THE RAISING OF THE DEAD

FREEMASONRY AND THE PAULINE DOCTRINE OF THE "GREAT WORK"

PART TWO: METAPHYSICS

"I now delegate you to invest our
Brother with the distinguishing
Badge . ., "
(Masonic Ritual ) .

"There are also celestial bodies,
and bodies terrestrial: but the
glory of the celestial is one,
and the glory of the terrestrial
is another".'

(1st. Corinthians, 15-40) .

We turn now from the psychologic to the metaphysical aspect of the
Great Work. Since the raising of the dead involves the opening up,
from one' s centre, of an orderly sequence of conscious states
towards Reality, there remains in regard to those undertaking that
development, the further question, With what bodies do they come?
Expressed in alternative terms, with what kind of corporiety are
these supra-sensual perceptivities invested when established? This
is important, because neither in the natural nor the ultra-natural
order is consciousness conceivable apart from a vehicle for it. The
problem that has bewildered the scientific mind in regard to
posthumous survival, namely how can consciousness exist apart from
a body, never arises in the case of the Initiate Orders for the
teaching is emphatic that it does not so exist, and that, the
subjective always possesses an objective side. Even of the
uncreated Essence and formless source of all life this is held to
be true. God is indeed Spirit, but the universe, of which but a
fraction is sensuously perceptible, is still His vesture; and,
analogously, mans a spirit made in the Divine image, is never
vestureless although his vesture will needs vary with his state and
place of advancement in the Cosmos for the time being. It follows
from all this that the Freemason who seriously yields himself to
the discipline of our Order is not merely improving his character
and chastening his thoughts and desires. He is, at the same time
unconsciously building up an inner ethereal body which will form
his clothing, or covering, when his transistory outer body shall
have passed away. In this Papers however, the incident of physical
dissolution is outside the scope of our enquiry, which is concerned
with considering how the celestial body spoken of by St. Paul is
to be built up out of the sublimated properties of the terrestrial
body. This is one of the secrets and mysteries of the process of
regeneration and self-transmutation, and represents the true
temple-building with which we Freemasons are identified. In our
Masonic system the symbol of the bodily organ is the Apron, and the
changes and increasing elaborateness evidenced in it as a Brother
advances to higher stages in the Craft symbolise the development
deemed to be gradually taking place in his nature. Moreover, as in
the outer havens of nature the sun, moon and stars exist and
function so in the personal heavens of man (symbolised in our
system by the Covering of the Lodge - a celestial canopy of
divers colours, even the heavens"). there operate metaphysical
forces inherent in himself and described by the same terms. In the
make-up of each one of us there exists a psychic magnetic field of
various forces, which determine our individual temperaments and
tendencies, and influences our future. To those forces have also
been given the names of sun, "moon" and planets, and the science
of their interaction and outworking was the ancient science of
astronomy, or, as it is now called astrology, which is one of the
liberal arts and sciences recommended to the study of every
Freemason, and: the pursuit of which belongs in particular to the
Fellow-Craft stage. That the soul becomes self-clothed as it
advances is covertly intimated to the candidate in the three Craft
Degrees, and in order that the full significance of the Apron may
be perceived by students, we will, before proceeding further,
summarise the salient features of this important Masonic symbol:

1. The Apron is the symbol of the corporeal vestige and condition
of the soul. This does not refer. so much to the temporal physical
body, as to its permanent invisible corporiety which will survive
the death of the mortal part. The physical matter of which our
mortal bodies are composed is but corruptible impermanent stuff
which merely forms a temporary encasement of the imperishable
substance of our souls, and enables the to enter into sense-
relations with the physical world. The distinction made must be
clearly grasped and kept in mind, for Freemasonry has to deal not
so much with the transient outward body as with the eternal inward
being of man, although the outward body is temporarily involved
with the latter. It is the immortal soul of man which is she ruined
temple and needs to be rebuilt upon the principles of spiritual
science. Actually, the mortal body, with its unruly wills and
affections, stands in the way of that achievement, and it is
therefore the rubble which needs to be cleared away before the new
foundations can be set and the new structure reared. Yet even
rubble can be made to serve useful purposes and be rearranged and
worked into the new erection, and accordingly man's outer temporal
nature can be disciplined and utilised in the reconstruction of
himself.

2. The investiture of the candidate with the Apron in each Degree
by the Senior Warden as the Master s delegate for that purpose is
meant to inculcate the truth that the soul fabricates its own body
or "apron" by its own desires and thoughts, for the Senior Warden
represents the soul which, in accordance with its own spirituality,
automatically clothes itself with its own self-made gesture in a
way that marks its own progress or regress .
(See Genesis, 3-7: and make themselves aprons. )

3. The adorned white Apron of the First degree indicates the purity
of soul contemplated as being attained in that Degree.

4. The pale blue rosettes added to the Apron in the Second Degree
indicate that progress is being made in the science of
regeneration, and that the candidate's spirituality is beginning to
develop.
Blue, the velour of the sky, is traditionally associated with
devotion to spiritual concerns.

5. In the Third Degree still further progress is denoted by the
increased blue adornments of the apron, also by its silver tassels
and the silver serpent used to fasten the apron-strings. It should
be further noted that in the First and Second Degrees no metal is
allowed to appear upon the Apron. This is because as an Apprentice
and Fellow the candidate is deemed to be engaged in the work of
divesting himself of all "base metals, and, by an alchemical
process, transmuting them into silver and gold", emblems of
spiritual riches. With Mastership, however, he attains an influx
off those riches under the emblem of the tassels of silver, a
colourless precious metal always associated with the soul, as gold
by its supreme value and warm colour is associated with Spirit. The
silver serpent is the emblem of Divine wisdom knitting the soul' s
new-made vesture together.

6. From the foregoing it follows that it is the personal soul of
the candidate himself which is the "artificer in metals" referred
to by the title of admission for the Third Degree. Desire for
worldly possessions, for sensation and experience in this outward
world of good and evil, brought the soul into this world, and
during the whole of its physical existence it has been engaged in
trafficking with "metals, every desire and thought being an
"artificer" adding something to or modifying its natural
encasement. If, then, desire for physical experience and material
things brought the soul into material conditions, the relinquishing
of that desire is the first necessary step to ensure its return to
the condition whence it first emanated. The First and Second
Degrees of our Craft system imply that the candidate has undergone
a lengthy discipline in the renunciation of external things and the
cultivation of desire for those that are within. But,
notwithstanding that he has passed through all the discipline of
those Degrees, he is represented at the end of them as being still
"in worldly possessions" in the sense that a residue of attraction
by them lingers in his heart. The ingrained defects and tendencies
of the soul as the result of its past habits and experiences are
not suddenly eliminated or easily subdued. Hence it is that the
candidate is entrusted with a name that designates himself at this
stage, and indicates also that some residue of the spirit of this
world lingers in him which it is necessary to expunge from his
nature before he can be raised to the sublime degree of Master.

7. The pale blue and silver of the Master Mason Apron become
intensified in the deep blue and gold ornamentation worn by the
Provincial and Grand Lodge Officers, who in theory have evolved to
still deeper spirituality and transmuted themselves from silver
into fine gold. Moreover, the symbolic clothing worn by Provincial
and Grand Lodge Officers is the Masonic equivalent of the aureole,
and its colour, deep blue heavily fringed with gold, is in
correspondence with the deep blue centre and luminous circumference
of flame: "His ministers are flames of fire". Provincial and Grand
Lodge Officers are drawn from those who are Past Masters in the
Craft; that is, from those who theoretically have attained
sanctity, regeneration and Mastership of themselves, and have
become joined to the Grand Lodge Above where they shine as the
stars.

We may now proceed to an examination of the metaphysics of the
"Great Work based upon certain assumptions, the detailed
demonstrations of which are to be found in the Hermetic and
Alchemic texts, and the works of Jacob Boehme and his disciples in
the metaphysical side of mysticism. Of these assumptions the chief
is that over against the perishable matter of external nature, yet
sublying and interpenetrating it, there subsists something Real:
substance" of which a world of imperishable, eternal nature
consists; which substance is, there, just as palpable and objective
to spiritual perception as physical matter is to physical sense.
Between the worlds of external and eternal nature, however, both in
the universe and in man; its image is small, are intermediate
phases or creation; notably the astral region, composed of more
fluidic, plastic matter than the dense physical world, and
therefore in mystical philosophy called "water", and "the sea.
Plato speaks of it as-"the moisture of the lower element"; Moses as
the waters under the earth"; and it is of this the Psalmist writes
that "the sea is His and He made it". But beyond the astral region
is the "dry lands the "terra firma" of eternity. called dry
because it is free from all astral intermixture. This eternal
substance, of which it is written: Wisdom hath builded her house
(Proverbs 9 - 1), is that in which the Divine spirit expresses
itself upon its own plane, even as the Divine Mind expresses itself
in matter in this lower world. In the V. of the S. L., we find many
allusions to this substance under other figures such as "house" and
"stone", but it is more often spoken of as land. Hence, it is the
mystical holy Land, or Promised Land, to which Abraham was
admonished to fly; it is also the balmy "land of Gilead" that Moses
saw from Pisgah over against Jericho (i.e., in antithesis to
temporal nature); and in the decalogue it is "the land which the
Lord thy God giveth thee, in which our days shall be long, for
those who inherit it are beyond all sense of time. Of this
substance the Psalmist writes (Psalm 95-5), and his hands formed
the dry land"; because, gently and gradually they do form it in us,
until it becomes the resurrection-flesh that clothes the perfected
human spirit.

The metaphysics of mysticism involves, therefore, our belief in a
method of supra-sensual bodily growth analogous to that of our
physical bodies. "As above, so below ; there is ever correspondence
between the processes obtaining upon the seen and the unseen planes
of life; that which is below and material is as that which is
above. and spiritually substantial; the embryology of our mortal
bodies is a faithful shadow of that of our spiritual bodies, and,
as St. Paul declares: "as we have borne the image of the earthly,
we shall also bear the image of the heavenly" (1st . Corinthians 15
- 49 ). Thus, as from a nucleole in the secrecy of the. womb there
develop flesh, nerves, ligaments, and bones until an organism is
produced adapted to physical life, which then comes to birth and
grows to maturity, so, in the hiddenness of the soul, an organism
with like properties, but adapted to ultra-physical planes, can be
conceived and grow within us until the mystical truth is fulfilled
that "unto us a child is born. Moreover, as this interior
spiritual body grows in stature, as it attains consistency and
durability, it reacts upon the physical sheath within which it has
become engendered, repolarising its tissues and eventually tending
to wholly transmute its corruptible matter, and to assimilate and
incorporate it into ultra-physical substance. The method of
promoting the building up of a resurrection body during physical
life has been variously described and taught. It is the "Raja Yoga"
of the Vedantists, the royal art of self-reintegration. The Greeks
taught the doctrine of evolving the radiant body as the quest of
the "golden fleece". In messages from the community for which the
mystic Eckarthausen is the spokesman it is described as the Royal
Science; the "task of demolishing this miserable Adamic hut and
erecting in its place a divine temple". Among the Hermetic
philosophers and spiritual alchemists it is cryptically alluded to
as the "confecting of the stone" by means of a "manual art from
chaos to perfection. Finally, it is the idea governing our modern
symbolic craft of Masonry; the building of a "superstructure,
perfect in all its parts, and honourable to the builder.

With regard to the metaphysical material of which these super-
structures are to be reared, Freemasonry, following the Hermetic
and Alchemical schools, has adopted one of the mystical terms used
in the V. of the S. L., and calls it a stone or ashler, that
beings a ready type of the most durable of all things. The teaching
of Boehme and the Alchemists demonstrates how this stone ("the
stone of the philosophers") must be worked up" or "confected" in
the individual, and they describe the work as undergoing three
distinct stages, the black, the white, and the red. Thus as,
psychological the work of regeneration involves the three
traditional stages of purgation, illumination, and union, so,
metaphysically, there are three corresponding stages of corporeal
development. In this work of reconstruction, the physical nature is
to be accounted an integral. factor, and must be dedicated and
employed accordingly, for it is the vessel or crucible in which the
alchemic change is wrought. This does not mean that the physical
form is to be damaged or mutilated by severe asceticism; on the
contrary, the regimen enjoined is the renewing of the mind, not the
maceration or the body, when in a deeper than the familiar sense,
"corpus sanum" will be found to ensue surely enough upon "mens
sana".

One of the Alchemists has affirmed: Our gold is produced by art,
adding nothing, detracting nothing, but only eliminating
superfluities; in other words, the alchemical assertion is that in
man in latent an element of Wisdom which, so long as the natural
state of conflict and ignorance exists, remains dormant and in
obscuration. The entire object of the alchemical art is the
uncovering of the inner faculty of insight and wisdom, the "essence
of mind which is intrinsically pure, and the removal of the veils
intervening between the mind and dividing it from its hidden divine
root. Stated in alternative terms, each victory over the lower
nature liberates a faculty in the higher, while every advance in
mystical consciousness is also attended by a corresponding inner-
body growth of very subtle matter, for there is not a child of Adam
but in whom the "seed", or spark of eternal life, has been planted.
Alluding to this truth St. Paul, in his epistle to the Corinthians,
states: God giveth it a body as it hath pleased high and to every
seed his own body"; but that pleasure is not capricious or
variable; the interior body is not built up otherwise than
conformably with definite law and order, and in true correspondence
with physical bodies, the growth of which, we know, is by a
systematic process of cell-extension. The task, then, consists of
encouraging that "seed" to grow until it emerges into our
consciousness, well knowing that its "fleshy will develop
simultaneously with itself. Speaking of this flesh" St. Paul
declares, using the same categories as Plato in the Timaeus", that
there are four well-defined phases: "All flesh is not the same
flesh; but there is one kind of flesh of men, another flesh of
beasts, another of fishes, and another of birds (1st. Corinthians
15 - 39). St. Paul is here speaking in terms of the traditional
esoteric wisdom which is the common background of all the great
religions. His categories of flesh are four because severally
related to the four differentiated but interpenetrating plane into
which creation, and therefore man, is divided, namely those defined
as earth, water, air, and fire. That place, or condition of
consciousness (the terms are interchangeable) in which matter is
densest is called earth; a term not exclusive to the objectively
physical world, for there are conditions in which life may still be
heavily earth-bound although physically discarnate. The next place
or condition, where matter is still prepotent, but is of a less
dense, more fluidic order, is that of water; or, in modern terms,
the astral. But above this is the spiritual region of. air, where
spirituality asserts itself over materiality; the Platonic world
of ideas"; the mental plane; that of the "higher manas of the
Vedantists. Lastly, above all, is the supreme region of fire; the
empyrean whose spirit-substance is the holy element of eternal
nature.

Now, as it successively attains these four states the soul wears
appropriate clothing. That upon the lowest (earth) is termed the
"flesh of beasts (the Hebrew "Nephesh ), for, whether the physical
body or the etheric wraith is signified thereby, it is destined,
unless transmitted, to disintegration, and is therefore called "the
beasts that perish . Upon the plane of water, where consciousness
is limited to the astral order, the flesh is that of "fishes, as
the astral, like its physical counterpart, the ocean, has its
turbid, weedy bottom, and its clear water at the surface where it
meets with the Spiritual region of air, this flesh is twofold.
Accordingly those who "move in the great waters and "go down to
this sea in ships" (the term "ships signifies bodies; the body of
a church is called the nave, or ship, navis ) may be one of two
kinds; they may be spirituality impervious, blind, or unclean,
resembling crustaceans, sightIess deep-sea fish, or scavengers of
the oceans all of which were therefore classified in the Mosaic law
as unclean and unfit for food, for obvious symbolic reasons; or
they may be those with fins and scales by which "clean fish"
under the Mosaic law rise to the surface-waters where the higher,
airy order of life begins and the rays of the sun penetrate; fins
and scales being, both morphologically and mystically, the
rudimentary antecedents of the wings and feathers worn by the
creatures of the air. The "flesh of birds" is that of those who can
so transcend the unstable region of the astral, and consciously
rise into the airy or spiritual plane to which all religions
allocate the angels, and to which the winged sphinxes of Egypt and
winged bulls of Assyria were mount to testify that human
consciousness may soar. Students of Alchemy will doubtless recall
that frequently the Alchemists write of sending up their bird,
while we should all be familiar with the words of the popular
hymn:-

"Happy birds, that sing and fly
Round Thy altars, Lord most high!

The soul, says Plato in the great Phaedrus allegory, was
originally feathered, but by descending into matter it has broken
its wings and trails them in the mire of this world; although it
may regain them by knowledge, discipline, and aspiration. The
gradual regaining of its power of flight is wonderfully figured in
Noah's sending birds forth from the ark over the "waters". At first
he sent out the black" raven "which went forth to and fro; the
dark unillumined intellect oscillating between the "pairs of
opposites" that bound all merely intellectual experience, and
unable to do more than return upon itself. Yet even so tentative a
Godward search is not unproductive, and unenlightened, immature,
thought does not return to us void, for it is written: "He feedeth
the young ravens that call upon Him; and to every famished and
unclad Elijah ravens bring "bread and flesh, signifying that the
very activity of our intellectual processes feeds the soul and
builds subtle material into its invisible body. Then went forth the
"white dove, the purified spiritual aspiration; this at first came
back with, a leaf plucked off from that Mount of Olives high
furnishes the Good Samaritan's oil, bringing the foretaste of
Paradise; and eventually it returned no more. The waters of the
astral reason had abated; it had found the dry land", our ark's
high-resting place in God, the Mountains of Ararat - the abode of
the Arhats (literally the crowned heads ) or Adepts of the Vedas;
the "just men made perfect" of the Bible.

Of the last of the orders of "fleshy that of "men in the supreme
region of the fire. it is written that the form of the fourth was
as a son of God". It is that of those whom Daniel calls royal
children", for there remains the final citadel, the Kings Palace,
inaccessible to the prince of the power of the air". Hence David
says that at the end of his journey: I will dwell in the House of
the Lord for ever"; and St. John: He shall become a pillar in the
house of God, and go no more out"; and St. Paul, We have an House
not made with hands, eternal and in the heavens. Moreover because
of their new rising, St. John, declares of the perfected, that they
are given "the morning star" (Revelation 2 - 28), "And I will give
him the morning star ); intimating that they thereby become the
stars of the celestial firmament, whose controlling centre is the
Sun of Righteousness, and whose eternal nature is reflected in the
Moon of Divine Wisdom. St. Paul further explains, There is one
glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory
of the stars; for one star differeth from another star in glory
(1st. Corinthians 15 - 41); even as in this inferior world,
individuals differ in features and in characteristics. But of the
perfected it is so written because their rising is out of all
nations, languages, and creeds of this world, which
notwithstanding, upon reaching their zenith in the reconciling
heaven of heavens they use but a single voice, for it also affirmed
that around the central Light of Lights "the morning stars sing
together".

Here we must bring to an end our all too brief study of the
metaphysics or the Great Work. Dealing, as our Craft system does,
with a supreme human experience which none can fully appreciate
without undergoing it, the greatest importance must be attached to
the piercing of the veil of allegory in which our Masonic Ritual is
shrouded and no one who studies it comprehendingly can fail to
realise the profound significance of the doctrine it enshrines. The
pity of it is that the majority of those who practice our rites
make no effort to penetrate their meaning, and are content with the
unenlightened perfunctory performance of a ritual which even
exoterically is singularly striking, beautiful and suggestive.
Indeed, the least reflection upon our Ceremonies, particularly the
Third Degree and Royal Arch, must suggest that Freemasonry is not
concerned with the building-work of an outward structure, but with
the re-erection of the fallen, disordered temple of the human soul.
And, if the Royal Arch as the climax of our system, is recognised
as the symbolic representation of a supreme experience attained and
attainable only in sanctity and by the regenerate, it follows that
the Craft Degrees leading up to and qualifying for it will take on
a much deeper sense than they commonly receive and must be regarded
as solemn instructions in the requisite preparation for that
regenerate condition. The completeness of regeneration
theoretically postulated in the four stages known to us as the
three Craft Degrees and the Holy Royal Arch, is marked by the very
significant expression used in connection with a Royal Arch
Chapter, which is interpreted as meaning My people have found
mercy, and which in its further analysis signifies that all the
parts and faculties ( people ) of the candidate's organism have at
last become sublimated and integrated in a new quality and higher
order of life than that previously enjoyed in virtue of his merely
temporal natures. As we have already endeavoured to show, to attain
that level involves as its essential prerequisite the total
abnegation, renouncement and renovation of man's original nature,
the surrender of natural desires, tendencies and preconceptions and
the abandonment and nuIlifying of the natural self-will, by such a
habitual discipline and self-denial and gradual but vigorous
opposition to all these as will cause them to atrophy and die down.
Hence it is written, "Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground
and die, it abideth alone; but if it die it bringeth forth much
fruit"; and as with a seed of wheat, so with man. If he persists in
clinging to the present natural life he knows, if he refuses to
recognise that a higher quality of life is here and now possible to
him, or is unwilling to make the necessary effort to attain it, he
abideth alone", gets nowhere, and only frustrates his own
spiritual evolution. But if he is willing to die in the sense
indicated, if he will so re-orientate his will and silence his
natural energies and desires as to give the Vital and Immortal
Principle within him the opportunity to assert itself and supersede
them, then from the disintegrated material of his old nature that
germ of true life will spring into growth in him and bear much
fruit. This necessity of self-dying is the first fundamental fact
to be grasped before we can hope to understand the mystery shadowed
forth in our Third Degree, for death to self is the portal to true
life. There is no other way; it is the unescapable law and
condition of the soul's progress. Neverthelessy since to 'suffer
death is a process involving a "most serious trial of fortitude
and fidelity, the Mystery systems have always exhibited an example
for the instruction, encouragement, and emulation of those prepared
to make the attempt. It matters nothing whether the prototype
selected be one whose histortic actuality and identity can be
demonstrated, or whether he can be regarded only as legendary or
mythical; the point being not to teach a historical fact, but to
enforce a spiritual principle.

In Egypt the prototype was Osiris, who was slain by his malignant
brother Typhon, but whose mangled limbs were collected in a coffer
from which he emerged reintegrated and divinised. In Greece the
prototype was Bacchus, who was torn to pieces by the Titans; Baldur
and Mithra in Scandinavia and in Graeco-Roman Europe were similar
prototypes. In Freemasonry the prototype is Hiram Abiff, who met
his death as the result of a conspiracy by a crowd of workmen of
whom there were three principal ruffians. In the Christian system,
the greatest of the exemplars died at the hands of the mob, headed
also by three chief ruffians, Judas, Caiaphas and Pilate. If in
Freemasonry the mystical death is dramatised more realistically
than the resurrection that follows upon it, that resurrection is
none the less shown in the "raising of the Candidate to the rank
of Master Mason and his "reunion with the companions of his former
toils", implying the reintegration of all his old faculties and
powers in a sublimated state, just as the limbs of the risen Osiris
were said to reunite into a new whole and as the Christian Master
withdrew His mutilated body from the tomb and reassumed it,
transmuted into one of supernatural substance and splendour. An
important point to be noted in our Masonic system the change in
designation from Lodge to Chapter which takes place in the Royal
Arch Degree. The word "Chapter" derives from Caput," meaning head,
but the reason for the change lies much deeper than the obvious one
that the Royal Arch stands at the head or summit of the Craft. It
has reference in a two-fold way to the capitular rank and
consciousness of the Arch Mason himself, who in virtue of his
headship or supremacy over his material nature has passed beyond
Craftwork and governing the Lodge of his lower nature, and
henceforth employs his energies primarily upon the spiritual plans.
The head" of the material organism of man is the spirit of man,
and this spirit consciously conjoined with the Universal Spirit is
Deity's supreme instrument and vehicle in the temporal world. Such
a man s physical organism and brain have become sublimated and
keyed up to a condition and an efficiency immensely in advance of
average humanity. Physiological processes are involved which have
been alluded to in the course of this Paper, the result of which
brings about a condition wherein the entire nervous system
contributes to charge certain ganglia and light up certain brain-
centres. The nervous system provides the storage-batteries and
conductive medium of the Spirit's energies in the same way that
telegraph wires are the media for transmitting electrical energy,
and the true Master Mason, in virtue of his mastership, knows how
to control and apply those energies. They culminate and come to
self-consciousness in his head, in his intelligence. And in this
respect we may refer to a very heavily veiled Scriptural testimony,
the import of which we have noted earlier in this study. The
Gospels record that the Passion of the Great Exemplar and Master
concluded at the place called Golgotha in the Hebrew tongue; that
is, the place of a skull"; that is to say it terminated in the head
or seat of intelligence and in a mystery of the spiritual
Consciousness. The same truth is also testified to, although again
under veils of symbolic phrasing, in the reference to the "sprig of
acacia planted at the head of the grave of our Masonic Grand
Master and prototype, Hiram Abiff. The grave is the candidate's
soul; the "sprig of acacia typifies the latent akasa" (to use an
Eastern term), or divine germ, planted in that "earth" and waiting
to become quickened into activity in his intelligence, the head
of that plane. When that sprig of acacia blooms at the head of his
soul's sepulchre, he will understand at one and the same moment the
mystery of Golgotha, the mystery of the death of Hiram and the
meaning of the Royal Arch ceremony of exaltations. It is a mystery
of spiritual consciousness, the efflorescence of the mind in God,
and the opening up of the human intelligence in conscious
association with the Universal and Omniscient Mind, and for this
reason the skull is given prominence in the Third Degree.

For many of our Brethren, the suggestion that the attainment of
such a high condition is possible whilst we are still here in the
flesh may be incredible, but the doubt is unwarranted, and our
Masonic doctrine negates it. Moreover, the doctrine of Freemasonry
postulates that the possession of the material organism is a
necessary factor in advancing the evolution of the human spirit,
for it is the fulcrum furnishing the resistance requisite for the
spirit s energising into unfoldment and self-consciousness.
Physical death is therefore not an advancement of, but an
interference with, the work of regeneration; as it as written, The
night cometh when no man can work", and when the soul merely passes
from labors to refreshment until recalled to labour once more;
hence, in the Third degree, the candidate is admonished, Be
careful to perform your allotted task while it is yet day". It
remains, however, with the Brethren themselves what use is made of
the, Craft system, for Light upon our Mysteries is grated in
proportion to the desire of our hearts, and if for the majority the
Order sheds no light at all, it is because light is not their
desire, nor its initiation in its true sense understood or wished
for. "Get knowledge, get wisdom; but with all thy gettings, get
understanding exclaims the old Teacher, in a counsel that we may
well command to the members of our Fraternity today. And if Wisdom
in our day is widowed, let us not forget that all Freemasons are
actually or potentially the widow s sons, and that she will be
justified of her children who seek her out and who labour for her
as for hid treasure.

Happy is the man that findeth wisdom
and the Man that getteth understanding.
For the merchandise of it is better than
the merchandise of silver, and the gain
whereof than fine gold.
She is more precious than rubies; and
all the things thou canst desire are not
to be compared unto her.
Length of days is in her right hand, and
in her left hand riches and honour.
Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and
all her paths are peace.
She is a tree of life to them that lay
hold upon her; and happy is every one that.
retaineth her.
By his knowledge the depths are broken up,
and the clouds drop down the dew.

(Proverbs 3, 13 - 20)

(TO BE CONCLUDED )