MORALS and DOGMA
by: Albert Pike
ELECT OF THE TWELVE;
[Elu of the
THE duties of a Prince Ameth
are, to be earnest, true, reliable, and sincere; to protect the people against
illegal impositions and exactions; to contend for their political rights, and
to see, as far as he may or can, that those bear the burdens who reap the
benefits of the Government.
You are to be true unto all
You are to be frank and sincere
in all things.
You are to be earnest in doing
whatever it is your duty to do.
And no man must repent that he
has relied upon your resolve, your profession, or your word.
The great distinguishing
characteristic of a Mason is sympathy with his kind. He recognizes in the
human race one great family, all connected with himself by those invisible
links, and that mighty net-work of circumstance, forged and woven by God.
Feeling that sympathy, it is
his first Masonic duty to serve his fellow-man. At his first entrance into the
Order, he ceases to be isolated, and becomes one of a great brotherhood,
assuming new duties toward every Mason that lives, as every Mason at the same
moment assumes them toward him.
Nor are those duties on his
part confined to Masons alone. He assumes many in regard to his country, and
especially toward the great, suffering masses of the common people; for they
too are his brethren, and God hears them, inarticulate as the moanings of
their misery are. By all proper means, of persuasion and influence,
and otherwise, if the occasion
and emergency require, he is bound to defend them against oppression, and
tyrannical and illegal exactions.
He labors equally to defend and
to improve the people. He does not flatter them to mislead them, nor fawn upon
them to rule them, nor conceal his opinions to humor them, nor tell them that
they can never err, and that their voice is the voice of God. He knows that
the safety of every free government, and its continuance and perpetuity depend
upon the virtue and intelligence of the common people; and that, unless their
liberty is of such a kind as arms can neither procure nor take away; unless it
is the fruit of manly courage, of justice, temperance, and generous
virtue--unless, being such, it has taken deep root in the minds and hearts of
the people at large, there will not long be wanting those who will snatch from
them by treachery what they have acquired by arms or institutions.
He knows that if, after being
released from the toils of war, the people neglect the arts of peace; if their
peace and liberty be a state of warfare; if war be their only virtue, and the
summit of their praise, they will soon find peace the most adverse to their
interests. It will be only a more distressing war; and that which they
imagined liberty will be the worst of slavery. For, unless by the means of
knowledge and morality, not frothy and loquacious, but genuine, unadulterated,
and sincere, they clear the horizon of the mind from those mists of error and
passion which arise from ignorance and vice, they will always have those who
will bend their necks to the yoke as if they were brutes; who, notwithstanding
all their triumphs, will put them up to the highest bidder, as if they were
mere booty made in war; and find an exuberant source of wealth and power, in
the people's ignorance, prejudice, and passions.
The people that does not
subjugate the propensity of the wealthy to avarice, ambition, and sensuality,
expel luxury from them and their families, keep down pauperism, diffuse
knowledge among the poor, and labor to raise the abject from the mire of vice
and low indulgence, and to keep the industrious from starving in sight of
luxurious festivals, will find that it has cherished, in that avarice,
ambition, sensuality, selfishness, and luxury of the one class, and that
degradation, misery, drunkenness, ignorance, and brutalization of the other,
more stubborn and intractable despots at home
than it ever encountered in the
field; and even its very bowels will be continually teeming with the
intolerable progeny of tyrants.
These are the first enemies to
be subdued; this constitutes the campaign of Peace; these are triumphs,
difficult indeed, but bloodless; and far more honorable than those trophies
which are purchased only by slaughter and rapine; and if not victors in this
service, it is in vain to have been victorious over the despotic enemy in the
For if any people thinks that
it is a grander; a more beneficial, or a wiser policy, to invent subtle
expedients by stamps and imposts, for increasing the revenue and draining the
life-blood of an impoverished people; to multiply its naval and military
force; to rival in craft the ambassadors of foreign states; to plot the
swallowing up of foreign territory; to make crafty treaties and alliances; to
rule prostrate states and abject provinces by fear and force; than to
administer unpolluted justice to the people, to relieve the condition and
raise the estate of the toiling masses, redress the injured and succor the
distressed and conciliate the discontented, and speedily restore to every one
his own; then that people is involved in a cloud of error, and will too late
perceive, when the illusion of these mighty benefits has vanished, that in
neglecting these, which it thought inferior considerations, it has only been
precipitating its own ruin and despair.
Unfortunately, every age
presents its own special problem, most difficult and often impossible to
solve; and that which this age offers, and forces upon the consideration of
all thinking men, is this--how, in a populous and wealthy country, blessed
with free institutions and a constitutional government, are the great masses
of the manual-labor class to be enabled to have steady work at fair wages, to
be kept from starvation, and their children from vice and debauchery, and to
be furnished with that degree, not of mere reading and writing, but of
knowledge, that shall fit them intelligently to do the duties and exercise
the privileges of freemen; even to be intrusted with the dangerous right of
For though we do not know why
God, being infinitely merciful as well as wise, has so ordered it, it seems to
be unquestionably his law, that even in civilized and Christian countries, the
large mass of the population shall be fortunate, if, during their whole life,
from infancy to old age, in health and sickness, they have enough of the
commonest and coarsest food to keep themselves and their
children from the continual
gnawing of hunger--enough of the commonest and coarsest clothing to protect
themselves and their little ones from indecent exposure and the bitter cold;
and if they have over their heads the rudest shelter.
And He seems to have enacted
this law--which no human community has yet found the means to abrogate--that
when a country becomes populous, capital shall concentrate in the hands of a
limited number of persons, and labor become more and more at its mercy, until
mere manual labor, that of the weaver and iron-worker, and other artisans,
eventually ceases to be worth more than a bare subsistence, and often, in
great cities and vast extents of country, not even that, and goes or crawls
about in rags, begging, and starving for want of work.
While every ox and horse can
find work, and is worth being fed, it is not always so with man. To be
employed, to have a chance to work at anything like fair wages, becomes the
great engrossing object of a man's life. The capitalist can live without
employing the laborer, and discharges him whenever that labor ceases to be
profitable. At the moment when the weather is most inclement, provisions
dearest, and rents highest, he turns him off to starve. if the day-laborer is
taken sick, his wages stop. When old, he has no pension to retire upon. His
children cannot be sent to school; for before their bones are hardened they
must get to work lest they starve. The man, strong and able-bodied, works for
a shilling or two a day, and the woman shivering over her little pan of coals,
when the mercury drops far below zero, after her hungry children have wailed
themselves to sleep, sews by the dim light of her lonely candle, for a bare
pittance, selling her life to him who bargained only for the work of her
Fathers and mothers slay their
children, to have the burial-fees, that with the price of one child's life
they may continue life in those that survive. Little girls with bare feet
sweep the street-crossings, when the winter wind pinches them, and beg
piteously for pennies of those who wear warm furs. Children grow up in squalid
misery and brutal ignorance; want compels virgin and wife to prostitute
themselves; women starve and freeze, and lean up against the walls of
workhouses, like bundles of foul rags, all night long, and night after night,
when the cold rain falls, and there chances to be no room for them within; and
hundreds of families are crowded into a single building, rife with horrors and
with foul air and pestilence;
where men, women and children huddle together in their filth; all ages and all
colors sleeping in-discriminately together; while, in a great, free,
Republican State, in the full vigor of its youth and strength, one person in
every seventeen is a pauper receiving charity.
How to deal with this
apparently inevitable evil and mortal disease is by far the most important of
all social problems. What is to be done with pauperism and over-supply of
labor? How is the life of any country to last, when brutality and drunken
semi-barbarism vote, and hold offices in their gift, and by fit
representatives of themselves control a government? How, if not wisdom and
authority, but turbulence and low vice are to exalt to senatorships miscreants
reeking with the odors and pollution of the hell, the prize-ring, the brothel,
and the stock-exchange, where gambling is legalized and rascality is laudable?
Masonry will do all in its
power, by direct exertion and co-operation, to improve and inform as well as
to protect the people; to better their physical condition, relieve their
miseries, supply their wants, and minister to their necessities. Let every
Mason in this good work do all that may be in his power.
For it is true now, as it
always was and always will be, that to be free is the same thing as to be
pious, to be wise, to be temperate and just, to be frugal and abstinent, and
to be magnanimous and brave; and to be the opposite of all these is the same
as to be a slave. And it usually happens, by the appointment, and, as it were,
retributive justice of the Deity, that that people which cannot govern
themselves, and moderate their passions, but crouch under the slavery of their
lusts and vices, are delivered up to the sway of those whom they abhor, and
made to submit to an involuntary servitude.
And it is also sanctioned by
the dictates of justice and by the constitution of Nature, that he who, from
the imbecility or derangement of his intellect, is incapable of governing
himself, should, like a minor, be committed to the government of another.
Above all things let us never
forget that mankind constitutes one great brotherhood; all born to encounter
suffering and sorrow, and therefore bound to sympathize with each other.
For no tower of Pride was ever
yet high enough to lift its possessor above the trials and fears and
frailities of humanity. No human hand ever built the wall, nor ever shall,
that will keep out
affliction, pain, and
infirmity. Sickness and sorrow, trouble and death, are dispensations that
level everything. They know none, high nor low. The chief wants of life, the
great and grave necessities of the human soul, give exemption to none. They
make all poor, all weak. They put supplication in the mouth of every human
being, as truly as in that of the meanest beggar.
But the principle of misery is
not an evil principle. We err, and the consequences teach us wisdom. All
elements, all the laws of things around us, minister to this end; and through
the paths of painful error and mistake, it is the design of Providence to lead
us to truth and happiness. If erring only taught us to err; if mistakes
confirmed us in imprudence; if the miseries caused by vicious indulgence had a
natural tendency to make us more abject slaves of vice, then suffering would
be wholly evil. But, on the contrary, all tends and is designed to produce
amendment and improvement. Suffering is the discipline of virtue; of that
which is infinitely better than happiness, and yet embraces in itself all
essential happiness. It nourishes, invigorates, and perfects it. Virtue is the
prize of the severely-contested race and hard-fought battle; and it is worth
all the fatigue and wounds of the conflict. Man should go forth with a brave
and strong heart, to battle with calamity. He is to master it, and not let it
become his master. He is not to forsake the post of trial and of peril; but to
stand firmly in his lot, until the great word of Providence shall bid him fly,
or bid him sink. With resolution and courage the Mason is to do the work which
it is appointed for him to do, looking through the dark cloud of human
calamity, to the end that rises high and bright before him. The lot of sorrow
is great and sublime. None suffer forever, nor for nought, nor without
purpose. It is the ordinance of God's wisdom, and of His Infinite Love, to
procure for us infinite happiness and glory.
Virtue is the truest liberty;
nor is he free who stoops to passions; nor he in bondage who serves a noble
master. Examples are the best and most lasting lectures; virtue the best
example. He that hath done good deeds and set good precedents, in sincerity,
is happy. Time shall not outlive his worth. He lives truly after death, whose
good deeds are his pillars of remembrance; and no day but adds some grains to
his heap of glory. Good works are seeds, that after sowing return us a
continual harvest; and the memory of noble actions is more enduring than
monuments of marble.
Life is a school. The world is
neither prison nor penitentiary, nor a palace of ease, nor an amphitheatre for
games and spectacles; but a place of instruction, and discipline. Life is
given for moral and spiritual training; and the entire course of the great
school of life is an education for virtue, happiness, and a future existence.
The periods of Life are its terms; all human conditions, its forms; all human
employments, its lessons. Families are the primary departments of this moral
education; the various circles of society, its advanced stages; Kingdoms and
Republics, its universities.
Riches and Poverty, Gayeties
and Sorrows, Marriages and Funerals, the ties of life bound or broken, fit and
fortunate, or untoward and painful, are all lessons. Events are not blindly
and carelessly flung together. Providence does not school one man, and screen
another from the fiery trial of its lessons. It has neither rich favorites nor
poor victims. One event happeneth to all. One end and one design concern and
urge all men.
The prosperous man has been at
school. Perhaps he has thought that it was a great thing, and he a great
personage; but he has been merely a pupil. He thought, perhaps, that he was
Master, and had nothing to do, but to direct and command; but there was ever a
Master above him, the Master of Life. He looks not at our splendid
state, or our many pretensions, nor at the aids and appliances of our
learning; but at our learning itself. He puts the poor and the rich upon the
same form; and knows no difference between them, but their progress.
If from prosperity we have
learned moderation, temperance, candor, modesty, gratitude to God, and
generosity to man, then we are entitled to be honored and rewarded. If we have
learned selfishness, self-indulgence, wrong-doing, and vice, to forget and
overlook our less fortunate brother, and to scoff at the providence of God,
then we are unworthy and dishonored, though we have been nursed in affluence,
or taken our degrees from the lineage of an hundred noble descents; as truly
so, in the eye of Heaven, and of all right-thinking men, as though we lay,
victims of beggary and disease, in the hospital, by the hedge, or on the
dung-hill. The most ordinary human equity looks not at the school, but at the
scholar; and the equity of Heaven will not look beneath that mark.
The poor man also is at school.
Let him take care that he
learn, rather than complain.
Let him hold to his integrity, his candor, and his kindness of heart. Let him
beware of envy, and of bondage, and keep his self-respect. The body's toil is
nothing. Let him beware of the mind's drudgery and degradation. While he
betters his condition if he can, let him be more anxious to better his soul.
Let him be willing, while poor, and even if always poor, to learn poverty's
great lessons, fortitude, cheerfulness, contentment, and implicit confidence
in God's Providence. With these, and patience, calmness, self-command,
disinterestedness, and affectionate kindness, the humble dwelling may be
hallowed, and made more dear and noble than the loftiest palace. Let him,
above all things, see that he lose not his independence. Let him not cast
himself, a creature poorer than the poor, an indolent, helpless, despised
beggar, on the kindness of others. Every man should choose to have God for his
Master, rather than man; and escape not from this school, either by dishonesty
or alms-taking, lest he fall into that state, worse than disgrace, where he
can have no respect for himself.
The ties of Society teach us to
love one another. That is a miserable society, where the absence of
affectionate kindness is sought to be supplied by punctilious decorum,
graceful urbanity, and polished insincerity; where ambition, jealousy, and
distrust rule, in place of simplicity, confidence, and kindness.
So, too, the social state
teaches modesty and gentleness; and from neglect, and notice unworthily
bestowed on others, and injustice, and the world's failure to appreciate us,
we learn patience and quietness, to be superior to society's opinion, not
cynical and bitter, but gentle, candid, and affectionate still.
Death is the great Teacher,
stern, cold, inexorable, irresistible; whom the collected might of the world
cannot stay or ward off. The breath, that parting from the lips of King or
beggar, scarcely stirs the hushed air, cannot be bought. or brought back for a
moment, with the wealth of Empires. What a lesson is this, teaching our
frailty and feebleness, and an Infinite Power beyond us! It is a fearful
lesson, that never becomes familiar. It walks through the earth in dread
mystery, and lays it hands upon all. It is a universal lesson, that is read
everywhere and by all men. Its message comes every year and every day. The
past years are crowded with its sad and solemn mementoes; and death's finger
races its handwriting upon the walls of every human habitation.
It teaches us Duty; to act our
part well; to fulfill the work assigned us. When one is dying, and after he is
dead, there is but one question: Has he lived well? There is no evil in
death but that which life makes.
There are hard lessons in the
school of God's Providence; and yet the school of life is carefully adjusted,
in all its arrangements and tasks, to man's powers and passions. There is no
extravagance in its teachings; nor is anything done for the sake of present
effect. The whole course of human life is a conflict with difficulties; and,
if rightly conducted, a progress in improvement. It is never too late for man
to learn. Not part only, but the whole, of life is a school. There never comes
a time, even amidst the decays of age, when it is fit to lay aside the
eagerness of acquisition, or the cheerfulness of endeavor. Man walks, all
through the course of life, in patience and strife, and sometimes in darkness;
for, from patience is to come perfection; from strife, triumph is to issue;
from the cloud of darkness the lightning is to flash that shall open the way
Let the Mason be faithful in
the school of life, and to all its lessons! Let him not learn nothing, nor
care not whether he learns or not. Let not the years pass over him, witnesses
of only his sloth and indifference; or see him zealous to acquire everything
but virtue. Nor let him labor only for himself; nor forget that the humblest
man that lives is his brother, and hath a claim on his sympathies and kind
offices; and that beneath the rough garments which labor wears may beat hearts
as noble as throb under the stars of princes.
counts by souls, not stations,
Loves and pities you and me;
For to Him all vain distinctions
Are as pebbles on the sea.
Nor are the other duties
inculcated in this Degree of less importance. Truth, a Mason is early told, is
a Divine attribute and the foundation of every virtue; and frankness,
reliability, sincerity, straightforwardness, plain-dealing, are but different
modes in which Truth develops itself. The dead, the absent, the innocent, and
those that trust him, no Mason will deceive willingly. To all these he owes a
nobler justice, in that they are the most certain trials of human Equity. Only
the most abandoned of men, said
[paragraph continues] Cicero, will deceive him, who
would have remained uninjured if he had not trusted. All the noble deeds that
have beat their marches through succeeding ages have proceeded from men of
truth and genuine courage. The man who is always true is both virtuous and
wise; and thus possesses the greatest guards of safety: for the law has not
power to strike the virtuous; nor can fortune subvert the wise.
The bases of Masonry being
morality and virtue, it is by studying one and practising the other, that the
conduct of a Mason becomes irreproachable. The good of Humanity being its
principal object, disinterestedness is one of the first virtues that it
requires of its members; for that is the source of justice and beneficence.
To pity the misfortunes of
others; to be humble, but without meanness; to be proud, but without
arrogance; to abjure every sentiment of hatred and revenge; to show himself
magnanimous and liberal, without ostentation and without profusion; to be the
enemy of vice; to pay homage to wisdom and virtue; to respect innocence; to be
constant and patient in adversity, and modest in prosperity; to avoid every
irregularity that stains the soul and distempers the body--it is by following
these precepts that a Mason will become a good citizen, a faithful husband, a
tender father, an obedient son, and a true brother; will honor friendship, and
fulfill with ardor the duties which virtue and the social relations impose
It is because Masonry imposes
upon us these duties that it is properly and significantly styled work;
and he who imagines that he becomes a Mason by merely taking the first two or
three Degrees, and that he may, having leisurely stepped upon that small
elevation, thenceforward worthily wear the honors of Masonry, without labor or
exertion, or self-denial or sacrifice, and that there is nothing to be done
in Masonry, is strangely deceived.
Is it true that nothing remains
to be done in Masonry?
Does one Brother no longer
proceed by law against another Brother of his Lodge, in regard to matters that
could be easily settled within the Masonic family circle?
Has the duel, that hideous
heritage of barbarism, interdicted among Brethren by our fundamental laws, and
denounced by the municipal code, yet disappeared from the soil we inhabit? Do
Masons of high rank religiously refrain from it; or do they not,
bowing to a corrupt public
opinion, submit to its arbitrament, despite the scandal which it occasions to
the Order, and in violation of the feeble restraint of their oath?
Do Masons no longer form
uncharitable opinions of their Brethren, enter harsh judgments against them,
and judge themselves by one rule and their Brethren by another?
Has Masonry any well-regulated
system of charity? Has it done that which it should have done for the cause of
education? Where are its schools, its academies, its colleges, its hospitals,
Are political controversies now
conducted with no violence and bitterness?
Do Masons refrain from defaming
and denouncing their Brethren who differ with them in religious or political
What grand social problems or
useful projects engage our attention at our communications? Where in our
Lodges are lectures habitually delivered for the real instruction of the
Brethren? Do not our sessions pass in the discussion of minor matters of
business, the settlement of points of order and questions of mere
administration, and the admission and advancement of Candidates, whom after
their admission we take no pains to instruct?
In what Lodge are our
ceremonies explained and elucidated; corrupted as they are by time, until
their true features can scarcely be distinguished; and where are those great
primitive truths of revelation taught, which Masonry has preserved to the
We have high dignities and
sounding titles. Do their possessors qualify themselves to enlighten the world
in respect to the aims and objects of Masonry? Descendants of those Initiates
who governed empires, does your influence enter into practical life and
operate efficiently in behalf of well-regulated and constitutional liberty?
Your debates should be but
friendly conversations. You need concord, union, and peace. Why then do you
retain among you men who excite rivalries and jealousies; why permit great and
violent controversy and ambitious pretensions? How do your own words and acts
agree? If your Masonry is a nullity, how can you exercise any influence on
Continually you praise each
other, and utter elaborate and high-wrought
eulogies upon the Order.
Everywhere you assume that you are what you should be, and nowhere do you look
upon yourselves as you are. Is it true that all our actions are so many acts
of homage to virtue? Explore the recesses of your hearts; let us examine
ourselves with an impartial eye, and make answer to our own questioning! Can
we bear to ourselves the consoling testimony that we always rigidly perform
our duties; that we even half perform them?
Let us away with this odious
self-flattery! Let us be men, if we cannot be sages! The laws of Masonry,
above others excellent, cannot wholly change men's natures. They enlighten
them, they point out the true way; but they can lead them in it, only by
repressing the fire of their passions, and subjugating their selfishness.
Alas, these conquer, and Masonry is forgotten!
After praising each other all
our lives, there are always excellent Brethren, who, over our coffins, shower
unlimited eulogies. Every one of us who dies, however useless his life, has
been a model of all the virtues, a very child of the celestial light. In
Egypt, among our old Masters, where Masonry was more cultivated than vanity,
no one could gain admittance to the sacred asylum of the tomb until he had
passed under the most solemn judgment. A grave tribunal sat in judgment upon
all, even the kings. They said to the dead. "Whoever thou art, give account to
thy country of thy actions! What hast thou done with thy time and life? The
law interrogates thee, thy country hears thee, Truth sits in judgment on
thee!" Princes came there to be judged, escorted only by their virtues and
their vices. A public accuser recounted, the history of the dead man's life,
and threw the blaze of the torch of truth .on all his actions. If it were
adjudged that he had led an evil life, his memory was condemned in the
presence of the nation, and his body was denied the honors of sepulture. What
a lesson the old Masonry taught to the sons of the people!
Is it true that Masonry is
effete; that the acacia, withered, affords no shade; that Masonry no longer
marches in the advance-guard of Truth? No. Is freedom yet universal? Have
ignorance and prejudice disappeared from the earth? Are there no longer
enmities among men? Do cupidity and falsehood no longer exist? Do toleration
and harmony prevail among religious and political sects? There are works yet
left for Masonry to accomplish, greater than the twelve labors of Hercules; to
resolutely and steadily; to
enlighten the minds of the people, to reconstruct society, to reform the laws,
and to improve the public morals. The eternity in front of it is as infinite
as the one behind. And Masonry cannot cease to labor in the cause of social
progress, without ceasing to be true to itself, without ceasing to be Masonry.
Next: XII. Grand Master Architect