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Code of the Illuminati

Part III of

Memoirs Illustrating the History of Jacobinism

by Abbé Barreul

tr. by Robert Edward Clifford



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This is the third part (of four) of Abbé Barreul’s massive polemic history of the French Revolution. This portion of this book is of interest because it contains extensive quotes from the actual literature of the Bavarian Illuminati. This is the most comprehensive work in English on the historical theory, structure and practice of the Bavarian Illuminati. It complements Robison’s Proofs of a Conspiracy, the other major contemporary account.

Founded in 1776, shortly before the American Revolution, the Bavarian Illuminati were a secret society with a revolutionary ideology, and a centralized structure. According to Abbé Barreul, they subverted the Masonic lodges of Europe, and were one of the key driving forces behind the French Revolution. New members were gradually initiated into the group’s radical ideas, which, according to Barreul, were atheist and anarchist in essence.

Barreul was very conservative, and his translator, Robert Edward Clifford, likewise. However, Barreul was a serious historian, even though he wrote from a decidedly non-neutral point of view. As a contemporary, he was able to view the primary source documents and interview participants. As such this book is today, in and of itself, a primary source.

Today, civil society in Europe and America has enshrined the ideas of ‘Liberty and Equality’ that Barreul thought would lead to the complete breakdown of civilization. The Bavarian Illuminati are considered by some to be the forerunners of the Communist and Fascist movements. However, as I have stated before, this is probably parallel evolution. The more paranoid believe that the Illuminati (or some equivalent, such as a cabal of reptilian shape-shifters) are still in business and manipulating, e.g., world leaders, the education system, and mass movements. But this is for the individual reader to decide… –J.B. Hare, May 11th, 2008.

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Part III. The Antisocial Conspiracy

Preliminary Observations

Chapter I. Spartacus-Weishaupt, Founder of the Illuminees

Chapter II. Code of the Illuminees

Chapter III. Of the Brother Insinuator, or the Recruiter

Chapter IV. First Preparatory Degree: Novice

Chapter V. Second Preparatory Degree: The Brethren of Minerva

Chapter VI. Third Preparatory Degree: The Minor Illuminee

Chapter VII. Fourth Preparatory Degree: The Major Illuminee, or the Scotch Novice

Chapter VIII. Intermediate Class: The Scotch Knight

Chapter IX. The Lesser Mysteries; The Epopt or Priest of Illuminism

Chapter X. Continuation of the Discourse on the Lesser Mysteries

Chapter XI. The Regent, or the Prince Illuminee

Chapter XII. Class of Grand Mysteries; the Mage or the Philosopher, and the Man King Part 1

Chapter XII. Class of Grand Mysteries; the Mage or the Philosopher, and the Man King Part 2

Chapter XIII. Government of the Order

Chapter XIV. Of the Government and Political Instructions for the Epopts

Chapter XV. Instructions for the Regent or Prince Illuminee, on the Government of the Order

Chapter XVI. Continuation of the Instructions on the Government of the Illuminees

Chapter XVII. Instructions for the Provincial

Chapter XVIII. Of the National Directors, of the Areopagites, and of the General of Illuminism


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Written in French by


And translated into English by

Princes and Nations shall disappear from the face of the Earth . . . and this Revolution shall be the Work of secret societies.

Weishaupt’s Discourse for the Mysteries

Part III.


Second Edition, revised and corrected.


Printed for the Translator, by T. Burton, No. 11, Gate-street, Lincoln’s-Inn Fields. Sold by E. Booker, No. 56, New Bond-street.


This text is in the public domain in the US because it was published prior to 1923.

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Next: Preliminary Observations


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Preliminary Observations

p. 393

On the Illuminees 1 and on the different Works whereon these Memoirs are grounded. The third conspiracy, which I am now about to investigate, is that of the Atheistical Illuminees, which at my outset 2 I denominated the conspiracy of the Sophisters of Impiety and Anarchy against every religion natural or revealed; not only against kings, but against every government, against all civil society, even against all property whatsoever.

The name of Illuminee which this Sect (the most disastrous in its principles, the most extensive in its views, the most atrociously cunning in its means) has chosen, is of ancient standing in the annals of disorganizing Sophistry. It was the name which Manes and his disciples first affected, gloriantur Manichæi se de cælo illuminatos3 The first Rosicrucians also, who appeared in Germany, called themselves Illuminees. And later, in our time, the Martinists (with many other sects) have pretended to Illuminism. As an outline for history I distinguish them by their plots and tenets, and will reduce them into two classes, the Atheistical and the Theosophical Illuminees. These latter more particularly comprehend the Martinists, whom I have already mentioned in my second volume, and the Swedenbourgians, whom I shall mention in their proper place, where also I shall give what information I have been able to collect relating to them. The Atheistical Illuminees are the objects of the present volume, and it is their conspiracy that I mean to disclose.

The very numerous letters, books, and manuscripts, which I have received since the publication of my proposals, has rendered it impossible for me to comprise the proposed investigation in one volume. The baleful projects of the Sect and the laws for their execution are so strangely combined, that I thought it necessary to begin by making my reader perfectly acquainted with its code; that is to say, with the regular progression of its degrees, mysteries, and government.

This alone requiring an entire volume, I am reduced to the necessity of giving a fourth, in which I shall develope the history of Illuminism, and make

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an application of the triple conspiracy to the French Revolution. I have more particularly applied myself to the investigation of the legislative part of this conspiring Sect, as no work has yet been published in which the whole of their code is to be found. Detached parts only were to be met with scattered throughout the papers which had been seized by the public authority. These I have collected and digested; thus enabling the reader more easily to judge what has been and what must have been the result of such laws. In such an undertaking, I feel myself bound to lay before the public an account of the documents on which I ground my proofs. The following then is a list of the principal works, with a few observations on each, that the reader may form his own judgment as to their authenticity.

I. The first is a collection entitled “Some of the Original Writings of the Sect of Illuminees, which were discovered on the 11th and 12th of October, 1786, at Landshut, on a search made in the House of the Sieur Zwack, heretofore Counsellor of the Regency; and printed by Order of His Highness the Elector.—Munich, by Ant. Franz, Printer to the Court.” 4

II. The second is a supplement to the Original Writings, chiefly containing those which were found on a search made at the castle of Sandersdorf, a famous haunt of the Illuminees, by order of His Highness the Elector. Munich, 1787. 5

These two volumes contain irrefragable proofs of the most detestable conspiracy. They disclose the principles, the object, and the means of the Sect; the essential parts of their code, the diligent correspondence of the adepts, particularly that of their chief, and a statement of their progress and future hopes. The editors indeed have carried their attention so far, as to mention by whose hand the principal documents or letters were written. At the beginning of the first volume, and on the frontispiece of the second, is seen the following remarkable advertisement by order of the Elector:—”Those who may harbour any doubt as to the authenticity of this collection, have only to apply to the office where the secret archives are kept at Munich, and where orders are left to show the originals.” 6

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Spartacus-Weishaupt, Founder of the Illuminees | Chapter 1

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There sometimes appear men formed with such unhappy dispositions, that we are led to consider them in no other view than as emanations from the evil genius, bereft by the avenging God of the power of doing good. Imbecil in the sphere of wisdom, such men are only efficient in the arts of vice and destruction; they are ingenious in those conceptions, skilful in that cunning, and fruitful in those resources which enable them despotically to reign in the schools of falsehood, depravity, and wickedness. In competition with the Sophisters, these men will surpass them in the arts of exhibiting error in false and delusive colours; of disguising the vicious passions under the mask of virtue; and of clothing impiety in the garb of Philosophy. In the den of conspirators they are pre-eminent by the atrocity of their deeds; they excel in the arts of preparing revolutions, and of combining the downfal of the Altar with that of Empires. If their career be ever impeded, it is only when they approach the paths of virtue and of real science. When Heaven in its wrath permits a being of this species to appear on the earth, it has only to put nations within the sphere of his activity, and it will be awfully avenged.

With such qualities, and under such auspices, was born in Bavaria, about the year 1748, Adam Weishaupt, better known in the annals of the sect by the name of Spartacus. To the eternal shame of his Serene protector, this impious man, heretofore Professor of Law at the University of Ingolstadt, but now banished from his country as a traitor to his Prince and to the whole universe, peacefully at the court of Ernest Lewis, Duke of Saxe Gotha, enjoys an asylum, receives a pension from the public treasury, and is dignified with the title of Honorary Counsellor to that Prince.

An odious phenomenon in nature, an Atheist void of remorse, a profound hypocrite, destitute of those superior talents which lead to the vindication of truth, he is possessed of all that energy and ardour in vice which generates conspirators for impiety and anarchy. Shunning, like the ill-boding owl, the genial rays of the sun, he wraps around him the mantle of darkness; and history shall record of him, as of the evil spirit, only the black deeds which he planned or executed. Of mean birth, his youth was passed in obscurity, and but a single trait of his private life has pierced the cloud in

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which he had enveloped himself—but it is one of hateful depravity and of the most consummate villany.—Incestuous Sophister! it was the widow of his brother whom he seduced.—Atrocious father! it was for the murder of his offspring that he solicited poison and the dagger.—Execrable hypocrite! he implored, he conjured both art and friendship to destroy the innocent victim, the child whose birth must betray the morals of his father. The scandal from which he shrinks is not that of his crime; it is (he says and writes it himself) the scandal which, publishing of the depravity of his heart, would deprive him of that authority by which, under the cloak of virtue, he plunged youth into vice and error.—Monstrous Sophister! he accuses the devils of not having skreened him from this scandal by those abominations which called the vengeance of the God of Nature on the son of Judah.—Then, impudently daring, he perjures himself; he calls every thing that is sacred to witness, that neither he nor his friends ever knew of the existence of those poisons or secret means of skreening him from infamy, much less that they had ever proposed, sought, or employed them. He challenges, and at length forces, the magistrates to prove the accusation; they produce the letters of the perjured Sophister, and therein we behold him entreating a first, a second, and even a third confidant, to seek, or cause to be sought, and to communicate to him, these horrid arts. We see him recalling promises of three years standing with respect to these means. He complains of the little success of his attempts, he accuses the agents of timidity or of ignorance; he entreats and conjures them to renew their attempts, telling them, that it was not yet too late, but that expedition was necessary. Who can paint the depravity of this single trait. How monstrous the being who could have combined such depravity! That the God who humiliates the Sophister should have permitted this single trait to have been brought to light, will suffice to show how far wickedness may be carried by the man who, with virtue on his tongue, and under the shade of that sacred name, was forming and fanaticising the blood-thirsty legions of a Robespierre.

Moe is the founder of GnosticWarrior.com. A website dedicated to both the ancient and modern teachings of Gnosticism.

Code of the Illuminees | Chapter 2

p. 408

General System, and division of the Code.

By the code of the sect of Illuminees I mean the principles and systems which it had formed to itself on Religion and Civil Society, or rather against all Religion and Civil Society whatever; I mean the government and the laws which it has adopted to realize its plans, and to guide the adepts in bringing the whole universe into its systems. This was not so much a code springing from an ardent mind, and an enthusiastic zeal for a great revolution, as the offspring of reflection on the means of rendering it infallible; for no sooner had Weishaupt conceived a plan, than he foresaw the obstacles which might thwart its success. Though he decorated the first pupils whom he had seduced with the title of his profound adepts, yet he did not dare unfold to them the vast extent of his plans. Pleased with having laid the foundation, he did not hurry the elevation of that edifice, which might have been exposed to fall for want of the proper precautions; no, he wished it to be as durable as time itself. For five whole years he meditated; and he foresaw that he should still have to pause for many a tedious day on the means of securing the success of his plans. His plodding head silently ruminated and slowly combined that code of laws or rather of cunning, of artifice, of snares and ambushees by which he was to regulate the preparation of candidates, the duties of the initiated, the functions, the rights, the conduct of the chiefs, and even his own. He watched every means of seduction, weighed and compared those means, tried them one after the other; and when he had adopted any of them would still reserve the power of changing them, in case he should happen to fall upon any that would be more disastrous.

Meanwhile his first disciples, now his apostles, gained him many partizans; he seduced many himself, and directed their conduct by letter. His advice was adapted to circumstances, and, artfully husbanding his promises, he kept the minds of his disciples perpetually in suspense as to the last mysteries. To his trusty adepts he promises systems of morality, of education, and of polity, all entirely new; and they might easily surmise that this future code would be no other than that of a morality without restraint, of a religion without a God, and of a polity without laws or any dependence whatsoever; 1 though he did not dare

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entirely to throw away the mask. But his laws appeared imperfect, his snares were not sufficiently concealed; and he was convinced that time and experience alone could perfect the work on which he had so long meditated. Such are the colours, at least, in which we see him representing himself when his adepts, impatient to be initiated in the last mysteries, reproach him with the slowness of the proceedings: “It is from time and experience,” says he, “that we are to learn. I daily put to the test what I made last year, and I find that my performances of this year are far superior. Give me then time to reflect on what may forward and on what may delay the execution of our plans; to weigh what may be expected of our people left to themselves or led and conducted by us.—Remember that what is done in haste, speedily falls to ruin. Leave me then to myself, let me act alone; and believe me, time and I are worth any other two.” 2

Let not the reader imagine that these meditations of Weishaupt alluded to the object of his views; that never varied; the destruction of Religion, the destruction of Society and the civil Laws, the destruction of property,—that was the point at which he always aimed; and this impious man too well knew his crime, not to be alarmed; we see him writing to his confident, “You know the situation in which I stand. I must direct the whole by means of five or six persons. It is absolutely necessary that I should during my life remain unknown to the greater part of the adepts themselves.—I am often overwhelmed with the idea that all my meditations, all my services and toils are perhaps only twisting a rope or planting a gallows for myself; that the indiscretion or imprudence of a single individual may overturn the most beautiful edifice that ever was reared.” 3

Moe is the founder of GnosticWarrior.com. A website dedicated to both the ancient and modern teachings of Gnosticism.

Of the Brother Insinuator, or the Recruiter | Chapter 3

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First Part of the Code of the Illuminees

By the appellation of Brother Insinuator, is to be understood the Illuminee whose peculiar office is to make proselytes for the Sect. Some brethren were more particularly instructed for that end; they might, indeed, be called the Apostles or Missionaries of the Order, being those whom the superiors sent to the different towns and provinces, and even into distant countries, to propagate its doctrines and to establish new Lodges. These had received, in addition to the common rules, farther instructions peculiar to the higher degrees. “These (as Weishaupt writes) may sometimes be the most imbecile, and at other times the most ingenious of the Brotherhood.” From the former he can depend on a blind obedience to the rules he lays down, which are never to be deviated from; and with respect to the latter, provided they be zealous and punctual, should they even transgress any of the laws, it would not be in such a manner as to commit either their own safety or that of the Order; and they would soon make amends for their indiscretion by some new artifice. But, whatever may be the sense of the Illuminee, he is obliged once or twice in his life to act the part of Brother Insinuator, and that with a certain success, by the acquisition of two or three proselytes, under pain of perpetually remaining in the lower degrees. Some Brethren of high rank may have been dispensed from this formality; but as to the generality of them there exists a positive law on that point. 1 To stimulate the zeal of the Brethren, the Insinuator is by the laws of the code established superior over every novice that he has gained to the Order: It is expressed as follows: “Every Illuminee may form to himself a petty empire; and from his littleness, emerge to greatness and power.” 2

Such then is the first duty imposed upon every Illuminee for the propagation of the Sect; and this is the part which first claims our attention, in order that we may be able to form an idea of the immensurable powers of Weishaupt for seduction.

This part may be said to be subdivided into three. The rules laid down are, first, those which are to guide the Brother Insinuator in the choice of persons to be admitted or excluded; then follow those which are to teach him how to entice into the order those persons whom he has judged proper for it;

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and lastly come those rules and arts by which novices are to be formed, and even involved in Illuminism before they are officially admitted.

In order to judge of the qualifications of the persons whom he may enlist, every Illuminee is to begin by procuring tablets, which he is to keep in the form of a Journal; and this is his Diary. Assiduously prying into every thing that surrounds him, he must vigilantly observe all persons with whom he becomes acquainted, or whom he meets in company, without exception of relations, friends, enemies, or entire strangers; he must endeavour to discover their strong and their weak side; their passions and prejudices; their intimacies, and above all, their actions, interests, and fortune; in a word, every thing relating to them: and the remarks of every day he must enter in his Diary.

A twofold advantage is to be reaped from these particulars of information; first, by the Order in general and its superiors; secondly, by the adept himself. Twice every month he will make a general statement of his observations, and he will transmit it to his superiors. By these means the Order will be informed what men, in every town or village, are friendly or inimical to it. The means of gaining over the one or destroying the other will naturally occur. With respect to the Insinuator, he will learn how to judge of those who are proper persons to be received or rejected, and he will carefully insert his reasons for the admission or rejection of those persons in his monthly statements. 3

The Recruiting Brother will carefully guard against giving the most distant hint that he is an Illuminee. This law is peremptory for the Brethren, but more particularly for all the Insinuators, whose success may often essentially depend on it. It is to them that the legislator so strongly recommends all that exterior of virtue and of perfection, that care of shunning all public scandals which might deprive them of their ascendancy over the minds of those whom they seek to entice into the Order. 4 The law expressly says, “Apply yourselves to the acquiring of interior and exterior perfection;” but lest they should conceive that this perfection even hinted at the mastering of their passions, and at renouncing the pleasures of the world, he adds, “Attend particularly to the art of dissembling and of disguising your actions, the better to observe those of others, and to penetrate into their inmost thoughts. “Die kunst zu erlernen sich zu verstellen, andere zu beobachten, and aus zu forschen.” It is for that reason that these three great precepts are to be found in the summary of the Code: hold thy tongue—be perfect—disguise thyself—almost following each other in the same page, and serving as an explanation of each other. 5

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First preparatory Degree: Novice | Chapter 4

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Second Part of the Code of the Illuminees

In the early stages of Illuminism the duration of the time of trial for the Novice was three years for those who were not eighteen years of age; two years for those between eighteen and twenty-four; and one year for those who were near thirty. 1 Circumstances have since occasionally caused the time to be abridged; but, whatever may be the dispositions of the Novice, though the time may be dispensed with, he must go through the different trials, or have got the start of them before he is admitted into the other degrees. During the interval he has no other superior but the Insinuator to whom he is indebted for his vocation, and during the whole time of the noviciate, the Insinuator is expressly forbidden to inform his pupil of any other member of the Order. This law was made to skreen the order from the dangers which might result from an indiscretion of the Novice, and to render the Insinuator alone responsible in such cases; for, should the Novice unfortunately be an indiscreet talker, the code expressly says, his imprudence would at most betray only one of the brethren. 2 The first lessons of the Insinuator (in future his teacher) treat entirely on the importance and the inviolability of the secrecy which is to be observed in Illuminism. He will begin by telling his Novice, “Silence and secresy are the very soul of the Order, and you will carefully observe this silence as well with those whom you may have only reason to suppose are already initiated, as with those whom you may hereafter know really to belong to the Order. You will remember, that it is a constant principle among us, that ingenuousness is only a virtue with respect to our superiors, but that distrust and reserve are the fundamental principles. You will never reveal to any person, at present or hereafter, the slightest circumstance relative to your admission into the order, the degree you have received, nor the time when admitted; in a word, you will never speak of any object relating to the order even before Brethren, without the strongest necessity.” 3

Under the restrictions of this severe law, one Illuminee will often be a stranger to another; and the Novice will see in this no more than a measure of safety for the order, which might be ruined by the least indiscretion. 4

More certainly to assure himself of the discretion of the Novice, the Insinuator will give him no further insight, nor entrust him with any writing

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relative to the order, until he has obtained the following declaration: “I, the undersigned, promise upon my honour, and without any reservation, never to reveal either by words, signs, or actions, or in any possible manner, to any person whatever, either relations, allies, or most intimate friends, any thing that shall be entrusted to me by my Introducer relative to my entrance into a secret society; and this whether my reception shall take place or not. I subject myself the more willingly to this secresy, as my Introducer assures me that nothing is ever transacted in this society hurtful to religion, morals, or the state. With respect to all writings which I may be entrusted with, any letters which I may receive concerning the same object, I engage myself to return them, after having made for my sole use the necessary extracts.” 5

These writings or books relative to the order are only lent to the Novice at first in small numbers, and for a short time; and then he must promise to keep them out of the reach of the prophane; but as he is promoted in rank, he may preserve them for a longer time, and is intrusted with a larger quantity; though not without having informed the Order of the precautions he shall have taken, lest in case of his death any of these writings should fall into prophane hands. 6 He will afterwards learn, that the Brotherhood take many other precautions for secresy, not only respecting the statutes, but even with regard to the very existence of the Order. He will see, for example, in its laws, that should any of the brotherhood fall sick, the other brethren are assiduously to visit him, in the first place to fortify him, that is to say, to hinder him from making any declarations at the hour of his death; and secondly, to carry away whatever writings relative to the Order the sick man may have had in his possession, as soon as any symptoms of danger appear. 7

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Second preparatory Degree: The Brethren of Minerva | Chapter 5

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Third Part of the Code of the Illuminees.

Weishaupt, ruminating on what turn he should give to his Code of Illuminism, that its progress might be more subtile and infallible, expresses himself in the following terms, on the preparatory degrees which were to succeed to the novitiate of his pupils. “I am thinking of establishing, in the next degree, a sort of an academy of Literati. My design would include the study of the Ancients, and an application to the art of observing and drawing characters (even those of the living); and treatises and questions, proposed for public compositions, should form the occupations of our pupils.—I should wish, more especially, to make them spies over each other in particular, and over all in general. It is from this class that I would select those who have shown the greatest aptness for the Mysteries. My determination, in short, is, that in this degree they shall labour at the discovery and extirpation of prejudices. Every pupil (for example) shall declare, at least once a month, all those which he may have discovered in himself; which may have been his principal one, and how far he has been able to get the better of it.”

Ever influenced by a bitter hatred against the Jesuits, he does not blush to say—”I mean that this declaration shall be among us, what confession was among them.” Her was, however, unfortunate in his application; for in the Order of the Jesuits, no superior could ever hear the confessions of the Inferiors; and thus their very institutes rendered impossible the horrid abuse, under which Weishaupt affected to cloak the abominable breach of confidence with respect to his pupils, when he says, “by these means I shall discern those who show dispositions for certain special Doctrines relative to Government or to Religion.” 1

The statutes of their Minerval degree are drawn up with a little more circumspection, and simply declare, “that the Order in that degree wishes to be considered only as a learned society or academy, consecrating its toils to form the hearts and minds of its young pupils both by example and precept.” 2 These are called the Brethren of Minerva, and are under the direction of the Major or Minor Illuminees. The academy properly so called is composed of ten,

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twelve, and sometimes fifteen Minervals, under the direction and tuition of a Major Illuminee.

In the kalendar of the Sect, the days on which the academy meets are called holy, and its sittings are generally held twice a month; always at the new moon. The place where they meet is called, in their language, a Church. It must always be preceded by an anti-chamber, with a strong door armed with bolts, which is to be shut during the time of the meeting; and the whole apartment is to be so disposed, that it shall be impossible for intruders either to see or hear any thing that is going forward. 3

At the commencement of each sitting, the President is always to read, and, after his fashion, comment on some chosen passages of the bible, or Seneca, of Epictetus, Marcus Aurelius, or Confucius4 The care he takes to give to all these works the same weight and authority, will be sufficient to make the pupils view the Bible in a similar light with the works of the Pagan Philosophers.

This lecture over, each pupil is questioned “as to the books which he has read since the last meeting; on the observations or discoveries he may have made; and on his labours or services toward the progress of the Order.”

Nor are the studies and the books of which the Brethren are to give an account, left to their own choice. To each of these academies there is appropriated a particular library, whenever circumstances will permit, calculated to insure the spirit of the Order; and this collection the Sect takes care to furnish. By three different means it is accomplished. First, by the money which the Brethren contribute; secondly, by the list of his own private Library, which is exacted from each candidate, who is obliged to furnish therefrom such books as may be required of him; the third means is derived from Weishaupt’s grand principle, that every thing which is useful is an act of virtue. Now as it would be very useful for the Order to get possession of those rare books and precious manuscripts which Princes, Nobles, and Religious Orders keep shut up among their archives or in their libraries; all Illuminees acting as librarians or archive-keepers are admonished, exhorted, and seriously pressed not to make any scruple of secretly stealing such books or manuscripts, and putting them into the possession of the Sect. This is one of the most explicit lessons that Weishaupt gives to his adepts; at one time telling them not to make a case of conscience of giving to the Brethren what they may have belonging to the library of the Court; at another, sending a list of what should be stolen from that of the Carmes, he says, “all these would be of much greater use if they were in our hands.—What do those rascals do with all those books?” 5

Moe is the founder of GnosticWarrior.com. A website dedicated to both the ancient and modern teachings of Gnosticism.

Third preparatory Degree: The Minor Illuminee | Chapter 6

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Fourth Part of the Code of Illuminees.

The object of the degree of Minor Illuminee is not only to dispose the Brethren more and more for the secrets which have not yet been revealed to them; but it has also in view their preparation for presiding over the Minerval Academies in which they have already shown their talents, and their zeal for the Sect. The means which are to produce this double effect are worthy of remark, on account of one of those artifices which Weishaupt alone could have invented.

The Minor Illuminees hold sittings similar to those of the Minerval Academy. The President must necessarily be one of those adepts who, initiated in the higher mysteries of Illuminism, have attained the degree of Priest. He, alone having any knowledge of these higher mysteries, is particularly enjoined to keep his pupils in the persuasion that beyond the degree in which he is there is no farther secret to impart to them. But he is to spare no pains to infuse those opinions into their minds, of which the last mysteries are but the development. The Minor Illuminees are imperceptibly to become as it were the inventors and authors of Weishaupt’s principles; that, believing them to be the offspring of their own genius, they may more zealously defend and propagate them. “It is necessary,” says the code, “that the adept look upon himself as the founder of the new Order,” that hence he may conceive a natural ardor for its success. To effectuate this object, an exordium is appropriated to the initiation in this degree. It is one of those discourses which, replete with voluntary obscurities, presents the most monstrous errors to the mind, but expressly mentions none. The veil which is thrown over them is neither coarse enough to hide, nor fine enough clearly to chew them; all that the new adepts can observe at a first hearing is, that the object of the Order is worthy of admiration and zeal; that an ardent enthusiasm should inflame the mind of the young adept for the attainment of the grand object of all the labours of Illuminism; that the enjoyment of this happiness depended much more on the actions than on the words of the adepts. What then is this object, and what are the obstacles that are to be overcome? Of what species are those actions, those labours of the adept, which are to forward its views? It is in these points that enigma and obscurity veils the intent, and it is here that genius is to invent.

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[paragraph continues] That the errors of the Sect might be considered as originating with the adepts, it goes on to say, the same discourse shall serve in future as a text for all those which the Brethren shall prepare for the meetings of the Order. The President will select the obscure passages, which may lead to the development of those opinions which he wishes to instil into his pupils; such will the subjects chosen for their themes, and he will carefully exact practical conclusions1 But to give the reader a better idea of what these themes or commentaries are to be, we shall quote a part of the original text.

“There certainly exist in the world public crimes which every wife and honest man would wish to suppress. When we consider that every man in this delightful world might be happy, but that their happiness is prevented by the misfortunes of some, and by the crimes and errors of others; that the wicked have power over the good; that opposition or partial insurrection is useless; that hardships generally fall upon men of worth;—then naturally results the wish of seeing an association formed of men of vigorous and noble minds, capable of resisting the wicked, of succouring the good, and of procuring for themselves rest, content and safety—of producing all these effects, by means drawn from the greatest degree of force of which human nature is capable. Such views actuating a Secret Society would not only be innocent, but most worthy of the wise and well-inclined man.” 2

Moe is the founder of GnosticWarrior.com. A website dedicated to both the ancient and modern teachings of Gnosticism.

Fourth preparatory Degree: The Major Illuminee, or the Scotch Novice | Chapter 7

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Fifth Part of the Code of Illuminees

The degree which follows that of Minor Illuminee is sometimes called Major Illuminee; at other times, Scotch Novice. Under this two-fold denomination a double object is comprized. As Scotch Novice, the adept is turned in upon Masonry; and it is only a snare for imposing upon the credulity of those, who have not given the requisite symptoms for being initiated in the higher mysteries of the Sect. It is an introduction to the degree of Scotch Knight, which terminates the career of the dupes. But as a degree of Illuminism, it will encompass the adept with new bonds, more extraordinary and more firm than the former; it is a more immediate preparation for the grand mysteries; in short, it is from this degree that the masters of the Minerval Academies are selected.

Let us begin by laying open the artifice of that strange bond which the adept will never dare to rend asunder, though he should wish to withdraw from Illuminism, or more particularly should he be tempted to reveal what he may have already discovered of the artifices, principles, or grand object of the Sect.

Before the candidate is admitted to the new degree, he is informed that his reception is resolved on, provided he gives satisfactory answers to the following questions:

I. Are you acquainted with any society grounded on a better constitution, or more holy and solid than ours, and which tends with more certainty or expedition to the object of your wishes?

II. Was it to satisfy your curiosity that you entered our society? or, was it to concur with the chosen among men to universal happiness?

III. Are you satisfied with what you have seen of our laws? Will you labour according to our plan, or have you any objection to propose against it?

IV. As there will be no medium for you, declare at once, whether you wish to leave us, or whether you will remain attached to us for ever?

V. Are you a member of any other society?

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VI. Does that society impose any thing detrimental to our interests; for example, the discovery of our secrets; or, does it require you to labour for itself exclusively?

VII. Should such things be ever required of you, tell us upon your honour, whether you would be disposed to acquiesce in them?

These questions answered, there still remains another proof of confidence which the Order expects from the candidate. This is nothing less than an exact and candid account of his whole life, written without any reservation or dissimulation whatever. The necesssary time is given him; and this is the famous bond, or rather snare, into which when Weishaupt has once brought the candidate he exultingly exclaims, “Now I hold him; I defy him to hurt us; if he should wish to betray us, we have also his secrets.” It would be in vain for the adept to attempt to dissimulate. He will soon find that the most secret circumstances of his life, those which he would most anxiously wish to hide, are all known by the adepts. The arts which he has hitherto practised to pry into the most secret motions of the hearts of his pupils, into their tempers and passions, their connections, their means, their interests, their actions and opinions, their intrigues and faults, have all been more artfully employed by others in watching himself. Those who compose the lodge into which he is going to be received, are the very persons that have been scrutinizing his past life.

All the discoveries made by his Insinuator, all the statements he has been obliged to give of himself as required by the Code, every thing which the Brother Scrutators, either known or unknown, have been able to discover concerning him during his degrees of Minerval or of Minor Illuminee, have been accurately transmitted to the Brethren of the new lodge. Long before his admission, they had accomplished themselves in the scrutinizing arts.—These wretches then will mimick even the canonization of the saints! The very precautions which Rome takes to discover the least taint in those whom it proposes to the veneration of the faithful, this illuminizing Sect will adopt, in order to satisfy itself that in its adepts no civil nor religious virtue can be traced. Yes, the villains in their dens wished to know each other, and smiled to see their accomplices as wicked as themselves.

Moe is the founder of GnosticWarrior.com. A website dedicated to both the ancient and modern teachings of Gnosticism.

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