Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Morals and Dogma

I haven't read a lot of Bro:. Albert Pike's magnum opus, but what I have read has convinced me of a couple of things:

1. Bro:. Pike was a knowledgeable guy in the fields of the occult and religion.
2. Bro:. Pike had a dislike of fundamentalist preachers back in the 1860s
3. Bro:. Pike does not now, and never did, speak for the majority of Freemasons.

He also had more typical southern dislikes of northerners and dark skin colors. He was a product of his time, as we are of ours.

Of course, I've maintained in other places that we take what is written and discovered in past ages, and use it for our own purposes. Morals and Dogma is a turgid piece of prose, and few Freemasons ever read it. Anti-Masons only read enough to see Pike comparing Lucifer to the Morning Star, and they've got what they seek.

Few people read chapters like this:

Forget not these precepts of the old Law; and especially do not forget, as you advance, that every Mason, however humble, is your brother, and the laboring man your peer! Remember always that all Masonry is work, and that the trowel is an emblem of the Degrees in this Council. Labor, when rightly understood, is both noble and ennobling, and intended to develop man's moral and spiritual nature, and not to be deemed a disgrace or a misfortune.

Everything around us is, in its bearings and influences, moral. The serene and bright morning, when we recover our conscious existence from the embraces of sleep; when, from that image of Death God calls us to a new life, and again gives us existence, and His mercies visit us in every bright ray and glad thought, and call for gratitude and content; the silence of that early dawn, the hushed silence, as it were, of expectation; the holy eventide, its cooling breeze, its lengthening shadows, its falling shades, its still and sober hour; the sultry noontide and the stern and solemn midnight; and Spring-time, and chastening Autumn; and Summer, that unbars our gates, and carries us forth amidst the ever-renewed wonders of the world; and Winter, that gathers us around the evening hearth:--all these, as they pass, touch by turns the springs of the spiritual life in us, and are conducting that life to good or evil. The idle watch-hand often points to something within us; and the shadow of the gnomon on the dial often falls upon the conscience.

You can read the whole thing at Sacred Texts, if you can stay awake.

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