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 any thing 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 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 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. 27