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13°- Royal Arch of solomon

Morals and Dogma
Albert Pike

Whether the legend and history of this Degree are historically true, or  but an allegory, containing in itself a deeper truth and a profounder  meaning, we shall not now debate. If it be but a legendary myth, you must  find out for yourself what it means. It is certain that the word which the  Hebrews are not now permitted to pronounce was in common use by  Abraham, Lot, Isaac, Jacob, Laban, Rebecca, and even among tribes  foreign to the Hebrews, before the time of Moses; and that it recurs a  hundred times in the lyrical effusions of David and other Hebrew poets. 

We know that for many centuries the Hebrews have been forbidden to  pronounce the Sacred Name; that wherever it occurs, they have for ages  read the word Adonaï instead; and that under it, when the masoretic  points, which represent the vowels, came to be used, they placed those  which belonged to the latter word. The possession of the true  pronunciation was deemed to confer on him who had it extraordinary and  supernatural powers; and the Word itself, worn upon the person, was  regarded as an amulet, a protection against personal danger, sickness,  and evil spirits. We know that all this was a vain superstition, natural to a  rude people, necessarily disappearing as the intellect of man became  enlightened; and wholly unworthy of a Mason. 

It is noticeable that this notion of the sanctity of the Divine Name or  Creative Word was common to all the ancient nations. The Sacred Word  HOM was supposed by the ancient Persians (who were among the  earliest emigrants from Northern India) to be pregnant with a mysterious power; and they taught that by its utterance  the world was created. In India it was forbidden to pronounce the word  AUM or OM, the Sacred Name of the One Deity, manifested as Brahma,  Vishna, and Seeva. 

These superstitious notions in regard to the efficacy of the Word, and the  prohibition against pronouncing it, could, being errors, have formed no  part of the pure primitive religion, or of the esoteric doctrine taught by  Moses, and the full knowledge of which was confined to the Initiates;  unless the whole was but an ingenious invention for the concealment of  some other Name or truth, the interpretation and meaning whereof was  made known only to the select few. If so, the common notions in regard to  the Word grew up in the minds of the people, like other errors and fables  among all the ancient nations, out of original truths and symbols and  allegories misunderstood. So it has always been that allegories, intended  as vehicles of truth, to be understood by the sages, have become or bred  errors, by being literally accepted. 

It is true, that before the masoretic points were invented (which was after  the beginning of the Christian era), the pronunciation of a word in the  Hebrew language could not be known from the characters in which it was  written. It was, therefore, possible for that of the name of the Deity to have  been forgotten and lost. It is certain that its true pronunciation is not that  represented by the word Jehovah; and therefore that that is not the true  name of Deity, nor the Ineffable Word. 

The ancient symbols and allegories always had more than one  interpretation. They always had a double meaning, and sometimes more  than two, one serving as the envelope of the other. Thus the pronunciation  of the word was a symbol; and that pronunciation and the word itself were  lost, when the knowledge of the true nature and attributes of God faded  out of the minds of the Jewish people. That is one interpretation - true, but  not the inner and profoundest one. 

Men were figuratively said to forget the name of God, when they lost that  knowledge, and worshipped the heathen deities, and burned incense to  them on the high places, and passed their children through the fire to  Moloch. 

Thus the attempts of the ancient Israelites and of the Initiates to ascertain  the True Name of the Deity, and its pronunciation, and the loss of the True  Word, are an allegory, in which are represented the general ignorance of the true nature and attributes of  God, the proneness of the people of Judah and Israel to worship other  deities, and the low and erroneous and dishonoring notions of the Grand  Architect of the Universe, which all shared except a few favored persons;  for even Solomon built altars and sacrificed to Astarat, the goddess of the  Tsidumm, and Malcüm, the Aamünite god, and built high places for  Kamüs, the Moabite deity, and Malec the god of the Beni-Aamün. The true  nature of God was unknown to them, like His name; and they worshipped  the calves of Jeroboam, as in the desert they did that made for them by  Aarün. 

The mass of the Hebrews did not believe in the existence of one only God  until a late period in their history. Their. early and popular ideas of the  Deity were singularly low and unworthy. Even while Moses was receiving  the law upon Mount Sinai, they forced Aarün to make them an image of  the Egyptian god Apis, and fell down and adored it. They were ever ready  to return to the worship of the gods of the Mitzraim; and soon after the  death of Joshua they became devout worshippers of the false gods of all  the surrounding nations. "Ye have borne," Amos, the prophet, said to  them, speaking of their forty years' journeying in the desert, under Moses,  "the tabernacle of your Malec and Kaiün your idols, the star of your god,  which ye made to yourselves." 

Among them, as among other nations, the conceptions of God formed by  individuals varied according to their intellectual and spiritual capacities;  poor and imperfect, and investing God with the commonest and coarest  attributes of humanity, among the ignorant and coarse; pure and lofty  among the virtuous and richly gifted. These conceptions gradually  improved and became purified and ennobled, as the nation advanced in  civilization - being lowest in the historical books, amended in the prophetic  writings, and reaching their highest elevation among the poets.  Among all the ancient nations there was one faith and one idea of Deity  for the enlightened, intelligent, and educated, and another for the common  people. To this rule the Hebrews were no exception. Yehovah, to the  mass of the people, was like the gods of the nations around them, except  that he was the peculiar God, first of the family of Abraham, of that of  Isaac, and of that of Jacob, and afterward the National God; and, as they  believed, more powerful than the other gods of the same nature  worshipped by their neighbors - "Who among the Baalim is like unto thee, O  Yehovah?" - expressed their whole creed. 

The Deity of the early Hebrews talked to Adam and Eve in the garden of  delight, as he walked in it in the cool of the day; he conversed with Kayin;  he sat and ate with Abraham in his tent; that patriarch required a visible  token, before he would believe in his positive promise; he permitted  Abraham to expostulate with him, and to induce him to change his first  determination in regard to Sodom; he wrestled with Jacob; he showed  Moses his person, though not his face; he dictated the minutest police  regulations and the dimensions of the tabernacle and its furniture, to the  Israelites; he insisted on and delighted in sacrifices and burnt-offerings; he  was angry, jealous, and revengeful, as well as wavering and irresolute; he  allowed Moses to reason him out of his fixed resolution utterly to destroy  his people; he commanded the performance of the most shocking and  hideous acts of cruelty and barbarity. He hardened the heart of Pharaoh;  he repented of the evil that he had said he would do unto the people of  Nineveh; and he did it not, to the disgust and anger of Jonah.  Such were the popular notions of the Deity; and either the priests had  none better, or took little trouble to correct these notions; or the popular  intellect was not enough enlarged to enable them to entertain any higher  conceptions of the Almighty. 

But such were not the ideas of the intellectual and enlightened few among  the Hebrews. It is certain that they possessed a knowledge of the true  nature and attributes of God; as the same class of men did among the  other nations - Zoroaster, Menu, Confucius, Socrates, and Plato. But their  doctrines on this subject were esoteric; they did not communicate them to  the people at large, but only to a favored few; and as they were  communicated in Egypt and India, in Persia and Phoenicia, in Greece and  Samothrace, in the greater mysteries, to the Initiates. 

The communication of this knowledge and other secrets, some of which  are perhaps lost, constituted, under other names, what we now call  Masonry, or Free or Frank-Masonry. That knowledge was, in one sense,  the Lost Word, which was made known to the Grand Elect, Perfect, and  Sublime Masons. It would be folly to pretend that the forms of Masonry  were the same in those ages as they are now. The present name of the  Order, and its titles, and the names of the Degrees now in use, were not  then known.

Even Blue Masonry cannot trace back its authentic history, with its present  Degrees, further than the year 1700, if so far. But, by whatever name it  was known in this or the other country, Masonry existed as it now exists,  the same in spirit and at heart, not only when Solomon builded the temple,  but centuries before - before even the first colonies emigrated into  Southern India, Persia, and Egypt, from the cradle of the human race.  The Supreme, Self-existent, Eternal, All-wise, All-powerful, Infinitely Good,  Pitying, Beneficent, and Merciful Creator and Preserver of the Universe  was the same, by whatever name he was called, to the intellectual and  enlightened men of all nations. The name was nothing, if not a symbol and  representative hieroglyph of his nature and attributes. The name AL  represented his remoteness above men, his inaccessibility; BAL and  BALA, his might; ALOHIM, his various potencies; IHUH, existence and the  generation of things. None of his names, among the Orientals, were the  symbols of a divinely infinite love and tenderness, and all-embracing  mercy. As MOLOCH or MALEK he was but an omnipotent monarch, a  tremendous and irresponsible Will; as ADONAÏ, only an arbitrary LORD  and Master; as AL Shadaï, potent and a DESTROYER. 

To communicate true and correct ideas in respect of the Deity was one  chief object of the mysteries. In them, Khürüm the King, and Khürüm the  Master, obtained their knowledge of him and his attributes; and in them  that knowledge was taught to Moses and Pythagoras. 

Wherefore nothing forbids you to consider the whole legend of this  Degree, like that of the Master's, an allegory, representing the  perpetuation of the knowledge of the True God in the sanctuaries of  initiation. By the subterranean vaults you may understand the places of  initiation, which in the ancient ceremonies were generally under ground.  The Temple of Solomon presented a symbolic image of the Universe; and  resembled, in its arrangements and furniture, all the temples of the ancient  nations that practised the mysteries. The system of numbers was  intimately connected with their religions and worship, and has come down  to us in Masonry; though the esoteric meaning with which the numbers  used by us are pregnant is unknown to the vast majority of those who use  them. Those numbers were especially employed that had a reference to  the Deity, represented his attributes, or figured in the frame-work of the world, in time and space, and formed more or less the  bases of that frame-work. These were universally regarded as sacred,  being the expression of order and intelligence, the utterances of Divinity  Himself. 

The Holy of Holies of the Temple formed a cube; in which, drawn on a  plane surface, there are 4 + 3 + 2 = 9 lines visible, and three sides or  faces. It corresponded with the number four, by which the ancients  presented Nature, it being the number of substances or corporeal forms,  and of the elements, the cardinal points and seasons, and the secondary  colors. The number three everywhere represented the Supreme Being.  Hence the name of the Deity, engraven upon the triangular plate, and that  sunken into the cube of agate, taught the ancient Mason, and teaches us,  that the true knowledge of God, of His nature and His attributes is written  by Him upon the leaves of the great Book of Universal Nature, and may be  read there by all who are endowed with the requisite amount of intellect  and intelligence. This knowledge of God, so written there, and of which  Masonry has in all ages been the interpreter, is the Master Mason's Word.  Within the Temple, all the arrangements were mystically and symbolically  connected with the same system. The vault or ceiling, starred like the  firmament, was supported by twelve columns, representing the twelve  months of the year. The border that ran around the columns represented  the zodiac, and one of the twelve celestial signs was appropriated to each  column. The brazen sea was supported by twelve oxen, three looking to  each cardinal point of the compass. 

And so in our day every Masonic Lodge represents the Universe. Each  extends, we are told, from the rising to the setting sun, from the South to  the North, from the surface of the Earth to the Heavens, and from the  same to the centre of the globe. In it are represented the sun, moon, and  stars; three great torches in the East, West, and South, forming a triangle,  give it light: and, like the Delta or Triangle suspended in the East, and  inclosing the Ineffable Name, indicate, by the mathematical equality of the  angles and sides, the beautiful and harmonious proportions which govern  in the aggregate and details of the Universe; while those sides and angles  represent, by their number, three, the Trinity of Power, Wisdom, and  Harmony, which presided at the building of this marvellous work These  three great lights also represent the great mystery of the three principles, of creation, dissolution or destruction,  and reproduction or regeneration, consecrated by all creeds in their numerous  Trinities. 

The luminous pedestal, lighted by the perpetual flame within, is a symbol of  that light of Reason, given by God to man, by which he is enabled to read in  the Book of Nature the record of the thought, the revelation of the attributes of  the Deity. 

The three Masters, Adoniram, Joabert, and Stolkin, are types of the True  Mason, who seeks for knowledge from pure motives, and that he may be the  better enabled to serve and benefit his fellow-men; while the discontented  and presumptuous Masters who were buried in the ruins of the arches  represent those who strive to acquire it for unholy purposes, to gain power  over their fellows, to gratify their pride, their vanity, or their ambition.  The Lion that guarded the Ark and held in his mouth the key wherewith to  open it, figuratively represents Solomon, the Lion of the Tribe of Judah, who  preserved and communicated the key to the true knowledge of God, of His  laws, and of the profound mysteries of the moral and physical Universe.  ENOCH [ Khanġc], we are told, walked with God three hundred years,  after reaching the age of sixty-five - "walked with God, and he was no more,  for God had taken him." His name signified in the Hebrew, INITIATE or  INITIATOR. The legend of the columns, of granite and brass or bronze,  erected by him, is probably symbolical. That of bronze, which survived the  flood, is supposed to symbolize the mysteries, of which Masonry is the  legitimate successor - from the earliest times the custodian and depository of  the great philosophical and religious truths, unknown to the world at large,  and handed down from age to age by an unbroken current of tradition,  embodied in symbols, emblems, and allegories. 

The legend of this Degree is thus, partially, interpreted. It is of little  importance whether it is in anywise historical. For its value consists in the  lessons which it inculcates, and the duties which it prescribes to those who  receive it. The parables and allegories of the Scriptures are not less valuable  than history. Nay, they are more so, because ancient history is little  instructive, and truths are concealed in and symbolized by the legend and the  myth. 

There are profounder meanings concealed in the symbols of this Degree,  connected with the philosophical system of the Hebrew Kabalists, which you will learn hereafter, if you should be so fortunate as  to advance. They are unfolded in the higher Degrees. The lion [  Arai, Araiah, which also means the altar] still holds in his mouth the key of  the enigma of the sphynx. 

But there is one application of this Degree, that you are now entitled to  know; and which, remembering that Khürüm, the Master, is the symbol of  human freedom, you would probably discover for yourself.  It is not enough for a people to gain its liberty. It must secure it. It must not  intrust it to the keeping, or hold it at the pleasure, of any one man. The  keystone of the Royal Arch of the great Temple of Liberty is a fundamental  law, charter, or constitution; the expression of the fixed habits of thought of  the people, embodied in a written instrument, or the result of the slow  accretions and the consolidation of centuries; the same in war as in  peace; that cannot be hastily changed, nor be violated with impunity, but is  sacred, like the Ark of the Covenant of God, which none could touch and  live. 

A permanent constitution, rooted in the affections, expressing the will and  judgment, and built upon the instincts and settled habits of thought of the  people, with an independent judiciary, an elective legislature of two  branches, an executive responsible to the people, and the right of trial by  jury, will guarantee the liberties of a people, if it be virtuous and temperate,  without luxury, and without the lust of conquest and dominion, and the  follies of visionary theories of impossible perfection. 

Masonry teaches its Initiates that the pursuits and occupations of this life,  its activity, care, and ingenuity, the predestined developments of the  nature given us by God, tend to promote His great design, in making the  world; and are not at war with the great purpose of life. It teaches that  everything is beautiful in its time, in its place, in its appointed office; that  everything which man is put to do, if rightly and faithfully done, naturally  helps to work out his salvation; that if he obeys the genuine principles of  his calling, he will be a good man: and that it is only by neglect and nonperformance  of the task set for him by Heaven, by wandering into idle  dissipation, or by violating their beneficent and lofty spirit, that he becomes  a bad man. The appointed action of life is the great training of Providence;  and if man yields himself to it, he will need neither churches nor ordinances, except for the  expression of his religious homage and gratitude.  For there is a religion of toil. It is not all drudgery, a mere stretching of the  limbs and straining of the sinews to tasks. It has a meaning and an intent.  A living heart pours life-blood into the toiling arm; and warm affections  inspire and mingle with man's labors. They are the home affections. Labor  toils a-field, or plies its task in cities, or urges the keels of commerce over  wide oceans; but home is its centre; and thither it ever goes with its  earnings, with the means of support and comfort for others; offerings  sacred to the thought of every true man, as a sacrifice at a golden shrine.  Many faults there are amidst the toils of life; many harsh and hasty words  are uttered; but still the toils go on, weary and hard and exasperating as  they often are. For in that home is age or sickness, or helpless infancy, or  gentle childhood, or feeble woman, that must not want. If man had no  other than mere selfish impulses, the scene of labor which we behold  around us would not exist. 

The advocate who fairly and honestly presents his case, with feeling of  true self-respect, honor, and conscience, to help the tribunal on towards  the right conclusion, with a conviction that God's justice reigns there, is  acting a religious part, leading that day religious life; or else right and  justice are no part of religion Whether, during all that day, he has once  appealed, in form or in terms, to his conscience, or not; whether he has  once spoken of religion and God, or not; if there has been the inward  purpose, the conscious intent and desire, that sacred justice should  triumph, he has that day led a good and religious life, and made most a  essential contribution to that religion of life and of society, the cause of  equity between man and man, and of truth and right action in the world.  Books, to be of religious tendency in the Masonic sense, need not be  books of sermons, of pious exercises, or of prayers. Whatever inculcates  pure, noble, and patriotic sentiments, or touches the heart with the beauty  of virtue, and the excellence of an upright life, accords with the religion of  Masonry, and is the Gospel of literature and art. That Gospel is preached  from many a book and painting, from many a poem and fiction, and review  and newspaper; and it is a painful error and miserable narrowness, not to  recognize these wide-spread agencies of Heaven's providing; not to see and welcome these many-handed coadjutors, to the great and good  cause. The oracles of God do not speak from the pulpit alone.  There is also a religion of society. In business, there is much more than  sale, exchange, price, payment; for there is the sacred faith of man in  man. When we repose perfect confidence in the integrity of another; when  we feel that he will not swerve from the right, frank, straightforward,  conscientious course, for any temptation; his integrity and  conscientiousness are the image of God to us; and when we believe in it,  it is as great and generous an act, as when we believe in the rectitude of  the Deity. 

In gay assemblies for amusement, the good affections of life gush and  mingle. If they did not, these gathering-places would be as dreary and  repulsive as the caves and dens of outlaws and robbers. When friends  meet, and hands are warmly pressed, and the eye kindles and the  countenance is suffused with gladness, there is a religion between their  hearts; and each loves and worships the True and Good that is in the  other. It is not policy, or self-interest, or selfishness that spreads such a  charm around that meeting, but the halo of bright and beautiful affection.  The same splendor of kindly liking, and affectionate regard, shines like the  soft overarching sky, over all the world; over all places where men meet,  and walk or toil together; not over lovers' bowers and marriage-altars  alone, not over the homes of purity and tenderness alone; but over all  tilled fields, and busy workshops, and dusty highways, and paved streets.  There is not a worn stone upon the sidewalks, but has been the altar of  such offerings of mutual kindness; nor a wooden pillar or iron railing  against which hearts beating with affection have not leaned. How many  soever other elements there are in the stream of life flowing through these  channels, that is surely here and everywhere; honest, heartfelt,  disinterested, inexpressible affection. 

Every Masonic Lodge is a temple of religion; and its teachings are  instruction in religion. For here are inculcated disinterestedness, affection,  toleration, devotedness, patriotism, truth, a generous sympathy with those  who suffer and mourn, pity for the fallen, mercy for the erring, relief for  those in want, Faith, Hope, and Charity. Here we meet as brethren, to  learn to know and love each other. Here we greet each other gladly, are  lenient to each other's faults, regardful of each other's feelings, ready to  relieve each other's wants. This is the true religion revealed to the ancient  patriarchs; which Masonry has taught for many centuries, and which it will  continue to teach as long as time endures. If unworthy passions, or  selfish, bitter, or revengeful feelings, contempt, dislike, hatred, enter here,  they are intruders and n t welcome, strangers uninvited, and not guests.  Certainly there are many evils and bad passions, and much hate and  contempt and unkindness everywhere in the world. We cannot refuse to  see the evil -that is in life. But all is not evil. We still see God in the world.  There is good amidst the evil. The hand of mercy leads wealth to the  hovels of poverty and sorrow. Truth and simplicity live amid many wiles  and sophistries. There are good hearts underneath gay robes, and under  tattered garments also. 

Love clasps the hand of love, amid all the envyings and distractions of  showy competition; fidelity, pity, and sympathy hold the long night-watch  by the bedside of the suffering neighbor, amidst the surrounding poverty  and squalid misery. Devoted men go from city to city to nurse those  smitten down by the terrible pestilence that renews at intervals its  mysterious marches. Women well-born and delicately nurtured nursed the  wounded soldiers in hospitals, before it became fashionable to do so; and  even poor lost women, whom God alone loves and pities, tend the plaguestricken  with a patient and generous heroism. Masonry and its kindred  Orders teach men to love each other, feed the hungry, clothe the naked,  comfort the sick, and bury the friendless dead. Everywhere God finds and  blesses the kindly office, the pitying thought, and the loving heart.  There is an element of good in all men's lawful pursuits and a divine spirit  breathing in all their lawful affections. The ground on which they tread is  holy ground. There is a natural religion of life, answering, with however  many a broken tone, to the religion of nature. There is a beauty and glory  in Humanity., in man, answering, with however many a mingling shade, to  the loveliness of soft landscapes and swelling hills, and the wondrous  Men may be virtuous, self-improving, and religious in their employments. 

Precisely for that, those employments were made. All their social relations,  friendship, love , the ties of family, were made to be holy. They may be  religious, not by a kind of protest and resistance against their several vocations; but by conformity to their  true spirit. Those vocations do not exclude religion; but demand it, for their  own perfection. They may be religious laborers, whether in field or factory;  religious physicians, lawyers, sculptors, poets, painters, and musicians.  They may be religious in all the toils and in all the amusements of life.  Their life may be a religion; the broad earth its altar; its incense the very  breath of life; its fires ever kindled by the brightness of Heaven. 

Bound up with our poor, frail life, is the mighty thought that spurns the  narrow span of all visible existence. Ever the soul reaches outward, and  asks for freedom. It looks forth from the narrow and grated windows of  sense, upon the wide immeasurable creation; it knows that around it and  beyond it lie outstretched the infinite and everlasting paths.  Everything within us and without us ought to stir our minds to admiration  and wonder. We are a mystery encompassed with mysteries. The  connection of mind with matter is a mystery; the wonderful telegraphic  communication between the brain and every part of the body, the power  and action of the will. Every familiar step is more than a story in a land of  enchantment. The power of movement is as mysterious as the power of  thought. Memory, and dreams that are the indistinct echoes of dead  memories are alike inexplicable. Universal harmony springs from infinite  complication. The momentum of every step we take in our dwelling  contributes in part to the order of the Universe. We are connected by ties  of thought, and even of matter and its forces, with the whole boundless  Universe and all the past and coming generations of men. 

The humblest object beneath our eye as completely defies our scrutiny as  the economy of the most distant star. Every leaf and every blade of grass  holds within itself secrets which no human penetration will ever fathom. No  man can tell what is its principle of life. No man can know what his power  of secretion is. Both are inscrutable mysteries. Wherever we place our  hand we lay it upon the locked bosom of mystery. Step where we will, we  tread upon wonders. The sea-sands, the clods of the field, the water-worn  pebbles on the hills, the rude masses of rock, are traced over and over, in  every direction, with a handwriting older and more significant and sublime  than all the ancient ruins, and all the overthrown and buried cities that past  generations have left upon the earth; for it is the handwriting of the Almighty. 

A Mason's great business with life is to read the book of its teaching; to  find that life is not the doing of drudgeries, but the hearing of oracles. The  old mythology is but a leaf in that book; for it peopled the world with  spiritual natures; and science, many-leaved, still spreads before us the  same tale of wonder. 

We shall be just as happy hereafter, as we are pure and upright, and no  more, just as happy as our character prepares us to be, and no more. Our  moral, like our mental character, is nut formed in a moment; it is the habit  of our minds; the result of many thoughts and feelings and efforts, bound  together by many natural and strong ties. The great law of Retribution is,  that all coming experience is to be affected by every present feeling; every  future moment of being must answer for every present moment; one  moment, sacrificed to vice, or lost to improvement, is forever sacrificed  and lost; an hour's delay to enter the right path, is to put us back so far, in  the everlasting pursuit of happiness; and every sin, even of the best men,  is to be thus answered for, if not according to the full measure of its illdesert,  yet according to a rule of unbending rectitude and impartiality. 

The law of retribution presses upon every m an, whether he thinks of it or  not. It pursues him through all the courses of life, with a step that never  falters nor tires, and with an eye that never sleeps. If it were not so, God's  government would not be impartial; 'there would be no discrimination; no  moral dominion; no light shed upon the mysteries of Providence.  Whatsoever a man soweth, that, and not something else, shall he reap.  That which we are doing, good or evil, grave or gay, that which we do today  and shall do to-morrow; each thought, each feeling, each action, each  event; every passing hour, every breathing moment; all are contributing to  form the character according to which we are to be judged. Every particle  of influence that goes to form that aggregate, - our character, - will, in that  future scrutiny, be sifted out from the mass; and, particle by particle, with  ages perhaps intervening, fall a distinct contribution to the sum of our joys  or woes. Thus every idle word and idle hour will give answer in the  judgment. 

Let us take care, therefore, what we sow. An evil temptation comes upon  us; the opportunity of unrighteous gain, or of unhallowed indulgence, either in the sphere of business or pleasure, of society or  solitude. We yield; and plant a seed of bitterness and sorrow. To-morrow it  will threaten discovery. Agitated and alarmed, we cover the sin, and bury it  deep in falsehood and hypocrisy. In the bosom where it lies concealed, in  the fertile soil of kindred vices, that sin dies not, but thrives and grows; and  other and still other germs of evil gather around the accursed root; until,  from that single seed of corruption, there springs up in the soul all that is  horrible in habitual lying, knavery, or vice. Loathingly, often, we take each  downward step; but a frightful power urges us onward; and the hell of  debt, disease, ignominy, or remorse gathers its shadows around Our  steps even on earth; and are yet but the beginnings of sorrows. The evil  deed may be done in a single moment; but conscience never dies,  memory never sleeps; guilt never can become innocence; and remorse  can never whisper peace. 

Beware, thou who art tempted to evil! Beware what thou layest up for the  future! Beware what thou layest up in the archives of eternity! Wrong not  thy neighbor! lest the thought of him thou injurest, and who suffers by thy  act, be to thee a pang which years will not deprive of its bitterness! Break  not into the house of innocence, to rifle it of its treasure; lest when many  years have passed over thee, the moan of its distress may not have died  away from thine ear! Build not the desolate throne of ambition in thy heart;  nor be busy with devices, and circumventings, and selfish schemings; lest  desolation and loneliness be on thy path, as it stretches into the long  futurity! Live not a useless, an impious, or an injurious life! for bound up  with that life is the immutable principle of an endless retribution, and  elements of God's creating, which will never spend their force, but  continue ever to unfold with the ages of eternity. Be not deceived! God  has formed thy nature, thus to answer to the future. His law can never be  abrogated, nor His justice eluded; and forever and ever it will be true, that  "Whatsoever a man soweth, that also he shall reap.”  

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Last modified: March 22, 2014