THEOSOPHY, Vol. 58, No. 9, July, 1970
(Pages 267-274; Size: 23K)
(Number 33 of a 36-part series)



IN the book called by Champollion Le Manifestation à la Lumière, there is a chapter on the Ritual which is full of mysterious dialogues, with addresses to various "Powers" by the soul. Among these dialogues there is one which is more than expressive of the potentiality of the "Word." The scene is laid in the "Hall of the Two Truths." The "Door," the "Hall of Truth," and even the various parts of the gate, address the soul which presents itself for admission. They all forbid it entrance unless it tells them their mystery, or mystic names. What student of the Secret Doctrine can fail to recognize in these names an identity of meaning and purpose with those to be met with in the Vedas, the later works of the Brahmans, and the Kabala?

Magicians, Kabalists, Mystics, Neo-platonists and Theurgists of Alexandria, who so surpassed the Christians in their achievements in the secret science; Brahmans or Samaneans (Shamans) of old; and modern Brahmans, Buddhists, and Lamaists, have all claimed that a certain power attaches to these various names, pertaining to one ineffable Word. We have shown from personal experience how deeply the belief is rooted to this day in the popular mind all over Russia, that the Word works "miracles" and is at the bottom of every magical feat. Kabalists mysteriously connect Faith with it. So did the apostles, basing their assertions on the words of Jesus, who is made to say: "If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed ... nothing shall be impossible unto you," and Paul, repeating the words of Moses, tells that "the WORD is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart; that is, the word of faith" (Rom. 10:8). But who, except the initiates, can boast of comprehending its full significance?

In our days it is as it was in olden times, to believe in the biblical "miracles" requires faith; but to be enabled to produce them one's self demands a knowledge of the esoteric meaning of the "word." "If Christ," say Dr. Farrar and Canon Westcott, "wrought no miracles, then the gospels are untrustworthy." But even supposing that he did work them, would that prove that gospels written by others than himself are any more trustworthy? And if not, to what purpose is the argument? Besides, such a line of reasoning would warrant the analogy that miracles performed by other religionists than Christians ought to make their gospels trustworthy. Does not this imply at least an equality between the Christian Scriptures and the Buddhist sacred books? For these equally abound with phenomena of the most astounding character. Moreover, the Christians have no longer genuine miracles produced through their priests, for they have lost the Word. But many a Buddhist Lama or Siamese Talapoin -- unless all travellers have conspired to lie -- has been and now is able to duplicate every phenomenon described in the New Testament, and even do more, without any pretence of suspension of natural law or divine intervention either. In fact, Christianity proves that it is as dead in faith as it is dead in works, while Buddhism is full of vitality and supported by practical proofs.

The best argument in favor of the genuineness of Buddhist "miracles" lies in the fact that Catholic missionaries, instead of denying them or treating them as simple jugglery -- as some Protestant missionaries do, have often found themselves in such straits as to be forced to adopt the forlorn alternative of laying the whole on the back of the Devil.... The "Ineffable Name" of every country and religion relates to that which the Masons affirm to be the mysterious characters emblematic of the nine names or attributes by which the Deity was known to the initiates.

But now that so many of the most important secrets of Masonry have been divulged by friend and foe, may we not say, without suspicion of malice or ill-feeling, that since the sad catastrophe of the Templars, no "Lodge" in Europe, still less in America, has ever known anything worth concealing. Reluctant to be misunderstood, we say no Lodge, leaving a few chosen brethren entirely out of question. The frantic denunciations of the Craft by Catholic and Protestant writers appear simply ridiculous, as also the affirmation of the Abbé Barruel that everything "betrays our Freemasons as the descendants of those proscribed Knights" Templars of 1314. The Memoirs of Jacobinism by this Abbé, an eye-witness to the horrors of the first Revolution, is devoted in great measure to the Rosicrucians and other Masonic fraternities. The fact alone that he traces the modern Masons to the Templars, and points them out as secret assassins, trained to political murder, shows how little he knew of them, but how ardently he desired, at the same time, to find in these societies convenient scape-goats for the crimes and sins of another secret society which, since its existence, has harbored more than one dangerous political assassin -- the Society of Jesus.

The accusations against Masons have been mostly half guesswork, half unquenchable malice and predetermined vilification. Nothing conclusive and certain of a criminal character has been directly proven against them.

A series of Lectures upon Freemasonry and its dangers, as delivered in 1862, by James Burton Robertson, Professor of Modern History in the Dublin University, are lying before us. In them the lecturer quotes profusely as his authorities the said Abbé (Barruel, a natural enemy of the Masons, who cannot be caught at the confessional), and Robison, a well-known apostate-Mason of 1798. As usual with every party, whether belonging to the Masonic or anti-Masonic side, the traitor from the opposing camp is welcomed with praise and encouragement, and great care is taken to whitewash him. However convenient for certain political reasons the celebrated Committee of the Anti-Masonic Convention of 1830 (U.S. of America) may have found it to adopt this most Jesuitical proposition of Puffendorf that "oaths oblige not when they are absurd and impertinent," and that other which teaches that "an oath obliges not if God does not accept it," yet no truly honest man would accept such sophistry. We sincerely believe that the better portion of humanity will ever bear in mind that there exists a moral code of honor far more binding than an oath, whether on the Bible, Koran, or Veda. The Essenes never swore on anything at all, but their "ayes" and "nays" were as good and far better than an oath. Besides, it seems surpassingly strange to find nations that call themselves Christian instituting customs in civil and ecclesiastical courts diametrically opposed to the command of their God, who distinctly forbids any swearing at all, "neither by heaven ... nor by the earth ... nor by the head." It seems to us that to maintain that "an oath obliges not if God does not accept it," besides being an absurdity -- as no man living, whether he be fallible or infallible, can learn anything of God's secret thoughts -- is anti-Christian in the full sense of the word. The argument is brought forward only because it is convenient and answers the object. Oaths will never be binding till each man will fully understand that humanity is the highest manifestation on earth of the Unseen Supreme Deity, and each man an incarnation of his God; and when the sense of personal responsibility will be so developed in him that he will consider forswearing the greatest possible insult to himself, as well as to humanity. No oath is now binding, unless taken by one who, without any oath at all, would solemnly keep his simple promise of honor. Therefore, to bring forward as authorities such men as Barruel or Robison is simply obtaining the public confidence under false pretenses. It is not the "spirit of Masonic malice whose heart coins slanders like a mint," but far more that of the Catholic clergy and their champions; and a man who would reconcile the two ideas of honor and perjury, in any case whatever, is not to be trusted himself.

But we will return to these Lectures of Robertson and his charges against Masonry. The greatest accusation brought against the latter is that Masons reject a personal God (this on the authority of Barruel and Robison), and that they claim to be in possession of a "secret to make men better and happier than Christ, his apostles and his Church have made them." Were the latter accusation but half true, it might yet allow the consoling hope that they had really found that secret by breaking off entirely from the mythical Christ of the Church and the official Jehovah. But both the accusations are simply malicious as they are absurd and untrue; as we shall presently see.

Let it not be imagined that we are influenced by personal feeling in any of our reflections upon Masonry. So far from this being the case we unhesitatingly proclaim our highest respect for the original purposes of the Order and some of our most valued friends are within its membership. We say naught against Masonry as it should be, but denounce it as, thanks to the intriguing clergy, both Catholic and Protestant, it now begins to be. Professedly the most absolute of democracies, it is practically the appanage of aristocracy, wealth, and personal ambition. Professedly the teacher of true ethics, it is debased into a propaganda of anthropomorphic theology. The half-naked apprentice, brought before the master during the initiation of the first degree, is taught that at the door of the lodge every social distinction is laid aside, and the poorest brother is the peer of every other, though a reigning sovereign or an imperial prince. In practice, the Craft turns lickspittle in every monarchical country, to any regal scion who may deign, for the sake of using it as a political tool, to put on the once symbolic lambskin.

But, if there are a few Masons who, from study of kabalistic and other rare works, and coming in personal communication with "Brothers" from the far-away East, have learned something of esoteric Masonry, it is not the case with the hundreds of American Lodges. While engaged on this chapter, we have received most unexpectedly, through the kindness of a friend, a copy of Mr. Yarker's volume, from which passages are quoted above. It is brimful of learning and, what is more, of knowledge, as it seems to us. It is especially valuable at this moment, since it corroborates, in many particulars, what we have said in this work. Thus, we read in it the following:

"We think we have sufficiently established the fact of the connection of Freemasonry with other speculative rites of antiquity, as well as the antiquity and purity of the old English Templar-Rite of seven degrees and the spurious derivation of many of the other rites therefrom."

Such high Masons need not be told, though Craftsmen in general do, that the time has come to remodel Masonry, and restore those ancient landmarks, borrowed from the early sodalities, which the eighteenth century founders of speculative Freemasonry meant to have incorporated in the fraternity. There are no longer any secrets left unpublished; the Order is degenerating into a convenience for selfish men to use, and bad men to debase.

It is but recently that a majority of the Supreme Councils of the Ancient and Accepted Rite assembled at Lausanne, justly revolting against such a blasphemous belief as that in a personal Deity, invested with all human attributes, pronounced the following words: "Freemasonry proclaims, as it has proclaimed from its origin, the existence of a creative principle, under the name of the great Architect of the universe." Against this, a small minority has protested, urging that "belief in a creative principle is not the belief in God, which Freemasonry requires of every candidate before he can pass its very threshold."

This confession does not sound like the rejection of a personal God. Could we have had the slightest doubt upon the subject, it would be thoroughly dispelled by the words of General Albert Pike, perhaps the greatest authority of the day, among American Masons, who raises himself most violently against this innovation, We cannot do better than quote his words:

"This Principe Createur is no new phrase -- it is but an old term revived. Our adversaries, numerous and formidable, will say, and will have the right to say, that our Principe Createur is identical with the Principe Generateur of the Indians and Egyptians, and may fitly be symbolized as it was symbolized anciently, by the Lingæ.... To accept this, in lieu of a personal God, is TO ABANDON CHRISTIANITY, and the worship of Jehovah, and return to wallow in the styes of Paganism."

And are those of Jesuitism, then, so much cleaner? "Our adversaries, numerous and formidable." That sentence says all. Who these so formidable enemies are, is useless to inquire. They are the Roman Catholics, and some of the Reformed Presbyterians. To read what the two factions respectively write, we may well ask which adversary is the more afraid of the other. But, what shall it profit any one to organize against a fraternity that does not even dare to have a belief of its own for fear of giving offense? And pray, how, if Masonic oaths mean anything, and Masonic penalties are regarded as more than burlesque, can any adversaries, numerous or few, feeble or strong, know what goes on inside the lodge, or penetrate beyond that "brother terrible, or the tiler, who guards, with a drawn sword, the portals of the lodge?" Is, then, this "brother terrible", no more formidable than Offenbach's General Boum, with his smoking pistol, jingling spurs, and towering panache? Of what use the millions of men that make up this great fraternity, the world over, if they cannot be so cemented together as to bid defiance to all adversaries? Can it be that the "mystic tie" is but a rope of sand, and Masonry but a toy to feed the vanity of a few leaders who rejoice in ribbons and regalia? Is its authority as false as its antiquity? It seems so, indeed; and yet, as "even the fleas have smaller fleas to bite 'em," there are Catholic alarmists, even here, who pretend to fear Masonry!

And yet, these same Catholics, in all the serenity of their traditional impudence, publicly threaten America, with its 500,000 Masons, and 34,000,000 Protestants, with a union of Church and State under the direction of Rome! The danger which threatens the free institutions of this republic, we are told, will come from "the principles of Protestantism logically developed." The present Secretary of the Navy -- the Hon. R. W. Thompson, of Indiana, having actually dared, in his own free Protestant country, to publish a book recently on Papacy and the Civil Power, in which his language is as moderate as it is gentlemanly and fair, a Roman Catholic priest, at Washington, D.C. -- the very seat of Government -- denounces him with violence. What is better, a representative member of the Society of Jesus, Father F. X. Weninger, D.D., pours upon his devoted head a vial of wrath that seems to have been brought direct from the Vatican cellars. "The assertions," he says, "which Mr. Thompson makes on the necessary antagonism between the Catholic Church and free institutions, are characterized by pitiful ignorance and blind audacity. He is reckless of logic, of history, of common sense, of charity; and presents himself before the loyal American people as a narrow-minded bigot. No scholar would venture to repeat the stale calumnies which have so often been refuted.... In answer to his accusations against the Church as the enemy of liberty, I tell him that, if ever this country should become a Catholic country, that is, if Catholics should ever be in the majority, and have the control of political power, then he would see the principles of our Constitution carried out to the fullest extent; he would see that these States would be in very deed United. He would behold a people living in peace and harmony; joined in the bonds of one faith, their hearts beating in unison with love of their fatherland, with charity and forbearance toward all, and respecting the rights and consciences even of their slanderers."

In behalf of this "Society of Jesus," he advises Mr. Thompson to send his book to the Czar, Alexander II., and to Frederick William, Emperor of Germany. He may expect from them, as a token of their sympathy, the orders of St. Andrew and of the Black Eagle. "From clear-minded, self-thinking, patriotic Americans, he cannot expect anything but the decoration of their contempt. As long as American hearts will beat in American bosoms, and the blood of their fathers shall flow in their veins, such efforts as Thompson's shall not succeed. True, genuine Americans will protect the Catholic Church in this country and will finally join it." After that, having thus, as he seems to think, left the corpse of his impious antagonist upon the field, he marches off emptying the dregs of his exhausted bottle after the following fashion: "We leave the volume, whose argument we have killed, as a carcass to be devoured by those Texan buzzards -- those stinking birds -- we mean that kind of men who love to feed on corruption, calumnies, and lies, and are attracted by the stench of them."

Moral: This will teach fair-minded, sober, and gentlemanly writers that even so well-bred an antagonist as Mr. Thompson has shown himself in his book, cannot hope to escape the only available weapon in the Catholic armory -- Billingsgate. The whole argument of the author shows that while forcible, he intends to be fair; but he might as well have attacked with a Tertullianistic violence, for his treatment would not have been worse. It will doubtless afford him some consolation to be placed in the same category with schismatic and infidel emperors and kings.

While Americans, including Masons, are now warned to prepare themselves to join the Holy Apostolic and Roman Catholic Church, we are glad to know that there are some as loyal and respected as any in Masonry who support our views. Conspicuous among them is our venerable friend Mr. Leon Hyneman, P.M., and a member of the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania. For eight or nine years he was editor of the Masonic Mirror and Keystone, and is an author of repute. He assures us personally that for over thirty years he has combated the design to erect into a Masonic dogma, belief in a personal God. In his work, Ancient York and London Grand Lodges, he says (p. 169): "Masonry, instead of unfolding professionally with the intellectual advancement of scientific knowledge and general intelligence, has departed from the original aims of the fraternity, and is apparently inclining towards a sectarian society. That is plainly to be seen ... in the persistent determination not to expunge the sectarian innovations interpolated in the Ritual.... It would appear that the Masonic fraternity of this country are as indifferent to ancient landmarks and usages of Masonry, as the Masons of the past century, under the London Grand Lodge were." It was this conviction which prompted him, in 1856, when Jacques Etienne Marconis de Nègre, Grand Hierophant of the Rite of Memphis, came to America and tendered him the Grand Mastership of the Rite in the United States, and the Ancient and Accepted Rite offered him an Honorary 33d -- to refuse both.

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(1) NOTE.--"The Christian Scheme," begun in November, 1967, is collated from the works of H. P. Blavatsky. It recounts the historical background and early development of Christianity.
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