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Seventh Part of the Code of the Illuminees.—Class of the Mysteries.

However accurately the Sect may have ascertained the progress of its adepts in the preparatory degrees, still Weishaupt seems to fear that some may be startled when they come to be acquainted with the ultimate views of Illuminism. He wishes therefore to lead them to his darkest plots by gradual shades. Hence the division of lesser and greater mysteries, and the subdivision into degrees. The first degree into which the adepts are initiated in this class is that of Epopt; but these new dignitaries are only known by that title to the inferior class; the higher degrees call them Priests1

Let not the reader take alarm at the denomination of lesser mysteries, as if they were of no consequence; for he will gradually, as he ascends, discover their dark designs and dealings. But before the adept is allowed to proceed, he must collect every thing that his mind, his memory, or all his former lessons can afford, of anti-religious and anti-social principles, to enable him to give written answers to the following questions:

“I. Do you think the present state of nations corresponds with the object for which man was placed upon earth? For example, do governments, civil associations, or religion, attain the ends for which they were designed? Do the sciences to which men apply furnish them with real lights; are they conducive (as they ought to be) to real happiness? Are they not, on the contrary, the offspring of numberless wants, and of the unnatural state in which men live? Are they not the crude inventions of crazy brains, or of geniuses laboriously subtle?”

“II. What civil associations and what sciences do you think tend or do not tend to the grand object? Did there not formerly exist an order of things more simple? What sort of an idea can you form of that ancient state of the world?”

“III. Now that we have passed through all those nullities (or through all those useless and vain forms of our civil constitutions), do you think that it would be possible to return back to the original and noble simplicity of our forefathers? Supposing we had returned to it, would not our past misfortunes render that state more durable? Would not all mankind be in a similar state

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with an individual who, having enjoyed the sweets of innocence during his childhood, and fallen a prey to error and his passions during his youth, at length, instructed by the risks he has run, and by experience, endeavours to return to that innocence and purity which rendered his childhood so happy?”

“IV. What means were best to be employed for restoring mankind to that happy state? Should it be by public measures, by violent revolutions, or by any means that should ensure success?”

“V. Does not the Christian Religion in all its purity afford some indications, does it not hint at some state or happiness similar to this? Does it not even prepare it?”

“VI. Is this holy and simple religion really what different Sects profess it to be at this present day, or is it more perfect?”

“VII. Can this more perfect Christianity be known or taught? Could the world (such as it now is) support a stronger degree of light? Do you not think that, before the numberless obstacles could be removed, it would be proper to preach to mankind a religion more perfect, a philosophy more elevated, and the art of each one’s governing himself according to his greatest advantage?”

“VIII. Would not our moral and political views lead men to oppose this blessing? From our political and moral views then, or from an ill-judged interest, or even from deep-rooted prejudices, these obstacles originate. If men, therefore, oppose the renovation of human happiness, is it not because, slaves to ancient forms, they reject and reprobate every thing which is not to be found in those forms, though it should be the most natural, the grandest, and most noble of all possible things? Does not personal interest, alas! at present predominate over the general interest of mankind?”

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