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GROWTH AND SERVICE OF THE FELLOWCRAFT DEGREE
Part One: Growth
In undertaking to lay before you some ideas as to the growth and service of the Fellowcraft Degree, it is even more appropriate on this occasion, before a gathering of Masonic students, than might be suitable for the usual lodge meeting, to begin with an outline of the history of this Degree so far as it has been discovered by other students, more fortunately situated than ourselves in relation to original documents and other essential evidence. For this purpose I have been able to make use of the "Prestonian Lecture" for 1926, prepared by our late Brother, Lionel Vilbert, then Secretary of the Lodge Quatuor Coronati, and entitled "The Evolution of the Second Degree".
By the end of the 17th century, whatever loose association there may have existed between the various groups of operative Masons scattered over England, had practically ceased to exist. Indeed these groups were not even generally known as "Lodges", for Dr. Plot, who described them in the year 1686, states that the meetings he had heard of -- held in the moorlands of Staffordshire -- were "in some places called Lodges" and he adds that they possessed old records which showed that they had once been spread "all over the nation".
I use the term 'loose association' because in a very valuable address, read before the Royal Institute of British Architects, by Mr. Wyatt Papworth in 1887, entitle "Notes on the Superintendents of English Buildings in the Middle Ages", the author states "it is certain from all these observations, that there were fellowships or gilds of masons existing before the middle of the fourteenth century, but whether the one in London had any communication with other gilds then existing in other corporate towns, or whether there was a supreme gild which led to a systematic working, is still without elucidation. All the documents, the contents of which have been detailed herein, have led me to believe that there was not any supreme gild in England, however probable the existence of such a body may appear." This address was reprinted in full, by Bro. Vilbert in his magazine "Miscellanea Latomorum" Vols XV and XVI, 1930-31.
Coming, now, to London, since our present Order had its revival there, we find there is evidence of one group, held in connection with the Company of Masons, and existing before 1620, having its own officers and known as "The Acception", since it was composed of non-operative, or honorary members, known today as "Speculative Masons". But after 1676, there are no references to it in the Company's records and we hear of its activities only once more, that being its meeting in 1682, which Elias Ashmole attended as recorded in his diary. On the other hand, as late as 1738, Anderson states that there had been seven of these groups, or lodges, whose places of meeting were remembered in his time. It was understood that their Society had secret ceremonies and modes of recognition, that their numbers included all ranks of citizens and that they cared for poor and distressed Brethren.
In 1716, four of these lodges, of whom practically nothing more is known than their names, organized themselves into a new association; nor is it known why they did so. The actual membership -- so far as London is concerned -- were none of them distinguished for any achievement, whether political, literary or philosophical, and the entire absence of any records of their meetings, even of any references to them in the contemporary newspapers (which have been carefully searched for such) seems to warrant the supposition that they had no other ambition than to form a sort of unofficial City Company and hold the customary annual festival for their mutual enjoyment.
The Operative masons were, however, still strong enough to issue -- as late as the middle of the 18th century -- an enactment known as "The New Articles", the first of which directed that no one could be accepted a Mason unless there were present at the meeting at least one craftsman in the trade. The new body made one distinction between themselves and the established City Companies for, since the latter all used the titles Master and Wardens for their officers, they decided to call their own by the name Grand Master and Grand Wardens, from which their organization naturally came to be known as a Grand Lodge. It is advisable to repeat, here, that these combined names had never before been used by the Masonic Fraternity, in view of the many erroneous statements, made about Sir Christopher Wren, Inigo Jones and other famous operatives bearing such titles long previous to 1716. Just how it came about cannot now be definitely explained, it is one of our real problems of research, but the fact is that by 1720 the new body is known to include in its ranks antiquaries, learned members of "The Royal Society for the Promotion of Knowledge", and many persons of high social standing. This, too, in an age when social distinctions were rigid and moral ones equally flexible.
In reference to this there is an enlightening statement by W. Bro. Rev. W.W. Covey-Crump, Prestonian Lecturer for 1931, whose subject was "Mediaeval Master Masons and their Secrets". He says: "During the XVIIth century many gentlemen -- men or erudition, culture and social standing -- joined the Fraternity. We are therefore bound to ask what was the attraction which induced such literati to take that step. Mere convivial relaxation is too inadequate an incentive to suffice, even if we could say (which we cannot) that they joined select Masters' Gilds, not ordinary Masons' Lodges. To them membership in a society then so obscure offered no entree to a superior social circle, nor did it imply any superior standard of ethical form. Yet these men were not Utopian "visionaries" (Notwithstanding Bro. Gould's stigma), though certainly they were seekers for truth. I submit to you that what drew them into Masonry was the desire to participate in certain mysterious secrets known (or supposed) to be imbedded therein -- secrets of such a nature as to be specially interesting to them. More than thirty years have passed since this inquiry was broached by W. Bro. Sidney Klein in two remarkable papers entitled "The Great Symbol" and "Magister Mathesios", and advanced at a private demonstration which he gave in the Quatuor Coronati Lodge and afterwards repeated (on Jan 18th, 1898) at a meeting of distinguished experts held by invitation of the Board of General Purposes in Freemason's Hall, London. These papers are published in volumes X and XXIIII of A.Q.C. and the original Ms of the demonstration, showing the discovery of the genuine secrets of a M.M. is preserved in the Library of Grand Lodge." It is true that in Scotland, Ireland and England the landed gentry and other persons of importance had been members of the older body long before Grand Lodge had been invented, but we are concerned with the growth of the new body, especially in the cities of London and Westminster, where it had been formed, for by 1721 there was such an increase of membership that special arrangements had to be made for the annual feast of that year. Another consequence of this increase in public interest was the installation as Grand Master of one of the nobility, Philip, Duke of Wharton, an Irish peer and a Jacobite, whose activities in connection with the "Hell-Fire Club" and other dissipations had made his name a by-word for licentiousness as shown in great detail by Lewis Melville in his "Life" of this personage. (John Lane, 1913).
It is evident that we must not imagine our 18th century Brethren as being governed by the moral standards in force in our own time, for they elected at least one more of this type to the office of Grand Master in 1791 in the person of the Prince of Wales, afterwards George IV, as successor to his ferocious brother, the Duke of Cumberland. However, we have to thank the Duke of Wharton for founding the first Masonic Lodge warranted outside of Great Britain, this being in Madrid, in 1728, "in his own apartments," where he was living because of his known connections with the Pretender and the Stuart party's schemes against the Hanoverian regime.
This increase of membership included many persons living outside "The Bills of Mortality", the name given to the limits of the cities of London and Westminster at that time. This area had been that governed by the operative lodges in London through their Freemen and the early Grand Lodge had, naturally, assumed the same territorial jurisdiction. It had been simple enough to permit the existence of new lodges within these limits and easy for them to regulate their own affairs at their quarterly meetings, which was their practice up to 1725. This is an important period for our present purpose since Anderson says Regulation XIII of their Constitution required that "Apprentices must be admitted Masters and Fellow-Craft, only here (i.e. in Grand Lodge) unless by a dispensation". While this appears to be the first mention of two Degrees, beyond that of Apprentice, since we are accustomed to associate each of these terms with a separate ceremony, there is no doubt that one only is intended as, at the Grand Lodge meeting in 1725, this regulation was changed by a resolution that "such part of the 13th Article relating to the Making of Masters, only at a Quarterly Communication, may be repealed and that the master of each Lodge, with the consent of his Wardens, and the majority of the Brethren being Masters, may make Masters at their discretion". If this resolution did not affect the Fellow-Craft Degree as well, we would have to suppose the absurdity of Grand Lodge retaining authority over an intermediate degree and turning over the higher, more important one, over to private lodges!
Now what is known of the duties of this Degree? We can get some information from the text of the Old Charges and the practice of other early gilds. We know the Apprentices were boys, just entering adolescence and it is not to be supposed that they would be competent either to receive, or live up to, any other teachings or responsibilities than would be contained in a simple obligation of loyalty to the lodge, secrecy about their Master's home live and obedience to their official superiors. it could not be known whether a boy would last the seven years of apprenticeship, or prove competent to meet the conditions of the work, why then entrust him with a set of tools and instruction in their uses. But the Mason, worthy of admission to full membership, was sworn to obey all the Charges, General and Special, and the distinction between master and Fellow is one purely of Gild usage. The Master is head of the Gild, entitled to make contracts for building and to employ Fellows and Apprentices on the work with which he is charged. The Old Charges suggest no secrets as being restricted to Masters, nor do they indicate secret means of recognition, which must have been in use. But the consistent reference in all of them to Pillars and Ashlars permits the assumption that these had some part in such instructions.
We can understand that an Accepted Mason would not have to spend any time as an Apprentice, but would pass to Fellow and full member at once. Such admission, then, would consist of but one ceremony, yet it is recorded that, in 1635, such Fellows could -- on payment of an extra fee -- become masters. But what was the difference between an Accepted master and the Master of an Operative Gild? The Lodge as a workroom was presided over by any senior, who might be either a Fellow or a Master, and we learn from the original fifth General Charge that no Fellow could "make a Mason without consent of six or five Fellows at the least". The Gild master had other duties besides those of the workroom and Gild practice permitted, nay expected, him to attend meetings of the Craft, apart from those of his own lodge. This suggests an origin, in Scotch Lodges, of "Master Depute". By degrees the Masters came to be a body separated by skill and experience in business from the general membership, so that they came in all probability to a rank similar to that known today as Installed Masters, with their own special concerns and secrets or mysteries of modes of work.
The growth of the Fraternity, evidently quite unexpected by the original rulers and members, seems to have been the principal reason for abrogating the rule which required higher degrees to be given at Grand Lodge only. By 1723, Lodges had been established at Greenwich and Richmond and, by 1725, they had reached as far as Bristol, Chester and even into Wales, at Caermarthen. Not so "far" geographically as from difficulties of transportation, so this scheme of control was bound to break down. Even within the city, the many new lodges had obliged the Grand Master to "deputise" his duty of constituting them and new lodges outside the ten-mile radius from F'mns' Hall, which has become to be the present Masonic City of London, simply could not be warranted if their Wardens must go to London to be qualified, as the Constitution required them to be Fellows. Anderson uses this term "Fellow-craft" but this is a scotticism not previously known amongst English Masons, who had always the term "Fellows" only. This clash between new growth and old laws resulted in a compromise, for the Brethren concerned did what was done again, many years afterwards in the Royal Arch, they devised a "Chair Degree".
It might be well to repeat, here, that our Three Degrees were not originally distinct in themselves -- as is evident, even today. The second simply proceeds from, or is an extension of, the first; the third is entirely separate and distinct from its predecessors. The general absence of official records covering this formative period, forces students to depend largely on contemporary exposures for detailed information. Those of 1723 show us two degrees, known as Entered Apprentice and Entered Fellow, the first of which had all the principal features of our present first two degrees and the second was concerned with details now associated with our present third. In 1725 another exposure shows a similar condition. But in 1730 appeared the first exposure showing three degrees, the second of which has no special opening nor even an Obligation of its own. it was merely a re-arrangement, partly a repetition, of the Acceptance, and carefully avoided giving any material from the third or, as it was then called, the "Master's Part".
The practice was, also, that both degrees were conferred on the same candidate on the one evening and, often, the new Brother went no further but remained a Fellow for the rest of his association with the Fraternity. The various Constitutions of Grand Lodge treat the two degrees as one, or perhaps, as a double. The edition of 1767 says that no lodge may make and raise a Brother at any one meeting without due enquiry into his character and a dispensation. Not until 1777 do we find the two degrees completely separated by a rule requiring them to be given at different meetings and, as late as 1790, we find a Tracing Board in use which still combines the two. This second degree, however, was essential to qualification for the Master's chair and the whole of the Installation ceremony, prior to the proceedings of a Board of Installed Masters, was conducted in it. although the Constitution of our present usage is still similar, there have come to be numerous changes in the ceremonial requirements. Virtually, then, for all the 18th century Freemasonry, the Third Degree was a sort of side order, a luxury and not necessary for full association with the normal activities of the Fraternity.
It seems necessary too, in this connection, to remember that right up to the Union, 1813, there is no evidence of any uniformity of ritual, even in London. A great deal appears to have been left to suitable improvisation, so we can be sure only that during the 18th century the entire ritual was in process of enlargement, re-arrangement and elaboration. this is confirmed by the fact that, after the Union had been realized, a "Lodge of Reconciliation" was formed for the special purpose of collaborating the different methods of working, and presenting a new compilation for the approval of Brethren through Grand Lodge, which should become the basis of future ceremonial. From this was born what is known today as "Emulation Working" and, although the new Grand Lodge did not see fit to make it the sole and official method for use within its jurisdiction, it became, nevertheless, the most widely used of the various ceremonials current in our own time. This experience with our ritual is strikingly similar to that of our Constitution, which was originally "digested" by Anderson from numerous old Mss., mostly those known to us as "The Old Charges", from which simple beginnings has grown, as time and circumstance required, the elaborate mechanism and written laws of our modern Fraternity.
Part Two: Service
Having considered the growth of the body, or outer form, of the Fellow Craft Degree, it becomes appropriate to look into the services that warrant its continued existence. For this purpose, it may be well to divide them into ethical teachings and those still more interior, known as spiritual or, better perhaps, as psychological. I think it extremely unfortunate, to say the least, that there has grown around this Degree so general an idea that it is of no great importance, compared with the other two in our symbolic series. As has been shown already, its essentials are inherited from the operative tradition and usage, equally in kind with the first, though not in extent, and vastly more so than the third which we hold in so much honor. It has also been shown that, actually, it had a more importance place in operative usage than the first in the scope of its meaning.
It holds the same place in our modern system that "coming of age" does in civil life and "confirmation" in that of the Protestant Episcopal Church; it means that the individual immediately concerned has become personally responsible for his own acts in relation to his associations with the Craft. His friends congratulate him on this proof of advancement gained from the long training of his apprentice-years and look with confidence to his meeting the claims of citizenship with honor. In fine, it means that, as a component in his communal duties, the man concerned has become dynamic instead of static.
This degree, more than any others, encourages cultural activities; that it does not insist on them, in our time, is a wise concession to the varied capacities of those who receive its teachings, for surely men succeed only by intelligence even though they do not all follow intellectual methods. The seven Liberal Arts and Sciences will make any artizan a better man, even though they have no direct bearing on his manual skill; so that to leave him to judge the compass of his attainment is to recognize that while all men are human, the "humanities" are not for all men. Nature can be trusted to act as school-master even better than any pedagogue and the normal awakening of life, as time brings experience of various emotional stresses, will develop character, within the individual's capacity, as surely as any course of study. I am assuming, you see, that the function of Freemasonry is to make better men from good material, not to develop a class of philosophers or scientists, however attractive such a goal may be to us as individuals.
As my esteemed friend, Bro. H.L. Haywood wrote in his little pamphlet on "The Symbolism of the Second Degree", published during his editorship of "The Builder"...
"It is a mistake to suppose that education is a mere device to train a man in a handicraft, or a collection of pieces of information of more or less practical use; education leads at last to Truth and god is the truth about the universe. This is the real Holy of Holies, the true Inner Chamber into which, at the last, a Fellowcraft comes; and the vision he has there, the consolation, the strength and the confidence of everlasting life together make up the wages he receives. Such wages are life indeed, to earn which it is worth every man's most many endeavour, and that at any price."
Ethics is defined as the Science of Morals, the reasons for Duty, with its demands that seem to oppose so often the claims of self-interest, the strong urgings of physical life. As Freemasons, we have two ancient mottoes, one in Latin and familiar to all who have seen our official letterheads, the other in English, which with brief comprehensiveness, commands us to "Follow Reason". Only as we learn to do so, transmuting it from a difficult labor t natural faculty, do we indeed become Master Masons in our own right, enabled thereby to travel in the foreign lands of life's experiences and earn a Master's pay. in the sure knowledge of services rendered to those who needed them, whether they knew it or not. As the proverb hath it "faithful are wounds from a friend".
The Winding Stair
Our symbolic teachings in this degree and the objects used to illustrate them, would make this paper too lengthy, if examined in detail, but I would like to make particular reference to one whose value seems to me as little noticed as that of the Degree as a whole. The story of the Winding Stairs, on the very face of it, can be only a gateway to some concealed fact. There were no such stairs in the entrance to the Temple, around which our system is arranged, and what were there served only as approaches to the little storerooms for priestly uses along the upper levels of the temple walls. the peculiar proportions of the steps undoubtedly had a significance for their originators, which we can only guess at, but the statement that they wound upwards from the outer to the inner door is clearly a disguise for some esoteric fact that will repay further enquiry, since curved lines have been found to be peculiarly necessary to the structural strength of many natural forms of life.
Hesiod tells us that Prometheus brought the original spark of fire to suffering man, from the jealous guardianship of Zeus, concealed in a stalk of narthex, known to modern gardeners as Giant Fennel. A story which has one fact, at least, in its favor -- that the dried fibres of this plant make excellent tinder. Its use here, however, lies in the arrangement of these fibres along the stalk, which takes the form of a long curve, somewhat like the rifling of a gun-barrel. Incidentally, this name "Prometheus" means fore-sight, a species of reason.
In 1910 there was published (M. Kennerley, New York) a book entitled "The New World" by Allen Upward, an English lawyer, who refers to "that forgotten voice of the Chaldean Oracle "The God of the World, everlasting, boundless, young and old, of a spiral form", and adds "living strength does not shrink and swell along straight lines".
In 1914, a scientist, Theodore A. Cook, published "The Curves of Life" (Henry Holt & Co., N.Y.) in which, with many illustrations of natural objects, bones, horns, shells, trees, &c., the same thesis was advanced.
In the same year, Mrs. Annie Besant, who won the first B.Sc. degree granted to women by London University, and afterwards qualified as a lecturer of its Faculty on the subject of Inorganic Chemistry, Botany, Light and Heat, Magnetism and Electricity, etc. in the Hall of Science of the South Kensington Science and Art Department, published a little monograph entitled "Occult Chemistry", illustrated with diagrams. In it she advanced her reasons for believing that the atoms of chemical elements are not only moving bodies within themselves, but the lines of force, of which they are composed, are spiral in their mutual association, and these also are composed of "spirillae", just as a length of rope is composed of twisted threads, wound together to make larger twisted threads which are again wound together as may be required to complete the desired thickness of rope. Lastly -- so far as I know -- came our own Bro. Claude Bragdon, formerly City Architect of Rochester, N.Y., who, in his profusely illustrated "Beautiful Necessity" (A.A. Knopf, N.Y., 1922) again showed that any strength in artificial forms which, even when appearing straight for short distances, nevertheless prove to be curved. I would strongly urge those of our Brethren, who have the advantage of a technical training as architects or engineers, to consider seriously the usefulness of preparing a paper in which this matter can be presented more fully.
The Human Spine
Other applications of this force-spiral idea to the construction and potentialities of the fleshly temples we inhabit for our discipline and tuition, which appear to have received minute attention are found in the writing and researches of a Hindu science known as Yoga. It is based on the premise that man is the only creature which naturally, and by preference, walks uprightly, although in doing so he leaves his vital parts exposed and undefended save by his limbs. His ability to remain erect lies, so far as I can follow their arguments, in his spinal column, a wonderful piece of mechanism consisting of a series of closely fitting but separate bones; we start as infants with 33 of these bones, or vertebrae, but finish as adults with only 26! A continuous opening through these bones provides a passage through which the spinal cord extends for their entire length. This spinal cord is a sheath of white fibres enclosing a column of grey matter, similar to that in the brain. A cross section of this latter, shows it to be, roughly, shaped like a figure 8, laid on its side or between a figure 8 and a capital "H". This shape varies slightly according to its location in the column and the size of the two halves increases as it descends from the neck to the sacral region. It is claimed that these two projections serve for the passage of certain currents of nervous energy from a reservoir near the base of the spine, analogous, I infer, to that of the seminal fluid which is found in the front of the body. there is a definite training by which this energy can be aroused, and governed, far beyond its rate of activity in normal humanity, just as we can train other faculties, which have their apparent seat in the brain cells. The result of this training is that this energy passes upwards to a terminus in the brain, said to be that known as "the pituitary body", where it divides and spreads to right and left, parallel to the eyebrows, until a loop is formed and a tremendous increase of enlightenment and perceptive ability is effected. this power, or energy, they name "Kundalini" and the two currents of energy "Ida" and "Pingala".
The method of awakening is by a system of deliberate breathing exercises joined to minutely directed efforts of the will and a clear understanding of the process, while in use, and of the object to be attained. The peculiar mode of motion of this Kundalini makes them name it "Fire Serpent" and their claim is, that when the "Loop of Life" is formed in the head, that familiar scriptural phrase "thy whole body shall be full of light" is realized as an actual experience. Very much as when an electric current passes through the loop in a lamp. It is known to western science that all the sensory fibres of the sympathetic nervous system have termini in this sheath of white fibres and these extrude threads into the mass of grey matter. the study of their interrelations is a complicated subject, by no means completed, but enough to permit a statement that"
"The spinal cord is not only the seat of reflexes, whose centres lie wholly within the cord itself; it supplies also conducting paths for nervous reactions initiated by impulses derived from spinal nerve but involving mechanisms situate altogether headward of the cord, that is to say in the brain. Many of these reactions affect consciousness, occasioning sensations of various kinds". (Encyclopedia Britannica).
This is no mere oriental fantasy: similar teachings appear in the Greek mysteries, where the word "Speirema, meaning a coil, or spiral, is used for Kundalini. In the translations from their writers, made by G.R.S. Mead in his "Thrice Greatest Hermes", references are found to the spiral path of the planets of our solar system, as they accompany the sun in its journey through space, and these are stated to be similar to the paths of the Powers of Life in human bodies.
Edouard Schure, in his Life of Pythagoras, mentions the famous Greek's teachings of the awakening to the divine world through the cerebro-spinal system. He also quotes from professor Reichenbach's "Researches in Magnetism," based on experiments with the nervous systems of living subjects and their luminous emanations. This was amongst the earliest attacks on Victorian materialism.
In an article on "Some Parallels with Kundalini", by E.J. Langford Garstin in 'The Occult Review' for December, 1931, he directs attention to Greek and Hebrew metaphysics for similar statements. In the Mysteries of Mithra, the symbol of highest advancement was a lion-headed man, whose body was encircled by a coiled serpent; the actual energy being known as Speirema. In the Qabalah, the positions of the ten Sephiroth, or foci of the divine powers, are such that the Serpent of Wisdom and healing, akin to that which Moses was commanded to set on a pole in the sight of the people, moves in a spiral up their central column. Granting the correctness of this teaching it is evident that a thorough acquisition of the Liberal Arts and Sciences is essential as a guard against improper use of the powers gained thereby.
The Symbolic Tools
With these Liberal Arts and Sciences are very suitably associated the Working Tools of a Fellowcraft, the Plumb of Faith, the Square of Hope and the Level of Charity or goodwill. For the Plumb gives an unerring line from the hollow of the hand of God, wherein the universe is set, straight to that Heavenly City, which our knowledge of constant human frailty makes us postulate as a desirable balance. The Square shows the mystic relation between the world of Matter and the realm of Spirit and their helpful association to those instructed in its use. The Level shows that Charity is well founded only when it is extended all around us in that fine perceptive sympathy which, as Herbert Spencer said, can find its own welfare only in seeking the welfare and progress of others.
An inevitable corollary to every promise of reward for services rendered is a definite penalty for work ill done or opportunities abused, and those with which Freemasons are familiar are by no means -- as some think -- the fanciful and bloody relics of a time when every man needed to keep his weapon beside him and be competent in its use. This fiery energy, which I mentioned just now, traverses between its termini several important nerve-centres, known as ganglions or plexuses, each of which then becomes a point of radiation through the adjacent parts of the body. There are, I understand, seven of these, which directly affect our growth in consciousness, our ability to perceive and use all the other forms and powers of the One Life, which surrounds us. In the Craft Degrees we are told of such centres but, for our present purposes we need consider only that which works through the heart.
It is the particular business of a Fellow to advance by labor, and that his labor covers all levels of his consciousness is, I think, indicated by the presence of the swastika in his symbolic actions. His mind has been illumined as an Entered Apprentice and, as an ever living and growing Ego -- represented in the Greek Mysteries, especially those of Eleusis, by an ear of corn -- he is confronted by a ceaseless stream of images born partly of his own memories, partly from those of his associations in general. He must choose which he will keep and discard the others, a very difficult task in which many fail because they cannot use the test word of power.
In human psychology Will follows Desire for, whether we do well or ill, we have first to arouse the desire for either course, and the seat of desire is held to be the heart. That is the reason behind the ancient prayer "Make me a clean hear, O God," and doubtless you all know from experience that the heart is felt as being the source, or field of action of most of our noblest emotions and desires, equally as of their opposites. Love and Hate affect our lives through it, joy and sorrow make us "light-hearted" or "heavy-hearted". Fear makes us "sick-at-heart"; persistent tyranny is described as "hardening the heart" towards its object. Cowardice is "chicken-hearted". Confidence and anxiety, comfort and distress, all find in the heart a place of birth, so that to "lose heart" means, physically, death, separation form life on earth and, symbolically -- or psychologically -- the loss of power to desire; complete separation from activity in will-power and intellect. An interior life remains, but the Ego, the thinker becomes as closely imprisoned as if he had been born in the body of an idiot; he suffers in solitary confinement. He must endure the pangs of remorse, the only real Hell, until their very fierceness destroys them; they are burned to ashes on that angle of the square where spirit and matter unite. We are not to suppose that this is the end, however, for while man makes errors, in ignorance as well as deliberately, his life is eternal and indestructible. We may still, then, "Follow Reason" and believe that a residue of fine gold, cleansed by the refining fire of experience, becomes available for the Master Craftsman to work up in successive human efforts to meet the trials of the Middle Chamber, so as to pass at last into the Sanctum Sanctorum or whatever other name we may prefer to describe this consummation of human evolution.
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