"LISTEN again to thine own voice within thee. Is not Hadit the flame that burns in every heart of man, and in the core of every star? Is not He Life, and the giver of Life? And is not therefore the knowledge of Him the knowledge of Death? For it hath been shown unto thee in many other places how Death and Love be twins." [via]
"Here is a brief extract that bears on their situation and gives a fourfold analysis. As in all things, St. Thomas is lucid and rigorous.
The order of the ‘Thrones’ excels the inferior orders as having an immediate knowledge of the types of the Divine works; whereas the ‘Cherubim’ have the excellence of ardor. And although these two excellent attributes include the third, yet the gift belonging to the ‘Thrones’ does not include the other two; and so the order of the ‘Thrones’ is distinguished from the orders of the ‘Cherubim’ and the ‘Seraphim.’ For it is a common rule in all things that the excellence of the inferior is contained in the superior, but not conversely. But Dionysus (Coel. Hier. vii) explains the name ‘Thrones’ by its relation to material seats, in which we may consider four things.
- First, the site; because the seats are raised above the earth, and to the angels who are called ‘Thrones’ are raised up to the immediate knowledge of the types of things in God.
- Secondly, because in material seats is displayed strength, forasmuch as a person sits firmly on them. But here the reverse is the case; for the angels themselves are made firm by God.
- Thirdly, because the seat receives him who sits thereon, and he can be carried thereupon; and so the angels receive God in themselves, and in a retain way bear Him to the inferior creatures.
- Fourthly, because in its shape, a seat is open on one side to receive the sitter; and thus are the angels promptly open to receive God and to serve Him.” [via]
Secret Societies of the Middle Ages, by Thomas Keightley is new over at Project Gutenberg.
"If we had the means of investigating historically the origin of Secret Societies, we should probably find that they began to be formed almost as soon as any knowledge had been accumulated by particular individuals beyond what constituted the common stock. The same thing has happened to knowledge that has happened to all other human possessions,—its actual holders have striven to keep it to themselves. It is true that in this case the possessor of the advantage does not seem to have the same reason for being averse to share it with others which naturally operates in regard to many good things of a different kind; he does not, by imparting it to those around him, diminish his own store. This is true, in so far as regards the possession of knowledge considered in its character of a real good; the owner of the treasure does not impoverish himself by giving it away, as he would by giving away his money, but remains as rich as ever, even after he has made ever so many others as rich as himself. But still there is one thing that he loses, and a thing upon which the human mind is apt to set a very high value; he loses the distinction which he derived from his knowledge. This distinction really serves, in many respects, the same purpose that money itself does. Like money, it brings observation and worship. Like money, it is the dearest of all things, power. Knowledge, however held, is indeed essentially power; to ken, that is, to know, is the same word and the same thing with to can, that is, to be able. But there is an additional and a different species of power conferred by knowledge when it exists as the distinction of a few individuals in the midst of general ignorance. Here it is power not only to do those things the methods of doing which it teaches; it is, besides, the power of governing other men through your comparative strength and their weakness." [via]
"The present volume is devoted to the history of three celebrated societies which flourished during the middle ages, and of which, as far as we know, no full and satisfactory account is to be found in English literature. These are the Assassins, or Ismaïlites, of the East, whose name has become in all the languages of Europe synonymous with murderer, who were a secret society, and of whom we have in general such vague and indistinct conceptions; the military order of the Knights Templars, who were most barbarously persecuted under the pretext of their holding a secret doctrine, and against whom the charge has been renewed at the present day; and, finally, the Secret Tribunals of Westphalia, in Germany, concerning which all our information has hitherto been derived from the incorrect statements of dramatists and romancers.
It is the simplicity of truth, and not the excitement of romance, that the reader is to expect to find in the following pages,—pictures of manners and modes of thinking different from our own,—knowledge, not mere entertainment, yet as large an infusion of the latter as is consistent with truth and instruction.” [via]
"You will thus perceive, Brethren, that the F.C. degree, sometimes regarded by us as a somewhat uninteresting one, typifies in reality a long course of personal development requiring the most profound knowledge of the mental and psychical side of our nature. It involves not merely the cleansing and control of the mind, but a full comprehension of our inner constitution, of the more hidden mysteries of our nature and of spiritual psychology." [via]
"It is a parable of the dual paths of life open to each one of us; on the one hand the path of selfishness, material desires and sensual indulgence, of intellectual blindness and moral stagnation; on the other the path of moral and spiritual progress, in pursuing which one may decorate and adorn the Lodge within him with the ornaments and jewels of grace and with the invaluable furniture of true knowledge, and which he may dedicate, in all his actions, to the service of God and of his fellow men." [via]
"But, in the advanced degree of M.M. the answer is that he comes ‘From the East,’ for by this time the Mason is supposed to have so enlarged his knowledge as to realize that the primal source of life is not in the ‘West,’ not in this world; that existence upon this planet is but a transitory sojourn, spent in search of ‘the genuine secrets,’ the ultimate realities, of life; and that as the spirit of man must return to God who gave it, so he is now returning from this temporary world of ‘substituted secrets’ to the ‘East’ from which he originally came." [via]
"Hence in the E.A. degree, we ask, ‘As a Mason, whence come you?’ and the answer, coming from an apprentice (i.e., from the natural man of undeveloped knowledge) is ‘From the West,’ since he supposes that his life has originated in this world." [via]
"Indeed there is nothing more dreary and dismal than Masonic literature and Masonic histories, which are usually devoted to considering merely unessential material relating to the external development of the Craft and to its antiquarian aspect. They fail entirely to deal with its vital meaning and essence, a failure that, in some cases, may be intentional, but the more often seems due to lack of knowledge and perception, for the true, inner history of Masonry has never yet been given forth even to the Craft itself." [via]
"Our own teaching, for instance, recognizes Pythagoras as having undergone numerous initiations in different parts of the world, and as having attained great eminence in the science. Now it is perfectly certain that Pythagoras was not a Mason at all in our present sense of the word but it is also perfectly certain that Pythagoras was a very highly advanced master in the knowledge of the secret schools of the Mysteries, of whose doctrine some small portion is enshrined for us in our Masonic system." [via]
"It is, of course, common knowledge that great secret systems of the Mysteries (referred to in, our lectures as ‘noble orders of architecture,’ i.e., of soul-building) existed in the East, in Chaldea, Assyria, Egypt, Greece, Italy, amongst the Hebrews, amongst Mahommedans and amongst Christians; even among uncivilized African races they are to be found. All the great teachers of humanity, Socrates, Plato, Pythagoras, Moses, Aristotle, Virgil, the author of the Homeric poems, and the great Greek tragedians, along with St. John, St. Paul and innumerable other great names—were initiates of the Sacred Mysteries." [via]
"For ‘Initiation’—for which there are so many candidates little conscious of what is implied in that for which they ask-what does it really mean and intend? It means a new beginning (initium); a break-away from an old method and order of life and the entrance upon a new one of larger self knowledge, deepened understanding and intensified virtue.” [via]
"An elementary and formal secrecy is requisite as a practical precaution against the intrusion of improper persons and for preventing profanation. In other respects the vital secrets of life, and of any system expounding life, protect themselves even though shouted from the housetops, because they mean nothing to those as yet unqualified for the knowledge and unready to identify themselves with it by incorporating it into their habitual thought and conduct." [via]
"Masonry is a veiled and cryptic expression of the difficult science of spirit life, and the understanding of it calls for special informed guidance on the one hand, and on other a genuine and earnest desire for knowledge and no small capacity for spiritual perception on part of those seeking to be instructed" [via]
"Osiris! Orient godhead! let me still
Rest in the dawn of knowledge, ever slaking
My lips and throat where yon rose-glimmering hill,
The Mountain of the East, its lips is taking
To Thy life-lips: I hear Thy keen voice thrill;
Arise and shine! the clouds of earth are breaking!” [via]