This webpage -- and all others that start with http://bessel.org/russo/ -- were written entirely by Jason C. Russo 32°, as his personal summary of the book, Morals and Dogma, written by Albert Pike in the 1800s. The credit for the content of these summaries belongs exclusively to Bro. Russo, and compliments, comments, and questions can be emailed to him at email@example.com
The emphasis for this degree is to communicate the necessity for steadfastness and faithfulness in the execution of our duties. As an Intimate Secretary we are to be stoic in fulfilling our obligations, satisfying our duties without rancor, animosity, or jealousy. We are further obligated to maintain a sense of disinterestedness in our condemnation of what is wrong, even when a close friend commits wrongdoing. The requirements of this degree also imparts the necessity for us to be peacemakers among all men, impartially enforcing justice as mediators and bringing about peaceful resolutions among quarreling parties.
We are bound to follow the direction given us by our strong sense of duty. Regardless of the calamity that may arise we are required to stay the course, steadfast in our moral sense of right and wrong. It matters not whether our duty is profitable—money should never be the motivating factor when deciding on a moral course of action. Neither should it matter if another witnesses our noble deeds; the Supreme God in heaven knows our activities and the secret obligations we fulfill. His knowledge and memory of our good conduct is recalled and remembered for his heavenly rewards. Coupled with this strong sense of duty we must be ever mindful and guarded against corruptible evils.
Haughtiness is a cancer we must ever be vigilant to guard against; we must never perceive ourselves too refined, or too dignified to render aid to a person in need. Our personal refinement and culture does not elevate our soul above that of the honest pauper. Care and aid should be rendered to even the humblest citizen who does not possess the ability to repay our actions. The eyes of the Divine will be upon us; his eyes will judge our dealings and be our benefactor in the stead of the family with little means. With this in mind we should be ever willing to perform our duties of benevolence even when it is not profitable at the moment. We are all insignificant in comparison to the omnipotence and ubiquitous YHVH. We humble ourselves before him that he should not disregard us because of our insignificant state. Neither should we treat a fellow human being as beneath our dignity to render aid and relief. It is pleasing to God and it fills him with gladness when we unselfishly give of ourselves to relieve another without hope of reward or benefit. Our actions will be remembered, and there is also the possibility we may be entertaining angels!
Recall the illustration of the Beehive—each bee is part of the larger communal hive. Their collective industriousness teaches us the benefit of interdependence. Our intelligent thoughts elevate our obligations. The bee is a mindless creature driven by a communal obligation that has been ingrained into its insect brain; we as human beings must establish into our own psyche the need to aid and relieve one another as a form of collective interdependence for the benefit of reciprocal love and friendship. The bee has certain obligations, it has its function within the hive to help benefit and sustain it, loyalty to the queen and common defense. We too have our loyalties outlined for us; we must be loyal to our God; we must be industrious Citizens for the purpose of elevating our community. We must be loyal to our country; we aught to be loyal to our wives and families as loving husbands, fathers and friends. It is only after all other obligations have been met are we to pursue our own pleasures.
Out of concern for others we should not hesitate to render praise and recognition when due. It is always a joy to share our accomplishments with others, let us be equally entertaining to our fellow men and allow them the opportunity to share with us the pride of their accomplishments. Petty jealousy should not corrupt our thoughts, nor should we unkindly demean or disparage the accomplishment of another for personal gratification. If we slight another because of our own jealousy we will only demean ourselves in the sight of others. Additionally, we should not allow a previous transgression to bar any praise for present or future accomplishments. An individual should receive the accolades they are due for the exceptional performance of duty, regardless of a past transgression. This act of kindness will serve the individual well and enable them to continue to strive for excellence and overcome their past.
No one is free from their own sins, and we above all should remember and account for our past transgressions. Our actions and folly should serve as examples for the benefit of others. If we utilize ourselves as a personal example we may succeed in consoling another who has made a similar mistake. For others, our example should serve as a valuable lesson not to be repeated. We ourselves have flaws and imperfections, it is for this reason we should not be overly harsh when judging others.
Everyone is eager to receive praise and we think highly of those who recognize our accomplishments. It would be wrong of us to think any less of them for praising someone else—even our competitor when praise is deserved. It is better of us if we swallow our pride and jealousies and render acknowledgement for achievement—even if we ourselves were bested. There are few things worse than a sore loser; it is a sign of immaturity to be petty and trivial by attempting to disparage another’s accomplishment because of our own inferiority. We should be above such acts of childishness.
The cancer of jealousy has a further and unhealthy side effect of a perverse interest into the affairs and failings of another. We should never derive pleasure from the outcome of another’s misfortune; such cruelty is corrosive to the soul. Unhealthy curiosity after the mistakes of others is unbecoming and base behavior not conducive to our fraternity. A Mason will not inquire after transgressions, but rather will seek to find praise for accomplishment. The private downfalls of others should remain hidden in the darkness, just as our own shortcomings should not unjustly continue to resurface and haunt us.
Men who are known to be petty in their accounts and trivial in their judgments have sufficient cause to be excluded from our Masonic fraternity. Selfish and self-centered individuals will only serve to stir dissentions and corrupt the peace and harmony of the Lodge. Self-possessed individuals have too much narcissistic inclinations to give themselves over and engender friendship, relief and truth. Such individuals judge others too harshly in order to compensate for their own insecurities; they would deal unjustly with their brothers to elevate their own self-opinion.
The Intimate Secretary does not keep an account to balance their good deeds in comparison to the good they have received—the Intimate Secretary is not concerned about the numeric equivalent of good deeds and favors. He is freely generous performing good deeds and acts of benevolence out of a sense of duty and honor. The Intimate Secretary is not concerned about the earthly rewards and benefits for his deeds, rather he looks heavenward, and performs all acts of kindness for the benefit and glory of God where all rich blessings originate. If a favor is unreciprocated on earth he does not slight the individual, rather he is confident in the knowledge his rewards are appreciating in the heavenly realm.
The Intimate Secretary is generous and giving, his heart is warm and ever eager to perform good deeds and kind services toward humanity. He is the champion of justice for all men great and small; he is the defender of the poor and feeble who have no means to reward their benefactor. The Intimate Secretary values friendship and honor above financial gain; the gratitude of one individual is of more worth than any glory or gain. It is a fundamental requirement that all Masons not be interested in personal gain above justice; they should be generous to all creatures found to be less fortunate. The Intimate Secretary is generous when it comes to assisting others in whatever capacity he is best suited for. He is liberal and generous in offering his kind offices—even when he himself has been wronged and deprived.
In order to effectively appreciate this degree we must abandon self-centered desires. Whenever a man is driven by personal gain he cannot and will not deal fairly with others. The qualities deemed un-Masonic and are the antithesis of this degree are covetousness, unkindness, harsh, severe in judgment, unfaithful, corrupt, unprincipled and unruly. Individuals who display these traits should never be allowed to enter our fraternity.
The qualities we should seek to cultivate and develop are kindness in all things, loving husbands to our wives and affectionate fathers toward our children. We should be religiously devoted and faithful to our God. Our demeanor should engender respect from others and not out of demand or obligation; we should be tender toward others and fair in our dealings, forgiving those who have wronged us. As Intimate Secretaries we should offer congratulations to others for their good fortune and should always be unashamed to be viewed as a brother. These qualities should prevail during times of hardship and want, during personal gain and loss, and even when we have been bested in our endeavors.
Every Mason should be quick to offer and return acts of kindness towards our brothers, kindly given and received freely in token of our obligation. We should eagerly assist our brothers as though we were tending to the considerations of our own needs. It would be an unnatural abomination for a fellow brother Mason to withhold or refuse to perform a good deed by lending assistance to a brother in need without sufficient cause.
Our consciences should be highly developed and urge our mind and bodies forward toward the pursuit of righteous behavior, ending all forms of discord within and without the Lodge. Only the lowest denizens of society would seek to pursue chaos and delight on causing one to think less of another. Those who possess such awful and rotten designs are ripe for the depths of hell where they will serve their master who lords over like-minded diseased souls. Masons are the great unifiers of humanity and seek to bind men by finding their common good. We are to ease difficulties by allaying arguments, unifying those who have been distanced and prevent friends from becoming foes.
To best accomplish our aims all Masons must possess the ability to control our passions, square our dealings and circumscribe our desires. Only by controlling our own base human instincts may we find the peaceful solutions that are able to maintain civility and endear enemies towards friendly relations. These actions and deeds are not simply accomplished; these qualities require a mastery of our own mind and heart. Only with such control may we be patient and calm in all our dealings, thick skinned and difficult to provoke to anger. Only by being immune to offense ourselves may we achieve peaceful resolutions with others.
We must be wary of anger; it is the most base and vile of emotions. Anger is a beast that cannot be soothed, when present sound reason is ignored. When anger is at hand any attempt at reason is a provocation for rage. Persistent anger bleeds into the home making a man feared by his children and causes him to be an unlovable husband to his wife. Intensified by alcohol, anger easily flies into drunken bouts and tragic fits that pushes away both friends and family. Anger ultimately causes loneliness, having turned friends to foes, and loved ones to embittered and resentful relations. When anger is present in enforcing justice it causes excessively harsh and cruel punishments; anger is blatant when present, for all the loneliness it causes it leaves the man unpardonable.
It is the
foremost and greatest responsibility of every Mason to be capable of controlling
our tempers. Without the ability to
master our emotions we cannot begin the task of mediating peace amongst others.
Peace if the foremost and fundamental principle which governs
Masonry—it is the cement which binds us together thereby preventing
contentions, discord, and strife. Masonry is peaceable, it is the emulation of brotherly love
and it is the harmony that allows men to exist, form societies and prosper.
In a preceding degree we were given the three great lights in Masonry to
be our rule and guide, to square our actions and to circumscribe our desires; in
this degree we have expounded upon these lessons and strive to continue to
master these principles. Without
the mastery of these skills we cannot have been first made a Mason in our
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