This was a phrase of mystical import with the Alchemists and Hermetic Philosophers. Pernetty (Dictionnaire Mytho-Hermetique), thus defines it: "The incomparable treasure is the powder of projection, the source of all that is good, since it procures unbounded riches, and a long life, without infirmities, to enjoy them."
The "powder of projection" was the instrument by which they expected to attain to the full perfection of their work. What was this incomparable treasure was the great secret of the Hermetic Philosophers. They concealed the true object of their art under a symbolic language. "Believest thou, O fool," says Artephius, one of them, "that we plainly teach this secret of secrets, taking our words according to their literal signification?" But we do know that it was not, as the world supposed, the transmutation of metals, or the discovery of an elixir of life, but the acquisition of Divine Truth.
Many of the advanced Degrees which were fabricated in the eighteenth century were founded on the Hermetic Philosophy; and they, too, borrowed from it the idea of an incomparable treasure. Thus in the Ultimate Degree of the Council of the Emperors of East and West, which Degree became afterwards the Sublime Prince of the Royal Secret of the ,Scottish Rite, we find this very expression. In the old French instructions we meet with this Sentence: "Let us now offer to the invincible Xerxes our sacred incomparable Treasure, and we shall succeed victoriously" And out of the initial letters of the words of this Sentence in the original French they fabricated the three most important words of the Degree.
This "incomparable treasure" is to the Freemasons precisely what it was to the Hermetic Philosophers-- Divine Truth. "As for the Treasure," says one of these books, the Lumen de Lumine, cited by Hitchcock, "it is not yet discovered, but it is very near."
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