“VI. With respect to history, who is your favourite author or your master?”

“VII. Do you not think yourself in duty bound to procure all the exterior advantages possible for your tried friends, in order to recompense them for their probity, and to render life more agreeable to them? Are you ready to do what the Order exacts of each member in this degree, when it ordains that each one shall bind himself to give advice every month to the Superiors, of the employments, support, benefices, or other such like dignities, of which he can dispose, or procure the possession by means of his recommendations; that the Superiors may present worthy subjects of our Order to all such employments?

The answers of the candidate are to be returned in writing, and inserted in the registers of the Lodge. It will naturally be expected, that the greatest dissatisfaction with the present order of things is to be expressed, as well as an ardent wish for a revolution which shall change the whole face of the Universe. He will also promise to support, by all the means in his power, the election of none but worthy brethren to offices of emolument and trust, or such as may augment the power or credit of Illuminism, whether about the court or among the people. On his declaring such to be his sentiments, the Initiator addresses him in the following discourse:

“Brother, you are a witness, that it is after having tried the best of men, that we seek little by little to reward them, and to give them support, that we may insensibly succeed in new modelling the world. Since you are convinced how imperfectly men have fulfilled their real destiny; how every thing has degenerated in their civil institutions; how little the teachers of wisdom and of truth have enhanced the value of virtue, or given a happier disposition to the world; you must be persuaded, that the error lies in the means which the sages have hitherto employed. Those means, therefore, must be changed, in order to reinstate in its rights the empire of truth and wisdom. And this is the grand object of the labours of our Order. Oh, my friend! my brother! my son! when here convened, far from the prophane, we consider to what an extent the

p. 458

world is abandoned to the yoke of the wicked, how persecution and misfortune is the lot of the honest man, and how the better part of human nature is sacrificed to personal interest. Can we at such a sight be silent, or content ourself with sighing? Shall we not attempt to shake off yoke?—Yes, my brother, rely upon us. Seek faithful co-operators, but seek them not in tumults and storms; they are hidden in darkness. Protected by the shades of night, solitary and silent, or reunited in small numbers, they, docile children, pursue the grand work under the direction of their Superiors. They call aloud to the children of the world, who pass by in the intoxication of pleasure—how few hearken to them! He alone who has the eye of the bird of Minerva, who has placed his labours under the protection of the star of night, is sure of finding them.”

But, lest this discourse should not have given the Candidate a sufficient insight as to the object of the new degree, the Secretary opens the Code of the Lodge, entitled A general view of the system of the Order. Here the young Illuminee learns, that the object of the Order is to diffuse the pure truth, and to make virtue triumph. Nothing, however, is explicitly said on what is to be understood by the pure truth. He is only told, that in order to diffuse it, “he must begin by liberating men from their prejudices, and by enlightening their understandings; then reunite all the common forces for the refinement of all sciences from the dross of useless subtleties, and for the establishment of principles drawn from Nature.—To attain this,” continues the Secretary, “we must trace the origin of all sciences; we must reward oppressed talents; we must raise from the dust the men of genius; we must undertake the education of youth; and, forming an indissoluble league among the most powerful geniuses, we must boldly, though with prudence, combat superstition, incredulity, and folly; and at length form our people to true, just, and uniform principles on all subjects.

Pin It on Pinterest