Freewill snd Predestination: The Masonic Conception
Part 2. Return
W. Bro. J. R. Cleland, P.P.A.G. Chap., (Kent).
The condition of mental repose may be obtained by overcoming of the normal tendency of the mind to react to impressions — the stilling of the modifications of the thinking principle.
— Patanjali, Yoga Aphorisms.
The Seventh Ray is that of a Magic Bridge between various evolutions — human, angelic, subhuman, etc. Truth is seen in terms of formulae, symbol, relationship. Creative activity, in terms of art, beauty, spiritual magic, real ceremonial. It has to do with the construction of channels whereby life may flow to its appointed destinations. The Ray of the Creative Imagination, the making of the unreal real.
— Geo. S. Arundale, The Lotus Fire
God is not a man, that He should lie; neither the son of man that He should repent: hath He said, and shall He not do? Or hath He spoken and shall He not make it good?
— Numbers XXIII, 15
Religion in its highest development is the realisation of the oneness of man in his spiritual nature — of that which is innermost in himself with that which is innermost in the Cosmos: with that which we will here call Cosmic Spirit, or the Absolute — the term GOD having rather too many theological concepts associated with it.
— W. Kingsland, The Gnosis or Ancient Wisdom in the Christian Scriptures
With Space the Universe encloses me and engulfs me like an atom, but with thought I enclose the Universe.
Freemasonry "proclaims the fact that there exists a higher and more secret path of life than that which we normally tread, and that when the outer world and its pursuits and rewards lose their attractiveness for us and prove insufficient to our deeper needs, as sooner or later they will, we are compelled to turn back upon ourselves, to seek and knock at the door of the world within; and it is upon this inner world, and the path to and through it that Masonry promises light, charts the way and indicates the qualifications and conditions of progress. This is the sole aim and intention of Masonry.
— W. L. Wilmshurst, The Meaning of Masonry
"The making of rules and systems . . . is the curse of education. A rule is most often only the means which those who do know something adopt for protecting themselves from the need of really teaching those who want to learn. Or it is a means of appearing to know when nothing is known. Rules may be useful in the way of enabling a learner to construct his experience for himself; but, if relied on, they simply paralyse the mind, for the attention has to be kept on the machinery for attempting any problem, instead of on the problem itself.
— Hinton, Scientific Romances.
Become that which you are.
— St. Ambrose
"It matters not how strait the gate, How charged with punishments the Scroll, I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my Soul.
— W. E. Henley, Invictus.
At our last meeting together, we found that, as a prerequisite to his full development as an immortal, spiritual being, it was necessary that the Aspirant should first revise the direction and quality of his thinking, should think again and think differently, or re-pent, upon the important things of life. We found that his very title, man, means that he is a thinker, that is the essential thing about him. Max Muller it was, I believe, who said that "language and thought are inseparable" and that "the word & the thought incarnate." So we may say that man himself is the incarnation of the thought of God, the incipient verbum, the unspoken word and the potential logos. The perfected incarnate man is "the word made flesh." The word dwells within him, only awaiting his active cooperation to unfold and sound itself through him as a person, persona, mask or vehicle. Today, we are to consider by what change, by what complete revolution in most cases, it may be possible for the word-made-flesh to return to God as a self-conscious, creative entity. This, surely, is a vast conception, but we must undertake the task of attempting to understand and to cooperate in the work, to understand the odds against which we have to contend, and to cooperate with this word, itself, which dwells within us, and by which alone we can overcome these odds.
Hence, it comes about that, in this paper, I must crave your indulgence if I diverge at times from my main theme, and ask you to bear with me while I do some bits of repenting. In other words, it will be necessary for me to cover once again — perhaps introducing a somewhat different avenue of approach — some ground with which I know that many of you are already perfectly familiar. It is necessary to think again about some of these things, not only for the benefit of those to whom they may not already be so familiar, or to whom they may be entirely new conceptions, but also that we may ensure that there is as clear and complete a picture as possible in our minds. I am hoping that you will be able to accept the teachings which I lay before you as something in the nature of a working hypothesis. I do not ask you to commit yourselves to a whole-hearted acceptance of them as embodiments of truth, nor as dogmatic assertions of proven facts. In fact, I would prefer that you view them as postulates, as assumptions which I would have you bear in mind and take into consideration as a background to the main theme and the arguments I will put forward. When you have heard my arguments, you may, perhaps find yourself able to accept the postulates either completely or as a practical working hypothesis, or you may decide that there is nothing in them, so far as you are at present concerned, and so you may discard them completely, as without appeal to you. There are, of course, as is always the case when postulates are presented, the proof of which can lie only in actual personal experience, an almost infinite number of intermediate courses open to you, in accepting a point here and discarding another there, so as to build for yourself an acceptable hypothesis, upon which you feel that you can build up a scheme that will meet your immediate requirements. Always, we must, however, be ready to modify or to amplify our chosen scheme, so as to meet the requirements of new experimental or otherwise acceptable truths, which may appear, and which may have to be fitted into the scheme as they come to light.
I want to attempt to give you a clear picture of what I mean when I speak of man: of man as threefold — spirit, soul and body; of man as fourfold — dense body, personality, individuality and monad ; of man as sevenfold dense physical, etheric, desire body, concrete mind, abstract mind, intuition and spirit. These constitute the principal divisions in which man, as such, is measured, and through the understanding of which he can come to a realisation of himself as the immortal, spiritual, and creative being that he veritably is, capable of identifying himself with something on each and every one of these levels of being, and of coming to at-one-ment with THAT which, in Freemasonry, we understand by the term GOD.
I have asked you to repent — to think differently. I have asked you to repeat the process, to think again and again, more deeply and more intensely, about such matters. When such repentance becomes habitual and is practised "without evasion, equivocation, or mental reservation of any kind whatsoever," then, and then only, can it bring about the required revolution, the turning — again or conversion, the entering, in very truth, upon the path of return to God, whence we all have come. Any evasion, equivocation or mental reservation will set up a barrier to the furtherance of such a return. Remember, the immediate aim of our humanity is the full development of intellect and, quoting Hinton, "the right use of intellect is to determine what knowledge shall be made intuitive." The whole business involves a complete upheaval of our lives as we know them here on earth, a complete reorganization and reorientation of our ways of thinking. At first I chose the word 'Revolution' as my sub-title for today. This, it was felt, might lead to misunderstanding, and 'Regeneration' was suggested, but it did not bring out the idea I wanted to convey. The term used by the Christian Churches came next to mind, but 'Conversion' has too many accumulated associations to meet the bill. So, finally, I fell back upon the simple Anglo-Saxon 'Return.' All these terms have been used to express and define the fundamental experience, but each has had its basic meaning confused by associations which have grown round it and with which it has been identified in many minds. Normally, these ideas do not fit in with the situation as I want you to envisage it. So, in our study of the event, let us first devote some attention to its environment — man himself.
Let us start with the sevenfold man and work towards an understanding of man as a unit, even to the consideration of humanity as one and indivisible. The life which inspires the natural universe is active upon seven levels or planes of being, through and into which the life flows as a wave emanating from the Absolute, the Infinite, the One, THAT, the root and origin of all, that which has many names and which we know as God. In the process of manifesting on these planes, as the life-wave draws around it vestures of their substance, it takes three main forms, each of which is three-fold in its nature, and each a reflection of that which lies above it. These we have referred to on previous occasions as The Macrocosm or God; The Microcosm or Nature; and the Mesocosm or Man. Man is truly a Bridge, the linking factor through the traversing, or transgression, of which, all Creation can ultimately return to the Creator.
With the two highest planes we need not concern ourselves at the moment, save to note, in passing, that on them occur the first two emanations from the Supreme Unity, these being triple on the highest level and dual on the next. In the higher portion of the third plane, that which for us is the level of pure Spirit, the emanation appears as a unity. This region is the home of the Monad, the truly immortal man.
Commencing, then, with this spiritual level, we have five planes to consider. These are:- i. Spirit, ii. Intuition, iii. Mind, iv. Desire or Emotion, and v. Physical. These levels alternate as planes of Life and of Form. On the levels of Form -physical, mental and spiritual — the Monad sheathes itself in vestures which have definite form and shape and apparently, separate existence; on the levels of Life — those of desire and of intuition — the vestures are of a fluidic nature, taking the shape of the forms on the levels of form which they interpenetrate, as the matter of their own level overlaps that of the levels above and below. Thus it comes about that, on each level of Form, there appear to be two distinct portions, with different attributes. St. Paul says of the physical level that "there is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body" ( 1. Cor., xv, 44). Today we refer to these as the Dense Physical and the Etheric. The Dense Physical, which we think we know so well, and with which we are all so liable to identify ourselves, consists of the matter of the three lowest sub-planes of the seven composing the Physical. These we know as Solid, Liquid and Gaseous. The Etheric Physical level covers the other four sub- planes, commonly designated by the terms, Etheric, Super-Etheric, Sub-Atomic and Atomic.
Jumping to the Mental level, we find two distinct manifestations of mentality, the Concrete Mind and the Abstract Mind, covering four and three sub-planes respectively. The Plane of Desire, home of the emotions, is the fluidic plane which overlaps the Etheric Physical and Concrete Mental levels. On each level the fourth sub-plane appears as a link between the higher and lower aspects of the plane. All that lies between the fourth physical sub-plane and the fourth mental subplane, and which is held together by the fluidity of the desire, is that which is generally termed the Soul. This Soul itself is separable into two parts or aspects, the lower portion being the Animal Soul, and the higher the Human Soul. Above the range of the soul, contact is made with the Buddhic Plane, the level of Intuition and this is another fluidic level, a life-plane. It acts in the same way as Desire, but links the Abstract Mind and the Spirit. We have here the seven-fold man, the seven-in-one, linking Spirit, Intuition, Abstract Mind, Concrete Mind, Desire, Etheric and Dense Physical. The symbol of this septenary division is the Heptagon, which is often further symbolised as the Circle, man circumscribed by the Compasses of his environment in manifestation.
Coming to the Four-fold Man, we find him as i. Dense Physical Body, ii. Personality, which may be taken as practically synonymous with Soul, iii. Individuality, the real manifested man, and iv. Monad, that which serves as a focus on the higher levels of Spirit, that spark of the divine in man which makes him potentially a 'Son of God,' that which is One with God and which is capable of realising itself as such, that of which the sheaths of the matter of the various planes are but temporary vehicles, for use only as such, for the experiencing and subjugation of the matter of these planes. This is the Christ-in- you, the heaven which is at hand, the immediate final goal to which we must return, true Cosmic Consciousness, the point of realisation of self as at one with God.
In the three-fold division of man, the Body and Soul remain as before, but Spirit becomes four-fold, covering the three-fold Individuality and the Monad. The difference between man and the animal kingdom, whose body he occupies, is that he has been awakened upon the level of abstract mind, where he has received the gifts of the Spirit, which include I-ness, the power to say "I am," with liberty of thought, the power of speech and purpose in action. Consciousness is awakening. Man has passed from the highest level of the Microcosm, the animal state; has individualised into the Mesocosm; has started to bridge the gap between Microcosm and Macrocosm. He has initiated the first stages of the Return, the great At-onement. The Spirit in man is the Life when in motion. It is dual when in multiplication and manifestation, Intuition is Spirit in its Life aspect and we generally call it Wisdom and Union; Manas, Formless mind, is Spirit expressing itself as Life in Form, and we normally call it Understanding. "Give me understanding, O Lord, and I will keep Thy law. Yea, I will keep it with my whole heart." Man now ceases to be merely a product of Natural Law, an effect of the working of Nature, and becomes himself a Cause. He commences to create, and the body he occupies and uses when doing so is, therefore, known as the Causal Body. It links the two main divisions of the mental level, Formless and that of form; Understanding and Knowledge. This duality of mind exists both cosmically and in humanity. The higher activities are linked with, and permeated by intuition. The lower activities, those of concrete mind, through the activity of which objective thought is possible, are linked with and permeated by, the matter of the desire level in the Personality.
I am hoping that I have been able to clear up a point which has, I have been told, caused difficulty and which has troubled some brethren who have tried to visualise the emotional nature as a bodily form, such as those which exist on the physical and mental levels. It is somewhat difficult to convey a clear picture of something which has no form of its own, but which depends, as does a liquid in a container on the physical plane, upon the shape of the vessel of etheric or of mental matter into which it pours. The level of Desire is not to be visualised as lying between the physical and mental levels, although, for convenience in distinguishing the various planes, we generally show them diagrammatically as piled like the shelves in a bookcase. Actually, the Emotional nature is much more closely linked with the levels on either side of it, as closely as is the blood with the vascular system and the physical body as a whole. This intimate relationship explains how it comes about that Psychology is so apt to treat the emotions as part of the mental make-up of man.
We now find that sense impressions from the physical environment, aroused through the medium of the five senses customarily in use, are received by the Soul on what we may call an etheric screen which is associated with the fourth physical sub-plane, at what we may perhaps designate as the South pole of the Soul. At the North pole intuitive impressions from the spiritual levels are received on a similar screen on the fourth subplane of mind. Both, at the present stage of development, are acting as receiving stations through which messages are delivered to the soul from below and from above. For convenience, therefore, both may be treated as organs of the Soul itself. The one is neither dense physical nor truly etheric, and the other neither wholly concrete nor wholly abstract mentality.
A careful study of the idea behind the relationships as shown can bring home to the student the paramount importance of the Soul, or Personality in the consideration of the constitution of man.
In all ages, and in many different languages and forms, attempts have been made to convey the sevenfoldness of man's constitution and to arouse consciousness on the seven levels, by ritual utterances of a mantric nature. The sacred word, AUM or OM, is often incorporated in these. We have, for instance, the Two-and-a-half mantram, which uses the word twice, pronounced as tri- syllabic, followed by the single vowel, A. Probably the best-known of all is the Sanskrit "Om, mane padme hum . . ." Here the OM or AUM is in two syllables giving a seven syllable exclamation. The common — and almost universally misunderstood — translation, "Oh, the jewel in the lotus," or, simply, "the jewel in the lotus," should also be pronounced as seven syllables, the translation varying according to the use of the word jewel as being one or two syllables. In our own Craft we make use also of seven syllables, but we distribute them through the three degrees. It is, however significant that we accentuate the fact that they are to be treated separately as syllables.
Companions of the Holy Royal Arch may note that the three methods of the division of man may be represented by three figures which, in combination, make up the central focus of the Chapter.
The five planes upon which the three-fold man has his being can, of course, be linked with the five stages of the Path, the Initiations of the Mysteries, and the corresponding steps in the complete Craft series.
We are now, I think, in a position to catch a glimpse of man as a complete and perfect unit, a son of God, capable of reaching full awareness of his sonship and so of realising his oneness with the Father. Jesus of Nazareth told his disciples, "At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me and I in you." Herein we have the illustration of the final step in the present stage of humanity. Man, as we know him, can say "I am" with some understanding of its implications. In these days of chaos it is being brought home to him that no man can live unto himself alone; we are all interdependent; injury or sorrow coming to one is reflected in all. We are being driven to the next step, the realisation of this interdependence in full measure, the realisation that our neighbour can also say "I am," and, since I am he and he is me, so far as this interdependence is concerned, so I am that "I am — that is tie. Thus only is manhood taken into Godhead, so that it can say, "I AM THAT I AM." Multiplicity is headed towards Unity. Thus it comes about that we must, in our own individual experience, realise that we, each and every one of us, are essential to the working out of the destiny of this world of ours, and of the Scheme of which it is an integral part. As one thinker put it tersely "We are as essential to God, as He is to us." This is a wonderful and inspiring thought. One of the slogans of the last world war comes to life and attains a very much wider application than its originator probably visualised. Truly, and in the cosmic sense, "It all depends on me!" Yes, Brethren, to each one of you I say, with supreme confidence in the absolute truth of the words "It all depends on you." It all depends on you, as a separate, self-conscious, individualised entity, which is, nevertheless, but a facet of the universal unity.
We ourselves are the Living Stones, potentially at least, from which the Temple of the Most High must be fashioned and built up. In considering this analogy there is a point which we, as Freemasons, are only too apt to overlook. We are, most certainly, in the Craft, undergoing a process of training and preparation for the fulfilment of our destiny as perfected ashlars, but we must not forget how much we owe to processes undergone before ever we sought admission to the Lodge. The Candidate for admission to the First Degree does not come in the condition in which the stone was originally quarried, completely rough and unhewn, or, as the operative builder would say, quarry-faced, rock- faced, or self-faced. He is already an ashlar. He has already been rough-hewn. The first of many labours has been performed, by which he comes "properly prepared." The operative labour is called scabbling or scappling and is performed with a scabbling hammer, with which the worst of the superfluous knobs and excrescences have been removed. This tool has a head which is nearly cubical, with a point on one face in the form of a rectangular pyramid. The faces of the ashlar are still rough, there is much superfluity to be removed, but the general outline is cubical. The next labour to be performed is the further rough dressing with a waller's hammer, the shape of which corresponds closely with that of our Common Gavel. This is hammer-dressing and it consists in knocking off the remaining superfluous knobs and excrescences which can safely be dealt with by such methods. Thus the stone is prepared for the hand of the more expert craftsman, who can work with chisel and mallet, saw, axe or any of the many other tools used in the two dozen or so labours by which are produced the varied faces and forms required in the stones, in order that they may fittingly take their places in the situations in which they can best contribute to the splendour and stability of the structure.
That which we know as man began its journey into the far country of material existence as a spark of the Divine, completely unconscious of its own existence and still part of the fire of the Divine from which it sprang. Downward through the various levels of being it plunged, carrying with it the life of the Third Person of the Trinity, the Third Logos, the Holy Spirit, and shedding some of this life on each successive level in its passage, vivifying each in preparation for the return journey which must be undertaken in the distant future. This elemental life is ever seeking rest, that material rest which Ruskin designated the Crystal Rest, that complete materialization found only in the densest of crystals. Reaching the crystal rest, it stays until the balance is somehow upset and the urge to action is reborn in it and around it. It finds itself gradually pushed from below, by the influence of Mother Earth, up through the Physical and Etheric, through the mineral and vegetable kingdoms and the levels of animal desires, helping to build up the forms initiated and vivified by the outpouring of the second Life-wave, that of the Second Person, the Son. It experiments and moulds these forms to meet the needs of its immediate requirements, until there comes the supreme moment when it meets the third outpouring, the Life-wave of the First Person, the Father, by union with which it can individualize and become a potential son of God. Now this life which is to be man finds that it is becoming in a state of tension. The forces which have hitherto been pushing from behind meet the attractive force which acts through the Sun, as focus of the System, and so become forces of retardation symbolised in the force of gravity. Now is born in man that state of eternal struggle and tension through which he can come to know the pairs of opposites. He himself becomes the arena in which the battle is to be waged. Let us see if we can make this more clear by taking an analogy in the electro-magnetic dynamo. Electricity is an aspect of the power of the Third Logos, magnetism of that of the Second Logos, so the analogy is close. The combination of these two forces is found in the electro-magnet, but no external force is apparent until the poles of the magnet are separated. The correspondence, in the soul of man, to the two poles is found in the two sub-planes which we have seen as the fourth of the physical and mental levels respectively, and to which we have already referred as the South and North poles of the Soul. When the poles are separated, a field of force is set up. This field is man. When an armature is fitted between the poles, and so actuated that its windings cut the lines of force in the tense field, power is generated, which manifests as electromotive force, having potential. If an outside circuit is closed a current flows, and this can be used to produce heat, light, work and so on, according to the nature of the circuit. Man, as the tense field, makes contact with the objective world, and each such contact, as it were impinges upon his lines of force, cuts them so that energy is generated in him, which he can apply according to his developed ability and as he wills to do so. At the moment of his contact with the Third Out-pouring, individualization takes place, a unit is detached from the animal group-soul and that unit, from then on, whatever body it may, for a time, continue to use, is a man. The power is born in it to think and to will, so that it can cooperate with its fellow-men in building and controlling the environment in which it will live. The power is latent, like that of the magnetic field. The action of the First Logos completes the circuit and then the cutting of the field of man by the objective universe produces those powers which the will of man can manipulate for good or for evil. As with most analogies, this one must not be pushed too far.
Now this separated unit of consciousness which is man begins to look ahead and, however unconsciously at first, begins to be dissatisfied with the husks of its animal estate and to long for the time when it can return to its father's house. Again it seeks rest, but now it is the Spiritual Rest. But note, it is only when it finds that no man is going to give to it — "and no man gave unto him" — nor, indeed, can take over its responsibility in the matter, that it begins to realise that it is its own job to support itself, to stand on its own feet, to satisfy the needs of its own dissatisfaction and to say, as each must in due course, "I will arise and go to my Father."
Now, perhaps Brethren, you begin to see why I originally chose the word Revolution as my sub-title, although it has now been modified to Return. The event involves a complete revolution, turning round, to enter upon the path of return.
With the coming of self-consciousness, man proceeds to build up the quality of I-ness. Full consciousness of himself as an individual must ultimately supervene. This individual thrives for a time upon opposition, competition and warfare of all kinds. These serve to build up its strength to that level where it has the choice between competition and cooperation. When the self, the "I am," begins to realize itself as an individual, which is, nevertheless, a part of the universal and one with other "I am's," it comes to see itself as "I am that I am" and so enters, with opened eyes, trained in the light of past experience, into the whirlwind of the world of today, where the opposing forces of competition and cooperation are involved in their struggle for the supremacy. By the very fact of the growing power of co-operation the powers of competition have been forced to the front in this struggle. Civilizations come and civilizations go — as they have come and gone in the past but, as we have seen, it now seems to be a case of the struggle being one to decide upon the survival of humanity itself.
In the last great struggle between the forces of good and evil which took place within, and ended with the submergence of, the great Atlantean civilization, the forces of retrogression were too powerful and the human experiment failed. Higher powers were forced to intervene and to destroy the continent with its sixty million inhabitants. Now, the fight is on again, with the added karmic debt of the earlier failure, and we cannot be surprised that it is fierce and prolonged. We are told, further, that this time there will be no outside interferference, since humanity must rely upon its own powers of reason and commonsense for survival.
This is indeed revolutionary.
The persons of the three ruffians of personality which have been at war to oppose the return of man and to leave him "very indecently interred" in the "Tomb of Transgression," cross-purposes and competition, have to be revolutionized, so that, by cooperation of the same three persons or forces, man may be raised to a reunion with them in the roles of "former companions of his toil." Together, man and his companions, with these powers in the ascendant, have toiled to put life into form and further to develop resultant forms; they have struggled for the mastery in the region of the grave of matter; and now a fresh era of cooperation is in view, as man gradually gains the ascendancy. In full co-operation, with the spirit of man in the lead, lies the hope of a suitable environment wherein man may come to perfection, that perfection which is his birthright. The Aspirant must go forward through the various grades in degrees and offices, until he shall attain to full mastery and become worshipful.
It has been suggested that we have traces and hints of the same story in many of our old tales and traditions. There is, for instance, the tale of a youngster who, dissatisfied with his lot in life, decided, poor and penniless as he was, to seek his fortune beyond the wilderness where the banished children of Ham had set up their father's dwelling, calling it Ham's house or Hempstead. Coming to the crest whereon is the Gate of Heaven, Highgate, or, as we might say, coming to the higher levels of consciousness, this boy, who was accompanied by the symbol of the Moon and of Motherhood, a cat, lay down and slept. In sleep, and thus in even higher levels of consciousness, he heard the voice of his Father — the voice of God — speaking from His house or cathedral of St. Paul, in the City of the Lord, Lud-dom or London, calling upon him to return. We are told that the boy's name was Richard Whittington, and it was promised that, if he would return, he would, in due course, become the chief ruler, lord major or Lord Mayor of London. You all know the story well and, in some versions of the tale, the subsequent events, following upon his revolution and return to the city, are full of significance. "Turn again, Whittington," turn back, revolve, return and repent, revise your ideas and thoughts. Come again to repentance and revolution and return to the house of your Lord, your Father. Only so can you yourself have the chance to play your part, the major role in the ruling of your place of origin. You have it in you, if only you play your part worthily and well, and will sufficiently strongly. "It all depends on you!"
Note how, even in small things, man can influence and control nature. In the evolution of the higher forms in the kingdoms below man, we can see almost any day how forms under the influence of man can change, develop and make far more rapid progress than do those left to the slow processes of Nature, and unassisted and uninfluenced by him. It is, to me at least, most interesting to watch how even the weather inclines to be influenced by man. Just as surely as humanity goes crazy, so the weather goes all crazy also.
Man has the duty to learn to contact and control the powers latent within him and by which any required result may be attained. The perfectly natural occurrences which result from the development and proper use of such forces because the powers are not yet normally developed nor recognised, are generally termed miracles. A miracle may, in fact, be defined as "a result obtained by controlled application of a natural force, normally latent and uncontrolled in man, and whose existence is not normally recognised by those who have not yet contacted it in themselves."
I want again to stress the fact that such forces are perfectly natural in man but that, before they can be applied, their existence must be recognised and then they must be cautiously developed until finally they are realised in the individual practitioner, whose duty it then becomes to open up the necessary channels so that the forces may flow freely, although still under control, directed and guided towards some specific goal, in order to achieve certain well-defined results, for the good of humanity in general.
Meanwhile man is moving towards this recognition and control of these powers and, subconsciously, at least, aware of their factual existence, is inventing substitute methods for producing the same or similar results. Almost all these modern scientific developments of which we boast so loudly — radio, radar, telephone, telegraph, television and all the thousand and one gadgets with which we clutter up our environment — are clumsy attempts to imitate and to externalise powers inherent in man himself. Within his own vehicles lie the powers required for seeing, hearing, speaking and acting at any required distance from the point in space occupied by the physical vehicle. When he is able to exercise his inherent powers of levitation he can dispense with such clumsy substitutes as aircraft, and similarly he can develop such powers as will dispense with cranes, bulldozers, grabs and all the other mechanical substitutes he now uses to accomplish his desires. When he develops the power that is in him to disintegrate an article in one place and reintegrate it at will in another, no matter how remote, all the complications of postal services, customs, travel and so on will be obsolete or redundant. Meanwhile he must put up with such clumsy externalizations as he can make and use.
The Ancient Landmarks and the Rituals of the Masonic Craft contain, as I firmly believe, all the necessary instructions for gaining the knowledge, understanding and wisdom all the control and development of the higher functions in man, which are requisite for the application of these inherent powers in the service of humanity by the individual who can realise them as integral parts of himself.
It is not sufficient to gain emotional or intellectual understanding and comprehension of the instructions given. A very much closer and higher association must be attained, something to which possibly the best term we can apply is realisation, using the term in its widest fundamental sense, becoming real. It is a process of absorbing them into himself and being absorbed into them, so that he and the instructions become indistinguishable, so that they can only be lived to the full.
The only complete reality, we cannot reiterate this too often, the only reality of which we have direct empirical proof is "I am." The instructions must become the "I am." Therein alone is Truth, "And God said unto Moses 'I AM THAT I AM'; and He said, 'This shalt thou say unto the Children of Israel, "I AM hath sent me unto you." This is my Name for ever and this is my memorial unto all generations (incarnations). I will bring you up out of the affliction of Egypt......... unto a land flowing with milk and honey.'" (Ex. 111. 14, 15, 17).
We must bear always in mind that this tense field of force which is man can only be potential until such time as outside contacts — objective experiences — produce cutting of the lines of force by transgression through the web of life, in which and by which, buried in the tomb of the material covering of the web itself, man is energised and so becomes creative. The new factor which comes into play is self-consciousness; not merely consciousness, for that he shares with the animal kingdom, the vegetable kingdom, and even with the mineral kingdom, all of which have consciousness more or less developed. The old adage states that "Consciousness sleeps in the mineral, dreams in the vegetable, wakes in the animal and becomes self-conscious in man," or, as it is said of mind, "it is entranced in the mineral, sleeps in the plant, dreams in the animal and wakes in the man." Man adds to mew consciousness of his surroundings and of himself, the ability to see himself as an actor in his environment. The limitation of consciousness is at its greatest in the mineral, but the limitations become less by degrees during the passage through the vegetable and animal states. Within the limitations of the Mineral, the life learns to express itself in the building of geometrical forms through crystallisation. Retaining the capacities learnt therein, it passes to the vegetable state, and there adds new capacities, discovering new ways of self-revelation. When this work is sufficiently developed, it makes use of the experiences and capacities gained in the mineral and plant to build organisms in the animal kingdom, in order that through them it may reveal still more of its hidden attributes, through these more complex and more pliant forms. The next stage of selfrevelation can only take place on the human level. All through these phases the One Life is at work, building, unbuilding, rebuilding, ever evolving higher forms. In man arises the capacity of complete objectivity of outlook, and herein lies tremendous added power.
One writer suggests that it is as if he had been sitting upon a rock, and had been, to all intents and purposes, an integral part of the rock itself. Suddenly, he finds that he is separated and that he is free to move and to get off his perch. Now he finds that he can apply external force to the rock, can move it about and place it as he wishes. Man has become the potential builder, destined to develop further into the skilled craftsman. This development is what we have to carry out on the mental levels. As we learn to appreciate the fact that we can know ourselves as separate from our environment on this mental level, and that we can exercise control over it; as we come to see a space between this environment and ourselves, we find ourselves capable of taking the first step towards full control and mastery therein. It is this separation, this power of I-ness, that comes as the added power over the highest and most developed animal which has not yet found this I-ness. There is a word for it in Sanskrit; AHAMKARA; and in Polynesia such terms as AUMAKUA express the same idea. This is the man-power which enables man to exercise control over Nature and to produce those far finer and more developed products which so greatly surpass anything which Nature can produce without his aid. All such achievements result directly from this power to separate himself and to know himself as "I." When he comes to complete realisation of this fact, man may be said to pass from adolescence to adulthood. The two points of humanity's passing over from infancy to adolescence and from adolescence to adulthood must obviously be critical times in its history. With their coming we would naturally expect to find tremendous stress and strain in human environment.
Let us consider the matter carefully and see if, by analogy or otherwise, we can provisionally locate the positions of these crises in the course of human development, in the known chronology of this globe on which we find ourselves.
Many of you will remember that we devoted some time to the study of the sequence of races and sub- races which go to make up the phases of schooling for this humanity of ours. We studied the sequence of the seven root-races, and saw that each had seven sub-races. The half-way point, the potential turning-point falls in the middle of the fourth sub-race of the fourth root-race. This is the middle point of the middle sub-race of the middle root-race in this, the middle, and most grossly physical planet or globe of the middle round of the middle chain of our planetary scheme. Obviously, it is a unique state of affairs, but, in the evolution of humanity there are two other points of crisis, those which we have seen as passing-over points between major states in growth. If we divide the complete period of human evolution on Earth into three equal portions and allot one portion to each of the three phases, it is at least possible that the two points of section may approximately coincide with these passing-over points. The first of these points would fall at a position one third of the way through the third root-race, which would be in its third sub-race. Now, both the traditions which we have inherited from the past and the results of occult investigation are in agreement that vast changes took place at that time. These changes we will consider in due course.
The second period of crisis, by analogy, would fall in the fifth sub-race of the fifth root-race, where humanity should make the great step from adolescence to adulthood. Once again it is only to be expected that such a change should bring with it vast changes, which would, quite normally, be accompanied by completely chaotic conditions as the old era passes away and the new era is born. Birth and death pangs working together at such a time of crisis can be expected to be almost overwhelming in their magnitude.
Brethren, it is a solemn thought and worthy of our most serious consideration that we who are here assembled in the Dormer Masonic Study Circle this afternoon are, in very large measure, members of the fifth sub-race of the Aryan root-race, which is the fifth of the root-races. The Sixth Root-race, the first root-race in which the adult qualities of humanity may be expected to manifest in the race as a whole, is already being born in our midst, and we know, without any possible shadow of doubt, from our everyday experience, what chaos can be like. We have only to consider for a moment the conditions under which we have to live out our lives on Earth today.
We can make a check up on these stages and conditions with which we have been dealing if we make a close study of the development in the child of our race. Each child, while still in the womb, passes through a brief resume, complete in itself, of the whole evolutionary process, passing through all the successive phases which recall the forms and anatomical details of the animal evolution before it became vertebrate, and through the mammalian phases to that of the human form. From the moment of birth there is a similar resume of the parallel psychological evolution. From the details of these two, by analogy, we can deduce, with fair certainty, the phases through which the race must pass in the higher evolutionary process of the Spirit, as man steps out upon the return journey, bearing with him the accumulated fruits of his sojourn in the planes of matter. Man, the Monad, functioning in his individuality of Pure Spirit, Intuition and Abstract Mind, takes unto himself a new vehicle of his own fashioning in mental matter. This is the Causal Body and in it he comes down to Earth to incarnate and to gain further self-conscious experience. Prototypes of the bodies he is to occupy upon the lower planes have already been prepared. A prototype in the material world of today, is the first model of anything, every part calculated, designed and fashioned by the brain and hand of a craftsman, skilled in his own particular work. Each part has been tested by experts so that its capabilities and performances may be known as fully as possible, before it is put into mass-production.
At this early stage man is mindless and he remains so during the first two root-races and a part of the third. As he progresses through these 16 to 17 sub-races he develops bodies differing in each successive stage with his changes in spiritual growth. Reproduction in the earliest times is by fission. The physical vehicle is like that of the amoeba, a jelly-like object capable of adapting any part of its periphery to any sense required and for any object it may have in view. It is all ear, all eye, all nose, all mouth, all contactual as required by the need of the moment. It can absorb into itself anything that it fancies, can digest it and thrive upon it, eliminating all unwanted matter, and all this it can do without any developed or specialised organ. Gradually this stage is left behind and the next reproductive method is by budding, such as we can see in use today in the higher forms of protozoa. Development continues, new forms are evolved, some experiments are failures, others are successes and lead to better forms and better conditions until manifestation of sex takes place, the form being hermaphrodite. With the coming of the third sub-race of the third root-race comes the great upheaval when mind is born in the time of the separation of the sexes. I-ness is reached and, with the cleavage between the poles comes the tension in the field, leading to the recognition of pairs of opposites in the environment and consequent flow of force. Pain and sorrow, joy and pleasure, these and all the other pairs of opposites come into existence for man, and through direct contact with either one of, any pair comes recognition and knowledge of its opposite.
In the story of the rise of our humanity under the generic name of Adam, which we can read in the Book of Genesis, we are given a clear picture of the general course of events, if only we can clear our minds of the limited concept of the story as being that of a single individual and see it as the story of the whole human family.
At first this humanity of ours is mindless, living in blissful ignorance and innocence in the garden of this world, under the rule and guidance of Divine Kings, supermen who completed their evolution as men in some previous Scheme, and who now incarnate as leaders, to guide and help the evolution of, infant humanity. During this period of infancy, humanity inhabits vehicles which, by the close of that period, have reached the reptilian stage. It has passed through the phases of multiplication by fission in the amoebic stage, by budding in the protozoic stage, and has reached the stage of wearing a vehicle which is androgynous. This premental stage is that of Adam in the Garden in the original ignorance and innocence. This is the true Garden of Eden, in which humanity developed the mammalian vehicle but remained mindless. Adam-Eve, as a unity, can only be incapable of distinguishing self from not- self. It is like the present day human baby, who cannot distinguish between the ticking of the click and its own heart beats, or between the roar and rumble of wind and thunder outside and the roar and rumble of wind in his own viscera. So long as the perfect balance is maintained nothing happens consciously. Until there is a field of force to be cut by the wire there is no current generated in the dynamo. Until the balance of a spinning top, rotating so rapidly that it appears to be at rest, is upset, it cannot be distinguished from the same top actually balanced and at rest. There are a number of chemical elements which are inert, incapable of reaction or combination with any other element, until their balance is upset by adding or subtracting an electron, when they promptly start to do such things as they had never done before, combining with other elements to form substances previously unknown. In Freemasonry when one stands ready to take one of the regular steps the body is in perfect balance. If you will try the experiment for yourself, watching closely what happens, you will find that without first throwing the body out of balance it is impossible to take the step. The moment, however, that the body is really off its balance, the step becomes necessary if the body is to remain upright. The story of the phase of which we have been speaking has survived in legends of the Golden Age. Adam-Eve, although mindless, was still able to function as a creator, as is evinced in the giving of names — this, by the bye, does not necessarily mean that these names could be represented by sounds — to all the bodies in turn which were built and developed and which, having been discarded by him, were taken over by less developed beings who vivified them and built them into the kingdoms of Nature as we know them today.
The event which upset the balance in the androgynous Adam-Eve was the separation of the sexes. Adam-Eve as such was mindless, ignorant, innocent, incapable of separating itself from its surroundings, but, by a reaction with the vegetable kingdom, all this was changed. With the separation of the sexes there came into being the unbalanced pairs of opposites, just as the breaking of a magnetised ring brings into being the positive and negative poles of the magnet.
The intuitive female principle then meets the Serpent — not then, be it noted, the evil principle with which it was later confused, but the representative of the serpent-fire, KUNDALINI, the fire of the awakening consciousness. The old name for this serpent was the Dragon and, in our star-maps today, the constellation DRACO is represented as a serpent. The Dragon was a name given to the Master of the Wisdom and it was applied to the Lords of the Flame who came over from the advanced humanity of the planet Venus to take over the guidance of our Earth humanity until such time as adequate numbers of its own members should be sufficiently evolved to take over the reins, "the first-born among many brethren." These are the great ones referred to by St. Paul :-
"And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them that are called according to His purpose. For whom He did fore-know, He also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the first-born among many brethren. Moreover whom He did predestinate, them He also called; and whom He called, them He also justified; and whom He justified, them He also glorified."
In our masonic symbolism the predestined mason is called to be an E.A.; the E.A. is justified as a F.C.; and the F.C. is glorified in becoming a M.M. This is a first adumbration of the greater calling, justification and glorification which is to come.
Through the intervention of the Dragon, Adam-Eve humanity, no longer a unity but a duality, becomes capable of separating itself from its environment, and of exercising free-will and choice. It becomes, in effect, a composite being, conscious of itself as a separate entity and now, for the first time, in its multiple form, able to think, to communicate with others of its units by speech, and to act for itself, thus contravening the Divine Law, should it desire to do so. This freedom it immediately put into effect by an act of transgression. With this trespass, this contravention of established law, came even greater freedom, but this freedom also bore fruit in the coming of pain, suffering, old age and death. Was this as bad as it sounds? I think not for, with the coming of these apparent evils, came also the possibility of appreciating their opposites, health, joy, growth and life. Thus, the separation of the sexes brought with it the power to appreciate the pairs of opposites.
From this point on, man leaves his infancy, he puts away childish things and becomes a man indeed, true adolescent man, capable at last of growth towards the third great stage, that of adulthood.
To attain to freedom in any sphere of life it is necessary to enter into it consciously, to learn to obey its laws, to throw into it all our energies, to lose ourselves in it, to become one with it, identifying ourselves with it. We must contact every aspect of it before we can withdraw from it sufficiently to be able to objectivise it, to make of it a controlled, objective environment rather than a controlling subjective state of being. In it we must become capable of creation through mastery and ability to take full responsibility for our actions.
Just as the molten metal poured from a crucible into a mould takes the form of the inside of that mould and solidifies in that shape and then remains a useful article, although now fixed and incapable of change, so Freemasonry, set in a fixed mould can be equally fixed and inert, yet retain something of its usefulness. Its molecular structure can regain its fluidity by pressure from within and application of power from without. It may seem, for the moment, lifeless, but, within it retains the potentiality of change and growth. As the individual brethren the molecules which go to make up the whole, develop their higher powers and begin to have life in themselves, that life can be communicated to the Craft as a whole, producing renewed activity, just as heat applied to the crucible can restore fluid to the contained metal by the activisation of its molecules. We, by our activity, can activate the life in the Craft, can bring it from inertia to motion, from coma to vivid life, from sleep to full awareness of its destiny.
Living, for the animal, can only be single-minded and on the concrete levels but it is free, spontaneous, joyous and instinctive if uninterfered with from without. For humanity, the development of the duality of mind makes living in the body a tangled and complex affair, with war in its members, but we can look forward to the next stage, wherein single-mindedness reappears, but now centred in the abstract levels, Humanity will become spiritually minded, consciousness of differences will fade and will no longer affect us; lack of uniformity will be seen as the essence of unity, necessary for its understanding and appreciation. We, ourselves, are the unifying force than can bring about this revolution.
We meditate upon Freemasonry, we study it, we work in the Lodge today, as those who toil to prepare the Temple of the Future. Each also works in his own lodge-self. When the Temple is prepared the life will flow in. Our chief difficulty in preparing the necessary accommodation and environment lies in the accumulation of deposited rubbish which covers the site whereon we would build, so that cleansing, restoration and even rebuilding are required. We cannot simply call upon the spirit to perform the work for us for "the spirit bloweth where it listeth." If we can prepare ourselves to have "life and to have it more abundantly" the energy liberated by our own "inner working" on each level, has power of control on that level and on all levels below it. The higher the level on which we can work, the greater the power at our command. To live creatively in everyday life, by the power thus liberated, is just one of the lessons which the Craft has to teach us. Full control in any one cosmos means the potentiality to deal with any cosmos. Our concept of this Universe has expanded considerably during the last half century, and we find the old maxim "as above, so below" gaining more and fuller meaning as we study the concept of a universe comprising millions of island universes at the one end of the scale and the comparable build-up of the atom at the other. Everywhere the same basic laws can be observed in operation and the great ideal of Universal Brotherhood as a fact in Cosmic Law reigns throughout all creation. The brotherhood of humanity is no idealistic dream and illusion but is Cosmic fact and the only full, satisfying and profoundly urgent answer to the vital problems which press upon humanity today. Within the heart of every human being today God is trying to express Himself. All the puzzles of this life begin to melt away when we lay them beside the FACT of Brotherhood. Life is again filled with purpose.
What, after all, is the sum total of the belief of any man? All belief, in the summing-up, must be temporary. In, say, a year's time it is almost impossible to conceive that the belief of any one of us will be completely the same as it is today. If it should remain static, then we will not have grown. We are today passing through what has been termed "the vast middle belt of experience." We should constantly be studying the important subject of ourselves and our interwoven relations with others, seeking ever to find something new, something good, something that will lead to better understanding and bring us closer together. We must grow through the regions of knowledge in the concrete mind and of understanding in the abstract mind to that wisdom which is intuitive, in contact with the Universal Mind. The technique of research on all levels is the same. First collect material and study it, then arrange and classify facts, and then draw conclusions to form a working hypothesis which can be used to point to new possibilities, probabilities and established facts.
Well, Brethren, I am afraid that this must appear to you to have been a somewhat rambling discussion. I said at the commencement that I proposed to deal with only limited aspects of the problem of Freewill and Predestination but, quite inadvertently, "mair by luck than guid guidance" as the old Scottish saying goes, we seem to have arrived at a point where our masonic studies can suggest an answer to the problem, which is, at least, reasonable and logical.
"Freewill and Predestination." The time-honoured and threadbare old argument goes on, yet it would seem that there can be no real doubt as to the solution and we seem to have done more than we set out to do. We have reached a conclusion — whether it is fully right or wrong does not matter in the least, so long as it makes us think and gives a new stepping-off place in our study. And the conclusion is this:- Freewill and Predestination, as is the case with all other pairs of opposites, are aspects of the same thing. Neither the one nor the other can be conceived nor apprehended apart from the other. They are completely interdependent.
As Freemasons, we claim to have full freedom of choice. Let us use that freedom wisely, for, each time we make use of our freewill to make a choice, we condemn ourselves to the carrying out of that choice until such time as we are faced with another choice to be made. And so the wheel of life goes round. We use freewill to predestine the circumstances in which we shall use freewill to predestine the circumstances in which....... and so ad infinitum, or, until we develop commonsense, that rarest of all treasures. Newton's law "To every action there is an equal and opposite reaction" is of universal application.
So long as we continue to sow causes, we must continue to reap effects. From this it becomes patently obvious that our ancient brethren were completely reasonable when they laid down the qualifications for the Path of Discipleship:- Discrimination, Desirelessness, Good Conduct and Love. These come naturally from the practice of controlled freewill and calculated predestination, and merge into life; life that is full, all-sufficient and eternal.
We have sown the wind and are reaping the whirl-wind. May it teach us to be more careful in our sowing, for :-
"Be not deceived: God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap."
In closing, Brethren, I would ask you to join with me in that wonderful Masonic act of prayer, which came from the mind and pen of our late W. Bro. W. L. Wilmshurst, for use at Lodge Closing :-
"O Sovereign and Most Worshipful of all Masters, who, in Thy infinite love and wisdom, hast devised our Order as a means to draw Thy children nearer to Thee, and hast so ordained its Officers that they are emblems of Thy seven-fold power;
"Be Thou unto us an Outer Guard, and defend us from the perils that beset us when we turn from that which is without to that which is within;
"Be Thou unto us an Inner Guard, and preserve our souls that desire to pass within the portal of Thy holy mysteries;
"Be unto us the Younger Deacon, and teach our wayward feet the true and certain steps upon the path that leads to Thee : Be Thou also the Elder Deacon, and guide us up the steep and winding stairway to Thy throne;
"Be unto us the Lesser Warden, and in the meridian sunlight of our understanding speak to us in sacraments that shall declare the splendours of Thy unmanifested light;
"Be Thou also unto us the Greater Warden, and in the awful hour of disappearing light, when vision fails and thought has no more strength, be with us still, revealing to us, as we may bear them, the hidden mysteries of Thy shadow;
"And so, through light and darkness, raise us, Great Master, till we are made one with Thee, in the unspeakable glory of Thy presence in the East."
So mote it be.
Peace to All Beings.