In this, the sixth installment of my series on Pike's views on Freemasonry, we are going to look at Pike's definition of Freemasonry. The following is taken from Pike's The Porch and the Middle Chamber: The Book of the Lodge.
Masonry, more appropriately called Freemasonry--in French Franc Maçonnerie--has received many definitions:When one compares Pike's lofty definition of Freemasonry to many of the modern conceptions of the Craft, we might be inclined to echo the words of the prophet Jeremiah: "Oh, how the gold has become dim!"
The definition given of the Order by the Grand Orient of France is: "The Order of Frank Masons is an association of wise and virtuous men, whose object is to live in perfect equality, to be intimately connected by the ties of esteem, confidence, and friendship, under the name of Brethren; and to stimulate each other to the practice of the Virtues."
An English definition is, that "Freemasonry is a system of Morality, veiled in Allegory and illustrated by Symbols."
Each definition is exceedingly imperfect. The Order of Freemasons is, or ought to be, an association of intelligent, virtuous, disinterested, generous, and devoted men, regarding each other as Free, Equals, and Brothers, and bound by the obligations of Fraternity to render each other mutual assistance. And Freemasonry is a system and school, not only of morals, but of political and religious philosophy, suggested by its Allegories and concealed under its Symbols. And, including in itself several degrees of Knighthood, it is also a Chivalric Order, requiring the practice and performance of the highest duties of the Man, the Citizen, the Patriot, and the Soldier.
The true definition of the Freemasonry of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite is this: it is an advance toward the Light; a constant endeavor, in all its Degrees to elevate the Divine that is in Man, the Spiritual portion of his compound nature, his Reason and his Moral Sense, above, and make it dominant over, and master of, the human, earthly, and material portion of his nature, his passions, and his sensual appetites.