earth will then sink down into Duzakh, and become for three periods a place of punishment for the wicked. Then, by degrees, all will be pardoned, even Ahriman and the Devs, and admitted to the regions of bliss, and thus there will be a new Heaven and a new earth."
In the doctrines of Lamaism also, we find, obscured, and partly concealed in fiction, fragments of the primitive truth. For, according to that faith, "There is to be a final judgment before Eslik Khan : The good are to be admitted to Paradise, the bad to be banished to hell, where there are eight regions burning hot and eight freezing cold."
In the Mysteries, wherever they were practised, was taught that truth of the primitive revelation, the existence of One Great Being, Infinite and pervading the Universe, Who was there worshipped without superstition; and His marvellous nature, essence, and attributes taught to the Initiates; while the vulgar attributed His works to Secondary Gods, personified, and isolated from Him in fabulous independence.
These truths were covered from the common people as with a veil; and the Mysteries were carried into every country, that, without disturbing the popular beliefs, truth, the arts, and the sciences might be known to those who were capable of understanding them, and maintaining the true doctrine incorrupt; which the people, prone to superstition and idolatry, have in no age been able to do; nor, as many strange aberrations and superstitions of the present day prove, any more now than heretofore. For we need but point to the doctrines of so many sects that degrade the Creator to the rank, and assign to Him the passions of humanity, to prove that now, as always, the old truths must be committed to a few, or they will be overlaid with fiction and error, and irretrievably lost.
Though Masonry is identical with the Ancient Mysteries, it is so in this qualified sense; that it presents but an imperfect image of their brilliancy; the ruins only of their grandeur, and a system that has experienced progressive alterations, the fruits of social events and political circumstances. Upon leaving Egypt, the Mysteries were modified by the habits of the different nations among whom they were introduced. Though originally more moral and political than religious, they soon became the heritage, as it were, of the priests, and essentially religious, though in reality limiting the sacerdotal power, by teaching the intelligent laity the folly and absurdity of the creeds of the populace. They were therefore necessarily changed by the religious systems of the countries into which they were transplanted. In Greece, they were the Mysteries of Ceres; in Rome, of Bona Dea, the Good Goddess; in Gaul, the School of Mars; in Sicily, the Academy of the Sciences; among the Hebrews, they partook of the rites and ceremonies of a religion which placed all the powers of government, and all the knowledge, in the hands of the Priests and Levites. The pagodas of India, the retreats of the Magi of Persia and Chaldca, and the pyramids of Egypt, were no longer the sources at which men. drank in knowledge. Each people, at all informed, had its Mysteries. After a time the Temples of Greece and the School of Pythagoras lost their reputation, and Freemasonry took their place.
Masonry, when properly expounded, is at once the interpretation of the great book of nature, the recital of physical and astronomical phenomena, the purest philosophy, and the place of deposit, where, as in a Treasury, are kept in safety all the great truths of the primitive revelation, that form the basis of all religions. In the modern Degrees three things are to be recognized: The image of primeval times, the tableau of the efficient causes of the Universe, and the book in which are written the morality of all peoples, and the code by which they must govern themselves if they would be prosperous.
The Kabalistic doctrine was long the religion of the Sage and the Savant; because, like Freemasonry, it incessantly tends toward spiritual perfection, and the fusion of the creeds and Nationalities of Mankind. In the eyes of the Kabalist, all men are his brothers; and their relative ignorance is, to him, but a reason for instructing them. There were illustrious Kabalists among the Egyptians and Greeks, whose doctrines the Orthodox Church has accepted; and among the Arabs were many, whose wisdom was not slighted by the Mediaeval Church.
The Sages proudly wore the name of Kabalists. The Kabalah embodied a noble philosophy, pure, not mysterious, but symbolic. It taught the doctrine of the Unity of God, the art of knowing and explaining the essence and operations of the Supreme Being, of spiritual powers and natural forces, and of determining their action by symbolic figures; by the arrangement of the alphabet,
Was this article helpful?