THE FIRST DEGREE
The first degree in Masonry inculcates a knowledge of himself, and rightly understood, teaches the Initiate how he may "in the beginning" re-create himself. Man becomes king of the brutes by subduing or taming them. Brutes are fit types of our passions and are the instinctive forces of nature. Physical laws are millstones; if you are not the miller, you must be the grain. To attain the sanctum sanctorum, you must possess four indispensable capacities: an intelligence illuminated by study; an intrepidity which nothing can check; a will which nothing can break; and a discretion which nothing can corrupt and nothing intoxicate. "To know, to dare, to will, and to keep silence" were the four indispensable conditions for gaining admission into the ancient mysteries and are true today for real initiates. Have you really studied yourself ? Are you insensible to temptation ? Have you overcome the vortices of vague thoughts? Are you without indecision? Do you consent to pleasure when you will or when you should? To be able and to forbear is to be twice able. To learn self-conquest is to learn life. The intelligence and will of man are instruments of incalculable power and capacity. Properly directed imagination is a helpmeet, coupled with intelligence and will, that will make man almost omnipotent. Who would be a slave to his senses when he may be a king and reign with power and intelligence?
- Source: The Builder - July 1918