FREEMASONRY AND THE RECONSTRUCTION OF THE SPIRITUAL IDEAL
"One woe is past, and, behold, there come two more woes hereafter." (Revelation: 9 - 12)
"And he shall send his angels with a great sound of the trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds from one end of heaven to the other." (St. Matthew: 24 - 31)
"As for these things ye behold, the days will come, in which there shall not be left one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down."
BY all who listen with the inner ear of understanding there can be heard today "a great sound of a trumpet"; it is sounding from the four winds of heaven in thunderous waves of heart searching melody but is, as yet, unheard by the majority amid the turmoil and strife of war. The "elect," however, or those whose ear is attuned to the overtones of life, can discern beneath the unrest of the peoples of all lands a rhythmic beat as of angel wings, and can feel the urge directing men of goodwill among the nations to gather together in a united effort to prepare for the trials which will inevitably follow upon the closing of the second phase of the World war drama. At this time, then, it is well that we Freemasons, as members of a Fraternity whose units are recognisably linked with the bonds of the Spirit, should seriously consider our function and responsibility, both towards ourselves and the community of which we are an integral part. In the first place, if we are to learn wisdom from the bitter experiences of the past years, we must take steps to ensure that we all understand the wider implications of our Masonic teaching, particularly that which relates to the essential qualifications demanded of candidates for the higher life, for the effective work of the Craft in future will depend upon its members being "properly prepared" to serve humanity in the great work of spiritual re- building. There are some brethren who may recall that at the termination of the first phase of the World War, which is now generally recognized to have coincided with the Armistice of 1918, the thoughts of the spiritually minded turned intuitively to the prophetic warning recorded in the V. of the S.L., "One woe is past: and, behold, there come two woes hereafter," and that in certain quarters the counsel to be "prepared" for what was to come was given prominence. The majority of people, however, although vaguely aware that radical and momentous changes in the old order of things seemed imminent, were not then disposed to listen to the few who insisted in directing attention to the spiritual background of events, with the result that the warning given was allowed to pass unheeded. Today we are all wise - after the events; the second woe has come as surely as did the first, and with it have come many recriminations, for in no sense were we "properly prepared" to meet with what has since transpired. The collective mind and conscience of our nation - a medley of good and evil like that of our enemies - has again compelled us into physical warfare. It is idle at this stage to ask whether or no we were right in declaring war. Save by shameful dishonour to our soul we could not do otherwise in our present spiritual - or unspiritual - national condition, which is one of bondage to law rather than of that liberty of the spirit which alone enables a nation successfully to apply the higher law of non-resistance of evil. In this matter, we are not masters of ourselves, or of circumstances, but servants, and children, "under the law." And the children of this world, we are told in the V. of the S.L., are wise "according to their generation," that is according to the degree of their present limited development, and therefore no condemnation has ever been spoken by any of the Masters throughout the ages against their discharging what to them is plain conscientious duty of fulfilling the highest ideal they for the moment see and are capable of, even though it be in conflict against the higher law. In doing so they are "rods of mine anger," executive instruments of the Divine energies in the promotion of cosmic ends, and as such they may - as they are doing today - display a sacred fervour and truly mystical zeal for a righteous cause, and even stand in a laudable detachment of soul from the physical violence and horrors they reluctantly undertake. But, written above them, nevertheless, stands the higher law which humanity has yet to learn, and is learning apparently - as so often happens in the education of the human spirit - by intimate contact with, and experience of, the very evil it is called upon to outgrow; and according to their faith and their works, their sacrifice and their devotion in this struggle, so will their rewards be. Nor, when their present part in the Eternal Design is played out will further opportunity be lacking, for ahead beyond the physical conflict lies the "third woe," which will necessitate the drama being again fought out in the mental world with thoughts, arguments, and ideals for weapons. That the nations or the public mind will suddenly leap "en masse" from the natural standard to grasping and performing the higher law is not to be expected, but the present crisis, and the readjustment of national and international conditions that will follow it, will greatly facilitate and expedite the change to which sooner or later we must all come. In the meantime, the higher law, the precepts of that - to the natural mind - unworkable paradox, the Law of the Mount, can be practised only by those who are themselves upon the "Mount", whose consciousness is enlarged by self-renouncement or quickened by the illuminative grace of God, and who have ascended to and habitually live upon a plane of being higher than the natural mentality can know. Those whose minds are kept adjusted only to the "valleys," the lower levels of natural reason and judgment, will tend to deny, deride, fail to understand, the true principles of reconstruction, and - for the time being - follow a standard and law of their own. Yet, for all of us, this is a time both of instruction and of hope, even amid so great miseries. For the valleys, it is promised, shall be exalted and every high place brought low, to the intent that between the depths and the heights there may be reconciliation and union. Indeed, many today upon the lower levels are straining upwards for a larger vision of life and a fuller life; for greater liberty of spirit and richer nourishment than the standards of this world permit to them; and these are asking continually: What is the inner significance of the present crisis, and what is the meaning of the new order of things to which a transition is being made? The attempt to formulate answers to both of these questions, from the standpoint of Freemasonry, is the subject and object of this Paper.
1. THE PREPARATION OF THE RECONSTRUCTION
From the ancient mystical doctrine which lies behind modern Freemasonry we learn that in the moral progress and spiritual development of our race, morning succeeds night, and night follows morning, in correspondence with the diurnal rhythm of solar light and darkness; yet, unlike that phenomenon (for Nature has no power to "raise" herself, but remains upon one uniform level of attainment), upon an ever-ascending spiral of progress. Hence always, as in the spiritual record of our genesis, "the evening and the morning" go to the making of each complete creative "day;" evening always coming first, because in all that darkness signifies - whether intellectual or moral, or war and strife in any form - are contained those elements by whose very antagonism and friction is generated the heat that ultimately bursts forth into morning light. The quickening of racial consciousness now for some years in process, therefore betokens the dawn of one of these periodic "days" in our evolution, and must needs be attended with convulsions terrifying to those who are unprepared for the transition. Indeed, a transformation to those who are unprepared for the transition. Indeed, a transformation involving a general renewal of our minds, a judging of the quick and the dead elements in all our ideals and institutions - which is what is now operating - how could it come about without a cataclysm? Purgation was inevitable, for the horrors, the outrages, and the devilish ingenuities exhibited now are but the liberated, manifested, thought we had been harbouring and nourishing in secret during many previous years of both war and peace. As has never happened before, and as though our whole inner self were disgorging its accumulated poison, Earth, Water, Air and Fire - the four traditional metaphysical elements of our nature - are each contributing to the conflict the visible symbols of our subjective content, in the form of engines of destruction employed in the corresponding elements of outward Nature. However honourably, as the world's standard goes, we may desire to conduct our warfare, there is seen to be nothing but vileness about it; nevertheless, it has to be worked through and its lessons learned so that we may avoid its recurrence. This form of inhumane treatment, that diabolic contrivance is countered and outbid by the opponents in reprisals of increasing malice, and the struggle proceeds in one vicious circle of intensifying evil, of any end of which one would despair without the certitude that out of evil the new good is being born, and out of the strain of antagonism the light of a new morning will be kindled. In view of it all we must accept the wise council to "watch and pray", for there is little of an exercise nature which can profitably be undertaken at the moment. Members of our Masonic Order should reflect that they have been instructed that both "patience and industry" are virtues required of all those who, who humbly following the steps of the Masters, prey fervently to the Almighty for the coming of the Kingdom; we should, then, not "rashly attempt to rush forward," but rather wait and watch patiently in order to observe in what direction, and along what lines, the activity of the nations will run. The time-honoured petition, "Thy Kingdom come," however, is one of infinite utility always, but particularly in these days. We must not be deluded, nevertheless, into thinking that we can prepare the way for the coming of the Kingdom by a mere passivity; there is very much to be accomplished that is of an esoteric nature, and it is with this we should now be occupied. Since for so many the breaking-up of their "house" is befalling, there are needed strong souls to serve as supports for them, and as foundations and pillars for the new house, and the new order of things that will arise upon the site of the old; souls that amid the fury of the storm can "stand still and see the salvation of God" emerging from it, and that, amid panic, can remain unmoved and "serve Him with a quiet mind." In the centre of the storm is stillness absolute; it is at the circumference only that rage the unruly elements and passions not yet leashed into balance and harmony. We Freemasons, therefore, as members of a mystical Order, should harness the unruly mental and emotional elements in ourselves, controlling and indrawing them into our own centre, so that what otherwise would be diffused and wasted force may become consolidated and stable. It will need, of course, effort and will, but the divine word is "I make peace" (Isaiah, 45 - 7), and it is for us to say and do likewise. Our inward peace must be made, for as children of the Creator we are given the privilege and the power of creating it ourselves, and of thus emulating the Father in this respect; wherefore it is written, "Blessed are the peace-makers, they shall be called the children of God." It is not made by frittering away mental and emotional energy in anxiety as to how outward events are going; nor by indulging in constant war-chatter, news reading, and by rushing about for the latest intelligence. ON the contrary, the peace-maker contrives to still himself within and without, and has confidence in the promise contained in the V. of the S.L., - "Thou shalt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on Thee," - not on the contents of the daily paper. We are, moreover, charged with the duty of carrying forward the task of interpreting nation to nation in terms of Brotherhood, and at this juncture of the world's history there is no higher form of service that we can render, either to God or man. Under existing psychological conditions, wen the astral or emotional bodies of human beings (which constitute the astral body of humanity as a whole) are in a state of chaos, the principle of Brotherhood is admittedly one that is sadly lacking in manifestation, but we must "steadily persevere." Let us remember that despite the apparent predominance of separative attitudes and specious arguments, there still remain enough people in the world who are responsive to the spirit of goodwill, and who are animated by the desire for permanent, right, human relations. Furthermore, it should be possible - at a later date - to aspire to a world-wide recognition of a day of forgiveness, and of fulfilment of the Biblical injunction to "forget the things which lie behind and press forward" into the New Age, the new relationships, and the new civilisation. The function of the moment, however, consists in the purification and co-ordination of the divers kingdoms of this world - political, social, and intellectual - preparatory to their combination in that higher unity which we call the Kingdom of God. We must be careful not to under estimate the stupendous task confronting humanity when the physical conflict has worn itself out and some measure of peace and clam prevails once again. The movement towards reconstruction will serve to intensify the testing and purifying of human institutions, and just as the physical war has reached down into and altered the foundations of the society of nations, so will the coming mental readjustments descend to and alter the very foundations upon which are based liberty of thought and freedom of religious expression. The religious conceptions, beliefs, and thoughts, of humanity have built up a mighty temple composed of many "goodly stones;" each nation has builded its part of this temple, hence no division of mankind can entirely escape from the responsibility and the consequences which it entails; it is this Temple of Humanity of which it is predicted in the V. of the S.L., "Not one stone shall be left standing upon another, that shall not be thrown down." Has not the race for centuries past been indulging its intellectuality, and starving and suppressing the spirituality inherent in it? We cannot deny that the history of the modern world is the history of the compromise between intellectual and spiritual elements which are present in each of us, and it has, at long last, brought us to this agonizing crisis. This does not infer that we have been wholly devoid or negligent of spirituality, but points to the fact that when two have clashed it has hitherto been spirituality which has been accorded the second place. The position has now to be reversed; today it is spirituality which needs to become organized and concentrated, whilst the bonds of intellectuality have to become so shattered and for ever dissipated, that there may be universal "liberty of the spirit." It is difficult, if not impossible, to impart any idea of the enormous transformation in human outlook, in social affairs, and in the human consciousness generally, that will result from all that is implied by the simple phrase "reconstruction of the spiritual ideal." We have no historic standard by which any such organic change inncollective human nature can be measured, or with which it can be contrasted but at least it is certain that we must not look for it to happen by any abrupt miraculous change. Years will yet go to it, but time as we count it, moves at it sown pace when the cosmic processes of Spirit-action are at work. Meanwhile, amid the break-up of all external things, an inferior constructive work is going on, preparing upon the mental and psychic planes the conditions which will characterise the Aquarian Age, upon the threshold of which we now stand.
2. THE LAW OF GROWTH
In order to understand the causes underlying the many problems pressing upon thinkers for solution today, we must recognize the motive power at the back of the evolution of both our individual lives and the Race, as well as the planet upon which we dwell. All manifested creation is produced as a result of vibratory differentiation of Eternal Motion and its resultant Force. Spirit and Matter are but conventional terns used to express degrees of retardation of Absolute Motion, which in turn is the expression of Divine Will. The power of the sun and wind, the waves of the sea, the water-fall, of stream and electricity, are but various expressions of Divine Will going forth into manifestation. Every force in the Universe is capable of being transformed into any kind of force by using suitable means; there is thus an inexhaustible supply of any particular kind of force that we may need. There is no limit to the extent of the relations of any man with the Universe in essence; for as soon as man makes himself one with any idea the means of measurement cease to exist; but is power to utilise that force is limited by his mental power and capacity, and by the circumstances of his human environment. One reason why Saturn, according to the symbolism of the arcane schools, is spoken of as the Regent of the Earth is because the forces sent out by this cosmic centre are stability and inertia. Saturn, is therefore, Ruler of the planet in so far as without stability, Motion would have nothing on which to act. Saturn is also called the Adversary, on account of the fact that the force of inertia is forever opposed to Motion, and because it is against this impressive shore that the sea of humanity is always beating in restless activity until an equilibrium between the two is attained. Thus perfect balance, or equilibrium, is the "rest that remaineth for the people of God," for stillness and apathy, as well as strife and in harmony, result in death, while equilbriated Motion is eternal life. Today humanity is awakening to the realization that we are living in an age of transition, in which changes are taking place so rapidly that we must become more thoroughly acquainted with aspects of the many forces of the Universe with which we thought ourselves already familiar, but which are daily surprising us with new expressions. The true explanation is that both our Race, and the Earth planet, have grown up to young manhood, and are now entering in earnest upon their real life expression. Many will reject the idea that the Earth is travelling its appointed Path, unfolding and manifesting the various stages of its evolutionary cycle, and taking its true place in the Universe in obedience to the same Law of Growth that governs the individual and the Race. To these we may reply; it is the same force whether pushing a planet or solar system onwards to the fulfilment of its destiny, or acting within the heart of a tiny seed causing it to expand and burst asunder its confing husk and gradually unfold into the type of plant its destiny has ordained. So familiar are we with the phenomena of the transformation of a seed, such as is exhibited in the miracle of a tiny acorn into the mighty oak tree, that we forget that it is according to the same law the ideal, or potentiality, within the seed of a world, or a humanity, or an individual Soul, must likewise pass through similar phases of unfoldment, and ultimately manifest that which the Divine Will has implanted within it. However, once we awaken to the method by which the ideal manifests through the Law of Growth, we comprehend that as we ourselves advance we do not discover new forces in Nature, or harness new energy, but that whenever a force is contacted it indicates that the seed is taking a new step in its growth, for the completion of which it must utilise a higher aspect or expression of the One Life. The man who is under the impression that he has discovered a new force, therefore, has merely unfolded within himself a new phase of consciousness by which he recognises and vibrates to a similar force within Nature and himself; and, like the seed, at every unfoldment of the God-consciousness within him, he enters a new field of force in Nature to which his physical body and consciousness have responded ere it was possible for him to take the next regular step. For example, until the last few years aeroplanes, radio, radium and so on were impossible, not because the laws of aviation and radiant energy did not exist, but because man's consciousness had not reached a point where it could contact, recognise, and understand those laws; in other words, man had not unfolded into that realm of consciousness. Expressed in alternative terms, we may say that all advance in understanding demands the acquisition of a new point-of-view, and for this reason modern conceptions of Mathematics. Physics, and Chemistry are sheer paradox to the "man in the street," who thinks of Matter as something that one can knock up against. Similarly, we do not yet understand how to utilise dynaspheric force, and thus draw power for the aeroplane and other engines directly from the air without the use of fuel, or how to use it for the purpose of healing disease and satisfying our needs, but there can be no doubt that this will be grasped and understood in a comparatively short time. A number of popular scientific theories regarding the Earth planet are based upon false premises; for instance, if the Earth were merely an inert mass thrown off from the Sun (or other planet) and projected only by its initial velocity, it would have slowed down and ceased manifestation of its forces long before this. The fact is, however, that it is constantly unfolding new expressions of force and manifesting new powers, thereby demonstrating the effect of more rapid vibrations, and exhibiting the phenomena of a living entity growing gradually unfolding its inner ideal according to the Law of Growth. We may say that the difference is similar to that observed between a projectile fired from a cannon, which continually and rapidly decreases in velocity, and an express train that picks up speed as the result of an increased application of power at the will of the engineer, so that it may conform to the schedule or destiny set out for it. The present age is truly called a "speed" age, because the Earth is picking up speed, and events are rushing towards us and flying past, like the scenery viewed from a speeding train. Our human Race is now passing through a transitional state in which one sub-race (fifth) is overlapping the next (sixth); a night between two day periods, and both the Earth-planet and the Race are involved in minor "pralaya." During this minor night-period all that has been given to man to use and rule, in order that he may become a conscious co-worker with the Divine Architect - but which his selfishness, unbrotherliness and inhumanity, and his refusal to work with the Divine Will has perverted - must be gathered up in a mighty harvest, the tares and the wheat together. In dealing with this subject in he brief and generalised way in which alone it is practicable to refer to it here, it is impossible to indicate the several and extremely complex processes at work; processes present in both the seen and the unseen worlds, which have culminated and are expressing themselves in a World War, which is but the material "signature" or externalisation of forces in conflict upon withdrawn planes of life. "There was (and there is today) war in heaven" - upon the plane of the physically unmanifest; and its physical reflex betokens the purgation of evil and dispersion of darkness, materialism, and selfishness, before the advancing ingress of the Light of the World into the body corporate of humanity. The seeds of larger good for the world in general, however, have already been sown, and in this conflict - which is the challenge of evil to them - is the evidence of their strong vitality. Amid all the devastation there will be no waste save of that which it is desirable should be wasted, and no ultimate loss; but rather a legacy of improved distribution of power, both human and divine, of better perception of humanity's vital and ultimate interests, and of freer moral and spiritual development than our self-made limitations of the past would permit until a drastic pruning has taken place. Let us next consider, in the light of the foregoing, the parable of the "feeding of the five thousand" as narrated in the V. of the S.L. (Mark 6, 31 - 52 ). The scene is a "wilderness" or desert place," the usual biblical formula for this spiritually barren world is which man is being created, and the fact that human evolution has already been proceeding in it for long ages is referred to in the statements that "the time is far passed" and "the day was now far spent" (verse 35). It was the beginning of the present era two thousand years ago and the Master has in his purview the impending opening up of the then undeveloped European continent and the destiny of those souls, already incarnating ("for there were many coming and going" - verse 31), which were to become for many centuries the dominant peoples of the human family, and which were to come under His special car, since, as a new race, they would be born outside the folds and spiritual traditions of the great Oriental and Mosaic dispensations and therefore be "as sheep having no shepard" (verse 34). He sees the inchoate barbaric populace of Europe becoming, as the new race of souls enters into it, segregated into sharply defined nationalities, arranging itself into ordered states with highly organised social conditions; see them, as it were, "sitting down in companies by hundreds and by fifties upon the green grass" (verses 39 and 40 - note the significant multiples of the number five which characterises our fifth sub-race, among which some nations are more intellectual and influential than others.) That apparently negligible detail of the "green grass" is full of purport; the literalist may be reminded that profuse vegetation is not a feature of the ordinary "desert place", but the "green grass" (verse 39) upon which the five thousand are bidden to "sit down" discloses the conditions into which the souls of the race they typify will actually descend as its members come to birth, and signifies natural energy and abundance of physical activity. In other words, "grass" simply means carnality; "All flesh is grass" - Isaiah 40, 6 - 7. What will be the interior food of this great multitude? Not the "true bread which cometh down from heaven", for these hard- headed commercial peoples are not yet ready for that; the "true bread" must therefore be held in reserve until the time is ripe for it. Accordingly the Master dopes not offer His own bread, but enquiries "How many loaves have ye?" - as if to say "Of what character and quantity does your own stock of interior provender consist?" Now the answer - "five loaves and two fishes" verse 38 - is an announcement in symbolic terms of the soul-properties which did - and still do - distinguish our sub- race. "Loaves" stand for the rational or intellectual principle; "fishes" - a frequent gnostic and scriptural symbol - for the spirituality; and if seven - the "perfect number" - be taken, as here implied, as representing the sevenfold properties of the soul, it follows that the proportion of intellectuality to spirituality possessed by our sub-race is as five to two. An unfavourable proportion perhaps; but at the same time considerably more propitious than that displayed by the preceding fourth race, for the "four thousand" - see Mark 8, 5 - were distinguished by "seven loaves", their sevenfold "scale" being wholly given over to carnal rationality, with the exception of "a few small fishes" mingled with their "loaves" (see Mark 8, 7). Students should carefully note that the "four thousand," or fourth sub-race, belonged to an earlier "day" or world-period than the "five thousand;" "They have been with Me three days" _ Mark 8, 2, whereas the "five thousand," or fifth sub-race, is associated with the "fourth watch," until which "day" or world-period the Christ did not become manifest. Despite the disproportion the loaves are multiplied and distributed among the "companies;" likewise the two fishes "He divided among them all." How thankful, then, we should be for the "two fishes," for our "loaves," as they are bound to do, have at last turned stale and become the proverbial "bread of contention;" for the properties of unspiritualised intellectuality are disruptive, and its tendencies are to generate all manner of conflicting thought-modes and mutually exclusive opinions and culture-ideals, and we have "all eaten of it and been filled." Truly man cannot live by bread - intellectual loaves - alone; Spirit - "fishes" - alone is unitive and continues perennially sweet. When the present war-crisis ends and the clash of international ideals subsides, that which will make possible the future harmony and brotherhood of the nations will not be that little measure of the spirit of charity and loving-kindness, common to them all and planted from the beginning in the hearts of them all, and waiting only its opportunity to emerge and display itself. It will be those "two fishes" which He has multiplied ( and is still multiplying) and "divided among them all." The parable of the feeding of the "five thousand" concludes with the cryptic statement, "He sent away the people" (Mark 6, 45); well, the people are being sent "away" now, for our fifth sub-race ("the five thousand men") is dissolving at this moment, and all its ideals, well established institutions, as well as methods - social, political, economic, theological - are undergoing gradual but perceptible disintegration. A new era of things is dawning, and amid, the warfare and death- pange of the old order another sub-race is being imperceptibly born. Nevertheless, the fragments (see Mark 6, 43) that remain of the old era, and that are of real value, will be gathered up and carried forward to the new epoch, thereby constituting the spiritual working capital which the people of the new sub-race may be trusted to profitably employ and increase. These last two thousand years have been needed to pave the way for this new order of things; "It was the preparation," as St. John tells us; the world had to be fully opened up, and the races and nations both East and West, knitted together into a whole of mutually interdependent parts; the dress and rubble of current civilisation had to be cleared away; processes which, these years past, have been in the doing, and the completing of which is being accomplished in the fiery crucible of today. Moreover, the race cannot attain a new grade of spiritual evolution until its iniquities have been burned up; and "without bloodshed is no remission of sins." The ground must be swept and cleared before it can be built upon afresh, but the hand that devastates also restores:-
"I looked and lo! 'mid the decay
The Master was the Builder too;
And when the dust-cloud rolled away;
I saw the new!"
The Piscean cycle, which is now passing, was primarily an intellectual cycle, and during the two thousand -odd years of its sway, mankind has been perfecting the lowest aspect (symbolised by the "feet" - see episode of the Master washing the disciples' feet, John 13, 10) of his understanding. Intellect and reason have been the ruling factors and because of this it has been a cycle of materialism for intellect demands only that which it can see, handle, and classify. But it has also been a very important cycle in the unfoldment and progression of the Earth planet and of man's relation to it. We must not, therefore, presume that because the physical universe represents the lowest and most dense vibration of manifested Spirit and the lowest are of the life-wave, and materialism represents the lowest and most dense phase of intellectual development, that the intellectual and material attainments of man are of little importance. The cycle of materialism was indeed the negative expression of a great racial life-wave, but it wa one that was necessary in order to gain the momentum required to make the wave of the New Age reach its destined height in the attainment of spiritual realisation. The phase of mind which the Piscean cycle has developed is the rational mind of the intellectual man, or what in the Eastern teachings is called "Lower Manas," but the coming Aquarian cycle must develop the superconscious mind or "Buddhi Manas." This will not be possible immediately for the large majority, and as the inrushing tide of the New Day sweeps over humanity there must be those who are duly qualified and prepared to help their less evolved brethren to learn the wonderful lessons of the New Age. The Great Masters of Wisdom have stored up the entire philosophy of the Ancient Wisdom so greatly needed in the coming age, ready to be given to mankind; but it cannot be given like rain on a rock, lest it fail in its mission. It must be given out through agents who have learned the lessons of the past Age in the cultivation of the rational mind, and who have illumined it with the rays of the Spiritual Sun and hence are ready to reach up understandingly into the Divine Mind and consciously carry their illumination down to the lowest point of the wave. For if we are to have a reconstruction of the spiritual ideal, which will meet the needs of the New Age, it must be all-inclusive; must be both philosophical and devotional, rational and inspirational. To place such a system fittingly before the world a new order of ideas in education, specialisation, and efficiency must be grasped. Once, however, it is understood that the Source of all Power is within, and that it is gradually unfolding our possibilities according to the Law of Growth, the principle of a Divine Plan will be more generally accepted and men will begin to work consciously with the Law. They will then cease striving to conquer Nature's forces only from without, and aspire to become co-workers with the Divine Architect, realising that to know and master a force they must first unfold the consciousness of it within themselves. It is in this larger sense that we Freemasons must interpret the claim made on behalf of the Craft that "Masonry is universal," because quite apart from the fact that there have always been Initiates and Masonic energies at work in the world outside the limits of our formal Order, the building tendency is innate in everything, from atom to man, and beyond man. We are therefore primarily Masons because our Creator is Himself the Grand Master Mason, and because we, as "creatures of the Creator," inherit our Maker's qualities. Moreover, the history of the human race demonstrates that when man has laboriously built up his civilisations and social systems, put up his houses and temples, and finally exhausted his capacity for material Masonry, he at last turns to Speculative or spiritual Masonry and the contemplation of building that House "not made with hands, eternal in the heaves." Thus our system of Speculative Freemasonry exists in the world to bear witness to the transformation necessary in man as an Operative Mason to enable him to become constructive on a higher plane. Accordingly, members of our Craft should be particularly well equipped to demonstrate to their fellow men that there is a kind of Faith to which we must all attain - a living Faith in the certainty of the working of the Great Law - which will carry them through every experience; a Faith which is in truth "the foundation of justice, the bond of amity, and the chief support of civil society" (see Fourth Section, First Lecture).
As a fitting conclusion to a Paper of this nature we ought now to envisage the position of our Craft in the light of current world events, for there are many portents that Freemasonry and all that it stands for are destined to play a great part in the incoming cycle. Only two hundred and twenty six years ago the formation of the premier Grand Lodge of England in 1717 was the seed-germ from which has grown the Craft of today with its world wide ramifications. How are we to account for his remarkable phenomena? To students of the history, ideas, and doctrines of the secret fraternities from which our Craft ritual and doctrine have emanated, certain indubitable facts are clear. One of them is the marked signs of purpose and guidance from hidden sources, and the presence of minds thoroughly versed in the ancient arcane tradition, which has characterised our Order from its inception. Indeed, to the wise and instructed, our Landmarks, ancient usages, and symbolic clothing, all of which (after allowing for errors and blunders by less expert assistants and compilers) manifest a knowledge of mystical and historical truth far more profound than the average Brother suspects or its competent to recognise. And it is because these ritual forms, symbols, clothing and usages are so widely devised, and charged with so much more latent meaning than they suggest on the surface, that i not permissible to us to alter or in any way deviate from them. The y may not be, and in fact they are not, as yet fully appreciated or understood by the majority of the Brethren, but this for the time being is of small moment; they have preserved testimony of the concealed doctrine during the initial years of the growth of the Craft against the time which will come when a fuller realisation of what our system involves will be possible. Another important feature of Masonic growth is that since its birth and infant nurture our Grand Lodge system has borne witness to the divine principle of Hierarchy. Whilst itself essentially democratic, al its members standing upon a level before Heaven, our Craft nevertheless is constructed upon, and will always preserve, the principle of Hierarchy, as one conforming with divine ordinance and cosmic law, and the only one providing a sound foundation for the kingdoms of this world. By Hierarchy is meant the government of society, whether in this world or beyond, by wisdom and power from God mediated through graded orders of life, the more spiritually developed charged with responsibility for controlling, ministering to and uplifting the less advanced junior brethren, whilst the latter in turn supply material support and sustenance to those above who labour in their interest. Until spiritual teachers can be properly supported and left free from the necessity of spending the best part of their time earning a living, the world need not expect fully equipped spiritual teachers; those fitted to give the world such specialised help must be enabled to devote all their time and attention to the work. As to spiritual teachers "demonstrating supply," a phase so often glibly used, there is no doubt that the Great Law could amply support all who devoted all who devoted their lives to its promulgation and expounding. It could even feed, clothe and support in idleness all the children of men if it so desired, but that is not the order of life. The plan has always been, "If any would not work, neither should he eat." And since man's higher development requires spiritual food as truly as his physical development requires physical food, and since those capable of obtaining and preparing such food have to exercise the highest of talents and spend many hours of concentrated application to present it, one of the important lessons that humanity needs to learn in the New Age is that humanity itself must supply ample support to those qualified to give them the best, or else humanity must be satisfied with that which can be supplied at odd moments. An ideal state of human society on earth - towards which so many discordant experiments are in process today - must ultimately be one reflecting the ordered organization of life beyond this world, - "the Grand Lodge Above" - "As above, so below"; the inferior must become a true reflex of the "pattern in the mount." The ideal human society, the perfect temple of humanity, must, therefore, be constructed upon the same architectural principle as our Craft; it will be as a pyramid of living stones, built up from a broad base and rising through a series of narrowing courses which taper towards the summit to a point or chief cornerstone which binds them all together. At the supreme point the earthly hierarchy ends and the heavenly hierarchy begins, contact between the two being established, and Light and Wisdom from on high flowing through to those in the ever widening ranks below. In proclaiming the principle of Hierarchy the craft holds up to our contemplation the pattern of a graded social organism, "perfect in all its parts and honourable to the builders;" Hierarchy is the negation of anarchy, of mob-rule, of all forms of self-willed despotism, whether by unenlightened individuals or fluctuating majorities; it recognises that:-
"Order is Heaven's first law, and, that confessed, every Masonic Lodge is a little self-centered hierarchical cell within the larger organism of the Province; the Province in turn functions as a similar hierarchy within the greater matrix of Grand Lodge, and finally the Grand Lodge on earth reflects, moves within, and is mothered by the Grand Lodge Above, "whose Grand Master is the great Jehovah and whose officers are holy angels." Here, then is a subject upon which we should all reflect both as Freemasons and as "citizens of the world;" it is a theme requiring the utmost development along lines of Masonic thought, and should be stressed in the case of those Brethren who are prone to confine their attention to personal work in their own lodges, thus overlooking the magnitude of the organism of which His Lodge is but a single cell. The time has now come when we must take a much broader view of our Craft than hitherto has been the case; we must rise from a personal and parochial view of it, to an impersonal and cosmic one, for Freemasonry is a spiritual process and cosmic one, for Freemasonry is a spiritual process and cosmic work that goes on unceasingly, and that is being used by Higher Powers as an instrument dedicated to the work of re-building the Temple of Humanity - "the reconstruction of the spiritual Ideal."
"Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God; And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit." Ephesians 2, 19 - 22