freemasonry itself, but began to suspect that Russian freemasonry had got on to a false track, and was deviating from its original course. And so towards the end of the year Pierre went abroad to devote himself to the higher mysteries of the order.

It was in the summer of 1809 that Pierre returned to Petersburg. From the correspondence that passed between freemasons in Russia and abroad, it was known that Bezuhov had succeeded in gaining the confidence of many persons in high positions abroad; that he had been initiated into many mysteries, had been raised to a higher grade, and was bringing back with him much that would conduce to the progress of freemasonry in Russia. The Petersburg freemasons all came to see him, tried to ingratiate themselves with him, and all fancied that he had something in reserve that he was preparing for them.

A solemn assembly of the lodge of the second order was arranged, at which Pierre promised to communicate the message he had to give the Petersburg brothers from the highest leaders of the order abroad. The assembly was a full one. After the usual ceremonies Pierre got up and began to speak:

“Dear brothers,” he began, blushing and hesitating, with a written speech in his hand, “it is not enough to guard our secrets in the seclusion of the lodge,—what is needed is to act … to act. … We are falling into slumber, and we need to act.”

Pierre opened his manuscript and began to read.

“For the propagation of the pure truth and the attainment of virtue,” he read, “we must purify men from prejudice, diffuse principles in harmony with the spirit of the times, undertake the education of the younger generation, ally ourselves by indissoluble ties with the most enlightened men, boldly, and at the same time prudently, overcome superstition, infidelity, and folly, and form of those devoted to us men linked together by a common aim and possessed of power and authority.

“For the attainment of this aim we must secure to virtue the preponderance over vice; we must strive that the honest man may obtain his eternal reward even in this world. But in those great projects we are very gravely hindered by existing political institutions. What is to be done in the existing state of affairs? Are we to welcome revolutions, to overthrow everything, to repel violence by violence? … No, we are very far from that. Every reform by violence is to be deprecated, because it does little to correct the evil while men remain as they are, and because wisdom has no need of violence.

“The whole plan of our order should be founded on the training of men of character and virtue, bound together by unity of conviction and aim,—the aim of suppressing vice and folly everywhere by every means, and protecting talent and virtue, raising deserving persons out of the dust and enrolling them in our brotherhood. Only then will our order obtain the power insensibly to tie the hands of the promoters of disorder, and to control them without their being aware of it. In a word, we want to found a form of government holding universal sway, which should be diffused over the whole world without encroaching on civil obligations; under which all other governments could continue in their ordinary course and do all, except what hinders the great aim of our order, that is, the triumph of virtue over vice. This aim is that of Christianity itself. It has taught men to be holy and good, and for their own profit to follow the precept and example of better and wiser men.

“In times when all was plunged in darkness, exhortation alone was of course enough; the novelty of truth gave it peculiar force, but nowadays far more powerful means are necessary for us. Now a man guided by his senses needs to find in virtue a charm palpable to the senses. The passions cannot be uprooted; we must only attempt to direct them to a noble object, and so every one should be able to find satisfaction for his passions within the bounds of virtue, and our order should provide means to that end. As soon as we have a certain number of capable men in every state, each of them training again two others, and all keeping in close cooperation, then everything will be possible for our order, which has already done much in secret for the good of humanity.”

  By PanEris using Melati.

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