The Faust Myth and the Masonic Legend

LETTER NO. 35 - October, 1913

Last month's lesson finished our consideration of the Faust Myth; and, taking a review of it as a whole, we note that it brings out the same idea as the Masonic legend. On the one had we have Rosicrucian and Lucifer; on the other, Marguerite and the priests. Marguerite shows faith in the church even in the darkest hour. This faith is her comfort and stay, and eventually she attains to the goal of the spirit. She reaches her heavenly home by faith. Her sins of omission and commission are due to ignorance; but when she sees the evil power embodied in the character of Lucifer and is offered freedom from prison and death, she declines to flee in such company; thereby she has redeemed herself sufficiently to merit a place in the Kingdom. Likewise, the wards of the church, the Sons of Seth, are today depending upon the atonement rather than upon their own deeds. They are looking for salvation through faith as their power of works is but small.

In Lucifer and Faust we find replicas of the Sons of Cain, who are positive, strong, and active in the world's work. The same spirit which imbued Cain with a desire to make "two blades of grass grow where formerly there was but one"--the independent, divine creative instinct which has caused the Sons of Cain in all ages to carry on the world's work--is also strong in Faust; and the glorious use to which he puts the powers of evil, namely, making them build a new land, a free one, where a happy and free people may dwell in peace and contentment, gives us a view of what the future has in store for us.

By our own works, by putting the evil powers to good use, we shall eventually free ourselves from the limitations of both church and state which now hold us in bondage. Through the conventions of society and the laws of the land are now necessary to restrain us from infringing on the rights of others, there will come a day when the spirit will ensoul us and purify us as the love of Faust for Helen purified him and gave him the incentive to use the Lucifer forces in the manner indicated. When we have conquered the desire to work for self, when we become enamored of our work for others as Faust was when with his dying vision he gazed upon the land that was rising from the sea, then we shall never require the restraining feature of the laws and conventions for we shall have risen above them by compliance with the every requirement. Only in that manner can we become really free. It but very difficult to enforce obedience on ourselves even though we may intellectually assent to the mandates of conventionality. As Goethe says:

"From every power that holds the world in chains,

Man frees himself when self-control he gains."

The Faust myth tells us there is such a utopian state in store for us when we have worked out our salvation by using the titanic forces within to make us really free. May we all strive by our daily actions to hasten that day.