In the early stages of Illuminism the duration of the time of trial for the Novice was three years for those who were not eighteen years of age; two years for those between eighteen and twenty-four; and one year for those who were near thirty.
Circumstances have since occasionally caused the time to be abridged; but, whatever may be the dispositions of the Novice, though the time may be dispensed with, he must go through the different trials, or have got the start of them before he is admitted into the other degrees. During the interval he has no other superior but the Insinuator to whom he is indebted for his vocation, and during the whole time of the noviciate, the Insinuator is expressly forbidden to inform his pupil of any other member of the Order. This law was made to skreen the order from the dangers which might result from an indiscretion of the Novice, and to render the Insinuator alone responsible in such cases; for, should the Novice unfortunately be an indiscreet talker, the code expressly says, his imprudence would at most betray only one of the brethren.
The first lessons of the Insinuator (in future his teacher) treat entirely on the importance and the inviolability of the secrecy which is to be observed in Illuminism. He will begin by telling his Novice, “Silence and secresy are the very soul of the Order, and you will carefully observe this silence as well with those whom you may have only reason to suppose are already initiated, as with those whom you may hereafter know really to belong to the Order. You will remember, that it is a constant principle among us, that ingenuousness is only a virtue with respect to our superiors, but that distrust and reserve are the fundamental principles. You will never reveal to any person, at present or hereafter, the slightest circumstance relative to your admission into the order, the degree you have received, nor the time when admitted; in a word, you will never speak of any object relating to the order even before Brethren, without the strongest necessity.”
Under the restrictions of this severe law, one Illuminee will often be a stranger to another; and the Novice will see in this no more than a measure of safety for the order, which might be ruined by the least indiscretion.
More certainly to assure himself of the discretion of the Novice, the Insinuator will give him no further insight, nor entrust him with any writing relative to the order, until he has obtained the following declaration: “I, the undersigned, promise upon my honour, and without any reservation, never to reveal either by words, signs, or actions, or in any possible manner, to any person whatever, either relations, allies, or most intimate friends, anything that shall be entrusted to me by my Introducer relative to my entrance into a secret society; and this whether my reception shall take place or not.
I subject myself the more willingly to this secrecy, as my Introducer assures me that nothing is ever transacted in this society hurtful to religion, morals, or the state. With respect to all writings which I may be entrusted with, any letters which I may receive concerning the same object, I engage myself to return them, after having made for my sole use the necessary extracts.”
These writings or books relative to the order are only lent to the Novice at first in small numbers, and for a short time; and then he must promise to keep them out of the reach of the profane; but as he is promoted in rank, he may preserve them for a longer time, and is entrusted with a larger quantity; though not without having informed the Order of the precautions he shall have taken, lest in case of his death any of these writings should fall into profane hands.
He will afterwards learn, that the Brotherhood take many other precautions for secrecy, not only respecting the statutes but even with regard to the very existence of the Order.
He will see, for example, in its laws, that should any of the brotherhood fall sick, the other brethren are assiduous to visit him, in the first place to fortify him, that is to say, to hinder him from making any declarations at the hour of his death; and secondly, to carry away whatever writings relative to the Order the sick man may have had in his possession, as soon as any symptoms of danger appear.
He will at length learn, that to frustrate all attempts to trace even their very existence, the Order does not exist everywhere under the same name, but that they are to assume the name of some other Order, perhaps even of a literary society, or meet without any name which can attract the attention of the public.
The first writing delivered to the Novice, to accustom him to profound secrecy, is what may be called the Dictionary of Illuminism. He must begin by learning the language of the Sect, that is to say, the art of communicating with the superiors and other adepts without the possibility of being understood by the profane. By means of this language, the Illuminees are to be able to correspond with each other, without running the risk of its being discovered of what Brother they speak; from what place, in what language, at what period, and to whom, or by whom the letter is written.
To avoid the discovery of persons, the Novice will learn, that no Brother bears the same name in the Order which he does in the world; indeed, had he been initiated in the higher degrees of Masonry, he would have seen the same precaution was taken, where the Rosicrucians receive what they call their Characteristic or their adoptive name. The Novice will receive the characteristic immediately on his admission, and it will in some measure imply the parts which he is in future to act in the general conspiracy. It will be his task
hereafter to study and write the history of his new patron he will by this method recognize the qualities and actions of his hero the particular services which the order will expect from him.
This name will be chosen as conformable as possible to the dispositions observed in him. Has he shown any propensity to repeat the impieties of Philosophism against the Gospel, he will be classed with the Celsi and Porphyry, or with the Tindals and Shaftsbury; should his turn be toward the hatred of Kings, or should his talents be judged useful for the policy of the Order, then his characteristic will be of the Brutus, Cato, or Machiavel tribe. He will not be told what he is to do to deserve his name, but they will contrive that it shall occur to him. Neither will he be told why Weishaupt assumed the name of Spartacus (a name so famous in Rome because he waged the war of the slaves against their masters); but should he ever be admitted to the higher mysteries, he will easily recognize the reason.
The place from whence they write, as well as the persons of whom or to whom they write, is in like manner to be kept secret; a new Geography is therefore taught the Novice. He will hence learn, that Bavaria, the country of their founder, is denominated Achaia; Swabia, Pannonia; Franconia, Austria, and Tyrol are denoted by Illyria, Egypt, and Peloponnesus; Munich is called Athens; Bamberg, Antioch; Innsbruck, Samos; Vienna in Austria, Rome; Wurtzburg, Carthage; Frankfort on the Mein becomes Thebes; and Heidelberg, Utica. Ingolstadt, the natal soil of the Order, was not sufficiently denoted by Ephesus; this privileged town was to be decorated with a more mysterious name, and the profound adepts bestowed on it that of Eleusis.
Should the Novice ever be sent on a mission out of his own country, or to distant shores, he will then receive further instructions in the Geography of the Sect.
He must also learn how to date his letters, and be conversant with the Illuminized Hegira or Calendar; for all letters which he will receive in future will be dated according to the Persian era, called Jezdegert and beginning A.D. 630. The year begins with the Illuminees on the first of Pharavardin, which answer to the 21st of March. Their first month has no less than forty-one days; the following months, instead of being called May, June, July, August, September, and October, are Adarpahascht, Chardad, Thirmeh, Merdedmeh, Shaharimeh, Meharmeh: November and December are Abenmeh, Adameh: January and February, Dimeh, and Benmeh: The month of March only has twenty days, and is called Asphandar.
The Novice must next learn how to decipher the letters he may receive; in order to which, he must make himself master of that cipher, which is to serve him until initiated into the higher degrees, when he will be entrusted with the hieroglyphics of the Order.
He will also remember, that he is never to write the name of his Order; so venerable a word cannot be exposed to profane eyes, and a circle with a point in the middle of it will supply this sacred word, and a long square or parallelogram will denote the word Lodge.
After these preliminary studies, the young brother receives a part of the code, under the title of Statutes of the Illuminees. But these first statutes are nothing more than a snare, and the young Novice, with pleasure no doubt, sees them begin with the following words:
“For the tranquillity and security of all the Brethren, whether Novices or Active Members of the Society, and to prevent all ill-grounded suspicions, or disagreeable doubts, the venerable Order declares, that it absolutely has in view no project, enterprise color, or undertaking hurtful to the state, to religion, or to good morals; and that it favours nothing of that nature in any of its members.
Its designs, all its toils, solely tend to inspire men with a zeal for the perfection of their moral characters, to impregnate them with humane and sociable sentiments, to counteract the plans of the wicked, to succour oppressed and suffering virtue, to favour the advancement of men of merit, and to render those sciences universal which are as yet hidden from the generality of men. Such is not the coloured pretext, but the real object of the order.”
Even should the Novice not have entirely laid aside all suspicions respecting the intentions of the Order, still so positive a declaration he must think would guarantee him as to all obligations which might be imposed upon him. His grand aim is to be, to form his heart in such a manner as to gain not only the affection of his friends but even of his enemies.
He is positively ordered to endeavor with all his might to acquire both interior and exterior perfection. It is true, he is soon after as positively ordered to study the arts of dissimulation and disguise, but then the Brother Insinuator is at his elbow to explain to him how that art coincides with true perfection, and thus suppress any suspicions which might arise from a comparison of these two injunctions. Besides, the Novice has many other duties to fulfill, which will deprive him of opportunity for such reflections.
He is next told, that the Brethren must have but one mind, one will, and similar sentiments; that, to effectuate this, the Order has made choice of certain works, to which he must apply with the greatest attention.
Should the Novice be one of those men whom an attachment to the Gospel rendered more circumspect as to the snares laid for his belief, the very choice of the books would suffice to show him, that the first object of the Insinuator was to persuade him, that it is not even necessary to be a Christian to acquire the perfection enjoined by the statutes.
The Morality he is taught is that of Epictetus, Seneca, Antoninus, and Plutarch, all foreign to Christianity. He will also receive the works of modern Sophisters, such as Wieland, Meiners, and Bassadows, who by no means make perfection to consist in Christianity. Under the soothing and mellifluous language of a moderate and spacious Philosophy, he will be led to lubricity and impiety, traced by the sophisticated pen of Helvetius in his celebrated work De L’Esprit.
But the Insinuator must previously have sufficiently studied the dispositions of his pupil to know whether such propositions would any longer startle him.
Besides, nothing is better calculated to dissipate all such fears, than the constant application that is required to those books which are put into the hands of the Novice added to the care taken to deprive him of all such as might inspire him with contrary ideas.
The Teacher is careful to attend to all the rules laid down in the code on this subject and to see that his Novices fulfill the intentions of the Order in this respect. He is frequently to converse with them; he is to mark out their occupations for them; he is even to make them unexpected visits to surprise them, and thus to see in what manner they apply to the code and other writings with which the Order has entrusted them. He is to require an account of what they have read, and extracts from the different works; he will assist them by his explanations; in short, nothing is to be neglected which can secure their progress in the spirit and morals of the Order.
He is to require an account of what they have read, and extracts from the different works; he will assist them by his explanations; in short, nothing is to be neglected which can secure their progress in the spirit and morals of the Order.
An object of far greater importance next attracts the attention of the Novice; it is that which the code calls the greatest of all; it is, the knowledge of men. The teacher will represent this to his pupil as the most interesting of all sciences.
To make himself master of this science, the Novice receives the model of a journal in the form of tablets, and his teacher shows him how they are to be used.
Provided with this journal, he is to make his observations on everybody he finds himself in company with; he is to trace their characters and account to himself everything he has seen or heard. Lest his memory should fail him, he must always be provided with a loose paper or small tablets, on which he may at all hours note his observations, which he is afterward carefully to digest in his journal.
Lest his memory should fail him, he must always be provided with a loose paper or small tablets, on which he may at all hours note his observations, which he is afterward carefully to digest in his journal.
To be certain of the Novice’s attention to this point, the Brother Teacher will examine his tablets and his journal from time to time.
To render him more expert in the art of drawing the characters of the living, he will exercise the Novices on ancient authors, and on the heroes of antiquity. No study or custom is so frequently recommended as this in all the code of Illuminism. It is to be the grand study of the Novice, and the prime occupation of every degree.
It is by his assiduity in this great art that the Novice will learn how to distinguish those whom he may hereafter judge proper to be admitted into or rejected from the Order, and it is with that view that the Preceptor perpetually presses him to propose those whom he may think fit for the Order. 18 By this means a double object is attained; first, the propagation of the Order; and, secondly, a knowledge of its friends or enemies; the dangers it may be threatened with; and the means to be adopted, or the persons to be gained or courted, to avert the impending storm; in fine, of extending its conquests. Whether the Illuminee be a Novice, or in any other degree, he is bound by the laws of the Order to make his report in the prescribed forms at least once a month.
Whether the Illuminee be a Novice, or in any other degree, he is bound by the laws of the Order to make his report in the prescribed forms at least once a month.
While the Novice is perpetually making researches of this nature, he is not aware that he is as carefully watched by his Insinuator, who on his side notes and writes down everything that he observes either as to the failings or the progress, the strong or weak side of his pupil, and these he as regularly transmits to the superiors.
The pupil little suspects that the grand object of his Insinuator is to bind him in such a manner to Illuminism, even long before he is acquainted with its secrets, that it shall be impossible for him to break those bonds which fear and tenor shall have imposed upon him, should he ever wish to shrink from the horrid plots and systems which he might thereafter discover.
This profound policy of binding the Novices to Illuminism consists, first, in giving them a magnificent idea of the grandeur of the projects of the Sect, and, secondly, in a vow of blind obedience to the superiors in everything which they judge conducive to the ends of the Order, which vow the Insinuator is to find means of extorting from his pupil.
It is here particularly that Weishaupt appears to wish to assimilate the government of his Sect to that of the religious orders, and especially to that of the Jesuits, by a total sacrifice of their own will and judgment, which he exacts of the adepts; and to the exercising of the Novices in this point, he expressly adverts in his instructions to the Insinuators.
But this is precisely the place to remark on the amazing difference between the illuminized and the religious obedience. Of that immense number of religious who follow the institutes of St. Basil, St. Benedict, St. Dominic, or St. Francis, there is not one who is not thoroughly convinced that there exists a voice far more imperious than that of his superior, the voice of his conscience, of the Gospel, and of his God.
There is not one of them who should his superior command anything contrary to the duties of a Christian, or of an honest man, would not immediately see that such a command was a release from his vow of obedience. This is frequently repeated and clearly expressed in all religious institutes, and nowhere more explicitly or positively than in those of the Jesuits.
They are ordered to obey their superior, but in cases only where such obedience is not sinful, ubi non cerneretur peccatum.
It is only in cases where such obedience can have no sinful tendency whatever, ubi definiri non possit aliquod peccati genus intercedere.
And, as if this were not sufficiently expressed, we hear their founder, at the very time when he recommends obedience to his religious, expressly saying, but remember that your vow is binding only when the commands of man are not contrary to those of God, ubi Deo contraria non præcipit homo.
All those person therefore who, like Mirabeau, surmised certain coincidences, or as he calls them points of contact, between the religious institutes and the Code of the Illuminees, should have begun by observing, that religious obedience is in its very essence an obligation of doing all the good which may be prescribed without the least taint of harm.
It was easy for them, on the contrary, to demonstrate, that the obedience sought for by Weishaupt’s code was a disposition to obey every order received from the superior in spite of conscience, and unheedful of the most iniquitous guilt provided it tended to the good of the Order.
“Our society (for such are the expressions of the code) exacts from its members the sacrifice of their liberty, not only with respect to all things but absolutely with respect to every means of attaining its end. Yet the presumption on the goodness of the means prescribed is always in favor of the orders given by the superiors. They are clearer-sighted on this object; they are better acquainted with it, and it is on this very account that they are nominated superiors It is their business to lead you through the labyrinth of
They are clearer-sighted on this object; they are better acquainted with it, and it is on this very account that they are nominated superiors It is their business to lead you through the labyrinth of errors and darkness, and in such a case obedience are not only a duty but an object for grateful acknowledgment.”
Such is the obedience of the Illuminees; nor is there a single exception to be found in all their code. We shall see the Novice before he terminates his trials, obliged to explain himself explicitly with respect to orders which he may receive from his superiors, and which he may think contrary to his conscience.
In the first place, his teacher is to intangle him and make himself perfectly master of his most secret thoughts. Under the pretense of knowing himself better, while studying the art of knowing others, the Novice is to draw a faithful picture of himself, to unfold his interests and connections, as well as those of his family.
Here again, the Insinuator furnishes him with the tablets in the requisite form, that he may give this new proof of confidence to the Order; but this will neither be the last nor the most important one for which he will be called upon.
On these tablets, the Novice is to write down his name, age, functions, country, and abode; the species of study in which he occupies himself, the books of which his library is composed, and the secret writings of which he may be in possession; his revenue, his friends, his enemies, and the reason of his enmities; in fine, his acquaintances and his protectors.
To this table he is to subjoin a second, explaining the same objects with respect to his father, his mother, and all their other children. He is to be very explicit with respect to the education they received, to their passions and prejudices, to their strong and weak sides.
We will exemplify this second table by an extract from the Original Writings, by which the reader will perceive that parents are not very much favored.
“The Novice, Francis Antony St aged 22, represents his father as violent, and of soldierlike manners; his mother as a little avaricious; the weak side of both to be flattery and interest; both living after the old fashion, and with an antiquated frankness; in their devotion, headstrong, arrogant; with difficulty abandoning an ill-conceived project, and still more unforgiving to their enemies; that they nevertheless were little hated, because little feared; and hardly in the way of doing anybody any harm.”
While the Novice is thus occupied in revealing all his secrets, and those of his family, the Insinuator on his side is drawing up a new statement of everything he has been able to discover during the whole time of his pupil’s trial, either with respect to him or to his relations.
On comparing the two statements, should the superior approve of the admission of the Novice to the last proofs, he is then to answer the grand questions. It is by these questions that the Novice is to judge of the extent of the sacrifice he is about to make, and of the awful subjection of his whole will, conscience, and person, to Illuminism, if he wishes to gain admittance.
The Questions are twenty-four in number, and couched in the following terms:
I. Are you still desirous of being received into the Order of the Illuminees?
II. Have you seriously reflected on the importance of the step you take, in binding yourself by engagements that are unknown to you?
III. What hopes do you entertain, or, by what reasons are you induced to enter among us?
IV. Would you still persevere in that wish, though you should find that we had no other object or advantage whatever in view but the perfection of mankind?
V. What would be your conduct should the Order be of the new invention?
VI. Should you ever discover in the Order anything wicked, or unjust to be done, what part would you take; Wenn unanstandige, ungerechte sachen vorkamen, wie er sich verhalten wurde?
VII. Can you and will you look upon the welfare of the Order as your own?
VIII. We cannot conceal from you, that Members, entering into our Order without any other motive than to acquire power, greatness, and consideration, are not those whom we prefer. In many cases, one must know how to lose in order to gain. Are you aware of all this?
IX. Can you love all the Members of the Order, even such of your enemies as may be members of it?
X. Should it so happen that you should be obliged to do good to your enemies who are of the Order, to recommend them, for example, or extol them; would you be disposed to do so?
XI. Do you, moreover, grant the power of life and death to our Order or Society? On what grounds would you refuse, or recognize in it such a right; Ob er dieser geselschaft, oder order auch das jus vitæ et necis, aus was grnden, oder nich zugestehe?
XII. Are you disposed on all occasions to give the preference to men of our Order, over all other men?
XIII. How would you wish to revenge yourself of any injustice, either great or small, which you may have received from strangers or from any one of our Brethren?
XIV. What would be your conduct should you ever repent of having joined our Order?
XV. Are you willing to share with us happiness and misfortune?
XVI. Do you renounce the idea of ever making your birth, employment, station, or power, serve to the prejudice or contempt of any one of the Brethren?
XVII. Are you, or have you any idea of becoming a Member of any other society?
XVIII. Is it from levity, or in hopes of soon being acquainted with our constitution, that you so easily make these promises?
XIX. Are you fully determined to observe our laws?
XX. Do you subject yourself to a blind obedience without any restriction whatever? And do you know the strength of such an engagement? Ober unbedingten gehorsam angelobe, und wisse was das sey?
XXI. Is there no consideration that can deter you from entering into our Order?
XXII. Will you, in case it is required, assist in the propagation of the Order, support it by your counsels, by your money, and by all other means?
XXIII. Had you any expectation that you would have to answer any of these questions; and if so, which question was it?
XXIV. What security can you give us that you will keep these promises; and to what punishment will you subject yourself in case you should break any of them? 26
In order to judge of the nature of the answers written and signed by the Novice, and confirmed by his oath, it will be sufficient to cast our eyes on the account of the reception of two Brethren, as it is contained in the archives of the Sect. To the VIth question, should you ever discover in the Order anything wicked, or unjust to be done, what part would you take? The first of these two Novices, aged 22, and named Francis Anthony St answers, swears, and signs, “I would certainly execute those things, if so commanded by the Order, because it may be
The first of these two Novices, aged 22, and named Francis Anthony St answers, swears, and signs, “I would certainly execute those things, if so commanded by the Order, because it may be very possible that I am not capable of judging of what is just or unjust. Besides, should they be unjust under one aspect, they would cease to be so as soon as they became a means of attaining happiness, the general end.”
The Novice Francis Xaverius B. . . . answers, swears, and signs, in like manner, “I would not refuse to execute those things (wicked and unjust) provided they contributed to the general good.”
To the XIth question, on life and death, the first Novice answers with the same formalities, “Yes, I acknowledge this right in the Order of Illuminées; and why should I refuse it to the Order, should it ever find itself necessitated to exercise it, as perhaps without such a right it might have to fear its awful ruin.
The state would lose little by it, since the dead man would be replaced by so many others. Besides, I refer to my answer to question VI.;” that is to say, where he promised to execute whatever was just or unjust, provided it was with the approbation or by order of the Superiors.
The second answers, swears, and signs to the same question, “The same reason which makes me recognize the right of life and death in the governors of nations, leads me to recognize most willingly the same power in my Order, which really contributes to the happiness of mankind as much as governors of nations ought to do.”
On the XXth question, on blind obedience without restriction, one answers, “Yes, without a doubt, the promise is of the utmost importance; nevertheless I look upon it as the only possible means by which the Order can gain its ends.” The second is less precise: “When I consider our Order as of modern invention and as little extended, I have a sort of repugnance in binding myself by so formidable a promise; because in that case,
I am justified in doubting whether a want of knowledge or even some domineering passion might not sometimes occasion things to be commanded totally opposite to the proposed object of the general welfare.
But when I suppose the order to be more universally spread, I then believe, that in a society comprehending men of such different stations, from the higher to the lower, those men are best enabled to know the course of the world, and how to distinguish the means of accomplishing the laudable projects of the Order.”
This doubt of the Novice as to the antiquity of the Order must have displeased Weishaupt, who spared no pains to make it appear that Illuminism was of ancient date, the better to excite the curiosity and the veneration of the pupils; being content to enjoy the glory of his invention with his profound adepts, to whom only he revealed the secret of the invention of the highest degrees and the last mysteries.
But our Novice went on to say, that on the whole he rather believed the Order to be of ancient than of modern invention; and, like his fellow Novice, he “promises to be faithful to all the laws of his Order, to support it with his counsels, his fortune, and all other means; and he finishes by subjecting himself to forfeit his honour, and even his life, should he ever break his promise.
When the Insinuator has found means of binding the Novice to the Order by such oaths, and especially when the young candidate shall have recognized without hesitation that strange and awful right which subjects the life of every citizen to the satellites of Illuminism, should any be unfortunate enough to displease its Superiors; when the Novice is blinded to such a degree as not to perceive that this pretended right, far from implying a society of sages, only denotes a band of ruffians and a federation of assassins like the emissaries of the Old Man of the Mountain; when, in short, he shall have submitted himself to this terrible power, the oath of the modern Seyde is sent to the archives of the Order. His dispositions then prove to be such as the superiors required to confer on him the second degree of the preparatory class, and the Insinuator concludes his mission by the introduction of his pupil.
At the appointed time in the dead of the night, the Novice is led to a gloomy apartment, where two men are waiting for him, and, excepting his Insinuator, these are the first two of the Sect with whom the Novice is made acquainted.
The Superior or his Delegate holds a lamp in his hand half covered with a shade; his attitude is severe and imperious, and a naked sword lies near him on the table. The other man, who serves as Secretary, is prepared to draw up the act of initiation.
No mortal is introduced but the Novice and his Insinuator, nor can anyone else be present. A question is first asked him, whether he still perseveres in the intention of entering the Order.
On his answering in the affirmative, he is sent by himself into a room perfectly dark, there to meditate again on his resolution. Recalled from thence, he is questioned again and again on his firm determination blindly to obey all the laws of the Order. The Introducer answers for the dispositions of his pupil, and in return requests the protection of the Order for him.
“Your request is just,” replies the Superior to the Novice.
“In the name of the most Serene Order from which I hold my powers, and in the name of all its Members, I promise you protection, justice, and help. Moreover, I protest to you once more, that you will find nothing among us hurtful to Religion, to Morals, or to the State;”—here the Initiator takes in his hand the naked sword which lay upon the table, and, pointing it at the heart of the Novice, continues, “but should you ever be a traitor or a perjurer, assure yourself that every Brother will be called upon to arm against you.
Do not flatter yourself with the possibility of escaping, or of finding a place of security.—Wherever thou mayst be, the rage of the Brethren, shame and remorse shall follow thee, and prey upon thy very entrails.”—He lays down the sword.—”But if you persist in the design of being admitted into our Order, take this oath:”
The oath is conceived in the following teens:
“In presence of all-powerful God, and of you Plenipotentiaries of the highest and most excellent Order into which I ask admittance, I acknowledge my natural weakness and all the insufficiency of my strength. I confess that, notwithstanding all the privileges of rank, honours, titles, or riches which I may possess in civil society, I am but a man like other men; that I may lose them all by other mortals, as they have been acquired through them; that I am in absolute want of their approbation and of their esteem; and that I must do my utmost to deserve them both.
I never will employ either the power or consequence that I may possess to the prejudice of the general welfare. I will, on the contrary, resist with all my might the enemies of human nature, and of civil society.” Let the reader observe these last words; let him remember them when reading of the mysteries of Illuminism; he will then be able to conceive how, by means of this oath, to maintain a civil society, Weishaupt leads the adepts to the oath of eradicating even the last vestige of society.
“I promise,” continues the adept, “ardently to seize every opportunity of serving humanity, of improving my mind and my will, of employing all my useful accomplishments for the general good, in as much as the welfare and the statutes of the society shall require it of me.
“I vow (ich gelobe) an eternal silence, an inviolable obedience, and fidelity to all my superiors and to the statutes of the Order. With respect to what may be the object of the Order I fully and absolutely renounce my own penetration and my own judgment.
“I promise to look after the interests of the Order as my own; and as long as I shall be a Member of it, I promise to serve it with my life, my honor, and my estates. Should I ever, through imprudence, passion, or wickedness, act contrary to the laws or to the welfare of the Serene Order, I then subject myself to whatever punishment it may please to inflict upon me.
“I also promise to help the Order, to the best of my power, and according to my conscience, with my counsels and my actions, and without the least attention to my personal interest; also, to look upon all friends and enemies of the Order as my own, and to behave to them as the Order shall direct.
I am equally disposed to labor with all my might and all my means at the propagation and advancement of the Order.
“In these promises, I renounce every secret reservation, and engage to fulfill them all, according to the true purport of the words, and according to the signification attached to them by the Order when it prescribed the Oath—
“So help me God.” N. N.
The oath being signed by the Novice, and enregistered in the minutes of the Order, the Initiator declares his admission, telling him at the same time that he is not to expect to know all the members, but those only who, being of the same degree, are under the same Superior.
From that moment advanced to the degree of Minerval, he is instructed in the signs of his new degree, which are much of the same nature as those of Masonry.
He is then enjoined to give an exact list of all his books, particularly of those which might be precious or useful to the Order. He also receives the following questions which he is to answer in writing.
I. What should you wish to be the object of our Order?
II. What means, either primary or secondary, do you think most conducive to the attainment of that object?
III. What other things would you wish to find among us?
IV. What men do you either hope to meet or not to meet, among us?
The answers given to these questions will enable the Superiors to judge how far the young adept has imbibed the principles of the Order. But other help is preparing for him, that he may be able to demonstrate by his answers both the progress he has made and that which he may be expected to make.
Thus admitted to the degree of Minerval, he will find himself in future a Member of the Academy of the Sect. Let us then observe well both the Scholars and their Masters; for they still belong to the class of preparation.