Rosicrucian Writings Online


Four Keys To Wisdom

TO KNOW, TO DARE, TO WILL, TO KEEP SILENT
 
By Bro. William H. McKegg
 
[From The Rosicrucian Digest October 1931]
  
 
THESE words, in French, were written over the door of a sanctum in Paris, where Cagliostro, the great Rosicrucian mystic of the 18th century, held his meetings. Cagliostro followed these four keys with the most steadfast zeal. Some have said it was through not keeping the last one that caused him to be implicated in the famous scandal of the diamond necklace. On the other hand, it was because Cagliostro kept so vigorously to silence, to save others, that he permitted himself to appear culpable.
 
It is a well known fact among Rosicrucians that many of the greatest masters have never gone out of their way to defend themselves of false charges; they have even allowed themselves to be persecuted, imprisoned, tortured, rather than give out knowledge that could be perversely used for wrong purposes. They have always refused to "give a sign," to cater to vulgar curiosity. They had remained silent, and to keep silent is the most difficult virtue for any one to practice. To show off is a purely human trait. If a man knows something not known to his friends in general, he is only too eager to expound on his superior knowledge. He fondly believes that what he knows springs from his own particular mind.
 
"Give not that which is holy to the dogs, neither cast your pearls before the swine, lest haply they trample them under their feet, and turn and rend you."
 
True adepts always keep those words in mind. But they use discretion.
 
The majority often misunderstood the word discretion. Many believe being a Rosicrucian student bars one from uttering a word to any non-members of the order about Rosicrucian philosophy and the teachings of AMORC. That is rather absurd. Without spreading knowledge, gleaned from the Cosmos, the whole spirit of Rosicrucianism would be futile.
 
Being helpful to others seeking enlightenment is a good thing. A Rosicrucian student can truthfully say, "Such and such a thing is quite possible. I have proved it to be so to my own satisfaction. You, too, may do the same, after a certain amount of study and practice." A Rosicrucian can say this and, on various occasions, prove his words by experiments--yet he would never dream of expounding to an unenlightened mind the methods used by which almost miraculous manifestations occur. To disclose secrets of the universe for them, would only cause harm.
 
The Master Christ helped the multitude by stating that such and such a thing could be made manifest, and proved all his statements by actual experiments. He showed the people that seemingly supernatural acts could be made ordinary events by adopting and applying certain natural laws. To prove that the soul is the only real part of the human being, He raised the dead. He willed back the soul to its earthly prison of flesh, to show that without it the body perished. Thus death was revealed as nothing more frightening than transition--birth into a new life; the uplifting of the True Self to a higher existence; a return of the soul to the Great Source from whence it came.
 
Christ did not walk on the sea to reveal what astonishing things He could do. He did it to show his disciples that any one of them could, without fear, do exactly what he had done. Peter attempted to do so, but fear caught him and he started to sink, until a touch from the Master saved him.
 
"Ye of little faith" was not spoken in a religious sense. Christ meant that although people KNOW things can be done, very often they will not DARE. Without courage little can be accomplished. To have faith in anything a man must first of all have faith in himself. Faith means courage, daring.
 
Christ also proved that a man can disappear suddenly from sight, even in the midst of a crowd. He did this several times during his preachings. He likewise proved that while imprisoned in an earthly body the soul, the God in men, can get in close contact with the Cosmos, with the Source from whence all comes.
 
These things he expounded to the multitude, and proved by actual experiment--but never once did He ever reveal to the unenlightened masses how these things could be accomplished. He sowed the seed. If anyone cared to seek enlightenment, it came. His words stirred the minds of those eager for wisdom. He knew that the Inner Selves of men and women, truly desiring wisdom, would seek him out later to learn how they could achieve mastership. It was for such seekers that he openly said, "Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and you shall find; knock, and it shall be opened."
 
A person eager for the divine knowledge offered by Christ obtained it if he dared to follow his own inner convictions. But those who said, "Teacher, we would see a sign from thee," were never enlightened. They were the doubters. And to them the Master remained silent; for He knew their own doubt would always be a stumbling block to anything they would be likely to attempt in occult studies.
 
There are many people today who believe all ought to be revealed to them instantaneously, without the least study or preparation on their part.
 
To allow an unprepared mind to experiment with the vast powers of the universe would be as foolish as to permit a person, uninstructed in science, to dabble by himself in a chemical laboratory. Not knowing any of the laws of chemistry, he'd soon discover he was playing with dangerous forces.
 
How may an unenlightened and unprepared mind attain wisdom?
 
Eliphas Levi, the great French magi, said:
 
"In order to DARE we must KNOW; in order to WILL we must DARE; we must WILL to possess empire, and to reign we must be SILENT."
 
Knowing a thing to be a fact helps us very little unless we put that knowledge to use. To learn more about what we know to be the truth, we must dare. The man who seeks Light must first of all free himself of all fear and all prejudice. Then, being fearless, he can open his mind to Truth. By willing he can accomplish almost unbelievable things. By keeping silent he retains the God-given powers that have been revealed to him.
 
To Know, To Dare, To Will, To Keep Silent. The four keys guard the secret.
 
"Sail to the west and the east will be found," was a statement ridiculed in the 15th century. A few Rosicrucian mystics knew the truth of those words. The world in general scoffed at such a wild declaration. At that period, people were told by false teachers that the world was flat and that the planets revolved around it. Though even thousands of years previous to them, Rosicrucian mystics knew that the earth was only one of many worlds and, with them, revolved around the sun.
 
Columbus heeded the statement given to him by an enlightened mind. Had he, like others, merely heard the fact and done nothing about it, his name would never have become historical. Columbus DARED! He knew and dared and with steadfast will followed his own convictions and achieved his goal.
 
It is, of course, senseless to dare if you know nothing about what you are attempting to do. It is equally senseless to will if you don't know in which direction to use your will power.
 
A man who vainly considers himself daring by standing on his head on the edge of a skyscraper, and waving his legs at all angles, is not only a nuisance but a fool. He is not more aid to humanity than his brother adventurer who perches himself on top of a flagstaff for several days, to show fellow creatures that a human being can put himself into a very uncomfortable and unnecessary position!
 
Colonel Lindbergh proved himself very heroic by flying the Atlantic. He knew, he dared, he willed--and won! Aviation was his one passion. For years, since a cadet, he studied all there was to know about his work. Knowing, he dared to put his knowledge of piloting an airplane into use, to prove to mankind that they could do more with aviation than had until then been attempted. Had Lindbergh had a weak will he may never have crossed the ocean. But with his knowledge and daring and will, his great plan was put into motion and produced results that have become history.
 
I have often heard people say, "It would be hopeless for me to study anything. I love music and would like to play, but it would be too difficult for me."
 
Those persons are the ones who want good results, but are not eager to make any effort to earn them. They are the ones to be caught with those glowing advertisements one often comes across in magazines. "Learn to play the piano in ten easy lessons and shock your friends." Any sensible person knows that several years, at least, must be given to music in order to know anything about it and play presentably.
 
Great mysteries and astonishing systems promising mastership in this and that, for a trifling sum, are often advertised for the benefit of mankind--that is to say, for the benefit of that portion of mankind who does the advertising! Like the speedy mastership of music, all such offerings turn out dead sea fruit--very appetizing to read (as advertised) but dry gray ashes when put into use!
 
Wisdom opens her many rooms of wonders only one by one. Worthwhile things can only be mastered slowly, gradually. The unprepared mind, seeking Light, must, like a child, be coached. If a man knows the thing he desires to obtain is good and worthwhile, let him dare to follow his own inner convictions. Putting his will to his knowledge and daring he can obtain anything, even to becoming master of wonderful secrets.
 
A Rosicrucian adept will never be an "egotist." He will never "perform" if the curious demand a sign. But to the soul eager for Light and Wisdom he will always be willing to reveal the way. Then, treading the Path of Wisdom, the neophyte learns that the four keys to wisdom are:
 
To Know
To Dare
To Will
To Keep Silent.
 

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