Friday, November 21, 2008

The Cloud Upon The Sanctuary

The Cloud Upon The Sanctuary

By the Councillor D’ Eckartshasen

There is no age more remarkable to the quiet observer than our own. Everywhere there is fermentation in the minds of men; everywhere there is a battle between light and darkness, between exploded thought and living ideas, between powerless wills and living active force; in short everywhere is there war between animal man and growing spiritual man. It is said that we live in an age of light, but it would be truer to say that we are living in an age of twilight; here and there a luminous ray pierces through the mists of darkness, but does not light to full clearness either our reason or our hearts. Men are not of one mind, scientists’ dispute, and where there is discord, truth is not yet apprehended. The most important objects for humanity are still undetermined. No one is agreed either on the principle of rationality or on the principle of morality, or on the cause of will. This proves that though we are dwelling in an age of light, we do not well understand what emanates from our hearts- and what from our heads. Probably we should have this information much sooner if we did not imagine that we have the light of knowledge in our hands, or if we would cast a look on our weakness, and recognize that we require a more brilliant illumination. We live in the times of idolatry of the intellect, we place a common torchlight upon the altar and we loudly proclaim the aurora, that now daylight is really about to appear, and that the world is emerging more and more out of obscurity into the full day of perfection, through the arts, sciences, and cultured taste, and even from a purer understanding of religion. Poor mankind! To what standpoint have you raised the happiness of man? Has there ever been an age which counted so many victims to humanity as the present? Has there ever been in which immortality and egotism have been greater or more dominant than in this one? The tree is known by its fruits. Mad men! With your imaginary natural reason, from whence have you the light by which you are so willing to enlighten others? Are not all your ideas borrowed from your senses which do not give you the reality but merely its phenomena? Is it not true that in time and space all knowledge is but relative, for absolute truth is not to be found in the phenomenal world? Thus your natural reason does not possess its true essence, but only the appearance of truth and light; and the more this appearance increases and spreads, the more the essence of light inwardly fades, and the man confuses himself with this appearance and gropes vainly after the dazzling phantasmal images he conjures. The philosophy of our age raises the natural intellect into independent objectivity, and gives it judicial power, she exempts it from any superior authority, she makes it voluntary, converting it into divinity by closing all harmony and communication with God; and this god Reason, which has no other law but its own, is to govern Man and make him happy!....Darkness able to spread light!....Death capable of Life! The truth leads man to happiness. Can you give it? That which you call truth, is a form of conception, empty of real matter, the knowledge of which is acquired from without and through the senses, and the understanding co-ordinates them by observed synthetic relationship into science or opinion.

You abstract from the Scriptures and Tradition their moral, theoretical and practical truth; but as individuality is the principle of your intelligence, and as egotism is the incentive to your will, you do not see, by your light, the moral law which dominates, or repel it with your will. It is to this length that the light of today has penetrated. Individuality under the cloak of false philosophy is a child of corruption. Who can pretend that the sun is in full zenith if no bright rays illuminate the earth, and no warmth vitalizes vegetation? If wisdom does not benefit man, if love does not make him happy, but very little has been done for him on the whole. Oh! If only natural man, that is, sensuous man, would only learn to see that the source of his intelligence and the incentive of his will are only his individuality, he would then seek interiorly for a higher source, and he would thereby approach that which alone can give the this true element, because it is wisdom in its essential substance.

Love and Wisdom beget the spirit of truth, interior light; this light illuminates us and makes supernatural things objective to us. It is inconceivable to what depth of error a man falls when he abandons simple truths of faith by opposing his own opinions.

The absolute truth lying in the center of Mystery is like the sun, it blinds ordinary sight and man sees only the shadow. The Avalon can gaze at the dazzling light, likewise only the prepared soul can bear its luster. Nevertheless, the great Something which is the inmost of the Holy Mysteries has never been hidden from the piercing gaze of him who can bear the light. God and nature have no mysteries for their children. They are caused by the weakness of our nature, unable to support light, because it is not yet organized to bear the chaste light of unveiled truth. This weakness is the Cloud that covers the Sanctuary; this is the curtain which veils the Holy of Holies; but in order that man may recover the veiled light, strength and dignity; divinity bends to the weakness of its creatures, and writes the truth that is interior and eternal mystery on the outside of things, so that man can transport himself through this to their spirit. These letters are the ceremonies or the rituals of religion, which lead man to the interior life of union with God. Mystic hieroglyphs are these letters also; they are sketches and designs holding interior and holy truth. Religion and the Mysteries go hand in hand to our brethren to truth, both have for object the reversing and renewing of our natures, both have for the end the re-building of a temple inhabited by Wisdom and Love, or God with man. But religion and the Mysteries would be useless phenomena if Divinity had not also accord means to attain these great ends. But these means are only in the innermost of the sanctuary. The Mysteries are required to build a Temple to Religion, and religion is required to unite Man with God. Such is the greatness of religion, and such the exalted dignity of the Mysteries from all time. It would be unjust to you, beloved brothers, that we should think that you have never regarded the Holy Mysteries in this aspect, the one which shows them as the only means able to preserve in purity and integrity the doctrine of the important truths concerning God, nature and man. This doctrine was couched in holy symbolic language, and the truths which it contained having been gradually translated among the outer circle into the ordinary languages of man, became in consequence more obscure and unintelligible. The Mysteries, as you know, beloved brothers, promise things which are and which remain always the heritage of but a small number of men; these are the mysteries which can neither be bought nor sold publicly, and can only be acquired by a heart which has attained to wisdom and love. He in whom this holy flame has been awakened lives in true happiness, content with everything and in everything free. He sees the cause of human corruption and knows that it is inevitable. He hates no criminal; he pities him, and seeks to raise him who has fallen, and to restore the wanderer, because he feels notwithstanding all the corruption, in the whole there is no taint. He sees with a clear eye the underlying truth in the foundation of all religion, he knows the sources of superstition and of incredulity, as being caused by modifications of truth which have not attained perfect equilibrium. We are assured my esteemed brothers, that you consider the true Mystic from this aspect, and that you will not attribute to royal art, which which the energy of some isolated individuals have made of this art. It is therefore, with these views, which exactly with ours, that you will compare religion, and the mysteries of the holy schools of Wisdom, to the loving sisters who have watched over the good of mankind since the necessity of their birth.

He can now receive the truth will understand. It is to you, much beloved brothers, you who have so faithfully preserved the hieroglyphics of the holy mysteries in your temple, it is to you that the first ray of truth will be directed; this ray will pierce through the cloud of mystery, and will announce the full day and the treasure which it brings. Do not ask who those are who write to you; look at the spirit not the letter, the thing, not at persons. Neither pride, nor self seeking, neither does any unworthy motive, exist in our retreats; we know the object and the destination of man, and the light which lights us works in all our actions. We are especially called to write to you, dear brothers of light; and that which gives power to our commission is the truth which we possess, and which we pass on to you on the least sign, and according to the measure of the capacity of each. Light is apt for communication, where there is reception and capacity, but it constrains no one, and waits its reception tranquilly. Our desire, our aim, our office is to revivify the dead letter, and to spiritualize the symbols, turn the passive into the active, death into life; but this we cannot do by ourselves, but through the spirit of Light of him who is Wisdom and the Light of the World. Until the present time the Inner Sanctuary has been separated from the Temple, and the Temple beset with those who belong only to the precincts; but the time is coming when the Innermost will be reunited with the Temple, in order that those who are in the Temple can influence those who are in the outer courts, so that the outer pass in. In our sanctuary, all the hidden mysteries are preserved intact; they have never been profaned (compared to American Masonry which has been profaned). This sanctuary is invisible, as is a force which is only known through its action. By this short description, my dear brothers, you can tell who we are, and it will be superfluous to assure you that we do not belong to those restless natures who seek to build in this common life an ideal after their own fantastic imaginations. Neither do we belong to those who wish to play a great part in the world, and who promise miracles that they themselves do not understand. We do not represent either that class of minds, who, resenting the condition of certain things, have no object but the desire of dominating others (Grand Lodge and Grand Officers), and who love adventure and exaggeration. We can also assure you that we belong to no other sect or association than the one true and great one of those who are able to receive the light. We are not also of those who think it their right to mould all after their own model, the arrogance to seek to remodel all other societies; we assure you faithfully that we know the innermost of religion and of the Holy Mysteries; and that we possess with absolute certainty, all that has been surmised to be in the Adytum, and that this said possession gives us the strength to justify our commission, and to impart to the dead letter and hieroglyphic everywhere both spirit and life. The treasures in our sanctuary are many; we understand the spirit and meaning of all symbols and the ceremony which have existed since the day of Creation to the present time, as well as the most interior truths of all the Holy Books, with the laws and customs of primitive people. We possess a light by which we are anointed, and by means of which we read the hidden and secret things of nature. We possess a fire which feeds us, and which gives us the strength to act upon everything in nature. We possess a key to open the gate of mystery, and a key to shut natures laboratory. We know of the existence of a bond which will unite us to the Upper Worlds, and reveal to us their sights and their sounds. All the marvels of nature are subordinate to our will by its being united with Divinity. We have mastered the science which draws directly from nature, whence there is no error, but truth and light only. In our School we are instructed in all things because our Master is the Light itself and its essence. The plentitude of our scholarship is the knowledge of this tie between the divine and the spiritual worlds and of the spiritual world with the elementary, and of the elementary world with the material world. By these knowledge’s we are in condition to co-ordinate the spirits of nature and the heart of man. Our science is the inheritance promised to the Elect; otherwise, those who are duly prepared for receiving the light, and the practice of our science is in the completion of the Divine union with the child of man. We could often tell you, beloved brothers, of marvels relating to the hidden things in the treasury of the sanctuary, which would amaze and astonish you; we could speak to you about ideas concerning which the profoundest philosophy is as removed as the earth from the sun, but to which we are near being one with the light of the innermost. But our object is not to excite your curiosity, but to raise your desires to seek the light at its source, where your search for wisdom will be rewarded and the longing for love satisfied; for wisdom and love dwell in our retreats. The stimulus of their reality and of their truth is our magical power. We assure you that our treasures, though of infinite value, are concealed in so simple a manner that they entirely baffle the researches of opinionated science, and also though these treasures would bring to carnal minds both madness and sorrow, nevertheless, they are, and they ever remain to us the treasures of the highest wisdom. My best blessing, upon you, O my brothers, is you understand these great truths. The recovery of the triple word and of its power will be your reward. Your happiness will be in having the strength to help re-unite man with man, and with nature and with God, which is the real work of every workman who has not rejected the Corner Stone.

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