the Temple, that double law of attraction and radiation or of sympathy and antipathy, of fixedness and movement, which is the principle of Creation, and the perpetual cause of life. This Truth was ridiculed by the Christian Lactantius, as it was long after sought to be proven a falsehood by persecution, by Papal Rome.

So the philosophers reasoned, while the Priests, without replying to them or even smiling at their errors, wrote, in those Hieroglyphics that created all dogmas and all poetry, the Secrets of the Truth.

When Truth comes into the world, the Star of Knowledge advises the Magi of it, and they hasten to adore the Infant who creates the Future. It is by means of the Intelligence of the Hierarchy and the practice of obedience, that one obtains Initiation. If the Rulers have the Divine Right to govern, the true Initiate will cheerfully obey.

The orthodox traditions were carried from Chaldea by Abraham. They reigned in Egypt in the time of Joseph, together with the knowledge of the True God. Moses carried Orthodoxy out of Egypt, and in the Secret Traditions of the Kabalah we find a Theology entire, perfect, unique, like that which in Christianity is most grand and best explained by the Fathers and the Doctors, the whole with a consistency and a harmoniousness which it is not as yet given to the world to comprehend. The Sohar, which is the Key of the Holy Books, opens also all the depths and lights, all the obscurities of the Ancient Mythologies and of the Sciences originally concealed in the Sanctuaries. It is true that the Secret of this Key must be known, to enable one to make use of it, and that for even the most penetrating intellects, not initiated in this Secret, the Sohar is absolutely incomprehensible and almost illegible (Albert Pike, Morals and Dogma, 1871, p. 842-843).

Also, if you enjoyed this blog, you might want to take a look at my other blogs, Masonry and the Three Little Pigs and Gnosismasonry, which have a variety of other Masonic topics to discover. Moreover, to get regular updates from this blog, please follow me on Facebook or Twitter. I will accept your friend request if asked.

Tomorrow’s Gnosismasonry Blog Article:

Postmodern Freemason

The Hermetic Science of the early Christian ages… may be accurately defined as the Kabalah in active realization, or the Magic of Works.

masonic-esoteric

It has been a while since I used the word “WOW.” Needless to say, it’s time to use it again, WOW!!! As a Free-Mason I am continually reminded of the term “good works.” This of course means different things to different people. Well, guess what, this is a part of the Magical system of the Magi and is hidden in three degrees, “The Hermetic Science of the early Christian ages, cultivated also by Geber, Alfarabius, and others of the Arabs, studied by the Chiefs of the Templars, and embodied in certain symbols of the higher Degrees of Freemasonry, may be accurately defined as the Kabalah in active realization, or the Magic of Works. It has three analogous Degrees, religious, philosophical, and physical realization.” In short, being good and doing good deeds has power. To fully understand this lesson though, please read the entire lesson, for it is hidden in symbols and allegory. God bless:

The Hermetic Science of the early Christian ages, cultivated also by Geber, Alfarabius, and others of the Arabs, studied by the Chiefs of the Templars, and embodied in certain symbols of the higher Degrees of Freemasonry, may be accurately defined as the Kabalah in active realization, or the Magic of Works. It has three analogous Degrees, religious, philosophical, and physical realization.

Its religious realization is the durable foundation of the true Empire and the true Priesthood that rule in the realm of human intellect: its philosophical realization is the establishment of an absolute Doctrine, known in all times as the “HOLY Doctrine,” and of which PLUTARCH, in the Treatise “de Iside et Osiride,” speaks at large but mysteriously; and of a Hierarchical instruction to secure the uninterrupted succession of Adepts among the Initiates: its physical realization is the discovery and application, in the Microcosm, or Little World, of the creative law that incessantly peoples the great Universe.

Measure a corner of the Creation, and multiply that space in proportional progression, and the entire Infinite will multiply its circles filled with universes, which will pass in proportional segments between the ideal and elongating branches of your Compass. Now suppose that from any point whatever of the Infinite above you a hand holds another Compass or a Square, the lines of the Celestial triangle will necessarily meet those of the Compass of Science, to form the Mysterious Star of Solomon.

All hypotheses scientifically probable are the last gleams of the twilight of knowledge, or its last shadows. Faith begins where Reason sinks exhausted. Beyond the human Reason is the Divine Reason, to our feebleness the great Absurdity, the Infinite Absurd, which confounds us and which we believe. For the Master, the Compass of Faith is above the Square of Reason; but both rest upon the Holy Scriptures and combine to form the Blazing Star of Truth.

All eyes do not see alike. Even the visible creation is not, for all who look upon it, of one form and one color. Our brain is a book printed within and without, and the two writings are, with all men, more or less confused.

The primary tradition of the single revelation has been preserved under the name of the “Kabalah,” by the Priesthood of Israel. The Kabalistic doctrine, which was also the dogma of the Magi and of Hermes, is contained in the Sepher Yetsairah, the Sohar, and the Talmud. According to that doctrine, the Absolute is the Being, in which The Word Is, the Word that is the utterance and expression of being and life.

Magic is that which it is; it is by itself, like the mathematics; for it is the exact and absolute science of Nature and its laws.

Magic is the science of the Ancient Magi: and the Christian religion, which has imposed silence on the lying oracles, and put an end to the prestiges of the false Gods, itself reveres those Magi who came from the East, guided by a Star, to adore the Saviour of the world in His cradle (Albert Pike, Morals and Dogma, 1871, p. 840-841).

Also, if you enjoyed this blog, you might want to take a look at my other blogs, Masonry and the Three Little Pigs and Gnosismasonry, which have a variety of other Masonic topics to discover. Moreover, to get regular updates from this blog, please follow me on Facebook or Twitter. I will accept your friend request if asked.

Next Month’s Gnosismasonry Blog Article:

Postmodern Freemason

THE Occult Science of the Ancient Magi was concealed under the shadows of the Ancient Mysteries… and it is found enveloped in enigmas that seem impenetrable, in the Rites of the Highest Masonry.

Royal Secret

Pike begins chapter 32 of his book Morals and Dogma. Much can be learned by the title of the chapter, Sublime Prince of the Royal Secret or Master of the Royal Secret; as well as the opening paragraph, which stated, “THE Occult Science of the Ancient Magi was concealed under the shadows of the Ancient Mysteries: it was imperfectly revealed or rather disfigured by the Gnostics: it is guessed at under the obscurities that cover the pretended crimes of the Templars; and it is found enveloped in enigmas that seem impenetrable, in the Rites of the Highest Masonry.” Needless to say, Chapter 32, like that of Chapter 28, will undoubtedly reveal some very profound secrets. Enjoy my friends:

THE Occult Science of the Ancient Magi was concealed under the shadows of the Ancient Mysteries: it was imperfectly revealed or rather disfigured by the Gnostics: it is guessed at under the obscurities that cover the pretended crimes of the Templars; and it is found enveloped in enigmas that seem impenetrable, in the Rites of the Highest Masonry.

Magism was the Science of Abraham and Orpheus, of Confucius and Zoroaster. It was the dogmas of this Science that were engraven on the tables of stone by Hanoch and Trismegistus. Moses purified and reveiled them, for that is the meaning of the word reveal. He covered them with a new veil, when he made of the Holy Kabalah the exclusive heritage of the people of Israel, and the inviolable Secret of its priests. The Mysteries of Thebes and Eleusis preserved among the nations some symbols of it, already altered, and the mysterious key whereof was lost among the instruments of an ever-growing superstition. Jerusalem, the murderess of her prophets, and so often prostituted to the false gods of the Syrians and Babylonians, had at length in its turn lost the Holy Word, when a Prophet announced to the Magi by the consecrated Star of Initiation, came to rend asunder the worn veil of the old Temple, in order to give the Church a new tissue of legends and symbols, that still and ever conceals from the Profane, and ever preserves to the Elect the same truths.

It was the remembrance of this scientific and religious Absolute, of this doctrine that is summed up in a word, of this Word, in fine, alternately lost and found again, that was transmitted to the Elect of all the Ancient Initiations: it was this same remembrance, preserved, or perhaps profaned in the celebrated Order of the Templars, that became for all the secret associations, of the Rose-Croix, of the Illuminati, and of the Hermetic Freemasons, the reason of their strange rites, of their signs more or less conventional, and, above all, of their mutual devotedness and of their power.

The Gnostics caused the Gnosis to be proscribed by the Christians, and the official Sanctuary was closed against the high initiation. Thus the Hierarchy of Knowledge was compromitted by the violences of usurping ignorance, and the disorders of the Sanctuary are reproduced in the State; for always, willingly or unwillingly, the King is sustained by the Priest, and it is from the eternal Sanctuary of the Divine instruction that the Powers of the Earth, to insure themselves durability, must receive their consecration and their force (Albert Pike, Morals and Dogma, 1871, p. 839-840).

Also, if you enjoyed this blog, you might want to take a look at my other blogs, Masonry and the Three Little Pigs and Gnosismasonry, which have a variety of other Masonic topics to discover. Moreover, to get regular updates from this blog, please follow me on Facebook or Twitter. I will accept your friend request if asked.

Next Month’s Gnosismasonry Blog Article:

Postmodern Freemason

The ideal justice which men ever look up to and strive to rise toward, is true; but it will not be realized in this world.

Maat-Egyptian-Goddess

This is the last lesson from Chapter 31. Pike completes his thoughts on justice, The ideal justice which men ever look up to and strive to rise toward, is true; but it will not be realized in this world. Tomorrow, we start on Pike’s final chapter of Morals and Dogma, which hold countless Masonic secrets:

It is not true to say that “one man, however little, must not be sacrificed to another, however great, to a majority, or to all men.” That is not only a fallacy, but a most dangerous one. Often one man and many men must be sacrificed, in the ordinary sense of the term, to the interest of the many. It is a comfortable fallacy to the selfish; for if they cannot, by the law of justice, be sacrificed for the common good, then their country has no right to demand of them self-sacrifice; and he is a fool who lays down his life, or sacrifices his estate, or even his luxuries, to insure the safety or prosperity of his country. According to that doctrine, Curtius was a fool, and Leonidas an idiot; and to die for one’s country is no longer beautiful and glorious, but a mere absurdity. Then it is no longer to be asked that the common soldier shall receive in his bosom the sword or bayonet-thrust which otherwise would let out the life of the great commander on whose fate hang the liberties of his country, and the welfare of millions yet unborn.

On the contrary, it is certain that necessity rules in all the affairs of men, and that the interest and even the life of one man must often be sacrificed to the interest and welfare of his country. Some must ever lead the forlorn hope: the missionary must go among savages, bearing his life in his hand; the physician must expose himself to pestilence for the sake of others; the sailor, in the frail boat upon the wide ocean, escaped from the foundering or burning ship, must step calmly into the hungry waters, if the lives of the passengers can be saved only by the sacrifice of his own; the pilot must stand firm at the wheel, and let the flames scorch away his own life to insure the common safety of those whom the doomed vessel bears.

The mass of men are always looking for what is just. All the vast machinery which makes up a State, a world of States, is, on the part of the people, an attempt to organize, not that ideal justice which finds fault with God’s ordinances, but that practical justice which may be attained in the actual organization of the world. The minute and wide-extending civil machinery which makes up the law and the courts, with all their officers and implements, on the part of mankind, is chiefly an effort to reduce to practice the theory of right. Constitutions are made to establish justice; the decisions of courts are reported to help us judge more wisely in time to come. The nation aims to get together the most nearly just men in the State, that they may incorporate into statutes their aggregate sense of what is right. The people wish law to be embodied justice, administered without passion. Even in the wildest ages there has been a wild popular justice, but always mixed with passion and administered in hate; for justice takes a rude form with rude men, and becomes less mixed with hate and passion in more civilized communities. Every progressive State revises its statutes and revolutionizes its constitution from time to time, seeking to come closer to the utmost possible practical justice and right; and sometimes, following theorists and dreamers in their adoration for the ideal, by erecting into law positive principles of theoretical right, works practical injustice, and then has to retrace its steps.

In literature men always look for practical justice, and desire that virtue should have its own reward, and vice its appropriate punishment. They are ever on the side of justice and humanity; and the majority of them have an ideal justice, better than the things about them, juster than the law: for the law is ever imperfect, not attaining even to the utmost practicable degree of perfection; and no man is as just as his own idea of possible and practicable justice. His passions and his necessities ever cause him to sink below his own ideal. The ideal justice which men ever look up to and strive to rise toward, is true; but it will not be realized in this world. Yet we must approach as near to it as practicable, as we should do toward that ideal democracy that “now floats before the eyes of earnest and religious men,–fairer than the Republic of Plato, or More’s Utopia, or the Golden Age of fabled memory,” only taking care that we do not, in striving to reach and ascend to the impossible ideal, neglect to seize upon and hold fast to the possible actual. To aim at the best, but be content with the best possible, is the only true wisdom. To insist on the absolute right, and throw out of the calculation the important and all-controlling element of necessity, is the folly of a mere dreamer.

In a world inhabited by men with bodies, and necessarily with bodily wants and animal passions, the time will never come when there will be no want, no oppression, nor servitude, no fear of man, no fear of God, but only Love. That can never be while there are inferior intellect, indulgence in low vice, improvidence, indolence, awful visitations of pestilence and war and famine, earthquake and volcano, that must of necessity cause men to want, and serve, and suffer, and fear.

But still the ploughshare of justice is ever drawn through and through the field of the world, uprooting the savage plants. Ever we see a continual and progressive triumph of the right. The injustice of England lost her America, the fairest jewel of her crown. The injustice of Napoleon bore him to the ground more than the snows of Russia did, and exiled him to a barren rock, there to pine away and die, his life a warning to bid mankind be just.

We intuitively understand what justice is, better than we can depict it. What it is in a given case depends so much on circumstances, that definitions of it are wholly deceitful. Often it would be unjust to society to do what would, in the absence of that consideration, be pronounced just to the individual. General propositions of man’s right to this or that are ever fallacious: and not infrequently it would be most unjust to the individual himself to do for him what the theorist, as a general proposition, would say was right and his due.

We should ever do unto others what, under the same circumstances, we ought to wish, and should have the right to wish they should do unto us. There are many cases, cases constantly occurring, where one man must take care of himself, in preference to another, as where two struggle for the possession of a plank that will save one, but cannot uphold both; or where, assailed, he can save his own life only by slaying his adversary. So one must prefer the safety of his country to the lives of her enemies; and sometimes, to insure it, to those of her own innocent citizens. The retreating general may cut away a bridge behind him, to delay pursuit and save the main body of his army, though he thereby surrenders a detachment, a battalion, or even a corps of his own force to certain destruction.

These are not departures from justice; though, like other instances where the injury or death of the individual is the safety of the many, where the interest of one individual, class, or race is postponed to that of the public, or of the superior race, they may infringe some dreamer’s ideal rule of justice. But every departure from real, practical justice is no doubt attended with loss to the unjust man, though the loss is not reported to the public. Injustice, public or private, like every other sin and wrong, is inevitably followed by its consequences. The selfish, the grasping, the inhuman, the fraudulently unjust, the ungenerous employer, and the cruel master, are detested by the great popular heart; while the kind master, the liberal employer, the generous, the humane, and the just have the good opinion of all men, and even envy is a tribute to their virtues. Men honor all who stand up for truth and right, and never shrink. The world builds monuments to its patriots. Four great statesmen, organizers of the right, embalmed in stone, look down upon the lawgivers of France as they pass to their hall of legislation, silent orators to tell how nations love the just. How we revere the marble lineaments of those just judges, Jay and Marshall, that look so calmly toward the living Bench of the Supreme Court of the United States! What a monument Washington has built in the heart of America and all the world, not because he dreamed of an impracticable ideal justice, but by his constant effort to be practically just!

But necessity alone, and the greatest good of the greatest number, can legitimately interfere with the dominion of absolute and ideal justice. Government should not foster the strong at the expense of the weak, nor protect the capitalist and tax the laborer. The powerful should not seek a monopoly of development and enjoyment; not prudence only and the expedient for to-day should be appealed to by statesmen, but conscience and the right: justice should not be forgotten in looking at interest, nor political morality neglected for political economy: we should not have national housekeeping instead of national organization on the basis of right.

We may well differ as to the abstract right of many things; for every such question has many sides, and few men look at all of them, many only at one. But we all readily recognize cruelty, unfairness, inhumanity, partiality, over-reaching, hard-dealing, by their ugly and familiar lineaments, and in order to know and to hate and despise them, we do not need to sit as a Court of Errors and Appeals to revise and reverse God’s Providences.

There are certainly great evils of civilization at this day, and many questions of humanity long adjourned and put off. The hideous aspect of pauperism, the debasement and vice in our cities, tell us by their eloquent silence or in inarticulate mutterings, that the rich and the powerful and the intellectual do not do their duty by the poor, the feeble, and the ignorant; and every wretched woman who lives, Heaven scarce knows how, by making shirts at sixpence each, attests the injustice and inhumanity of man. There are cruelties to slaves, and worse cruelties to animals, each disgraceful to their perpetrators, and equally unwarranted by the lawful relation of control and dependence which it has pleased God to create.

A sentence is written against all that is unjust, written by God in the nature of man and in the nature of the Universe, because it is in the nature of the Infinite God. Fidelity to your faculties, trust in their convictions, that is justice to yourself; a life in obedience thereto, that is justice toward men. No wrong is really successful. The gain of injustice is a loss, its pleasure suffering. Iniquity often seems to prosper, but its success is its defeat and shame. After a long while, the day of reckoning ever comes, to nation as to individual. The knave deceives himself. The miser, starving his brother’s body, starves also his own soul, and at death shall creep out of his great estate of injustice, poor and naked and miserable. Whoso escapes a duty avoids a gain. Outward judgment often fails, inward justice never. Let a man try to love the wrong and to do the wrong, it is eating stones and not bread, the swift feet of justice are upon him, following with woolen tread, and her iron hands are round his neck. No man can escape from this, any more than from himself. Justice is the angel of God that flies from East to West; and where she stoops her broad wings, it is to bring the counsel of God, and feed mankind with angel’s bread.

We cannot understand the moral Universe. The arc is a long one, and our eyes reach but a little way; we cannot calculate the curve and complete the figure by the experience of sight; but we can divine it by conscience, and we surely know that it bends toward justice. Justice will not fail, though wickedness appears strong, and has on its side the armies and thrones of power, the riches and the glory of the world, and though poor men crouch down in despair. Justice will not fail and perish out from the world of men, nor will what is really wrong and contrary to God’s real law of justice continually endure. The Power, the Wisdom, and the Justice of God are on the side of every just thought, and it cannot fail, any more than God Himself can perish.

In human affairs, the justice of God must work by human means. Men are the instruments of God’s principles; our morality is the instrument of His justice, which, incomprehensible to us, seems to our short vision often to work injustice, but will at some time still the oppressor’s brutal laugh. Justice is the rule of conduct written in the nature of mankind. We may, in our daily life, in house or field or shop, in the office or in the court, help to prepare the way for the commonwealth of justice which is slowly, but, we would fain hope, surely approaching. All the justice we mature will bless us here and hereafter, and at our death we shall leave it added to the common store of humankind. And every Mason who, content to do that which is possible and practicable, does and enforces justice, may help deepen the channel of human morality in which God’s justice runs; and so the wrecks of evil that now check and obstruct the stream may the sooner be swept out and borne away by the resistless tide of Omnipotent Right. Let us, my Brother, in this, as in all else, endeavor always to perform the duties of a good Mason and a good man (Albert Pike, Morals and Dogma, 1871, p. 833-838).

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Postmodern Freemason