THE ARS QUATUOR CORONATI CIRCLE OF CORRESPONDENCE WORKS
The Everlasting Necessity For Brotherhood
" Had mankind from the day of the flood, steadily followed some of the lessons taught them by the industrious bees, had they associated themselves together in lodges, and taught and faithfully practiced Toleration, Charity and Friendship; had even those of the human race done so who have professed the Christian faith, to what imaginable degrees of happiness and prosperity would they not have attained! to what extreme and now invisible heights of
knowledge and wisdom would not the human intellect have soared! Had they but practiced Toleration alone, what a Garden of Eden would this earth be now! Blood enough has been spilled for opinion's sake, to fill the basin of an inland sea! Treasure enough has been expended and destroyed to have made the world a garden, covered it with a network of roads, canals and bridges, and made its every corner glorious with palaces; and the descendants of those who have been slain would have thickly peopled every continent and island of the globe.|
The earliest of all lessons taught mankind was the necessity of association; for it was taught in unmistakable terms by his own feebleness and weakness. He is an enigma to himself.. Launched, blind and helpless, upon the great current of Time and Circumstance, he drifts, like a helpless vessel, onward to eternity a mere atom.and mote of dust, clinging to infinity, and whirled along with the revolutions of the Universe. He knows nothing truly of himself and his fellows. His utmost effort never enables him to get a distinct idea of his own nature, or to understand in the least degree the phenomena of his mind. Even his senses are miracles to him. He remains feeble as a child. Between him and the future is let down a curtain, dark, palpable, impenetrable, like a thick cloud, through which he gropes his way and staggers onward. At every step Destiny meets him in some unexpected shape, foils his purpose, mocks at his calculation, changes the course of his life, and forces him into new paths, as one leads a blind man by the hand; and he never knows at what unexpected moment the arm of Death will be thrust suddenly forth from behind the curtain and strike him a sharp and unerring blow.
The sudden shifting of a wind, a few cold drops of rain, an unseen stone lying in his path, the tooth of an unregarded serpent, a little globe of lead, the waving of a rag near to a shying horse, a spark of fire on a great boat of a dark night, upon a wide, deep river; all are to him Death's messengers, and overtake him with a peremptory fate. Stumbling over some object at every step, he needs constant sympathy and unremitting assistance. Fortune smiles today and frowns tomorrow. Blindness or palsy makes the strong man an infant; and misfortune, disaster and sad reverses trick him like gaunt hounds, lying in wait to seize him at a thousand turnings.
Unfortunately, the obvious truth that every man either actually needs, or will at some time need, the charitable assistance, or, at least, the friendship, the sympathy, the counsel, and the good will of others, like other truths, produced but small effect upon the early human mind. Pressed by the urgent necessities of the moment, by which alone, ordinarily, men's actions are governed, they did associate themselves with communities, and institute civil government, as often, perhaps, for purposes of aggression as of defense or other associations. We hear and know nothing for very many centuries, and then, except where the light of Masonic tradition reaches, dimly and obscurely only, as in the case of the Eleusinian Mysteries; whose purpose we can merely guess at from the faintest possible revelations, - hardly able to say more than their forms and ceremonies bore a faint resemblance to some used in our time-honored institution. It is highly probable that they had a philosophical and religious rather than a charitable object. "
The Builder - November 1921
by Albert Pike.