If there be nothing of the divine in man, what is he, after all, but a more intelligent animal? He hath no fault nor vice which some beast hath not; and therefore in his vices he is but a beast of a higher order; and he hath hardly any moral excellence, perhaps none, which some animal hath not in as great a degree,–even the more excellent of these, such as generosity, fidelity, and magnanimity.

Bardesan, the Syrian Christian, in his Book of the Laws of Countries, says, of men, that “in the things belonging to their bodies, they maintain their nature like animals, and in the things which belong to their minds, they do that which they wish, as being free and with power, and as the likeness of God”; and Meliton, Bishop of Sardis, in his Oration to Antoninus Cæsar,

p. 858

says, “Let Him, the ever-living God, be always present in thy mind; for thy mind itself is His likeness, for it, too, is invisible and impalpable, and without form. . . As He exists forever, so thou also, when thou shalt have put off this which is visible and corruptible, shalt stand before Him forever, living and endowed with knowledge.”

As a matter far above our comprehension, and in the Hebrew Genesis the words that are used to express the origin of things are of uncertain meaning, and with equal propriety may be translated by the word “generated,” “produced,” “made,” or “created,” we need not dispute nor debate whether the Soul or Spirit of man be a ray that has emanated or flowed forth from the Supreme Intelligence, or whether the Infinite Power hath called each into existence from nothing, by a mere exertion of Its will, and endowed it with immortality, and with intelligence like unto the Divine Intelligence: for, in either case it may be said that in man the Divine is united to the Human. Of this union the equilateral Triangle inscribed within the Square is a Symbol.

We see the Soul, Plato said, as men see the statue of Glaucus, recovered from the sea wherein it had lain many years–which viewing, it was not easy, if possible, to discern what was its original nature, its limbs having been partly broken and partly worn and by defacement changed, by the action of the waves, and shells, weeds, and pebbles adhering to it, so that it more resembled some strange monster than that which it was when it left its Divine Source. Even so, he said, we see the Soul, deformed by innumerable things that have done it harm, have mutilated and defaced it. But the Mason who hath the ROYAL SECRET can also with him argue, from beholding its love of wisdom, its tendency toward association with what is divine and immortal, its larger aspirations, its struggles, though they may have ended in defeat, with the impediments and enthralments of the senses and the passions, that when it shall have been rescued from the material environments that now prove too strong for it, and be freed from the deforming and disfiguring accretions that here adhere to it, it will again be seen in its true nature, and by degrees ascend by the mystic ladder of the Spheres, to its first home and place of origin.

The ROYAL SECRET, of which you are Prince, if you are a true Adept, if knowledge seems to you advisable, and Philosophy is, for you, radiant with a divine beauty, is that which the Sohar

p. 859

terms The Mystery of the BALANCE. It is the Secret of the UNIVERSAL EQUILIBRIUM:–

–Of that Equilibrium in the Deity, between the Infinite Divine WISDOM and the Infinite Divine POWER, from which result the Stability of the Universe, the unchangeableness of the Divine Law, and the Principles of Truth, Justice, and Right which are a part of it; and the Supreme Obligation of the Divine Law upon all men, as superior to all other law, and forming a part of all the laws of men and nations.

–Of that Equilibrium also, between the Infinite Divine JUSTICE and the Infinite Divine MERCY, the result of which is the Infinite Divine EQUITY, and the Moral Harmony or Beauty of the Universe. By it the endurance of created and imperfect natures in the presence of a Perfect Deity is made possible; and for Him, also, as for us, to love is better than to hate, and Forgiveness is wiser than Revenge or Punishment.

Pin It on Pinterest