M&D-C26b – Prince Of Mercy

Albert Pike – Morals and Dogma

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St. Cyril of Alexandria, who was made Bishop in 412, and died in 444, says in his 7th Book against Julian: "These Mysteries are so profound and so exalted, that they can be comprehended by those only who are enlightened. I shall not, therefore, attempt to speak of what is so admirable in them, lest by discovering them to the uninitiated, I should offend against the injunction not to give what is holy to the impure, nor cast pearls before such as cannot estimate their worth… I should say much more, if I were not afraid of being heard by those who are uninitiated: because men are apt to deride what they do not understand. And the ignorant, not being aware of the weakness of their minds, condemn what they ought most to venerate."

Theodoret, Bishop of Cyropolis in Syria, was born in 393, and made Bishop in 420. In one of his three Dialogues, called the Immutable, he introduces Orthodoxus, speaking thus: "Answer me, if you please, in mystical or obscure terms: for perhaps there are some persons present who are not initiated into the Mysteries." And in his preface to Ezekiel, tracing up the secret discipline to the commencement of the Christian era, he says: "These Mysteries are so august, that we ought to keep them with the greatest caution."

Minucius Felix, an eminent lawyer of Rome, who lived in 212, and wrote a defence of Christianity, says: "Many of them [the Christians] know each other by tokens and signs (notis et insignibus), and they form a friendship for each other, almost before they become acquainted."

The Latin Word, tessera, originally meant a square piece of wood or stone, used in making tesselated pavements; afterward a tablet on which anything was written, and then a cube or die. Its most general use was to designate a piece of metal or wood, square in shape, on which the watchword of an Army was inscribed; whencetessera came to mean the watchword itself. There was also a tessera hospitalis, which was a piece of wood cut into two parts, as a pledge of friendship. Each party kept one of the parts; and they swore mutual fidelity by Jupiter. To break the tessera was considered a dissolution of the friendship. The early Christians used it as a Mark, the watchword of friendship. With them it was generally in the shape of a fish, and made of bone. On its face was inscribed the word Ἰχθῦς, a fish, the initials of which represented the Greek words, Ιησοῦς Χριστὸς Θεοῦ Υἱὸς Σωτήρ; Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Saviour.

St. Augustine (de Fide et Symbolis) says: "This is the faith which in a few words is given to the Novices to be kept by a symbol; these few words are known to all the Faithful; that by believing they may be submissive to God; by being thus submissive, they may live rightly; by living rightly, they may purify their hearts and with a pure heart may understand what they believe."

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Maximus Taurinus says: "The tessera is a symbol and sign by which to distinguish between the Faithful and the Profane."

There are three Degrees in Blue Masonry; and in addition to the two words of two syllables each, embodying the binary, three, of three syllables each. There were three Grand Masters, the two Kings, and Khir-Om the Artificer. The candidate gains admission by three raps, and three raps call up the Brethren. There are three principal officers of the Lodge, three lights at the Altar, three gates of the Temple, all in the East, West, and South. The three lights represent the Sun, the Moon, and Mercury; Osiris, Isis, and Horus; the Father, the Mother, and the Child; Wisdom, Strength, and Beauty; Hakamah, Binah, and Daath; Gedulah, Geburah, and Tepareth. The candidate makes three circuits of the Lodge: there were three assassins of Khir-Om, and he was slain by three blows while seeking to escape by the three gates of the Temple. The ejaculation at his grave was repeated three times. There are three divisions of the Temple, and three, five, and seven Steps. A Master works with Chalk, Charcoal, and a vessel of Clay; there are three movable and three immovable jewels. The Triangle appears among the Symbols: the two parallel lines enclosing the circle are connected at top, as are the Columns Jachin and Boaz, symbolizing the equilibrium which explains the great Mysteries of Nature.

This continual reproduction of the number three is not accidental, nor without a profound meaning: and we shall find the same repeated in all the Ancient philosophies.

The Egyptian Gods formed Triads, the third member in each proceeding from the other two. Thus we have the Triad of Thebes, Amun, Maut, and Kharso; that of Philae, Osiris, Isis, and Horns; that of Elephantinē and the Cataracts, Neph, Sate, and Anoukē.

Osiris, Isis, and Horus were the Father, Mother, and Son; the latter being Light, the Soul of the World, the Son, the Protogonos or First-Begotten.

Sometimes this Triad was regarded as SPIRIT, or the active Principle or Generative Power; MATTER, or the PASSIVE Principle or Productive Capacity; and the Universe, which proceeds from the two Principles.

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We also find in Egypt this Triad or Trinity; Ammon-Ra, the Creator; Osiris-Ra, the Giver of Fruitfulness; Horus-Ra, the Queller of Light; symbolized by the Summer, Autumn, and Spring Sun. For the Egyptians had but three Seasons, the three gates of the Temple; and on account of the different effects of the Sun on those three Seasons, the Deity appears in these three forms.

The Phœnician Trinity was Ulomos, Chusoros, and the Egg out of which the Universe proceeded.

The Chaldæan Triad consisted of Bel, [the Persian Zervana Akherana], Oromasdes, and Ahriman; the Good and Evil Principle alike outflowing from the Father, by their equilibrium and alternating preponderance to produce harmony. Each was to rule, in turn, for equal periods, until finally the Evil Principle should itself become good.

The Chaldæan and Persian oracles of Zoroaster give us the Triad, Fire, Light, and Ether.

Orpheus celebrates the Triad of Phanes, Ouranos, and Kronos. Corry says the Orphic Trinity consisted of Metis, Phanes, and Ericapaeus; Will, Light or Love, and Life. Acusilaus makes it consist of Metis, Eros, and Æther: Will, Love, and Ether. Phereycides of Syros, of Fire, Water, and Air or Spirit. In the two former we readily recognize Osiris and Isis, the Sun and the Nile.

The first three of the Persian Amshaspands were BAHMAN, the Lord of LIGHT; Ardibehest, the Lord of FIRE; and Shariver, the Lord of SPLENDOR. These at once lead us back to the Kabala.

Plutarch says: "The better and diviner nature consists of three; the Intelligible (i.e. that which exists within the Intellect only as yet), and Matter; το Νοητος and Ὕλη, and that which proceeds from these, which the Greeks call Kosmos: of which Plato calls the Intelligible, the Idea, the Exemplar, the Father: Matter, the Mother, the Nurse, and the receptacle and place of generation: and the issue of these two, the Offspring and Genesis."

The Pythagorean fragments say: "Therefore, before the Heaven was made, there existed Idea and Matter, and God the Demiourgos [workman or active instrument], of the former. He made the world out of matter, perfect, only-begotten, with a soul and intellect, and constituted it a divinity."

Plato gives us Thought, the Father; Primitive Matter, the Mother; and Kosmos, the Son, the issue of the two Principles. Kosmos is the ensouled Universe.

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With the later Platonists, the Triad was Potence, Intellect, and Spirit, Philo represents Sanchoniathon's as Fire, Light, and Flame, the three Sons of Genos; but this is the Alexandrian, not the Phœnician idea.

Aurelius says the Demiourgos or Creator is triple, and the three Intellects are the three Kings: He who exists; He who possesses; He who beholds. The first is that which exists by its essence; the second exists in the first, and contains or possesses in itself the Universal of things; all that afterward becomes: the third beholds this Universal, formed and fashioned intellectually, and so having a separate existence. The Third exists in the Second, and the Second in the First.

The most ancient Trinitarian doctrine on record is that of the Brahmins. The Eternal Supreme Essence, called PARABRAHMA, BRAHM, PARATMA, produced the Universe by self-reflection, and first revealed himself as BRAHMA, the Creating Power, then as VISHNU, the Preserving Power, and lastly as SIVA, theDestroying and Renovating Power; the three Modes in which the Supreme Essence reveals himself in the material Universe; but which soon came to be regarded as three distinct Deities. These three Deities they styled the TRIMURTI, or TRIAD.

The Persians received from the Indians the doctrine of the three principles, and changed it to that of a principle of Life, which was individualized by the Sun, and a principle of Death, which was symbolized by cold and darkness; parallel of the moral world; and in which the continual and alternating struggle between light and darkness, life and death, seemed but a phase of the great struggle between the good and evil principles, embodied in the legend of ORMUZD and AHRIMAN. MITHRAS, a Median reformer, was deified after his death, and invested with the attributes of the Sun; the different astronomical phenomena being figuratively detailed as actual incidents of his life; in the same manner as the history of BUDDHA was invented among the Hindūs.

The Trinity of the Hindūs became among the Ethiopians and Abyssinians NEPH-AMON, PHTHA, and NEITH – the God CREATOR, whose emblem was a ram – MATTER, or the primitive mud, symbolized by a globe or an egg, and THOUGHT, or the LIGHT which contains the germ of everything; triple manifestation of one and the same God (ATHOM), considered in three aspects, as the creative power, goodness, and wisdom. Other Deities were speedily invented; and among them OSIRIS, represented by the Sun, Isis, his wife, by the Moon or Earth, TYPHON, his Brother, the Principle of Evil and Darkness, who was the son of Osiris and Isis. And the Trinity of OSIRIS, ISIS, and HORUS became subsequently the Chief Gods and objects of worship of the Egyptians.

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The ancient Etruscans (a race that emigrated from the Rhætian Alps into Italy, along whose route evidences of their migration have been discovered, and whose language none have yet succeeded in reading) acknowledged only one Supreme God; but they had images for His different attributes, and temples to these images. Each town had one National Temple, dedicated to the three great attributes of God, STRENGTH, RICHES, and WISDOM, or Tina, Talna, and Minerva. The National Deity was always a Triad under one roof; and it was the same in Egypt, where one Supreme God alone was acknowledged, but was worshipped as a Triad, with different names in each different home. Each city in Etruria might have as many gods and gates and temples as it pleased; but three sacred gates, and one Temple to three Divine Attributes were obligatory, wherever the laws of Tages (or Taunt or Thoth) were received. The only gate that remains in Italy, of the olden time, undestroyed, is the Porta del Circo at Volterra; and it has upon it the three heads of the three National Divinities, one upon the keystone of its magnificent arch, and one above each side-pillar.

The Buddhists hold that the God SAKYA of the Hindūs, called in Ceylon, GAUTAMA, in India beyond the Ganges, SOMONAKODOM, and in China, CHY-KIA, or FO, constituted a Trinity [TRIRATNA], of BUDDHA, DHARMA, and SANGA, – Intelligence, Law, and Union or Harmony.

The Chinese Sabæans represented the Supreme Deity as composed of CHANG-TI, the Supreme Sovereign; TIEN, the Heavens; and TAO, the Universal Supreme Reason and Principle of Faith; and that from Chaos, an immense silence, an immeasurable void. without perceptible forms, alone, infinite, immutable, moving in a circle in illimitable space, without change or alteration, when vivified by the Principle of Truth, issued all Beings, under the influence of TAO, Principle of Faith, who produced one, one produced two, two produced three, and three produced all that is.

The Sclavono-Vendes typified the Trinity by the three heads of the God TRIGLAV; and the Pruczi or Prussians by the Tri-une God, PERKOUN, PIKOLLOS, and POTRIMPOS, the Deities of Light and Thunder, of Hell and the Earth, its fruits and animals: and the Scandinavians by ODIN, FREA, and THOR.

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In the KABALAH, or the Hebrew traditional philosophy, the Infinite Deity, beyond the reach of the Human Intellect, and without Name, Form, or Limitation, was represented as developing Himself, in order to create, and by self-limitation, in ten emanations or out-flowings, called SEPHIROTH, or rays. The first of these, in the world AZILUTH, that is, within the Deity, was KETHER, or the Crown, by which we understand the Divine Will or Potency. Next came, as a pair, HAKEMAH and BAINAH, ordinarily translated "Wisdom" and "Intelligence," the former termed the FATHER, and the latter the MOTHER. HAKEMAH is the active Power orEnergy of Deity, by which He produces within Himself Intellection or Thinking: and BAINAH, the passive Capacity, from which, acted on by the Power, the Intellection flows. This Intellection is called DAATH: and it is the "WORD," of Plato and the Gnostics; the unuttered word, within the Deity. Here is the origin of the Trinity of the Father, the Mother or Holy Spirit, and the Son or Word.

Another Trinity was composed of the fourth Sephirah, GEDULAH or KHASED, Benignity or Mercy, also termed FATHER (Aba); the fifth, GEBURAH, Severityor Strict Justice, also termed the MOTHER (Imma); and the sixth, the SON or Issue of these, TIPHARETH, Beauty or Harmony. "Everything," says the SOHAR, "proceeds according to the Mystery of the Balance" – that is, by the equilibrium of Opposites: and thus from the Infinite Mercy and the Infinite Justice, in equilibrium, flows the perfect Harmony of the Universe. Infinite POWER, which is Lawless, and Infinite WISDOM, in Equilibrium, also produce BEAUTY or HARMONY, as Son, Issue, or Result – the Word, or utterance of the Thought of God. Power and Justice or Severity are the same: Wisdom and Mercy or Benignity are the same; – in the Infinite Divine Nature.

According to Philo of Alexandria, the Supreme Being, Primitive Light or Archetype of Light, uniting with WISDOM [Σοφια], the mother of Creation, forms in Himself the types of all things, and acts upon the Universe through the WORD [Λογος… Logos], who dwells in God, and in whom all His powers and attributes develop themselves; a doctrine borrowed by him from Plato.

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Simon Magus and his disciples taught that the Supreme Being or Centre of Light produced first of all, three couples of united Existences, of both sexes, [Συζυγίας; … Suzugias], which were the origins of all things: REASON and INVENTIVENESS; SPEECH and THOUGHT; CALCULATION and REFLECTION: [Νοῦς and Επίνοια, Φωνή and Εννοια, Λογισμὸς; and Ενθύμησις;… Nöus and Epinoia, Phōne and Ennoia, Logismos and Enthumēsis]; of which Ennoia or WISDOM was the first produced, and Mother of all that exists.

Other Disciples of Simon, and with them most of the Gnostics, adopting and modifying the doctrine, taught that the Πλήρωμα … Plerōma, or PLENITUDE of Superior Intelligences, having the Supreme Being at their head, was composed of eight Eons [Αἰώνης … Aiōnes] of different sexes; … PROFUNDITY and SILENCE; SPIRIT and TRUTH; the WORD and LIFE; MAN and the CHURCH: [Βυθὸς; and Σιγὴ; Πνεῦμα and Αλήθεια; Λόγος; and Ζωή; Ἄνθρωπος; and Ἐκκλησία … Buthos and Sigē; Pneuma and Aletheia; Logos and Zōe; Anthrōpos and Ekklēsia].

Bardesanes, whose doctrines the Syrian Christians long embraced, taught that the unknown Father, happy in the Plenitude of His Life and Perfections, first produced a Companion for Himself [Σύζυγος… Suzugos], whom He placed in the Celestial Paradise and who became, by Him, the Mother of CHRISTOS, Son of the Living God: i.e. (laying aside the allegory), that the Eternal conceived, in the silence of His decrees, the Thought of revealing Himself by a Being who should be His image or His Son: that to the Son succeeded his Sister and Spouse, the Holy Spirit, and they produced four Spirits of the elements, male and female, Maio and Jabseho, Nouro and Rucho; then Seven Mystic Couples of Spirits, and Heaven and Earth, and all that is; then seven spirits governing the planets, twelve governing the Constellations of the Zodiac, and thirty-six Starry Intelligences whom he called Deacons: while the Holy Spirit [Sophia Achamoth], being both the Holy Intelligence and the Soul of the physical world, went from the Plerōma into that material world and there mourned her degradation, until CHRISTOS, her former spouse, coming to her with his Divine Light and Love, guided her in the way to purification, and she again united herself with him as his primitive Companion.

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Basilides, the Christian Gnostic, taught that there were seven emanations from the Supreme Being: The First-born, Thought, the Word, Reflection, Wisdom, Power, and Righteousness [Πρωτογονος, Νους, Λογος, Φρονησις, Σοφια, Δυναμυς, and Δικαιοσύνη Protogonos, Nous, Logos, Phronesis, Sophia, Dunamis, and Dikarosunē]; from whom emanated other Intelligences in succession, to the number, in all, of three hundred and sixty-five; which were God manifested, and composed the Plenitude of the Divine Emanations, or the God Abraxas; of which the Thought [or Intellect, Νους … Nous] united itself, by baptism in the river Jordan, with the man Jesus, servant [Διάκονος… Diakonos] of the human race; but did not suffer with Him; and the disciples of Basilides taught that the Νοῦς, put on the appearance only of humanity, and that Simon of Cyrene was crucified in His stead and ascended into Heaven.

Basilides held that out of the unrevealed God, who is at the head of the world of emanations, and exalted above all conception or designation [Ὁ ἀκατονόμαστος, ἄῤῥητος] were evolved seven living, self-subsistent, ever-active hypostatized powers:

1st. Nous Νοῦς The Mind
2d. Logos Λόγος The Reason
3d. Phronesis Φρόνησις The Thinking Power
4th. Sophia Σοφία Wisdom
5th. Dunamis Δυναμις Might, accomplishing the purposes of Wisdom
6th. Dikaiosunē Δικαιοσύνη Holiness or Moral Perfection
7th. Eirēnē Εἰρήνη Inward Tranquility

These Seven Powers (Δυνάμεις … Dunameis), with the Primal Ground out of which they were evolved, constituted in his scheme the Πρωτη Ὀγδοὰς [Prote Ogdoas], or First Octave, the root of all Existence. From this point, the spiritual life proceeded to evolve out of itself continually many gradations of existence, each lower one being still the impression, the antetype, of the immediate higher one. He supposed there were 365 of these regions or gradations, expressed by the mystical word Αβραξας [Abraxas].

The Αβραξας is thus interpreted, by the usual method of reckoning Greek letters numerically… α, 1 … β, 2 … ρ, 100 … α, 1 … ξ, 60 … α, 1 … ς, 200=365: which is the whole Emanation-World, as the development of the Supreme Being.

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In the system of Basilides, Light, Life, Soul, and Good were opposed to Darkness, Death, Matter, and Evil, throughout the whole course of the Universe.

According to the Gnostic view, God was represented as the immanent, incomprehensible and original source of all perfection; the unfathomable ABYSS (βυθος … buthos), according to Valentinus, exalted above all possibility of designation; of whom, properly speaking, nothing can be predicated; the ἀκατονόμαστος of Basilides, the ὢν of Philo. From this incomprehensible Essence of God, an immediate transition to finite things is inconceivable. Self-limitation is the first beginning of a communication of life on the part of God – the first passing of the hidden Deity into manifestation; and from this proceeds all further self-developing manifestation of the Divine Essence. From this primal link in the chain of life there are evolved, in the first place, the manifold powers or attributes inherent in the divine Essence, which, until that first self-comprehension, were all hidden in the Abyss of His Essence. Each of these attributes presents the whole divine Essence under one particular aspect; and to each, therefore, in this respect, the title of God may appropriately be applied. These Divine Powers evolving themselves to self-subsistence, become thereupon the germs and principles of all further developments of life. The life contained in them unfolds and individualizes itself more and more, but in such a way that the successive grades of this evolution of life continually sink lower and lower; the spirits become feebler, the further they are removed from the first link in the series.

The first manifestation they termed πρῶτη κατάληψις ἑαυτοῦ [protē katalēpsis heautou] or πρῶτον καταληπτὸν τοῦ θεου [proton Katalēpton tou Theou]; which was hypostatically represented in a νοῦς or λόγος, [Nous or Logos].

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In the Alexandrian Gnosis, the Platonic notion of the ὕλη [Hulē] predominates. This is the dead, the unsubstantial – the boundary that limits from without the evolution of life in its gradually advancing progression, whereby the Perfect is ever evolving itself into the less Perfect. This ὕλη again, is represented under various images; – at one time as the darkness that exists alongside of the light; at another, as the void [κένωμα, κενὸν… Kenoma, Kenon], in opposition to the Fullness, [Πλήρωμα … Plēroma] of the Divine Life; or as the shadow that accompanies the light; or as the chaos, or the sluggish, stagnant, dark water. This matter, dead in itself, possesses by its own nature no inherent tendency; as life of every sort is foreign to it, itself makes no encroachment on the Divine. As, however, the evolutions of the Divine Life (the essences developing themselves out of the progressive emanation) become feebler, the further they are removed from the first link in the series; and as their connection with the first becomes looser at each successive step, there arises at the last step of the evolution, an imperfect, defective product, which, unable to retain its connection with the chain of Divine Life, sinks from the World of Eons into the material chaos: or, according to the same notion, somewhat differently expressed [according to the Ophites and to Bardesanes], a drop from the fullness of the Divine life bubbles over into the bordering void. Hereupon the dead matter, by commixture with the living principle, which it wanted, first of all receives animation. But, at the same time, also, the divine, the living, becomes corrupted by mingling with the chaotic mass. Existence now multiplies itself. There arises a subordinate, defective life; there is ground for a new world; a creation starts into being, beyond the confines of the world of emanation. But, on the other hand, since the chaotic principle of matter has acquired vitality, there now arises a more distinct and more active opposition to the God-like – a barely negative, blind, ungodly nature-power, which obstinately resists all influence of the Divine; hence, as products of the spirit of the ὕλη, (of the πνεῦμα ὕλικον … Pneuma Hulikon), are Satan, malignant spirits, wicked men, in none of whom is there any reason-able or moral principle, or any principle of a rational will; but blind passions alone have the ascendancy. In them there is the same conflict, as the scheme of Platonism supposes, between the soul under the guidance of Divine reason [the νοῦς. … Nous], and the soul blindly resisting reason – between the πρόνοια [pronoia] and the αναγη [anagē], the Divine Principle and the natural.

The Syrian Gnosis assumed the existence of an active, turbulent kingdom of evil, or of darkness, which, by its encroachments on the kingdom of light, brought about a commixture of the light with the darkness, of the God-like with the ungodlike.

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Even among the Platonists, some thought that along with an organized, inert matter, the substratum of the corporeal world, there existed from the beginning a blind, lawless motive power, an ungodlike soul, as its original motive and active principle. As the inorganic matter was organized into a corporeal world, by the plastic power of the Deity, so, by the same power, law and reason were communicated to that turbulent, irrational soul. Thus the chaos of the ὕλη was transformed into an organized world, and that blind soul into a rational principle, a mundane soul, animating the Universe. As from the latter proceeds all rational, spiritual life in humanity, so from the former proceeds all that is irrational, all that is under the blind sway of passion and appetite; and all malignant spirits are its progeny.

In one respect all the Gnostics agreed: they all held; that there was a world purely emanating out of the vital development of God, a creation evolved directly out of the Divine Essence, far exalted above any outward creation produced by God's plastic power, and conditioned by pre-existing matter. They agreed in holding that the framer of this lower world was not the Father of that higher world of emanation; but the Demiurge [Δεμιουργος], a being of a kindred nature with the Universe framed and governed by him, and far inferior to that higher system and the Father of it.

But some, setting out from ideas which had long prevailed among certain Jews of Alexandria, supposed that the Supreme God created and governed the world by His ministering spirits, by the angels. At the head of these angels stood one who had the direction and control of all; therefore called the Artificer and Governor of the World. This Demiurge they compared with the plastic, animating mundane spirit of Plato and Platonists [the δεύτερος θεὸς … Deuteros Theos; the θεὸς γενητὸς; Theos Genetos], who, moreover, according to the Timæus of Plato, strives to represent the IDEA of the Divine Reason, in that which is becoming (as contradistinguished from that which is) and temporal. This angel is a representative of the Supreme God, on the lower stage of existence: he does not act independently, but merely according to the ideas inspired in him by the Supreme God; just as the plastic, mundane soul of the Platonists creates all things after the pattern of the ideas communicated by the Supreme Reason [Νοῦς… Nous – the ὅ ἔστι ζῶον … ho esti zōon – the; παράδειγμα… paradeigma, of the Divine Reason hypostatized]. But these ideas transcend his limited essence; he cannot understand them; he is merely their unconscious organ; and therefore is unable himself to comprehend the whole scope and meaning of the work which he performs. As an organ under the guidance of a higher inspiration, he reveals higher truths than he himself can comprehend. The mass of the Jews, they held, recognized not the angel, by whom, in all the Theophanies of the Old Testament, God revealed Himself; they knew not the Demiurge in his true relation to the hidden Supreme God, who never reveals Himself in the sensible world. They confounded the type and the archetype, the symbol and the idea. They rose no higher than the Demiurge; they took him to be the Supreme God Himself. But the spiritual men among them, on the contrary, clearly perceived, or at least divined, the ideas veiled under Judaism; they rose beyond the Demiurge, to a knowledge of the Supreme God; and are therefore properly His worshippers [θεραπευταί … Therapeutai].

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Other Gnostics, who had not been followers of the Mosaic religion, but who had, at an earlier period, framed to themselves an oriental Gnosis, regarded the Demiurge as a being absolutely hostile to the Supreme God. He and his angels, notwithstanding their finite nature, wish to establish their independence: they will tolerate no foreign rule within their realm. Whatever of a higher nature descends into their kingdom, they seek to hold imprisoned there, lest it should raise itself above their narrow precincts. Probably, in this system, the kingdom of the Demiurgic Angels corresponded, for the most part, with that of the deceitful Star-Spirits, who seek to rob man of his freedom, to beguile him by various arts of deception, and who exercise a tyrannical sway over the things of this world. Accordingly, in the system of these Sabæans, the seven Planet-Spirits, and the twelve Star-Spirits of the zodiac, who sprang from an irregular connection between the cheated Fetahil and the Spirit of Darkness, play an important part in everything that is bad. The Demiurge is a limited and limiting being, proud, jealous, and revengeful; and this his character betrays itself in the Old Testament, which, the Gnostics held, came from him. They transferred to the Demiurge himself, whatever in the idea of God, as presented by the Old Testament, appeared to them defective. Against his will and rule the ὕλη was continually rebelling, revolting without control against the dominion which he, the fashioner, would exercise over it, casting off the yoke imposed on it, and destroying the work he had begun. The same jealous being, limited in his power, ruling with despotic sway, they imagined they saw in nature. He strives to check the germination of the divine seeds of life which the Supreme God of Holiness and Love, who has no connection whatever with the sensible world, has scattered among men. That perfect God was at most known and worshipped in Mysteries by a few spiritual men.

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The Gospel of St. John is in great measure a polemic against the Gnostics, whose different sects, to solve the great problems, the creation of a material world by an immaterial Being, the fall of man, the incarnation, the redemption and restoration of the spirits called men, admitted a long series of intelligences, intervening in a series of spiritual operations; and which they designated by the names, The Beginning, the Word, the Only-Begotten, Life, Light, and Spirit [Ghost]: in Greek, Ἀρκή, Λόγος, Μονογενής, Ζωή, Φῶς and Πνευμα [Archē, Logos, Monogenēs, Zōe, Phōs, and Pneuma]. St. John, at the beginning of his Gospel, avers that it was Jesus Christ who existed in the Beginning; that He was the WORD of God by which everything was made; that He was the Only-Begotten, the Life and the Light, and that He diffuses among men the Holy Spirit [or Ghost], the Divine Life and Light.

So the Plēroma [Πλήρωμα], Plenitude or Fullness, was a favorite term with the Gnostics, and Truth and Grace were the Gnostic Eons; and the Simonians, Dokētēs, and other Gnostics held that the Eon Christ Jesus was never really, but only apparently clothed with a human body: but St. John replies that the Word did really become Flesh, and dwelt among us; and that in Him were the Plēroma and Truth and Grace.

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In the doctrine of Valentinus, reared a Christian at Alexandria, God was a perfect Being, an Abyss [Βυθὸς … Buthos], which no intelligence could sound, because no eye could reach the invisible and ineffable heights on which He dwelt, and no mind could comprehend the duration of His existence; He has always been; He is the Primitive Father and Beginning [the Προπάτωρand Προαρχὴ … Propatōr and Proarchē]: He will BE always, and does not grow old. The development of His Perfections produced the intellectual world. After having passed infinite ages in repose and silence, He manifested Himself by His Thought, source of all His manifestations, and which received from Him the germ of His creations. Being of His Being, His Thought [Ἕννοια … Ennoia] is also termed Χάρις; [Charis], Grace or Joy, and Σιγή or Ἄρρητον [Sigē or Arrēton], Silence or the Ineffable. Its first manifestation was Νους [Nous], the Intelligence, first of the Eons, commencement of all things, first revelation of the Divinity, the Μονογενὴς [Monogenēs], or Only-Begotten: next, Truth [Ἀλήθεια … Alētheia], his companion. Their manifestations were the Word [Λόγος. . Logos] and Life [Ζωὴ … Zoē]; and theirs, Man and the Church [Ανθροπος and Ἐκκλησία … Anthrōpos and Ekklēsia]: and from these, other twelve, six of whom were Hope, Faith, Charity, Intelligence, Happiness, and Wisdom; or, in the Hebrew, Kesten, Kina, Amphe, Ouananim, Thaedes, and Oubina. The harmony of the Eons, struggling to know and be united to the Primitive God, was disturbed, and to redeem and restore them, the Intelligence [Νοῦς] produced Christ and the Holy Spirit His companion; who restored them to their first estate of happiness and harmony; and thereupon they formed the Eon Jesus, born of a Virgin, to whom the Christos united himself in baptism, and who, with his Companion Sophia-Achamoth, saved and redeemed the world.

The Marcosians taught that the Supreme Deity produced by His words the Λόγος [Logos] or Plenitude of Eons: His first utterance was a syllable of four letters, each of which became a being; His second of four, His third of ten, and His fourth of twelve: thirty in all, which constituted the Πλήρωμα [Plēroma].

The Valentinians, and others of the Gnostics, distinguished three orders of existences: – 1st. The divine germs of life, exalted by their nature above matter, and akin to the Σοφία [Sophia], to the mundane soul and to the Plēroma: – the spiritual natures, φύσεις πνευματικαί [Phuseis Pneumatikai]: 2d. The natures originating in the life, divided from the former by the mixture of the ὕλη – the psychical natures, φύσεις ψυχικαὶ [Phuseis Psuchikai]; with which begins a perfectly new order of existence, an image of that higher mind and system, in a subordinate grade; and finally, 3d. The Ungodlike or Hylic Nature, which resists all amelioration, and whose tendency is only to destroy – the nature of blind lust and passion.

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The nature of the πνευματικὸν [pneumatikon], the spiritual, is essential relationship with God (the ὁμούσιον τῷ θεῷ … Homoousion tō Theō): hence the life of Unity, the undivided, the absolutely simple (οὐσία ἑνικὴ μονοειδὴς … Ousia henike, monoeides).

The essence of the ψυχικοὶ [psuchikoi] is disruption into multiplicity, manifoldness; which, however, is subordinate to a higher unity, by which it allows itself to be guided, first unconsciously, then consciously.

The essence of the ὑλικοὶ [Hulikoi] (of whom Satan is the head), is the direct opposite to all unity; disruption and disunion in itself, without the least sympathy, without any point of coalescence whatever for unity; together with an effort to destroy all unity, to extend its own inherent disunion to everything, and to rend everything asunder. This principle has no power to posit anything; but only to negative: it is unable to create, to produce, to form, but only to destroy, to decompose.

By Marcus, the disciple of Valentinus, the idea of a Λογος του οντος [Logos Tou Ontos], of a WORD, manifesting the hidden Divine Essence, in the Creation, was spun out into the most subtle details – the entire creation being, in his view, a continuous utterance of the Ineffable. The way in which the germs of divine life [the σπέρματα πνευματικὰ … spermata pneumatika], which lie shut up in the Eons, continually unfold and individualize themselves more and more, is represented as a spontaneous analysis of the several names of the Ineffable, into their several sounds. An echo of the Plēroma falls down into the ὕλη [Hulē], and becomes the forming of a new but lower creation.

One formula of the pneumatical baptism among the Gnostics ran thus: "In the NAME which is hidden from all the Divinities and Powers" [of the Demiurge], "The Name of Truth" [the Αλήθεια [Aletheia], self-manifestation of the Buthos], which Jesus of Nazareth has put on in the light-zones of Christ, the living Christ, through the Holy Ghost, for the redemption of the angels, – the Name by which all things attain to Perfection." The candidate then said: "I am established and redeemed; I am redeemed in my soul from this world, and from all that belongs to it, by the name of יהוה, who has redeemed the Soul of Jesus by the living Christ." The assembly then said: "Peace (or Salvation) to all on whom this name rests!"

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The boy Dionusos, torn in pieces, according to the Bacchic Mysteries, by the Titans, was considered by the Manicheans as simply representing the Soul, swallowed up by the powers of darkness, – the divine life rent into fragments by matter: – that part of the luminous essence of the primitive man [the πρῶτος ἄνθρωπος [Protos Anthropos] of Mani, the πράων ἄνθρωπος [Praōn Anthrōpos] of the Valentinians, the Adam Kadmon of the Kabalah; and the Kaiomorts of the Zendavesta], swallowed up by the powers of darkness; the Mundane Soul, mixed with matter – the seed of divine life, which had fallen into matter, and had thence to undergo a process of purification and development.

The Γνῶσις [Gnosis] of Carpocrates and his son Epiphanes consisted in the knowledge of one Supreme Original being, the highest unity, from whom all existence has emanated, and to whom it strives to return. The finite spirits that rule over the several portions of the Earth, seek to counteract this universal tendency to unity; and from their influence, their laws, and arrangements, proceeds all that checks, disturbs, or limits the original communion, which is the basis of nature, as the outward manifestation of that highest Unity. These spirits, moreover, seek to retain under their dominion the souls which, emanating from the highest Unity, and still partaking of its nature, have lapsed into the corporeal world, and have there been imprisoned in bodies, in order, under their dominion, to be kept within the cycle of migration. From these finite spirits, the popular religions of different nations derive their origin. But the souls which, from a reminiscence of their former condition, soar upward to the contemplation of that higher Unity, reach to such perfect freedom and repose, as nothing afterward can disturb or limit, and rise superior to the popular deities and religions. As examples of this sort, they named Pythagoras, Plato, Aristotle, and Christ. They made no distinction between the latter and the wise and good men of every nation. They taught that any other soul which could soar to the same height of contemplation, might be regarded as equal with Him.

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The Ophites commenced their system with a Supreme Being, long unknown to the Human race, and still so the greater number of men; the Βυθὸς [Buthos], or Profundity, Source of Light, and of Adam-Kadmon, the Primitive Man, made by the Demiourgos, but perfected by the Supreme God by the communication to him of the Spirit [Πνεῦμα … Pneuma]. The first emanation was the Thought of the Supreme Deity [the Ἕννοια … Ennoia], the conception of the Universe in the Thought of God. This Thought, called also Silence (Σιγη … Sige), produced the Spirit [Πνευμα … Pneuma], Mother of the Living, and Wisdom of God. Together with this Primitive Existence, Matter existed also (the Waters, Darkness, Abyss, and Chaos), eternal like the Spiritual Principle. Buthos and His Thought, uniting with Wisdom, made her fruitful by the Divine Light, and she produced a perfect and an imperfect being, Christos, and a Second and inferior wisdom, Sophia-Achamoth, who falling into chaos remained entangled there, became enfeebled, and lost all knowledge of the Superior Wisdom that gave her birth. Communicating movement to Chaos, she produced Ialdabaoth, the Demiourgos, Agent of Material Creation, and then ascended toward her first place in the scale of creation. Ialdabaoth produced an angel that was his image, and this a second, and so on in succession to the sixth after the Demiourgos: the seven being reflections one of the other, yet different and inhabiting seven distinct regions. The names of the six thus produced were IAO, SABAOTH, ADONAI, ELOI, ORAL, and ASTAPHAI. Ialdabaoth, to become independent of his mother, and to pass for the Supreme Being, made the world, and man, in his own image; and his mother caused the Spiritual principle to pass from him into man so made; and henceforward the contest between the Demiourgos and his mother, between light and darkness, good and evil, was concentrated in man; and the image of Ialdabaoth, reflected upon matter, became the Serpent-Spirit, Satan, the Evil Intelligence. Eve, created by Ialdabaoth, had by his Sons children that were angels like themselves. The Spiritual light was withdrawn from man by Sophia, and the world surrendered to the influence of evil; until the Spirit, urged by the entreaties of Wisdom, induced the Supreme Being to send Christos to redeem it. Compelled, despite himself, by his Mother, Ialdabaoth caused the man Jesus to be born of a Virgin, and the Celestial Saviour, uniting with his Sister, Wisdom, descended through the regions of the seven angels, appeared in each under the form of its chief, concealed his own, and entered with his sister into the man Jesus at the baptism in Jordan. Ialdabaoth, finding that Jesus was destroying his empire and abolishing his worship, caused the Jews to hate and crucify Him; before which happened, Christos and Wisdom had ascended to the celestial regions. They restored Jesus to life and gave Him an ethereal body, in which He remained eighteen months on earth, and receiving from Wisdom the perfect knowledge [Γνωσις … Gnosis], communicated it to a small number of His apostles, and then arose to the intermediate region inhabited by Ialdabaoth, where, unknown to him, He sits at his right hand, taking from him the Souls of Light purified by Christos. When nothing of the Spiritual world shall remain subject to Ialdabaoth, the redemption will be accomplished, and the end of the world, the completion of the return of Light into the Plenitude, will occur.

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Tatian adopted the theory of Emanation, of Eons, of the existence of a God too sublime to allow Himself to be known, but displaying Himself by Intelligences emanating from His bosom. The first of these was His spirit [Πνευμα … Pneuma], God Himself, God thinking, God conceiving the Universe. The second was the Word [Λογος … Logos], no longer merely the Thought or Conception, but the Creative Utterance, manifestation of the Divinity, but emanating from the Thought or Spirit; the First-Begotten, author of the visible creation. This was the Trinity, composed of the Father, Spirit, and Word.

The Elxaïtes adopted the Seven Spirits of the Gnostics; but named them Heaven, Water, Spirit, The Holy Angels of Prayer, Oil, Salt, and the Earth.

The opinion of the Doketes as to the human nature of Jesus Christ, was that most generally received among the Gnostics. They deemed the intelligences of the Superior World too pure and too much the antagonists of matter, to be willing to unite with it: and held that Christ, an Intelligence of the first rank, in appearing upon the earth, did not become confounded with matter, but took upon Himself only the appearance of a body, or at the most used it only as an envelope.

Noëtus termed the Son the first Utterance of the Father; the Word, not by Himself, as an Intelligence, and unconnected with the flesh, a real Son; but a Word, and a perfect Only-Begotten; light emanated from the Light; water flowing from its spring; a ray emanated from the Sun.

Paul of Samosata taught that Jesus Christ was the Son of Joseph and Mary; but that the Word, Wisdom, or Intelligence of God, the Νους [Nous] of the Gnostics, had united itself with Him, so that He might be said to be at once the Son of God, and God Himself.

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Arius called the Saviour the first of creatures, non-emanated from God, but really created, by the direct will of God, before time and the ages. According to the Church, Christ was of the same nature as God; according to some dissenters, of the same nature as man. Arius adopted the theory of a nature analogous to both. When God resolved to create the Human race, He made a Being which He called THE WORD, THE SON, WISDOM [Λόγος, Υἱὸς, Σοφία … Logos, Uios, Sophia], to the end that He might give existence to men. This WORD is the Ormuzd of Zoroaster, the Ensoph of the Kabalah, the Νοῦς [Nous] of Platonism and Philonism, and the Σοφια or Δεμιουργος [Sophia or Demiourgos] of the Gnostics. He distinguished the Inferior Wisdom, or the daughter, from the Superior Wisdom; the latter being in God, inherent in His nature, and incapable of communication to any creature: the second, by which the Son was made, communicated itself to Him, and therefore He Himself was entitled to be called the Word and the Son.

Manes, founder of the Sect of the Manicheans, who had lived and been distinguished among the Persian Magi, profited by the doctrines of Scythianus, a Kabalist or Judaizing Gnostic of the times of the Apostles; and knowing those of Bardesanes and Harmonius, derived his doctrines from Zoroasterism, Christianity, and Gnosticism. He claimed to be the Παράκλητος [Paraklētos] or Comforter, in the Sense of a Teacher, organ of the Deity, but not in that of the Holy Spirit or Holy Ghost: and commenced his Epistola Fundamenti in these words: "Manes, Apostle of Jesus Christ, elect of God the Father; Behold the Words of Salvation, emanating from the living and eternal fountain." The dominant idea of his doctrine was Pantheism, derived by him from its source in the regions of India and on the confines of China: that the cause of all that exists is in God; and at last, God is all in all. All souls are equal – God is in all, in men, animals, and plants. There are two Gods, one of Good and the other of Evil, each independent, eternal, chief of a distinct Empire; necessarily, and of their very natures, hostile to one another. The Evil God, Satan, is the Genius of matter alone. The God of Good is infinitely his Superior, the True God; while the other is but the chief of all that is the Enemy of God, and must in the end succumb to His Power. The Empire of Light alone is eternal and true; and this Empire is a great chain of Emanations, all connected with the Supreme Being which they make manifest; all HIM, under different forms, chosen for one end, the triumph of the Good.

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In each of His members lie hidden thousands of ineffable treasures. Excellent in His Glory, incomprehensible in His Greatness, the Father has joined to Himself those fortunate and glorious Eons [Αιωνες … Aionēs], whose Power and Number it is impossible to determine. This is Spinoza's Infinity of Infinite Attributes of God. Twelve Chief Eons, at the head of all, were the Genii of the twelve Constellations of the Zodiac, and called by Manes, Olamin. Satan, also, Lord of the Empire of Darkness, had an Army of Eons or Demons, emanating from his Essence, and reflecting more or less his image, but divided and inharmonious among themselves. A war among them brought them to the confines of the Realm of Light. Delighted, they sought to conquer it. But the Chief of the Celestial Empire created a Power which he placed on the frontiers of Heaven to protect his Eons, and destroy the Empire of Evil. This was the Mother of Life, the Soul of the World, an Emanation from the Supreme Being, too pure to come in immediate contact with matter. It remained in the highest region; but produced a Son, the first Man [the Kaiomorts, Adam-Kadmon, Πρῶτος Ανθρωπος [Protos Anthropos,] and Hivil-Zivah; of the Zend-Avesta, the Kabalah, the Gnosis, and Sabeism]; who commenced the contest with the Powers of Evil, but, losing part of his panoply, of his Light, his Son and many souls born of the Light, who were devoured by the darkness, God sent to his assistance the living Spirit, or the Son of the First Man [Υἱὸς Ἀνθρώπου … Uios Anthropou], or Jesus Christ. The Mother of Life, general Principle of Divine Life, and the first Man, Primitive Being that reveals the Divine Life, are too sublime to be connected with the Empire of Darkness. The Son of Man or Soul of the World, enters into the Darkness, becomes its captive, to end by tempering and softening its savage nature. The Divine Spirit, after having brought back the Primitive Man to the Empire of Light, raises above the world that part of the Celestial Soul that remained unaffected by being mingled with the Empire of Darkness. Placed in the region of the Sun and Moon, this pure soul, the Son of Man, the Redeemer or Christ, labors to deliver and attract to Himself that part of the Light or of the Soul of the First Man diffused through matter; which done, the world will cease to exist. To retain the rays of Light still remaining among his Eons, and ever tending to escape and return, by concentrating them, the Prince of Darkness, with their consent, made Adam, whose soul was of the Divine Light, contributed by the Eons, and his body of matter, so that he belonged to both Empires, that of Light and that of Darkness. To prevent the light from escaping at once, the Demons forbade Adam to eat the fruit of "knowledge of good and evil," by which he would have known the Empire of Light and that of Darkness. He obeyed; an Angel of Light induced him to transgress, and gave him the means of victory; but the Demons created Eve, who seduced him into an act of Sensualism, that enfeebled him, and bound him anew in the bonds of matter. This is repeated in the case of every man that lives.

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To deliver the soul, captive in darkness, the Principle of Light, or Genius of the Sun, charged to redeem the Intellectual World, of which he is the type, came to manifest Himself among men. Light appeared in the darkness, but the darkness comprehended it not; according to the words of St. John. The Light could not unite with the darkness. It but put on the appearance of a human body, and took the name of Christ in the Messiah, only to accommodate itself to the language of the Jews. The Light did its work, turning the Jews from the adoration of the Evil Principle, and the Pagans from the worship of Demons. But the Chief of the Empire of Darkness caused Him to be crucified by the Jews. Still He suffered in appearance only, and His death gave to all souls the symbol of their enfranchisement. The person of Jesus having disappeared, there was seen in His place a cross of Light, over which a celestial voice pronounced these words: "The cross of Light is called The Word, Christ, The Gate, Joy, The Bread, The Sun, The Resurrection, Jesus, The Father, The Spirit, Life, Truth, and Grace."

With the Priscillianists there were two principles, one the Divinity, the other, Primitive Matter and Darkness; each eternal. Satan is the son and lord of matter; and the secondary angels and demons, children of matter. Satan created and governs the visible world. But the soul of man emanated from God, and is of the same substance with God. Seduced by the evil spirits, it passes through various bodies, until, purified and reformed, it rises to God and is strengthened by His light. These powers of evil hold mankind in pledge; and to redeem this pledge, the Saviour, Christ the Redeemer, came and died upon the cross of expiation, thus discharging the written obligation. He, like all souls, was of the same substance with God, a manifestation of the Divinity, not forming a second person; unborn, like the Divinity, and nothing else than the Divinity under another form.

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It is useless to trace these vagaries further; and we stop at the frontiers of the realm of the three hundred and sixty-five thousand emanations of the Mandaītes from the Primitive Light, Fira or Ferho and Yavar; and return contentedly to the simple and sublime creed of Masonry.

Such were some of the ancient notions concerning the Deity; and taken in connection with what has been detailed in the pre-ceding Degrees, this Lecture affords you a true picture of the ancient speculations. From the beginning until now, those who have undertaken to solve the great mystery of the creation of a material universe by an Immaterial Deity, have interposed between the two, and between God and man, divers manifestations of, or emanations from, or personified attributes or agents of, the Great Supreme God, who is coexistent with Time and coextensive with Space.

The universal belief of the Orient was, that the Supreme Being did not Himself create either, the earth or man. The fragment which commences the Book of Genesis, consisting of the first chapter and the three first verses of the second, assigns the creation or rather the formation or modelling of the world from matter already existing in confusion, not to IHUH, but to the ALHIM, well known as Subordinate Deities, Forces, or Manifestations, among the Phœnicians. The second fragment imputes it to IHUH-ALHIM,1 and St. John assigns the creation to the Λογος or WORD; and asserts that CHRIST was that WORD, as well as LIGHT and LIFE, other emanations from the Great Primeval Deity, to which other faiths had assigned the work of creation.

An absolute existence, wholly immaterial, in no way within the reach of our senses; a cause, but not an effect, that never was not, but existed during an infinity of eternities, before there was anything else except Time and Space, is wholly beyond the reach of our conceptions. The mind of man has wearied itself in speculations as to His nature, His essence, His attributes; and ended in being no wiser than it began. In the impossibility of conceiving of immateriality, we feel at sea and lost whenever we go beyond the domain of matter. And yet we know that there are Powers, Forces, Causes, that are themselves not matter. We give them names, but what they really are, and what their essence, we are wholly ignorant.

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But, fortunately, it does not follow that we may not believe, or even know, that which we cannot explain to ourselves, or that which is beyond the reach of our comprehension: If we believed only that which our intellect can grasp, measure, comprehend, and have distinct and clear ideas of, we should believe scarce anything. The senses are not the witnesses that bear testimony to us of the loftiest truths.

Our greatest difficulty is, that language is not adequate to express our ideas; because our words refer to things, and are images of what is substantial and material. If we use the word "emanation," our mind involuntarily recurs to something material, flowing out of some other thing that is material; and if we reject this idea of materiality, nothing is left of the emanation but an unreality. The word "thing" itself suggests to us that which is material and within the cognizance and jurisdiction of the senses. If we cut away from it the idea of materiality, it presents itself to us as no thing, but an intangible unreality, which the mind vainly endeavors to grasp. Existence and Being are terms that have the same color of materiality; and when we speak of a Power or Force, the mind immediately images to itself one physical and material thing acting upon another. Eliminate that idea; and the Power or Force, devoid of physical characteristics, seems as unreal as the shadow that dances on a wall, itself a mere absence of light; as spirit is to us merely that which is not matter.

Infinite space and infinite time are the two primary ideas. We formulize them thus: add body to body and sphere to sphere, until the imagination wearies; and still there will remain beyond, a void, empty, unoccupied SPACE, limitless, because it is void. Add event to event in continuous succession, forever and forever, and there will still remain, before and after, a TIME in which there was and will be no event, and also endless because it too is void.

Thus these two ideas of the boundlessness of space and the endlessness of time seem to involve the ideas that matter and events are limited and finite. We cannot conceive of an infinity of worlds or of events; but only of an indefinite number of each; for, as we struggle to conceive of their infinity, the thought ever occurs in despite of all our efforts – there must be space in which there are no worlds; there must have been time when there were no events.

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We cannot conceive how, if this earth moves millions of millions of miles a million times repeated, it is still in the centre of space; nor how, if we lived millions of millions of ages and centuries, we should still be in the centre of eternity – with still as much space on one side as on the other; with still as much time before us as behind; for that seems to say that the world has not moved nor we lived at all.

Nor can we comprehend how an infinite series of worlds, added together, is no larger than an infinite series of atoms; or an infinite series of centuries no longer than an infinite series of seconds; both being alike infinite, and therefore one series containing no more nor fewer units than the other.

Nor have we the capacity to form in ourselves any idea of that which is immaterial. We use the word, but it conveys to us only the idea of the absence and negation of materiality; which vanishing, Space and Time alone, infinite and boundless, seem to us to be left.

We cannot form any conception of an effect without a cause. We cannot but believe, indeed we know, that, how far soever we may have to run back along the chain of effects and causes, it cannot be infinite; but we must come at last to something which is not an effect, bur the first cause: and yet the fact is literally beyond our comprehension. The mind refuses to grasp the idea of self-existence, of existence without a beginning. As well expect the hair that grows upon our head to understand the nature and immortality of the soul.

It does not need to go so far in search of mysteries; nor have we any right to disbelieve or doubt the existence of a Great First Cause, itself no effect, because we cannot comprehend it; because the words we use do not even express it to us adequately.

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We rub a needle for a little while, on a dark, inert mass of iron ore, that had lain idle in the earth for many centuries. Something is thereby communicated to the steel – we term it a virtue, a power, or a quality – and then we balance it upon a pivot; and, lo! drawn by some invisible, mysterious Power, one pole of the needle turns to the North, and there the same Power keeps the same pole for days and years; will keep it there, perhaps, as long as the world lasts, carry the needle where you will, and no matter what seas or mountains intervene between it and the North Pole of the world. And this Power, thus acting, and indicating to the mariner his course over the trackless ocean, when the stars shine not for many days, saves vessels from shipwreck, families from distress, and those from sudden death on whose lives the fate of nations and the peace of the world depend. But for it, Napoleon might never have reached the ports of France on his return from Egypt, nor Nelson lived to fight and win at Trafalgar. Men call this Power Magnetism, and then complacently think that they have explained it all; and yet they have but given a new name to an unknown thing, to hide their ignorance. What is this wonderful Power? It is a real, actual, active Power: that we know and see. But what its essence is, or how it acts, we do not know, any more than we know the essence or the mode of action of the Creative Thought and Word of God.

And again, what is that which we term galvanism and electricity, – which, evolved by the action of a little acid on two metals, aided by a magnet, circles the earth in a second, sending from land to land the Thoughts that govern the transactions of individuals and nations? The mind has formed no notion of matter, that will include it; and no name that we can give it, helps us to understand its essence and its being. It is a Power, like Thought and the Will. We know no more.

What is this power of gravitation that makes everything upon the earth tend to the centre? How does it reach out its invisible hands toward the erratic meteor-stones, arrest them in their swift course, and draw them down to the earth's bosom? It is a power. We know no more.

What is that heat which plays so wonderful a part in the world's economy? – that caloric, latent everywhere, within us and without us, produced by combustion, by intense pressure, and by swift motion? Is it substance, matter, spirit, or immaterial, a mere Force or State of Matter?

And what is light? A substance, say the books, – matter, that travels to us from the sun and stars, each ray separable into seven, by the prism, of distinct colors, and with distinct peculiar qualities and actions. And if a substance, what is its essence, and what power is inherent in it, by which it journeys incalculable myriads of miles, and reaches us ten thousand years or more after it leaves the stars?

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All power is equally a mystery. Apply intense cold to a drop of water in the centre of a globe of iron, and the globe is shattered as the water freezes. Confine a little of the same limpid element in a cylinder which Enceladus or Typhon could not have riven asunder, and apply to it intense heat, and the vast power that couched latent in the water shivers the cylinder to atoms. A little shoot from a minute seed, a shoot so soft and tender that the least bruise would kill it, forces its way downward into the hard earth, to the depth of many feet, with an energy wholly incomprehensible. What are these mighty forces, locked up in the small seed and the drop of water?

Nay, what is LIFE itself, with all its wondrous, mighty energies, – that power which maintains the heat within us, and prevents our bodies, that decay so soon without it, from resolution into their original elements – Life, that constant miracle, the nature and essence whereof have eluded all the philosophers; and all their learned dissertations on it are a mere jargon of words?

No wonder the ancient Persians thought that Light and Life were one; both emanations from the Supreme Deity, the archetype of light. No wonder that in their ignorance they worshipped the Sun. God breathed into man the spirit of life; not matter, but an emanation from Himself; not a creature made by Him, nor a distinct existence, but a Power, like His own Thought: and light, to those great-souled ancients, also seemed no creature, and no gross material substance, but a pure emanation from the Deity, immortal and indestructible like Himself.

What, indeed, is REALITY? Our dreams are as real, while they last, as the occurrences of the daytime. We see, hear, feel, act, experience pleasure and suffer pain, as vividly and actually in a dream as when awake. The occurrences and transactions of a year are crowded into the limits of a second: and the dream remembered is as real as the past occurrences of life.

The philosophers tell us that we have no cognizance of substance itself, but only of its attributes: that when we see that which we call a block of marble, our perceptions give us information only of something extended, solid, colored, heavy, and the like; but not of the very thing itself, to which these attributes belong. And vet the attributes do not exist without the substance. They are not substances, but adjectives. There is no such thing or existence as hardness, weight or color, by itself, detached from any subject, moving first here, then there, and attaching itself to this and to the other subject. And yet, they say, the attributes are not the subject.

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So Thought, Volition, and Perception are not the soul, but its attributes; and we have no cognizance of the soul itself, but only of them, its manifestations. Nor of God; but only of His Wisdom, Power, Magnificence, Truth, and other attributes.

And yet we know that there is matter, a soul within our body, a God that lives in the Universe.

Take, then, the attributes of the soul. I am conscious that I exist and am the same identical person that I was twenty years ago. I am conscious that my body is not I, – that if my arms were lopped away, this person that I call ME, would still remain, complete, entire, identical as before. But I cannot ascertain, by the most intense and long-continued reflection, what I am, nor where within my body I reside, nor whether I am a point, or an expanded substance. I have no power to examine and inspect. I exist, will, think, perceive. That I know, and nothing more. I think a noble and sublime Thought. What is that Thought? It is not Matter, nor Spirit. It is not a Thing; but a Power and Force. I make upon a paper certain conventional marks, that represent that Thought. There is no Power or Virtue in the marks I write, but only in the Thought which they tell to others. I die, but the Thought still lives. It is a Power. It acts on men, excites them to enthusiasm, inspires patriotism, governs their conduct, controls their destinies, disposes of life and death. The words I speak are but a certain succession of particular sounds, that by conventional arrangement communicate to others the Immaterial, Intangible, Eternal Thought. The fact that Thought continues to exist an instant, after it makes its appearance in the soul, proves it immortal: for there is nothing conceivable that can destroy it. The spoken words, being mere sounds, may vanish into thin air, and the written ones, mere marks, be burned, erased, destroyed: but the THOUGHT itself lives still, and must live on forever.

A Human Thought, then, is an actual EXISTENCE, and a FORCE and POWER, capable of acting upon and controlling matter as well as mind. Is not the existence of a God, who is the immaterial soul of the Universe, and whose THOUGHT, embodied or not embodied in His WORD, is an Infinite Power, of Creation and production, destruction and preservation, quite as comprehensible as the existence of a Soul, of a Thought separated from the Soul, of the Power of that Thought to mould the fate and influence the Destinies of Humanity?

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And yet we know not when that Thought comes, nor what it is. It is not WE. We do not mould it, shape it, fashion it. It is neither our mechanism nor our invention. It appears spontaneously, flashing, as it were, into the soul, making that soul the involuntary instrument of its utterance to the world. It comes to us, and seems a stranger to us, seeking a home.

As little can we explain the mighty power of the human WILL. Volition, like Thought, seems spontaneous, an effect without a cause. Circumstances provoke it, and serve as its occasion, but do not produce it. It springs up in the soul, like Thought, as the waters gush upward in a spring. Is it the manifestation of the soul, merely making apparent what passes within the soul, or an emanation from it, going abroad and acting outwardly, itself a real Existence, as it is an admitted Power? We can but own our ignorance. It is certain that it acts on other souls, controls, directs them, shapes their action, legislates for men and nations: and yet it is not material nor visible; and the laws it writes merely inform one soul of what has passed within another.

God, therefore, is a mystery, only as everything that surrounds us, and as we ourselves, are mysteries. We know that there is and must be a FIRST CAUSE. His attributes, severed from Himself, are unrealities. As color and extension, weight and hardness, do not exist apart from matter as separate existences and substantives, spiritual or immaterial; so the Goodness, Wisdom, Justice, Mercy, and Benevolence of God are not independent existences, personify them as men may, butattributes of the Deity, the adjectives of One Great Substantive. But we know that He must be Good, True, Wise, Just, Benevolent, Merciful: and in all these, and all His other attributes, Perfect and Infinite; because we are conscious that these are laws imposed on us by the very nature of things, necessary, and without which the Universe would be con-fusion and the existence of a God incredible. They are of His essence, and necessary, as His existence is.

Page 575

He is the Living, Thinking, Intelligent Sour, of the Universe, the PERMANENT, the STATIONARY [Εστως … Estos], of Simon Magus, the ONE that always IS [Το Ον … TO ON] of Plato, as contradistinguished from the perpetual flux and reflux, or Genesis, of things.

And, as the Thought of the Soul, emanating from the Soul, becomes audible and visible in Words, so did THE THOUGHT or GOD, springing up within Himself, immortal as Himself, when once conceived, – immortal before, because in Himself, utter Itself in THE WORD, its manifestation and mode of communication, and thus create the Material, Mental, Spiritual Universe, which, like Him, never began to exist.

This is the real idea of the Ancient Nations: GOD, the Almighty Father, and Source of All; His THOUGHT, conceiving the whole Universe, and willing its creation: His WORD, uttering that THOUGHT, and thus becoming the Creator or Demiourgos, in whom was Life and Light, and that Light the Life of the Universe.

Nor did that Word cease at the single act of Creation; and having set going the great machine, and enacted the laws of its motion and progression, of birth and life, and change and death, cease to exist, or remain thereafter in inert idleness.

FOR THE THOUGHT OF GOD LIVES AND IS IMMORTAL. Embodied in the WORD, is not only created, but it preserves. It conducts and controls the Universe, all spheres, all worlds, all actions of mankind, and of every animate and inanimate creature. It speaks in the soul of every man who lives. The Stars, the Earth, the Trees, the Winds, the universal voice of Nature, tempest, and avalanche, the Sea's roar and the grave voice of the waterfall, the hoarse thunder and the low whisper of the brook, the song of birds, the voice of love, the speech of men, all are the alphabet in which it communicates itself to men, and informs them of the will and law of God, the Soul of the Universe. And thus most truly did "THE WORD BECOME MESH AND DWELL AMONG MEN."

God, the unknown FATHER [Πατὴρ Ἄγνωστος … Pater Agnōstos], known to us only by His Attributes; the ABSOLUTE I AM: … The THOUGHT of God [Ἕννοια . Ennoia], and the WORD [Λόγος; … Logos], Manifestation and expression of the Thought; … Behold THE TRUE MASONIC TRINITY; the UNIVERSAL SOUL, the THOUGHT in the Soul, the WORD, or Thought expressed; the THREE IN ONE, of a Trinitarian Ecossais.

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Here Masonry pauses, and leaves its Initiates to carry out and develop these great Truths in such manner as to each may seem most accordant with reason, philosophy, truth, and his religious faith. It declines to act as Arbiter between them. It looks calmly on, while each multiplies the intermediates between the Deity and Matter, and the personifications of God's manifestations and attributes, to whatever extent his reason, his conviction, or his fancy dictates.

While the Indian tells us that PARABRAHMA, BRAHM, and PARATMA were the first Triune God, revealing Himself as BRAHMA, VISHNU, and SIVA,Creator, Preserver, and Destroyer;…

The Egyptian, of AMUN-RE, NEITH, and PHTHA, Creator, Matter, Thought or Light; the Persian of his Trinity of Three Powers in ORMUZD, Sources ofLight, Fire, and Water; the Buddhists of the God SAKYA, a Trinity composed of BUDDHA, DHARMA, and SANGA, – Intelligence, Law, and Union orHarmony; the Chinese Sabeans of their Trinity of Chang-ti, the Supreme Sovereign; Tien, the Heavens; and Tao, the Universal Supreme Reason and Principle of all things; who produced the Unit; that, two; two, three; and three, all that is;…

While the Sclavono-Vend typifies his Trinity by the three heads of the God Triglav; the Ancient Prussian points to his Triune God, Perkoun, Pikollos, andPotrimpos, Deities of Light and Thunder, of Hell and of the Earth; the Ancient Scandinavian to Odin, Frea, and Thor; and the old Etruscans to TINA, TALNA, and MINERVA, Strength, Abundance, and Wisdom;…

While Plato tells us of the Supreme Good, the Reason or Intellect, and the Soul or Spirit; and Philo of the Archetype of Light, Wisdom [Σοφια], and the Word[Λογος]; the Kabalists, of the Triads of the Sephiroth;…

While the disciples of Simon Magus, and the many sects of the Gnostics, confuse us with their Eons, Emanations, Powers, Wisdom Superior and Inferior,Ialdabaoth, Adam-Kadmon, even to the three hundred and sixty-five thousand emanations of the Maldaïtes;…

And while the pious Christian believes that the WORD dwelt in the Mortal Body of Jesus of Nazareth, and suffered upon the Cross; and that the HOLY GHOST was poured out upon the Apostles, and now inspires every truly Christian Soul:…

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While all these faiths assert their claims to the exclusive possession of the Truth, Masonry inculcates its old doctrine, and no more: … That God is ONE; that His THOUGHT uttered in His WORD, created the Universe, and preserves it by those Eternal Laws which are the expression of that Thought: that the Soul of Man, breathed into him by God, is immortal as His Thoughts are; that he is free to do evil or to choose good, responsible for his acts and punishable for his sins: that all evil and wrong and suffering are but temporary, the discords of one great Harmony, and that in His good time they will lead by infinite modulations to the great, harmonic final chord and cadence of Truth, Love, Peace, and Happiness, that will ring forever and ever under the Arches of Heaven, among all the Stars and Worlds, and in all souls of men and Angels.

— ~~ooOoo~~ —

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— ~~ooOoo~~ —

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