William Quan Judge -- USA
William Q. Judge, one of the three principal founders of the TS
The great Theosophical Adepts in looking around the world for a mind through which they could produce in America the reaction which was then needed, found in England, Thomas Paine. In 1774 they influenced him, through the help of that worthy Brother Benjamin Franklin, to come to America. He came here and was the main instigator of the separation of the Colonies from the British Crown. At the suggestion of Washington, Franklin, Jefferson and other Freemasons, whose minds through the teachings of the symbolic degrees of masonry were fitted to reason correctly, and to reject theological conservation, he wrote “Common Sense,” which was the torch to the pile whose blaze burned away the bonds between England and America. For “Common Sense” he was often publicly thanked. George Washington wrote September 10th, 1783, to Paine: “I shall be exceedingly happy to see you. Your presence may remind Congress of your past services to this country, and if it is in my power to impress them, command my best exertions with freedom, as they will be rendered cheerfully by one who entertains a lively sense of the importance of your works.” And again in June 1784, in a letter to Madison, Washington says: “Can nothing be done in our assembly for poor Paine? Must the merits and services of "Common Sense" continue to glide down the stream of time unrewarded by this country? His writings certainly have had a powerful effect upon the public mind. Ought they not then to meet an adequate return?”
In the “Age of Reason” which he wrote in Paris several years after, Paine says: “I saw, or at least I thought I saw, a vast scene opening itself to the world in the affairs of America; and it appeared to me that unless the Americans changed the plan they were then pursuing and declared themselves independent, they would not only involve themselves in a multiplicity of new difficulties, but shut out the prospect that was then offering itself to mankind through their means.” Further on he says: “There are two distinct classes of thoughts; those produced by reflection, and those that bolt into the mind of their own accord. I have always made it a rule to treat these voluntary visitors with civility, and it is from them I have acquired all the knowledge that I have.”
These “voluntary visitors” were injected into his brain by the Adepts, Theosophists. Seeing that a new order of ages was about to commence and that there was a new chance for freedom and the brotherhood of man, they laid before the eye of Thomas Paine – who they knew could be trusted to stand almost alone with the lamp of truth in his hand amidst others who in “times that tried men's souls” quaked with fear, a “vast scene opening itself to Mankind in the affairs of America.” The result was the Declaration, the Constitution for America. And as if to give point to these words and to his declaration that he saw this vast scene opening itself, this new order of ages, the design of the reverse side of the U.S. great seal is a pyramid whose capstone is removed with the blazing eye in a triangle over it dazzling the sight, above it are the words “the heavens approve,” while underneath appears the startling sentence “a new order of ages.”
That he had in his mind's eye a new order of ages we cannot doubt upon reading in his “Rights of Man,” Part 2, Chap. 2, “no beginning could be made in Asia, Africa or Europe, to reform the political condition of man. She (America) made a stand not for herself alone, but for the world, and looked beyond the advantage she could receive.” In Chap. 4, “The case and circumstances of America present themselves as in the beginning of a world... there is a morning of reason rising upon man, on the subject of Government, that has not appeared before.”
The design “of the seal” was not an accident, but was actually intended to symbolize the building and firm founding of a new order of ages. It was putting into form the idea which by means of a “voluntary visitor” was presented to the mind of Thomas Paine, of a vast scene opening itself, the beginning in America of “a new order of ages.” That side of the seal has never been cut or used, and at this day the side in use has not the sanction of law. In the spring of 1841, when Daniel Webster was Secretary of State, a new seal was cut, and instead of the eagle holding in his sinister claw 13 arrows as intended, he holds only six. Not only was this change unauthorized, but the cause for it is unknown. When the other side is cut and used, will not the new order of ages have actually been established?
More then is claimed for the Theosophical Adepts than the changing of baser metal into gold, or the possession of such a merely material thing as the elixir of life. They watch the progress of man and help him on in his halting flight up the steep plane of progress.
They hovered over Washington, Jefferson, and all of the other brave freemasons who dared to found a free Government of the West, which could be pure from the dross of dogmatism, they cleared their minds, inspired their pens and left upon the great seal of this mighty nation the memorial of their presence.
Selection from “The Adepts in America in 1776.”
The Theosophist, October 1883