WRITINGS

SEVEN VIRTUES


Sir Godfrey Gregg OHPM, ROMC

In an effort to educate and enlighten brethren someone has to research where we came from, where we are and where we are going. The enthusiasm may not be present, but I am resolved to work till I am called from works unto reward. I will try in this lecture to highlight the numerology of 3, 5 and 7.

Three, five, and seven

Dear Brethren, I am pleased to have a paper written by a Brother from Norway to include in this issue of Three Five and Seven. As you read the following paper written by Brother Ola Morken I’m sure you will enjoy and learn from it as I have.

A member of The Mystical Court’s most important work is building his own strength of character. The training of our moral and ethical capacities is a lifelong study. Mystical Court members know that this is a very difficult task to engage in, and there is no guarantee that we will succeed. In order to assist ourselves in this work, we have chosen guidelines for our moral and ethical development. These guidelines are known as the Virtues of The Mystical Court.

Moral, ethical principles, and values expressed through Virtues are not a Mystical invention. The issue of creating a moral and ethical code to guide our lives has been a concern for Man for more than 2500 years. In the time of the Antiquity, approximately 400 years B.C., the great
philosophers like Socrates, Plato and Aristotle were all discussing and advocating the necessity for Man and their leaders to develop moral virtues in order to create a good life. The essence of their work was expressed in 4 main Virtues. These Virtues, usually called the Classical Virtues should be the guidelines accepted by any free and rational man. Morality is the result of stable attitudes, willpower and characteristics, that is both distinguishing the person carrying out an action, as well as the action itself, in a positive manner.

The Latin word Virtue comes from Vir, manly, and is a synonym of courage and strength.

The 4 Classical Virtues are:
Justice or righteousness, in Latin called Justitia. Justitia is in visual Art often portrayed as a blindfolded female carrying a Scale in one hand and a broken sword in the other.
Wisdom or prudence, in Latin Prudentia. It is said that prudence is the mother of wisdom. Prudentia is in arts often seen as a female with a mirror in her right hand and a snake in the left hand.
Courage or bravery, in Latin Fortitudo, in visual art often shown as a marble column.
The 4th Mystical Virtue is self Moderation or self restraint, or in Latin Temperantia. In art often expressed as 2 vessels or goblets.

Both Plato and Aristotle claimed that in order to execute the values in one of the 4 Virtues, a man should know them all. For, as they claimed, a man cannot be just or righteous without being wise.
Plato claims, in his Dialogues, that every Virtue is knowledge, possibly the knowledge of right and wrong. Socrates was convinced there are eternal and absolute rules for what is right and wrong.
And by using our ratio we can all learn these rules, for, as he claimed: Human reason is eternal and unchangeable. And as history has shown, without knowledge and wisdom, even common sense can fail.

Justice was ranked the most distinguished Virtue. In his book “the State,” Plato claims that Justice should be the highest objective for the State and its guardians. He uses the term “guardian” for what we today would call politicians or leaders. He thinks that the leaders do not
necessarily need to have special knowledge in every field, but they should possess general Qualities. Qualities expressed through the 4 classical virtues.

Further he emphasizes the importance of a harmonic interaction between the virtues themselves. When Justice is the objective, the 3 other virtues need to have a mutual related hierarchy in order to uphold the Justice. Wisdom should here be on top to govern the courage and the self-restraint so, they can be able to maintain Justice. The anger triggered by breach of Justice activates courage and bravery that will need to be governed by wisdom.
Composure or self restraint support the suppression of desire so that the human can be satisfied with only what is deemed necessary to have a complete and full life. Through self restraint, we can prevent development of greed and selfishness that in turn can offend the justice. But wisdom can be misused. If wisdom is degraded to a servant for our lust and greed, it can become an instrument for evil. It can use its shrewdness to satisfy our lust and desire.

The early Christians saw this danger and later added three more Virtues. These Virtues are mainly referred to as the theological, or Christian Virtues. Christianity accepted the Virtues of the Antiquity, and together with the new theological Virtues, they formed a platform for our Church.
The three Christian Virtues are:
FAITH, in Latin Fides. In visual Art often depicted as a chalice.
HOPE, or Spes in Latin language, has been seen expressed through a Crown.
And finally according to St. Paul, the greatest of all Virtues; MERCY or Caritas in Latin. Often portrayed as a child.

These are also called the 7 Cardinal virtues.
In The Mystical Court we have compressed all these qualities into four (4) Mystical Virtues; Silence, Prudence, Temperance, and Mercy.
Silence, Prudence, and Temperance are the classical virtues, while Caritas represent the theological Virtues. Mercy is a product of love, and according to St. Paul all our acts, our faith, knowledge, and talents are void unless they are of love. A man of mercy has no fear, for a good
conscience is his companion.

In the Times of Plato and Aristotle, the Virtues were mainly developed for the community. If every human being is familiar with the Virtues and lives by them, this would automatically create a harmonic community and a good life for each individual. To act according to the Virtual rules is to do good because the act in itself is good, and not only an act of duty. One should strive to develop respect for each other as well as for oneself. The
same principles have been brought onward with Christianity, and later by the Mystical Court.
The man has known Virtues and their values for more than two thousand (2000) years. But history has shown that the principles at times have suffered from very unfavorable conditions.

But to the Mystical Court Brethren around the world, they are still their moral and ethical guidelines. We are lucky to be a part of a fellowship that has committed itself to the work of developing self-knowledge and wisdom within ourselves. To teach us high values and moral ethics so we can be
an example to others. It is a strenuous but honourable work.

We have the tools, we know the goal, so in the end what matters is how we use our tools.

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