The Cloud Upon the Sanctuary, by Karl Eckartshausen, , at sacred-texts.com
The absolute truth lying in the centre of Mystery is like the sun, it blinds ordinary sight and man sees only the shadow. The eagle alone can gaze at the dazzling light, likewise only the prepared soul can bear its lustre. Nevertheless the great Something which is the inmost of the Holy Mysteries has never been hidden from the piercing gaze of him who can bear the light.
God and nature have no mysteries for their children. They are caused by the weakness of our nature, unable to support light, because it is not yet organised to bear the chaste light of unveiled truth.
This weakness is the Cloud that covers the Sanctuary; this is the curtain which veils the Holy of Holies.
But in order that man may recover the veiled light, strength and dignity, Divinity bends to the weakness of its creatures, and writes the truth that is interior and eternal mystery on the outside of things, so that man can transport himself through this to their spirit.
These letters are the ceremonies or the rituals of religion, which lead man to the interior life of union with God.
Mystic hieroglyphs are these letters also; they are sketches and designs holding interior and holy truth.
Religion and the Mysteries go hand in hand to lead our brethren to truth, both have for object the reversing and renewing of our natures, both have for the end the re-building of a temple inhabited by Wisdom and Love, or God with man.
But religion and the Mysteries would be useless phenomena if Divinity had not also accorded means to attain these great ends.
But these means are only in the innermost of the sanctuary. The Mysteries are required to build a temple to Religion, and religion is required to unite Man with God.
Such is the greatness of religion, and such the exalted dignity of the Mysteries from all time.
It would be unjust to you, beloved brothers, that we should think that you have never regarded the Holy Mysteries in this real aspect, the one which shows them as the only means able to preserve in purity and integrity the doctrine of the important truths concerning God, nature, and man. This doctrine was couched in holy symbolic language, and the truths which it contained having been gradually translated among the outer circle into the ordinary languages of man, became in consequence more obscure and unintelligible.
The Mysteries, as you know, beloved brothers, promise things which are and which will remain
always the heritage of but a small number of men; these are the mysteries which can neither be bought nor sold publicly, and can only be acquired by a heart which has attained to wisdom and love.
He in whom this holy flame has been awakened lives in true happiness, content with everything and in everything free. He sees the cause of human corruption and knows that it is inevitable. He hates no criminal, he pities him, and seeks to raise him who has fallen, and to restore the wanderer, because he feels notwithstanding all the corruption, in the whole there is no taint.
He sees with a clear eye the underlying truth in the foundation of all religion, he knows the sources of superstition and of incredulity, as being caused by modifications of truth which have not attained perfect equilibrium.
We are assured, my esteemed brothers, that you consider the true Mystic from this aspect, and that you will not attribute to his royal art, that which the misdirected energy of some isolated individuals have made of this art.
It is, therefore, with these views, which accord exactly with ours, that you will compare religion, and the mysteries of the holy schools of Wisdom, to loving sisters who have watched over the good of mankind since the necessity of their birth.
Religion divides itself into exterior and interior religion, exterior signifying ceremony; and interior, worship in spirit and in truth; the outer schools
possessing the letter and the symbol, the inner ones, the spirit and meaning—but the outer schools were united to the inner ones by ceremonies, as also the outer schools of the mysteries were linked with the inner one by means of symbol.
Thus religion can never be merely ceremony, but hidden and holy mysteries penetrate through symbol into the outer worship to prepare men properly for the worship of God in spirit and in truth.
Very soon the night of symbol will disappear, the light will bring forth the day and the mysteries no longer veiled will show themselves in the splendour of full truth.
The vestibule of nature, the temple of reason and the sanctuary of Revelation, will form but one Temple. Thus the great edifice will be completed, the edifice which consists in the re-union of man, nature, and God.
A perfect knowledge of man, of nature, and of God will be the lights which will enable the leaders of humanity to bring back from every side their wandering brothers, those who are led by the prejudices of reason, by the turbulence of passions, to the ways of peace and knowledge.
We arc approaching the period of light, and the reign of wisdom and love, that of God who is the source of light; Brothers of light, there is but one religion whose simple truth spreads in all religions like branches, returning through multiplicity into the unity of the tree.
Sons of truth, there is but one order, but one Brotherhood, but one association of men thinking alike in the one object of acquiring the light. From this centre misunderstanding has caused innumerable Orders, but all will return from the multiplicity of opinions, to the only truth and to the true Order, the association of those who are able to receive the light, the Community of the Elect.
With this measure all religions and all orders of man must be measured. Multiplicity is in the ceremony of the exterior; truth only in the interior. The trend of these brotherhoods is in the variety of explanation of the symbols caused by the lapse of time, needs of the day, and other circumstances. The true Community of Light can be only one.
The exterior symbol is only the sheath which holds the inner; it may change and multiply, but it can never weaken the truth of the interior; moreover, it was necessary; we ought to seek it and try to decipher it to discover the meaning of the spiritual interior.
All errors, divisions, all mis-understandings in Religion and in secret societies only concern the letter. What rests behind it remains always pure and holy.
Soon the time for those who seek the light will be accomplished, for the day comes when the old will be united to the new, the outer to the inner, the high with the low, the heart with the brain, man with God, and this epoch is destined for the present
age. Do not ask, beloved brothers, . . . why the present age? . . .
Everything has its time for beings subject to time and space. It is in such wise according to the unvarying law of the Wisdom of God, who has co-ordinated all in harmony and perfection.
The elect should first labour to acquire both wisdom and love, in order to earn the gift of power, which unchangeable Divinity gives only to those who know and those who love.
Morning follows night, and the sun rises, and all moves on to full mid-day, where all shadows disappear in his vertical splendour. Thus, the letter of truth must exist; then comes the practical explanation, then the truth itself; only truth can comprehend truth; then alone can the spirit of truth appear which sets the seals closing the light. He who now can receive the truth will understand. It is to you, much loved brothers, you who labour to reach truth, you who have so faithfully preserved the glyph of the holy mysteries in your temple, it is to you that the first ray of truth will be directed; this ray will pierce through the cloud of mystery, and will announce the full day and the treasure which it brings.
Do not ask who those are who write to you; look at the spirit not the letter, the thing, not at persons.
Neither pride, nor self seeking, neither does any unworthy motive, exist in our retreats; we know the
object and the destination of man, and the light which lights us works in all our actions.
We are especially called to write to you, dear brothers of light; and that which gives power to our commission is the truth which we possess, and which we pass on to you on the least sign, and according to the measure of the capacity of each.
Light is apt for communication, where there is reception and capacity, but it constrains no one, and waits its reception tranquilly.
Our desire, our aim, our office is to revivify the dead letter, and to spiritualise the symbols, turn the passive into the active, death into life; but this we cannot do by ourselves, but through the spirit of light of Him who is Wisdom and the Light of the world.
Until the present time the Inner Sanctuary has been separated from the Temple, and the Temple beset with those who belong only to the precincts; but the time is coming when the Innermost will be re-united with the Temple, in order that those who are in the Temple can influence those who are in the outer courts, so that the outer pass in.
In our sanctuary all the hidden mysteries are preserved intact, they have never been profaned.
This sanctuary is invisible, as is a force which is only known through its action.
By this short description, my dear brothers, you can tell who we are, and it will be superfluous to
assure you that we do not belong to those restless natures who seek to build in this common life an ideal after their own fantastic imaginations. Neither do we belong to those who wish to play a great part in the world, and who promise miracles that they themselves do not understand. We do not represent either that class of minds, who, resenting the condition of certain things, have no object but the desire of dominating others, and who love adventure and exaggeration.
We can also assure you that we belong to no other sect or association than the one true and great one of those who are able to receive the light. We are not also of those who think it their right to mould all after their own model, the arrogance to seek to re-model all other societies; we assure you faithfully that we know exactly the innermost of religion and of the Holy Mysteries; and that we possess with absolute certainty, all that has been surmised to be in the Adytum, and that this said possession gives us the strength to justify our commission, and to impart to the dead letter and hieroglyphic everywhere both spirit and life. The treasures in our sanctuary are many; we understand the spirit and meaning of all symbols and all ceremony which have existed since the day of Creation to the present time, as well as the most interior truths of all the Holy Books, with the laws and customs of primitive people.
We possess a light by which we are anointed, and
by means of which we read the hidden and secret things of nature.
We possess a fire which feeds us, and which gives us the strength to act upon everything in nature. We possess a key to open the gate of mystery, and a key to shut nature's laboratory. We know of the existence of a bond which will unite us to the Upper Worlds, and reveal to us their sights and their sounds. All the marvels of nature arc subordinate to our will by its being united with Divinity.
We have mastered the science which draws directly from nature, whence there is no error, but truth and light only.
In our School we are instructed in all things because our Master is the Light itself and its essence. The plenitude of our scholarship is the knowledge of this tie between the divine and spiritual worlds and of the spiritual world with the elementary, and of the elementary world with the material world.
By these knowledges we are in condition to co-ordinate the spirits of nature and the heart of man.
Our science is the inheritance promised to the Elect; otherwise, those who are duly prepared for receiving the light, and the practice of our science is in the completion of the Divine union with the child of man.
We could often tell you, beloved brothers, of
marvels relating to the hidden things in the treasury of the Sanctuary, which would amaze and astonish you; we could speak to you about ideas concerning which the profoundest philosophy is as removed as the earth from the sun, but to which we arc near being one with the light of the innermost.
But our object is not to excite your curiosity, but to raise your desires to seek the light at its source, where your search for wisdom will be rewarded and your longing for love satisfied, for wisdom and love dwell in our retreats. The stimulus of their reality and of their truth is our magical power.
We assure you that our treasures, though of infinite value, are concealed in so simple a manner that they entirely baffle the researches of opinionated science, and also though these treasures would bring to carnal minds both madness and sorrow, nevertheless, they are, and they ever remain to us the treasures of the highest wisdom.
My best blessing upon you, O my brothers, if you understand these great truths. The recovery of the triple word and of its power will be your reward.
Your happiness will be in having the strength to help to re-unite man with man, and with nature and with God, which is the real work of every workman who has not rejected the Corner Stone.
Now we have fulfilled our trust and we have announced the approach of full day, and the joining
of the inner Sanctuary with the Temple; we leave the rest to your own free will.
We know well, to our bitter grief, that even as the Saviour was not understood in his personality, but was ridiculed and condemned in his humility, likewise also His spirit which will appear in glory will also be rejected and despised by many. Nevertheless the coming of His Spirit should be announced in the Temples in order that these words should be fulfilled.
"I have knocked at your doors and you have not opened them to me; I have called and you have not listened to my voice; I have invited you to the wedding, but you were busy with other things."
May Peace and the light of the Spirit be with you!