In Albert Pike’s book Morals and Dogma (1872), starting on page 533, he discussed the nine great truths in Freemasonry and the sacred mysteries; this article will discuss each of them in detail for the betterment of the ardent student of the Craft.
The first great truth of Freemasonry is, no man has ever seen God. In truth, God is “One, Eternal, All-Powerful, All-Wise, Infinitely Just, Merciful, Benevolent, and Compassionate, Creator and Preserver of all things, the Source of Light and Life, coextensive with Time and Space.” It was His thought that “created the universe, and all living things,” including the soul or body of man, which can be permanent, “while every thing beside is a perpetual genesis.” It should be stressed that this time that the ancients called the human body the soul; sadly, the topic of the soul of often confused with the spirit of man. Moreover, the reference to genesis, which is defined as, “the origin or coming into being of something,” may refer to perpetual life and rebirth of his creation? Here is the original paragraph regarding man’s inability to see God:
No man hath seen God at any time. He is One, Eternal, All-Powerful, All- Wise, Infinitely Just, Merciful, Benevolent, and Compassionate, Creator and Preserver of all things, the Source of Light and Life, coextensive with Time and Space; Who thought, and with the Thought created the universe and all living things, and the souls of men: That Is :—the Permanent; while every thing beside is a perpetual genesis (Albert Pike, Morals and Dogma, 1872, p. 533).
The second great truth is the soul (human body) of man is Immortal. Indeed, Pike uses conflicting language to hide this true meaning; in fact, most people will immediately select that portion of his writing most familiar to themself. Yet, is there a deeper or more hidden meaning? In fact there is, let me explain. First, throw out the veiled language of “to be separated therefrom at death, and return to God who gave it,” and focus on the obvious links to Immortality. Like, the meaning of Immortal, meaning, “exempt from death“, or Immortality, which means, “Immortality is eternal life, being exempt from death, unending existence.” This means, no death stage. Moreover, since the human body is a Temple of God, God lives in man through his spirit; and since man is made in God’s image, he too is a spirit. Man does not have to die to be a spirit, or have the spirit of God in him. Thus, man and God are, “one and identical, a living spirit.” If God does not find a man worthy of Immortality, death is the result, thus, the spirit will leave the body, but this is not the soul, as I have written about in several of my previous postings, including, “Claustrum Oil: An Immortal Lesson,” and “Mortal Obstacles to Immortality and the Seven Deadly Sins.” No one is doubting the separation of the spirit upon death, but again, the spirit is not the soul, “a spark of the Great Central Light, that hath entered into and dwells in the body; to be separated therefrom at death, and return to God who gave it,” and spirit, “still exists and possesses activity and intelligence, even as it existed in God, before it was enveloped in the body.” You see, by dissecting the assumed paragraph below, its true meaning can be revealed, but such knowledge is only given to the worthy student of allegorical thinking and knowledge:
“The Soul of Man is Immortal; not the result of organization, nor an aggregate of modes of action of matter, nor a succession of phenomena and perceptions; but an Existence, one and identical, a living spirit, a spark of the Great Central Light, that hath entered into and dwells in the body; to be separated therefrom at death, and return to God who gave it: that doth not disperse or vanish at death, like breath or a smoke, nor can be annihilated ; but still exists and possesses activity and intelligence, even as it existed in God, before it was enveloped in the body (Albert Pike, Morals and Dogma, 1872, p. 533).
The third great Truth in Masonry is there is an impulse within man to do right, which is a deterrent to crime; this desire is a old has God himself, who is the ruler of heaven and earth. like the King of Rome, Tarquin, such behavior cannot be written into law; for it is guilt that balances our nature. It is not a written law that deters men; no, its man’s relationship with Divine Intelligence. This natural and deeper behavior motivates all men worthy of God presence:
The impulse which directs to right conduct, and deters from crime, is not only older than the ages of nations and cities, but coeval (same age) with that Divine Being who sees and rules both heaven and earth. Nor did Tarquin (Roman King) less violate that Eternal Law, though in his reign there might have been no written law at Rome against such violence; for the principle that impels us to right conduct, and warns us against guilt, springs out of the nature of things. It did not begin to be law when it was first written, nor was it originated; but it is coeval (same age) with the Divine Intelligence itself. The consequence of virtue is not to be made the end thereof; and laudable performances must have deeper roots, motives, and instigations, to give them the stamp of virtues (Albert Pike, Morals and Dogma, 1872, p. 533).
The fourth great Truth in Masonry is moral truths are just as absolute as metaphysical truths. Actually, God himself does not change the law of effect without cause, or a “phenomena without substance.” Like that of differing between sin and evil, or love and truth, and to moderate one’s passion. Yet there is more, Pike further wrote that the principles of morality are accepted truths, like that of the principles of geometry; and man’s moral laws are necessary like that of nature, for they have existed since the beginning. That these eternal laws continue to exist and are no longer dependant on his will. His essence is, in fact, truth and justice; not because of his unlimited power or our feebleness, but it is our natural duty to observe them, for it is the right thing to do. God is the arbiter of morality, not by force, but by the sheer will of mankind’s desire to please the creator. It is by his intelligence that man aspires to fulfil his destiny:
The moral truths are as absolute as the metaphysical truths. Even the Deity cannot make it that there should be effects without a cause, or phenomena without substance. As little could He make it to be sinful and evil to respect our pledged word, to love truth, to moderate our passions. The principles of Morality are axioms, like the principles of Geometry. The moral laws are the necessary relations that flow from the nature of things, and they are not created by, but have existed eternally in God. Their continued existence does not depend upon the exercise of His will. Truth and Justice are of His essence. Not because we are feeble and God omnipotent, is it our duty to obey his law. We may be forced, but are not under obligation, to obey the stronger. God is the principle of Morality, but not by His mere will, which, abstracted from all other of His attributes, would be neither just nor unjust. Good is the expression of His will, in so far as that will is itself the expression of eternal, absolute, uncreated justice, which is in God, which His will did not create ; but which it executes and promulgates, as our will proclaims and promulgates and executes the idea of the good which is in us. He has given us the law of Truth and Justice ; but He has not arbitrarily instituted that law. Justice is inherent in His will, because it is contained in His intelligence and wisdom, in His very nature and most intimate essence (Albert Pike, Morals and Dogma, 1872, p. 534).
The fifth great truth in Masonry teaches that there is a distinction between Good and Evil. It further instructs us that Man is a free and intelligent being, because he is conscious of his duty and his power to do so. Moreover, it instructs initiates to naturally adhere to his obligations, to act independent of any contract, and to be aware that the laws of attraction are indeed powerful. That temptations can be resisted; and “that man is not governed by a resistless Fate or inexorable Destiny,” he is free to choose. And finally, that we may attempt to deny our free will and agency, but nature continually pulls us to an Omnipotence of God:
There is an essential distinction between Good and Evil, what is just and what is unjust; and to this distinction is attached, for every intelligent and free creature, the absolute obligation of conforming to what is good and just. Man is an intelligent and free being,—free, because he is conscious that it is his duty, and because it is made his duty, to obey the dictates of truth and justice, and therefore he must necessarily have the power of doing so, which involves the power of not doing so ;—capable of comprehending the distinction between good and evil, justice and injustice, and the obligation which accompanies it, and of naturally adhering to that obligation, independently of any contract or positive law; capable also of resisting the temptations which, urge him toward evil and injustice, and of complying with the sacred law of eternal justice. That man is not governed by a resistless Fate or inexorable Destiny; but is free to choose between the evil and the good: that Justice and Right, the Good and Beautiful, are of the essence of the Divinity, like His Infinitude; and therefore they are laws to man: that we are conscious of our freedom to act, as we are conscious of our identity, and the continuance and connectedness of our existence ; and have the same evidence of one as of the other; and if we can put one in doubt, we have no certainty of either, and everything is unreal : that we can deny our free will and free agency, only upon the ground that they are in the nature of things impossible ; which would be to deny the Omnipotence of God (Albert Pike, Morals and Dogma, 1872, p. 534).
The sixth great truth of Masonry is, moral truths are an obligation. These obligatory truths are the eye of reason and necessary for will; these being the principles of morality. And every act that contradicts these truths deserve to be repressed by punishment and force if necessary, i.e. the rule of law. But ultimately, God is the decider of that punishment, and that such punishments should not be dealt with by the whims of man:
The necessity of practising the moral truths, is obligation. The moral truths, necessary in the eye of reason, are obligatory on the will. The moral obligation, like the moral truth that is its foundation, is absolute. As the necessary truths are not more or less necessary, so the obligation is not more or less obligatory. There are degrees of importance among different obligations ; but none in the obligation itself. We are not nearly obliged, almost obliged. We are wholly so, or not at all. If there be any place of refuge to which we can escape from the obligation, it ceases to exist. If the obligation is absolute, it is immutable and universal. For if that of to-day may not be that of to-morrow, if what is obligatory on me may not be obligatory on you, the obligation would differ from itself, and be variable and contingent. This fact is the principle of all morality. That every act contrary to right and justice, deserves to be repressed by force, and punished when committed, equally in the absence of any law or contract: that man naturally recognizes the distinction between the merit and demerit of actions, as he does that between justice and injustice, honesty and dishonesty; and feels, without being taught, and in the absence of law or contract, that it is wrong for vice to be rewarded or go unpunished, and for virtue to be punished or left unrewarded: and that, the Deity being infinitely just and good, it must follow as a necessary and inflexible law that punishment shall be the result of Sin, its inevitable and natural effect and corollary, and not a mere arbitrary vengeance (Albert Pike, Morals and Dogma, 1872, p. 535).
The seventh great truth of Masonry is respecting the rights of others, and we should do good, and be charitable of a man worthy of an Etheric body. Therefore, charity is the law and an obligation to us, because we will not be satisfied until all suffering and distress are no more. We are distributors of all of God’s goodness; there are no limits to our charity, which goes beyond our mere obligation to the Craft. We do not return evil for evil, or rejoice in the misfortune of others. Our aim is to live peaceably with all of God’s dominion. Since the beginning of time, this has been the aim of Masonry:
The immutable law of God requires, that besides respecting the absolute rights of others, and being merely just, we should do good, be charitable, and obey the dictates of the generous and noble sentiments of the soul (Etheric Body). Charity is a law, because our conscience is not satisfied nor at ease if we have not relieved the suffering, the distressed, and the destitute. It is to give that which he to whom you give has no right to take or demand. To be charitable is obligatory on us. We are the Almoners of God’s bounties. But the obligation is not so precise and inflexible at the obligation to be just. Charity knows neither rule nor limit. It goes beyond all obligation. Its beauty consists in its liberty. “He that loveth not, knoweth not God; for God is love. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and His love is perfected in us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love, dwelleth in God, and God in him.” To be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; to relieve the necessities of the needy, and be generous, liberal, and hospitable; to return to no man evil for evil; to rejoice at the good fortune of others, and sympathize with them in their sorrows and reverses; to live peaceably with all men, and repay injuries with benefits and kindness; these are the sublime dictates of the Moral Law, taught from the infancy of the world, by Masonry (Albert Pike, Morals and Dogma, 1872, p. 536).
The eighth great truth in Masonry are the laws that regulate and control God’s Universe are those of harmony and motion. That we only have a limited capacity to see this connection; yet, we can see the end results of such results, like that of evil compared to perfection and goodness; and patience vs. suffering, etc. Only because, without them, man would simply give way to idleness and indolence; there must be light to have shadows:
That the laws which control and regulate the Universe of God, are those of motion and harmony. We see only the isolated incidents of things, and with our feeble and limited capacity and vision cannot discern their connection, nor the mighty chords that make the apparent discord perfect harmony. Evil is merely apparent, and all is in reality good and perfect. For pain and sorrow, persecution and hardships, affliction and destitution, sickness and death are but the means, by which alone the noblest virtues could be developed. Without them, and without sin and error, and wrong and outrage, as there can be no effect without an adequate cause, there could be neither patience under suffering and distress ; nor prudence in difficulty; nor temperance to avoid excess; nor courage to meet danger; nor truth, when to speak the truth is hazardous; aor love, when it is met with ingratitude; nor charity for the needy and destitute; nor forbearance and forgiveness of injuries: nor toleration of erroneous opinions; nor charitable judgment and construction of men’s motives and actions; nor patriotism, nor heroism, nor honor, nor self-denial nor generosity. These and most other virtues and excellencies would have no existence, and even their names be unknown; and the poor virtues that still existed, would scarce deserve the name; for life would be one flat, dead, low level, above which none of the lofty elements of human nature would emerge; and man would lie lapped in contented indolence and idleness, a mere worthless negative, instead of the brave, strong soldier against the grim legions of Evil and rude Difficulty (Albert Pike, Morals and Dogma, 1872, p. 536).
The ninth great truth in Masonry is that justice, wisdom and the mercy of God are perfect and form the trinity of attributes. Moreover, that the law of merit and demerit are also truth, in that goodness deserves to be awarded, while badness should be punished. And that God is representative of all greatness; yet, evil and oppression still exist to give man options. Yet, man still retains the ability to repent and change, despite his previous past. And most importantly, “That all the powers of man’s soul (body) tend to infinity (Ethereal Realm),” which, as many of the followers of this blog already know, the soul is the physical body, not the spirit. This, of course, is further confirmation that man is intended to live forever. Furthermore, the statement, “the universal hope of another life,” refers to an etheric body, which is a necessary connection to the ethereal realm. This belief is further confirmed by the statement, “for man is not an orphan; but hath a Father near at hand,” or simply stated such beliefs are within the reach of each man who desires such a lofty goal; for we know that the “universe is one great Harmony.” Indeed, the souls of each man (body) originally came from God and his domain, were once pure and can return to this original state of perfect bliss and harmony with His creation:
The great leading doctrine of this Degree;—that the Justice, the Wisdom, and the Mercy of God are alike infinite, alike perfect, and yet do not in the least jar or conflict one with the other; but form a Great Perfect Trinity of Attributes, three and yet one: that, the principle of merit and demerit being absolute, and every good action deserving to be rewarded, and every bad one to be punished, and God being as just as He is good; and yet the cases constantly recurring in this world, in which crime and cruelty, oppression, tyranny, and injustice are prosperous, happy, fortunate, and self-contented, and rule and reign, and enjoy all the blessings of God’s beneficence, while the virtuous and good are unfortunate, miserable, destitute, pining away in dungeons, perishing with cold, and famishing with hunger, slaves of oppression, and instruments and victims of the miscreants that govern; so that this world, if there were no existence beyond it, would be one great theatre of wrong and injustice, proving God wholly disregardful of His own necessary law of merit and demerit;—it follows that there must be another life in which these apparent wrongs shall be repaired: That all the powers of man’s soul tend to infinity; and his indomitable instinct of immortality, and the universal hope of another life, testified by all creeds, all poetry, all traditions, establish its certainty; for man is not an orphan; but hath a Father near at hand: and the day must come when Light and Truth, and the Just and Good shall be victorious, and Darkness, Error, Wrong, and Evil be annihilated, and known no more forever: That the universe is one great Harmony, in which, according to the faith of all nations, deep-rooted in all hearts in the primitive ages, Light will ultimately prevail over Darkness, and the Good Principle over the Evil: and the myriad souls that have emanated from the Divinity, purified and ennobled by the struggle here below, will again return to perfect bliss in the bosom of God, to offend against whose laws will then be no longer possible (Albert Pike, Morals and Dogma, 1872, p. 537).
In conclusion, I certainly hope you enjoyed this particular exercise; the parsing of words from ancient text and ideas are certainly not for everyone. No, only the student who seeks higher light will truly come to understand the above related lessons and their relationship to Immortality. The first step is perhaps the hardest, give up your strict mortal thinking and modern training, and learn to accept the ancient ways, and you will find many incredible mysteries. As Above, So Below!
So Mote It Be!