Nam tua res agitur paries cum proximo ardet

Дата канвертавання22.04.2016
Памер0.8 Mb.
1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10   ...   28

p. 65

attainment of it easy and certain, by finding employment for every talent, and by placing every talent in its proper sphere of action, so that all, without feeling any extraordinary effort, and in conjunction with and completion of ordinary business, shall urge forward, with united powers, the general task. This indeed will be an employment suited to noble natures, grand in its views, and delightful in its exercise. "And what is this general object? THE HAPPINESS OF THE HUMAN RACE. Is it not distressing to a generous mind, after contemplating what human nature is capable of, to see how little we enjoy? When we look at this goodly world, and see that every man may be happy, but that the happiness of one depends on the conduct of another; when we see the wicked so powerful, and the good so weak; and that it is in vain to strive, singly and alone, against the general current of vice and oppression; the wish naturally arises in the mind, that it were possible to form a durable combination of the most worthy persons, who should work together in removing the obstacles to human happiness, become terrible to the wicked, and give their aid to all the good without distinction, and should by the most powerful means, first fetter, and by fettering, lessen vice; means which at the same time should promote virtue, by rendering the inclination to rectitude, hitherto too feeble, more powerful and engaging. Would not such an association be a blessing to the world? "But where are the proper persons, the good, the generous, and the accomplished, to be found? and how, and by what strong motives, are they to be induced to engage in a task so vast, so incessant, so difficult, and so laborious? This Association must be gradual. There are some such persons to be found in every society. Such noble minds will be engaged by the heart-warming object. The first task of the Association must therefore be to form the young members. As these multiply and advance, they become the apostles of beneficence, and the work is now on foot, and advances with a speed encreasing every day. The slightest observation shows that nothing will so much contribute to increase the zeal of the members as secret union. We see with what keenness and zeal the frivolous business of Free

p. 66

Masonry is conducted, by persons knit together by the secrecy of their union. It is needless to enquire into the causes of this zeal which secrecy produces. It is an universal fact, confirmed by the history of every age. Let this circumstance of our constitution therefore be directed to this noble purpose, and then all the objections urged against it by jealous tyranny and affrighted superstition will vanish. The Order will thus work silently, and securely; and though the generous benefactors of the human race are thus deprived of the applause of the world, they have the noble pleasure of seeing their work prosper in their hands." Such is the aim, and such are the hopes of the Order of the Illuminated. Let us now see how these were to be accomplished. We cannot judge precisely of this, because the account given of the constitution of the Order by its founder includes only the lowest degree, and even this is suspected to be fictitious. The accounts given by the four Professors, even of this part of the Order, make a very different impression on the mind, although they differ only in a few particulars. The only ostensible members of the Order were the Minervals. They were to be found only in the Lodges of Free Masons. A candidate for admission must make his wish known to some Minerval; he reports it to a Superior, who, by a channel to be explained presently, intimates it to the Council. No notice is farther taken of it for some time. The candidate is carefully observed in silence, and if thought unfit for the Order, no notice is taken of his solicitation. But if otherwise, the candidate receives privately an invitation to a conference. Here he meets with a person unknown to him, and, previous to all further conference, he is required to peruse and to sign the following oath. "I N. N. hereby bind myself, by mine honor and good name, forswearing all mental reservation, never to reveal, by hint, word, writing, or in any manner whatever, even to my most trusted friend, any thing that shall now be said or done to me respecting my wished-for-reception, and this whether my reception shall follow or not; I being previously assured that it shall contain nothing contrary to religion, the state, nor good manners. I promise, that I shall make

p. 67

no intelligible extract from any papers which shall be shewn me now or during my noviciate. All this I swear, as I am, and as I hope to continue, a Man of Honor." The urbanity of this protestation must agreeably impress the mind of a person who recollects the dreadful imprecations which he made at his reception into the different ranks of Free Masonry. The candidate is then introduced to an Illuminates Dirigens, whom perhaps he knows, and is told that this person is to be his future instructor. There is now presented to the candidate, what they call a table, in which he writes his name, place of birth, . age, rank, place of residence, profession, and favorite studies. He is then made to read several articles of this table. It contains, 1st. a very concise account of the Order, its connection with Free Masonry, and its great object, the promoting the happiness of mankind by means of instruction and confirmation in virtuous principles. 2d. Several questions relative to the Order. Among these are, "What advantages he hopes to derive from being a member? What he most particularly wishes to learn? What delicate questions relative to the life, the prospects, the duties of man, as an individual, and as a citizen, he wishes to have particularly discussed to him? In what respects he thinks he can be of use to the Order? Who are his ancestors, relations, friends, correspondents, or enemies? Whom he thinks proper persons to be received into the Order, or whom he thinks unfit for it, and the reasons for both opinions. To each of these questions he must give some answer in writing. The Novice and his Mentor are known only to each other; perhaps nothing more follows upon this; if otherwise, the Mentor appoints another conference, and begins his instructions, by giving him in detail certain portions of the constitution, and of the fundamental rules of the Order. Of these the Novice must give a weekly account in writing. He must also read, in the Mentor's house, a book containing more of the instructions of the Order; but he must make no extracts. Yet from this reading he must derive all his knowledge; and he must give an account in writing of his progress. All writings received from his Superiors must be returned with a stated punctuality. These writings consist chiefly of important and delicate questions,

p. 68

suited, either to the particular inclination, or to the peculiar taste which the candidate had discovered in his subscriptions of the articles of the table, and in his former rescripts, or to the direction which the Mentor wishes to give to his thoughts. Enlightening the understanding, and the rooting out of prejudices, are pointed out to him as the principal tasks of his noviciate. The knowledge of himself is considered as preparatory to all other knowledge. To disclose to him, by means of the calm and unbiassed observation of his instructor, what is his own character, his most vulnerable side, either in respect of temper, passions, or prepossessions, is therefore the most essential service that can be done him. For this purpose there is required of him some account of his own conduct on occasions where he doubted of its propriety; some account of his friendships, of his differences of opinion, and of his conduct on such occasions. From such relations the Superior learns his manner of thinking and judging, and those propensities which require his chief attention. Having made the candidate acquainted with himself, he is apprised that the Order is not a speculative, but an active association, engaged in doing good to others. The knowledge of human character is therefore of all others the most important. This is acquired only by observation, assisted by the instructions of his teacher. Characters in history are proposed to him for observation, and his opinion is required. After this he is directed to look around him, and to notice the conduct of other men; and part of his weekly rescripts must consist of accounts of all interesting occurrences in his neighbourhood, whether of a public or private nature. Cossandey, one of the four Professors, gives a particular account of the instructions relating to this kind of science. "The Novice must be attentive to trifles: For, in frivolous occurrences a man is indolent, and makes no effort to act a part, so that his real character is then acting alone. Nothing will have such influence with the Superiors in promoting the advancement of a candidate as very copious narrations of this kind, because the candidate, if promoted, is to be employed in an active station, and it is from this kind of information only that the Superiors can judge of

p. 69

his fitness. These characteristic anecdotes are not for the instruction of the Superiors, who are men of long experience, and familiar with such occupation. But they inform the Order concerning the talents and proficiency of the young member. Scientific instruction, being connected by system, is soon communicated, and may in general be very completely obtained from the books which are recommended to the Novice, and acquired in the public seminaries of instruction. But knowledge of character is more multifarious and more delicate. For this there is no college, and it must therefore require longer time for its attainment. Besides, this assiduous and long continued study of men, enables the possessor of such knowledge to act with men, and by his knowledge of their character, to influence their conduct. For such reasons this study is continued, and these rescripts are required, during the whole progress through the Order, and attention to them is recommended as the only mean of advancement. Remarks on Physiognomy in these narrations are accounted of considerable value." So far Mr. Cossandey. During all this trial, which may last one, two, or three years, the Novice knows no person of the Order but his own instructor, with whom he has frequent meetings, along with other Minervals. In these conversations he learns the importance of the Order, and the opportunities he will afterwards have of acquiring much hidden science. The employment of his unknown Superiors naturally causes him to entertain very high notions of their abilities and worth. He is counselled to aim at a resemblance to them by getting rid by degrees of all those prejudices or prepossessions which checked his own former progress; and he is assisted in this endeavour by an invitation to a correspondence with them. He may address his Provincial Superior, by directing his letter Soli, or the General by Primo, or the Superiors in general by Quibus licet. In these letters he may mention whatever he thinks conducive to the advancement of the Order; he may inform the Superiors how his instructor behaves to him; if assiduous or remiss, indulgent or severe. The Superiors are enjoined by the strongest motives to convey these letters wherever addressed. None but the General and Council know the result of all this; and all

p. 70

are enjoined to keep themselves and their proceedings unknown to all the world. If three years of this Noviciate have elapsed without further notice, the Minerval must look for no further advancement; he is found unfit, and remains a Free Mason of the highest class. This is called a Sta bene. But should his Superiors judge more favorably of him, he is drawn out of the general mass of Free Masons, and becomes Illuminatus Minor. When called to a conference for this purpose, he is told in the most serious manner, that "it is vain for him to hope to acquire wisdom by mere systematic instruction; for such instruction the Superiors have no leisure. Their duty is not to form speculators, but active men, whom they must immediately employ in the service of the Order. He must therefore grow wise and able entirely by the unfolding and exertion of his own talents. His Superiors have already discovered what these are, and know what service he may be capable of rendering the Order, provided he now heartily acquiesces in being thus honorably employed. They will assist him in bringing his talents into action, and will place him in the situations most favorable for their exertion, so that he may be assured of success. Hitherto he has been a mere scholar, but his first a step farther carries him into action; he must therefore now consider himself as an instrument in the hands of his Superiors, to be used for the noblest purposes." The aim of the Order is now more fully told him. It is, in one sentence, "to make of the human race, without any distinction of nation, condition, or profession, one good and happy family." To this aim, demonstrably attainable, every smaller consideration must give way. This may sometimes require sacrifices which no man standing alone has fortitude to make; but which become light, and a source of the purest enjoyment, when supported and encouraged by the countenance and co-operation of the united wise and good, such as are the Superiors of the Order. If the candidate, warmed by the alluring picture of the possible happiness of a virtuous Society, says that he is sensible of the propriety of this procedure, and still wishes to be of the Order, he is required to sign the following obligation.

p. 71

"I, N. N. protest before you, the worthy Plenipotentiary of the venerable Order into which I wish to be admitted, that I acknowledge my natural weakness and inability, and that I, with all my possessions, rank, honors, and titles which I hold in political society, am, at bottom, only a man; I can enjoy these things only through my fellow-men, and through them also I may lose them. The approbation and consideration of my fellow-men are indispensibly necessary, and I must try to maintain them by all my talents. These I will never use to the prejudice of universal good, but will oppose, with all my might, the enemies of the human race, and of political society. I will embrace every opportunity of saving mankind, by improving my understanding and my affections, and by imparting all important knowledge, as the good and statutes of this Order require of me. I bind myself to perpetual silence and unshaken loyalty and submission to the Order, in the persons of my Superiors; here making a faithful and complete surrender of my private judgment, my own will, and every narrow-minded employment of my power and influence. I pledge myself to account the go d of the Order as my own, and am ready to serve it with my fortune, my honor, and my blood. Should I, through omission, neglect, passion, or wickedness, behave contrary to this good of the Order, I subject myself to what reproof or punishment my Superiors shall enjoin. The friends and enemies of the Order shall be my friends and enemies; and with respect to both I will conduct myself as directed by the Order, and am ready, in every lawful way, to devote myself to its increase and promotion, and therein to employ all my ability. All this I promise, and protest, without secret reservation, according to the intention of the Society which require from me this engagement. This I do as I am, and as I hope to continue, a Man of Honor." A drawn sword is then pointed at his breast, and he is asked, Will you be obedient to the commands of your Superiors? He is threatened with unavoidable vengeance, from which no potentate can defend him, if he should ever betray the Order. He is then asked, 1. What aim does he wish the Order to have? 2. What means he would choose to advance this aim? 3. Whom he wishes to keep out of the Order? 4. What subjects he wishes not to be discussed in it?

p. 72

Our candidate is now ILLUMINATUS MINOR. It is needless to narrate the mummery of reception, and it is enough to say, that it nearly resembles that of the Masonic Chevalier du Soleil, known to every one much conversant in Masonry. Weishaupt's preparatory discourse of reception is a piece of good composition, whether considered as argumentative (from topics, indeed, that are very gratuitous and fanciful) or as a specimen of that declamation which was so much practised by Libanius and the other Sophists, and it gives a distinct and captivating account of the professed aim of the Order.

The Illuminatus Minor learns a good deal more of the Order, but by very sparing morsels, under the same instructor. The task has now become more delicate and difficult. The chief part of it is the rooting out of prejudices in politics and religion; and Weishaupt has shown much address in the method which he has employed. Not the most hurtful, but the most easily refuted, were the first subjects of discussion, so that the pupil gets into the habits of victory; and his reverence for the systems of either kind is diminished when they are found to have harboured such untenable opinions. The proceedings in the Eclectic Lodges of Masonry, and the harangues of the Brother Orators, teemed with the boldest sentiments both in politics and religion. Enlightening, and the triumph of reason, had been the ton of the country for some time past, and every institution, civil and religious, had been the subject of the most free criticism. Above all, the Cosmo-politism, which had been imported from France, where it had been the favorite topic of the enthusiastical conomists, was now become a general theme of discussion in all societies of cultivated men. It was a subject of easy and agreeable declamation; and the Literati found in it a subject admirably fitted for showing their talents, and ingratiating themselves with the young men of fortune, whose minds, unsuspicious as yet and generous, were fired with the fair prospects set before them of universal and attainable happiness. And the pupils of the Illuminati were still more warmed by the thought that they were to be the happy instruments of accomplishing all this. And though the doctrines of universal liberty and equality, as imprescriptible rights of man, might sometimes startle those who possessed the advantage of fortune, there were

p. 73

thousands of younger sons, and of men of talents without fortune, to whom these were agreeable sounds. And we must particularly observe, that those who were now the pupils were a set of picked subjects, whose characters and peculiar biases were well known by their conduct during their noviciate as Minervals. They were therefore such as, in all probability, would not boggle at very free sentiments. We might rather expect a partiality to doctrines which removed some restraints which formerly checked them in the indulgence of youthful passions. Their instructors, who have thus relieved their minds from several anxious thoughts, must appear men of superior minds. This was a notion most carefully inculcated; and they could see nothing to contradict it: for except their own Mentor, they knew none; they heard of Superiors of different ranks, but never saw them; and the same mode of instruction that was practised during their noviciate was still retained. More particulars of the Order were slowly unfolded to them, and they were taught that their Superiors were men of distinguished talents, and were Superiors for this reason alone. They were taught, that the great opportunities which the Superiors had for observation, and their habits of continually occupying their thoughts with the great objects of this Order, had enlarged their views, even far beyond the narrow limits of nations and kingdoms, which they hoped would one day coalesce into one great Society, where consideration would attach to talents and worth alone, and that pre-eminence in these would be invariably attended with all the enjoyments of influence and power. And they were told that they would gradually become acquainted with these great and venerable Characters, as they advanced in the Order. In earnest of this, they were made acquainted with one or two Superiors, and with several Illuminati of their own rank. Also, to whet their zeal, they are now made instructors of one or two Minervals, and report their progress to their Superiors. They are given to understand that nothing can so much recommend them as the success with which they perform this task. It is declared to be the best evidence of their usefulness in the great designs of the Order. The baleful effects of general superstition, and even of any peculiar religious prepossession, are now strongly inculcated,

p. 74

and the discernment of the pupils in these matters is learned by questions which are given them from time to time to discuss. These are managed with delicacy and circumspection, that the timid may not be alarmed. In like manner, the political doctrines of the Order are inculcated with the utmost caution. After the mind of the pupil has been warmed by the pictures of universal happiness, and convinced that it is a possible thing to unite all the inhabitants of the earth in one great society, and after it has been made out, in some measure to the satisfaction of the pupil, that a great addition of happiness is gained by the abolition of national distinctions and animosities, it may frequently be no hard task to make him think that patriotism is a narrow-minded monopolising sentiment, and even incompatible with the more enlarged views of the Order, namely, the uniting the whole human race into one great and happy society. Princes are a chief feature of national distinction. Princes, therefore, may now be safely represented as unnecessary. If so, loyalty to Princes loses much of its sacred character; and the so frequent enforcing of it in our common political discussions may now be easily made to appear a selfish maxim of rulers, by which they may more easily enslave the people; and thus, it may at last appear, that religion, the love of our particular country, and loyalty to our Prince, should be resisted, if, by these partial or narrow views, we prevent the accomplishment of that Cosmo-political happiness which is continually held forth as the great object of the Order. It is in this point of view that the terms of devotion to the Order which are inserted in the oath of admission are now explained. The authority of the ruling powers is therefore represented as of inferior moral weight to that of the Order. "These powers are despots, when they do not conduct themselves by its principles; and it is therefore our duty to surround them with its members, so that the profane may have no access to them. Thus we are able most powerfully to promote its interests. If any person is more disposed to listen to Princes than to the Order, he is not fit for it, and must rise no higher. We must do our utmost to procure the advancement of Illuminati into all important civil offices." Accordingly the Order laboured in this with great zeal and success. A correspondence was discovered, in which

p. 75

it is plain, that by their influence, one of the greatest ecclesiastical dignities was filled up in opposition to the right and authority of the Archbishop of Spire, who is there represented as a tyrannical and bigotted priest. They contrived to place their Members as tutors to the youth of distinction. One of them, Baron Leuchtsenring, took the charge of a young prince without any salary. They insinuated themselves into all public offices, and particularly into courts of justice. In like manner, the chairs in the University of Ingolstadt were (with only two exceptions) occupied by Illuminati. "Rulers who are members must be promoted through the ranks of the Order only in proportion as they acknowledge the goodness of its great object, and manner of procedure. Its object may be said to be the checking the tyranny of princes, nobles, and priests, and establishing an universal equality of condition and of religion." The pupil is now informed "that such a religion is contained in the Order, is the perfection of Christianity, and will be imparted to him in due time." These and other principles and maxims of the Order are partly communicated by the verbal instruction of the Mentor, partly by writings, which must be punctually returned, and partly read by the pupil at the Mentor's house (but without taking extracts) in such portions as he shall direct. The rescripts by the pupil must contain discussions on these subjects, and of anecdotes and descriptions of living characters; and these must be zealously continued, as the chief mean of advancement. All this while the pupil knows only his Mentor, the Minervals, and a few others of his own rank. All mention of degrees, or other business of the Order, must be carefully avoided, even in the meetings with other Members: "For the Order wishes to be secret, and to work in silence; for thus it is better secured from the oppression of the ruling powers, and because this secrecy gives a greater zest to the whole." This short account of the Noviciate, and of the lowest class of Illuminati, is all we can get from the authority of Mr. Weishaupt. The higher degrees were not published by him. Many circumstances appear suspicious, and are certainly susceptible of different turns, and may easily be

p. 76

1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10   ...   28

База данных защищена авторским правом © 2016
звярнуцца да адміністрацыі

    Галоўная старонка