THE LOST KEYS OF FREEMASONRY or The Secret of Hiram Abiff — by Manly P. Hall
Manly Palmer Hall (March 18, 1901 – August 29, 1990) was a Canadian-born author and mystic. A prolific author, he is perhaps most famous for his work The Secret Teachings of All Ages: An Encyclopedic Outline of Masonic, Hermetic, Qabbalistic, and Rosicrucian Symbolical Philosophy, published when he was 25.
In 1973 (47 years after writing The Secret Teachings of All Ages), Hall was recognized as a 33Âº Mason by the Supreme Council of the Scottish Rite, despite his never having been initiated into the physical craft of Masonry.
What follows are passages from Chapter 1 of The Lost Keys of Freemasonry, or the Secret of Hiram Abiff, published in 1923, when Hall was only 22 years old. This publication can be printed off the Internet.
“The average Mason, as well as the modern student of Masonic ideals, little realizes the cosmic obligation he takes upon himself when he begins his search for the sacred truths of Nature as they are concealed in the ancient and modern rituals. He must not lightly regard his vows, and if he would not bring upon himself years and ages of suffering, he must cease to consider Free-masonry solely as a social order only a few centuries old. He must realize that the ancient mystic teachings as perpetuated in the modern rites are sacred, and that powers unseen and unrecognized mold the destiny of those who consciously and of their own free will take upon themselves the obligations of the Fraternity.
Freemasonry is not a material thing; it is a science of the soul; it is not a creed or doctrine but a universal expression of the Divine Wisdon.*
*This term is used as synonymous with a very secret and sacred philosophy that has existed for all time, and has been the inspiration of the great saints and sages of all ages, i.e., the perfect wisdom of God, revealing itself through a secret hierarchy of illumined minds.
“The coming together of medieval guilds or even the building of Solomon’s Temple as it is understood today has little, if anything, to do with the true origin of Freemasonry, for Masonry does not deal with personalities. In its highest sense, it is neither historical nor archaeological, but is a divine symbolic language perpetuating under certain concrete symbols the sacred mysteries of the ancients. Only those who see in it a cosmic study, a life work, a divine inspiration to better thinking, better feeling, and better living, with the spiritual attainment of enlightenment as the end, and with the daily life of the true Mason as the means, have gained even the slightest insight into the true mysteries of the ancient rites.
The age of the Masonic school is not to be calculated by hundreds or even thousands of years, for it never had any origin in the worlds of form. The world as we see it is merely an experimental laboratory in which man is laboring to build and express greater and more perfect vehicles. Into this laboratory pour myriads of rays descending from the cosmic hierarchies* (*the groups of celestial intelligences governing the creative processes in the cosmos). These mighty globes and orbs which focus their energies upon mankind and mold its destiny do so in an orderly manner, each in its own way and place, and it is the working of these mystic hierarchies in the universe which forms the pattern around which the Masonic school has been built, for the true lodge of the Mason is the universe.
Freed of limitations of creed and sect, he (the Mason) stands a master of all faiths, and those who take up the study of Freemasonry without realizing the depth, the beauty, and the spiritual power of its philosophy can never gain anything of permanence from their studies. The age of the Mystery Schools can be traced by the student back to the dawn of time, ages and aeons ago, when the temple of the Solar Man was in the making. That was the first Temple of the King, and therein were given and laid down the true mysteries of the ancient lodge, and it was the gods of creation and the spirits of the dawn who first tiled the Master’s lodge. …”
For further light, I invite you to pick up the reading on page 13 of the Internet version of The Lost Keys of Freemasonry, by Manly P. Hall.