MASONIC INITIATION  by W.L. Wilmshurst

Chapter II

WAGES

Initiates of the secret science in the past ("our ancient Brethren") are
said to have been paid wages . The wages, we are told, were paid in the
porchway of the Temple ; and, much or little, they were accepted without
demur, because of the recipients' complete confidence in their employers
and the recognition that only so much would be received as their work was
actually worth . The Masonic tradition asserts that the wages were not paid
in cash-cash was of no use to those who had already learned to do without
money and metals-but in corn, wine, and oil . (Note the threefold form of
the wages) .

Wages of the same kind are still paid to real Craftsmen in the same place,
and in the same mode . The porchway of the Temple figures the outer natural
life which forms a portal to an inner supernatural life at the central
sanctuary which we have not yet consciously reached, but to which we labour
to ascend by an in-winding stairway, gradually rebuilding body and mind on
the way with a view to acquiring a new reconstituted organism appropriate
and adapted to that sublime degree of. life.

Such a new body and mind require sustenance to build them, and the food we
consume becomes built into our organism. What we eat, we become. Corn goes
to body-building, the fashioning of substantiality and structural form .
Wine goes to the vitalizing and stimulating of the mind, strengthening the
intellect, deepening the inner vision . Oil is a lubricant for the system,
enabling its parts to run smoothly and without friction.

In their higher symbolism Corn (or Bread) and Wine relate to those of the
Altar, and were Eucharistic elements in the Mysteries long before the
Christian Master in a certain "upper room" (or higher level of application)
took over and gave a new application to the wheat of Ceres and the wine of
Bacchus-Dionysos ; while Oil, the crushed out and refined product of the
olive, refers to that Wisdom which is the ultimate essence of experience
and knowledge, and which has been associated, in the different Mystery
teachings, with Minerva, with Solomon, and with the Mount of Olives .

The spiritual Craftsman not only earns his own wages proportionately to his
work; his own labours automatically supply them . God, as his employer,
has already lodged them within him in advance ; he has only to appropriate
them as he becomes justly entitled to them by his own labours, as the sons
of Jacob found their money restored to them in their corn-sacks .

The Mason `is himself likened to an ear of corn, nourished by a fall of the
Water of Life . In virtue of the animal element in his nature he is himself
"the ox that treadeth out the corn," separating his own golden grain from
the stalk that bore it. He is himself the "threshing floor of Araunah,"
winnowing his own chaff from his own wheat. He treads his own wine-press
alone ; in singleness of effort and in the solitude of his own thought
distilling his own vintage, until the cup of his mind runs over with the
wine of a new order of intelligence . He is his own oil-press, and out of
his own experience and self-realisation extracts wisdom-that oil which
anoints him with a joy and an ability above his fellows, and that runs down
to the "skirts of his clothing," manifesting itself in his personality and
in all his activities .

Corn, wine, and oil, are therefore laid upon the altar at the consecration
of every Masonic Lodge ; they are the emblems of a Craftsman's wages . Upon
the collar of Grand Lodge Officers are displayed ears of wheat and sprays
of olive, the symbolic indication that those who arrive at the summit of
their profession possess that which they exhibit, and are able to minister
bread and wine and oil to those below them in the Order.

There are less agreeable forms of wages, however, but such as also are to
be received without scruple or mistrust, for they are both disciplinary and
signs of progress . A man cannot set up to re-form his old nature and
readjust his interior constitution without feeling it, or without
unsettling the fabric of his emotional and mental sheaths . Accordingly, it
is a common experience with those who take themselves seriously in hand in
the task of self re-building that unexpected obstacles suddenly arise ; the
wages that come to them are those of adversity in temporal affairs,
sickness, the turning away of former friends, and the like. There is good
reason for this . Within ourselves are sown the seeds of all
our past activities and emotional tendencies, good or evil. Within ourselves
are stored all our old mind-forms and fabrications of base metal . To try
to disturb the former or to divest ourselves of the latter, promotes
immediate reaction from them .

He who deliberately invokes the Light upon himself, as the earnest Masonic
aspirant does, ipso facto utters, with corresponding intensity, a challenge
to his own bad past, his own unreal self . And if his invocation be
effective, the Light streaming into him from his own dormer-window, whilst
giving him illumination, will also play upon and stimulate in him all that
is undesirable, as sunlight stirs to activity the unpleasant insects
dwelling in darkness beneath a stone that is suddenly removed from an old
position . Light impartially affects both the good .and evil in oneself, as
the sunshine causes a rose to bloom, and a lump of carrion by its side to
putrefy. It induces new growth in a spiritual sense, but it also, and at
the same time, accelerates the germination of seeds implanted in us, which,
but for it, would continue to lie dormant and unmatured until a more
favourable time . Under the discipline of Initiation the seeds or
compressed results of one's own past, the potential reactions from one's
own former actions and inaction, all that goes to make up a man's fate and
that, if unchecked, will shape his future destiny, are brought to a sudden
head and crisis ; the normal slower development they would have undergone,
if not so interfered with, becomes interrupted, expedited. It is often as
though vials of undeserved wrath break upon the devoted head of him who at
last has- struck the road to salvation, and is resolved at all costs to
follow it . And yet these are the wages he receives for his laudable
enterprise ! Lacking self-knowledge as yet, ignorant of what is latent in
him, not realizing that the path of Initiation is one of intensive culture
and accelerated evolution, he may become dismayed from further pursuing his
quest, unless he be made aware that these wages are actually due to him,
that they represent his past earnings, that he is justly entitled to them,
and that the sooner the debit and credit sides of his own self-written
judgment-ledger are balanced, the freer will he be to proceed with his
newly undertaken building-work.

"The wages of sin are death"-death in the sense of being spiritually
unconscious, however vigorously alive in other ways . "Sin" in all or any
of its forms is, in its final analysis, disharmony induced by the assertion
of the unreal personal self in unalignment with the impersonal Universal
Self, the Holy Spirit. But the Path of Initiation involves the obliteration
of all sense of the personal self. The just and perfect man and Mason is
therefore one who is utterly selfless ; being selfless he is sinless ; and
being sinless he stands in, consciously shares, and becomes the instrument
of, the divine Kingdom, Power and Glory.


 

 

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