The Mysteries of Masonry

The Mysteries of Masonry

by: L.E. Reynolds

Charles River Editors, 2018

ISBN: 9781518368486 , 463 Pages

Format: ePUB

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The Mysteries of Masonry




AS THE EARTH IS COLD in winter, but revives under the genial sun of spring, bringing forth her love flowers as a token of divine favor; so the heart, when chilled by selflove, is a dreary waste, and darkness is upon the face of the deep. But when the heavenly spirit of charity moves upon the waters, the heart is warmed, and the understanding is illuminated by a divine light. A thousand principles of latent truth spring forth to quicken and elevate the imagination to view, with reverence and awe, the unfoldings of those principles handed down to us through the golden age of man, concealed in correspondential semblances, locked like a precious casket, and sealed with seven seals, which the Divine Hand will only open to a loving heart and faithful breast.

To the selfish man, masonry is a dreary road, strewed with unmeaning ceremonies and the dry husks of the past. God is love, and warms the breasts of his children with mutual love, and charity is the fruit. “An honest man is the noblest work of God.” Honesty springs from love, and is not the work of policy. The empire of charity is the counting house and workshop, through which she dispenses her blessings. The judge who condemns the guilty, has performed an act of love to humanity. A kind and sympathetic spirit, and a liberal hand, governed by a judicious head, are tokens of a loving heart; a blind sympathy may be the impulse of a depraved heart suggested by an unlawful end. Charity is the work of principle and sympathy. The heart and the head must join in the act. Our affections are best protected by an enlightened understanding. Without it, the work of the heart may be used to pervert order, and, what we intended as a good, may become the greatest evil. Faith and charity cannot be separated. The love of use to the human family ever seeks the truths of a living faith. Whatever is good, is also true, and vice versa. The mind, that loves truth for the sake of truth, loves good. These are inseparably blended, like light and heat, in the rays of the sun. Hence charity is equally as much the work of truth as it is of love. Love is the soul of truth, and truth is the body of love. Therefore he, who is in charity, is also in truth and love.

To teach the truth and inculcate the precepts of charity, for the sake of a divine life, are the sole ends and objects of masonry. Hence, all the instructions given in the Masonic Lodge, are representative of a true and universal system of religious doctrines, constituting a universal faith in God and the sacred Scriptures, charity being the end or life. Thus faith and charity are both adjoined, making the true Mason, either one, alone, being dead. Therefore, we must look to the ritual of Masonry for the true doctrines of the sacred Scriptures, and to the life of the Mason for true charity or a heavenly life. Masonry is explanatory of the life and doctrines of the church.

No. 2. Ancient Masonry is a life of charity, agreeable to a certain system of natural, moral and spiritual truth, correspondentially and representatively given in three discrete degrees, each degree consisting of three continuous degrees. Hence, they are termed three, and three times three, or nine. The instruction is natural, when it relates to our duty to ourselves; moral, when it relates to our neighbor; and spiritual when it teaches our duty to God. Instruction is conferred, when it is given through a correspondential and representative ceremony, and communicated, when orally explained.

Representation is the substitution of natural objects and ceremonies, to represent spiritual substances and acts, in which the mind sees the parallelism. Correspondence is the agreement and parallelism that exist between the principles and qualities of natural things and the truths and affections of the spiritual. Thus light corresponds to truth, and heat to love. Correspondence and representation are not mere comparisons, to be used at the discretion of the speaker, but arise from fixed and positive laws of parallelism and agreement, that exist between mind and matter, or the natural and spiritual worlds, which are discrete or distinct substances, that can in no wise be compounded, but are parallel by agreement of uses. So that the spiritual world rests in and upon the natural, and every natural substance and quality serves as a vessel and base for the spiritual world or world of mind: and yet the substances of each are distinct. The parallelism between natural and spiritual objects does not take place by any agreement of form or geometrical principle; but arises alone from uses—the parallelism being between the uses in the two worlds of mind and matter. When objects in the natural world perform certain uses to the body and natural things, we must reflect and discover what mental ideas and substances perform the same use in the world of mind, and the correspondence and representative will be complete.

There are no such things as literal truths in Masonry. Every word, action or substance represents a rational idea or spiritual truth. The working tools and implements of Masonry are symbols or representatives of spiritual operations and truths. Hence, in order to understand the spiritual world, we must first comprehend the natural. The desire of spiritual knowledge, first culminates in the natural, then ascends to the spiritual; so that the natural is the base of spiritual thought; and just in proportion as we understand the laws and uses of this world, we are prepared to comprehend those of the next. The great use of uses is the progression, growth and regeneration of the spiritual man, which are the object and end of Masonry. But our motives and ends govern our reasoning and train of thought. If other motives be uppermost in the mind, we have but little care and thought upon the subject of regeneration. Man must first feel the necessity of being saved. This, in Masonic language, is called the desire of light. The Holy Bible is the great light of Masonry, but this can best be understood by doctrinals, which are taught in the symbols of Masonry.

No. 3. In contemplating the three discrete degrees of Masonry, we behold the trinity of God, the order of the heavens, and the three-fold life of man. In the natural man, there are formed, in the successive order of his creation, three receptive planes of will, understanding and action. These are the first stages of the creation, in which the man’s powers are altogether natural, relating only to the gratification of his desires and the preservation of life. If his creation were arrested here, his desires would grow into an unrestrained selflove, and love of the world. Earth would become his empire of thought and affection. He would regard all things as proceeding in the order of creation, from the solid to the fluid and gaseous forms; thus the order of creation would be reversed. He would regard God as a principle, and himself its highest manifestation, and hence the Pantheistic idea of Gods many. This state, in Masonic language, is a state of darkness: “and the earth was without form and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep.”

The next stage of creation consists of three successive states of implantation of truth; first, in the memory, secondly, in the understanding, and lastly in the will, which corresponds to the initiation, passing and raising of the candidate. Then follows the confirmation of these truths, by work, in the three several higher degrees, by which he makes them his own, interwoven into a divine life of charity, by which he becomes a man-angel, and stands in the presence of his Maker. These six successive states are the Masonic days of creation. The seventh is a day of rest. These are spiritual states of regeneration or the perfecting of the intellectual principle; then follow the six states of implantation and confirmation of the affections, which are represented in the higher degrees of Ancient Masonry.

There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body, 1. Cor. 15, 44. The natural body is first, afterwards the spiritual, 1. Cor. 15, 46. The corporeal and sensual body is purely animal, and composed of substances belonging to this world, and to the natural sun. The spiritual body is composed of spiritual substances, and belongs entirely to the spiritual world. Between these two worlds, there is a parallelism. They adjoin by agreement of uses, and not by infusion of substances.

Masonry treats of the formation of the spiritual man, which is represented by the building of Solomon’s Temple; and each mason is represented, as building to himself a spiritual house, not made with hands, but eternal in the heavens. We cannot, therefore, treat of the formation of that house, without first explaining the formation of the natural body and its correspondential and receptive degrees.

No. 4. Altogether the mineral, vegetable and animal kingdoms rise in discrete degrees, with lofty, mental grandeur, above each other, yet they occupy a world of effects, far below the commencement of the Masonic creation. One is a state of ultimation of natural substances, the other of mental creation. They are separated by a discrete degree. No sublimation of ultimate matter can ever elevate it to a thought, substance of the human mind. The mind surveys, with a pure and serene light, the world below. But the natural mind, without the opening of the spiritual, can never contemplate the spirit, and any essay to arise terminates in a negation that places spirit in the dust beneath its feet, as the offspring of matter.

All things live and subsist from an interior principle, by discrete degrees, yet more and more interior, until they terminate in an infinite will and understanding, in which...