The Craft Journey — Part Six
A Discussion of some of its Finger-posts and Milestones
W.Bro. J. R. Cleland, M.A., D.D., P.P.A.G.Chap. (Kent)
Part 6. CLOSING THE LODGE
"Happy is he who has realised the Cause of Things!" Virgil, Eclogues, 940.
"What waste it would be, what inconceivable waste, for God to create man, had he not an immortal soul' He would be like the women who make little gardens, not less pleasant than the gardens of Adonis, in earthen pots and pans; So would our souls blosson and flourish but for a day in a soft and tender body of flesh, without any firm and solid root of life, and then be blasted and put out in a moment." Plutarch, De Ser., Num. 17.
"So brought she forth her child
Pangless -- he having on his perfect form
The marks, thirty and two, of blessed birth;
Of which the great news to the Palace came.
But when they brought the painted palanquin
To fetch him home, the bearers of the poles
Were the four Regents of the Earth, come down
From Mount Sumeru -- they who write men's deeds
On brazen plates -- the Angel of the East,
Whose hosts are clad in silver robes, and bear
Targets of pearl: the Angel of the South,
Whose horsemen, the Kumbhandas, ride blue steeds,
With sapphire shields: the Angel of the West,
By N�gas followed, riding steeds blood-red,
With coral shields: the Angel of the North,
Environed by his Yakshas, all in gold,
On yellow horses, bearing shields of gold.
These, with their pomp invisible, came down
And took the poles, in caste and outward garb
Like bearers, yet most mighty gods; and gods
Walked free with men that day, though men knew not:
For Heaven was filled with gladness for Earth's sake,
Knowing Lord Buddha thus was come again."
Sir Edwin Arnold, The Light of Asia, Bk. 1
"There is an inmost centre in us all
Where Truth abides in furness, and around,
Wall upon wall, the gross flesh hems it in,
The perfect clear conception which is Truth."
"Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made. And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made." Genesis, II., v. 1-3.
"EN ARCHE EN HO LOGOS! KN HO LOGOS EN PROS TON THEON! KAI THEOS EN HO LOGOS."
"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the word was God." St. John, Ch. 1, v. 1.
The time has now arrived when we must consider the ceremonies used in Closing a Craft Lodge, in the three degrees. These closings form one of the most intensely interesting of the Ritual Series which have been preserved for our benet, and one with which we must deal very fully, before we can leave our study of these degrees and pass on to a summing up of what we have tried to learn from them and from the further consideration of the completion ceremonies of the Installation of the Master and the Exaltation to the Supreme degree of the Holy Royal Arch, upon which I hope to touch in the concluding paper of the series.
Each ceremony opens with a question with regard to the "Constant care" of every member of the degree which is in question. It is analagous to the question about the "first care" which we noticed in the openings and the reasons for its inclusion, and the results achieved, are similar. The door, in this case, is not opened. Contact is made through the appropriate knocks, for the Lodge and its outside representative, the Tyler are now, if I may use a much abused term, en rapport, so that there is not now, as in the opening, the necessity for visual contact.
The Brn. then are called to order, and maintain this position through the ceremony.
In the Third Degree the questions which now follow are of deepest significance. Through the mouthpiece of the J.W. — the lower mental or rational faculty — it is made clear that the Lodge-man — I use the term to include both Candidate and Lodge — as his symbolic representative — has been on a journey to what is referred to as the West, the object of the journey bring to seek for the genuine secrets of a M.M. The phrase used has penetrated outside the circle of the mysteries in the common form, "gone west." As usual there is the fundamental misconception about what constitute the circumstances of Death and Life respectively, with the normal confusion between them. This misconception and confusion of ideas is so fundamental that we must here seek a full explanation. I feel, therefore, that it is now necessary to embark upon a somewhat lengthy digression, in which I will try to set forth the working of the Septenary Law in the Universe and in Nature, and its reactions upon the development and evolution of Man, throughout the ages.
To speak quite frankly, I find myself somewhat at a loss about where to begin upon this vast subject, especially when I consider that this paper, in the form of a Transaction of this Circle, may possibly — nay, indeed, probably — come into the hands of Brethren to whom the whole conception may be new, and who may have no settled basis upon which I can build up the thesis. If, then, to such Brethren, I may appear to be unduly dogmatic in my statements of the facts as I know them, I must apologise in advance and point out that all that I have to say is based upon observed facts or upon legitimate deductions from given premises, of which neither the time nor the space at our disposal will permit of a full communication and explanation in a paper of this kind. In no case can there be anything said which can be described as a full and final statement of Truth; all must remain relative to the postion taken up by observer and to the underlying premises. We must always bear in mind that, however much a fixed and do gmatic orthodoxy may appeal to people at certain stages of evolution, there must come a time to each, when he finds that his intellect revolts against the limitations imposed upon it by authority and conventional thinking. Nothing that is really living can remain for long fixed. Such fixation is equivalent to stagnation and death, for life is essentially expressed in movement and expansion. As each successive system of thought or religious expression evolved by or given to man becomes fixed, it must die. Even so-called infallible systems can furnish nothing more than experience upon which to build further. It has been said with profound truth that it is a high honour to be born into a particular church or system of belief, but that to die in it is nothing less than a tragedy. A living faith cannot be fixed and incapable of further growth, and so it is that we return from the West with "certain substituted secrets," and that these must serve to susta in us "until time or circumstance shall restore the genuine."
Probably most of you are quite familiar with the ground which I am now going to attempt to cover very briefly, but I trust that you will bear with me for the sake of those brethren to whom the subject may be unfamiliar. You will remember that, in my last paper, I referred to the Cyclic Law, and announced my intention of going into it more fully.
There can be no system of Science, of Philosophy or of Religion — and I hold Freemasonry to be deserving of all three titles, covering, as it indubitably does, the three fields of the relations between the objects of the outside world, the relation between the observer and such objects, and the relation between the observer and the source of all, which are the fields covered by science, by philosophy and by religion respectively — there can, I say, be no such system which will not have in it many elements which the very limited intelligence of man cannot be expected to be able to test for itself. Most of his experiences are limited by the channels of the five senses through which they reach him and, even should he display some elements of constructive imagination, it will usually be found that this also is limited and circumscribed by his inability to go beyond the evidences of those senses. Hence, when, as in the case of Freemasonry, a system of thought sets out to state, whether through symbol though allegory, or in any other way, the story of the first beginnings of things as we know them, whether of past present or future, no reference to his own experiences will enable him to give a fully reasoned judgment of its truth or falsehood. Even exact Science, so-called, abounds in such pictures of events which have, to some extent, to be taken on trust. The average man cannot prove for himself that the things which the Astronomers tell us of the formation and working of the Solar System are probabilities. Many scientific hypotheses are gladly accepted and put to good use, which are not proven nor capable of proof, but which are such that their acceptance makes life more intelligible, more vital, and, above all, more fruitful on all levels. "He who denies anything must be omniscient — or a fool" says Narada, and we can see this the more clearly if we remember that our acceptance of these helpful "facts" comes, not from their being necessarily true, but from their being what o ne writer has described as "the more convenient hypothesis" in each case. So now let us consider our universe and see what we can make of it in the light of the ancient wisdom.
In our first glance, we are faced with three fundamental hypotheses.
- That according to the Wisdom teaching, this universe is an expression of a conscious Life, which may, perhaps, be truly described as a Person. Even so, it must obviously transcend all those limits which we normally associate with what we have called the personality in Man. This Life is sometimes called the Cosmic Logos (or Word) and, within the limits of our Cosmos, It is God. This Logos energises a Cosmos or Universe, and, in doing so, manifests, as we have seen, as a Trinity, in three Aspects or Per sons. Every religion known to man — with the possible exeception of Islam -and even here there is a note of uncertainty — has its own statement of this fundamental threeness.
- Associated with the work of this Cosmic Logos are Seven Cosmic Planetary Logoi (Logoi is the plural of the Greek word Logos). Each of these Planatary Logoi embodies the nature of the Cosmic Logos. Every star in our Universe which is the Centre of an Evolutionary System is an expression of one or other of these Great Seven, who, again, as the typical expression of Life within them, are, in respect of these systems, each and every one, representative of God.
- In this unfathomable splendour of Universal Life there exists the Lord of one single Star, in which we are more particularly interested. The star in question is our SUN, and its Lord is known as the Solar Logos, representative of God in our Solar System. One writer says of the Star Logos, that He "lives and moves and has His Bring in His Father-Star, one of the Great Seven; yet does He mirror directly the Life and Light and Glory of the one without a second!"
So far as man is concerned, He is God, the ultimate limit of all our possible thought and imagination, in whom we, in turn, "live and move and have our being. He is the One Thinker, the One Lover, the One Life; and, without Him, we could not think nor love nor live.
We, as individuals, are fractions of the grand total which is His Individuality; we are units of a consciousness within his Consciousness. His sphere of action is centred in our Sun, and has its perimeter far beyond the last satellite of the farthest planet of our Solar Sysem. From Him we come, and to Him we return; for us He is the true Masonic EAST.
The vast system, of which we are almost insignificant units, emanates from Him and, within its bounds, He seeks to unfold Himself in us, that His system may reveal more and more of His Nature, until, ultimately, it shall return to Him, in full consciousness of its own revealed glory, which is the mark of His growth.
And now we pass naturally from the consideration of the Macrocosm to that of the Microcosm, and we see how the old Hermetic maxim works out in practice-" As above, so below."
The Solar Logos is made in the image of the Cosmic Logos, and, therefore, in His turn, He manifests as a Trinity. We, in this Dormer Circle, have given much thought to this phase in former discussions. We have seen Him in His aspects of Creator, Preserver and Transmuter.
"As above, so below." The next step follows quite naturally in the manifestation of the Solar Logos through Seven Planetary Logoi. These are the Seven Prajapaths of the Hindu, the Lords of Creation; they are the Immortal Holy Ones — the Amesha Spentas — of the Zoroastrians; they are the Seven Spirits before the Throne of God, whom we find in the Hebrew and Christian traditions.
These Seven are the directors and energisers of all that takes place within the Solar System, and we constantly meet with their reactions in our every-day life. We see them in the seven days of Creation, in the seven days of our week, in the seven Rays of Development or seven main types of men. They appear in the seven notes of the musical scale, the seven colours of the spectrum, the seven Fine Arts, the seven modes of healing, and in the infinity of other septenaries which we see around us. Each is a ruler of hierarchies of creative entities which we have come to know in the West under the titles of "Angels and Archangels, Thrones, Dominations, Princedoms, Virtues, Powers." The Cherubim and Seraphim so often associated with these others are, of course, higher Cosmic Orders.
Perhaps the simplest names for the Three Aspects of the Logos, those which bring their working within reach of our understanding, are First, Divinity-Humanity ; Second, Life-Form; Third, Force-Matter. We thus state each as the "pair of opposites," which we have seen to be necessary to the production of that state of unbalance from which alone movement, and consequent progress, can result.
With the work of this Solar Logos comes the Creation, in the sense in which we find it related in the Book of GENESIS.
At first, the vast space destined to contain the Solar System contained nothing akin to matter as we know it, whether visible or invisible. There was only the Root of Matter, that which has been called by modern Science, which has so far only touched its outermost fringe, the Aether of Space. This Aether must remain quite incomprehensible to our wildest flights of fancy or imagination, since all that we know as Matter is composed entirely of holes or bubbles & the Aether — empty spaces, if you like. Matter is the negation of Aether. Kelvin gave us something to go upon when he estimated the weight of a cubic metre of this Aether of Space as being .000,000,000,000,001 of a gramme, and further help came from Reynolds' estimate of its Mean Pressure as being 750,000 tons to the square inch. But even these figures leave the imagination at a loss, which later figures have not helped to make up.
Into this Aether of Space, the Force-Matter Aspect of the Solar Logos pours His energy, pressing it back from innumerable points within it — "And God said, Let there be Light, and there was Light." Each bubble, or point of Light, comes into being where the Aether is not each being a point of consciousness of Force-Matter, and persisting only so long as He wills to keep back the enshrouding Aether.
These bubbles being formed, are then swept into spirals with seven bubbles in each complete loop. These loops, in turn, are wound into greater spirals having seven of the first loops in each of the new loops. And the proces continues until we reach the sixth order of spirals. Now, ten of these Spirals of the Sixth Order are twisted into a peculiar heart-shape to form the first or ultimate Physical Atom. Obviously this can have two basic forms, according as the winding is clockwise or anti-clockwise, the difference being one of mirror-likeness. We find the same relation evinced In positive and negative electricity. Here, at the very beginning of Matter, we have the "pair of opposites," which we have so often noted as the first requirement for growth. From these spiralled Ultimate Atoms, or from their combinations, are built up all the planes of Nature, of which we have spoken before, each in succession, as the type of Matter grows in density, having mor e of the original bubbles in its composition. From the highest plane — called in Sanskrit, ADI — whose ultimate atoms contain only one bubble, the number varies until we reach the Dense Physical, each atom of which contains a minimum of 5,764,801 bubbles, with a definite number added, owing to the peculiar heterogeneous nature of the Physical plane matter.
I am afraid that this has been rather a long digression and I propose to carry it no further into the formation of sub-planes and so forth, as we now have enough material to enable us to grasp the general principle underlying our Masonic structure. Let us now see what happens when the Aspect of Life-Form, the Second Logos, sets to work to ensoul the Matter of the Seven Planes built by the Third Logos, giving to it, for the first time, that peculiar quality which we call LIFE.
Forms, as distinct from mere matter, persist only so long as the Life of the Second Logos holds together the ultimate atoms which go to make up their structure. Now, and now only, appear those phases which are of such interest to us in Freemasonry, Birth, Growth, Decay, Death. These eventuate as the Second Logos ensouls, builds, withdraws and, finally, retires. When a form disintegrates, the atoms go to the formation of new and better forms, in order that they may gain the experience necessary for their growth to self-consciousness and self-expression.
We are not concerned here with what happens on the highest planes of existence, planes for which we have, in the West, no settled names. In Sanskrit they are known as ADI, ANUPADAKA, ATMA and BUDDHI. The last two of these we have called in these papers the Spiritual and Intuitional Faculties. The attainment of the Intuitional level is the goal set before the Candidate in the Craft, so far as we are concerned, but I want, if possible, to give you a more general idea of the scheme of involution and evoluti on, as it is carried out in the Solar System.
Each ultimate Spark of the Divine starts out upon its life-cycle on a Chain of Seven Globes. The first and seventh Globes of this Chain are on the highest plane of manifestation that we know, the Spiritual, ATMA. The fourth, or middle Globe of the Chain is on the Lower Mental level. The other four Globes are composed of matter of the inermediate levels, Intuitional and Higher Mental, two of them being upon each level. Round this Chain the Life-Wave travels seven times-accomplishes seven Rounds, starting and finishing each Round on the highest plane, passing down through Intuition and Higher Mind to the lowest level on this particular Chain, the Lower Mental, and then up again through Higher Mental and Intuitional to the level from which it started, bringing wi th it much experience gained upon the journey. Seven times the circuit is repeated, the Life-Wave each time gaining and consolidating experience. Then a new Chain is formed, each Globe being one plane lower than its equivalent on the first Chain. The process of accomplishing seven Rounds commences again, starting and finishing each Round on a Globe of Intuitional matter, and descending to experience the matter of the Emotional Level.
And, so the process continues, the next Chain being based upon the matter of Higher Mind and descending to the level of the Etheric or subtle Physical. The next, and lowest, is based on the Lower Mental level and carries the Life-Wave down into the depths of the Dense Physical. These last two Chains have, respectively one and three Globes which are visible to physical sight. The dense Physical Globe of the lowest Chain, our Earth, still holds to itself as a satellite the remains of the one and only Physical Globe of the last Chain. This is, of course, our Moon.
In our Solar System there are two Chains now in the position of having a Dense Physical Globe. They are our Earth and the planet Neptune. Associated with our Earth are two other planets, upon which the Life-Wave functions on the Etheric Physical level, one, Mars, immediately preceeding our Earth, and the other, Mercury, following it in the Chain.
A step behind our Chain lie four Chains, with one Physical Planet in each. We see and know these as Vulcan, Jupiter, Saturn and Uranus. A step ahead of us, and again with one Physical Planet only, lies the Venus Chain.
Let us tabulate our knowledge of what happens on the path of a Life-Wave throughout its Evolutionary Period.
Seven of these Evolutionary Schemes, or more make up the Solar System.
Seven Chains of Globes, descending to the fourth Chain of the Seven, and thence ascending again, make one Evolutionary Scheme.
Seven Rounds similarly constitute the period of One Chain.
Seven World-Periods constitute One Round.
There are Seven Root-races to be passed in each World-Period, and Seven Sub-races have to be born, live out their period of usefulness, disintegrate and die out in the period of One Root-race.
All these follow the same general plan, each successive Sub-race, Root-race, World-Period, Round, Chain or Evolutionary Scheme taking its Key-note from one of the Seven Cosmic Notes in turn. These, you will remember, we mentioned at the beginning of this paper.
At this moment, when we come to study its position, we find that our Humanity has just passed the lowest possible limit of its material submersion. We live upon the Fourth Globe of the Fourth Round of the Fourth Chain in our Evolutionary Scheme, below which level it is not possible to descend further into Physical Matter. On this Globe we ourselves are living in the time of the Fifth Sub-race of the Fifth Root-race, so that, as you will see from our Table, we have definitely passed the lowest point, which occurred, of course, at the mid-point of the Fourth Sub-race of the Fourth Root-race.
Many of those, to us peculiar entities who will form the nucleus of the Sixth Sub-race — from which will ultimately be developed the Sixth Root-race Stock — are being born and are growing up in our world of to-day, especially in the Western States of North America and in Eastern Australia. A seventh Sub-race must develop before we pass to the Sixth Root-race, and yet a Seventh Root-race must live out its life in seven Sub-races, before the Life-Wave to which we belong passes, as a whole, to the next stage of unfoldment on the Planet Mercury.
All Life is One and, by the ordinary circumstances of evolution, that, which on our Chain No. 1 manifested as its Mineral Kingdom, passed on to be the Vegetable Kingdom of Chain No. 2, the Animal Kingdom of Chain No. 3, and forms the bulk of the humanity of Chain No. 4 — our present Earth Chain. When the work of this Earth-Chain reaches its closing stages, all those of our humanity who have made sufficient progress will have moved forward into the next higher category. Those who have not done so — those, to whom we, in our kindness and sympathy, refer as the "eternally damned " — will have to wait, enjoying the greatest happiness that they are capable of understanding, until another Chain gives them the chance to come in as leaders, in a Life-Wave which is nearing the stature to which they have attained. They are condemned to wait over for an Aeon, are "put back a class" in the world-school.
Thus, then, do we, as travellers upon the Craft Journey, leave the East, from which we sprang, and go to the West, in search of the genuine secrets of a M.M., dying in very truth that we may live, and being buried in the grossest profundity of Matter, until the time approaches when we feel the inward urge to "arise and go to our Father" in the East, carrying with us the accumulated results of the experience, in the substituted secrets which we have found.
These substituted secrets are of such great importance that, in my humble opinion, it is very necessary to lead up to their communication by the fullest possible process of unfolding and retrospection. All the s ... s used in the s ... g to o ... r in the three degrees, together with the w ... d of each and the p.g. and p.w. leading to each, should be communicated in full.
In this vital part of the ceremony we have, when it is complete, a full resume of the Craft Journey as set out in the three degrees, showing that the while scheme, as it has come down to us, was so planned as to show the stage reached in evolution by our humanity as a whole, when the planning was done.
We find, therefore, that the substituted secrets originate in the concept of a Mental Plane which is still developing in the Race, and which is so stimulating the Spiritual Man that the stimulation is passed on to the Intuition, in order that it may give its consent to the temporary substitution, until such occasion as time and circumstance shall bring about the possibility of a higher concept being adopted, which will lead the Race to the abiding place of the genuine.
We note that the W.M. acknowledges himself to be the humble representative of the Solar Logos, the King, in His Three Aspects of SOL — the Sun at its rising, OM — the Sun at its Meridian and ON — the Sun at its Setting, and that these credentials are to distinguish those who have come to rebirth as M.M.'s, until the time or opportunity occurs for further advance towards the Union with the Point of Origin wherein alone the genuine secrets are to be found.
Now the Brethren unite in the time-honoured salutation to the Sun-disc, the bowing of the head in gratitude for the favour of life conferred, and opportunity afforded. This is immediately followed by the open recognition that even the Solar Logos, far beyond our comprehension though He be, is but the reflection of the Light of the Most High, the Logos of the Cosmos, to Whom our hands are raised in humble adoration. There is no prayer which could now be adequate, for, in the M.M. degree, we have approached too near to Reality for any words to be necessary, so straightway the Intuition in the person of the W.M., representing the Preservative Faculty of the Second Logos, passes over to the Transmutative Faculty of the First Logos, the S.W., the charge of the Lodge, that it may be duly closed by His Power, in the Name of the M.H. The seal is set upon this closing by the representative of the Creative Faculty of the Third Logos, the J.W., whose work it is to hold the Lodge ready for further closing or for re-opening, as may be necessary. He is "the ostensible steward of the lodge," now and alwqys.
We pass to the next closing. The Brn. are asked to assist in the closing of a F.C. Lodge and again the Lodge is proved-not seen-to be close tyled. The Brn. stand to order that the change over in the "tuning" may take place in themselves, as it does in the Lodge itself.
The next question is noteworthy. There are two forms in common use. One says "In this position," the other "In this character" — neither, please note, "In this degree" — "what have you discovered?" — It is in his character or position as a F.C. — in his own inner self — that each brother — for, as usual, the J.W. answers for each and all — has discovered that Holy of Holies, wherein hangs the S.S. of his own true immortality.
Only the S.W., as representative of the Spiritual Faculty in man, can know with certainty its exact situation for it lies at the root-centre of the ultimate Ego, which has found manifestation in human form.
The fact that there is only one S.S., which is held in common by all present, is another accentuation of the close tie of brotherhood which begins to be forged in the F.C. grade. It refers to God, the G.G.O.T.U., and gives the measure of the Universe, more particularly in terms of this Earth, in relation to the measure of man himself.
Now comes the prayer, again accentuating the fundamental unity, and reminding us that not even the most complete subservience to the authority of the Craft, or of any other organisation, can make up for any diminution of our sense of oneness with Him Who is the measure of our earthly environment.
Again the Intuition relinquishes his authority to the Spiritual Faculty, for the formal closing of the lodge. The lodge having been duly dosed, there comes from the region of Higher Mind, the J.W., another of these curious old-world jingles, which seem to carry us back to earlier days, the days before the introduction of printed rituals. Again I am going to express a personal preference. This time it is for the four-line version, rather than for the more common version which omits the second line:-
Happy have we met, Happy have we been, Happy may we part And happy meet again
Thus it is that the Rational Faculty sets the seal upon the closing.
The Lodge is now open in the First degree and the Three Risings give the opportunity for any Brother present to put forward any proposes he may wish for the initiating of new measures, the preserving of existing forms, or for the changing of things already in existence. These are, as the wording of the ritual shows, the main reasons for the Risings, although, in modern times, they are taken as opportunities to present to the Brethren present any communications which may have been received from G.L., from the Province or from other Lodges or individual Brethren. In some Provincial Lodges it is the custom to convey greetings at this point, and, on occasion, this may be of great interest. It is worth noting that, in lodges where only one opportunity is given for such communications, this almost invariably follows the second rising. Some rituals go so far as to put this procedure into the printed rubric.
Then the W.M., as Intuition, calls the Brethren to his assistance, for the final act of closing the Lodge. For the last time the Lodge is proved-not seen-to be close tyled and again the Brethren stand to order with the appropriate gesture.
We are back in the mystical West again and continue to prosecute our search, for the Great Transmuter, ruling in the West, draws us out and hands us over to the Guardian of the South for safe-keeping, at the command of the W.M.
We humbly express our gratitude to the Creative Faculty, the G.A. O.T.U., and ask that the Preservative Faculty may also watch over and guard the welfare of our Order.
And so the Spiritual Faculty finally closes the Lodge. He is the representative of the Transmuter, the First Logos, but he accomplishes the work of closing in the name of the Creator, the Third Logos, and under the impetus, or command, of the Preserver, the Second Logos. Thus, for the moment, he is himself fully representative of the Three in One, the Trinity which is the undivided Unity.
Finally the J.W. announces the time when the Creative Faculty will once more become active-the date of the next meeting of the Lodge.
This completes the actual closing, but there is yet the seal to be put upon the mark by one who has realised the three aspects of this unty in himself — the I.P.M., or some experienced P.M. acting for him. He is the fully resurrected and completed Master, who has altered the Symbolic Setting upon the Altar after each closing, having atained the power to do so by proving his ability in the Installation of his own successor in the C. of K.S. He now puts away the instruments of labour and study, and closes the Sanctuary with the triple S. of F.
There are some Brethren who are prone to think that the use of this gesture, in the setting we are now considering, is an anomaly; for they feel that it should be restricted in use to the F.C. degree. In actual fact, the three degrees of the Craft can no more be separated and considered apart than can the three persons of a Trinity in Unity. All are inter-dependent and inseparable.
Thus, then, do we complete a Cycle, that cycle which must be repeated many times and upon many different levels by each aspirant, before he can gain sufficient experience to undertake its management for himself. Of what happens when, in due course, he gains that experience I shall hope to speak in the last paper of this series. In order to gain the necessary experience it is advisable, and should normally be essential, that he should fill, in succession, each of the floor offices. Each of these 4, as it % mere, an incamadon in a &Fuent pemonikn 5 a different sub-division of the work and under a different Master, and, taken all together, they represent one illustration of the septenary law, which is the key-study of the Craft. The close analogy to the story of the passage of humanity through the Sub-races and Root-races, and through the Rounds and Chains of Globes, is very striking-
There is a vast and buidul neW of sndy open to brethren for their consideration, in the examination of the cyclic progress of an entity — a human being, a race, or a humanity-along this path of Evolution. Nowhere is this brought out more clearly in Freemasonry than in these Closing Ceremonies, which we are sometimes inclined to pass over so lightly and thoughtlessly, that in many lodges the full ceremonial of Closing in the M.M. and F.C. degrees is seen but once a year, on hqihtbn ncht Thwe even exist lodges, I regret to have to say it, where these ceremonies are practically unknown.
In the closing of a M.M. lodge, it should be noted that Seven S ... s are given, corresponding to the Seyen Key-Notes of the Seven Planetary Logoi. They are divided into three groups. The first group represents the unneal link which binds all together and concerns the E.A. s ... only. This is the S ... which is universally possessed by all masons, whatever their status or degree. It is essentially the s of the Transmutative Faculty. It is the Link-sign par excellence.
In the second group there are three s ... which are linked closely into one, and are really inseparable, showing clearly that the Preservative Faculty is at work. There are the three S ... s of Life.
In the third group there are again three s ... s, but these are separate and distinct from one another. They are "of the Earth, earthy." They pertain to the Creative Faculty and to the world of Form.
This grouping will almost always be found where a septenary exists. That is to say that it can generally be divided into a triad related to Form and a triad related to Life, and one unit which acts as a link. It may help you to grasp the point if I deal with a few examples
Example 1. The Arts.
On the Life side we have Music, corresponding to Architecture on the Form side. Architecture has been referred to as frozen music.
On the Life side we have Dancing, which finds in Sculpture its correspondence on the Form side.
On the Life side we have Poetry, and again we find a corresponding Art on the Form side. This time it is PAndng.
But there & one cornposke Art which links all these realms of separate Art into one complete whole, the Drama. Example 2. Colour.
If it is possible to use the pure spectroscopic colours, and to throw them upon a scmen as ljhq it mdl be bund tha, Red, with Green superimposed, gives a somewhat muddy " almost White "; Yellow, with what we call Indigo, produces a similar off-white, and Blue, with Orange, gives a similar result. All these together still do not give a pure white until Violet is added ; and Violet will cleanse each of the dual combinations separately.
Perhaps these two examples will serve to illustrate the phenomenon, but it would be easy to suggest others. I would draw your attention to the notes of the Musical Scale, which have the peculiarity that, when reduced to their lowest relative expression as whole numbers, they will be found to be based upon two Pythagorean 3, 4, 5, triangles keyed to the two basic numbms whkh we hme noticed before, 8 and 9. This gives us six notes, and the seventh is the link of 3 with the Pythagorean Tetractys, 10.
Another interesting example is to be found in the bases of the principal methods of Healing in use amongst us. Perhaps you may care to work this out for yourselves.
This Closing in the Third degree shows, probably more clearly than any other part of our Ritual, the complete interdependence and inseparability of the three main steps which we ordinarily call the Three Degrees of Craft Masonry. It points out clearly, ahc mtue we cant on at hut where we stood, as a humanity, when our present system was instituted.
Freemasonry, as we have it to-day, is definitely a system of teaching which is calculated to show to each Brother that he is not on" — made in the image of God,- but can unf6old within himself the full realisation of the Act and the ahlty to exemte to the NH the powers of the Godhead. From this point of view, the Three Craft Degrees-with the Mark Man, Mark Master and Royal Ark Mariner interpolated-will represent to us the descent through the first three Globes of the Chain ; the first three Root-races of the World-period and the first three Sub-races of the Root-race ; ending in complete immersion in the Matter of the lowest point of descent.
Then follows the gradual rising on the " Path of Return," which is in process of taking place to-day. Painfully and with the utmost toil is our Humanity dragging itself out of the Tomb of Transgression, in the depths of which it has passed over the dividing line between Involution and Evolution. Not yet is the full Resurrection attained, but the steps of Humanity, as a whole, are turned towards the Higher Goal, even if that Goal is not clearly seen-nor perhaps even sensed-by the majority of Men.
Substituted secrets only can be attained as yet, but, even as substitutes for the real thing, they give the clue to the place where the real have always lain open, for the taking of any man who should be strong enough to throw off the veil of the separate self that hides them from him.
Perhaps the idea with which we should leave the Lodge after the Closing, is as well summed up in some lines of the poet Browning as anywhere :-
I have gone the whole round of creation: I saw and I spoke:
I, a work of God's hand for that purpose, received in my brain
And pronounced on the rest of his hand-work---returned him again
His creation's approval or censure: I spoke as I saw:
I report, as a man may of God's work — all's love, yet all's law.
Now I lay down the judgeship he lent me. Each faculty tasked
To perceive him, has gained an abyss, where a dewdrop was asked.
Have I knowledge? confounded it shrivels at Wisdom laid bare.
Have I forethought? how purblind, how blank, to the Infinite Care!
Do I task any faculty highest, to image success?
I but open my eyes, — and perfection, no more and no less,
In the kind I imagined, full-fronts me, and God is seen God
In the star, in the stone, in the flesh, in the soul and the clod.
Robert Browning, Saul.
"All's love, yet all's law." What a perfect summing up of the whole situation! God's Love Yes, such Infinite Love as passes all our capability of comprehension ; that Love which holds together the ultimate atoms of the Universe in their existence, that they too may grow into the full stature of Godhead ; the Love that holds each to each, in such close and seemingly permanent bonds, that they cannot doubt their own permanency and immortality.
Yet it is necessary that each should have experience of the lowest depths of material existence, and so the pairs of Opposites " appear straightway in the two ends to be attained, First the Crystal Rest and then the Peace of God. Only by a process of struggle against those whom he supposes to be his enemies, in that they oppose his advance, even as he opposes theirs, can he gain sufficient strength to reach the Goal. Actually they are his Brethren, helping him, even as he is helping them, to gain strength through opposition, in their mutual struggle to reach their opposite goals.
In these papers, so far, we have studied the path of Humanity, in the Past and in the Present. It remains for us to lift the veil of the Future, and to see what light we can throw upon " that gloom which rests upon the prospect of futurity " by a study of the culminating events of the Craft Journey.
The promise of this Future lies in the rituals of the Installation in the C. of K.S., by which the Aspirant gains that "Worship," in search of which the Knights of Romance set out upon their journeyings. Herein he becomes Worshipful and is entitied to seek admkshn to the Chapter of the Holy Royal Arch. These stages we must leave for consideration in the opening phases of the last paper of this series, wherein I shall hope to bring together the various threads and to round off our consideration of the events of the Craft Journey. In this way I hope at least to lay a foundation upon which each and every brother may build up some further edefice of unfoldment in God. Happy have we met, Happy have we been. Happy may we part, And, happy, meet again."
PEACE TO ALL BEINGS. AMEN.