The prominent feature of all the instructions given by the Illuminizing Legislator to his Epopts is the consecration of their degree to the perversion of the public opinion, and to the attainment of the empire of sciences, that he may direct them all to the support of his disorganizing Equality and Liberty and to universal anarchy. This mission of perversion requires an assiduity to which not many men are equal; but adepts may be found, who, unable to distinguish themselves in such missions, may yet be endowed with a sufficient zeal and with the necessary talents for the superintendance and direction of the Brethren. There are others again whose disastrous successes are to be recompensed by the higher employments in the Order; and it is from these two classes of Epopts that the Order selects its Regents. It is also for their instruction that the Legislator descends into all the gubernatory minutiæ of his Illuminism.—His instructions are comprised under four different heads. I. General System of Government for the Order.—II. Instructions for the degree of Regent.—III. Instructions for the Prefects or Local Superiors.—IV. Instructions for the Provincial. 1
I have, it is true, been obliged to anticipate many parts of this Code when unfolding the artifices of the lower degrees; but as a confirmation of what has already been exposed, in order to bring the different objects within one point of view, and to show the dangers of his disastrous combinations, let us attend to the Legislator when treating of the whole collectively. What particularly endeared this degree of Regent to Weishaupt was, that part of his instruction which takes a general view, and which lays open the progressive plan to be observed in the government of the Brethren. The reader perusing the instructions in the same order in which Weishaupt has written them, will more easily conceive the cause of his predilection.
Instruction A. Plan of the General Government of the Order
"I. The most high and excellent Superiors of the illustrious Order of true Freemasonry do not immediately attend to the minutiæ of the edifice.—They
must not, however, on that account be considered as contributing less to our happiness, by their counsels, their lessons, their plans, and the many and powerful resources with which they furnish us.
"II. These excellent and most gracious Superiors have established a class of Masons to whom they have entrusted the whole plan of our Order. This class is that of the Regents. . . . .
"III. In this plan our Regents hold the first dignities. Until admitted to this degree, no person can hold the office of Prefect or of Local Superior.
"IV. Every country has its national Superior, who holds an immediate correspondence with our Fathers, at the head of whom is a General who holds the helm of the Order.
"V. Under the National and his Assistants are the Provincials, who each govern their Circle or their Province.
"VI. Every Provincial is surrounded by his Counsellors.
"VII. Each Provincial also commands a certain number of Prefects, who may in like manner have their coadjutors in their districts. All these, as well as the Dean, belong to the class of Regents.
"VIII. All these offices are for life, excepting in cases of deposition or ejectment.
"IX. The Provincial is to be chosen by the Regents of his province and the National Superiors, and approved by the National.—[I do not understand how the Code distinguishes between the several National Superiors and the National in chief; unless it be, that it denotes in this place as Superiors those who are called a little higher up Assistants (Gehulfen) of this chief.]
"X. The whole success of Illuminism depending on the Regents, it is but just that their domestic wants should be provided for. They shall therefore be the first supplied from out of the funds of the Order.
"XI. The Regents of each Province form a particular body immediately under the Provincial, whom they are to obey. . . . . .
"XII. The offices of Illuminism not being considered in the light of dignities, nor of places of honour, but as mere employments freely accepted, the Regents must be always ready to labour for the good of the Order, each according to his situation and to his talents. Age is never to be set forth as a title. It may often happen, that the youngest is chosen Provincial, and the eldest only a Local Superior or Counsellor, should the one live in the center, while the other only inhabits the extremity of the Province; or, should the former, on account of his natural activity or his station in life, be more fitted for the place of Superior than the latter, though far more eloquent. In many cases, for example, a Regent is not to think it beneath his dignity to offer himself to discharge any of the lesser offices in the Minerval churches (lodges) in which he may be useful.