If ever self-love should have directed the actions of men, and supplied the place of nobler motives, the princely dupe will have found ample matter in the laws of Illuminism to stimulate his, when he but casts his eye on the following article contained in the instructions for the Prefects, or local Superiors, under the head formation of pupils: “What will numbers avail us, if unity and similarity of sentiment do not prevail?—No rank, no state of life, can dispense the Brethren from our labours or our trials. To accustom them to despise all distinctions, and to view the world and human nature in the grand scale, the Prefect shall carefully collect all the anecdotes he can, remarkable either for their generosity or meanness, not regarding to whom they relate, whether Princes or Citizens, rich or poor. He will transmit them to the Masters of the Minervals; and these will expose them in a proper manner to their pupils. They will not forget to give the name of the Prince of great personage, though the trait should dishonour him; for,” says the Code, “every member must be made sensible, that we distribute impartial justice, and that among us the wicked man upon the throne is called a villain (ein schurke heist) just as freely, if not more so, than the criminal who is being led to the gallows.”

Under the same head we may observe another article remarkable enough, on the means of rendering the language of the adepts more uniform when speaking before any of the Order, or of facts relating to it.

On these occasions the Prefect will take care secretly to instruct the lower Superiors in what stile they are to hold forth, what ideas to propagate, and in what manner they should make their pupils speak. “Hence the pupils will constantly accord themselves in every thing, whether in language or action, with the Superiors, though their motives may be unknown to them. But these means we shall all tend toward the same object; the young adepts will accustom themselves to search and dive into the intentions of the Order; to

p. 554

refrain from acting; or to be silent on all doubtful occasions, till they have received the advice or orders of their Superior as to what they ought to do or say.”

Under the head Love or Spirit of the Order, the Prefect is instructed, that such Love or Spirit is to be infused by descanting on the beauty and importance of the object of the Sect, the integrity of its members, the greatness and certainty of its means, the utility of the instruction imparted, and security promised to all its pupils by the Order.—This Love will always be proportionate to the certainty of being happy while attached to the Order, and of finding real happiness in no other place. To stimulate it, he must always feed them with the hopes of new discoveries more and more important; and, lest their zeal should diminish, “try to keep our pupils constantly occupied with objects relating to the Order; make it their favourite pursuit.—See what the Roman Catholic Church does to make its religion familiar to its followers, how it keeps their attention incessantly toward it; model yourself by that.—It would be impossible to foresee all cases and lay down rules for them;—Let it then be the constant study of the Prefects and other Superiors to prepare themselves for unforeseen events—Let them propose and distribute prizes for the best compositions on such cases. Perpetual vigilance will render it impossible for the edifice not sooner or later to succeed, and to take a proper consistency according to the local circumstances. Exhort the Brethren to complacency, beneficence, and generosity toward each other and toward the Order.”

The next article treats of Obedience. Here the Prefect is informed, “That should he have been diligent and successful in impressing the young pupils with the grandeur of the views of the Sect, they will doubtless obey the Superiors with pleasure. How can they do otherwise than submit themselves to be conducted by Superiors who have so carefully guided them hitherto, who contributed so much to their present happiness, and who promise to perpetuate it in future? May the man who is not to be enticed into obedience by such advantages be rejected from among us; let him be cast out from the society of the elect! The spirit of obedience is to be more particularly infused by example and instruction—by the conviction, that to obey our Superiors is in fact only fulfilling our own inclination—by the gradual progress of the degrees—by the hopes of discovering more important truths—by fear properly managed—by honours, rewards, and distinctions granted to the docile—by contempt cast on the stubborn—by avoiding familiarity with the inferiors—by the exemplary punishment of the rebellious—by the selection of those whom we know to be devoted to us and ready to execute all our commands—by a particular attention to the Quibus Licets whereby we may see how far the Orders of the Superiors have been executed;—and by the punctuality of the intermediary Superiors in sending the tablets or reports respecting their inferiors. The more particular those tablets are, the better they will be; for it is on them that all the operations of the Order are grounded. It is by their means that the progress and number of the Brethren are to be known; that the strength or weakness of the machine, and the proportion and adhesion of all its parts are to be calculated,

Pin It on Pinterest