Murder Ward (Destroyer, Book 15)

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Had it been a modern compilation such contradictions would have been studiously avoided. It is probable that many earnest Masons may not agree with all Brother Ward's interpretations. Nor can such unanimity reasonably be expected. Freemasonry, as a gradual accretion of the Wisdom of Ages Immemorial, bears traces of many successive schools of thought.


But all its messages are fraught with hope for the regeneration of humanity. The author intimated his desire in this series of handbooks to lead others to prosecute the study of Masonry for themselves; and indeed he has abundantly proved that in its unfathomable depths there are many gems of priceless ray serene which will well repay the search. Brother Ward is heartily to be congratulated on having attained the object he had in view. Even in its exoteric aspect its simple, yet dramatic, power must leave a lasting impression on the mind of every Cand..

But its esoteric meaning contains some of the most profound spiritual instruction which it is possible to obain to-day. Even the average man, who entered The Craft with little realisation of its real antiquity and with the solemnity of this, its greatest degree. In its directness and apparent simplicity rests its tremendous power. The exoteric and esoteric are interwoven in such a wonderful way that it is almost imopssible to separate the one from the other, and the longer it is studied the more we realise the profound and ancient wisdom concealed therein.

Indeed, it is probable that we shall never master all that lies hidden in this degree till we in very truth pass through that reality of which it is a allegory. The two degrees which have gone before, great and beautiful though they be are but the training and preparation for the message which the third degree holds in almost every line of the ritual. Here at length we learn the true purpose of Freemasonry.

It is not merely a system of morality veiled in allegory and illustrated by symbols, but a great adventure, a search after that which was lost; in other words, the Mystic Quest, the craving of the Soul to comprehend the nature of God and to achieve union with Him. Different men vary greatly; to some the most profound teachings appeal, while to others simpler and more direct instruction is all they crave. But there is hardly a man who has not, at some time or other, amid the turmoil and distraction of this material world, felt a strange and unaccountable longing for knowledge as to why he was ever sent here, whence he came, and whither he is wending.

At such times he feels Iike a wanderer in a strange land, who has almost forgotten his native country, because he left it so long ago, but yet vaguely realises that he is an exile, and dimly craves for some message from that home which he knew of yore. This is the voice of the Divine Spark in man calling out for union with the Source of its being, and at such times the third degree carries with it a message which till then, perhaps, the brother had not realized.

The true s The gateway of d. Thus it will be seen that the third degree strikes a more solemn note thane even that of d. As in my previous books, I freely confess that I have not covered the whole ground.

Not only would it be impossible to do so in a book of this size, but in so doing I should have defeated one of my principal objects in writing namely, to inspire others to study for themselves and endeavour to find in our ceremonies further and deeper meanings. The success of the earlier books shows clearly that my efforts have not been in vain, and that the brethren are more than anxious to fathom the inner meaning of the ceremonies we all love so well. This book completes the series dealing with the meaning of the three craft degrees, but their popularity has convinced me that the experiment of producing a small and inexpensive handbook has been completely justified.

I have therefore been encouraged to write further volumes, and the next of the series will be an outline history of Freemasonry " from time Immemorial. From the number of letters I have received from all parts of the world, thanking me for the light these books throw on the meaning of our ceremonies, it is clear that the new members who are entering our Order are tending to take an increasing interest in the meaning of our Rites and are no longer content to regard the Ceremonies merely as a pastime for an idle hour.

Those of our Brethren who have read the previous two books of this series will not need much help in understanding the significance of the questions which are put to the Cand. Practically every question has been dealt with in detail in the previous books; the majority of them are taken from incidents in the Lectures and Tracing Board, and since the latter was explained at some length we shall not now detain our readers long. The manner of preparation for the second degree stressed the masculine side, which is characteristic of it.

The admission on a S. There is, however a deep esoteric meaning in the apparent platitude that it is the fourth part of a circle. Among all the ancient nations the circle is a symbol of God the Infinite, Whose name we discovered in the second degree in the M. Thus the Cand. We have in the last book considered at such length what is implied by the words "Hidden mysteries of nature and science," that we need here only refer our readers to that section, wherein we saw that in former times these hidden mysteries undoubtedly referred to certain occult powers, which would be dangerous if acquired by a man who had not proved himself to be of the highest moral character.

The "wages" we receive consist of the power to comprehend the nature of God, Who resides in the M. The F. He cannot receive either more or less than he has earned, for if he has not understood the profound lesson of the Divinity within him, naturally he cannot benefit therefrom. His employers are the Divine Trinity, of Whom Justice is one of the outstanding attributes.

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God could not be unjust and remain God. This conception is almost a platitude, but the average man, while realising that God will not withhold any reward earned, is at times apt to assume that because God is love He will reward us more than we deserve. This is clearly a mistake, for God could not be partial without ceasing to be God, therefore the F. The significance of the names of the P Thus we see that even the w.. As in the former case, the remark of the W. It is, indeed, a pity that this right is practically never exercised.

For example, a particularly appropriate question would be "What was the name of the man who cast the two great p Having answered these test questions, the cand. We have in the previous book explained that the raising of a Lodge should alter the vibrations of those present by a process well recognised in the ceremonies of Magic, and, to enable the Cand. This word he has to give, not only outside the d The P.

At one time the P. This is still the case in those foreign Grand Lodges, such as the Dutch and the French, which derive from us before , when the W. This alteration was one of the just grievances which brought about the secession of the so-called "Ancients," who charged Grand Lodge with altering the Ancient Landmarks. When the Irish followed our example they continued the prohibition of the introduction of m..

As the W. They are plenty to the spiritually minded man, whose soul becomes clogged and hampered by the acquistion of worldly possessions and since it is hard for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of Heaven, immediatdy the Cand. To-day, the river of death connected with the P. We must remember that Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress was well known and widely read at the beginning of the 18th Century, and those who were re-organising our rituals at that time could not have been blind to the similarity of the allegory hidden in the w. The change of about destroyed this allegory, and its survival in the Tracing Board is now merely one of those numerous footnotes which, to the careful student, are invaluable indications of the various transformations though which our ritual has passed during the course of years.

Nevertheless, I do not regret the change, as I think the present spiritual lesson is even finer than the former one, but the other arrangement was more logical. Firstly, from the practical point of view the F. Secondly, from the symbolical standpoint the sequence was also more logical, for the F. According to Bro. Sanderson, in his "Examination of the Masonic Ritual," the actual translation of the Hebrew w. Therefore the connection with H. Sanderson, quoting from the "Secret Discipline," by S. Knapp, says, "In a work on ancient ecclesiastical history the following occurs, 'By a singular plasus linguae the moderns have substituted T.

The Greek word tymboxein would be peculiariy suitable for a P. There is, therefore, nothing intrinsically improbable in the suggestion that this ancient Greek word was the original from which T. We know as a fact that large pieces of Biblical history were imported wholesale into our rituals in the 18th Century, and what is more likely than that an unintelligible work, already so corrupt as not even to be recognisable as Greek, should be amended into a well known Biblical character? However, the word as it stands, because of its Hebrew meaning of acquisition, can correctly be translated as W.

Thus, following this line of interpretation, we perceive that the Cand. In dealing with these P. In a book of thissize it is obviously impossible to attempt to give all of these meanings, and even if one did the result would be to befog the young reader and so prevent him from getting a clear and connected interpretation of the ceremony. It is for this reason that, in the main, I am concentrating on one line of interpretation, but I have thought it desirable in this section to give a hint to more advanced students, so that they can follow up similar lines of investigation for themselves.

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In English and Scotch workings there is no c. If we regard the c. This interpretation implies that the Cand. With this exception the manner of preparation is the same in all these British workings, and indicates that the Cand. The explanation already given in the previous books of the various details, such as being s. The Can. These Kn's indicate that Soul and Body are in union, but the Spirit is still out of contact whereas the proper Kn's of a M. It will be remembered that in the first book of this series I pointed out that the three separate kn's of an E.

Meanwhile the Lodge has been raised to a Third Degree by a ceremony whose profound significance demands consideration in a separate chapter. Having satisfied himself that all present are symbolically upright and moral men, the W. The J. Now these combined with the Square form a lozenge, which is itself a symbol for the Vesica Piscis, emblem of the female principle. The Compasses, moreover, are the instruments with which geometrical figures are created, and more especially the Circle. By means of two circles the triangle, emblem of the triune nature of God,. A point within the cirle forms the symbol for the Hindu conception of the Supreme Being, Paramatma, whence we have come and whither we shall all ultimately return.

At the centre of the circle rests all knowledge; there shall we find every lost secret. Now such a figure can only be drawn with the help of the Compasses, and in drawing it the following significant symbolical act takes place. One point of the Compass rests at the centre, and the other makes the circle of the Infinite.

No matter how far the legs of the Compass be extended, or how large the Circle, the fact remains that one leg is always at the centre. Thus the Compasses, while they travel through infinity, are at the same time never separated from the centre, and from that point cannot err. This instrument may therefore be considered as standing for the Divine Spark in Man, in all its manifestations.

One of these is conscience; but the Divine Spark has many attributes and names. So the J. But after these preliminaries the proceedings become of an even more exalted nature. All that has gone before has been but preparation for the Great Quest on which we must now set forth.

It is the quest of the Soul for realisation of God, and at-one-ment with Him. This is the Mystic Quest of all ages, and, true to the ancient symbolism, it starts from the East, the place of Light, and goes towards the West, the place of darkness and death. The East represents God, Who is our home. It indicates that each soul comes out from the place of Light, from Light itself, that is, from the very substance of God, descends through the Gateway of the Dawn and becomes incarnate in Matter. But it brings with it a sense of loss and separation, for it has come out from God, and the Divine Spark within it longs return whence it came.

Having lost the secret of its true nature and the way of return, it wanders in darkness, seeking and for most men the way of return is through the Western portal, the gateway of Death, for so long as we are finite beings we cannot hope to comprehend the Infinite. Yet there are some few exceptions to the general rule, who, while still in the flesh, have a vision of the Divine splendour, are caught up in it, and became one with God.

To such men the return to ordinary mundane existence seems unreal and shadowy. Where others believe in God they Know Him, but it is almost impossible for them to convey to others the experience through which they have gone. Yet that such experiences are real, as real as any other fact in life, is attested by a long line of witnesses right throughout the ages. To the average man, however, the first real step towards the realisation of what constitutes God is through the portal of physical death; - but even then the end is still far off.

Hence the answer explaining how the true secrets came to be lost indicates, not the cause of the loss, but the first step towards the recovery, and this fact is borne out by the subsequent events in the ceremony itself. Note, it is the body only that dies, and by its death enables the Soul and Spirit to re-discover in part the secrets which were last. Yet this death of the Body effectually debars the communication of these secrets to the sorrowing F.

It is the passing through that veil which separates life and death which stars us on the road which ends with God. It must never be forgotten, however, that the genuine secrets are never recovered in the Craft, although symbolically we rise from the grave, for that secret can only be discovered at or with the C. To that exalted position we can only attain after long journeys through the planes of existence beyond the grave. In our symbolism there is nothing which indicates that immediately after death man is fit to pass into the presence of the King of Kings. It is still part of it, though its glory is dimmed by the veil of flesh.

Therefore, just as one arm of the compasses ever rests on the centre, no matter how far the other leg travels; so however far we may travel from God, and however long and hard may be the journey, the Divine Spark within us can never be truly separated from Him, or err from that Centre.

Thus the point of the Compasses at the centre of the circle may be considered to be the Spirit, the head of the Compasses the Soul, and the point on the circumference the body. So the task is set and the brethren go forth on the quest, that quest which must lead through the darkness of death, as the ceremony that follows tells in allegory. It is not correct to say that the search hinted at in the Opening ceremony is suddenly abandoned, and those who think this misinterpret the whole meaning of the legend.

Never in earthly life shall we find the answer we seek, nay, even death itself will not give it; but, having passed beyond the grave, through the four veils of the Scottish rite, and so into the H. Nor must it be forgotten that the body alone cannot realise the nature of God, and that is why without the help of the other two, H. The W. This can only come about when the Spirit has raised the Soul to a far higher stage of spirituality. Though this is the degree of Destruction, that form of the Trinity is not invoked, and the title used corresponds more closely to the Hindu name for the All-Embracing than to their form of the Destroyer.

This no doubt is deliberate, for the symbol of this degree is the same emblem which among the Hindus denotes the Most High, namely the Circle with a Point within it. In some Scotch rituals, after the Lodge has been opened in the first degree the I. Here then we get two striking features: 1 the use of words from the first chapter of the Gospel according to St. John, and 2 their correlation with the phrase in the Third Degree, "At, or with the C. Before closing this chapter, I would like to add that the Third Degree lends itself to a Christian interpretation even more markedly than the former ones, and several of the higher degrees in Freemasonry adopt and expand this line of teaching.

In view of the fact that in the Middle Ages Freemasonry was undoubtedly Christian, we cannot lightly reject this view of the inner meaning of the ceremonies, but as the frame work of our ceremonies apparently goes back before Christian times, a non-Christian interpretation is equally permissible. Firstly, as has been noted, one arm of the C. Secondly, the C We have seen in the previous books that the Sq. Hence symbolically thc Can. Also after entering the Lodge in this, as in the previous degrees, he kn He thus kn Two equilateral triangles make a lozenge, which is produced from the vesica piscis-formed by two circles, as shown by the first proposition in Euclid.

In view of the great stress laid upon Geometry throughout the whole of our rituals these facts cannot be ignored. Our Operative Brn. In doing so they form the vesica piscis, which gives birth first of all to the triangle, and secondly, to the double triangle, in the form of a lozenge. This last emblem is symbolised by the sq. The above facts throw a flood of light upon the interplay between these Masonic emblems. Before leaving this subject it is worth while pointing out that the Can.

He first satisfies the J. He next satisfies the S. Then comes the third journey, when he is once more challenged by the Soul, who demands the P. Let us combine these meanings! He comes laden with worldly possessions, which in themselves carry the seeds of death, unconsciously representing in his person the worker in metals who made the twin colunms, and is about to be entombed.

Therefore the Soul presents him to the Spirit as one properly prepared to carry out the part of his great predecessor. There is a point here which we need to realise, for it is one which is often overlooked. In the previous degrees only one Deacon was instructed to lead the Can. From the practical point of view there is no obvious reason why the help of the J. I believe, however, the S. If thus were so we should get an almost exact repetition of the analogous ceremony in the R.

Thus, with the Can. As Major Sanderson has pointed out in An Examination of the Masonic Ritual, among the primitive, races usually, a man who stepped over an o. If this be the true interpretation of this part of the ceremony, the reason for the presence of the two deacons in addition to the Can. It is only the Body that descends into the clear the Soul and the Spirit have no part therein. Thus, for the moment, though only temporarily, these three represene the triune nature of man, while the three principal officers represent the triune nature of God.

The fact that this is undoubtedly true in the case of the R. Again and again when one comes to study carefully the details of our ritual, one finds little points, such as these, which would certainly not have survived the drastic revision of if there had not been present some men who really did understand the inner meaning of our ceremonies, and refused to allow important lessons to be lost by the removal of what, at first sight, appear to be unnecessary details. Therefore, those of us who value the inner meaning of our ceremonies owe a deep debt of gratitude to these men, even though their actual names be unknown to us, and on our part a duty is imposed on us that we shall not hastily tamper with the rituals, merely because we do not ourselves see the full significance of a phrase or think that by revising it we can make the wording run more smoothly.

The next factor we must consider most carefully is the actual sp These make the Latin cross of suffuring and sacrifice. Sometimes the sp.. This procedure undoubtedly refers to the three entrances of the Temple through which H. Hence it is we see that the Master himself trod out the cross of Calvary during the tragedy, and in a sense made the Consecration Cross of the Temple. In a mediaeval church, and even to-day at the consecration of a church according to the Anglican ordinance, there should be a dedication cross marked on the building. In the Middle Ages these were usually marked on the pillars, and apparently corresponded to the mark made by an illiterate person when witnessing a deed.

The Consecrating Bishop sometimes drew this cross on the pillar or wall, or sometimes merely traced over a cross already painted there for the purpose.

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Any new piece of work in a church, even if only a new fresco, had its dedication cross. Bearing these facts in mind, we shall perceive that, even from the Operative point of view, the manner of advancing in this degree, and the manner in which H. The Great Architect of the Temple must have traced the dedication cross the whole length and breadth of the Temple in his own blood.

Moreover, such dedication crosses as have actually survived are nearly always found to be painted in red. Thus, H.

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Therefore, the Can. But there is still more hidden within this ceremonial act. The ancient Knights Templar were accused of trampling on the cr. One of the esoteric meanings indicated is the Way of the Cross which leads to Calvary. Furhermore, having thus traced out a cr. The foot of this cr. If, therefore, this symbolical cr.

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This fact should be borne in mind by those who seek a Christian interpretation of our Craft ceremonies. Mystically interpreted, it indicates that every aspirant for union with the Divine must tread the Way of the Cross, and suffer and die thereon, in order that he may rise to a new life, a realisation of his union with the Infinite. Even those who are disinclined to admit the possibility of a Christian interpretatior, of the Craft degrees, must recognise the fact that this cr.

The number of the sp It is the same number as forms the perfect lodge, and also the seven elements which form man, whether we interpret it according to the ancient Egyptian system, or in the more modern form of the five physical senses, the Soul and the Spirit. In the latter case it indicates that the man must be prepared to sacrifice, or shall we say dedicate to God, Body, Soul and Spirit. There are yet other profound meanings in this one ritual act, but enough has been written to set my readers pondering for themselves, and we will therefore proceed to consider the next point in the ceremony.

The Ob. Thus it indicates that a M. This shows us at once that we are dealing with a ceremony with a mystical meaning, for the C. The special moral obligations which the Can. It is, however, difficult to understand why they should be deferred until this stage. In the ancient charges similar obligations are imposed apparently on the E.

The Py. You are s. There the corpse is burnt near running water, preferably near the Ganges, and the ashes are thrown into the air over the river to the four cardinal points, that the winds may scatter them. It must be remembered that Shiva represents the destructive attribute of the Diety and he makes the P.

His is the element of fire, and all these facts must be born in mind when considering our own Py. The position of the Sq. The opening part of the exhortation gives a convenient summary of the previous degress and quite clearly indicates that the first inner meaning of the series is Birth, Life which is of course educational and preparatory for its sequel, and Death. The phrase relating to the second degree "And to trace it, from its devlopment through the paths of Heavenly Science even to the throne of God Himself," shows plainly its real significance.

As pointed out in the F. Handbook, in the Mid. But according to the old Kabala Jeheshue must be raised on the cross of Tipareth, and the significance of this fact is impressed on our Can. The average Christian need not trouble about the subtleties of the Kabala, for the story in the New Testament supplies him with a very similar interpretation. Up to this point almost all forms of our ritual are practically the same, but henceforward there are many marked differences.

There is no reason to assume that they are innovations; on the contrary all the evidence points to the fact that they are integral parts of the ceremony which, for various reasons, were omitted by the revisers of our ritual who met in the Lodge of Reconciliation. I shall therefore proceed to note and explain them where necessary. Whereas in Emulation working as soon as the Ws. Thus with the W. As a practical piece of advice I would recommend that the J.

In most of the old Scotch rituals the Can. I think, however, our English system of having the attack in the N. In the Scotch ritual the three villains have names, and the same is the case in America. They are Jubela, Jubelo, and Jubelum.

The word itself clearly comes from the Latin word meaning "To command," and refers to the fact that they commanded him to give up the S But the terminations of the three names appear to have a curious esoteric reference to India. It can hardly be by accident that these three names form the mystic word AUM.

The U in India in this case is pronounced almost like O, and when this word is disguised, as it usually is, it is written OMN. If this be so we have the Creative Preservative, and Annihilative aspects of the Deity emphasised in the Third Degree, and it is the Destructive aspect, symbolised by the letter M, which deals the final stroke. This variation is therefore of importance, but I must warn my readers that not all Scotch workings have it, some of them being much more akin to our own, even having the attack in the N..

Practically all of them, however, have the perambulations, during which solemn music is played. The usual procedure is for the brethren to pass round the gr. When this is done the J. The second round is made with the H. The third round is made with the S. It is a great pity that the use of this name for the M. In many parts of England it is still customary to place the Can. Indeed, in the Dutch ritual the Can. This is subsequently removed, though he does not know it and he thinks when he is laid therein he will find himself in its bony clutches.

Even as near London as Windsor there is a Masonic Temple which has a special chamber of d. Let us now turn to consider the meanings of the main incidents. The first meaning of the degree is obvious; it prepares a man for his final end and hints of a possibility of life beyond the grave but it must be admitted that the lesson is not driven home with the same force as it is in most of the ancient mysteries.

Osiris Himself rose from the dead and became the Judge of all who followed after Him, and because of this fact His worshippers believed that they too would rise. In our legend, however, it is only the dead body of H. The question is often asked why they should have raised a c.. One explanation probably is, by analogy with the Greek story of the manner in which Hercules recovered Alcestis and ransomed her from the bondage of Thanatos-Death himself.

We are told that Hercules wrestled with Thanatos and would nor let him go until he had agreed to allow Hercules to bring her back from the realm of the Shades to the land of living men. It may be that the corpse here represents Death. It is also worth noting that Isis joined together the fragments of the body of Osiris, and the "Setting up" of the backbone of the God was a ceremony carried out every year by the ancient Egyptian Priests. The body of Osiris apparently was raised from the bier by Anubis in precisely the same way as the M.

When it was set on its feet life returned to it. One fact is certain, that in every Rite which has as its central theme symbolic d. For example :-it is known and used in the Dervish Rite, among West African Negroes, among the Red Indians of Central America, and was apparently known to the ancient Druids, for it is carved on a stone found at Iona. In the ancient rites of Mithra it also appears to have been the method used upon a similar occasion.

These facts show that it is an ancient landmark and one to be most carefully guarded. Therein he points out that in the Book of the Dead the Supreme God, whether Ra or Osiris, is appealed to as the " God in the Lion form," and in all such cases the prayer of the Soul is that he may be permitted to " Come forth " in the East, rising with the sun from the d.. Major Anderson goes on to point out as follows. Osiris is called the lion of yesterday, and Ra the Lion of tomorrow : the bier of Osiris is always represented as having the head and legs of a lion.

The Bright Morning Star whose rising brings peace and Salvation, almost certainly was originally Sirius, but to Englishmen it must seem strange that Sirius should be said to bring peace and Salvation. The association of these ideas with the Dog Star is undoubtedly a fragment which has come down from Ancient Egypt, for the rising of Sirius marked the beginning of the inundation of the Nite, which literally brought salvation to the people of Egypt by irrigating the land and enabling it to produce food.

That Sirius was an object of veneration to the philosophers of the ancient world is well known to all archaeologists, and many of the Temples in Egypt have been proved to have been oriented on Sirius. There is also a good deal of evidence showing that some of the stone circles in Great Britain were similarly oriented on Sirius by the Druids. It is therefore not surprising that this star is still remembered in our rituals. Naturally it has acquired a deeper spiritual meaning in the course of years, and may be regarded as representing the First Fruits of the Resurrection, the sure hope of our Redemption.

This aspect is set forth in the lectures drawn up by Dunckerley, who regarded it as the star of Bethlehem, and as typifying Christ. See Rev. At this point the Can.. From the practical point of view this is to enable the M. Immediately after death the Soul is said to find itself on the earth plane amid murk and darkness.

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Lacking mortal eyes, it cannot perceive the sun, and, on the other hand, is still so immersed in matter that it cannot yet see clearly with its spirit eyes; but this stage rapidly passes away, and the Soul is received into a higher plane of existence, being brought thither by messengers of Light. The position in the North represents this period of darkness on the earth plane, and that this is not accidental is shown by the fact that in most rituals the lights are not turned up until the phrase "That bright morning star, etc.

Then the M. And who is this messenger? Every installed master who has received the P. Thus we see the peculiarly appropriate nature of the act coming after the reference to the bright morning star, which also in another sense represents the risen Christ. THE S TS Having thus been brought into the place of light the Can. Ss, but only substitued ones.

This fact must often have puzzled the Can.. The pratical reason given in the ritual, though perfecdy inteligible to a R. In view of the unexpected calamity no-one could have thought K. Actually according to the R. Of course this is also an allegory, and from this stand-point perfectly correct. The lost s Moreover, this complete realisation of the nature of God, and the union of the Divine Spark within us with the Source of All, can never be achieved during mortal life. Even after death we shall need to leave the world long behind and travel far, before we can hope to attain that state of spiritual evolution which will enable us to approach the Holy of Holies, and gaze with unveiled eyes upon Him, Who is the beginning and the end of all.

With regard to these substituted s.. Having already shown in the last book that the sn. To use modern language, the second degree teaches of the birth of the Christ Spirit within us, while the third indicates that mystically we, like the great Master, must die and rise again. As St. Paul says, " Die daily in Christ. The sn. Of some we have evidence which shows that they were venerated in ancient Egypt and Mexico, are still employed in the primitive Initiatory Rites of the savages, and are associated with the Gods in India.

As a big fan of the Destroyer series, let me agree with you all right off: it's comedy. It's really only notionally an action-adventure series, and half the plots are just straight-up satire. But some of the novels, I guess about one in ten, is different. They're more martial arts horror, in which Remo and Chuin's over-the-top abilities clearly aren't going to help against something terrible which is going to happen. And it turns out, they don't. The scales are much more like one man against the Mafia in these stories, although it's really one man or two versus Fate.

When the Destroyer series gets serious, it's amazing. Thanks for the comments, everyone! And Steven, luckily the ones you mention are volumes I have -- I'm especially interested in checking out Assassins' Play-Off one of these days. I have a feeling I'll much more appreciate the serious installments; for that reason I've been meaning to check out the second volume, which the authors supposedly weren't fond of but which by all accounts veers more closely to the standard men's adventure format. Post a Comment.

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