The Raising of the Dead 3

(FREEMASONRY AND THE PAULINE DOCTRINE OF THE GREAT WORK)

CONCLUSION: THE SUPERPHYSICAL WORLD.

..... figuratively speaking, an ethereal mansion,
veiled from mortal eyes by the starry firmament....
(Masonic Ritual)

In my Father's house are many mansions.
(St. John 14-2)

We learn from a study of the Mystery systems of
antiquity that a most important part of the curriculum
was instruction in Cosmology, the science of the
Universe. The intention of such instruction was to
disclose to candidates seeking initiation the physical
and metaphysical constitution of the world, and to
illustrate to them the place and destiny of man in it.
They were enlightened not only upon the visible aspect
of the Universe and of themselves, but also upon the
physically unseen and impalpable aspect, and were shown
how the complex human organism reproduces the Macrocosm
or Great World and summarises it in small. They learned
of the continual flux of matter, of the transiency of
all bodily forms, and of the abiding permanence of the
one Life or Spirit which, they were taught, has
descended and embodied itself in an endless but
progressive variety of forms from the mineral up to the
human, with the purpose of generating eventually a
finished produce as the result of the mighty process.
As an essential part of their education they were
taught of the different levels and graduations of the
Universe, the planes and sub-planes of it, upon which
the great scheme is being carried out; which levels and
planes, all progressively linked together, constitute,
as it were, one vast ladder comprised of many rounds,
staves, or rungs. Candidates in the old systems were
instructed in these matters before being admitted to
Initiation, and the knowledge served to explain to them
their own nature and constitution, as well as their
place in the World-system. The modern Freemason,
however, is left entirely without any cosmologic
instruction, with the result that Brethren nowadays
may, or may not, discern for themselves that the symbol
of a simple Ladder displayed on the Lodge Tracing
Board in the First degree is intended to covertly
emphasis the old cosmological teaching. We need not in
this plane attempt to justify this interpretation of a
familiar Masonic symbol; it should be sufficient for
the purpose of students to note that 'Jacob's Ladder'
is a well known symbol of the Universe, and of its
succession of step-like planes reaching from the depths
to the heights. It is written elsewhere that the
Father s House has many mansions; many levels and
resting places for His creatures in their different
conditions and degrees of progress, and it is these
levels, these planes and subplanes, that are denoted by
the rungs and staves of the ladder. And of these there
are, for us in our present stage of evolutionary
unfoldment, three principal ones; the physical plane,
the plane of desire and emotion, and the mental plane
or that of the abstract intelligence which links up to
the still higher plane of the spirit. These three
levels of the world are reproduced in man. The first
corresponds with his material physique, his sense-body;
the second with his desire and emotional nature, which
is a mixed element resulting from the interaction of
his physical senses and his ultra-physical mind; the
third with his mentality, which is still farther
removed from his physical nature and forms the link
between the physical nature and his spiritual being.
The ladder, and its three principal staves, may be seen
everywhere in Nature. It appears in the septenary scale
of musical sound with its three dominants; in the
prismatic scale of light with its three primary
colours; in the septenary physiological changes or our
bodily organism, and in the similar periodicities known
to physics and indeed to every branch of physical
science. Thus the Universe and man himself are
constructed ladder-wise, in an orderly organised
sequence of steps. The one universal substance
composing the differentiated parts of the Universe
"descends" from a state of the utmost ethereality by
successive steps of increasing densification until
gross materialisation is reached; and thence "ascends"
through a similarly ordered gradation of planes to its
original plane, but enriched by the experience gained
by its activities during the process. It was this
cosmic process which was the subject of the dream or
vision of Jacob, a prototype of real Initiation, and
which accounts for "Jacob's Ladder" being given
prominence in our Masonic symbolism. The Initiate is
able to "see the angels of God ascending and
descending ; that is, he can directly behold the great
stairway of the Universe and watch the intricate but
orderly mechanism of involution, differentiation,
evolution, and re-synthesis, constituting the Life-
process. He can witness the descent of human souls
through planes of increasing density and decreasing
vibratory rate, gathering around them as they come
veils of matter from each, until finally this lowest
level of complete materialisation is reached, where the
struggle for supremacy between the spirit and the
flesh, between the real self and the unreal selves and
veils built around it, has to be fought out on the
chequer-work floor of our present existence, among the
black and white opposites of good and evil, light and
darkness, prosperity and adversity. And he can watch
the upward return of those who conquer in the strife
and, attaining their regeneration and casting off or
transmuting the "worldly possessions" acquired during
their descent, ascend to their Source, pure and
unpolluted from the stains of this imperfect world.
Jacob's vision and ladder, therefore, exemplify the
attainment of Initiation, the expansion of
consciousness that comes when the Light of the centre
is found, and the cosmic vision that then becomes
possible. But the privilege of being able to ascend and
descend upon the ladder of the Universe at will is one
that is restricted to those who are "well skilled in
the science", and since we ourselves cannot claim to be
more than novices we must proceed cautiously in our
attempt to portray what our system terms "the hidden
mysteries of nature and science."

The ancient maxim "Know thyself" was coupled with
another, "Ne quid nimis", 'Nothing in excess"; for the
science can only be learned and applied gradually; it
will unfold itself more and more as it is diligently
studied and pursued. Along what lines, then, should our
studies be directed? For the purpose of the subject now
before us this question is not difficult to answer, for
on the strength of many accredited authorities we learn
that there are two methods, and only two methods, by
means of which the superphysical world may become
apprehended by the human mind. The first method, which
is relatively swift, immediate, and self-convincing, is
by the development of the spiritual consciousness; the
second, which is slow, gradual, laborious, and
tantalising, is along the line of scientific research
and intellectual investigation. It will be found that
all the great religions, and especially the Vedanta
philosophy, emphasis this conclusion. The Vedanta
inculcates that the superphysical world may be
apprehended by the methods of:

SANKEYA: Intellectual discernment.

YOGA: Mystical devotion to the Supreme, and it is made
quite clear that the greater of these methods is YOGA.
Moreover, the "Logia" or all the Wisdom-teachers or the
past inculcate self-knowledge, or the development of
the spiritual self, as the infallible method of
cognition of a world other and higher than the physical
world. And in all ages the witness of the Wisdom-
teachers has been round to be faithful and true, for in
all ages there have been strenuous seekers of "the
Kingdom within" to whom a transcendental world has been
opened and proved as objective a reality as the
physical. Meditative mystics, introspective saints,
simple men, often unlettered but pure in heart, in
moments of exalted consciousness, have been, in St.
Paul's graphic symbolism, "caught up into paradise, and
heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a
man to utter" (2nd. Corinthians, 12-4), or undergone
remarkable experiences of a like character. The most
valuable achievement of modern psychology is that it
has silenced those who alleged such experiences to be
the hallucinations of deranged visionaries, and has
formulated the inductions that the mind has a reality
of its own independent of the physical order; that a
noumenal world is positively as existent as the
phenomenal, and is one whence there perpetually issue
streams of life and light and inspiration to the soul
of man, whether he be conscious of the fact or not. But
those who have followed the true "principia" of
knowledge, and in any age have become spiritually
conscious of a superphysical world are an almost
infinitesimal minority; humanity in the mass has
consistently ignored their methods and denied the
validity of their results. Indeed, men have become so
utterly sceptical of all but material phenomena, that
when psychical phenomena demand consideration, they
promptly refuse to make an investigation on the grounds
that such phenomena can only be classed as fraudulent.
Certain scientific leaders of world-wide repute,
however, have investigated, and, what is more, have
certified the genuineness of the phenomena. They are
now discovering, one by one, a number of other facts
with which the world, today weary of materialism, may
refresh itself and enlarge its aspect of the Cosmos.

The representatives of our modern school of physical
research are prone to remind us that the last four
centuries have been centuries of unprecedented
scientific discovery. Undoubtedly they have; but we
might also, in justification of the psychological
aspect, remind them that so far the attempt to explain
the Universe in the terms of physical energy has
brought us into an impasse, for this suggests the
question whether we may not have fared better had we
reversed the process and taken as our starting-point,
instead of the atomic structure of matter and the law
of the conservation of energy, the structure of our own
wills and the system of ends of which consciousness in
its essence consists. Time is ill spent in bemoaning
lost opportunities, but we can scarcely refrain from
reflecting what our knowledge of the Universe might
have been today, and how our sociological conditions
might have stood at present, had psychology rather than
physics been our chief study. Rightly viewed, then, the
epoch of scientific investigation which began four
centuries ago, and the end of which is not yet, should
be classed as one not so much of discovery as of
disillusionment. Let us consider for a moment, not as
discoveries but as disillusionings, a few of the chief
conclusions or scientific thought in regard to the
material Universe. To do so will serve two purposes of
great advantage to us as Masonic students:

(1)..It will assist us in formulating on an
intellectual and scientific basis an apprehension of
the superphysical world

(2)..It will also make clear to us how essential to
formulating such an apprehension it is to beware of
trusting too implicitly in ordinary utilitarian sense
perceptions.

The first step in the process of disillusionment was
the recognition of the crude fact that the earth is not
flat but globular. Then the geocentric theory of the
earth's position proved to be illusory, and from a
position of supposed paramountly in the Universe, our
world became degraded to an insignificant, ephemeral
mite, floating in a void. Under the development of
astronomical science, man and his habitation appeared
to be- of no account, so infinitely small were he and
it as compared with the cosmic bulk. Turning his
attention away from the abysses of space the scientist
centred his thought on the material constitution of his
own world, only to meet with further surprises. Matter
which had been reduced to a number of elements,
elements which had been resolved to primal atoms,
became "explained away" into the abstract substance
known as ether. The atom was found capable of being
split; scientists had been deceived in their conception
of the ultimate constituents of physical matter; the
very name atom became obsolete and a misnomer, for
whole universes or invisible corpuscles were now
conceived as swinging, freely and roomily as sidereal
systems in the heavens above. And lastly, the void our
world seemed to float in has proved to be the greatest
illusion of all. The postulation of the interstellar
ether, and of the fact that the gross matter is but a
modification of that supersensuous substance,
necessitates the corollary that we ourselves are placed
and safely packed away within a Cosmos of which we are
an integral factor, and one whose remotest parts must
needs be fashioned of the same raw material as
ourselves, to whatever modification of form that
material may, at any given place, be subject. Thus the
physicist who- not long ago believed himself to be
dealing with ponderable ultimates, and who was
constrained, almost against his will, to become a
materialistic philosopher, is today aware that, as
regards his ordinary sense-perceptions, he might almost
as well be a blind man; for he knows himself to be
concerned with material so attenuated, subtle, and
elusive as, of itself to afford him no philosophic
foothold, and to be engaged in abstractions so refined
as to necessitate the use of faculties that transcend
the utilitarian. Moreover, if to the conclusions of
inorganic physics we add those of biology (or organic
physics), we are met by some further significant facts.
It is acknowledged that in our brains, the organs
through which our consciousness operates, there is
found to be a surplusage of cerebral development beyond
the needs of a material struggle for life - a fact
which leaves a door open for the possible solution of
many psychical phenomena whose reality is already
established, as well as giving promise of the maturing
of other faculties latent within us; for another
induction of biology is that Nature's method is to
create the organ long in advance of the owner's
capacity to use it.

At this juncture we may perhaps legitimately enquire,
what is the place and destiny of man amid this
everlasting flux of matter, this kaleidoscopic world of
illusion? What guarantee has man that his present
knowledge of the physical world is not illusory; that
even primordial ether and the inferences to be drawn
from it will not in turn prove to be illusions that
will give way under further research? - To answer truly
we must admit - there is no guarantee: it is more
likely than not that we shall still continue to be
undeceived. Already mathematical analysis of the ether
suggests that, abstraction though it be, more remote
and refined physical substrata must be imagined in
order to make good even our present conception of it,
for its assumed rigidity must be secured by the
hypothetical motion of some still more primal material.
There are, indeed, ethers within the ether, and it
should be borne in mind that by Hindu philosophers five
ethers, and their respective vibratory qualities, are
recognised, of which only one, the luminiferous, is at
present apprehended by us. Yet, despite this
bewildering thought, we must bear witness to the dictum
of the psychologist, that notwithstanding this shadow-
lay of unrealities, and the exposed trickeries of
sense, the revelation of fresh and possibly equally
fallacious aspects of the material world, human
consciousness may stand firm and unblenched. The mind
has a reality of its own quite outside the physical
order - a mental plane, from the security of which it
may contemplate, without fear of being overwhelmed, the
shadow - dance of matter, and watch the wondrous
unfolding of world upon world without end. We would
also call attention to the fact that physics, in first
of all postulating the presence of an all pervading
medium, and then resolving gross matter into that
medium as its primal constituent, has opened up to us
some of the most extraordinary mental pictures it-has
ever been the fortune of the human intellect to
contemplate. It invites us, as Hegel once said of the
study of philosophy, to stand on our heads, and our
amazement increases as we behold the abstruse
technicalities of science to be invested with an
undreamed-of moral value. Indeed, we have not yet
become habituated to the conception, so utterly
subversive of all preconceptions based on the evidence
of our sense faculties that we live and move, not in a
void but in a solid, not in a "vacuum" but in a
"plenum". We are, however, beginning to perceive that
by the intellectual investigation of the remoter parts
and more secret laws of Nature, physical science has
come at last to those eternal principles which have
been proclaimed throughout the ages. Like the harmless,
necessary phagocytes that swarm within our bodies,
microscopic beings to which the confines of our blood-
vessels constitute all their universe, we human mites
and all the stellar systems are conceived as ranging
about within the stupendous organism of some vast Being
for whose well-being, we too are necessary. The words
of St. Paul: "In Him we live and move and have our
being" take on a new significance, deeper and more
profound. From the latest scientific mental picture of
the material Cosmos two consolatory certainties emerge
clearly: First, it is a unity; whether finite or
infinite in magnitude, and despite its myriad
modifications of form, it is a true "Unun-versum", in
which (except relatively to sense perceptions) there is
no up of down, no near of far, no past of future; in
which no part can be intrinsically greater of less than
another, and the inherent energy and/of material
substance of which, however gross or rare for the time
being, must be eternally conserved, as physical science
indeed claims that they are. Secondly: if, by the
displacement of the geocentric theory, our world be
deemed to have lost dignity, that seeming loss is
restored by the knowledge that it is also one knit in a
community of constitution and material with the rest.
Admittedly, the mechanical laws of that all-pervading
entity postulated by physical science are not yet
known, but something of its potentialities is obvious
from the phenomena of light and of the waves of
electro-magnetic force artificially generated-for the
purpose of wireless telegraphy. When, however, these
laws of the ether come to be understood and it is
possible to link up the further knowledge thence
derived with that of psycho-physics, there will
doubtless be at our disposal an intelligible-
explanation of those complex inter-actions of-mind and
matter classified as telepathy, clairvoyance,
clairaudience, and psychometry, which at present rest
outside the pale of official science through the
absence of any known principle co-ordinating them with
other recognised phenomena. In other words, our
relation to the psychic, and the difference which
exists for us between the physical and the psychic,
will be more correctly defined when we clearly
understand the extremely intricate connection and
interdependence of physical and superphysical matter.
This brings us to another consideration; concurrently
with this advance into the "penetralia" of the Cosmos
along the lines of physics, an auxiliary road of
approach has been opened for us by mental science. The
main problem of modern psychology is: given an Ego with
an imperishable reality of its own, independent of the
physical order, and functioning through the limitations
of the mortal brain, what does it perceive and how far
are its perceptions likely to be true of false to other
fundamental realities? Psychologists find that the two
chief obstacles to right thinking and larger mental
vision are our ideas of Space and Time, which although
useful enough conceptions for our present utilitarian
purposes, have in reality no existence in themselves.
Space has been defined as "room to move about", but we
must accord to this definition the utmost liberty of
interpretation, for we must conceive of space not alone
as room to move ponderable bodies in; we must extend
this to include room to think, to feel, to overtake
felicities and knowledges unguessed by experience and
preposterous to common sense. Space is not measurable:
we attribute dimensionality to space because such is
the method of the mind; and that dimensionality we
attribute to space is progressive because progression
is a law of the mind. Here a further question arises:
is it not possible to suppose that the physical is
separated from the psychic by four-dimensional space,
i.e., that a physiological process, passing into the
domain of a fourth dimension, produces there effects
which we call feeling of thought? Our conception of
space is called three dimensional because it takes
three numbers measurement in three mutually
perpendicular directions - to determine and mark out
any particular point from the totality of points. Time
also, as the individual experiences it, is called one-
dimensional for an analogous reason: one number is all
that is required to determine and mark out any
particular event of a series from all the rest. Space
and Time, therefore, are instruments of the mind, and
despite appearances to the contrary they are not
realities; they only afford us the possibility of a
comprehensive co-ordination of sense elements, of time-
ing and space-ing physical things. Dimensionality is
the mind's method of mounting to the idea of the
infinity of space, and when we speak of the fourth
dimension what we mean is the fourth stage in the
apprehension of that infinity. We might as legitimately
speak of a fifth dimensions but the profitlessness of
any discussion of a fifth and higher stages lies in the
fact that they can be intelligently approached only
through the fourth, which is still largely
unintelligible.

To return again to physics; in the domain of physics
more than in any other, scientific theories differ-
from ordinary life conceptions, and this is because of
a direct orientation in the world of phenomena it is
necessary to distinguish matter from energy. In
ordinary life the three generally accepted states of
physical matter - solid, liquid; and gaseous - can be
distinguished indisputably only when they appear in
their "classical" forms; for example: a piece of iron,
the water-in a river, the air we breathe. Very often,
therefore, we do not know exactly when one state passes
into the other, and we cannot draw a definite line of
demarcation between them. We presume that different
states of matter are dependent upon the speed and
properties of molecular motion, but we distinguish
these states solely by their external traits, which are
inconstant and often become intermixed. We have, then,
to learn to discriminate between appearances and
realities; and on regarding a given object, not to say,
"This is so and so because it so appears to me", but to
ask, "What are the limitations of my mind which make me
thus perceive this?"; and so gradually to clarity our
minds of seeing things in their true selves and not
merely their outward forms. If we do not-understand the
true methods of perception of physical things, how
shall we be able to judge of the transcendental and the
superphysical? The ordinary man, equipped of the
material struggle in the arena of life, and unconscious
of any but utilitarian ends, is as a rule satisfied
with the world as it appears to him; the world is real
to him since he lives in it; he knows, and wants to
know, no more. But, if he be constrained to take
consciousness to pieces and examine its content, he
finds it adjusted to rudimentary purposes, and that
what he has regarded as real and objective is so only
upon its own plane; from the higher plane, to which "ex
hypothesi" he-truly belongs, the three-dimensional
world is unreal and subjective. And to him may come an
experience which an echo of the voice of the Wisdom-
teacher bidding him, Renounce; rid yourself of
deceptive preconceptions if you would be born again and
look with larger vision. The change in intellectual
outlook intimated here has been well called a process
of "casting out the self", for it- is by the removal of
obstructing factors from our thought, and by seeing
things in their abstract essence, that we learn to see
them-as they really are, while in doing so we lose
sight of self and develop inevitable altruism. True
knowledge, however, comes only to those who are fitted
and willing to receive it, and our Initiation into "the
hidden mysteries of nature and science" demands a
progressive obedience to the fundamental law of self
sacrifice. In-the Mystery systems of antiquity there
existed a consecutive and graduated order of
initiation. The candidate in order to be advanced to a
higher degree had to pass through a certain definite
course of preparation; he was then subjected to the
required tests, and- only after he had satisfactorily
passed all the tests, and had proved that his
preparation had been on the right lines, was he allowed
to proceed.

One of the first things that the candidate in the old
systems learned was the impossibility of following a
path of his own choice; he was warned of the danger
which awaited him in he did not carry out all the
preparatory rituals and ceremonies prescribed before
the actual initiation was conferred. The ancients
understood far better than we do today that the
reception of a new idea requires special preparation;
they also understood perfectly that an idea caught in
passing can easily be seen in a wrong light, of
received in a wrong way, and they were aware that a
wrongly received idea can produce undesirable and even
disastrous results. We may observe the same system of
gradual preparation of the reception of new ideas in
the rituals of magic; indeed, a strict and unswerving
observance of various small rules, which often appear
incomprehensible, is uniformly demanded by all the
rituals of ceremonial magic. There are many accounts of
the penalties imposed of the violating of the secrets
of the Mysteries, and many legends of magicians who
invoked a spirit but lacked the power to control it.
All these instances, of men who broke the ritual of
initiation in the Mysteries, or of magicians who
invoked spirits stronger than themselves, equally
represent, in allegorical form, the position of a man
in relation to new ideas which are too strong of him,
and which he cannot handle because he has not the
required preparation. The old psychology understood
that the mind is incapable of receiving ideas of
different kinds simultaneously or out of the right
order, and that it cannot pass without preparation from
ideas of one order-to ideas of another order. Modern
thought does not recognise this at all; existing
psychology and the theory of knowledge fails to
discriminate between different orders of ideas, and
neglects to point out that some ideas are very
dangerous and cannot be approached without long and
complicated preparation. Yet in other domains we
moderns understand this perfectly; we concede that it
is impossible to handle a complicated machine without
adequate knowledge; that it is impossible without
knowledge and practice to drive an express railway
engine; that it is impossible without knowing all the
details to touch the numerous parts of a high powered
electric machine. An idea is also a machine of enormous
power, but this is exactly what modern thought does not
realise; every idea is a complicated and delicate
machine, and in order to know how to handle it, we must
first of all possess a great amount of purely
theoretical knowledge combined with a large amount of
experience and practical training.

Now, the greatest riddle that humanity has ever had to
face is the problem of time; religious revelation,
philosophical thought, scientific investigation, and
occult knowledge, all converge at one point, that is,
on the problem of time, and all come to the same view
of it. Time does not exist; Everything exists always!
There is only one eternal present, the Eternal Now,
which the weak and limited human mind can neither grasp
nor conceive. The world is a world of infinite
possibilities; our mind follows the development of
possibilities in one direction only; but in fact every
moment contains a very large number of possibilities
and all of them are actualised, only we do not see it
and do not know it. We always see only one of the
actualisations, and in this lies the poverty and
limitation of the typically human mind. Where, then,
are we to seek of a true understanding of "time" and
infinity? This is a- question to which modern thought
gives-no answer; but human thought has not always been
helpless in the face of the problem; the idea of the
"higher self" is one that belongs to the Mystery
systems, and is admissible only in relation to the
"higher consciousness" connected with the degrees of
Initiation. The answer of the ancient teachings is that
"time" and "infinity" are to be found in the soul of
man; everything is within man, and there is; nothing
outside him. How are we to understand this? Time is not
a condition of the Universe, but only a condition of
the perception of the world by our psychic apparatus,
which imposes on the world conditions of time, since
otherwise the psychic apparatus would be unable to
conceive it. We are, however, unable to conceive
infinity without relation to space and-time; therefore,
if space and time are forms of our perception and lie
in our soul, it follows that the roots of infinity are
to be sought also within us, and we may perhaps define
it as an infinite possibility of the expansion of our
consciousness. Nevertheless, there is a very necessary
condition of approach to ideas which seek to express in
symbolism the "kingdom within"; the peculiarity and
distinctive feature of ideas of the "real" world (i.e.,
of the "world as it is"), are that, viewed in the light
of materialism, they appear to be absurd. This
condition, and the necessity of it, is seldom properly
understood, with the result that ideas of a "world of
many dimensions" frequently produces on students a bad,
of even a nightmare, effect, and of this reason an
intellectual approach to the idea of the superphysical
world is possible only after a long and persistent
training of the mind. Ability to think is declared to
be the first stage of initiation, but this means to be
able-to think differently from the way in which we are
accustomed to think, to enable us to conceive the world
in new categories. We may revert-of a moment to what
physical science has learned from the discovery of the
ether and all that it implies. From the precipitation
of inorganic nature from a supersensuous abstraction
into gross matter, liable at any moment to resolution
again into its primal state, are we not justified in
drawing an analogy in regard to ourselves? May we not
imagine a pre-natal, post-mortal, humanity, which, as
it moves through the seen and unseen spheres along the
mighty spiral of evolutionary development, is, in-the
persons of its microcosmic units, fulfilling the same
macrocosmic law? The secret fundamental verities of the
Universe reveal themselves in startling parallels.
"Natural religion", said Emerson, "supplies all the
facts which are disguised under the dogmas of popular
creeds", and since the most important verity ever
established by science is the fact that the material
world is a projection from a spiritual plane, is not
the inevitable inference that the human spirit (like
its Divine prototype and exponent, the Word-made-
flesh), came down from heaven, and in the course of
evolution was "made man" - a process still in operation
and not yet perfected; that it suffers constriction and
crucifixion in the refining fire, the conditioning-
house, of earth life, buried as it is in dense matter
and physical limitations; and that at length it, too,
shall rise again to its true and pristine place of
being?

We are apt to regard evolution as a discovery of modern
science, but such a view is not strictly correct as it
was perfectly well known to antiquity. Evolution,
indeed, was a basic feature of the arcane science of
the Mystery Schools, although the teaching of the
Mysteries was that there can be no evolution without
previous involution; "no rise without an antedecent
fall"; and this truth is again clearly emphasised in
the formula concerning regeneration which is given in
the V. of the S.L., - "And no man hath ascended up to
heaven, but he that came down from heaven" (St, John 3-
13). The evolutionary process consists, as Freemasonry
so ably demonstrates, in the development of the higher
and spiritual at the expense of the lower and physical,
and its purpose, the "far off divine event", will be
gradually accomplished by the harmonising of the seen
and the unseen portions of the Universe. Today there
seems clear proof that we are at the End of the Age
through which purely physical evolution has extended.
Faced with this conclusion many have decided that man
is decadent; that there is no further evolution
possible of him, and he will either fall into
degeneracy of rapidly destroy himself the latter
seeming the more probable. Yet man can be saved and
will be saved, as Life has saved itself before, by a
sudden and radical mutation. We know that over a vast
period of time, and with constantly accelerated skill
and advanced mental power, man has developed his powers
by technical progress. Thus it may be shown that man
advances mentally or technically by modifying his
environment to suit his needs, and by this means wins
himself a new span of evolutionary life and
development, but one involving a change with increasing
speed and increasingly psychological. In support of
this theory, it can be demonstrated that whereas every
other animal species seems to have entered on a
decline, man alone is seen capable of change, and, of
the carrying out of that change he alone has an immense
store of still unused, undifferentiated vital energy.
We know this through the fact of man's capacity of
pain, indicating a high degree of sensitiveness and
nervous tension, and also his enormous sexual capacity
- a capacity in itself, as sexual energy "per se",
quite necessary to slow breeding and careful rearing.
It can further be demonstrated that this store of vital
energy can have appropriate advanced mental channels of
expression. The highly developed intellectual type of
man tends to find when in complete intellectual
absorption that he becomes indifferent to sex, while
the development of additional psychological powers,
such as extra-sensory perception leave him free of all
acute physical sensation. Western man must, then,
resume the task of enlarging consciousness, which in
retrospect, will be seen to have been interrupted by
the triumph of the analytic method and the rise of
mechanism. After four centuries, during which the most
active communities of mankind have worked with a
profound and increasingly deadly misapprehension of
reality, we must go back picking up once again the true
line of advance. This is, however, no blind reaction
nor need we regard as wasted all the devoted labour of
physical and; analytic research. The knowledge at our
disposal nowadays, imperfect as it is, leads up at all
events to an outlook upon the Universe that is juster
and steadier, more comprehensive and satisfying, than
has at any previous time -been possible to the
intellect of man, of the great analytic method had
taught mankind the value of detached experiment and
careful comparative record.

We see now a self-contained and self-conserving Cosmos,
one in essence; dual, even multiple, in aspect; a
fraction of it, finite and conditioned, is perceptible
to human sense organs; the remainder of its
immeasurable bulk is eternal, unconditioned, and
unmanifest to sense perception, but is lying close at
hand, waiting to be still further perceived by
faculties of consciousness the seeds of which are
latent in us and are destined to mature in the patient
course of evolution. Separate and wholly different sets
of laws are seen to prevail in Nature's manifested and
unmanifested planes; "that which is flesh is flesh and
that which is spirit is spirit"; and through the
intermixture in man of a physical nature, subject to
laws applicable to the physical plane, and a
spirituality whose true home is the unconditioned,
where other laws obtain, there is, and must needs be,
perpetual illusion and conflict - conflict which is the
concomitant of growth, and which becomes apparent in
all forms of individual and social unrest. The
evolutionary process is an alternating current, and
accordingly there occur stages of racial growth when
the higher and spiritual tends to predominate markedly
over the lower and physical. Such a stage seems now to
have been reached, of we are,- as a race, and despite
many appearances to the contrary, definitely on our way
towards some new knowledge; indeed, the world
expectancy today shows that we stand on the verge of a
new revelation. It is because a new condition, a new
quality of social life is gradually coming into
existence; one more homogeneous; one in which the parts
are more closely interdependent, and more responsive
than ever before to spiritual currents infused into it.
We do not overlook the fact that at present we are
still passing through a "state of darkness" - "the dark
night of the soul" of humanity; but, nevertheless, out
of this night "the morning cometh", and must come: the
morning of a larger, clearer day of the cosmic week of
human re-creation. In the eternal rhythm of life, every
morning is succeeded by its complemental night, wherein
the works of the morning are tried and tested, either
as now - by war, of in some other crucible adapted to
the age; until at length comes that last night of all,
"the Night of Brahm" when the manifested Universe with
all its ingarnered works will sink into its Sabbath of
rest in the incomprehensible Abyss of God, and the
incomparable splendour of that supreme darkness which
is His Uncreated Light. Before that last night comes,
however, much remains to be perfected, much raising to
be accomplished of what is now dead, much consciousness
to be evolved and sublimated out of what is now,
refractory and torpid. The function of the morning
about to dawn is the purification and co-ordination of
the divers kingdoms of this world preparatory to their
synthetisation in that higher unity which we call the
Kingdom of God. For coming of this we may all aspire,
and whose labours, those thinks even, towards this
great consummation is already unconsciously praying and
helping the fulfilment of his prayer: "As above, so
below"; "In earth as it is in heaven."

EPILOGUE.

All the multiform prayers of a new heaven and a new
earth, all the abounding heart-cries which, these years
past, have been rising like a fountain night and day of
alleviation from the tyranny of our mechanical
civilisation and the sores and sorrows of the social
conditions of our age, all these formulations of some
Ideal worth struggling of and dimly felt to be
realisable, have not been wasted, ineffectual energy.
On the contrary, they have had an effect, a compelling
effect, upon that plane of life to which all true
prayer travels; and the present universal break up is,
strange as to some it may appear, an answer to those
prayers. It is significant that in the past the very
Heart of movements towards human betterment, the
spiritual centre from which the creative forces have
flowed, has been found in the Mystic Brotherhoods of
which Freemasonry is the modern representative. In the
years immediately preceding the birth of the Christian
dispensation, we find tremendous activity in the inner
Schools in all countries; the Mysteries, into which
only selected candidates were admitted, thrilled with
currents of spiritual vitality, thus energising the
creative movements in the outer world. Similarly, the
Heart of the Renaissance, the centre of its creative
life, seems to have been the mysterious Brotherhood of
the Rosy Cross, which cryptically announced its
existence just before the commencement of the revival
in literature and art, spread from Germany and Austria
into France, Italy and England, and disappeared from
sight only after the New Learning had been firmly
established in the West. Early in the 18th. century
there emerged Speculative Freemasonry to form the
centre and living Heart of the West; today from every
Masonic Lodge throughout the world streams of spiritual
force should be radiating, and the Brethren, because
they have received the Light, should be in the
forefront of the new movement, leading, guiding,
directing, from within the Temple, the birth of the
Ideals which are to change the world. Those who realise
this will watch the signs of the times and be ready
against the day when the tumult subsides, of many will
be needed to serve as focus-points and media through
which will permeate and pour forth the fertilising
streams of Life that are waiting to invigorate the
world. Herein, then, are justified the dedications to
the Masonic inward life often regarded as so
unpractical; yet those who lead it are true Builders,
of they are engaged upon a work which of all other is
truly constructive - the Great Work from which the
wall-builder of the-Mystic City said, "I cannot come
down" (Neh. 6-3).

"At thy fair shrine, O Masonry!
Shall admiring nations bend:
In future times thy sons shall see
Thy fame from pole to pole extend.
To worlds unknown thy heav'n-born
light dispense!
And systems own thy sacred influence."

(An Ode to Masonry),

SO MOTE IT BE.