Chapter 10

HE KEPT UP his diary and this was what he was writing in it at that time:

November 24.—I got up at eight o’clock, read the Scriptures, then went to my duties” (Pierre by the advice of Osip Alexyevitch was serving on one of the government committees), “came back to dinner, dined alone (the countess had a lot of guests whom I did not care for), ate and drank with moderation, and after dinner copied out passages for the brothers. In the evening I went down to the countess, and told a ridiculous story about B., and only bethought myself that I ought not to have done so, when every one was laughing loudly at it.

“I went to bed with a calm and happy spirit. Great Lord, help me to walk in Thy paths: (1) to flee anger by gentleness and deliberation; (2) to flee lust by self-restraint and loathing; (3) to escape from the turmoil of the world without cutting myself off from (a) the duties of my political work, (b) the cares of my household, (c) relations with my friends, and (d) the management of my finances.”

November 27.—I got up late and lay a long while in bed after I was awake, giving way to sloth. My God, help me and strengthen me that I may walk in Thy ways. Read the Scriptures, but without proper feeling. Brother Urusov came: talked of the cares of this world. He told me of the Tsar’s new projects. I was beginning to criticise them, but remembered my principles and the words of my benefactor, that a true mason ought to be zealous in working for the state, when his aid is required, but should look on quietly at what he is not called upon to assist in. My tongue is my enemy. Brothers G.V. and O. visited me; there was a conversation preliminary to the reception of a new brother. They lay upon me the duty of rhetor. I feel weak and unworthy. Then there was talk of the interpretation of the seven pillars and steps of the Temple, of the seven sciences, the seven virtues, the seven vices, the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit. Brother O. was very eloquent. In the evening the reception took place. The new decoration of the building added a good deal to the magnificence of the spectacle. Boris Drubetskoy was admitted. I had proposed him, and I was the rhetor. A strange feeling troubled me all the time I was with him in the dark temple. I detected in myself a feeling of hatred, which I studiously strove to overcome. And I could sincerely have desired to save him from evil and to lead him into the way of truth, but evil thoughts of him never left me. The thought came to me that his object in entering the brotherhood was simply to gain the intimacy and favour of men in our lodge. Apart from the fact that he several times asked me whether N. or S. were not members of our lodge (a question I could not answer), he is incapable, so far as my observation goes, of feeling a reverence for our holy order, and is too much occupied, and too well satisfied with the outer man, to care much for the improvement of the spiritual man. I had no grounds for doubting of him, but he seemed to me insincere; and all the time I stood face to face with him in the dark temple I kept fancying he was smiling contemptuously at my words, and I should have liked really to stab his bare chest with the sword I held pointed at it. I could not be eloquent, and could not sincerely communicate my doubts to the brothers and the Grand Master. O Great Architect of Nature, help me to find the true path that leads out of the labyrinth of falsehood!”

After this three pages of the diary were left blank, and then had been written:

“I had a long and instructive conversation with brother V., who advised me not to abandon brother A. Much was revealed to me, unworthy as I am. Adonai is the name of the creator of worlds. Elohim is the name of the ruler of all. The third name, the name unutterable, has the significance of the All. Talks with brother V. strengthen and refresh me and confirm me in the path of virtue. In his presence there is no room for doubt. I see clearly the distinction between the poor doctrine of mundane science and our sacred, all-embracing teaching. Human sciences dissect everything to understand it, and destroy everything to analyse it. In the sacred science of our order all is one, all is known for its combination and life. The trinity—the three elements of things—are sulphur, mercury, and salt. Sulphur is of an oily and fiery nature; in its combination with salt by its fiery quality it arouses a craving in it, by means of which it attracts mercury, fastens upon it, holds it, and in combination with it forms various substances. Mercury is the unsubstantial, floating, spiritual essence—Christ, the Holy Ghost, Him.”

  By PanEris using Melati.

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