Rosicrucian Writings Online

The Unknown Philosopher

Stanislaw and Zofja Goszczynski, F.R.C.
Officers, Grand Lodge of the A.M.O.R.C. of Poland

[From The Rosicrucian Digest January 1948]
THE spreading of Saint-Martin's teachings was accompanied by personal social success, but the warm sympathy, the sincere friendships awakened by contact with his prepossessing personality did not hinder his interior life.  By making personal application of his teachings, his being was so purified that his interior peace could not be endangered.  His sole desire was to serve God and mankind.  His soul thirsting for more light was receiving it in a higher grade, and assimilating it for the benefit of posterity.  He reached his climax when he became acquainted with the works of Jacob Boehme.  Here he found the definite solution of all problems on the highest rung of the ladder leading to perfect union with God the Father.  Jacob Boehme was not a teacher in the same sense as Martinez Pasquales had been to the young Saint-Martin, but his importance was greater because Saint-Martin was now well prepared to receive a new revelation through Jacob Boehme.  A new light came into his soul, was assimilated, and quickened the interior process of transformation.  He was now strung for the highest tone.  We find an echo of his interior experiences in letters addressed to his close friend Baron de Liebistorf (Kirchberger).  Jacob Boehme was a mystic by the Grace of God.  Revelation, descent of light, soul-rapture--many expressions may describe the shock of the suddenly awakened soul.
   We see the various ways of enlightenment when the "vase of election" is prepared to receive it.  In Saint-Martin's book L'homme de désir (The Man of Desire), we see the new seed produced by the assimilation of Boehme's doctrine.  This book reminds one of the psalms which express the yearning of the soul to God and deplore the fall of man, his errors and sins, his blindness, and his ingratitude.
   Pointing to the divine origin of man, Saint-Martin saw the possibility of man's returning to his former state, when he was in accord with the law of God.  But only by abandoning the way of sin and following the teachings of the Redeemer Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who stepped down from the heights of His celestial throne out of love for the whole of mankind, is man solely worthy of worship and through love and by imitating Him can he attain Salvation.
   Who will be victorious in this struggle?  The one who does not care to be recognized and remembered by men, but devotes all his endeavors so as not to be erased out of God's memory?  Had it not been for the advent of a man who was able to say "I am not of this world," what would have been the lot of human posterity?  Mankind would have merged into darkness, separated forever from the fatherland.  Even though many people are separating from love, can love renounce them?
   In his later work Ecce Homo, Saint-Martin warns of the danger of seeking emotional incentive, miraculous experiences of a lower grade, such as fortunetelling, spiritism, and sundry phenomena which are only the outcome of abnormal psychophysical states of man.  This road leads mankind to an unknown and dread darkness, to an ever-deeper fall, whereas salvation can be attained only through conscious rebirth.
   In his book Le Nouvel Homme (The New Man), published in the same year, the author treats of thought as an organ of renascence, which permits the penetration of the inmost depth of man and the discovery of eternal truth of his being.  The soul of man is God's thought; man's duty is to unravel the secret text and then do his utmost to enlarge and manifest it throughout his whole life.  In his work De l'Esprit des Choses (The Spirit of Things), Saint-Martin states that man, created after the image and likeness of God, is able to penetrate to the core of being, concealed in the whole of creation, and that because of his clear insight he is able to see and to recognize God's truths deposed in Nature.  The inner light is a reflector which illumines all forms.  On the intensity of this light depends the grade of enlightenment and the distinctness needed by man reborn in spirit and reading the open Book of Life.
   Saint-Martin's book Le Ministère de l'Homme-Esprit (The Ministry of the Man-Spirit) completes all previous indications, presenting a goal not unlike the summit of a high mountain.  Man climbs it, urged by an interior necessity and with the foretaste of victory, bringing freedom after hardships and sufferings.  A freedom, in this case, which is synonymous with the greatest bliss attainable on earth.  There exists a radical and unique Ray for the opening and spreading of universal morality and goodness, and it is the full development of our interior imminent essence.  The highest sacrifice for the salvation of mankind has been already offered; it is now for man to offer in voluntary sacrifice, his own lower nature, crucify it, and thus free it from the fetters of gross matter.  It is the return of the prodigal son to his Father, ever full of charity and forgiveness.  It is the reaching of perfect unity with Him: "I and my Father are one."
   Each soul possesses its own mirror which reflects the Unique Truth, a prism and a rainbow coloring, and this is why the works of Saint-Martin are unlike the works of Boehme.  The life missions of these men also were different, although springing from the same source--the same urge to serve mankind by opening a new way for its progress.  The French mystic prized highly the works of Boehme, even though he found them rather chaotic and confusing.  He wanted to offer them to his own countrymen, and translated into French the most important of Boehme's books: l'Aurore Naissante (Birth of Dawn), Les Trois Principles de l'Essence Divine (Three Principles of Divine Essence), De la Triple Vie de l'Homme (Triple Life of Man), Quarante Questions sur l'Ame (Forty Soul-Questions).
   After the death of the Unknown Philosopher, some of his shorter writings were published.  We should quote: Chosen Thoughts, many, many ethical and philosophical fragments, also poetry, including the Cimetière d'Amboise (Amboise Cemtery), l'Origine de la Destination de l'Homme (Origin of Man's Destination), besides meditations and prayers.
   Saint-Martin was interested in the science of numbers.  It is true his work Les Nombres (Of Numbers) was never finished, but still it contains many important indications not to be found elsewhere; he analyzed numbers from a metaphysical and mystic point of view.  In numbers, he found a confirmation of his theory of the fall and rebirth of man.  Number is not taken in the sense of a dead sign, but as an expression of the Creative Word.  It has life and essence; it is the system of the great Adam Kadmon, an iron structure on which reposes the great work of the Creator.  Each number denotes a certain idea and acts on several planes.  All is the outcome of unity flowing from God's womb.  Love and sacrifice were the foundation of the act of Creation.  The original sin and the fall of man, his lawlessness, and his sinking in matter must be redeemed by sacrifice and love of the Creator; only this can achieve the return to Unity.
The French Revolution
   The letters and activity of Saint-Martin explain his relation toward the French Revolution, a thing which to many critics has remained obscure, because he could be understood only by the Illuminated and by mystics.  Behind all phenomena on the physical plane, there is the film of the astral plane.  As long as this has not yet appeared in the visible world, there are possibilities of change, of diversion by sacrifice and by appeal to the mercy of God.  We know the symbolical narrative about the ten just men who might have saved Sodom from destruction.  Astral films are not all developed, it is said, because they may be changed by higher factors in the invisible world and also by man on earth.  But once the fatal film is developed, no human power can stop the course of events.  Saint-Martin not only believed--he knew that if once Providence permits the realization of a film, bringing untold woe to people, redemption if not voluntary, must be imposed.  He saw the French Revolution as an image and a beginning of the Last Judgment which will continue on this earth, proceeding gradually.  He affirmed that the social structure cannot be durable, satisfying to the majority and lofty, if it is not based on perfect knowledge of man's psychophysical organization, if it does not correspond to divine laws reflected in him.  A legislator should have in him a profound understanding of man's interior nature, his policy must be moral, he must find a social order expressing knowledge, justice and power.  All attempts to build on transient or erroneous values only lead to disaster, whether they last a longer or a shorter space of time.
   In his work Le Crocodile, war between good and evil, Saint-Martin pictures how evil slinks among things holy and with what perfidy it distills its venom to destroy the blinded and the insensible.  But evil has an allotted space of time and can be easily recognized by signs discernible and cannot mislead those who look with spiritual eyes, who watch and are knights of the good purpose.  The greater the intrepid army under the banners of good, the sooner comes victory over the treacherous but always weaker array of evil.
   The relation of Saint-Martin toward the French Revolution depended on his type of knowledge--and what other man possessed such insight in things spiritually?  He understood what was going on and worked diligently in the domain of mysticism.  He also did the best to solve the problem of a just and happier social organization.  The influence of the French Revolution is evident in the works of Saint-Martin.  It could not be otherwise.
The Martinist Order
   The doctrine of Saint-Martin spread widely over the world under the form of an Order of Initiation and bore the name Martinist Order.  Saint-Martin was for individual initiation.  Each single member was carefully chosen, and was given the opportunity for close and familiar contact.  Then the Initiator gave him indications and teachings which he most needed and which were not above his comprehension.  The way was longer than that of working with a whole group but surer, since the pure doctrine remained unadulterated and reposed on the members of the Order and thus gained force and expression.
   Not all the Colleges of this Order took this line recommended by Saint-Martin, however, and the result was deplorable.  We have already said that according to Saint-Martin, man was the key to all mysteries of the Universe, the image of the whole truth.  His body represented the whole visible world and was bound to it, but his spirit represented the invisible world and also belonged to it.  Man can attain the whole truth through the cognizance of his own nature with all its aptitudes--physical, intellectual, and spiritual.  He must fathom the relation of his conscience to his free will.  Saint-Martin treats of this in his Revelation Nouvelle (New Revelation).  Certain traits underline the likeness of man to his Creator, and these are boundless creative powers and free will.  These traits, even though only blurred reflections of God, can work in perfect concordance with His laws--they lead to Him and bring man to the source of bliss.  The same traits if ill-used disrupt the natural union with God, and they subject man to powers of a lower grade.  Man has it in his power to repair the harm done if all his aptitudes are bent on the sole object.
   Saint-Martin speaks of Unity as of a first cause, an innermost essence always living, from which everything emanates.  Thus each being, however distant from the centrum or on whatever plane of evolution, is bound to the first cause and is part of this Unity, similarly to the sunbeam which, no matter how far its travel in infinite space, is always bound to the sun by the waves of vibration.  The central light from which emanate all suns, although part of the whole system of suns and beams, retains its independence and is different from artificial light.  God is all, but all is not God.  The doctrine of Saint-Martin applies to the whole of mankind.  He desired its union in the name of love and considered brotherhood as the basis of social life.
   It is an error to take the idea of equality of all people for a basis.  Saint-Martin considered that equality was a mathematical constant, an outcome of order and harmony.  Brotherhood is that factor of love which regulates the relations between man and binds justice with charity, strength with weakness.
   Wrong, exploitation, and tyranny cannot remain in the light of fraternal love.  Out of a thus conceived brotherhood is derived a proper and just sense of equality which reposes on a propositional relation between rights and duties.  Sair, in his essay on Saint-Martin, explains it thus:  "The constant relation between the circumference of a circle and his ray is expressed in mathematics by the letter n, whether the circle's dimension be in millimetres or in millions of kilometres."  One can then say that the circumferences of circles have an equality of relation between them.  The same is true of man:  the circumference is his right; the law is the limit which man cannot transgress; and the beam, or rather the surface described by his ray in its revolutions around the center, is his field of duty.  As the circumferences increase, the circles increase also; as the rights of man increase, his duties increase in proportion.
   In the Universe whose law is Unity in Plurality, everything reposes on order and harmony.  For the existence of order and harmony, it is necessary that each thing should be in its right place in perfect harmony with all beings and things.  The singular man is happiest when there is in him a perfect balance between rights and duties.  On this balance is based equality: the more rights, the more duties; the fewer duties, the fewer rights.  As the basis of equality there must be brotherhood without which there would be hate and jealousy between the strong and the weak, between the rich and the poor.  Only Brotherhood can bind the human family with the bonds of community.  In an ideally united loving family each of its members finds his place according to his strength and aptitude, and each will willingly undertake the corresponding number of duties and will enjoy the rights which are unquestionably his.  The social edifice which is built on so-called equality has no durable foundation, because here brotherhood is imposed and not a voluntary condition.  Likewise, the imposition of duties meets with resistance, and, besides this, a division of duties in this manner does not always conciliate justice with charity; it is quite another thing when altruism and solidarity are the foundation of brotherhood.
   Liberty is for every being the effect which follows the strict observance of the limits described by law.  A man who transgresses the law loses to that extent his freedom.  To be free man must carefully keep the balance between his rights and duties, and if he wants to enlarge the scope of his rights he must recognize the additional duties that this will necessarily bring him.
   To make a summary, we shall say that the happiness of mankind consists in the union of all the members of its great family.  This union can be achieved only through brotherhood which creates equality through the stable balance of rights and duties, assuring at the same time freedom, security, and shelter.
True Christianity
   One sees from all that has been said that Saint-Martin was a profound Christian thinker who wanted to make way for Christian ideas and use them for the building of the social structure.  According to him the Love of Christ should possess the right to rule the life of men.  The Martinist Order is thus a Christian knighthood and each of its members, according to the Founder, is bound to work out his own interior development, passing phases of ever-deeper rebirths in the spirit till the culminating point of God's birth in him.  The member's duty is to serve the whole of mankind unsparingly as regards strength and sacrifice.  Martinism was thus an announcement of the approaching Epoch of the Cosmic Christ who shall be universally revealed in the souls of men individually, in this great process of transformation.
   In its sublime work, Martinism approaches the ancient and mystic order of the Rosicrucians (AMORC), whose enlightening influence on mankind has lasted for centuries and which is like the eternal fount of light streaming for the renascence of mankind.  Both of these Orders are affiliated with the international organization known as F.U.D.O.S.I. (Federation Universelles des Ordres et Societes Initiatiques).
   For all the Martinists who worship the memory of their beloved Master, the Unknown Philosopher, a last adjuration is contained in his mystic testament:
   "The only initiation I recommend and seek with the greatest ardor of my soul is the one through which we can enter the Heart of God and induce this divine heart to enter ours.  Thus shall be perfected the indissoluble marriage which shall make us a friend, a brother, a spouse of our Divine Savior."
   There is no other way of reaching this sacred Initiation than by going deep down into our own being, never ceasing in our endeavors until we reach the goal, the depth, where we shall see the living and vivifying root; thence-forward shall we, in a natural manner, give fruit corresponding to our nature, as it is with the trees of the earth held by the various roots through which vital juices rise upward unceasingly.
Webmaster's Note:  Books by/about Louis Claude de Saint-Martin are available online (external links):
  1. Online Books by Louis Claude de Saint-Martin
  2. Saint-Martin, Louis Claude de - Various Writings
  3. Waite, Arthur Edward - The Life of Louis Claude de Saint-Martin, the Unknown Philosopher, and the Substance of his Transcendental Doctrine

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