Note:  The following material is a scanned-in research resource; it is NOT intended as an exact reproduction of the original volume. Due to computer display variances, page numbers are approximate. Scanned at Phoenixmasonry by Ralph Omholt, PM - June 2007.

The History Of Freemasonry

By

Albert G. Mackey 33


VOLUME TWO

 

PART I. - PREHISTORIC MASONRY

 

CHAPTER                                                                                 PAGE

                                                                                    [Original Volumes  /  This Copy]

30. - Freemasonry and the House of Stuart.......................................... 267  /  6

31. - The Jesuits in Freemasonry ...................................................... 286   /   25

32. - Oliver Cromwell and Freemasonry ............................................. 293   /  34

33. - The Royal Society and Freemasonry ........................................ 301   /   42

34. - The Astrologers and the Freemasons ....................................... 315   /  56

35. - The Rosicrucians and the Freemasons .................................... 329   /  72

36. - The Rosicrucianism of the High Degrees ................................. 352   /  95

37. - The Pythagoreans and Freemasonry ...................................... 360   /  102

38. - Freemasonry and the Gnostics ............................................... 371   /  115

39. - The Socinians and Freemasonry ............................................. 382   /  126

40. - Freemasonry and the Essenes ................................................ 387   /  128

41. - The Legend of Enoch ............................................................... 396   /  140

42. - Noah and the Noachites ........................................................... 406   /  152

43. - The Legend of Hiram Abif ......................................................... 412   /  158

44. - The Leland Manuscript ............................................................. 433   /  179

 

 

PART 2. - HISTORY OF FREEMASONRY

 

1. - Preliminary Outlook .................................................................... 455   /  200

2. - The Roman Colleges of Artificers ............................................. 471   /  218

3. - Growth of the Roman Colleges................................................... 488   /  235

4. - The First Link; Settlement of Roman Colleges of Artificers in

the Provinces of the Empire................................................... 502   /  251

5. - Early Masonry in France.............................................................. 516   /  266

6. - Early Masonry in Britain............................................................ 530   /  281

7. - Masonry Among the Anglo-Saxons ......................................... 540   /  293

8. - The Anglo-Saxon Guilds ........................................................... 559   /  315

 

 

 

LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS

 

VOLUME TWO

PAGE

 

Henry Price .................................................................................. 300   /  45

Plate of Symbols ......................................................................... 332   /  70

The Discovery ............................................................................. 364   /  112

George Washington .................................................................... 400   /  146

Procession of the Scald Miserables in 1741 ............................ 432   /  178

Moses and the Burning Bush .................................................... 464   /  211

John Theophilus Desaguliers ................................................... 492   /  245

Youth, Manhood, and Old Age .................................................. 524   /  279

The Ark of the Covenant and the Tabernacle .......................... 556   /  317

 


 



 

 

CHAPTER XXX

 

FREEMASONRY AND THE HOUSE OF STUART

 

THE theory that connects the royal house of the, Stuarts with Freemasonry, as an Institution to be cultivated, not on account of its own intrinsic merit, but that it might serve as a political engine to be wielded for the restoration of an exiled family to a throne which the follies and even the crimes of its members had forfeited, is so repugnant to all that has been supposed to be congruous with the true spirit and character of Freemasonry, that one would hardly believe that such a theory was ever seriously entertained, were it not for many too conclusive proofs of the fact.

 

            The history of the family of Stuart, from the accession of James I. to the throne of England to the death of the last of his descendants, the young Pretender, is a narrative of follies and sometimes of crimes.

 

            The reign of James was distinguished only by arts which could gain for him no higher title with posterity than that of a royal pedant.

 

            His son and successor Charles I. was beheaded by an indignant people whose constitutional rights and ideals he had sought to betray.

 

            His son Charles II., after a long exile was finally restored to the throne, only to pass a life of indolence and licentiousness.

 

            On his death he was succeeded by his brother James II., a prince distinguished only for his bigotry.

 

            Zealously attached to the Roman Catholic religion, he sought to restore its power and influence among his subjects, who were for the most part Protestants.

 

            To save the Established Church and the religion of the nation, his estranged subjects called to the throne the Protestant Prince of Orange, and James, abdicating the crown, fled to France, where he was hospitably received with his followers by Louis XIV., who could, however, say nothing better of him than that he had given three crowns for a mass.

 

            From 1688, the date of his abdication and flight, until the year 1745 the exiled family were e ngaged in repeated but unavailing attempts to recover the throne.

 

            It is not unreasonable to suppose that in these attempts the partisans of the house of Stuart were not unwilling to accept the influence of the Masonic Institution, as one of the most powerful instruments whereby to effect their purpose.

 

            It is true that in this, the Institution would have been diverted from its true design, but the object of the Jacobites, as they were called, or the adherents of King James was not to elevate the character of Freemasonry but only to advance the cause of the Pretender

 

It must however be understood that this theory which connects the Stuarts with Masonry does not suppose that the third or Master's degree was invented by them or their adherents, but only that there were certain modifications in the application of its Legend.

 

            Thus, the Temple was interpreted as alluding to the monarchy, the death of its Builder to the execution of Charles I., or to the destruction of the succession by the compulsory abdication of James II., and the dogma of the resurrection to the restoration of the Stuart family to the throne of England.

 

            Thus, one of the earliest instances of this political interpretation of the Master's legend was that made after the expulsion of James II. from the throne and his retirement to France.

 

            The mother of James was Henrietta Maria, queen of Charles I. The Jacobites called her "the Widow," and the exiled James became "the Widow's son," receiving thus the title applied in the Masonic Legend to Hiram Abif, whose death they said symbolized the loss of the throne and the expulsion of the Stuarts from England?

 

They carried this idea to such an extent as to invent a name, substitute word for the Master's degree, in the place of the old one, which was known to the English Masons at the time of the Revival in 1717.

 

            This new word was not, as the significant words of Masonry usually are, of Hebrew origin, but was derived from the Gaelic. And this seems to have been done in compliment to the Highlanders, most of whom were loyal adherents of the Stuart cause.

 

            The word Macbenac is derived from the Gaelic Mac, a son, and benach, blessed, and literally means the "blessed son; " and this word was applied by the Jacobites to James, who was thus not only a "widow's son" but "blessed" one, too.

 

            Masonry was here made subservient to loyalty.

 

            They also, to mark their political antipathy to the enemies of the Stuart family, gave to the most prominent leaders of the republican cause, the names in which old Masonry had been appropriated to the assassins of the third degree. In the Stuart Masonry we find these assassins designated by names, generally unintelligible, but, when they can be explained, evidently referring to some well‑known opponent of the Stuart dynasty.

 

            Thus, Romvel is manifestly an imperfect anagram of Cromwell, and Jubelum Guibbs doubtless was intended as an infamous embalmment of the name of the Rev. Adam Gib, an antiburgher clergyman, who, when the Pretender was in Edinburgh in 1745, hurled anathemas, for five successive Sundays against him.

 

            But it was in the fabrication of the high degrees that the partisans of the Stuarts made the most use of Freemasonry as a political instrument.

 

            The invention of these high degrees is to be attributed in the first place to the Chevalier Ramsay.

 

            He was connected in the most intimate relation with the exiled family, having been selected by the titular James III., or, as he was commonly known in England, the Old Pretender, as the tutor of his two sons, Charles Edward and Henry, the former of whom afterward became the Young Pretender, and the latter Cardinal York.

 

            Ardently attached, to this relationship, by his nationality as a Scotsman, and by his religion as a Roman Catholic, to the Stuarts and their cause, he met with ready acquiescence the advances of those who had already begun to give a political aspect to the Masonic System, and also were seeking to enlist it in the Pretender's cause.

 

            Ramsay therefore aided in the modification of the old degrees or the fabrication of new ones, so that these views might be incorporated in a peculiar system; and hence in many of the high degrees invented either by Ramsay or by others of the same school, we will find these traces of a political application to the family of Stuart, which were better understood at that time than they are now.

 

            Thus, one of the high degrees ‑received the name of " Grand Scottish Mason of James VI." Of this degree Tessier says that it is the principal degree of the ancient Master's system, and was revived and esteemed by James VI., King of Scotland and of Great Britain, and that it is still preserved in Scotland more than in any other kingdom. {1}

 

All of this is of course a mere fiction, but it shows that there has been a sort of official acknowledgment of the interference with Masonry by the Stuarts, who did not hesitate to give the name of the first founder of their house on the English throne to one of the degrees.

 

            Another proof is found in the word Jekson, which is a significant word in one of the high Scottish or Ramsay degrees.

 

            It is thus spelled in the Calhiers or manuscript French rituals.

 

            There can be no doubt that it is a corruption of Jacquesson, a mongrel word compounded of the French Jacques and the English son, and denotes the son of James, that is, of James II.

 

            This son was the Old Pretender, or the Chevalier St. George, who after the death of his father assumed the empty title of James Ill., and whose son, the Young Pretender, was one of the pupils of the Chevalier Ramsay.

 

            These, with many other similar instances, are very palpable proofs that the adherents of the Stuarts sought to infuse a political element into the spirit of Masonry, so as to make it a facile instrument for the elevation of the exiled family and the restoration of their head to the throne of England.

 

            Of the truth of this fact, it is supposed that much support is to be found in the narrative of the various efforts for restoration made by the Stuarts.

 

            When James II. made his flight from England he repaired to France, where he was hospitably received by Louis XIV.

 

            He took up his residence while in Paris at the Jesuitical College of Clermont.

 

            There, it is said, he first sought, with the assistance of the Jesuits, to establish a system of Masonry which should be employed by his partisans in their schemes for his restoration to the throne, After an unsuccessful invasion of Ireland he returned to France and repaired to St. Germain‑en‑Laye, a city about ten miles northwest of Paris, where he lived until the time of his death in 1701. It is one of the Stuart myths that at the Chateau of St. Germain some of the high degrees were fabricated by the adherents of James II., assisted by the Jesuits.

 

            The story is told by Robison, a professed enemy of Freemasonry, but who gives with correctness the general form of the Stuart Legend as it was taught in the last century.

 

{1} "Manuel Generale de Maconnerie," p. 148

 

Robison says: "The revolution had taken place, and King James, with many of his most zealous adherents, had taken refuge in France.

 

            But they took Freemasonry with them to the Continent, where it was immediately received by the French, and cultivated with great zeal in a manner suited to the taste and habits of that highly polished people.

 

            The Lodges in France naturally became the rendezvous of the adherents of the exiled king, and the means of carrying on a correspondence with their friends in England."{1}

 

Robison says that at this time the Jesuits took an active part in Freemasonry, and united with the English Lodges, with the view of creating an influence in favor of the re‑establishment of the Roman Catholic religion in England.

 

            But the supposed connection of the Jesuits with Freemasonry pertains to an independent proposition. to be hereafter considered.

 

            Robison further says that "it was in the Lodge held at St. Germain that the degree of Chevalier Macon Ecossais was added to the three symbolical degrees of English Masonry.

 

            The Constitution, as imported, appeared too coarse for the refined taste of the French, and they must make Masonry more like the occupation of a gentleman.

 

            Therefore the English degrees of Apprentice, Fellowcraft, and Master were called symbolical, and the whole contrivance was considered either as typical of something more elegant or as a preparation for it.

 

            The degrees afterward superadded to this leave us in doubt which of these views the French entertained of our Masonry.

 

            But, at all events, this rank of Scotch Knight was called the first degree of the Macon Parfait.

 

            There is a device belonging to this Lodge which deserves notice.

 

            A lion wounded by an arrow, and escaped from the stake to which he had been bound, with the broken rope still about his neck, is represented lying at the mouth of a cave, and occupied with mathematical instruments, which are lying near him.

 

            A broken crown lies at the foot of the stake.

 

            There can be little doubt but that this emblem alludes to the dethronement, the captivity, the escape, and the asylum of James II, and his hopes of re‑establishment by the help of the

 

{1} "Proofs of a Conspiracy," p. 27

 

loyal Brethren. This emblem is worn as the gorget of the Scotch Knight. It is not very certain, however, when this degree was added, whether immediately after King James's abdication or about the time of the attempt to set his son on the British throne. {1}

 

This extract from Robison presents a very fair specimen of the way in which Masonic history was universally written in the last century and is still written by a few in the present.

 

            Although it cannot be denied that at a subsequent period the primitive degrees were modified and changed ill their application of the death of Hiram Abif to that of Charles I., or the dethronement of James II, and that higher degrees were created with still more definite allusion to the destinies of the family of Stuart, yet it is very evident that no such measures could have been taken during the lifetime of James II.

 

            The two periods referred to by Robison, the time of the abdication of James II, which was in 1688, and the attempt of James III, as he was called, to regain the throne, which was in 1715, as being, one or the other, the date of the fabrication of the degree of Scottish Knight or Master, are both irreconcilable with the facts of history.

 

            The symbolical degrees of Fellow Craft and Master had not been invented before 1717, or rather a few years later, and it is absurd to speak of higher degrees cumulated upon lower ones which did not at that time exist. James II. died in 1701.

 

            At that day we have no record of any sort of Speculative Masonry except that of the one degree which was common to Masons of all ranks.

 

            The titular King James Ill., his son, succeeded to the claims and pretensions of his father, of course, in that year, but made no attempt to enforce them until 1715, at which time he invaded England with a fleet and army supplied by Louis XIV.

 

            But in 17I5, Masonry was in the same condition that it had been in 1701.

 

            There was no Master's degree to supply a Legend capable of alteration for a political purpose, and the high degrees were altogether unknown.

 

            The Grand Lodge of England, the mother of all Continental as well as English Masonry, was not established, or as Anderson improperly calls it, " revived," until 1717.

 

            The Institution was not introduced into France until 1725, and there could, therefore, have been no political Masonry practiced in a

 

{1} "Proofs of a Conspiracy," p. 28

 

country where the pure Masonry of which it must have been a corruption did not exist.

 

            Scottish or Stuart Masonry was a superstructure built upon the foundation of the symbolic Masonry of the three degrees.

 

            If in 1715 there was, as we know, no such foundation, it follows, of course, that there could have been no superstructure.

 

            The theory, therefore, that Stuart Masonry, or the fabrication of degrees and the change of the primitive rituals to establish a system to be engaged in the support and the advancement of the falling cause of the Stuarts, was commenced during the lifetime of James II., and that the royal chateau of St. Germain‑en‑Laye was the manufactory in which, between the years 1689 and 1701, these degrees and rituals were fabricated, is a mere fable not only improbable but absolutely impossible in all its details.

 

            Rebold, however, gives another form to the Legend and traces the rise of Stuart Masonry to a much earlier period.

 

            In his History of the Three Grand Lodges he says that during the troubles which distracted Great Britain about the middle of the 17th century and after the decapitation of Charles I in 1649, the Masons of England, and especially those of Scotland, labored secretly for the re‑ establishment of the monarchy which had been overthrown by Cromwell.

 

            For the accomplishment of this purpose they invented two higher degrees and gave to Freemasonry an entirely political character.

 

            The dissensions to which the country was a prey had already produced a separation of the Operative and the Accepted Masons‑that is to say, of the builders by profession and those honorary members who were not Masons.

 

            These latter were men of power and high position, and it was through their influence that Charles II., having been received as a Mason during his exile, was enabled to recover the throne in 1660.

 

            This prince gratefully gave to Masonry the title of the " Royal Art," because it was Freemasonry that had principally contributed to the restoration of royalty.{1} Ragon, in his Masonic Orthodoxy,{2} is still more explicit and presents some new details.

 

            He says that Ashmole and other Brethren of the Rose Croix, seeing that the Speculative Masons were surpassing in numbers the Operative, had renounced the simple initiation of the latter and established new degrees founded on the

 

{1} "Histoire de Trois Grandes Loges," p. 32 {2} Ragon, "Orthodoxie Maconnique," p. 29

 

 

Mysteries of Egypt and Greece.

 

            The Fellow Craft degree was fabricated in 1648, and that of Master a short time afterward.

 

            But the decapitation of King Charles I, and the part taken by Ashmole in favor of the Stuarts produced great modifications in this third and last degree, which had become of a Biblical character.

 

            The same epoch gave birth to the degrees of Secret Master, Perfect Master, and Irish Master, of which Charles I was the hero, under the name of Hiram.

 

            These degrees, he says, were, however, not then openly practiced, although they afterward became the ornament of Ecossaism.

 

            But the non‑operative or "Accepted " members of the organization secretly gave to the Institution, especially in Scotland, a political tendency.

 

            The chiefs or protectors of the Craft in Scotland worked, in the dark, for the re‑establishment of the throne.

 

            They made use of the seclusion of the Masonic Lodges as places where they might hold their meetings and concert their plans in safety.

 

            As the execution of Charles I. was to be avenged, his partisans fabricated a Templar degree, in which the violent death of James de Molay called for vengeance.

 

            Ashmole, who partook of that political sentiment, then modified the degree of Master and the Egyptian doctrine of which it was composed, and made it conform to the two preceding degrees framing a Biblical allegory, incomplete and in‑ consistent, so that the initials of the sacred words of these three degrees should compose those of the name and title of the Grand Master of the Templars.

 

            Northouck, {1} who should have known better, gives countenance to these supercheries of history by asserting that Charles II. was made a Mason during his exile, although he carefully omits to tell us when, where, how, or by whom the initiation was effected; but seeks, with a flippancy that ought to provoke a smile, to prove that Charles II. took a great interest in Masonry and architecture, by citing the preamble to the charter of the Royal Society, an association whose object was solely the cultivation of the philosophical and mathematical sciences, especially astronomy and chemistry, and whose members took no interest in the art of building.

 

            Dr. Oliver, whose unfortunate failing was to accept without careful examination all the statements of preceding writers, however

 

{1} "Constitutions," p. 141

 

absurd they might be, repeats substantially these apochryphal tales about early Stuart Masonry.

 

            He says that, about the close of the 17th century, the followers of James II. who accompanied the unfortunate monarch in his exile carried Freemasonry to France and laid the foundation of that system of innovation which subsequently threw the Order into confusion, by the establishment of a new degree, which they called the Chevalier Naron Ecossais, and worked the details in the Lodge at St. Germain.

 

            Hence, he adds, other degrees were invented in the Continental Lodges which became the rendezvous of the partisans of James, and by these means they held communication with their friends in England. {1}

 

But as the high degrees were not fabricated until more than a third of the 18th century had passed, and as James died in 1701, we are struck with the confusion that prevails in this statement as to dates and persons.

 

            It is very painful and embarrassing to the scholar who is really in search of truth to meet with such caricatures of history, in which the boldest and broadest assumptions are offered in the place of facts, the most absurd fables are presented as narratives of actual occurrences, chronology is put at defiance, anachronisms are coolly perpetrated, the events of the 18th century are transferred to the 17th, the third degree is said to have been modified in its ritual during the Commonwealth, when we know that no third degree was in existence until after 1717; and we are told that high degrees were invented at the same time, although history records the fact that the first of them was not fabricated until about the year 1728.

 

            Such writers, if they really believed what they had written, must have adopted the axiom of the credulous Tertullian, who said, Credo quia impossible est ‑ "I believe because it is impossible." Better would it be to remember the saying of Polybius, that if we eliminate truth from history nothing will remain but an idea too.

 

            We must, then, reject as altogether untenable the theory that there was any connection between the Stuart family and Freemasonry during the time of James II., for the simple reason that at that period there was no system of Speculative Masonry existing

 

{1} "Historical Landmarks, " II., p. 28

 

which could have been perverted by the partisans of that family into a political instrument for its advancement.

 

            If there was any connection at all, it must be looked for as developed at a subsequent period.

 

            The views of Findel on this subject, as given in his History of Freemasonry, are worthy of attention, because they are divested of that mystical element so conspicuous and so embarrassing in all the statements which have been heretofore cited. His language is as follows:

 

"Ever since the banishment of the Stuarts from England in 1688, secret alliances had been kept up between Rome and Scotland; for to the former place the Pretender James Stuart had retired in 1719 and his son Charles Edward born there in 1720; and these communications became the more intimate the higher the hopes of the Pretender rose.

 

            The Jesuits played a very important part in these conferences.

 

            Regarding the reinstatement of the Stuarts and the extension of the power of the Roman Church as identical, they sought at that time to make the Society of Free‑ masons subservient to their ends.

 

            But to make use of the Fraternity, to restore the exiled family to the throne, could not have been contemplated, as Freemasonry could hardly be said to exist in Scotland then.

 

            Perhaps in 1724, when Ramsay was a year in Rome, or in 1728, when the Pretender in Parma kept up an intercourse with the restless Duke of Wharton, a Past Grand Master, this idea was first entertained, and then when it was apparent how difficult it would be to corrupt the loyalty and fealty of Freemasonry in the Grand Lodge of Scotland, founded in 1736, this scheme was set on foot of assembling the faithful adherents of the banished royal family in the High Degrees! The soil that was best adapted for this innovation was France, where the low ebb to which Masonry had sunk had paved the way for all kinds of new‑fangled notions, and where the Lodges were composed of Scotch conspirators and accomplices of the Jesuits.

 

            When the path had thus been smoothed by the agency of these secret propagandists, Ramsay, at that time Grand Orator (an office unknown in England), by his speech completed the preliminaries necessary for the introduction of the High Degrees; their further development was left to the instrumentality of others, whose influence produced a result somewhat different from that originally intended." {1}

 

{1} "Geschichte der Freimaurerei" ‑ Translation of Lyon, p. 209

 

After the death of James II. his son, commonly called the Chevalier St. George, does not appear to have actively prosecuted his claims to the throne beyond the attempted invasion of England in 1715.

 

            He afterward retired to Rome, where the remainder of his life was passed in the quiet observation of religious duties.

 

            Nor is there any satisfactory evidence that he was in any way connected with Freemasonry.

 

            In the meantime, his sons, who had been born at Rome, were intrusted to the instructions of the Chevalier Michael Andrew Ramsay, who was appointed their tutor.

 

            Ramsay was a man of learning and genius‑a Scotsman, a Jacobite, and a Roman Catholic‑ but he was also an ardent Freemason.

 

            As a Jacobite he was prepared to bend all his powers to accomplish the restoration of the Stuarts to what he believed to be their lawful rights.

 

            As a Freemason he saw in that Institution a means, if properly directed, of affecting that purpose.

 

            Intimately acquainted with the old Legends of Masonry, he resolved so to modify them as to transfer their Biblical to political allusions.

 

            With this design he commenced the fabrication of a series of High Degrees, under whose symbolism he concealed a wholly political object.

 

            These High Degrees had also a Scottish character, which is to be attributed partly to the nationality of Ramsay and partly to a desire to effect a political influence among the Masons of Scotland, in which country the first attempts for the restoration of the Stuarts were to be made.

 

            Hence we have to this day in Masonry such terms as "Ecossaim," " Scottish Knights of St.

 

            Andrew," " Scottish Master," "Scottish Architect," and the " Scottish Rite," the use of which words is calculated to produce upon readers not thoroughly versed in Masonic history the impression that the High Degrees of Freemasonry originated in Scotland‑an impression which it was the object of Ramsay to make.

 

            There is another word for which the language of Masonry has been indebted to Ramsay.

 

            This is Heredom, indifferently spelled in the old rituals, Herodem, Heroden and Heredon.

 

            Now the etymology of this word is very obscure and various attempts have been made to trace it to some sensible signification.

 

            One writer {1} thinks that the word is derived from the Greek

 

{1} London Freemasons' Magazine

 

hieros, ‑ "holy," ‑ and domos, "house," and that it means the holy house, that is the Temple, is ingenious and it has been adopted by some recent authorities.

 

            Ragon, {1} however, offers a different etymology.

 

            He thinks that it is a corrupted form of the mediaeval Latin haredum, which signifies a heritage, and that it refers to the Chateau of St. Germain, the residence for a long time of the exiled Stuarts and the only heritage which was left to them.

 

            If we accept this etymology I should rather be inclined to think that the heritage referred to the throne of Great Britain, which they claimed as their lawful possession, and of which, in the opinion of their partisans, they had been unrighteously despoiled.

 

            This derivation is equally as ingenious and just as plausible as the former one, and if adopted will add another link to the chain of evidence which tends to prove that the high degrees were originally fabricated by Ramsay to advance the cause of the Stuart dynasty.

 

            Whatever may be the derivation of the word the rituals leave us in no doubt as to what was its pretended meaning.

 

            In one of these rituals, that of the Grand Architect, we meet with the following questions and answers:

 

Q. Where was your first Lodge held?

 

A. Between three mountains, inaccessible to the profane, where cock never crew, lion roared, nor woman chattered; in a profound valley.

 

Q. What are these three mountains named?

 

A. Mount Moriah, in the bosom of the land of Gabaon, Mount Sinai, and the Mountain of Heredon.

 

Q. What is this Mountain of Heredon?

 

A. A mountain situated between the West and the North of Scotland, at the end of the sun's course, where the first Lodge of Masonry was held; in that terrestrial part which has given name to Scottish Masonry.

 

Q. What do you mean by a profound valley?

 

A. I mean the tranquillity of our Lodges.

 

From this catechism we learn that in inventing the word Heredon to designate a fabulous mountain, situated in some unknown part of Scotland, Ramsay meant to select that kingdom as the

 

{1} "Orthodoxie Maconnique," p. 91

 

birthplace of those Masonic degrees by whose instrumentality he expected to raise a powerful support in the accomplishment of the designs of the Jacobite party.

 

            The selection of this country was a tribute to his own national prejudices and to those of his countrymen.

 

            Again: by the "profound valley," which denoted " the tranquillity of the Lodges," Ramsay meant to inculcate the doctrine that in the seclusion of these Masonic reunions, where none were to be permitted to enter except "the well‑tried, true, and trusty," the plans of the conspirators to overthrow the Hanoverian usurpation and to effect the restoration of the Stuarts could be best conducted.

 

            Fortunately for the purity of the non‑political character of the Masonic Institution, this doctrine was not generally accepted by the Masons of Scotland.

 

            But there is something else concerning this word Heredon, in its connection with Stuart Freemasonry, that is worth attention.

 

            There is an Order of Freemasonry, at this day existing, almost exclusively in Scotland.

 

            It is caged the Royal Order of Scotland, and consists of two degrees, entitled "Heredon of Kilwinning," and "Rosy Cross." The first is said, in the traditions of the Order, to have originated in the reign of David I., in the 12th century, and the second to have been instituted by Robert Bruce, who revived the former and incorporated the two into one Order, of which the King of Scotland was forever to be the head.

 

            This tradition is, however, attacked by Bro. Lyon, in his History of the Lodge of Edinburgh.

 

            He denies that the Lodge at Kilwinning ever at any period practiced or acknowledged any other than the Craft degrees, or that there exists any tradition, local or national, worthy of the name, or any authentic document yet discovered that can in the remotest degree be held to identify Robert Bruce with the holding of Masonic courts or the institution of a secret society at Kilwinning

 

"The paternity of the Royal Order," he says, " is now pretty generally attributed to a Jacobite Knight named Andrew Ramsay, a devoted follower of the Pretender, and famous as the fabricator of certain rites, inaugurated in France about 1735‑40, and through the propagator of which it must hoped the fallen fortunes of the Stuarts would be retrieved."' {1}

 

On September 24, 1745, soon after the commencement of his 

 

{1} "History of the Lodge of Edinburgh," p. 307

 

 

invasion of Britain, Charles Edward, the son of the Old Pretender, or Chevalier St. George, styled by his adherents James III., is said to have been admitted into the Order of Knights Templars, and to have been elected its Grand Master, a position which he held until his death.

 

            Such is the tradition, but here again we are met by the authentic statements of Bro. Lyon that Templarism was not introduced into Scotland until the year 1798. {1}

 

It was then impossible that Charles Edward could have been made a Templar at Edinburgh in 1745.

 

            It is, however, probable that he was invested with official supremacy over the high degrees which had been fabricated by Ramsay in the interest of his family, and it is not unlikely, as has been affirmed, that, resting his claim on the ritual provision that the Kings of Scotland were the hereditary Grand Masters of the Royal Order, he had assumed that title.

 

            Of this we have something like an authentic proof, something which it is refreshing to get hold of as art oasis of history in this arid desert of doubts and conjectures and assumptions.

 

            In the year 1747, more than twelve months after his return from his disastrous invasion of Scotland and England Charles Edward issued a charter for the formation at the town of Arras in France of what is called in the instrument "a Sovereign Primordial Chapter of Rose Croix under the distinctive title of Scottish Jacobite."

 

In 1853, the Count de Hamel, Prefect of the Department in which Arrasis situated, discovered an authentic copy of the charter in the Departmental archives..

 

            In this document, the Young Pretender gives his Masonic titles in the following words:

 

"We, Charles Edward, King of England, France, Scotland, and Ireland, and as such Substitute Grand Master of the Chapter of H., known by the title of Knight of the Eagle and Pelican, and since our sorrows and misfortunes by that of Rose Croix," etc.

 

            The initial letter "H." undoubtedly designates the Scottish Chapter of Heredon.

 

            Of this body, by its ritual regulation, his father as King of Scotland, would have been the hereditary Grand Master, and he, therefore, only assumes the subordinate one of Substitute.

 

{1} "History of the Lodge of Edinburgh," p. 287

 

 

This charter, of the authenticity of which, as well as the transaction which it records, there appears to be no doubt, settles the question that it was of the Royal Order of Scotland and not of the Knights Templars that Charles Edward was made Grand Master, or himself assumed the Grand Mastership, during his visit in 1745 to Edinburgh.

 

            As that Order and the other High Degrees were fabricated by the Chevalier Ramsay to promote the interests of his cause, his acceptance or assumption of the rank and functions of a presiding officer was a recognition of the plan to use Masonry as a political instrument, and is, in fact, the first and fundamental point in the history of the hypothesis of Stuart Masonry.

 

            We here for the first time get tangible evidence that there was an attempt to connect the institution of Freemasonry with the fortunes and political enterprises of the Stuarts.

 

            The title given to this primordial charter at Arras is further evidence that its design was really political; for the words Ecosse Jacobite, or Scottish Jacobite, were at that period universally accepted as a party name to designate a partisan of the Stuart pretensions to the throne of England.

 

            The charter also shows that the organization of this chapter was intended only as the beginning of a plan to enlist other Masons in the same political design, for the members of the chapter were authorized " not only to make knights, but even to create a chapter in whatever town they mightthink proper," which they actually did in a few instances, among them one at Paris in 1780, which in 1801 ,was united to the Grand Orient of France.

 

            A year after the establishment of the Chapter at Arras, the Rite of the Veille Bru, or the Faithful Scottish Masons, was created at Toulouse in grateful remembrance of the reception given by the Masons of that place to Sir Samuel Lockhart, the aide‑de‑camp of the Pretender.

 

            Ragon says thatthe favorites who accompanied the prince to France were accustomed to sell to certain speculators charters for mother Lodges, patents for Chapters,etc.

 

            These titles were their property and they did not fail to use them as a means of livelihood.

 

            It has been long held as a recognized fact in Masonic history, that the first Lodge established in France by a warrant from the Grand Lodge of England was held in the year 1725.

 

            There is no doubt that a Lodge of Freemasons met in that year at the house of one Hure, and that it was presided over by the titular Earl of Derwentwater.

 

            But the researches of Bro. Hughan have incontestably proved that this was what we would now call a clandestine body, and that the first French Lodge legally established by the Grand Lodge of England was in 1732.

 

            Besides the fact that there is no record in that Grand Lodge of England of any Lodge in France at the early date of 1725, it is most improbable that a warrant would have been granted to so conspicuous a Jacobite as Derwentwater.

 

            Political reasons of the utmost gravity at that time would have forbidden any such action.

 

            Charles Radcliffe, with his brother the Earl of Derwentwater, had been avenged in England for the part taken by them in the rebellion of 1715 to place James III. on the throne.

 

            They were both condemned to death and the earl was executed, but Radcliffe made his escape to France, where he assumed the title which, as he claimed, had devolved upon him by the death of his brother's son.

 

            In the subsequent rebellion of 1745, having attempted to join the Young Pretender, the vessel in which he sailed was captured by an English cruiser, and being carried to London, he was decapitated in December, 1746.

 

            The titular Earl of Derwentwater was therefore a zealous Jacobite, an attainted rebel who had been sentenced to death for his treason, a fugitive from the law, and a pensioner of the Old Pretend. er or Chevalier St. George, who, by the order of Louis XIV., had been proclaimed King of England under the title of James III.

 

            It is absurd, therefore, to suppose that the Grand Lodge of England would have granted to him and to his Jacobite associates a warrant for the establishment of a Lodge.

 

            Its statutes had declared in very unmistakable words that a rebel against the State was not to be countenanced in his rebellion.

 

            But no greater countenance could have been given than to make him the Master of a new Lodge.

 

            Such, however, has until very recently been universally accepted as apart of the authentic history of Masonry in France.

 

            In the words of a modern feuilletonist, "the story was too ridiculous to be believed, and so everybody believed it."

 

But it is an undeniable fact that in 1725 an English Lodge was really opened and held in the house of an English confectionier named Hure.

 

            It was however without regular or legal authority and was probably organized, although we have no recorded evidence to that effect, through the advice and instructions of Ramsay ‑ and was a Jacobite Lodge consisting solely of the adherents and partisans of the Old Pretender.

 

            This is the most explicit instance that we have of the connection of the Stuarts with Freemasonry.

 

            It was an effort made by the adherents of that house to enlist the Order as an instrument to restore its fallen fortunes.

 

            The principal members of the Lodge were Derwentwater, Maskelyne, and Heguertly or Heguety.

 

            Of Derwentwater I have already spoken; the second was evidently a Scotsman, but the name of the third has been so corrupted in its French orthography that we are unable to trace it to its source.

 

            It has been supposed that the real name was Haggerty; if so, he was probably an Irishman.

 

            But they were all Jacobites.

 

            The Rite of Strict Observance, which at one time in the last century took so strong a hold upon the Masons of Germany, and whose fundamental doctrine was that of Ramsay‑that Freemasonry was only a continuation of the Templar system‑is said to have been originally erected in the interests of the Stuarts, and the Brotherhood was expected to contribute liberally to the enterprises in favor of the Pretender.

 

            Upon a review of all that has been written on this very intricate subject‑the theories oftentimes altogether hypothetical, assumptions in plane of facts, conjectures altogether problematical, and the grain of history in this vast amount of traditional and mythical trash so small‑we may, I think, be considered safe in drawing a few conclusions.

 

            In the first place it is not to be doubted that at one time the political efforts of the adherents of the dethroned and exiled family of the Stuarts did exercise a very considerable effect on the outward form and the internal spirit of Masonry, as it prevailed on the continent of Europe.

 

            In the symbolic degrees of ancient Craft Masonry, the influence was but slightly felt.

 

            It extended only to a political interpretation of the Legend of the

 

Master's degree, in which sometimes the decapitation of Charles I., and sometimes the forced abdication and exile of James II., was substituted for the fate of Hiram, and to a change in the substitute word so as to give an application of the phrase the " Widow's son " to the child of Henrietta Maria, the consort of Charles I. The effect of these change, except that of the word which still continues in some Rites, has long since disappeared, but their memory still remains as a relict of the incidents of Stuart Masonry.

 

            But the principal influence of this policy was shown in the fabrication of what are called the "High Degrees," the "Hautes Grades" of the French. Until the year 1728 these accumulations to the body of Masonry were unknown.

 

            The Chevalier Ramsay, the tutor of the Pretender in his childhood, and subsequently his most earnest friend and ardent supporter, was the first to fabricate these degrees, although other inventors were not tardy in following in his footsteps.

 

            These degrees, at first created solely to institute a form of Masonry which should be worked for the purpose of restoring the Pretender to the throne of his ancestors, have most of them become obsolete, and their names alone are preserved in the catalogues of collectors; but their effect is to this day seen in such of them as still remain and are practiced in existing Rites, which have been derived indirectly from the system invented in the Chapter of Clermont or the Chateau of St. Germain.

 

            The particular design has paned away but the general features still remain, by which we are enabled to recognize the relicts of Stuart Masonry.

 

            As to the time when this system first began to be developed there can be but little doubt.

 

            We must reject the notion that James II had any connection with it.

 

            However unfitted he may have been by his peculiar temperament from entering into any such bold conspiracy, the question is set at rest by the simple fact that up to the time of his death there was no Masonic organization upon which he or his partisans could have used

 

His son the Chevalier St. George was almost in the same category.

 

            He is described in history as a prince‑pious, pacific and without talents, incapable of being made the prominent actor in such a drama, and besides, Speculative Masonry had not assumed the proportions necessary to make it available as a part of a conspiracy until long after he had retired from active life to the practice of religious and recluse habits in Rome.

 

            But his son Charles Edward, the Young Pretender as he was called, was of an ardent temperament; an active genius, a fair amount of talent, and a spirit of enterprise which well fitted him to accept the place assigned him by Ramsay.

 

            Freemasonry had then begun to excite public attention, and was already an institution that was rapidly gaining popularity.

 

            Ramsay saw in it what he deemed a fitting lever to be used in theelevation of his patron to the throne, and Prince Charles Edward with eagerness met his propositions and united with him in the futile effort.

 

            To the Chevalier Ramsay we must attribute the invention of Stuart Masonry, the foundations of which he began to lay early in the 18th century, perhaps with the tacit approval of the Old Pretender.

 

            About 1725, when the first Lodge was organized in Paris, under some illegitimate authority, he made the first public exposition of his system in the Scottish High Degrees which he at that time brought to light.

 

            And finally the workings of the system were fully developed when the Young Pretender began his unsuccessful career in search of a throne, which once lost was never to be recovered.

 

            This conspiracy of Ramsay to connect Freemasonry with the fortunes of the Stuarts was the first attempt to introduce politics into the institution. To the credit of its character as a school of speculative philosophy, the attempt proved a signal failure.

 

            P. 285

 

 

 

CHAPTER XXXI

 

THE JESUITS IN FREEMASONRY

 

 

The opinion has been entertained by several writers of eminence that the Company of Jesus, more briefly styled the Jesuits, sought, about the end of the 17th and the beginning of the 18th century, to mingle with the Freemasons and to bend the objects of that Institution to the ambitious designs of their own Order.

 

            This view has been denied by other writers of equal eminence, though it is admitted that Roman Catholic, if not Jesuitical, features are to be found in some of the high degrees.

 

            It is contended by one German writer that the object of the Jesuits in seeking a control of the Masonic Institution was that they might be thus assisted in their design of establishing an aristocracy within themselves, and that they sought to accomplish this object by securing not only the direction of the Masonic Lodges, but also by obtaining a monopoly of the schools and churches, and all the pursuits of science, and even of business.

 

            But the more generally accepted reason for this attempted interference with the Lodges is that they thus sought by their influence and secret working to aid the Stuarts to regain the throne, and then, as an expected result, to re‑establish the Roman Catholic religion in England.

 

            The first of these explanations is certainly more satisfactory than the second.

 

            While there is a great want of historical testimony to prove that the jesuits ever mingled with Freemasonry‑‑a question to be hereafter decided‑there is no doubt of the egotistical and ambitious designs (Of the disciples of Loyola to secure a control of the public and private affairs of every government where they could obtain a foothold.

 

            It was a knowledge of these designs that led to the unpopularity of the Order among even Catholic sovereigns and caused its total suppression, in 1773, by Pope Clement XIV., from which it was not relieved until 1814, when their privileges were renewed by Pope Pius VII.

 

            But I think that we must concur with Gadeike in the conclusion to which he had arrived, that it is proved by history to be a falsehood that Freemasonry was ever concealed under the mask of Jesuitism, or that it derived its existence from that source. {1} It is, however, but fair that we should collate and compare the arguments on both sides.

 

            Robison, who, where Masonry was concerned, could find a specter in every bush, is, of course, of very little authority as to facts; but he may supply us with a record of the opinions which were prevalent at the time of his writing.

 

            He says that when James II fled from England to France, which was in 1688, his adherents took Freemasonry with them to the continent, where it was received and cultivated by the French in a manner suited to the tastes and habits of that people.

 

            But he adds that " at this time, also, the Jesuits took a more active hand in Freemasonry than ever.

 

            They insinuated themselves into the English Lodges, where they were caressed by the Catholics, who panted after the re‑establishment of their faith, and tolerated by the Protestant royalists, who thought no concession too great a compensation for their services.

 

            At this time changes were made in some of the Masonic symbols, particularly in the tracing of the Lodge, which bear evident marks of Jesuitical interference. {2}

 

Speaking of the High Degrees, the fabrication of which, however, he greatly antedates, he says that " in all this progressive mummery we see much of the hand of the Jesuits, and it would seem that it was encouraged by the church." {3} But he thinks that the Masons, protected by their secrecy, ventured further than the clergy approved in their philosophical interpretations of the symbols, opposing at last some of " the ridiculous and oppressive superstitions of the church," {4} and thus he accounts for the persecution of Freemasonry at a later period by the priests, and their attempts to suppress the Lodges.

 

            The story, as thus narrated by Robison, is substantially that which has been accepted by all writers who trace the origin of Freemasonry

 

 

{1} "Freimaurer Lexicon," art. "Jesuiten."

 

{2} "Proofs of a Conspiracy," p. 27

 

{3} Ibid., p. 30 {4} Ibid

 

to the Jesuits.

 

            They affirm, as we have seen, that it was instituted about the time of the expulsion of James II. from England, or that if it was not then fabricated as a secret society, it was at Ieast modified in all its features from that form which it originally had in England, and was adapted as a political engine to aid in the restoration of the exiled monarch and in the establishment in his recovered kingdom of the Roman Catholic religion.

 

            These theorists have evidently confounded primitive Speculative Masonry, consisting only of three degrees, with the supplementary grades invented subsequently by Ramsay and the ritualists who succeeded him.

 

            But even if we relieve the theory of the connsbn and view it as affirming that the Jesuits at the College of Clermont modified the third degree and invented others, such as the Scottish Knight of St. Andrew, for the purpose of restoring James II. to the throne, we shall find no scintilla of evidence in history to support this view, but, on the contrary, obstacles in the way of anachronisms which it will be impossible to overcome.

 

            James II abdicated the throne in 1688, and, after an abortive attempt to recover it by an unsuccessful invasion of Ireland, took up his residence at the Chateau of St. Germain‑en‑Laye, in France, where he died in 1701.

 

            Between the two periods of 1688, when James abdicated, and 1701, when he died, no one has been enabled to find either in England or elsewhere any trace of a third degree.

 

            Indeed, I am very sure it can be proved that this degree was not invented until 1721 or 1722.

 

            It is, therefore, absolutely impossible that any modification could have been made in the latter part of the 17th century of that which did not exist until the beginning of the 18th.

 

            And if there was no Speculative Masonry, as distinguished from the Operative Art practiced by the mediaeval guilds, during the lifetime of James, it is equally absurd to contend that supplementary grades were invented to illustrate and complete a superstructure whose foundations had not yet been laid.

 

            The theory that the Jesuits in the 17th century had invented Freemasonry for the purpose of effecting one of their ambitious projects, or that they had taken it as it then existed, changed it, and added to it for the same purpose, is absolutely untenable.

 

            Another theory has been advanced which accounts for the establishment of what has been called " Jesuitic Masonry," at about the middle of the 18th century.

 

            This theory is certainly free from the absurd anachronisms which we encounter in the former, although the proofs that there ever was such a Masonry are still very unsatisfactory.

 

            It has been maintained that this notion of the intrusion, as it may well be called, of the Jesuits into the Masonic Order has been attributed to the Illuminati, that secret society which was established by Adam Weishaupt in Bavaria about the year 1776.

 

            The original object of this society was, as its founder declared, to enable its members to attain the greatest possible amount of virtue, and by the association of good men to oppose the progress of moral evil. To give it influence it was connected with Freemasonry, whose symbolic degrees formed the substratum of its esoteric instructions.

 

            This has led it incorrectly to be deemed a Masonic Rite; it could really lay no claim to that character, except inasmuch as it required a previous initiation into the symbolic degrees to entitle its disciples to further advancement.

 

            The charges made against it, that it was a political organization, and that one of its deigns was to undermine the Christian religion, although strenuously maintained by Barruel, Robison, and a host of other adversaries, have no foundation in truth. The principles of the order were liberal and philosophical, but neither revolutionary nor anti‑Christian.

 

            As the defender of free thought, it came of course into conflict with the Roman Catholic Church and the Company of Jesus, whose tendencies were altogether the other way.

 

            The priests, therefore, became its most active enemies, and their opposition was so successful that it was suppressed in 1784.

 

            There was also between Illuminism and the many Masonic Rites, which about the period of its popularity were constantly arising in Germany and in France, a species of rivalry.

 

            With the natural egotism of reformers, the Illuminati sought to prove the superiority of their own system to that of their rivals.

 

            With this view they proclaimed that all the Lodges of Free. masons were secretly controlled by the Jesuits; that their laws and their mysteries were the inventions of the same Order, of whom every Freemason was unconsciously the slave and the instrument.

 

            Hence they concluded that he who desired to possess the genuine mysteries of Masonry must seek them not among the degrees of Rose Croix or the Scottish Knights, or still less among the English Masons and the disciples of the Rite of Strict Observance in Germany, but only in the Eclectic Lodges that had been instituted by the Illuminati.

 

            Such, says Barruel, was the doctrine of the Illuminati, advanced for the purpose of elevating the character and aims of their own institution.

 

            The French abbe is not generally trustworthy on any subject connected, with Freemasonry, of which he was the avowed and implacable foe, but we must acknowledge that he was not far from wrong in calling this story of Jesuitic Masonry " a ridiculous and contemptible fable." For once we are disposed to agree with him, when he says in his fervent declamation, "If prejudice did not sometimes destroy the faculty of reasoning, we should be astonished that the Freemasons could permit themselves to be ensnared in so clumsy a trap.

 

            What is it, in fact, but to say to the Mother Lodge of Edinburgh, to the Grand Lodges of London and York, to their rulers, and to all their Grand Masters: You thought that you held the reins of the Masonic world, and you looked upon yourselves as the great

depository of its secrets, the distributors of its diplomas; but you are not so, and, without even knowing it, are merely puppets of which the Jesuits hold the leading‑strings, and which they move at their pleasure.'" {1}

 

I think that with a little trouble we may be able to solve this apparently difficult problem of the Jesuitical interference with Freemasonry.

 

            The Jesuits appear to have taken the priests of Egypt for their model.

 

            Like them, they sought to be the conservators and the interpreters of religion.

 

            The vows which they took attached them to their Order with bonds as indissoluble as those that united the Egyptian priests in the sacred college of Memphis.

 

            Those who sought admission into their company were compelled to pass through trials of their fortitude and

 

fidelity.

 

            Their ambition was as indomitable as their cunning was astute. They strove to be the confessors and the counsellors of kings, and to control the education of youth, that by these means they might become of importance in the state, and direct the policy of every government where they

 

{1} "Memoires pour servir a l'Histoire du Jacobanisme," T.N., p. 291

 

were admitted.

 

            And this policy was on all occasions to be made subservient to the interests of the church.

 

            At one time they had not less than an hundred schools or colleges in France, the most important being that of Clermont, which, though at one time suppressed, had received renewed letters patent from Louis XIV.

 

            It was this College of Clermont, where James II. was a frequent guest, led there by his religious feelings, that is said to have been the seat of that conspiracy of the Stuart faction which was to terminate either in the invention or the adoption of Freemasonry as a means of restoring the monarch to his throne, and of resuscitating the Roman Catholic religion in heretical England.

 

            Now we may readily admit that the Jesuits were exceedingly anxious to accomplish both these objects, and that for that purpose they would enter into any intrigue which would probably lead to success.

 

            With this design there can be but little doubt that they united with the adherents of the Stuarts.

 

            But this conspiracy could not have had any reference to a Masonic organization, because Freemasonry was during the life of James II. wholly unknown in France, and known in England only as a guild of Operative Masons, into which a few non‑Masons had been admitted through courtesy.

 

            It certainly had not yet assumed the form in which we are called upon to recognize it as the political engine used by the Jesuits.

 

            The Grand Lodge of England, the mother of all modern Speculative Masonry, had no existence until 1717, or sixteen years after the death of the king.

 

            We are bound, therefore, if on the ground of an anachronism alone, to repudiate any theory that connects the Jesuits with Freemasonry during the life of James II., although we may be ready to admit their political conspiracy in the interests of that dethroned monarch.

 

            During the life of his son and putative successor, the titular James III., Speculative Masonry was established in England and passed over into France.

 

            The Lodge established in Paris in 1725 was, I have no doubt, an organization of the adherents of the Stuart family, as has already been shown.

 

            It is probable that most of the members were Catholics and under the influence of the Jesuits.

 

            But it is not likely that those priests took an active part in the internal organization of the Lodge. They could do their work better outside of it than within it. In the Rose Croix and some other of the High Degrees we find the influences of a Roman Catholic spirit in the original rituals, but this might naturally arise from the religious tendencies of their founders, and did not require the special aid of Jesuitism.

 

            After the year 1738 the bull of excommunication of Pope Clement XII. must have precluded the Jesuits from all connection with Freemasonry except as its denouncers and persecutors, parts which up to the present day they have uninterruptedly played.

 

            In conclusion we must, I think, refuse to accept the theory which makes a friendly connection between Freemasonry and Jesuitism as one of those mythical stories which, born in the imagination of its inventors, has been fostered only by the credulity of its believers.

 

            At this day I doubt if there is a Masonic scholar who would accept it as more it as a fable not even " cunningly devised," though there was a time when it was received as a part of the authentic history of Freemasonry.

 

            P. 292

 

 

 


 

CHAPTER XXXII

 

OLIVER CROMWELL AND FREEMASONRY

 

Three fables have been invented to establish a connection between Freemasonry and the dynasty of the Stuarts one which made it the purpose of the adherents of James II. to use the Institution as a means of restoring that monarch to the throne; a second in which the Jesuits were to employ it for the same purpose, as well as for the re‑establishment of the Roman Catholic religion in England; the third and most preposterous of these fables is that which attributes the invention of Freemasonry as a secret society to Oliver Cromwell, who is supposed to have employed it as a political engine to aid him in the dethronement of Charles I., in the abolition of the monarchy, and in the foundation of a republic on its ruins, with himself for its head.

 

            The first and second of these fables have already been discussed.

 

            The consideration of the third will be the subject of the present chapter.

 

            The theory that Freemasonry was instituted by Oliver Cromwell was not at first received like the other two by any large portion of the fraternity.

 

            It was the invention of a single mind and was first made public in the year 1746, by the Abbe Larudan, who presented his views in a work entitled Les Franc‑Macons ecrasses, a book which Klass, the bibliographer, says is the armory from which all the enemies of Masonry have since delved their weapons of abuse.

 

            The propositions of Larudan are distinguished for their absolute independence of all historical authority and for the bold assumptions which are presented to the reader in the place of facts.

 

            His strongest argument for the truth of his theory is that the purposes of the Masonic Institution and of the political course of Cromwell are identical, namely, to sustain the doctrines of liberty and equality among mankind.

 

            Rejecting all the claims to antiquity that have been urged in behalf of the Institution, he thinks that it was in England where the Order of Freemasonry first saw the light of day, and that it is to Cromwell that it owes its origin.

 

            And this theory he claims (with what truth we know not) to have received from a certain Grand Master with whose astuteness and sincerity he was well acquainted.

 

            But even this authority, he says, would not have been sufficient to secure his belief, had it not afterward been confirmed by his reading of the history of the English Protector and his mature reflections on the morals and the laws of the Order, where he detected at every step the presence of Cromwell.

 

            The object of Cromwell, as it has been already said, was by the organization of a secret society, whose members would be bound by the most solemn ties of fraternity, to reconcile the various religions and political sects which prevailed in England in the reign of Charles I to the prosecution of his views, which were equally opposed to the supremacy of the king and to the power of the Parliament, and as a consequence of the destruction of both, to the elevation of himself to the headship of affairs.

 

In the execution of this plan Cromwell proceeded with his usual caution and address.

 

            He first submitted the outline to several of his most intimate friends such as Algernon Sidney, Harrington, Monk, and Fairfax, and he held with them several private meetings.

 

            "But it was not until the year 1648 that he began to take the necessary steps for bringing it to maturity.

 

            In that year, at a dinner which he gave to a large number of his friends, he opened his designs to the company.

 

            When his guests, among whom were many members of Parliament, both Presbyterians and Independents the two rival religious sects of the day, had been well feasted, the host dexterously led the conversation to the subject of the unhappy condition of England.

 

            He showed in a pathetic manner how the unfortunate nation had suffered distracting conflicts of politics and religion, and he declared that it was a disgrace that men so intelligent as those who then heard him did not make an exertion to put an end to these distracting contests of party.

 

Scarcely had Cromwell ceased to speak when Ireton, his son‑in‑law, who had been prepared for the occasion, rose, and, seconding the sentiments of his leader, proceeded to show the absolute necessity for the public good of a conciliation and union of the many discordant parties which were then dividing the country.

 

            He exclaimed with fervor that he would not, himself, hesitate to sacrifice his fortune and his life to remedy such calamities, and to show to the people the road they ought to take, to relieve themselves from the yoke which was oppressing them and to break the iron scepter under which they were groaning.

 

            But to do this it was first necessary, he insisted, to destroy every power and influence which had betrayed the nation.

 

            Then, turning to Cromwell, he conjured him to explain his views on this important matter, and to suggest the cure for these evils.

 

            Cromwell did not hesitate to accept the task which had, apparently without his previous concurrence, been assigned to him.

 

            Addressing his guests in that metaphorical style which he was accustomed to use, and the object of which was to confuse their intellects and make them more

 

ready to receive his boldest propositions, he explained the obligation of a worship of God, the necessity to repel force by force, and to deliver mankind from oppression and tyranny.

 

            He then concluded his speech, exciting the curiosity of his auditors by telling them that he knew a method by which they could succeed in this great enterprise, restore peace to England, and rescue it from the depth of misery into which it was plunged.

 

            This method, he added, if communicated to the world, would win the gratitude of mankind and secure a glorious memory for its authors to the latest posterity.

 

            The discourse was well managed and well received.

 

            All of his guests earnestly besought him to make this admirable expedient known to them. But Cromwell would not yield at once to their importunities, but modestly replying that so important an enterprise was beyond the strength of any one man to accomplish, and that he would rather continue to endure the evils of a bad government than, in seeking to remove them by the efforts of his friends, to subject them to dangers which they might be unwilling to encounter.

 

            Cromwell well understood the character of every man who sat at the table with him, and he knew that by this artful address he should still further excite their curiosity and awaken their enthusiasm.

 

            And so it was that, after a repetition of importunities, he finally consented to develop his scheme, on the condition that all the guests should take a solemn oath to reveal the plan to no one and to consider it after it had been proposed with absolutely unprejudiced mind.

 

            This was unanimously assented to, and, the oath of secrecy having been taken, Cromwell threw himself on his knees and, extending his hands toward heaven, called on God and all the celestial powers to witness the innocence of his heart and the purity of his intentions.

 

            All this the Abbe Larudan relates with a minuteness of detail which we could expect only from an eye‑ witness of the scene.

 

            Having thus made a deep impression on his guests, Cromwell said that the precise moment for disclosing the plan had not arrived, and that an inspiration from heaven, which he had just received, instructed him not to divulge it until four days had elapsed.

 

            The companion though impatient to receive a knowledge of the important secret, were compelled to restrain their desires and to agree to meet again at the appointed time and at a place which was designated.

 

            On the fourth day all the guests repaired to a house in King Street, where the meeting took place, and Cromwell proceeded to develop his plan. (And here the Abbe Larudan becomes fervid and diffuse in the minuteness with which he describes what must have been a wholly imaginary scene.)

 

He commenced by conducting the guests into a dark room, where he prepared their minds for what was going to occur by a long prayer, in the course of which he gave them to understand that he was in communion with the spirits of the blessed.

 

            After this he told them that his design was to found a society whose only objects would be to render due worship to God and to restore to England the peace for which it so ardently longed. But this project, he added, requited consummate prudence and infinite address to secure its success.

 

            Then taking a censer in his bands, be filled the apartment with the most subtle fumes, so as to produce a favorable dies position in the company to hear what he had further to say.

 

            He informed them that at the reception of a new adherent it was necessary that be should undergo a certain ceremony, to which all of them, without exception, would have to submit.

 

            He asked them whether they were willing to pass through this ceremony, to which proposition unanimous consent was given.

 

            He then chose from the company five assistants to occupy appropriate places and to perform prescribed functions.

 

            These assistants were a Master, two Wardens, a Secretary, and an Orator.

 

            Having made these preparations, the visitors were removed to another apartment, which had been prepared for the purpose, and in which was a picture representing the ruins of King Solomon's Temple.

 

            From this apartment they were transferred to another, and, being blindfolded, were

finally invested with the secrets of initiation.

 

            Cromwell delivered a discourse on religion and politics, the purport of which was to show to the contending sects of Presbyterians and Independents, representatives of both being present, the necessity, for the public good, of abandoning all their frivolous disputes, of becoming reconciled, and of changing the bitter hatred which then inspired them for a tender love and charity toward each other.

 

            The eloquence of their artful leader had the desired effect, and both sects united with the army, in the establishment of a secret association founded on the professed principles of love of God and the maintenance of liberty and equality among men, but whose real design was to advance the projects of Cromwell, by the abolition of the monarchy and the establishment of a commonwealth of which he should be the head.

 

            It is unfortunate for the completed symmetry of this rather interesting fable that the Abbe has refrained from indulging his imagination by giving us the full details of the form of initiation.

 

            He has, however, in various parts of his book alluded to so much of it as to enable us to learn that the instructions were of a symbolic character, and that the Temple of Solomon constituted the most prominent symbol.

 

            This Temple had been built by divine command to be the sanctuary of religion and as a place peculiarly consecrated to the performance of its august ceremonies.

 

            After several years of glory and magnificence it had been destroyed by a formidable army, and the people who had been there accustomed to worship were loaded with chains and carried in captivity to Babylon.

 

            After years of servitude, an idolatrous prince, chosen as the instrument of Divine clemency, had permitted the captives to return to Jerusalem and to rebuild the Temple in its primitive splendor.

 

            It was in this allegory, says the Abbe, that the Freemasons of Cromwell found the exact analogy of their society.

 

            The Temple in its first splendor is figurative of the primitive state of man.

 

            The religion and the ceremonies which were there practiced are nothing else than that universal law engraved on every heart whose principles are found in the ideas of equity and charity to which all men are obliged. The destruction of this Temple, and the captivity and slavery of its worshippers, symbolized the pride and ambition which have produced political subjection among men.

 

            The unpitying hosts of Assyrians who destroyed the Temple and led the people into captivity are the kings, princes, and magistrates whose power has overwhelmed oppressed nations with innumerable evils.

 

            And finally, the chosen people charged with the duty of rebuilding the Temple are the Freemasons, who are to restore men to their original dignity.

 

            Cromwell had divided the Order which he founded into three classes or degrees.

 

            The third or Master's degree was of course not without its Hiramic legend, but the interpretation of its symbolism was very different from that which is given at the present day.

 

            The Abbe thus explains it.

 

            The disorder of the workmen and the confusion at the Temple were intended to make a profound impression upon the mind of the candidate and to show him that the loss of liberty and equality, represented by the death of Hiram, is the cause of all the evils which affect mankind.

 

            While men lived in tranquillity in the asylum of the Temple of Liberty they enjoyed perpetual happiness.

 

            But they have been surprised and attacked by tyrants who have reduced them to a state of slavery.

 

            This is symbolized by the destruction of the Temple, which it is the duty of the Master Masons to rebuild; that is to say, to restore that liberty and equality which had been lost.

 

            Cromwell appointed missionaries or emissaries, says Larudan, who propagated the Order, not only over all England, but even into Scotland and Ireland, where many Lodges were established.

 

            The members of the Order or Society were first called Freemasons; afterward the name was repeatedly changed to suit the political circumstances of the times, and they were called Levelers, then Independents, afterward Fifth Monarchy Men, and finally resumed their original title, which they have retained to the present day.

 

            Such is the fable of the Cromwellian origin of Freemasonry, which we owe entirely to the inventive genius of the Abbe Larudan.

 

            And yet it is not wholly a story of the imagination, but is really founded on an extraordinary distortion of the facts of history.

 

            Edmund Ludlow was an honest and honorable man who took at first a prominent part in the civil war which ended in the decapitation of Charles I., the dissolution of the monarchy, and the establishment of the Commonwealth.

 

            He was throughout his whole life a consistent and unswerving republican, and was as much opposed to the political schemes of Cromwell for his own advancement to power as he was to the usurpation of unconstitutional power by the King.

 

            In the language of the editor of his memoirs, " He was an enemy to all arbitrary government, though gilded over with the most specious pretences; and not only disapproved the usurpation of Cromwell, but would have opposed him with as much vigor as he had done the King, if all occasions of that nature had not been cut off by the extraordinary jealousy or vigilance of the usurpers." {1}

 

Having unsuccessfully labored to counteract the influence of Cromwell with the army, he abandoned public affairs and retired to his home in Essex, where he remained in seclusion until the restoration of Charles II., when he fled to Switzerland, where he resided until his death.

 

            During his exile, Ludlow occupied his leisure hours in the composition of his Memoirs, a work of great value as a faithful record of the troublous period in which he lived and of which he was himself a great part.

 

            In these memoirs he has given a copious narrative of the intrigues by which Cromwell secured the alliance of the army and destroyed the influence of the Parliament.

 

            The work was published at Vevay, in Switzerland, under the title of Memoirs of Edmund Ludlow, Esq.‑ Lieutenant‑General of the Tories in Ireland, One of the Council of State, and a Member of the Parliament which began on November 3, 1640. It is in two volumes, with a supplementary one containing copies of important papers.

 

            The edition from which I cite bears the date of 1698.

 

            There may have been an earlier one.

 

            With these memoirs the Abbe Larudan appears to have been well acquainted.

 

            He had undoubtedly read them carefully, for be has made many quotations and has repeatedly referred to Ludlow as his authority.

 

            But unfortunately for the Abbe's intelligence, or far more probably for his honesty, he has always applied that Ludlow said of the intrigues of Cromwell for the organization of a new party as if it were meant to describe the formation of a new and secret society.

 

            Neither Ludlow nor any other writer refers to the existence of Freemasonry as we now have it and as it is described by the Abbe

 

{1} Ludlow's "Memoirs," Preface, p. iv.

 

Larudan in the time of the civil wars.

 

            Even the Operative Masons were not at that period greatly encouraged, for, says Northouck," no regard to science and elegance was to be expected from the sour minds of the puritanical masters of the nation between the fall of Charles I and the restoration of his son." {1}

 

The Guild of Freemasons, the only form in which the Order was known until the 18th century, was during the Commonwealth discouraged and architecture was neglected.

 

            In the tumult of war the arts of peace are silent.

 

            Cromwell was, it is true, engaged in many political intrigues, but he had other and more effective means to accomplish his ends than those cd Freemasonry of whose existence at that time, except as a guild of workmen, we have no historical evidence, but a great many historical facts to contradict its probability.

 

            The theory, therefore, that Freemasonry owes its origin to Oliver Cromwell, who invented it as a means of forwarding his designs toward obtaining the supreme power of the state, is simply a fable, the invention of a clerical adversary of the Institution, and devised by him plainly to give to it a political character, by which, like his successors Barruel and Robison, he sought to injure it.

 

{1} Northouck's Constitutions," p. 141

 

P. 300

 

 

 

 

 

CHAPTER XXXIII

 

THE ROYAL SOCIETY AND FREEMASONRY

 

 

The hypothesis that Freemasonry was instituted in the 17th century and in the reign of Charles II., by a set of philosophers and scientists who organized it under the title of the " Royal Society," is the last of those theories which attempts to connect the Masonic Order with the House of Stuart that we will have to investigate.

 

            The theory was first advanced by an anonymous writer in the German Mercury, a Masonic journal published about the close of the last century at Weimar, and edited by the celebrated Christopher Martin Wieland.

 

            In this article the writer says that Dr. John Wilkins one of the most learned men of his time, and the brother‑in‑law of Oliver Cromwell, becoming discontented with the administration of Richard Cromwell, his son and successor, began to devise the means of re‑ establishing the royal authority.

 

            With this view he suggested the idea of organizing a society or club, in which, under the pretence of cultivating the sciences the partisans of the king might meet together with entire freedom.

 

            General Monk and several other military men, who had scarcely more learning than would enable them to write their names, were members of this academy.

 

            Their meetings were always begun with a learned lecture, for the sake of form,

but the conversation afterward turned upon politics and the interests of the king.

 

            And this politico‑philosophical club, which subsequently assumed, after the Restoration, the title of the "Royal Society of Sciences," he asserts to have been the origin of the fraternity of Freemasons.

 

            We have already had abundant reason to see, in the formation of Masonic theories, what little respect has been paid by their fram ers to the contradictory facts of history nor does the present hypothesis afford any exception to the general rule of dogmatic assumption and unfounded assertion.

 

            Christopher Frederick Nicolai, a learned bookseller of Berlin, wrote and published, in 1783, an Essay on the Accusations made against the Order of Knights Templar and their Mystery with an appendix on the Origin of the Fraternity of Freemasons. {1}

 

In this work he vigorously attacks the theory of the anonymous writer in Wieland's Mercury, and the reasons on which he grounds his dissent are well chosen but they do not cover the whole ground.

 

            Unfortunately, Nicolai had a theory of his own to foster, which also in a certain way connects Freemasonry with the real founders of the Royal Society, and the impugnment of the hypothesis of Wieland's contribution in its whole extent impugns also his own.

 

            Two negatives in most languages are equivalent to an affirmative, but nowhere are two fictions resolvable into a truth.

 

            The arguments of Nicolai against the Wieland theory are, however, worth citation, before we examine his own.

 

            He says that Wilkins could scarcely have been discontented with the government of Richard Cromwell, since it was equally as advantageous to him as that of his father.

 

            He was (and he quotes Wood in the Athena Oxonienses as his authority) much opposed to the court, and was a zealous Puritan before the rebellion.

 

            In 1648 he was made the Master of Wadham College, in the place of a royalist who had been removed.

 

            In 1649, after the decapitation of Charles I, he joined the republican party and took the oath of allegiance to the Commonwealth.

 

            In 1656 he married the sister of Cromwell, and under Richard received the valuable appointment of Master of Trinity College, which, however, he lost upon the restoration of the monarchy in the following year.

 

            "Is it credible," says Nicolai, "that this man could have instituted a society for the purpose of advancing the restoration of the king; a society all of whose members were of the opposite party? The celebrated Dr. Goddard, who was one of the most distinguished members, was the physician and favorite of Cromwell, whom, after the death of the King, he attended in his campaigns in Ireland and Scotland.

 

            It is an extraordinary assertion that a

 

{1} "Versuch uber die Besschuldigungen, welche dem Tempelherrn orden gemacht worden und uber dessen Geheimniss; nebst einem Anhange uber das Enstehen der Freimaurergesellschaft," Berlin and Stettin, 1783.

 

discontent with the administration of Richard Cromwell should have given rise in 1658 to a society which was instituted in 1646.

 

            It is not less extraordinary that this society should have held its meetings in a tavern.

 

            It is very certain that in those days of somber Puritanism the few taverns to be found in London could not have been used as places of meeting for associations consisting of men of all conditions, as is now the custom.

 

            There would have been much imprudence in thus exposing secret deliberations on an affair equally dangerous and important to the inspection of all the spies who might be congregated in a tavern."

 

He asserts that the first meetings of the society were held at the house of Dr. Goddard and of another member, and afterward at Cheapside and at Gresham College.

 

            And these facts are proved by the records of the society, as published by its annalists.

 

            As to the statement that Monk was one of the members of the society‑a fact that would be important in strengthening the theory that it was organized by the friends of the monarchy and with a design of advancing its restoration ‑ he shows the impossibility that it could be correct, because Monk was a prisoner in the Tower from 1643 until 1647, and after his release in that year spent only a month in London, not again visiting that city till 1659, when he returned at the head of an army and was engaged in the arrangement of such delicate affairs and was so narrowly watched that it is not possible to be behaved that with his well‑known caution he would have taken part in any sort of political society whatever, while the society would have acted very inconsiderately in admitting into its ranks military men who could scarcely write, and that too at a time when distrust had risen to its height.

 

            But a better proof than any advanced by Nicolai, that Monk had nothing to do with the establishment of the Royal Society, whatever may have been its object, is that his name does not appear upon the list of original or early members, taken from the official records and published by Dr. Thompson in his history of the society.

 

            Finally Nicolai asserts very truthfully that its subsequent history has shown that this society was really engaged in scientific pursuits, and that politics were altogether banished from its conferences.

 

            But he also contends, but with less accuracy, that the political principles of its members were opposed to the restoration of the monarchy, for which statement there is no positive authority.

 

            Hence Nicolai concludes that " there is no truth in the statements of the anonymous writer in Wieland's Mercury, except that the restoration was opposed in secret by a certain society."

 

And now he advances his own theory, no less untenable than the one he is opposing, that this society "was the Freemasons, who had nothing in common with the other, except the date of foundation, and whose views in literature as well as in politics were of an entirely opposite character." This was the theory of Nicolai‑not that Freemasonry originated in the Royal Society, but that it was established by certain learned men who sought to advance the experimental philosophy which had just been introduced by Bacon.

 

            But the same idea was sought by the originators of the Royal Society, and as many of the founders of this school were also among the founders of the Royal Society, it seems difficult to separate the two theories so as to make of each a distinct and independent existence.

 

            But it will be better to let the Berlin bookseller explain his doctrine in his own language, before an attempt is made to apply to it the canons of criticism.

 

            He commences by asserting that one of the effects of the labors of Andrea and the other Rosicrucians was the application of a wholesome criticism to the examination of philosophical and scientific subjects.

 

            He thinks even that the Fama Fraternitatis, the great work of Andrea, had first suggested to Bacon the notion of his immortal work on The Advancement of Learning.

 

            At the same time in which Bacon flourished and taught his inductive philosophy, the Rosicrucians had introduced a system of philosophy which was established on the phenomena of nature.

 

            Lord Bacon had cultivated these views in his book De Augmentis Scientiarum, except that he rejected the Rosicrucian method of esoteric instruction.

 

            Everything that he taught was to be open and exoteric. Therefore, as he had written his great work in the Latin language, for the use of the learned, he now composed his New Atlantis in English, that all classes might be able to read it.

 

            In this work is contained his celebrated romance of the House of Solomon, which Nicolai thinks may have had its influence in originating the society of Freemasons.

 

            In this fictitious tale Bacon supposes that a vessel lands on an unknown island, called Bensalem, over which in days of yore a certain King Solomon reigned. This King had a large establisliment, which was called the House of Solomon or the College of the Six Days' Work, in allusion to the six days of the Mosaic account of the creation.


 


 

 

He afterward describes the immense apparatus which was there employed in physical researches.

 

            There were deep grottoes and tall bowers for the observation o f the phenomena of nature; artificial mineral‑waters; huge buildings in which meteors, the wind, rain and thunder and lightning were imitated; extensive botanic gardens, and large fields in which all kinds of animals were collected for the study of their instinct and habits, and houses filled with all the wonders of nature and art.

 

            There were also a great number of learned men, to whom the direction of these things was intrusted.

 

            They made journeys into foreign countries, and observations on what they saw.

 

            They wrote, they collected, they determined results, and deliberated together as to what was proper to be published.

 

            This romance, says Nicolai, which was in accord with the prevailing taste of the age, contributed far more to spread the views of Bacon on the observation of nature than his more learned and profound work had been able to do.

 

            The House of Solomon attracted the attention of everybody. King Charles I was anxious to establish something like it, but was prevented by the civil wars.

 

            Nevertheless this great idea, associated with that of the Rosicrucians, continued to powerfully agitate the minds of the learned men of that period, who now began to be persuaded of the necessity of experimental knowledge.

 

            Accordingly, in 1646, a society of learned men was established, all of whom were of Bacon's opinion, that philosophy and the physical sciences should be placed within the reach of all thinking minds.

 

            They held meetings at which‑‑believing that instruction in physics was to be sought by a mutual communication of ideas‑they made many scientific experiments in common.

 

            Among these men were John Wallis, John Wilkins, Jonathan Goddard, Samuel Foster, Francis Glisson, and many others, all of whom were, fourteen years afterward, the founders of the Royal Society.

 

            But proceedings like these were not congenial with the intellectual condition of England at that period.

 

            A melancholy and somber spirit had overshadowed religion, and a mystical theology, almost Gnostic in its character had infected the best minds. Devotion had passed into enthusiasm and that into fanaticism, and sanguinary wars and revolutions were the result. It was then that such skillful hypocrites as Cromwell and Breton took advantage of this weakness for the purpose of concealing and advancing their own designs.

 

            The taint of this dark and sad character is met with in all the science, the philosophy, and even in the oratory and poetry of the period.

 

            Astrology and Theurgy were then in all their glory.

 

            Chemistry, which took the place of experimental science, was as obscure as every other species of learning, and its facts were enveloped in the allegories of the Alchemists and the Rosicrucians.

 

            A few learned men, disheartened by this obscuration of intellectual light, had organized a society in 1646; but as they were still imbued with a remnant of the popular prejudice, they were the partisans of the esoteric method of instruction, and did not believe that human knowledge should be exoterically taught so as to become accessible to all. Hence their society became a secret one.

 

            The first members of this society were, says Nicolai, Elias Ashmole, the celebrated antiquary; William Lilly, a famous astrologer; Thomas Wharton, a physician; George Wharton; William Oughtred, a mathematician; Dr. John Hewitt, and Dr. John Pearson, both clergymen, and several others.

 

            The annual festival of the Astrologers gave rise to this association.

 

            It had previously held one meeting at Warrington, in Lancashire, but it was first firmly established at London.

 

            Its object was to build the House of Solomon in a literal sense but the establishment was to remain as secret as the island of Bensalem in Bacon's New Atlantis,‑ that is, they were to be engaged in the study of nature, but the instructions were to remain within the society in an esoteric form; in other words, it was to be a secret society. Allegories were used by these philosophers to express their ideas.

 

            First were the ancient columns of Hermes, by which Jamblichus pretended that he had enlightened all the doubts of Porphyry.

 

            You then mounted, by several steps, to a checkered floor divided into four regions, to denote the four superior sciences, after which came the types of the six days, which expressed the object of the society.

 

            All of which was intended to teach the doctrines that God created the world and preserves it by fixed principles, and that he who seeks to know these principles, by an investigation of the interior of nature, approximates to God and obtains from His grace the power of commanding nature.

 

            This, says Nicolai, was the essence of the

 

mystical and alchemical doctrine of the age, so that we may conclude that the society which he has been describingwas in reality an association of alchemists, or rather of astrologers.

 

            In these allegories, for which Nicolai may have been indebted to the alchemical writings of that period, to which he refers, or for which he may have drawn on his own imagination‑we are uncertain which, as he sees no authorities‑we may plainly detect Masonic symbols, such as the pillars of the porch of the Temple, the mystical ladder of steps, and the mosaic pavement, and thus it is that he seems to find an analogy between Freemasonry and the secret society that he has been describing.

 

            He still further pursues the hypothesis of their identity in the following remarks:

 

"It is known," he say, " that all who have the right of citizenship in London, whatever may be their rank or condition, must be recognized as members of some company or corporation.

 

            But it is always easy for a man of quality or of letters to gain admission into one of these companies.

 

            Now, several members of the society that has just been described were also members of the Company of Masons.

 

            This was the reason of their holding their meetings at Masons' Hall, in Masons' Alley, Basinghall Street.

 

            They all entered the company and assumed the name of Free and Accepted Masons, adopting, besides, all its external marks of distinction.

 

            Free is the title which every member of this body assumes in England; the right or franchise is called Freedom,‑ the brethren call themselves Freemen, Accepted means, in this place, that this private society had been accepted or incorporated into that of the Masons, and thus it was that chance gave birth to that denomination of Freemasons which afterward became so famous, although it is possible that some allusion may also have been intended to the building of the House of Solomon, an allegory with which they were also familiar."

 

Hence, according to the theory of Nicolai, two famous associations, each of a character peculiar to itself, were at the same period indebted to the same cause for their existence.

 

            These were the Royal Society and the Freemasony " Both," he says, " had the same object and the difference in their proceedings arose only from a difference in some of the opinions of their members.

 

            The one society had adopted as its maxim that the knowledge of nature and of natural science should be indiscriminately communicated to all classes of men, while the other contended that the secrets of nature should be restricted to a small number of chosen recipients.

 

            The former body, which was the Royal Society, therefore held open meetings; the latter, which was the Society of Freemasons, enveloped its transactions in mystery."

 

"In those days," says Nicolai, "the Freemasons were altogether devoted to the King and opposed to the Parliament, and they soon occupied themselves at their meetings in devising the means of sustaining the royal cause.

 

            After the death of Charles I., in 1649, the Royalists becoming still more closely united, and, fearing to be known as such, they joined the assemblies of the Freemasons for the purpose of concealing their own identity, and the good intentions of that society being well known many persons of rank were admitted into it.

 

            But as the objects which occupied their attention were no other than to diminish the number of the partisans of Parliament, and to prepare the way for the restoration of Charles II. to the throne, it would have been very imprudent to communicate to all Freemasonry without exception, the measures which they deemed it expedient to take, and which required an inviolable secrecy.

 

            Accordingly they adopted the method of selecting a certain number of their members, who met in secret, and this committee, which had nothing at all to do with the House of Solomon, selected allegories, which had no relation to the former ones, but which were very appropriate to their design.

 

            These new Masons took Death for their symbol.

 

            They lamented the death of their master, Charles I; they nursed the hope of vengeance on his murderers; they sought to re‑establish the Word, or his son, Charles II., for they applied to him the word Logos, which, in its theological sense, means both the Word and the Son; and the queen, Henrietta Maria, the relict of Charles I., being thenceforth the head of the party, they designated themselves the Widow's Sons.

 

            "They agreed also upon private signs and modes of recognition, by which the friends of the royal cause might be able to distinguish each other from their enemies.

 

            This precaution was of great utility to those who traveled, and especially to those of them who retired with the court to Holland, where, being surrounded by the spies of the Commonwealth, it was necessary to be exceedingly diligent in guarding their secret."

 

Nicolai then proceeds to show how, after the death of Oliver Cromwell and the abdication of his son Richard, the administration of affairs fell into the hands of the chiefs of various parties, whence resulted confusion and dissensions, which tended to render the cause of the monarchy still more popular.

 

            The generals of the army were, however, still opposed to any notion of a restoration and the hopes of the royalis ts centered upon General Monk, who commanded the army in Scotland, and who, it was known, had begun to look favorably on propositions which he had received in 1659 from the exiled King.

 

            It then became necessary to bind their secret committee still more closely, that they might treat of Scottish affairs in reference to the interests of the King.

 

            They selected new allegories, which symbolized the critical state to which they were reduced, and the virtues, such as prudence, pliancy, and courage, which were necessary to success.

 

            They selected a new device and a new sign, and in their meetings spoke allegorically of taking care, in that wavering and uncertain condition of falling, lest the arms should be broken."

 

It is probable that, in this last and otherwise incomprehensible sentence, Nicolai refers to some of the changes made in the High Degrees, fabricated about the middle of the 18th century, but whose invention he incorrectly, but like most Masonic historians of his day, attributes to an earlier date.

 

            As some elucidation of what he says respecting the fact of failing and the broken arm, we find Nicolai afterward quoting a small dictionary which he says appeared about the beginning of the 18th century, and in which we meet with the following definition:

 

"Mason's Wound, An imaginary wound above the elbow, to represent a fracture of the arm occasioned by a fall from an elevated place."

 

"This," says Nicolai, "is the authentic history of the origin of the Society of Freemasons, and of the first changes that it underwent, changes which transformed it from an esoteric society of natural philosophers into an association of good patriots and loyal subjects; and hence it was that it subsequently took the name of the Royal Art as applied to Masonry."

 

He concludes by affirming that the Society of Freemasons continued to assemble after the Restoration, in 1660, and even made, in 1663, several regulations for its preservation, but the zeal of its members was diminished by the changes which science and manners underwent during the reign of Charles II.

 

            Its political character ceased by the advent of the king, and its esoteric method of teaching the natural sciencess must have been greatly interrupted.

 

            The Royal Society, whose method had been exoteric and open, and from whose conferences politics were excluded, although its members were, in principle, opposed to the Restoration, had a more successful progress, and was joined by many of the Freemasons, the most prominent of whom was Elias Ashmole, who, Nicolai says, changed his opinions and became a member of the Royal Society.

 

            But, to prevent its dissolution, the Society of Freemasons made several changes in its constitution, so as to give it a specific design.

 

            This was undertaken and the symbols of the Society were altered so as to substitute the Temple of Solomon in the place of Bacon's House of Solomon, as a more appropriate allegory to express the character of the new institution. Nicolai thinks that the building of St. Paul's Church and the persecutions endured by Sir Christopher Wren may have contributed to the selection of these new symbols.

 

            But on this point he does not insist.

 

            Such is the theory of Nicolai.

 

            Rejecting the idea that the origin of the Order of Freemasonry is to be traced to the founders of the Royal Society, he claims to have found it in a society of contemporaneous philosophers who met at Masons' Hall, in Basinghall Street, and assumed the name of Free and Accepted Masons, and who, claiming, in opposition to the views of the members of the Royal Society, that all s6ences should be communicated esoterically, therefore held their meetings in secret, their real object therefor being to nourish a political conspiracy for the advancement of the cause of the monarchy and the restoration of the exiled King.

 

            Nicolai does not expressly mention the Astrologers, but it is very evident that he alludes to them as the so‑called philosophers who originated this secret society, and to them, therefore, he attributes the invention of the Masonic system, as it now exists, after the necessary changes which policy and the vicissitudes of the times had induced.

 

            Nicholas de Bonneville, the author of the essay entitled The Jesuits chased out of Freemasonry, entertained a similar opinion.

 

            He says that in 1646 a society of Rosicrucians was formed at London, modeled on the ideas of the New Atlantis of Bacon.

 

            It assembled in Masons' Hall, where Ashmole and other Rosicrucians modified the formula of reception of the Operative Masons, which had consisted only of a few ceremonies used by craftsmen, and substituted a mode of initiation founded in part on the mysteries of Ancient Egypt and Greece.

 

            They then fabricated the first degree of Masonry as ive non, have it, and, to distinguish themselves from common Masons, called themselves Freemasons.

 

            Thory cites this without comment in his Acta Latomorum, and gives it as a part of the authentic annals of the Order.

 

But ingenious and plausible as are these views, both of Nicolai and Bonneville, they unfortunately can not withstand the touchstone of all truth, the proofs of authentic history.

 

            It will be seen that we have two hypotheses to investigate‑first that advanced by the contributor to Wieland's Mercury, that the Society of Freemasons was originated by the founders of the Royal Society, and that maintained by Nicolai and Bonneville, that it owes its invention to the Astrologers who were contemporary with these founders.

 

            Both hypotheses place the date of the invention in the same year, 1646, and give London as the place of the invention.

 

            We must first direct our attention to the theory which maintains that the Royal Society was the origin of Freemasonry, and that the founders of that academy were the establishers of the Society of Freemasons.

 

            This theory, first advanced, apparently, by the anonymous contributor to Wieland's Mercury, was exploded by Nicolai, in the arguments heretofore quoted, but something may be added to increase the strength of what he has said.

 

            We have the explicit testimony of all the historians of that institution that it was not at all connected with the political contests of the day, and that it was founded only as a means of pursuing philosophical and scientific inquiries.

 

            Dr. Thompson, who derives his information from the early records of the society, says that " it was established for the express purpose of advancing experimental philosophy, and that its foundation was laid during the time of the civil wars and was owing to the accidental association of several learned men who took no part in the disturbances which agitated Great Britain." {1}

 

He adds that "about the year 1645 several ingenious men who

 

 

 

{1} "History of the Royal Society," by Thomas Thompson, M.D., F.R.S., LL.D. London, 1812, p. 1

 

resided in London and were interested in the progress of mathematics and natural philosophy agreed to meet once a week to discourse upon subjects connected with these sciences.

 

            These meetings were suspended after the resignation of Richard Cromwell, but revived in 1660, upon the Restoration."' {1}

 

They met at first in private rooms, but afterward in Gresham College and then in Arundel House.

 

            Their earliest code of laws shows that their conferences were not in secret, but open to properly introduced visitors, as they still continue to be.

 

            Weld, the librarian of the society, says that to it "attaches the renown of having from its foundation applied itself with untiring zeal and energy to the great objects of its institution." {2} He states that, although the society was not chartered until 1660, " there is no doubt that a society of learned men were in the habit of assembling together to discuss scientific subjects for many years previous to that time." {3}

 

Spratt, in his history of the society, says that in the gloomy season of the civil wars they had selected natural philosophy as their private diversion, and that at their rneetings " they chiefly attended to some particular trials in Chemistry or Mechanics."

 

The testimony of Robert Boyle, Wallis, and Evelyn, contemporaries of the founders, is to the same effect, that the society was simply philosophical in its character and without any political design Dr.

 

            Wallis, who was one of the original founders, makes this statement concerning the origin and objects of the society in his Account of some Passages in my own Life. {4}

 

"About the year 1645, while I lived in London (at a time when, by our civil wars, academic studies were much interrupted in both our Universities), besides the conversation of divers eminent divines, as to matters theological, I had the opportunity of being acquainted with divers worthy persons inquisitive into natural philosophy and other paths of human learning, and particularly what has

 

{1} "History of the Royal Society," by Thomas Thompson, M.D., F.R.S., LL.D., London, 1812, p.1

 

{2} "A History of the Royal Society," with Memoirs of its Presidents, by Charles Richard Weld, Esq., 2 vols., London, 1848, I. 27

 

{3} Ibid

 

{4} In Hearne's edition of Langsteff's chronicle.

 

been called the New Philosophy or Experimental Philosophy.

 

            We did, by agreements, divers of us meet weekly in London on a certain day to treat and discourse of such affairs." Wallis says that the subjects pursued by them related to physics, astronomy, and natural philosophy, such as the circulation of the blood, the Copernican system, the Torricellian experiment, etc.

 

            In all these authentic accounts of the object of the society there is not the slightest allusion to it as a secret organization, nor any mention of a form of initiation, but only a reception by the unanimous vote of the members, which reception, as laid down in the bylaws consisted merely in the president taking the newly elected candidate by the found and saluting him as a member or fellow of the society.

 

            The fact is that at that period many similar societies had been instituted in different countries of Europe, such as the Academia del Corriento at Florence and the Academy of Sciences at Paris, whose members, like those of the Royal Society of London, devoted themselves to the development of science.

 

            This encouragement of scientific pursuits may be principally attributed to many circumstances that followed the revival of learning; the advent of Greeks into Western Europe, imbued with (Grecian literature; Bacon's new system of philosophy, which alone was enough to awaken the intellects of all thinking men; and the labors of Galileo and his disciples.

 

            All these had prepared many minds for the pursuit of philosophy by experimental and inductive methods, which took the place of the superstitious dogmas of preceding ages.

 

            It was through such influences as these, wholly unconnected with any religious or political aspirations, that the founders of the Royal Society were induced to hold their meetings and to cultivate without the restraints of secrecy their philosophical labors, which culminated in 1660 in the incorporation of an institution of learned men which at this day holds the most honored and prominent place among the learned societies of the world.

 

            But it is in vain to look in this society, either in the mode of its organization, in the character of its members, or in the nature of their pursuits, for any connection with Freemasonry, an institution

 

entirely different in its construction and its objects.

 

            The theory, therefore, that Freemasonry is indebted for is origin to the Royal Society of London must be rejected as wholly without authenticity or even plausibility. But the theory of Nicolai, which attributes its origin to another contemporaneous society, whose members were evidently Astrologers, is somewhat more plausible, although equally incorrect.

 

            Its consideration must, however, be reserved as the subject of another chapter.

 

           

 

P. 314

 


 

CHAPTER XXXIV

 

THE ASTROLOGERS AND THE FREEMASONS

 

We have seen, in the preceding chapter, that Nicolai had sought to trace the origin of Freemasonry to a society organized in 1646 by a sect of philosophers who were contemporary with, but entirely distinct from, those who founded the Royal Society.

 

            Though he does not explicitly state the fact, yet, from the names of the persons to whom he refers, there can be no doubt that he alluded to the Astrologers, who at that time were very popular in England.

 

            Judicial astrology, or the divination of the future by the stars, was, of all the delusions to which the superstition of the Middle Ages gave birth, the most popular.

 

            It prevailed over all Europe, so that it was practiced by the most learned, and the predictions of its professors were sought with avidity and believed with confidence by the most wealthy and most powerful. Astrologers often formed a part of the household of princes, who followed their counsels in the most important matters relating to the future, while men and women of every rank sought these charlatans that they might have their nativities cast and secure the aid of their occult art in the recovery of stolen goods or the prognostications of happy marriages or of successful journeys.

 

            Astrology was called the Daughter of Astronomy, and the scholars who devoted themselves to the study of the heavenly bodies for the purposes of pure science were often called upon to use their knowledge of the stars for the degrading purpose of astrological predictions.

 

            Kepler, the greatest astronomer of that age, was compelled against his will to pander to the popular superstition, that he might thus gain a livelihood and be enabled to pursue his nobler studies.

 

            In one of his works he complains that the scanty reward of an astronomer would not provide him with bread, if men did not entertain hopes of reading the future in the heavens. And so he tampered with the science that he loved and adorned, and made predictions for inquisitive consulters, although, at the same time, he declared to his friends that "they were nothing but worthless conjecture."

 

Cornelius Agrippa, though he cultivated alchemy, a delusion but little more respectable than that of astrology, when commanded by his patroness, the Queen mother of France, to practice the latter, expressed his annoyance at the task.

 

            Of the Astrologers he said, in his great work on the Vanity of the Arts and Sciences, "these fortune tellers do find entertainment among princes and magistrates, from whom they receive large salaries; but, indeed, there is no class of men who are more pernicious to a commonwealth.

 

            For, as their skill lies in the adaptation of ambiguous predictions to events after they have happened, so it happens that a man who lives by falsehood shall by one accidental truth obtain more credit than he will lose by a hundred manifest errors."

 

The 16th and 17th centuries were the golden age of astrology in England. We know all that is needed of this charlatanism and of the character of its professors from the autobiography of William Lilly, himself an English astrologer of no mean note; perhaps, indeed, the best‑educated and the most honest of those who practiced this delusion in England in the 17th century, and who is one of those to whom Nicolai ascribes the formation of that secret society, in 1646, which invented Freemasonry.

 

            It will be remembered that Nicolai says that of the society of learned men who established Freemasonry, the first members were Elias Ashmole, the skillful antiquary, who was also a student of astrology, William Lilly, a famous astrologer, George Wharton, likewise an astrologer, William Oughtred, a mathematician, and some others.

 

            He also says that the annual festival of the Astrologers gave rise to this association. "It had previously held ," says Nicolai, "one meeting at Warrington, in Lancashire, but it was first firmly established at London."

 

Their meetings, the same writer asserts, were held at Masons' Hall, in Masons' Alley, Basinghall Street.

 

            Many of them were members of the Masons' Company, and they all entered it and assumed the title of Free and Accepted Masons, adopting, besides, all its external marks of distinction.

 

            Such is the theory which makes the Astrologers, incorporating themselves with the Operative Masons, who met at their Hall in Basinghall

 

Street, the founders of the Speculative Order of Free and Accepted Masons as they exist at the present day.

 

            It is surprising that in a question of history a man of letters of the reputation of Nicolai should have indulged in such bold assumptions and in statements so wholly bare of authority.

 

            But unfortunately it is thus that Masonic history has always been written.

 

            I shall strive to eliminate the truth from the fiction in this narrative.

 

            The task will be a laborious one, for, as Goethe has well said in one of his maxims "It is much easier to perceive error than to find truth. The former lies on the surface, so that it is easily reached; the latter lies in the depth, which it is not every man's business to search for."

 

The Astrologers, to whose meeting in the Masons' Hall is ascribed the origin of the Freemasons, were not a class of persons who would have been likely to have united in such an attempt, which showed at least a desire for some intellectual progress.

 

            Lilly, perhaps the best‑educated and the most honest of these charlatans, has in the narrative of his life, written by himself, given us some notion of the character of many of them who lived in London when he practiced the art in that city. {1}

 

Of Evans, who was his first teacher, he tells us that he was a clergyman ‑ of Staffordshire, whence he "had been in a manner enforced to fly for some offences very scandalous committed by him "; of another astrologer, Alexander Hart, he says " he was but a cheat." Jeffry Neve he calls, a smatterer; William Poole was a frequenter of taverns with lewd people and fled on one occasion from London under the suspicion of complicity in theft; John Booker, though honest was ignorant of his profession; William Hodges dealt with angels, but " his life answered not in holiness and sanctity to what it should," for he was addicted to profanity; and John A Windsor was given to debauchery.

 

            Men of such habits of life were not likely to interest themselves in the advancement of science or in the establishment of a society of speculative philosophers.

 

            It is true that these charlatans lived at an earlier period than that ascribed by Nicolai to the organization

 

{1} "The Life of William Lilly, Student in Astology, wrote by himself in the 66th year of his Age, at Hersham, in the Parish of Walton upon Thames, in the County of Surrey, Propria Manu."

 

of the society in Masons' Hall, but in the few years that elapsed it is not probable that the disciples of astrology had much improved in their moral or intellectual condition.

 

            Of certain of the men named by Nicolai as having organized the Society of Freemasons in 1646, we have some knowledge.

 

            Elias Ashmole, the celebrated antiquary, and founder of the Ashmolean Museum in the University of Oxford, is an historical character.

 

            He wrote his own life, in the form of a most minute diary, extending from July 2, 1633, to October 9, 1687. In this diary, in which he registers the most trivial as well as the most important events of his life‑recording even the cutting of his wisdom teeth, or the taking of a sudorific‑he does not make the slightest allusion to the transaction referred to by Nicolai.

 

            The silence of so babbling a chronicler as to such an important event is itself sufficient proof that it did not occur. What Ashmole has said about Freemasonry will be presently seen.

 

            Lilly, another supposed actor in this scene, also wrote his life with great minuteness.

 

            His complete silence on the subject is equally suggestive. Nicolai says that the persons he cites were either already members of the Company of Masons or at once became so.

 

            Now, Lilly was a member of the Salter's Company, one of the twelve great livery companies, and would not have left it to join a minor company, which the Masons was.

 

            Oughtred could not have been united with Ashmole in organizing a society in 1646, for the latter, in a note to Lilly's life, traces his acquaintance with him to the residence of both as neighbors in Surrey.

 

            Now, Ashmole did not remove to Surrey until the year 1675, twenty nine years after his supposed meeting with Oughtred at the Masons Hall.

 

            Between Wharton and Lilly, who were rival almanac‑makers, there was, in 1646, a bitter feud, which was not reconciled until years afterward.

 

            In an almanac which Wharton published in 1645 he had called Lilly " an impudent, senseless fellow, and by name William Lilly." It is not likely that they would have been engaged in the fraternal task of organizing a great society at that very time.

 

            Dr. Pearson, another one of the supposed founders, is celebrated in literary and theological history as the author of an Exposition of the Creed.

 

            Of a man so prominent as to have been the Master of Jesus College, Cambridge, and afterward Bishop of Chester, Ashmole makes no mention in his diary.

 

            If he had ever met him or been engaged with him in so important an affair, this silence in so minute a journal of the transactions of his every‑day life would be inexplicable.

 

            But enough has been said to show the improbability of any such meeting as Nicolai records. Even Ashmole and Lilly, the two leaders, were unknown to each other until the close of the year 1646.

 

            Ashmole says in his diary of that year: Mr. Jonas Moore brought and acquainted me with Mr. William Lilly: it was on a Friday night, and I think on the 20th Nov. (1646)."

 

That there was an association, or a club or society, of Astrologers about that time in London is very probable.

 

            Pepys, in his memoirs, says that in October, 166o, he went to Mr. Lilly's, "there being a club that night among his friends." There he met Esquire Ashmole and went home accompanied by Mr. Booker, who, he says, " did tell me a great many fooleries, which may be done by nativities, and blaming Mr. Lilly for writing to please his friends, and not according to the rules of art, by which he could not well eue as he had done" The club, we may well suppose, was that of the Astrologers, held at the house of the chief member of the profession.

 

            That it was not a secret society we conclude from the fact that Pepys, who was no astrologer, was permitted to be present.

 

            We know also from Ashmole's diary that the Astrologers held an annual feast, generally in August, sometimes in March, July, or November, but never on a Masonic festival.

 

            Ashmole regularly attended it from 1649 to 1658, when it was suspended, but afterward revived, in 1682.

 

            In 1650 he was elected a steward for the following year he mentions the place of meeting only three times, twice at Painters' Hall, which was probably the usual place, and once at the Three Cranes, in Chancery Lane. Had the Astrologers and the Masons been connected, Masons' Hall, in Basinghall Street, would certainly have been the place for holding their feast.

 

            Again, it is said by Nicolai that the object of this secret society which organized the Freemasons was to advance the restoration of the King.

 

            But Lilly had made, in 1645, the year before the meeting, this declaration: "Before that time, I was more Cavalier than Roundbead, but after that I engaged body and soul the cause of Parliament." He still expressed, it is true, his attachment to monarchy; but his life during the Commonwealth showed his devotion to Cromwell, of whom he was a particular favorite.

 

            After the Restoration he had to sue out a pardon, which was obtained by the influence of his friends, but which would hardly have been necessary if he had been engaged in a secret society the object of which was to restore Charles II to the throne.

 

            But Charles I was not beheaded until 1649, so that a society could not have been organized in 1646 for the restoration of his son.

 

            But it may be said that the Restoration alluded to was of the monarchy, which at that time was virtually at an end.

 

            So this objection may pass without further comment.

 

            But the fact is that the whole of this fiction of the organization, 1646, of a secret society by a set of philosophers or astrologers, or both, which resulted in the establishment of Freemasonry, arose out of a misconception or a misrepresentation ‑ whether willful or not, I will not say‑of two passages in the diary of Elias Ashmole.

 

            Of these two passages, and they are the only ones in his minute diary of fifty‑four years in which there is any mention of Freemasonry, the first is as follows:

 

"1646, Octob. 16‑ 4 Hor. 30 minutes post merid.

 

            I was made a Free‑ Mason at Warrington in Lancashire, with Colonel Henry Mainwarring of Karticham in Cheshire; the names of those that were then at the lodge, Mr. Richard Penket Warden, Mr. James Collier, Mr. Richard Sankey, Henry Littler, John Ellam, and Hugh Brewer."

 

And then, after an interval of thirty‑five years, during which there is no further allusion to Masonry, we find the following memoranda: " 1682, Mar. 10. About 5 Hor. Post merid. I received a summons to appear at a lodge to be held the next day at Masons Hall, London.

 

            II. Accordingly I went, and about noon was admitted into the fellowship of Freemasons, by Sir William Wilson Knight, Captain Richard Borthwick, Mr. William Wodman, Mr. William Grey, Mr. Samuel Taylour, and Mr. William Wise.

 

            "I was the senior fellow among them (it being thirty‑five years since I was admitted) there was present besides myself, the fellows after mentioned. Mr. Thomas Wise, Master of the Masons Company, this present year; Mr. Thomas Shorthose, Mr. Thomas Shadbolt, Wardsford, Esq; Mr. Nicholas Young, Mr. John Shorthose, Mr. William Hamon, Mr. John Thompson, and Mr. William Stanton. We all dined at the Half‑Moon‑Tavern, in Cheapside, at a noble dinner prepared at the charge of the new accepted Masons."

 

Without the slightest show of reason or semblance of authority, Nicolai transmutes the Lodge at Warrington, in which Ashmole was made a Freemason, into an annual feast of the Astrologers.

 

            The Society of Astrologers, he says, "had previously held one meeting at Warrington, in Lancashire, but it was first firmly established at London." And he cites as His authority for this statement the very passage from Ashinole's diary in which that antiquary records his reception in a Masonic Lodge.

 

            These events in the life of Ashmole, which connect him with the Masonic fraternity, have given considerable embarrassment to Masonic scholars who have been unable to comprehend the two apparently conflicting statements that he was made a Freemason at Warrington in 1646 and afterward received into the fellowship of the Freemasons, in 1682, at London.

 

            The embarrassment and misapprehension arose from the fact that we have unfortunately no records of the meetings of the Operative Lodges of England in the 17th century, and nothing but traditional and generally mythical accounts of their usages during that period.

 

            The sister kingdom of Scotland has been more fortunate in this respect, and the valuable work of Brother Lyon, on the History of the Lodge of Edinborough, has supplied us with authentic records of the Scottish Lodges at a much earlier date.

 

            These records will furnish us with some information in respect to the contemporaneous English Lodges which was have every reason to suppose were governed by usages not very different from those of the Lodges in the adjacent kingdom. Mr. Lyon has on this subject the following remarks, which may be opportunely quoted on the present occasion.

 

            "The earliest date at which non‑professionals are known to have been received into an English Lodge is 1646.

 

            The evidence of this is derived from the diary of one of the persons so admitted; but the preceding minutes {1} afford authentic instances of Speculative Masons having been admitted to the fellowship of the Lodge of

 

{1} Minutes of the Lodge of Cannongate, Kilwinning, for 1635, quoted by him in a precedding page.

 

Edinburgh twelve years prior to the reception of Colonel Main warring and Elias Ashmole in the Lodge of Warrington and thirty‑ eight years before the date at which the presence of Gentleman Masons is first discernible in the Lodge of Kilwinning by the election of Lord Cassillis to the deaconship.

 

            It is worthy of remark that, with singularly few exceptions, the non‑operatives who were admitted to Masonic fellowship in the Lodges of Edinburgh and Kilwinning, during the 17th century, were persons of quality, the most distinguished of whom, as the natural result of its metropolitan position, being made in the former Lodge.

 

            Their admission to fellowship in an institution composed of Operative Masons associated together for purposes of their Craft would in all probability originate in a desire to elevate its position and increase its influence, and once adopted, the system would further recommend itself to the Fraternity by the opportunities which it presented for cultivating the friendship and enjoying the society of gentlemen to whom in ordinary circumstances there was little chance of their ever being personally known.

 

            On the other hand, non‑professionals connecting themselves with the Lodge by the ties of membership would, we believe, be actuated partly by a disposition to reciprocate the feelings that had prompted the bestowal of the fellowship partly by curiosity to penetrate the arcana of the Craft, and partly by the novelty of the situation as members of a secret society and participants in its ceremonies and festivities.

 

            But whatever may have been the rnotives which animated the parties on either side, the tie which united them was a purely honorary one." {1}

 

What is here said by Lyon of the Scottish Lodges may, I think, be with equal propriety applied to those of England at the same period.

 

            There was in 1646 a Lodge of Operative Masons at Warrington, just as there was a similar one at Edinburgh.

 

            Into this Lodge Colonel Mainwarring and Elias Ashmole, both non‑ professional gentlemen, were admitted as honorary members, or, to use the language of the latter, were " made Freemasons," a technical term that has been preserved to the present day.

 

            But thirty‑five years afterward, being then a resident of London, he was summoned to attend a meeting of the Company of Masons, to be held at their hall in Masons' Alley, Basinghall Street,

 

{1} Lyon, "History of the Lodge of Edinburgh," p. 81

 

and there, according to His own account, he was "admitted into the fellowship of Freemasons." How are we to explain this apparent double or renewed admission? But mark the difference of language.

 

            In 1646 he was "made a Freemason." In 1682 he was admitted into the fellowship of Freemasons." The distinction is an important one.

 

            The Masons' Company in 1682 constituted in London one of those many city companies which embraced the various trades and handicrafts of the metropolis.

 

            Stowe, in his Survey of London, says that " the Masons, otherwise termed Freemasons, were a society of ancient standing and good reckoning, by means of affable and kind meetings divers time, and as a loving brotherhood should use to do, did frequent their mutual assemblies in the time of King Henry IV, in the 12th year of whose most gracious reign they were incorporated."

 

In Cheswell's New View of London, printed in 1708, it is said that the Masons' Company "were incorporated about the year 1410, having been called the Free Masons, a Fraternity of great account, who have been honored by several Kings, and very many of the Nobility and Gentry being of their Society.

 

            They are governed by a Master, 2 Wardens, 25 Assistants, and there are 65 on the Livery."

 

Maitland, in his London and its Environs, says, speaking of the Masons: "This company had their arms granted by Clarencieux, King‑ at‑Arms, in the year 1477, though the members were not incorporated by letters patent till they obtained them from King Charles II. in 1677.

 

            They have a small convenient hall in Masons' Alley, Basinghall Street."

 

There were then, in the time of Ashmole, two distinct bodies of men practicing the Craft of Operative Masonry, namely, the Lodges which were to be found in various parts of the country, and the Company of Masons, whose seat was at London.

 

            Into one of the Lodges, which was situated at Warrington, in Lancashire, Ashmole had in 1646 received honorary membership, which, in compliance with the technical language of that and of the present day, he called being "made a Freemason." But this did not constitute him a member of the Masons' Company of London, for this was a distinct incorporated society, with its exclusive rules and regulations, and admission into which could only be obtained by the consent of the members.

 

            There were many Masons who were not members of the Company.

 

            Ashmole, who had for thirty‑five years been a Freemason, by virtue of his making at Warrington, was in 1682 elected a member of this Masons' Company, and this he styles being "admitted into the fellowship of Freemasons "‑that is, he was admitted to the fellowship or membership of the Company and made " free " of it.

 

            From all of which we may draw the following conclusions: First, that in 1646, at the very date assigned by Nicolai for the organization of the Freemasons as a secret political society, under the leadership of Ashmole and Lilly, the former, being as yet unacquainted with the latter, was at Warrington, in Lancashire, where he found a Lodge of Masons already organized and with its proper officers and its members, by whom he was admitted as an honorary non‑professional member of the Craft.

 

            And secondly, that while in London be was admitted, being already a Freemason, to the fellowship of the Masons' Company.

 

            And thirdly, that he was also a member of the fraternity of Astrologers, having been admitted probably in 1649, and regularly attended their annual feast from that year to 1658, when the festival, and perhaps the fraternity, was suspended until 1682, when it was again revived.

 

            But during all this time it is evident from the memoranda of Ashmole that the Freemasons and the Astrologers were two entirely distinct bodies.

 

            Lilly, who was the head of the Astrologers, was, we may say almost with certainty, not a Freemason, else the spirit of minuteness with which he has written his autobiography would not have permitted him to omit what to his peculiar frame of maid would have been so important a circumstance as connecting him still more closely with his admired friend, Elias Ashmole, nor would the latter have neglected to record it in his diary, written with even still greater minuteness than Lilly's memoirs.

 

            Notwithstanding the clear historical testimony which shows that Lodges of Freemasons had been organized long before the time of Ashmok, and that he had actually been made a Freemason in one of them, many writers, both Masonic and profane, have maintained the erroneous doctrine that Ashmole was the founder of the Masonic Society.

 

            'Thus Chambers, in their Encyclopedia say that " Masonry was founded by Ashmole some of his literary friends," and De Quincey expressed the same opinion.

 

            Mr. John Yarker, in his very readable Notes on the Scientific and Religious Mysteries of Antiquity, offers a modified view and a compromise of the subject.

 

            He refers to the meeting of the chemical adepts at Masons' Hall (a fact of which we have no evidence), and then to the "Feast of the Astrologers " which Ashmole attended.

 

            He follows Nicolai in asserting that their allegories were founded on Bacon's House of Solomon, and says that they used as emblems the sun, moon, square, triangle, etc.

 

            And he concludes, "it is possible that Ashmole may have consolidated the customs of the two associations, but there is no evidence that any Lodge of this, his speculative rite, came under the Masonic Constitution."' {1}

 

We may also say that it is possible that Ashmole may have invented a speculative rite of some kind, but there is no evidence that he did so.

 

            Many things are possible that are not probable, and many probable that are not actual.

 

            History is made up of facts, and not of possibilities or probabilities.

 

            Ashmole himself entertained a very different and much more correct notion of the origin of Masonry than any of those who have striven to claim him as its founder.

 

            Dr. Knipe, of Christ Church, Oxford, in a letter to the publisher of Ashmole's Life, says: " What from Mr. E. Ashmole's collections I could gather was, that the report of our society's taking rise from a bull granted by the Pope in the reign of Henry III, to some Italian architects to travel over all Europe, to erect chapels, was illfounded.

 

            Such a bull there was, and these architects were Masons; but this bull, in the opinion of the learned Mr. Ashmole, was confirmative only, and did not, by any means, create our Fraternity, or even establish them in this kingdom."

 

This settles the question.

 

            Ashmole could not have been the founder of Freemasonry in London in 1646, since he himself expressed the belief that the Institution had existed in England before the 13th century.

 

            There is no doubt, as I have already said, that he was very intimately connected with the Astrologers.

 

            Dr. Krause, in his Three Oldest Documents of the Masonic Brotherhood, quotes the following passage from Lilly's History of my Life and Titles. (I can not

 

{1} "Notes on the Scientific and Religious Mysteries of Antiquity," p. 106 {2} "Die drei altesten Kunsturkunden der Freimaurerbruderschaft," IV., 286

 

find it in my own copy of that work, but the statements are corroborated by Ashmole's diary.) "

 

"The King's affairs being now grown desperate, Mr. Ashmole withdrew himself, after the surrender of the Garrison of Worcester, into Cheshire, where he continued till the end of October, and then came up to London, where he became acquainted with Master, afterwords Sir Jonas Moore, Mr. William Lilly, and Mr. John Booker, esteemed the greatest astrologers iii the world, by whom he was caressed, instructed and received into their fraternity, which then made a very considerable figure, as appeared by the great resort of persons of distinction to their annual feast, of which Mr. Ashmole was afterwards elected Steward."

 

Ashmole left Worcester for Cheshire July 24, 1646, and moved from Cheshire to London October 25, of the same year.

 

            In that interval of three months he was made a Freemason, at Warrington.

 

            At that time he was not acquainted with Lilly, Moore, or Booker, and knew nothing of astrology or of the great astrologers.

 

            This destroys the accuracy of Nicolai's assertion that the meeting held at Masons' Hall, in 1682, by Ashmole, Lilly, and other astrologers, when they founded the Society of Freemasons, was preceded by a similar and initiatory one, in 1646, at Warrington.

 

            A few words must now be said upon the subject of Bacon's House of Solomon, which Nicolai and others supposed to have first given rise to the Masonic allegory which was afterward changed to that of the Temple of Solomon.

 

            Bacon, in his fragmentary and unfinished romance of the New Atlantis, had devised the fable of an island of Bensalem, in which was an institution or college called the House of Solomon, the fellows of which were to be students of philosophy and investigators of science.

 

            He thus described their occupations:

 

"We have twelve that sail into foreign countries, who bring in the books and patterns of experiments of all other parts; these we call merchants of light.

 

            We have three that collect the experiments that are in all books; these are called depredators.

 

            We have three that collect experiments of all mechanical arts, and also of liberal sciences, and also of practices which are not brought into the arts; these we call mystery men.

 

            We have three that try new experiments such as themselves think good; these we call pioneers or miners. We have three that draw the experiments of the former four into titles and tablets to give the better light for the drawing of observations and axioms out of them; these we call compilers.

 

            We have three that bind themselves looking into the experiments of their fellows and cast about how to draw out of them things of use and practice for man's life and knowledge as well for iworks as for plain demonstrations and the easy and clear discovering of the virtues and parts of bodies; these we call doing men and benefactors. Then after divers meetings and consults of our whole number to consider of the former labors and collections, we have three to take care out of them to direct new experiments of higher light, more penetrating into nature than the former; these we call lamps.

 

            We have three others that do execute the experiments so directed and report them; these we call inoculators.

 

            Lastly we have three that raise the former discoveries by experiments into greater observations, axioms and aphorisms; these we call interpreters of nature." {1}

 

It is evident from this schedule of the occupations of the inmates of the House of Solomon that it could not in the remotest degree have been made the foundatiort of a Masonic allegory.

 

            In fact, the suggestion of a Masonic connection could have been derived only from a confused idea of the relation of the House to the Temple of Solomon, a misapprehension which a reading of the New Atlantis would readily remove.

 

            As Plato had written his Republic and Sir Thomas More his Utopia to give their ideas of a model commonwealth, so Lord Bacon commenced his New Atlantis to furnish his idea of a model college to be instituted for the study and interpretation of nature by experimental methods. These views were first introduced in his Advancement of Human Learning, and would have been perfected in his New Atlantis had he ever completed it.

 

            The new philosophy of Bacon had produced a great revolution in the minds of thinking men, and that group of philosophers who in the 17th century, as Dr. Whewell says, "began to knock at the door where truth was to be found " would very wisely seek the key in the inductive and experimental method taught by Bacon.

 

            To the learned men, therefore, who first met at the house of Dr. Goddard and the other members, and whose meetings finally ended in the formation of the Royal Society, the allegory of the House of

 

{1} "New Atlantis," Works, vol. ii., p. 376

 

Solomon very probably furnished valuable hints for the pursuit of their experimental studies.

 

            To Freemasons in any age the allegory would have been useless and unprofitable, and could by no ingenious method have been twisted into a foundation for their symbolic science The hypothesis that it was adopted in 1646 by the founders of Freemasonry as a fitting allegory for their esoteric system of instruction is evidently too absurd to need further refutation.

 

            In conclusion, we may unhesitatingly concur with Bro. W. J. Hughan in his opinion that the theory which assigns the foundation of Freemasonry to Elias Ashmole and his friends the Astrologers " is opposed to existing documents dating before and since his initiation." It is equally opposed to the whole current of authentic history, and is unsupported by the character of the Institution and true nature of its symbolism.

 

            P. 328

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 


CHAPTER XXXV

 

THE ROSICRUCIANS AND THE FREEMASONS

 

Of all the theories which have been advanced in relation to the origin of Freemasonry from some one of the secret sects, either of antiquity or of the Middle Ages, there is none more interesting than that which seeks to connect it with the Hermetic philosophy, because there is none which presents more plausible claims to our consideration.

 

            There can be no doubt that in some of what are called the High Degrees there is a very palpable infusion of a Hermetic element.

 

            This can not be denied, because the evidence will be most apparent to any one who examines their rituals, and some by their very titles, in which the Hermetic language and a reference to Hermetic principles are adopted, plainly admit the connection and the influence.

 

            There is, therefore, necessity to investigate the question whether or not some of those High or Philosophic Degrees which were fabricated about the middle of the last century are or are not of a Hermetic character, because the time of their invention, when Craft Masonry was already in a fixed condition, removes them entirely out of the problem which relates to the origin of the Masonic Institution.

 

            No matter when Freemasonry was established, the High Degrees were an afterthought, and might very well be tinctured with the principles of any philosophy which prevailed at the period of their invention.

 

            But it is a question of some interest to the Masonic scholar whether at the time of the so‑called Revival of Freemasonry, in the early part of the 18th century, certain Hermetic degrees did not exist which sought to connect themselves with the system of Masonry.

 

            And it is a question of still greater interest whether this attempt was successful so far, at least, as to impress upon the features of that early Freemasonry a portion of the characteristic tints of the Hermetic philosophy, some of the marks of which may still remain in our modern system.

 

            But as the Hermetic philosophy was that which was invented and taught by the Rosicrucians, before we can attempt to resolve these important and interesting questions, it will be necessary to take a brief glance at the history and the character of Rosicrucianism.

 

            On the 17th of August, 1586, Johann Valentin Andred was born at Herrenberg, a small market‑town of what was afterward the kingdom of Wurtemburg. After a studious youth, during which he became possessed of a more than moderate share of learning, he departed in 1610 on a pilgrimage through Germany, Austria, Italy, and France, supplied with but little money, but with an indomitable desire for the acquisition of knowledge. Returning home, in 1614, he embraced the clerical profession and was appointed a deacon in the town of Vaihingen, and by subsequent promotions reached, in 1634, the positions of Protestant prelate of the Abbey of Bebenhausen and spiritual counsellor of the Duchy of Brunswick.

 

            He died on the 27th of June, 1654, at the ripe age of sixty‑eight years.

 

            On the moral character of Andred his biographers have lavished their encomiums.

 

            A philanthropist from his earliest life, he carried, or sought to carry, his plans of benevolence into active operation.

 

            Wherever, says Vaughan, the church, the school, the institute of charity have fallen into ruin or distress, there the indefatigable Andred sought to restore them.

 

            He was, says another writer, the guardian genius and the comforter of the suffering; he was a practical helper as well as a theoretical adviser; in the times of dearth and famine, many thousand poor were fed and clothed by his exertions, and the town of Kalw, of which, in 1720, he was appointed the superintendent, long enjoyed the benefit of many charitable institutions which owed their origin to his solicitations and zeal.

 

            It is not surprising that a man indued with such benevolent feelings and actuated by such a spirit of philanthropy should have viewed with deep regret the corruptions of the times in which he lived, and should have sought to devise some plan by which the condition of his fellow‑men might be ameliorated and the dry, effete

 

{1} Biographical Sketch by Wm. Bell, in Freemasons' Quarterly Magazine, London, vol. ii., N.S., 1854, p. 27

 

theology of the church be converted into some more living, active, humanizing system.

 

            For the accomplishment of this purpose he could see no better method than the establishment of a practical philanthropical fraternity, one that did not at that time exist, but the formation of which he resolved to suggest to such noble minds as might be stimulated to the enterprise.

 

            With this view he invoked the assistance of fiction, and hence there appeared, in 1615, a work which he entitled the Report of the Rosicrucian Brotherhood, or, in its original Latin, Fama Fraternitatis Rose Crucis.

 

            An edition had been published the year before with the title of Universal Reformation of the Whole World, with a Report of the Worshipful Order of the Rosicrucian Brotherhood, addressed to all the Learned Men and Nobility of Europe. {1} There was another work, published in 1616, with the title of Chemische Hochzeit, or Chemical Nuptials, by Christian Rosencreutz.

 

            All of these books were published anonymously, but they were universally attributed to the pen of Andred, and were all intended for one purpose, that of discovering by the character of their reception who were the true lovers of wisdom and philanthropy, and of inducing them to come forward to the perfection of the enterprise, by transforming this fabulous society into a real and active organization.

 

The romantic story of Christian Rosencreutz, the supposed founder of the Order, is thus told by Andrea.

 

            I have borrowed for the most part the language of Mr. Sloane, {2} who, although his views and deductions on the subject are for the most part erroneous, has yet given us the best English epitome of the myth of Andred.

 

            According to Andrea's tale, a certain Christian Rosencreutz, though of good birth, found himself compelled from poverty to enter the cloister at a very early period of life.

 

            He was only sixteen years old when one of the monks purposed a pilgrimage to the Holy Sepulcher, and Rosencreutz, as a special favor, was permitted to accompany him.

 

            At Cyprus the monk is taken ill, but Rosencreutz proceeds onward to Damascus with the intention of going on to

 

{1} " Allgemeine und General Reformation der ganzen, weiten Welt. Beneben der Fama Fraternitatis des Loblichen Ordens des Rosencreutzes, an alle Gelehrte und Haupter Europae geschreiben," Cassel, 1614.

 

{2} "New Curiosities of Literature," vol. ii., p. 44

 

Jerusalem.

 

            While detained in the former city by the fatigues of his journey, he hears of the wonders performed by the sages of Damascus, and, his curiosity being excited, he places himself under their direction.

 

            Three years having been spent in the acquisition of their most hidden mysteries, he sets sail from the Gulf of Arabia for Egypt.

 

            There he studies the nature of plants and animals and then repairs, in obedience to the instructions of his Arabian masters, to Fez, in Africa.

 

            In this city it was the custom of the Arab and African sages to meet annually for the purpose of communicating to each other the results of their experience and inquiries, and here he passed two years in study. He then crossed over to Spain, but not meeting there with a favorable reception, he returned to his native country.

 

            But as Germany was then filled with mystics of all kinds, his proposals for a reformation in morals and science meets with so little sympathy from the public that he resolves to establish a society of his own.

 

            With this view he selects three of his favorite companions from his old convent.

 

            To them, under a solemn vow of secrecy, he communicates the ‑knowledge which he had acquired during his travels.

 

            He imposes on them the duty of committing it to writing and of forming a magical vocabulary for the benefit of future students.

 

            But in addition to this task they also undertook to prescribe gratuitously for all the sick who should ask their assistance, and as in a short time the concourse of patients became so great as materially to interfere with their other duties, and as a building which Rosencreutz had been erecting, called the Temple of the Holy Ghost, was now completed, he determines to increase the number of the brotherhood, and accordingly initiates four new members.

 

            When all is completed, and the eight brethren are instructed in the mysteries of the Order, they separate, according to agreement, two only staying with Father Christian.

 

            The other six, after traveling for a year, are to return and communicate the results of their experience.

 

            The two who had stayed at home are then to be relieved by two of the travelers, so that the founder may never be alone, and the six again divide and travel for a year.

 

            The laws of the Order as they had been prescribed by Rosencreutz were as follows:

 

1. That they should devote themselves to no other Occupation than that of the gratuitous practice of physic.

 

2. That they were not to wear a particular habit, but were to conform in this respect to the customs of the country in which they might happen to be.

 

3. That each one was to present himself on a certain day in the year at the Temple of the Holy Ghost, or send an excuse for his absence.

 

4. That each one was to look out for a brother to succeed him in the event of his death.

 

5. That the letters R. C. were to be their seal, watchword, and title.

 

6. That the brotherhood was to be kept a secret for one hundred years.

 

            When one hundred years old, Christian Rosencreutz died, but the place of his burial was unknown to any one but the two brothers who were with him at the time of his death, and they carried the secret with them to the grave.

 

            The society, however, continued to exist unknown to the world, always consisting of eight members only, until another hundred and twenty years had elapsed, when, according to a tradition of the Order, the grave of Father Rosencreutz was to be discovered, and the brotherhood to be no longer a mystery to the world.

 

            It was about this time that the brethren began to make some alterations in their building, and thought of removing to another and more fitting situation the memorial tablet, on which were inscribed the names of their associates.

 

            The plate, which was of brass, was affixed to the wall by means of a nail in its center, and so firmly was it fastened that in tearing it away a portion of the plaster of the wall became detached and exposed a concealed door.

 

            Upon this door being still further cleansed from the incrustation, there appeared above it in large letters the following words: POST CXX ANNOS PATEBO ‑ after one hundred and twenty years I will be opened.

 

            Although the brethren were greatly delighted at the discovery, they so far restrained their curiosity as not to open the door until the next morning, when they found themselves in a vault of seven sides each side five feet wide and eight feet high.

 

            It was lighted by an artificial sun in the center of the arched roof, while in the middle of the floor, instead of a tomb, stood a round altar covered with a small brass plate, on which was this inscription:

 

A. C. R. C. Hoc, universi compendium, vivus mihi sepulchrum feci‑ while living, I made this epitome of the universe my sepulcher.

 

            About the outer edge was:

 

Jesus mihi omnia ‑, Jesus is all things to me.

 

            In the center were four figures, each enclosed in a circle, with these words inscribed around them:

 

1.Nequaquam vacuus.

 

2.Legis Jugum.

 

3.Liberias Evangelii 4.Dei gloria intacia.

 

            That is ‑ 1. By no means void. 2. The yoke of the Law. 3. The liberty of the Gospel. 4. The unsullied Glory of God.

 

            On seeing all this, the brethren knelt down and returned thanks to God for having made them so much wiser than the rest of the world.

 

            Then they divided the vault into three parts, the roof, the wall, and the pavement.

 

            The first and the last were divided into seven triangles, corresponding to the seven sides of the wall, each of which formed the base of a triangle, while the apices met in the center of the roof and of the pavement.

 

            Each side was divided into ten squares, containing figures and sentences which were to be explained to the new initiates.

 

            In each side there was also a door opening upon a closet, wherein were stored up many rare articles, such as the secret books of the Order, the vocabulary of Paracelsus, and other things of. a similar nature.

 

            In one of the closets they discovered the life of their founder; in others they found curious mirrors, burning lamps, and a variety of objects intended to aid in rebuilding the Order, which, after the lapse of many centuries, was to fall into decay.

 

            Pushing aside the altar, they came upon a strong brass plate, which being removed, they beheld the corpse of Rosencreutz as freshly preserved as on the day when it had been deposited, and under his arm a volume of vellum with letters of gold, containing, among other things, the names of the eight brethren who had founded the Order.

 

            Such is an outline of the story of Christian Rosencreutz and his Rosicrucian Order as it is told in the Fama Fraternitatis.

 

            It is very evident that Andrea composed this romance ‑ for it is nothing else not to record the existence of any actual society, but only that it might serve as a suggestion to the learned and the philanthropic to engage in the establishment of some such benevolent association.

 

            "He hoped;" says Vaughan, " that the few nobler minds whom he desired to organize would see through the veil of fiction in which he had invested his proposal; that he might communicate personally with some such, if they should appear, or that his book might lead them to form among themselves a practical philanthropic confederacy answering to the serious purpose he had embodied in his fiction." {1}

 

But his design was misunderstood then, as it has been since, and everywhere his fable was accepted as a fact.

 

            Diligent search was made by the credulous for the discovery of the Temple of the Holy Ghost.

 

            Printed letters appeared continually, addressed to the unknown brotherhood, seeking admission into the fraternity‑a fraternity that existed only in the pages of the Fama.

 

            But the irresponsive silence to so many applications awoke the suspicions of some, while the continued mystery strengthened the credulity of others.

 

            The brotherhood, whose actual house "lay beneath the Doctor's hat of Valentin Andred," was violently attacked and as vigorously defended in numerous books and pamphlets which during that period flooded the German press.

 

            The learned men among the Germans did not give a favoring ear to the philanthropic suggestions of Andred, but the mystical notions contained in his fabulous history were seized with avidity by the charlatans, who added to them the dreams of the alchemists and the reveries of the astrologers, so that the post‑Andrean Rosicrucianism became a very different thing from that which had been devised by its original author.

 

            It does not, however, appear that the Rosicrucians, as an organized society, made any stand in Germany.

 

            Descartes says that after strict search he could not find a single lodge in that country.

 

            But it extended, as we will presently see, into England, and there became identified as a mystical association.

 

            It is strange what misapprehension, either willful or mistaken, has existed in respect to the relations of Andrea to Rosicrucianism.

 

            We have no more right or reason to attribute the detection of such

 

{1} "Hours with the Mystics," vol. ii., p. 103

 

a sect to the German theologian than we have to ascribe the discovery of the republic of Utopia to Sir Thomas More, or of the island of Bensalem to Lord Bacon.

 

            In each of these instances a fiction was invented on which the author might impose his philosophical or political thoughts, with no dream that readers would take that for fact which was merely intended for fiction.

 

            And yet Rhigellini, in his Masonry Considered as the Result of the Egyptian, Jewish, and Christian Religions, while declining to express an opinion on the allegorical question, as if there might be a doubt on the subject, respects the legend as it had been given in the Fama, and asserting that on the return of Rosencreutz to Germany " he instituted secret societies with an initiation that resembled that of the early Christians." {1}

 

He antedates the Chemical Nuptials ials of Andred a century and a half, ascribes the authorship of that work to Christian Rosencreutz, as if he were a real personage, and thinks that he established, in 1459, the Rite of the Theosophists, the earliest branch of the Rose Croix, or the Rosicrucians; for the French make no distinction in the two words, though in history they are entirely different.

 

            History written in this way is worse than fable‑it is an ignis fatuus which can only lead astray.

 

            And yet this is the method in which Masonic history has too often been treated.

 

            Nicolai, although the deductions by which he connects Freemasonry with Rosicrucianism are wholly untenable, is yet, in his treatment of the latter, more honest or less ignorant. He adopts the correct view when he says that the Fama Fraternitatis only announced a general reformation and exhorted all wise men to unite in a proposed society for the purpose of removing corruption and restoring wisdom.

 

            He commends it as a charming vision, full of poesy and imagination, but of a singular extravagance very common in the writings of that age.

 

            And he notes the fact that while the Alchemists have sought in that work for the secrets of their mysteries, it really contains the gravest satire on their absurd pretensions.

 

            The Fama Fraternitatis had undoubtedly excited the curiosity of the Mystics, who abounded in Germany at the time of its appear. ance, of whom not the least prominent were the Alchemists.

 

            These, having sought in vain for the invisible society of the Rosicrucians, as it had been described in the romance of Andred, resolved to form

 

{1} "La Maconnerie consideree comme le resultant des Religions Egyptienne, Juive et Chretienne," L. iii., p. 108

 

such a society for themselves.

 

            But, to the disappointment and the displeasure of the author of the Fama, they neglected or postponed the moral reformation which he had sought, and substituted the visionary schemes of the Alchemists, a body of quasi‑philosophers who assigned their origin as students of nature and seekers of the philosophers stone and the elixir of immortality to a very remote period.

 

            Thus it is that I trace the origin of the Rosicrucians, not to Valentin Andrea, nor to Christian Rosencreutz, who was only the coinage of his brain, but to the influence exerted by him upon certain Mystics and Alchemists who, whether they accepted the legend of Rosencreutz as a fiction or as a verity, at least made diligent use of it in the establishment of their new society.

 

            I am not, therefore, disposed to doubt the statement of L. C. Orvius, as cited by Nicolai, that in 1622 there was a society of Alchemists at The Hague, who called themselves Rosicrucians and claimed Rosencreutz as their founder.

 

            Michael Maier, the physician of the Emperor Rudolf II., devoted himself in the early part of the 17th century to the pursuits of alchemy, and, having adopted the mystical views of the Rosicrucians, is said to have introduced that society into England.

 

            Maier was the author of many works in Latin in defense and in explanation of the Rosicrucian system.

 

            Among them was an epistle addressed "To all lovers of true chemistry throughout Germany, and especially to that Order which has hitherto lain concealed, but is now probably made known by the Report of the Fraternity (Fama Fraternitatis) and their admirable Confession." {1} In this work he uses the following language:

 

"What is contained in the Fama and confessio is true.

 

            It is a very childish objection that the brotherhood have promised so much and performed so little.

 

            The Masters of the Order hold out the Rose as a remote reward, but they impose the Cross on all who are entering.

 

            Like the Pythagoreans and the Egyptians, the Rosicrucians extract vows of silence and secrecy.

 

            Ignorant men have treated the whole as a fiction; but this has arisen from the probation of five years to which they subject even well qualified novices,

 

{1} "Omnibus verae chymiae Amantibus per Germaniam, et precipere illi Ordini adhue delitescenti, at Fama Fraternitatis et confessione sua admiranda et probabile manifestato."

 

before they are admitted to the higher mysteries, and within that period they are taught how to govern their own tongues!

 

Although Maier died in 1622, it appears that he had lived long enough to take part in the organization of the Rosicrucian sect, which had been formed out of the suggestions of Andred.

 

            His views on this subject were, however, peculiar and different from those of most of the new disciples.

 

            He denied that the Order had derived either its origin or its name from the person called Rosencreutz.

 

            He says that the founder of the society, having given his disciples the letters R. C. as a sign of their fraternity, they improperly made out of them the words Rose and Cross.

 

            But these heterodox opinions were not accepted by the Rosicrucians in general, who still adhered to Andrea's legend as the source and the signification of their Order.

 

            At one time Maier went to England, where he became intimately acquainted with Dr. Robert Fludd, the most famous as well as the earliest of the English Rosicrucians.

 

            Robert Fludd was a physician of London, who was born in 1574 and died in 1637.

 

            He was a zealous student of alchemy, theosophy, and every other branch of mysticism, and wrote in defense of Rosicrucianism, of which sect he was an active member.

 

            Among his earliest works is one published in 1616 under the title of A Compendious Apology clearing the Fraternity of the Rosy Cross from the stains of suspicion and infamy cast upon them.

 

            There is much doubt whether Maier communicated the system of Rosicrucianism to Fludd or whether Fludd had already received it from Germany before the visit of Maier.

 

            The only authority for the former statement is De Quincey (a most unreliable one), and the date of Fludd's Apology militates against it.

 

            Fludd's explanation of the name of the sect differs from that of both Andrea and Maier.

 

            It is, he says, to be taken in a figurative sense, and alludes to the cross dyed with the blood of Christ.

 

            In this explanation he approaches very nearly to the idea entertained by the members of the modern Rose Croix degree.

 

            No matter who was the missionary that brought it over, it is very certain that Rosicrucianism was introduced from Germany, its birthplace,

 

{1} "Apologia Compendiaria, Fraternitatem de Rosea Cruce suspicionis et infamiae maculis aspersum abluens."

 

into England at a very early period of the 17th century, and it is equally certain that after its introduction it flourished, though an exotic, with more vigor than it ever had in its native soil.

 

            That there were in that century, and even in the beginning of the succeeding one, mystical initiations wholly unconnected with Freemasonry, but openly professing a Hermetic or Rosicrucian character and origin, may very readily be supposed from existing documents.

 

            It is a misfortune that such authors as Buhle, Nicolai, and Rhigellini, with many others, to say nothing of such nonmasonic writers as Sloane and De Quincey, who were necessarily mere sciolists in all Masonic studies, should have confounded the two institutions, and, because both were mystical, and one appeared to follow (although it really did not) the other in point of time, should have proclaimed the theory (wholly untenable) that Freemasonry is indebted for its origin to Rosicrucianism.

 

            The writings of Lilly and Ashmole, both learned men for the age in which they lived, prove the existance of a mystical philosophy in England in the 17th century, in which each of them was a participant. The Astrologers,who were deeply imbued with the Hermetic philosophy, held their social meetings for mutual instruction and their annual feasts, and Ashmole gives hints of his initiation into what I suppose to have been alchemical or Rosicrucian wisdom by one whom he reverently calls " Father Backhouse."

 

But we have the clearest documentary testimony of the existence of a Hermetic degree or system at the beginning of the 18th century, and about the time of what is called the Revival of Masonry in England, by the establishment of the Grand Lodge at London, and which, from other undoubted testimony, we know were not Masonic.

 

            This testimony is found in a rare work, some portions of whose contents, in reference to this subject, are well worthy of a careful review.

 

            In the year 1722 there was published in London a work in small octave bearing the following title: {1}  "Long Livers: A curious History of such Persons of both Sexes who have lived several Ages and grown Young again: With the rare Secret of Rejuvenescency of Arnoldus de Villa Nova.

 

            And a

 

{1} A copy of this work, and, most probably, the only one in this country, is in the valuable library of Bro. Carson, of Cincinnati, and to it I am indebted for the extracts that I have made.

 

great many approved and invaluable Rules to prolong Life: Also how to prepare the Universal Medicine.

 

            Most humbly dedicated to the Grand Master, Masters, Wardens, and Brethren of the Most Ancient and Honorable Fraternity of the FREE MASONS of Great Britain and Ireland.

 

            By Engenius Philaiethes, F. R. S., Author of the Treatise of the Plague. Viri Fratres audite me.

 

            Act. xv. 13. Diligite Fraternitatem timete Deum honorate Regem.1. Pet. ii. 17. LONDON.

 

            Printed for J. Holland, at the Bible and Ball, in St. Paul's Church Yard, and L. Stokoe, at Charing Cross, 1722." pp. 64‑199.

 

            Engenius Philalethes was the pseudonym of Thomas Vaughn, a celebrated Rosicrucian of the 17th century, who published, in 1659, a translation of the Fama Fraternitatis into English.

 

            But, as he was born in 1612, it is not to be supposed that he wrote the present work.

 

            It is, however, not very important to identify this second Philalethes.

 

            It is sufficient for our purpose to know that it is a Hermetic treatise written by a Rosicrucian, of which the title alone‑the references to the renewal of youth, one of the Rosicrucian secrets, to the recipe of the great Rosicrucian Villa Nova, or Arnold de Villaneuve, and to the Universal Medicine, the Rosicrucian Elixir Vitae‑would be sufficient evidence.

 

            But the only matter of interest in connection. with the present subject is that this Hermetic work, written, or at least printed, in 1722, one year before the publication of the first edition of Anderson's constitutions, refers explicitly to the existence of a higher initiation than that of the Craft degrees, which the author seeks to interweave in the Masonic system.

 

            This is evidently shown in portions of the dedication, which is inscribed to ‑ the Grand Master, Masters, Wardens, and Brethren of the Most Ancient and Most Honorable Fraternity of the Free Masons of Great Britain and Ireland"; and it is dedicated to them by their " Brother Engenius Philalethes."

 

This fraternal subscription shows that he was a Freemason as well as a Rosicrucian, and therefore must have been acquainted with both systems.

 

            The important fact, in this dedication, is that the writer alludes, in language that can not be mistaken, to a certain higher degree, or to a more exalted initiation, to the attainment of which the primitive degrees of Ancient Craft Masonry were preparatory.

 

            Thus he says, addressing the Freemasons: "I present you with the following sheets, as belonging more properly to you than any else.

 

            But what I here say, those of you who are not far illuminated, who stand in the outward place and are not worthy to look behind the veil, may find no disagreeable or unprofitable entertainment; and those who are so happy as to have greater light, will discover under these shadows, somewhat truly great and noble and worthy the serious attention of a genius the most elevated and sublime‑the spiritual, celestial cube, the only true, solid, and immovable basis and foundation of all knowledge, peace, and happiness." (Page iv.)

 

Another passage will show that the writer was not only thoroughly acquainted with the religious, philosophical, and symbolic character of the institution, but that he wrote evidently under the impression (rather I should say the knowledge) that at that day others besides himself had sought to connect Freemasonry with Rosicrucianism.

 

            He says:

 

"Remember that you are the salt of the earth, the light of the world, and the fire of the universe.

 

            Ye are living stones, built up a spiritual house, who believe and rely on the chief Lapis Angularis, which the refractory and disobedient builders disallowed; you are called from darkness to light; you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood."

 

Here the symbolism is Masonic, but it is also Rosicrucian.

 

            The Masons had derived their symbol of the STONE from the metaphor of the Apostle, and like him had given it a spiritual signification.

 

            The Rosicrucians had also the Stone as their most important symbol.

 

            "Now," says one of them, "in this discourse will I manifest to thee the natural condition of the Stone of the Philosophers, apparelled with a triple garment, even this Stone of Riches and Charity, the Stone of Relief from Languishment ‑ in which is contained every secret; being a Divine Mystery and Gift of God, than which there is nothing more sublime."' {1}

 

It was natural that a Rosicrucian, iii addressing Freemasons, should refer to a symbol common to both, though each derived its interpretation through a different channel.

 

            In another passage he refers to the seven liberal arts, of which he calls Astronomy "the grandest and most sublime."

 

{1} Dialogue of Arislaus in the Alchemist's Enchiridion, 1672.

 

            Quoted by Hitchcock in his "Alchemy and the Alchemists," p. 39

 

This was the Rosicrucian doctrine.

 

            In that of the Freemasons the precedency is given to Geometry.

 

            Here we find a difference between the two institutions which proves their separate and independent existence.

 

            Still more important differences will be found in the following passages, which, while they intimate a higher degree, show that it was a Hermetic one, which, however, the Rosicrucian writer was willing to ingraft on Freemasonry.

 

            He says:

 

"And now, my Brethren, you of the higher class (note that he does not call it a degree) permit me a few words, since you are but few; and these few words I shall speak to you in riddles, because to you it is given to know those mysteries which are hidden from the unworthy.

 

            "Have you not seen then, my dearest Brethren, that stupendous bath, filled with the most limpid water, than which no pure can be purer, of such admirable mechanism, that makes even the greatest philosopher gaze with wonder and astonishment, and is the subject of the contemplation of the wisest men.

 

            Its form is a quadrate sublimely placed on six others, blazing all with celestial jewels, each angularly supported with four lions.

 

            Here repose our mighty King and Queen, (I speak foolishly, I am not worthy to be of you), the King shining in his glorious apparel of transparent, incorruptible gold, beset with living sapphires; he is fair and ruddy, and feeds among the lilies; his eyes, two carbuncles, the most brilliant, darting prolific never‑dying fires; and his large, flowing hair, blacker than the deepest black or plumage of the long‑lived crow; his royal consort vested in tissue of immortal silver, watered with emeralds, pearl and coral. O mystical union! O admirable commerce!

 

"Cast now your eyes to the basis of this celestial structure, and you will discover just before it a large basin of porphyrian marble, receiving from the mouth of a large lion's head, to which two bodies displayed on each side of it are conjoined, a greenish fountain of liquid jasper.

 

            Ponder this well and consider.

 

            Haunt no more the woods and forests; (I speak as a fool) haunt no more the fleet; let the flying eagle fly unobserved; busy yourselves no longer with the dancing idiot, swollen toads, and his own tail‑ devouring dragon; leave these as elements to your Tyrones.

 

            " The object of your wishes and desires (some of you may, perhaps have attained it, I speak as a fool), is that admirable thing which has a substance, neither too fiery nor altogether earthy, nor simply watery; neither a quality the most acute or most obtuse, but of a middle nature, and light to the touch, and in some manner soft, at least not hard, not having asperity, but even in some sort sweet to the taste, odorous to the smell, grateful to the sight, agreeable and delectable to the hearing, and pleasant to the thought; in short, that one only thing besides which there is no other, and yet everywhere possible to be found, the blessed and most sacred subject of the square of wise men, that is....... I had almost blabbed it out and been sacrilegiously perjured.

 

            I shall therefore speak of it with a circumlocution yet more dark and obscure, that none but the Sons of Science and those who are illuminated with the sublimest mysteries and profoundest secrets of MASONRY may understand.

 

            . . It is then what brings you, my dearest Brethren, to that pellucid, diaphanous palace of the true disinterested lovers of wisdom, that triumphant pyramid of purple salt, more sparkling and radiant than the finest Orient ruby, in the center of which reposes inaccessible light epitomized, that incorruptible celestial fire, blazing like burning crystal, and brighter than the sun in his full meridian glories, which is that immortal, eternal, never‑dying PYROPUS; the King of genius, whence proceeds everything that is great and wise and happy.

 

            "These things are deeply hidden from common view, and covered with pavilions of thickest darkness, that what is sacred may not be given to dogs or your pearls cast before swine, lest they trample them under foot, and turn again and rend you."

 

All this is Rosicrucian thought and phraseology.

 

            Its counterpart may be found in the writings of any of the Hermetic philosophers.

 

            But it is not Freemasonry and could be understood by no Freemason relying for his comprehension only on the teaching he had received in his own Order.

 

            It is the language of a Rosicrucian adept addressed to other adepts, who like himself had united with the Fraternity of Freemasons, that they might out of its select coterie choose the most mystical and therefore the most suitable candidates to elevate them to the higher mysteries of their own brotherhood.

 

            That Philalethes and his brother Rosicrucians entertained an opinion of the true character of Speculative Masonry very different from that taught by its founders is evident from other passages of this Dedication.

 

            Unlike Anderson, Desaguliers, and the writers purely Masonic who succeeded them, the author of the Dedication establishes no connection between Architecture and Freemasonry.

 

            Indeed it is somewhat singular that although he names both David and Solomon in the course of his narrative, it is with little respect, especially for the latter, and he does not refer, even by a single word, to the Temple of Jerusalem.

 

            The Freemasonry of this writer is not architectural, but altogether theosophic.

 

            It is evident that as a Hermetic philosopher he sought to identify the Freemasons with the disciples of the Rosicrucian sect rather than with the Operative Masons of the Middle Ages.

 

            This is a point of much interest in the discussion of the question of a connection between the two associa‑ tions, considering that this work was published only five years after the revival.

 

            It tends to show not that Freemasonry was established by the Rosicrucians, but, on the contrary, that at that early period the latter were seeking to ingraft themselves upon the former, and that while they were willing to use the simple degrees of Craft Masonry as a nucleus for the growth of their own fraternity, they looked upon them only as the medium of securing a higher initiation, altogether unmasonic in its character and to which but few Masons ever attained.

 

            Neither Anderson nor Desaguliers, our best because contemporary authority for the state of Masonry in the beginning of the 18th century, give the slightest indication that there was in their day a higher Masonry than that described in the Book of Constitutions of 1723.

 

            The Hermetic clement was evidently not introduced into Speculative Masonry until the middle of the 18th century, when it was infused in a fragmentary form into some of the High Degrees which were at that time fabricated by certain of the Continental manufacturers of Rites.

 

            But if, as Engenius Philalethes plainly indicates, there were in the year 1723 higher degrees, or at least a higher degree, attached to the Masonic system and claimed to be a part of it, which possessed mystical knowledge that was concealed from the great body of the Craft, " who were not far illuminated, who stood in the outward place and were not worthy to look behind the veil "‑by which it is clearly implied that there was another class of initiates who were far illuminated, who stood within the inner place and looked behind the veil‑then the question forces itself upon us, why is it that neither Anderson nor Desaguliers nor any of the writers of that period, nor any of the rituals, make any allusion to this higher and more illuminated system?

 

The answer is readily at hand.

 

            It is because no such system of initiation, so far as Freemasonry was concerned, existed.

 

            The Master's degree was at that day the consummation and perfection of Speculative Masonry There was nothing above or beyond it.

 

            The Rosicrucians, who, especially in their astrological branch, were then in full force in England, had, as we see from this book, their own initiation into their Hermetic and theosophic system.

 

            Freemasonry then beginning to become popular and being also a mystical society, these mystical brethren of the Rosy Cross were ready to enter within its portals and to take advantage of its organization.

 

            But they soon sought to discriminate between their own perfect wisdom and the imperfect knowledge of their brother Masons, and, Rosicrucian‑like, spoke of an arcana which they only possessed.

 

            There were some Rosicrucians who, like Philalethes, became Freemasons, and some Freemasons, like Elias Ashmole, who became Rosicrucians.

 

            But there was no legitimate derivation of one from the other.

 

            There is no similarity between the two systems‑their origin is different; their symbols, though sometimes identical, have always a different interpretation; and it would be an impossible task to deduce the one historically from the other.

 

            Yet there are not wanting scholars whose judgment on other matters has not been deficient, who have not hesitated to trace Freemasonry to a Rosicrucian source.

 

            Some of these, as Buhle, De Quincey, and Sloane, were not Freemasons, and we can easily ascribe their historical errors to their want of knowledge, but such writers as Nicolai and Reghellini have no such excuse for the fallacy of which they have been guilty.

 

            Johann Gottlieb Buhle was among the first to advance the hypothesis that Freemasonry was an off shoot of Rosicrucianism.

 

            This he did in a work entitled On the Origin and the Principal a Events ,of the Orders of Rosicrucianism and Freemasonry {1} published in 1804.

 

            His theory was that Freemasonry was invented in the year 1629, by John Valentin Andrea, and

 

{1} "Uber den Ursprung und die vornehmstem Schicksale des Ordens der Rosenkreutzen und Freimauer."

 

hence that it sprang out of the Rosicrucian system or fiction which was the fabrication of that writer.

 

            His fallacious views and numerous inaccuracies met with many refutations at the time, besides those of Nicolai, produced in the work which has been heretofore cited.

 

            Even De Quincey himself, a bitter but flippant adversary of Freemasonry, and who translated, or rather paraphrased, the views of Buhle, does not hesitate to brand him as illogical in his reasoning and confused in his arrangement.

 

            Yet both Nicolai and De Quincey have advanced almost the same hypothesis, though that of the former is considerably modified in its conclusions.

 

            The flippancy and egotism of De Quincey, with his complete ignorance as a profane, of the true elements of the Masonic institution, hardly entitle his arguments to a serious criticism.

 

            His theory and his self‑styled facts may be epitomized as follows:

 

He thinks that the Rosicrucians where attracted to the Operative Masons by the incidents, attributes and legends of the latter, and that thus the two Orders were brought into some connection with each other.

 

            The same building that was used by the guild of Masons offered a desirable means for the secret assemblies of the early Freemasons, who, of course, were Rosicrucians.

 

            An apparatus of implements and utensils, such as was presented in the fabulous sepulcher of Father Rosencreutz, was introduced, and the first formal and solemn Lodge of Freemasons on which occasion the name of Freemasons was publicly made known, was held in Masons' Hall, Masons' Alley, Basinghall Street, London, in the year 1646.

 

            Into this Lodge he tells us that Elias Ashmole was admitted.

 

            Private meetings he says may have been held, and one at Warrington in Lancashire, which is mentioned in Ashmole's Life, but the name of a Freemasons' Lodge, with the insignia, attributes, and circumstances of a Lodge, first, he assures us, came forward at the date above mentioned.

 

            All of this he tells us, is upon record, and thus refers to historical testimony, though he does not tell us where it is to be found.

 

            Now, all these statements we know, from authentic records, to be false.

 

            Ashmole is our authority, and he is the very best authority, because he was an eye‑witness and a personal actor in the occurrences which he records.

 

            It has already been seen, by the extracts heretofore given from Ashmole's diary, that there is no record of a Lodge held in 1646 at Masons' Hall; that the Lodge was held, with all ,the attributes and circumstances of a Lodge," at Warrington; that Ashmole was then and there initiated as a Freemason, and not at London; and finally, that the record of the Lodge held at Masons' Hall, London, which is made by the same Ashmole, was in 1683 and not in 1646, or thirty‑ five years afterward.

 

            An historian who thus falsifies records to sustain a theory is not entitled to the respectful attention of a serious argument.

 

            And so De Quincey may be dismissed for what he is worth.

 

            I do not concede to him the excuse of ignorance for he evidently must have had Ashmole's diary under his eyes, and his misquotations could only have been made in bad faith.

 

            Nicolai is more honorable in his mode of treating the question.

 

            He does not attribute the use of Freemasonry directly and immediately from the Rosicrucian brotherhood.

 

            But he thinks that its mystical theosophy was the cause of the outspring of many other mystical associations, such as the Theosophists, and that, passing over into England, it met with the experimental philosophy of Bacon, as developed especially in his New Atlantis, and that the combined influence of the two, the esoteric principles of the one and the experimental doctrines of the other, together with the existence of certain political motives, led to a meeting of philosophers who established the system of Freemasonry at Masons' Hall in 1646.

 

            He does not explicitly say so, ‑but it is evident from the names that he gives that these philosophers were Astrologers, who were only a sect of the Rosicrucians devoted to a specialty.

 

            The theory and the arguments of Nicolai have already been considered in the preceding chapter of this work, and need no further discussion here.

 

            The views of Rhigellini are based on the book of Nicolai, and differ from them only in being, from his Gallic ignorance of English history, a little more inaccurate.

 

            The views of Rhigellini have already been referred to on a preceding page.

 

            And now, we meet with another theorist, who is scarcely more respectful or less flippant than De Quincey, and who, not being a Freemason, labors under the disadvantage of an incorrect knowledge of the principles of the Order.

 

            Besides we can expect but little accuracy from one who quotes as authentic history the spurious Leland Manuscript.

 

            Mr. George Sloane, in a very readable book published in London in 1849, under the title of New Curiosities of Literature, has a very long article in his second volume on The Rosicrucians and Freemasons.

 

            Adopting the theory that the latter are derived from the former, he contends, from what he calls proofs, but which are no proofs at all, that " the Freemasons are not anterior to the Rosicrucians; and their principles, so far as they were avowed about the middle of the 17th century, being identical, it is fair to presume that the Freemasons were, in reality, the first incorporated body of Rosicrucians or Sapientes."

 

As he admits that this is but a presumption, and as presumptions are not facts, it is hardly necessary to occupy any time in its discussion.

 

            But he proceeds to confirm his presumption, in the following way.

 

            "In the Fama of Andrea," he says, " we have the first sketch of a constitution which bound by oath the members to mutual secrecy, which proposed higher and lower grades, yet leveled all worldly distinctions in the common bonds of brotherhood, and which opened its privileges to all classes, making only purity of mind and purpose the condition of reception."

 

This is not correct.

 

            Long before the publication of the Fama Fraternitatis there were many secret associations in the Middle Ages, to say nothing of the Mysteries of antiquity, in which such constitutions prevailed, enjoining secrecy under the severest penalties, dividing their system of esoteric instruction into different grades, establishing a bond of brotherhood, and always making purity of life and rectitude of conduct the indispensable qualifications for admission.

 

            Freemasonry needed not to seek the model of such a constitution from the Rosicrucians.

 

            Another argument advanced by Mr. Sloane is this:

 

"The emblems of the two brotherhoods are the same in every respect‑ the plummet, the level, the compasses, the cross, the rose, and all the symbolic trumpery which the Rosicrucians named in their writings as the insignia of their imaginary associations, and which they also would have persuaded a credulous,,, world concealed truths ineffable by mere language; both, too, derived their wisdom from Adam, adopted the same myth of building, connected themselves in the same unintelligible way with Solomon's Temple, affected to be seeking light from the East‑in other words, the Cabala‑and accepted the heathen Pythagoras among their adepts."

 

In this long passage there are almost as many errors and mis‑ statements as there are lines.

 

            The emblems of the two Orders were not the same in any respect.

 

            The square and compasses were not ordinary nor usual Rosicrucian emblems.

 

            In one instance, in a plate in the Azoth Philosophorum of Basil Valentine, published in the 17th century, we will, it is true, find these implements forming part of a Rosicrucian figure but they are there evidently used as phallic symbols, a meaning never attached to them in Freemasonry, whose interpretation of them is derived from their operative use.

 

            Besides, we know, from a relic discovered near Limerick, in Ireland, that the square and the level were used by the Operative Masons as emblems in the 16th or, perhaps, the 15th century, with the same signification that is given to them by the Freemasons of the present day.

 

            The Speculative Masons delved nearly all of their symbols from the implements and the language of the Operative art; the Rosicrucians took theirs from astronomical and geometrical problems, and were connected in their interpretations with a system of theosophy and not with the art of building.

 

            The cross and the rose, referred to by Mr. Sloane, never were at any time, not even at the present day, emblems recognized in Craft Masonry, and were introduced into such of the High Degrees fabricated about the middle of the 18th century as had in them a Rosicrucian element.

 

            Again, the Rosicrucians had nothing to do with the Temple of Solomon.

 

            Their "invisible house," or their Temple, or "House of the Holy Ghost," was a religious and philosophic idea, much more intimately connected with Lord Bacon's House of Solomon in the Island of Bensalem than it was with the Temple of Jerusalem. And, finally, the early Freemasons, like their successors of the present day, in "seeking light from the East," intended no reference to the Cabala, which is never mentioned in any of their primitive rituals, but alluded to the East as the source of physical light ‑ the place of sunrising, which they adopted as a symbol of intellectual and moral light.

 

            It would, indeed, be easier to prove from their symbols that the first Speculative Masons were sun‑worshippers than that they were Rosicrucians, though neither hypothesis would be correct.

 

            If any one will take the trouble of toiling through the three books of Cornelius Agrippa's Occult Philosophy, which may be considered as the text‑book of the old Rosicrucian philosophy, he will see how little there is in common between Rosicrucianism and Freemasonry.

 

            The one is a mystical system founded on the Cabala; the other the outgrowth of a very natural interpretation of symbols derived from the usages and the implements of an operative art.

 

            The Rosicrucians were theosophists, whose doctrines were of angels and demons of the elements, of the heavenly bodies and their influence on the affairs of men, and of the magical powers of numbers, of suffumigations, and other sorceries.

 

            The Alchemists, who have been called "physical Rosicrucians," adopted the metals and their transmutation, the elixir of life, and their universal solvent, as symbols, if we may believe Hitchcock

 

{1} by which they concealed the purest dogmas of a religious life.

 

            But Freemasonry has not and never had anything of this kind in its system.

 

            Its founders were, as we will see when we come to the historical part of this work, builders, whose symbols, applied in their architecture, were of a religious and Christian character; and when their successors made this building fraternity a speculative association, they borrowed the symbols by which they sought to teach their philosophy, not from Rosicrucianism, not from magic, nor from the Cabala, but from the art to which they owed their origin.

 

            Every part of Speculative Masonry proves that it could not have been derived from Rosicrucianism.

 

            The two Orders had in common but one thing‑they both had secrets which they scrupulously preserved from the unhallowed gaze of the profane.

 

            Andrea sought, it is true, in his Fama Fraternitatis, to elevate Rosicrucianism to a more practical and useful character, and to make it a vehicle for moral and intellectual reform.

 

            But even his system, which was the only one that could have exerted any influence on the English philosophers, is so thoroughly at variance in its principles from that of the Freemasonry of the 17th century, that a union of the two, or the derivation of one from the other, must have been utterly impracticable.

 

            It has been said that when Henry Cornelius Agrippa was in London, in the year 1510, he founded a secret society of Rosicrucians.

 

            This is possible although, during; his brief visit to London, Agrippa was the guest of the learned Dean Colet, and spent his time with his

 

{1} "Remarks upon Alchemy and the Alchemists," passim.

 

host in the study of the works of the Apostle to the Gentiles.

 

            "I labored hard," he says himself, "at the Epistles of St. Paul." Still he may have found time to organize a society of Rosicrucians.

 

            In the beginning of the 16th century secret societies "chiefly composed" says Mr. Morley, " of curious and learned youths had become numerous, especially among the Germans, and towards the close of that century these secret societies were developed into the form of brotherhoods of Rosicrucians, each member of which gloried in styling himself Physician, Theosophist, Chemist, and now, by the mercy of God, Rosicrucian."' {1}

 

But to say of this society, established by Agrippa in England in 1510 (if one was actually established), as has been said by a writer of the last century that " the practice of initiation, or secret incorporation, thus and then first introduced has been handed down to our own times, and hence, apparently, the mysterious Eleusinian confederacies now known as the Lodges of Freemasonry," {2} is to make an assertion that is neither sustained by historical testimony nor supported by any chain of reasoning or probability.

 

            I have said that while the hypothesis that Freemasonry was originally derived from Rosicrucianism, and that its founders were the English Rosicrucians in the 17th century, is wholly untenable, there is no doubt that at a later period, a century after this, its supposed origin, a Rosicrucian clement, was very largely diffused in the Hautes Grades or High Degrees which were invented on the continent of Europe about the middle of the 18th century.

 

            This subject belongs more appropriately to the domain of history than to that of legend, but its consideration will bring us so closely into connection with the Rosicrucian or Hermetic philosophy that I have thought that it would be more convenient not to dissever the two topics, but to make it the subject of the next chapter.

 

{1} "The Life of Henry Cornelius Agrippa von Netteshuri," by Henry Morley, vol. i., p. 58 {2} Monthly Review, London, 1798 vol. xxv., p. 30

 

P. 351

 

CHAPTER XXXVI

 

THE ROSICRUCIANISM OF THE HIGH DEGREES

 

 

 

The history of the High Degrees of Masonry begins with the inventions of the Chevalier Michael Ramsay, who about the year 1728 fabricated three which he called Ecossais, Novice, and Knight Templar.

 

            But the inventions of Ramsay had nothing in them of a Rosicrucian character.

 

            They were intended by him to support his hypothesis that Freemasonry originated in the Crusades, and that the first Freemasons were Templars.

 

            His degrees were therefore not philosophic but chivalric.

 

            The rite‑manufacturers who succeeded him, followed for the most part in his footsteps, and the degrees that were subsequently invented partook of the chivalric and military character, so that the title of " Chevalier " or " Knight," unknown to the early Freemasons, became in time so common as to form the designation in connection with another noun of most of the new degrees.

 

            Thus we find in old and disused Rites, as well as in those still existing, such titles as " Knight of the Sword," " Knight of the Eagle," " Knight of the Brazen Serpent," and so many more that Ragon, in his Nomenclature, furnishes us with no less than two hundred and ninety‑two degrees of Masonic Knighthood, without having exhausted the catalogue.

 

            But it was not until long after the Masonic labors of Ramsay had ceased that the element of Hermetic philosophy began to intrude itself into still newer degrees.

 

            Among the first to whom we are to ascribe the responsibility of this novel infusion is a Frenchman named Antoine Joseph Pernelty, who was born in 1716 and died in 1800, having passed, therefore, the most active and rigorous portion of his life in the midst of that flood of Masonic novelties which about the middle quarters of the 18th century inundated the continent of Europe and more especially the kingdom of France.

 

            Pernelty was at first a Benedictine monk, but, having at the age of forty‑nine obtained a dispensation from his vows, he removed from Paris to Berlin, where for a short time he served Frederick the Great as his librarian.

 

            Returning to Paris, he studied and became infected with the mystical doctrines of Swedenborg, and published a translation of one of the most important of his works. He then repaired to Avignon, where he established a new Rite, which, on its transference to Montpellier, received the name of the " Academy of True Masons." Into this Rite it may well be supposed that he introduced much of the theosophic mysticism of the Swedish sage, in parts of which there is a very strong analogy to Rosicrucianism, or at least to the Hermetic Doctrines of the Rosicrucians. It will be remembered that the late General Hitchcock, who was learned on mystical topics, wrote a book to prove that Swedenborg was a Hermetic philosopher; and the arguments that he advances are not easily to be confuted.

 

            But Pernelty was not a Swedenborgian only.

 

            He was a man of multifarious reading and had devoted his studies, among other branches of learning, to theology, philosophy, and the mathematical sciences.

 

            The appetite for a mystical theology, which had led him to the study and the adoption of the views of Swedenborg, would scarcely permit him to escape the still more appetizing study of the Hermetic philosophers.

 

            Accordingly we find him inventing other degrees, and among them one, the " Knight of the Sun," which is in its original ritual a mere condensation of Rosicrucian doctrines, especially as developed in the alchemical branch of Rosicrucianism.

 

            There is not in the wide compass of Masonic degrees, one more emphatically Rosicrucian than this.

 

            The reference in its ritual to Sylphs, one of the four elementary spirits of the Rosicrucians; to the seven angels which formed a part of the Rosicrucian hierarchy; the dialogue between Father Adam and Truth in which the doctrines of Alchemy and the Cabala are discussed in the search of man for theosophic truth, and the adoption as its principal word of recognition of that which in the Rosicrucian system was deemed the primal matter of all things, are all sufficient to prove the Hermetic spirit which governed the founder of the degree in its fabrication.

 

            There have been many other degrees, most of which are now obsolete, whose very names openly indicate their Hermetic origin. Such are the "Hermetic Knight," the "Adept of the Eagle" (the word adept being technically used to designate an expert Rosicrucian), the "Grand Hermetic Chancellor," and the " Philosophic Cabalist." The list might be increased by fifty more, at least, were time and space convenient.

 

            There have been whole rites fabricated on the basis of the Rosicrucian or Hermetic philosophy, such as the "Rite of Philalethes" the "Hermetic Rite," and the "Rite of Illuminated Theosophists," invented in 1767 by Benedict Chartanier, who united in it the notions of the Hermetic philosophy and the reveries of Swedenborg.

 

            Gadicke tells us also, in his Freimaurer‑Lexicon, of a so‑called Masonic system which was introduced by the Marquis of Lernais into Berlin in 1758, the objects of which were the Hermetic arcana and the philosopher's stone.

 

            But the Hermetic degree which to the present day has exercised the greatest influence upon the higher grades of Masonry is that of the Rose Croix.

 

            This name was given to it by the French, and it must be noticed that in the French language no distinction has ever been made between the Rosenkreutzer and Rose Croix; or, rather, the French writers have always translated the Rosenkreutzer of the German and the Rosacrucian of the English by their own words, Rose Croix, and to this philological inaccuracy is to be traced an historical error of some importance, to be soon adverted to.

 

            The first that we hear in history of a Rosicrucian Masonry, under that distinctive name, is about the middle of the 18th century.

 

            The society to which I allude was known as the "Gold‑und‑Rosenkreutzer," or the "Golden Rosicrucians." We first find this title in a book published at Berlin, in 1714, by one Samuel Richter, under the assumed name of Sincerus Renatus, and with the title of A True and Complete Preparation of the Philosopher's Stone by the Order of the Golden Rosicrucians.

 

            In it is contained the laws of the brotherhood, which Findel thinks bear unmistakable evidence of Jesuitical intervention.

 

            The book of Richter describes a society which, if founded on the old Rosicrucians, differed essentially from them in its principles.

 

            Findel speaks of these "Golden Rosicrucians" as if originally formed on this work of Richter, and in the spirit of the Jesuits, to repress liberty of thought and the healthy development of the intellect.

 

            If formed at that early period, in the beginning of the 18th century, it could not possibly have had a connection with Freemasonry.

 

            But the Order, as an appendant to Masonry, was not really perfected until about the middle of the 18th century.

 

            Findel says after 1756.

 

            The Order consisted of nine degrees, all having Latin names, viz.: 1, Junior; 2, Theoreticus; 3, Practicus; 4, Philosophus; 5, Minor; 6, Major; 7, Adeptus; 8, Magister; 9, Magus.

 

            It based itself on the three primitive degrees of Freemasonry only as giving a right to entrance; it boasted of being descended from the ancient Rosicrucians, and of possessing all their secrets, and of being the only body that could give a true interpretation of the Masonic symbols, and it claimed, therefore, to be the head of the Order.

 

            There is no doubt that this brotherhood was a perfect instance of the influence sought to be cast, about the middle of the 18th century, upon Freemasonry by the doctrines of Rosicrucianism.

 

            The effort, however, to make it a Hermetic system failed.

 

            The Order of the Golden Rosicrucians, although for nearly half a century popular in Germany, and calling into its ranks many persons of high standing, at length began to decay, and finally died out, about the end of the last century.

 

            Since that period we hear no more of Rosicrucian Masonry, except what is preserved in degrees like that of the Knight of the Sun and a few others, which are still retained in the catalogue of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite.

 

            I have said that the translation of the word Rosicrucian by Rose Croix has been the source of an important historical error.

 

            This is the confounding of the French degree of "Rose Croix," or "Knight of the Eagle and Pelican," with Rosicrucianism, to which it has not the slightest affinity.

 

            Thus Dr. Oliver, when speaking of this degree, says that the earliest notice that he finds of it is in the Fama Fraternitatis, evidently showing that he deemed it to be of Rosicrucian origin.

 

            The modern Rose Croix, which constitutes the summit of the French Rite, and is the eighteenth of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite, besides being incorporated into several other Masonic systems, has not in its construction the slightest tinge of Rosicrucianism, nor is there in any part of its ritual, rightly interpreted, the faintest allusion to the Hermetic philosophy.

 

            I speak of it, of course, as it appears in its original form.

 

            This has been somewhat changed in later days.

 

            The French Masons, objecting to its sectarian character, substituted for it a modification which they have called the "Philosophic Rose Croix." In this they have given a Hermetic interpretation to the letters on the cross, an example that has elsewhere been more recently followed.

 

            But the original Rose Croix, most probably first introduced to notice by Prince (Charles Edward, the "young pretender," in the Primordial chapter which he established in 1747, at Arras, in France, was a purely Christian, if not a Catholic degree.

 

            Its most prominent symbols, the rose, the cross, the eagle, and the pelican, its ceremonies, and even its words and signs of recognition, bore allusion to Jesus Christ, the expounder of the new law, which was to take the place of the old law that had ceased to operate when " the veil of the temple was rent."

 

The Rose Croix, as we find it in its pure and uncorrupted ritual, was an attempt to apply the rites, symbols, and legends of the primitive degrees of Ancient Craft Masonry to the last and greatest dispensation; to add to the first temple of Solomon, and the second of Zerubbabel, a third, which is the one to which Christ alluded when he said, " Destroy this temple, and in three days will I raise it up "an expression wholly incomprehensible by the ignorant populace who stood around him at the time, but the meaning of which is perfectly intelligible to the Rose Croix Mason who consults the original ritual of his degree.

 

            In all this there is nothing alchemical, Hermetic, or Rosicrucian and it is a great error to suppose that there is anything but Christian philosophy in the degree as originally invented.

 

            The name of the degree has undoubtedly led to the confusion in its history.

 

            But, in fact, the words "Rosa Crucis," common both to the ancient Rosicrucian philosophers and to the modern Rose Croix Masons, had in each a different meaning, and some have supposed a different derivation.

 

            In the latter the title has by many writers been thought to allude to the ros, or dew, which was deemed by the alchemists to be a powerful solvent of gold, and to crux, the cross, which was the chemical hieroglyphic of light.

 

            Mosheim says:

 

"The title of Rosicrucians evidently denotes the chemical philosophers and those who blended the doctrines of religion with the secrets of chemistry.

 

            The denomination itself is drawn from the science of chemistry; and they only who are acquainted with the peculiar language of the chemists can understand its true signification and energy.

 

            It is not compounded, as many imagine, of the two words rosa and crux, which signify rose and cross, but of the latter of these words and the Latin word ros, which signifies dew.

 

            Of all natural bodies dew is the most powerful solvent of gold.

 

            The cross, in the chemical style, is equivalent to light, because the figure of the cross exhibits at the same time the three letters of which the word lux, i.e., light, is compounded.

 

            Now, lux is called by this sect the seed or menstrum of the red dragon,‑ or, in other words, that gross and corporeal, when properly digested and modified, produces gold."{1}

 

Notwithstanding that this learned historian has declared that it all other explications of this term are false and chimerical," others more learned perhaps than he, in this especial subject, have differed from him in opinion, and trace the title to rosa, not to ros.

 

            There is certainly a controversy about the derivation of Rosicrucian as applied to the Hermetic philosophers, but there is none whatever in reference to that of the Masonic.Rose Croix.

 

            Everyone admits, because the admission is forced upon him by the ritual and the spirit of the degree, that the title comes from rose and cross, and that rose signifies Christ, and cross the instrument of his passion.

 

            In the Masonic degree, Rose Croix signifies Christ on the cross, a meaning that is carried out by the jewel, but one which is never attached to the rose and now of the Rosicrucians, where rose most probably was the symbol of silence and secrecy, and the cross may have had either a Christian or a chemical application, most probably the latter.

 

            Again, we see in the four most important symbols of the Rose Croix degree, as interpreted in the early rituals (at least in their spirit), the same Christian interpretation, entirely free from all taint of Rosicrucianism.

 

            These symbols are the eagle, thelelican, the rose, and the cross, all of which are combined to form the beautiful and expressive jewel of the degree.

 

            Thus the writer of the book of Exodus, in allusion to the belief that the eagle assists its feeble

 

{1} Mosheim "Ecclesiastical History," Maclane's Translation, cent. xvii., sec. i., vol. iii., p. 436, note

 

younglings in their first flights by bearing them on its pinions, represents Jehovah as saying, "Ye have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagle's wings and brought you unto myself."

 

Hence, appropriating this idea, the Rose Croix Masons selected the eagle as a symbol of Christ in his divine character, bearing the children of his adoption in their upward course, and teaching them with unequaled love and tenderness to poise their fledgling wings, and soar from the dull corruptions of earth to a higher and holier sphere.

 

            And hence the eagle in the jewel is represented with expanded wings, as if ready for flight.

 

            The pelican, "vulning herself and in her piety," as the heralds call it, is, says Mr. Sloane Evans, " a sacred emblem of great beauty and striking import, and the representation of it occurs not unfrequently among the ornaments of churches. {1}" The allusion to Christ as a Saviour, shedding his blood for the sins of the world, is too evident to need explanation.

 

            Of the rose and the cross I have already spoken.

 

            The rose is applied as a figurative appellation of Christ in only one passage of Scripture, where he is prophetically called the " rose of Sharon," but the flower was always accepted in the iconography of the church as one of his symbols. But the fact that in the jewel of the Rose Croix the blood‑red rose appears attached to the center of the cross, as though crucified upon it, requires no profound knowledge of the science of symbolism to discover its meaning.

 

            The cross was, it is true, a very ancient symbol of eternal life, especially among the "Egyptian, but since the crucifixion it has been adopted by Christians as an emblem of him who suffered upon it.

 

            "The cross," says Didron, "is more than a mere figure of Christ; it is, in iconography, either Christ himself or his symbol." As such, it is used in the Masonry of the Rose Croix.

 

            It is evident, from these explanations, that the Rose Croix was, in its original conception, a purely Christian degree.

 

            There was no intention of its founders to borrow for its construction anything from occult philosophy, but simply to express in its symbolization a purely Christian sentiment.

 

            I have, in what I have said, endeavored to show that while Rosicrucianism had no concern, as

 

{1} "The Art of Blazon," p. 130

 

has been alleged, with the origination of Freemasonry in the 17th century, yet that in the succeeding century, under various influenced especially, perhaps, the diffusion of the mystical doctrines of Swedenborg, a Hermetic or Rosicrucian element was infused into some of the High Degrees then newly fabricated.

 

            But the diffusion of that element went no farther; it never affected the pure Masonic system; and, with the few exceptions which I have mentioned, even these degrees have ceased to exist.

 

            Especially was it not connected with one of the most important and most popular of those degrees.

 

            From the beginning of the 19th century Rosicrucianism has been dead to Masonry, as its exponent the Hermetic philosophy, has been to literature.

 

            It has no life now, and we preserve its relics only as memorials

 

of a past obscuration which the sunbeams of modern learning have dispersed.

 

           

 

P. 359

 

 

 

 

 


 

CHAPTER XXXVII

 

THE PYTHAGOREANS AND FREEMASONRY

 

The theory which ascribes, if not the actual origin of Freemasonry to Pythagoras, at least its introduction into Europe by him, through the school which he established at Crotona, in Italy, which ,was a favorite(oke one among our early writers, may very properly be placed among the legends of the Order, since it wants all the requisites of historical authority for its support.

 

            The notion was most probably derived from what has been called the Leland Manuscript, because it is said to have been found in the Bodleian Library, in the handwriting of that celebrated antiquary.

 

            The author of the Life of Leland gives this account of the manuscript:

 

"The original is said to be the handwriting of King Henry VI. and copied by Leland by order of his highness, King Henry VIII.

 

            If the authenticity of this ancient monument of literature remains unquestioned, it demands particular notice in the present publication, on account of the singularity of the subject, and no less from a due regard to the royal writer and our author, his transcriber, indefatigable in every part of literature.

 

            It will also be admitted, acknowledgment is due to the learned Mr. Locke, who, amidst the closest studies and the most strict attention to human understanding, could unbend his mind in search of this ancient treatise, which he first brought from obscurity in the year 1796."' {1}

 

This production was first brought to the attention of scholars by being published in the Gentlemen's Magazine for September, 1753, where it is stated to have been previously printed at Frankfort, in Germany, in 1748, from a copy found in " the writing‑desk of a deceased brother."

 

{1} "Life of John Leland," p. 67

 

The title of it, as given in the magazine, is in the following words:

 

Certeyne Questyons wyth Answeres to the same, concerynge the Mystery of Maconrye; wrytenne by the hande of Kynge Henrye the Sixthe of the Name, and faythefullye copyed by me Johan Leylande, Antiquarius, by the commaunde of His Highnesse."

 

The opinion of Masonic critics of the present day is that the document is a forgery.

 

            It was most probably written about the time and in the spirit in which Chatterton composed his imitations of the Monk Rowley, and of Ireland with his impositions of Shakespeare, and was fabricated as an unsuccessful attempt to imitate the archaic language of the 15th century, and as a pious fraud intended to elevate the character and sustain the pretensions of the Masonic Fraternity by furnishing the evidence of its very ancient origin.

 

            Such were not, however, the views of the Masonic writers of the last and beginning of the present century.

 

            They accepted the manuscript, or rather the printed copy of it ‑for the original codex has never been seen‑‑with unhesitating, faith as an authentic document.

 

            Hutchinson gave it as an appendix to his Spirit of Masonry, Preston published in the second and enlarged edition of his Illustrations, Calcott in his Candid Disquisition , Dermott in his Ahiman Rezon, and Krause in his Drei Altesten Kunslurkunden.

 

            In none of these is there the faintest hint of its being anything but an authentic document.

 

            Oliver said: "I entertain no doubt of the genuineness and authenticity of this valuable Manuscript." The same view has been entertained by Reghellini among the French, and by Krause, Fessler, and Lenning among the Germans.

 

            Mr. Halliwell was perhaps the first of English scholars to express a doubt of its genuineness.

 

            After a long and unsuccessful search in the Bodleian Library for the original, he came, very naturally, to the conclusion that it is a forgery.

 

            Hughan and Woodford, both excellent judges, have arrived at the same conclusion, and it is now a settled question that the Leland or Locke Manuscript (for it is known by both titles) is a document of no historic character.

 

            It is not, however, without its value.

 

            To its appearance about the middle of the last century, and the unhesitating acceptance of its truth by the Craft at the time, we can, in all probability, assign the establishment of the doctrine that Freemasonry was of a Pythagorean origin, though it had been long before adverted to by Dr. Anderson.

 

            Before proceeding to an examination of the rise and progress of this opinion, it will be proper to cite so much of the manuscript as connects Pythagoras with Masonry.

 

            I do not quote the whole document, though it is short, because it has so repeatedly been printed, in even elementary Masonic works, as to be readily accessible to the reader.

 

            In making my quotations I shall so far defer to the artifice of the fabricator as to preserve unchanged his poor attempt to imitate the orthography and style of the 15th century, and interpolate in brackets, when necessary, an explanation of the most unintelligible words.

 

            The document purports to be answers by some Mason to questions proposed by King Henry VI., who, it would seem, must have taken some interest in the "Mystery of Masonry," and had sought to obtain from competent authority a knowledge of its true character.

 

            The following are among the questions and answers:

 

Q. Where dyd ytt [Masonry] begynne?

 

A. Ytt dyd begynne with the fyrst menne, yn the Este, which were before the fyrste Manne of the Weste, and comyngc westlye, ytt hathe broughte herwyth alle comfortes to the wylde and comfortlesse.

 

Q. Who dyd brynge ytt Westye?

 

A. The Venetians [Phoenicians] who beynge grate Merchandes comed ffyrst ffrome the Este yn Venctia [Phoenicia] for the commodyte of Merchaundysinge beithe [both] Este and Weste bey the redde and Myddlelonde [Mediterranean] Sees.

 

Q. Howe comede ytt yn Englonde? A. Peter Gower [Pythagoras] a Grecian journeyedde tor kunnynge yn Egypt and in Syria and in everyche Londe whereat the Venetians [Phoenicians] hadde plauntedde Maconrye and wynnynge Entraunce yn all Lodges of Maconnes, he lerned muche, and retournedde and woned [dwelt] yn Cirecia Magna wachsynge [growing] and becommynge a myghtye wyseacre [philosopher] and gratelyche renouned and here he framed a grate Lodge at Groton [Crotona] and maked many Maconnes, some whereoffe dyd journeye yn Fraunce, and maked manye Maconnes wherefromme, yn processe of Tyme, the Arte passed yn Engelonde."

 

I am convinced that there was a French original of this document, from which language the fabricator translated it into archaic English. The internal proofs of this are to be found in the numerous preservations of French idioms.

 

            Thus we meet with Peter Gower, evidently derived from Pythagore, pronounced Petagore, the French for Pythagoras; Maconrye and Maconnes, for Masonry and Masons, the French c in the word being used instead of the English s,‑ the phrase wynnynge the Facultye of Abrac, which is a pure Gallic idiom, instead of acquiring the faculty, the word gayner being indifferently used in French as signifying to win or to acquire,‑ the word Freres for Brethren,‑ and the statement, in the spirit of French nationality, that Masonry was brought into England out of France.

 

            None of these idiomatic phrases or national peculiarities would have been likely to occur if the manuscript had been originally written by an Englishman and in the English language.

 

            But be this as it may, the document bad no sooner appeared than it seemed to inspire contemporary Masonic writers with the idea that Masonry and the school of Pythagoras, which he established at Crotona, in Italy, about five centuries before Christ, were closely connected‑an idea which was very generally adopted by their successors, so that it came at last to be a point of the orthodox Masonic creed.

 

            Thus Preston, in his Illustrations of Masonry, when commenting on the dialogue contained in this document, says that , the records of the fraternity inform us that Pythagoras was regularly initiated into Masonry; and being properly instructed in the mysteries of the Art, he was much improved, and propagated the principles of the Order in other countries into which he afterwards travelled."

 

Calcott, in his Candid Disquisition, speaks of the Leland Manuscript as " an antique relation, from whence may be gathered many of the original principles of the ancient society, on which the institution of Freemasonry was ingrafted "‑by the " ancient society meaning the school of Pythagoras.

 

            Hutchinson, in his Spirit of Masonry, quotes this "ancient Masonic record," as he calls it, and says that " it brings us positive evidence of the Pythagorean doctrine and Basilidian principles making the foundation of our religious and moral duties." Two of the lectures in his work are appropriated to a (discussion of the doctrines of Pythagoras in connection with the Masonic system.

 

            But this theory of the Pythagorean origin of Freemasonry does not owe its existence to the writers of the middle of the 18th century.

 

            It had been advanced at an early period, and soon after the Revival in 1717 by Dr. Anderson.

 

            In the first edition of the Constitutions, published in 1723, he alludes to Pythagoras as having borrowed great knowledge from the Chaldean Magi and the Babylonish Jews, but he is more explicit in his Defense of Masonry, published in 1730, wherein he says: "I am fully convinced that Freemasonry is very nearly allied to the old Pythagorean Discipline, from whence, I am persuaded, it may in some circumstances very justly claim a descent."

 

Now, how are we to explain the way in which this tradition of the connection of the Philosopher of Samos first acquired a place among the legends of the Craft?

 

The solution of the problem does not appear to be very difficult.

 

            In none of the old manuscript constitutions which contain what has been called the Legend of the Guild, or the Legend of the Craft, is there, with a single exception, any allusion to the name of Pythagoras.

 

            That exception is found in the Cooke MS., where the legendist, after relating the story of the two pillars inscribed with all the sciences, which had been erected by Jabal before the Flood, adds, in lines 318‑326, this statement:

 

"And after this flode many yeres as the cronyclc tellcth these ii were founde and as the polycronicon seyeth that a grete clerke that called putogaras [Pythagoras] fonde that one and hermes the philisophre fonde that other, and thei tought forthe the sciens that thei fonde therein ywritten."

 

Now, although the Cooke MS. is the earliest of the old records, after the Halliwell poem, none of the subsequent constitutions have followed it in this allusion to Pythagoras.

 

            This was because the writer of the Cooke MS., being in possession of the Polychronicon of the monk Ranulph Higden, an edition of which had been printed during his time by William Caxton, he had liberally borrowed from that historical work and incorporated parts of it into his Legend.

 

            Of these interpolations, the story of the finding of one of the pillars by Pythagoras is one.

 

            The writer acknowledges his indebtedness for the statement to Higden's Polychronicon. But it formed no part of the Legend of the Craft, and hence no notice is taken of it in the subsequent manuscript copies of the Legend, In none of them is Pythagoras even named.

 

            It is evident, then, that in the 14th and following centuries, to the beginning of the 18th, the theory of the Pythagorean origin of Freemasonry, or of the connection of the Grecian philosopher with it, was not recognized by the Craft as any part of the traditional history of the Fraternity.

 

            There is no safer rule than that of the old schoolmen, which teaches us that we must reason alike concerning that which does not appear and that which does not exist‑" de non apparentibus et de non existentibus, eadem est ratio." The old craftsmen who fabricated the Legend were workmen and not scholars; they were neither acquainted with the scholastic nor the ancient philosophy; they said nothing about Pythagoras because they knew nothing about him.

 

            But about the beginning of the 18th century a change took place, not only in the organization of the Masonic institution, but also in the character and qualifications of the men who were engaged in producing the modification, or we might more properly call it the revolution.

 

            Although in the 17th, and perhaps in the 16th century, many persons were admitted into the Lodges of Operative Masons who were not professional builders, it is, I think, evident that the society did not assume a purely speculative form until the year 1717. The Revival in that year, by the election of Anthony Sayer, "Gentleman," as Grand Master; Jacob Lamball, a "Carpenter," and Joseph Elliott, a "Captain," as Grand Wardens, proves that the control of the society was to be taken out of the hands of the Operative Masons.

 

            Among those who were at about that time engaged in the recon‑ struction of the Institution were James Anderson and Theophilus Desaguliers.

 

            Anderson was a Master of Arts, and afterward a Doctor of Divinity, the minister of a church in London, and an author; Desaguliers was a Doctor of Laws, a fellow of the Royal Society, and a teacher of Experimental Philosophy of no little reputation.

 

            Both of these men, as scholars, were thoroughly conversant with the system of Pythagoras, and they were not unwilling to take advantage of his symbolic method of inculcating his doctrine, and to introduce some of his symbols into the symbolism of the Order which they were renovating.

 

            Jamblichus, the biographer of Pythagoras, tells us that while the sage was on his travels he caused himself to be initiated into all the mysteries of Byblos and Tyre and those which were practiced in many parts of Syria.

 

            But as these mysteries were originally received by the Phoenicians from Egypt, he passed over into that country, where he remained twenty‑two years, occupying himself in the study of geometry, astronomy, and all the initiations of the gods, until he was carried a captive into Babylon by the soldiers of Cambyses.

 

            There he freely associated with the Magi in their religion;and their studies, and, having obtained a thorough knowledge of music, the science of numbers, and other arts, he finally returned to Greece.{1}

 

The school of philosophy which Pythagoras afterward estalablished at the city of Crotona, in Italy, differed from those of all the other philosophers of Greece, in the austerities of initiation to which his disciples were subject in the degrees of probation into which they were divided, and in the method which lie adopted of veiling his instructions under symbolic forms.

 

            In his various travels he had imbibed the mystical notions prevalent among the Egyptians and the Chaldeans, and had borrowed some of their modes of initiation into their religious mysteries, which he adopted in the method by which he communicated his own principles.

 

            Grote, in his History of Greece, has very justly said that "Pythagoras represents in part the scientific tendencies of his age, in part also the spirit of mysticism and of special fraternities for religious and ascetic observance which became diffused throughout Greece in the 6th century before the Christian era."

 

Of the character of the philosophy of Pythagoras and of his method of instruction, which certainly bore a very close resemblance to that adopted by the founders of the speculative system, such cultivated scholars as Anderson and Desaguliers certainly were not ignorant.

 

            And if, among those who were engaged with them in the construction of this new and improved school of speculative Masonry, there were any whose limited scholastic attainments would not enable them to consult the Greek biographics of Pythagoras by Jamblichus and by Porphyry, they had at hand and readily accessible an English translation of M. Dacier's life of the philosopher, containing also an

 

{1} "Jamblichus de Pythagorica Vita," c. iii., iv.

 

elaborate explication of his symbols, together with a translation of the Commentaries of Hierodes on the Golden Verses of Pythagoras, all embraced in one volume and published in London in the year 1707, by the celebrated bibliopole Jacob Tonson.

 

            There was abundant material and ready opportunity for the partially unlearned as well as for the more erudite to obtain a familiarity with the philosophy of Pythagoras, his method of initiation, and his system of symbols.

 

            It is not, therefore, surprising that these " Revivalists," as they have been called, should have delighted, as Anderson has done in his Defense of Masonry, to compare the two schools of the Pythagoreans and the Freemasons; that they should have dwelt on their great similarity; and in the development of their speculative system should have adopted many symbols from the former which do not appear to have been known to or used by the old Operative Masons whom they succeeded.

 

            Among the first Pythagorean symbols which were adopted by the Speculative Masons was the symbolism of the science of numbers, which appears in the earliest rituals extant, and of which Dr.

 

            Oliver has justly said, in his posthumous work entitled The Pythagorean Triangle, that "the Pythagoreans had so high an opinion of it that they considered it to be the origin of all things, and thought a knowledge of it to be equivalent to a knowledge of God."

 

This symbolism of numbers, which was adopted into Speculative Masonry at a very early period after the Revival, has been developed and enlarged in successive revisions of the lectures, until at the present day it constitutes one of the most important and curious parts of the system of Freemasonry.

 

            But we have no evidence that the same system of numerical symbolism, having the Pythagorean and modern Masonic interpretation, prevailed among the Craft anterior to the beginning of the 18th century.

 

            It was the work of the Revivalists, who, as scholars familiar with the mystical philosophy of Pythagoras, deemed it expedient to introduce it into the equally mystical philosophy of Speculative Masonry

 

In fact, the Traveling Freemasons, Builders, or Operative Masons of the Middle Ages, who were the real predecessors of the Speculative Masons of the 18th century, did not, so far as we can learn from their remains, practice any of the symbolism of Pythagoras.

 

            Their symbol, such as the vesica piscis, the cross, the rose, or certain mathematical figures, were derived either from the legends of the church or from the principles of geometry applied to the art of building.

 

            These skillful architects who, in the dark ages, when few men could read or write, erected edifices surpassing the works of ancient Greece or Rome, and which have never been equalled by modern builders, were wonderful in their peculiar skill, but were wholly ignorant of metaphysics or philosophy, and borrowed nothing from Pythagoras.

 

            Between the period of the Revival and the adoption of the Prestonian system, in 1772, the lectures of Freemasonry underwent at least seven revisions.

 

            In each of these, the fabricators of which were such cultivated scholars as Dr. Desaguliers, Martin Clare, a President of the Royal Society, Thomas Dunckerley, a man of considerable literary attainments, and others of like character, there was a gradual increment of Pythagorean symbols.

 

            Among these, one of the most noted is the forty‑seventh proposition of Euclid, which is said to have been discovered by Pythagoras, and which the introducer of it into the Masonic system, in his explanation of the symbol, claims the sage to have been " an ancient brother."

 

For some time after the Revival, the symbols of Pythagoras, growing into gradual use among the Craft, were referred to simply as an evidence of the great similarity which existed between the two systems‑a theory which, so far as it respects modern Speculative Masonry, may be accepted with but little hesitation.

 

            The most liberal belief on this subject was that the two systems were nearly allied, but, except in the modified statement of Anderson, already quoted from his Defense ofmasonry, there was no claim in the years immediately succeeding the Revival that the one was in direct descent from the other.

 

            In none of the speeches, lectures, or essays of the early part of the last century, which have been preserved, is there any allusion to this as a received theory of the Craft.

 

            Drake, in his speech before the Grand Lodge of York, delivered in 1726 does indeed, speak of Pythagoras, not as the founder of Masonry, but only in connection with Euclid and Archimedes as great proficients in Geometry, whose works have been the basis " on which the learned have built at different times so many noble superstructures." And of Geometry, he calls it "that noble and useful science which must have begun and goes hand in hand with Masonry," an assertion which, to use the old chorus of the Masons, nobody will deny."

 


 


 

 

But to say that Geometry is closely connected with Operative Masonry, and that Pythagoras was a great geometrician, is very different from saying that he was a Mason and propagated Masonry in Europe.

 

            Martin Clare, in his lecture on the Advantages Enjoyed by the Fraternity, whose date is 1735, does not even mention the name of Pythagoras, although, in one passage at least, when referring to "those great and worthy spirits with whom we are intimately related," he had a fair opportunity to refer to that illustrious sage.

 

            In a Discourse Upon Masonry, delivered before a Lodge of England in 1742, now lying before me, in which the origin of the Order is fully discussed, there is not one word of reference to Pythagoras.

 

            The same silence is preserved in a Lecture on the Connection Between Freemasonry and Religion, by the Rev. C. Brockwell, published in 1747.

 

            But after the middle of the century the frequent references in the lectures to the Pythagorean symbols, and especially to that important one, in its Masonic as well as its geometrical value, the forty‑seventh proposition, began to lead the members of tile society to give to Pythagoras the credit of a relationship to the order to which historically he had no claim.

 

            Thus, in A Search After Truth, delivered in the Lodge in 1752, the author says that "Solon, Plato, and Pythagoras, and from them the Grecian literati in general in a great measure, were obliged for their learning to Masonry and the labors of some of our ancient brethren."

 

And then, when this notion of the Pythagorean origin of Freemasonry began to take root in the minds of the Craft, it was more firmly established by the appearance in 1753, in the Gentleman's Magazine, of that spurious document already quoted, in which, by a " pious fraud," the fabricator of it sought to give the form of an historical record to the statement that Pythagoras, learning his Masonry of the Eastern Magi had brought it to Italy and established a Lodge at Crotona, whence the institution was propagated throughout Europe, and from France into England.

 

            As to this statement in the Leland MS., it may be sufficient to say that the sect of Pythagoras did not subsist longer than to the end of the reign of Alexander the Great.

 

            So far from disseminating its Lodges or schools after the Christian era, we may cite the authority of the learned Dacier, who says that " in after ages there were here and there some disciples of Pythagoras, but these were only private persons who never established any society, nor had the Pythagoreans any longer a public school."

 

And so the result of this investigation into the theory of the Pythagorean origin of Freemasonry may be briefly epitomized thus:

 

The mediaeval Freemasons never entertained any such theory, nor in their architectural labors did they adopt any of his symbols.

 

            The writer of the Cooke MS., in 1490, having at hand Higden's Polychronicon, in Trevisa's translation, a new edition of which had just been printed by Caxton, incorporated into the Legend of the Craft some of the historical statements (such as they were) of the Monk of (Chester, but they were extraneous to and formed no part of the original Legend.

 

            Therefore, in all the subsequent Old Records these interpolations were rejected and the Legend of the Craft, as accepted by the writers of the manuscripts which succeeded that of the Cooke codex, from 1550 to 1701, contained no mention of Pythagoras.

 

            Upon the Revival, in 1717, which was really the beginning of genuine Speculative Masonry, the scholars who fabricated the scheme, finding the symbolic teaching of Pythagoras very apposite, adopted some of its symbols, especially those relating to numbers in the new Speculative system which they were forming.

 

            By the continued additions of subsequent ritualists these symbols were greatly increased, so that the name and the philosophy of Pythagoras became familiar to the Craft, and finally, in 1753, a forged document was published which claimed him as the founder and propagator of Masonry.

 

            In later days this theory has continued to be maintained by a few writers, and the received rituals of the Order require it as a part of the orthodox Masonic creed, that Pythagoras was a Mason and an ancient brother and patron of the Order.

 

            Neither early Masonic tradition nor any historical records exist which support such a belief.

 

            P. 370

 

 

 

 

 


 

CHAPTER XXXVIII

 

FREEMASONRY AND THE GNOSTICS

 

The hypothesis which seeks to trace a connection between Gnosticism and Freemasonry, and perhaps even an origin of the latter from the former, has been repeatedly advanced, and is therefore worthy of consideration.

 

            The latest instance is in a work of Mr. C. W. King, published in 1864 under the title The Gnostics and their.Remains, Ancient and Medieval.

 

            Mr. King is not a Freemason, and, like all the writers non‑Masonic, such as Barnell, Robison, De Quincey, and a host of others, who have attempted to discuss the history and character of Freemasonry, he has shown a vast amount of ignorance.

 

            In fact, these self‑constituted critics, when treating of subjects with which they are not and can not be familiar, remind one of the busybodies of Plautus, of whom he has said that, while pretending to know everything, they in fact know nothing‑" Qui omnia se simulant scise nec quicquam sciunt."

 

Very justly has Mr. Hughan called this work of King's, so far as its Masonic theories are concerned, one of an "unmasonic and unhistoric character." But King, it must be admitted, was not the first writer who sought to trace Freemasonry to a Gnostic origin.

 

            In a pamphlet published in 1725, a copy of which has been preserved in the Bodleian Library, among the manuscripts of Dn Rawlinson, and which bears the title of Two Letters to a Friend.

 

            The First concerning the Society of Free‑masons. The second giving an Account of the Most Ancient Order of Gormogons, etc., we find, in the first letter, on the Freemasons, the following passage:

 

"But now, Sir, to draw towards a conclusion; and to give my opinion seriously, concerning these prodigious Virtuosi; ‑ My belief is, that if they fall under any denomination at all, or belong to any sect of men, which has hitherto appeared in the world, they may be ranked among the Gnostics, who took their original from Simon Magus; these were a set of men, which ridiculed not only Christianity, but even rational morality; teaching that they should be saved by their capacious knowledge and understanding of no mortal man could tell what.

 

            They babbled of an amazing intelligence they had, from nobody knows whence.

 

            They amused and puzzled the hair‑brained, unwary crowd with superstitious interpretations of extravagant talismanic characters and abstruse significations of uncommon Cabalistic words; which exactly agrees with the proceedings of our modern Freemasons."

 

Although the intrinsic value of this pamphlet was not such as to have preserved it from the literary tomb which would have consigned it to oblivion, had not the zeal of an antiquary preserved a single copy as a relic, yet the notion of some relation of Freemasonry to Gnosticism was not in later years altogether abandoned.

 

            Hutchinson says that "under our present profession of Masonry, we allege our morality was originally deduced from the school of Pythagoras, and that the Basilidian system of religion furnished us with some tenets, principles, and hieroglyphics." {1}

 

Basilides, the founder of the sect which bears his name, was the most eminent of the Egyptian Gnostics.

 

            About the time of the fabrication of the High Degrees on the continent of Europe, a variety of opinions of the origin of Masonry ‑many of them absurd‑sprang up among Masonic scholars.

 

            Among these theorists, there were not a few who traced the Order to the early Christians, because they found it, as they supposed, among the Gnostics, and especially its most important sect, the Basilidians.

 

            Some German and French writers have also maintained the hypothesis of a connection, more or less intimate, between the Gnostics and the Masons.

 

            I do not know that any German writer has positively asserted the existence of this connection.

 

            But the doctrine has, at times, been alluded to without any absolute disclaimer of a belief in its truth.

 

            Thus Carl Michaeler, the author of a Treatise on the Pheonician Mysteries, has written some

 

{1} "Spirit of Masonry," lect. x., p. 106

 

observations on the subject in an article published by him in 1784, in the Vienna Journale fur Freimaurer, on the analogy between the Christianity of the early times and Freemasonry.

 

            In this essay he adverts to the theory of the Gnostic origin of Freemasonry.

 

            He is, however, very guarded in his deductions, and says conditionally that, if there is any connection between the two, it must be traced to the Gnosticism of Clement of Alexandria, and on which simply as a school of philosophy and history it may have been founded, while the differences between the two now existing must be attributed to changes of human conception in the intervening centuries.

 

            But, in fact, the Gnosticism of Clement was something entirely different from that of Basilides, to whom Hutchinson and King attribute the origin of our symbols, and whom Clement vigorously opposed in his works.

 

            It was what he himself calls it, "a true Gnostic or Christian philosophy on the bads of faith." It was that higher knowledge, or more perfect state of Christian faith, to which St. Paul is supposed to allude when he says, in his First Epistle to the Corinthians, that he made known to those who were perfect a higher wisdom.

 

            Reghellini speaks more positively, and says that the symbols and doctrines of the Ophites, who were a Gnostic sect, passed over into Europe, having been adapted by the Crusaders, the Rosicrucians, and the Templars, and finally reached the Masons.' {1}

 

Finally, I may refer to the Leland MS., the author of which distinctly brought this doctrine to the public view, by asserting that the Masons were acquainted with the " facultys of Abrac," by which expression he alludes to the most prominent and distinctive of the Gnostic symbols.

 

            That the fabricator of this spurious document should thus have intimated the existence of a connection between Gnosticism and Freemasonry would lead us to infer that the idea of such a connection was not wholly unfamiliar to the Masonic mind at that period‑an inference which will be strengthened by the passage already quoted from the pamphlet in the Rawlinson collection, which was published about a quarter of a century before.

 

            But before we can enter into a proper discussion of this important question, it will be expedient for the

 

{1} "Maconnerie considereis comme re Resultat des Relig. Egypt. Juive et Chretienne," tom., p. 291.

 

sake of the general reader that something should be said of the Gnostics and of the philosophical and religious system which they professed.

 

            I propose, therefore, very briefly to reply to the questions, What is Gnosticism, and Who were the Gnostics?

 

Scarcely had the light of Christianity dawned upon the world before a multitude of heresies sprang up to disturb the new religion.

 

            Among these Gnosticism holds the most important position. the title of the sect is derived from the Greek word gnosis, "wisdom or knowledge," and ‑was adopted in a spirit of ostentation, to intimate that the disciples of the sect were in possession of a higher degree of spiritual wisdom than was attainable by those who had not been initiated into their mysteries.

 

            At so early a period did the heresy of Gnosticism arise in the Christian Church, that we find the Apostle Paul warning the converts to the new faith of the innovations on the pure doctrine of Christ, and telling his disciple Timothy to avoid "profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science, falsely so called." The translators of the authorized version have so rendered the passage.

 

            But, in view of the greater light that has since their day been thrown upon the religious history and spirit of the apostolic age, and the real nature of the Gnostic element which disturbed it, we may better preserve the true sense of the original Greek by rendering it "oppositions of the false gnosis."

 

There were then two kinds of Gnosis, or Gnosticism‑the true and the false, a distinction which St. Paul himself makes in a passage in his Epistle to the Corinthians, in which he speaks of the wisdom which he communicated to the perfect, in contradistinction to the wisdom of the world.

 

            Of this true Gnosticism, Clement declared himself to be a follower.

 

            With it and Freemasonry there can be no connection, except that rnodified one admitted by Michaeler, which relates only to the investigation of philosophical and historical truth.

 

            The false Gnosis to which the Apostle refers is the Gnosticism which is the subject of our present inquiry.

 

            When John the Baptist was preaching in the Wilderness, and for some time before, there were many old philosophical and religious systems which, emanating from the East, all partook of the mystical character peculiar to the Oriental mind.

 

            These various systems were, then, in consequence of the increased communication of different nations which followed the conquests of Alexander of Macedon, beginning to approximate each other.

 

            The disciples of Plato were acquiring some of the doctrines of the Eastern Magi, and these in turn were becoming more or less imbued with the philosophy of Greece.

 

            The traditions of India, Persia, Egypt, Chaldea, Judea, Greece, and Rome were commingling in one mass, and forming out of the conglomeration a mystical philosophy and religion which partook of the elements of all the ingredients out of which it was composed and yet contained within its bosom a mysticism which was peculiar to itself.

 

            This new system was Gnosticism, which derived its leading doctrines from Plato, from the Zend‑Avesta, the Cabala, the Vedas, and the hieroglyphs of Egypt.

 

            It taught as articles of fakth the existence of a Supreme Being, invisible, inaccessible, and incomprehensible, who was the creator of a spiritual world consisting of divine intelligences called aeons, emanating from him, and of matter which was eternal, the source of evil and the antagonist of the Supreme Being.

 

            One of these aeons, the lowest of all called the Demiurge, created the world out of matter, which, though eternal, was inert and formless.

 

            The Supreme Father, or First Principle of all things, had dwelt from all eternity in a pleroma or fullness of inaccessible light, and hence he was called Bythos, or the Abyss, to denote the unfathomable nature of his perfections.

 

            "This Being," says Dr. Burton, in his able exposition of the Gnostic system, in the Bam o Lectures ures, by an operation purely mental, or by acting upon himself, produced two other beings of different sexes, from whom by a series of descents, more or less numerous according to different schemes, several pairs of beings were formed, who were called aeons, from the periods of their existance before time was, or emanations from the mode of their production.

 

            These successive aeons or emanations appear to have been inferior each to the preceding; and their existence was indispensable to the Gnostic scheme, that they might account for the creation of the world, without making God the author of evil.

 

            These aeons lived through countless ages with their first Father.

 

            But the system of emanations seems to have resembled that of concentric circles, and they gradually deteriorated as they approached nearer and nearer to the extremity of the pleroma. Beyond this pleroma was matter, inert and powerless, though co‑eternal with the Supreme God, and like him without beginning.

 

            At length one of the aeons (the Demiurge) passed the limits of the pleroma, and, meeting with matter, created the world after the form and model of an ideal world, which existed in the plemora or the mind of the Supreme God."

 

It is not necessary to enter into a minute recapitulation of the other points of doctrine which were evolved out of these three.

 

            It is sufficient to say that the old Gnosticism was not an original system, but was really a cosmogony, a religion and a philosophy which was made up of portions of the older Grecian and Oriental systems, including the Platonism of the Greeks, the Parsism of the Persians, and the Cabala of the Jews.

 

            The advent of Christianity found this old Gnosticism prevailing in Asia and in Egypt.

 

            Some of its disciples became converts to the new religion, but brought with them into its fold many of the mystical views of their Gnostic philosophy and sought to apply them to the pure and simple doctrines of the Gospel.

 

            Thus it happened that the name of Gnosticism was applied to a great variety of schools, differing from each other in their interpretations of the Christian faith, and yet having one common principle of unity‑that they placed themselves in opposition to the conceptions of Christianity as it was generally received by its disciples.

 

            And this was because they deemed it insufficient to afford any germs of absolute truth, and therefore they claimed for themselves the possession of an amount of knowledge higher than that of ordinary believers.

 

            "They seldom pretended," says the Rev. Dr. Wing, "to demonstrate the principles on which their systems were founded by historical evidence or logical reasonings, since they rather boasted that these were discovered by the intuitional powers of more highly endowed minds, and that the materials thus obtained, whether through faith or divine revelation, were then worked up into a scientific form, according to each one's natural power and culture.

 

            Their aim was to construct, not merely a theory of redemption, but of the universe‑a cosmogony.

 

            No subject was beyond their investigations.

 

            Whatever God could reveal to the finite intellect they looked upon as within their range.

 

            What to others seemed only speculative ideas, were by. them hypostatized or personified into real beings or historical facts.

 

            It was in this way that they constructed systems of speculation on subjects entirely beyond the range of human knowledge, which startle us by their boldness and their apparent consciousness of reality." {1}

 

Such was the Gnosticism whose various sects intruded with their mystical notions and their allegorical interpretations into the Church, before Christianity had been well established.

 

            Although denounced by St. Paul as "vain babblers," they increased in strength and gave rise to many heresies which lasted until the 4th century.

 

            The most important of these sects, and the one from which the moderns have derived most of their views of what Christian Gnosticism is, was established in the 2d century by Basilides, the chief of the Egyptian Gnostics.

 

            The doctrine of Basilides and the Basilidians was a further development of the original Gnostic system.

 

            It was more particularly distinguished by its adoption from Pythagoras of the doctrine of numbers and its use and interpretation of the word Abraxas ‑ that word the meaning of which, according to the Leland MS., so greatly puzzled the learned Mr. Locke.

 

            In the system of Basilides the Supreme God was incomprehensible, non‑existent, and ineffable.

 

            Unfolded from his perfection were seven attributes or personified powers, namely, Mind, Reason, Thought, Wisdom, Power, Holiness, and Peace.

 

            Seven was a sacred number, and these seven powers referred to the seven days of the week.

 

            Basilides also supposed that there were seven similar beings in every stage or region of the spiritual world, and that these regions were three hundred and sixty‑five in number, thus corresponding to the days in the solar year.

 

            These three hundred and sixty‑five regions were so many heavenly mansions between the earth and the empyrean, and be supposed the existence of an equal number of angels.

 

            The number three hundred and sixty‑five was in the Basilidian system one of sacred import.

 

            Hence he fabricated the word A B R A X A S, because the Greek letters of which it is composed have the numerical value, when added together, of exactly three hundred and sixty‑five.

 

            The learned

 

{1} Strong and McClintock's "Cyclopaedia of Biblical, Theological, and Ecclesiastical Literature."

 

German theologian, Bellerman thinks that he has found the derivation in the Captu, or old Egyptian language, where the words abrah, signifying "word," and sadsch, signifying "blessed," "holy," or "adorable," and therefore abrahsadsch Hellenized into Abraxas, would denote "the holy, blessed, or adorable Word," thus approximating to the spirit of the Jewish Cabalists in their similar use of a Holy Name.

 

            Whether the word was thus derived or was invented by Basilides on account of the numerical value of its letters, is uncertain. lie, however, applied it in his system as the name of the Supreme God.

 

            This word Abraxas, like the Tetragrammaton of the Jews, became one of great importance to the sect of Basilidians.

 

            Their reverence for it gave origin to what are called "abraxas gems."

 

These are gems, plates, or tablets of metal, which have been discovered principally in Egypt, but have also been found in France and Spain.

 

            They are inscribed with the word Abraxas and an image supposed to designate the Basilidian god.

 

            Some of them have on them Jewish words, such as Jehovah or Adonai, and others contain Persian, Egyptian, or Grecian symbols.

 

            Montfaucon, who has treated the subject of "abraxas gems " elaborately, divides them into seven classes. 1. Those inscribed with the head of a cock as a symbol of the sun. 2. Those having the head of a lion, to denote the heat of the sun, and the word Mithras. 3. Those having the image of the Egyptian god Sera is. 4. Those having the images of sphinxes, apes, and other animals. 5. Those having human figures with the words Iao, Sabaoth, Adonai, etc. 6. Those having inscriptions without figures. 7. Those having monstrous forms.

 

            From these gems we have derived our knowledge of the Gnostic or Basilidian symbols, which are said to have furnished ideas to the builders of the Middle Ages in their decorative art, and which Mr.

 

            King and some other writers have supposed to have been transmitted to the Freemasons.

 

            The principal of these Gnostic symbols is that of the Supreme God, Abraxas.

 

            This is represented as a human figure with the head of a cock, the legs being two serpents.

 

            He brandishes a sword in one hand (sometimes a whip) and a shield in the other.

 

            The serpent is also a very common symbol, having sometimes the head of a cock and sometimes that of a lion or of a hawk.

 

            Other symbols, known to be of a purely Gnostic or rather Basilidian origin, from the accompanying inscription, Abraxas, or Iao, or both, are Horus, or the Sun, seated on a lotus flower, which is supported by a double lamp, composed of two phallic images conjoined at their bases; the dog; the raven; the tancross surmounted by a human head; the Egyptian god, Anubis, and Father Nilus, in a bending posture and holding in his hand the double, phallic lamp of Horus.

 

            This last symbol is curious because the word Heilos, like Mithras, which is also a Gnostic symbol, and Abraxas, expresses, in the value of the Greek letters of which it is composed, the number three hundred and sixty‑five.

 

            All these symbols, it will be seen, make some reference to the sun, ether as the representative of the Supreme God or as the source of light, and it might lead to the supposition that in the later Gnosticism, as in the Mithraic Mysteries, there was an allusion to sunworship, which was one of the earliest and most extensively dill used of the primitive religions.

 

            Evidently in both the Gnostic and the Mithraic symbolism the sun plays a very important part.

 

            While the architects or builders of the Middle Ages may have borrowed and probably did borrow, some suggestions from the Gnostics in carrying out the symbolism of their art, it is not probable, from their ecclesiastical organization and their religious character, that they would be more than mere suggestions.

 

            Certainly they would not have been accepted by these orthodox Christians with anything of their real Gnostic interpretation.

 

            We may apply to the use of Gnostic symbols by the mediaeval architects the remarks made by Mr. Paley on the subject of the adoption of certain Pagan symbols by the same builders.

 

            Their Gnostic origin was a mere accident.

 

            They were employed not as the symbolism of any Gnostic doctrine, but in the spirit of Christianity, and "the Church, in perfecting their development, stamped them with a purer and sublimer character." {1}

 

On a comparison of these Gnostic symbols with those of Ancient Craft or Speculative Masonry, I fail to find any reason to subscribe to the opinion of Hutchinson, that " the Basilidian system of religion furnished Freemasonry with some tenets, principles, and hieroglyphics." As Freemasons we will have to repudiate the tenets and principles" of the sect

 

{1} "Manual of Gothic Architecture," p.4

 

which was condemned by Clement and by Irenaeus; and as to its " hieroglyphics," by which is meant its symbols, we will look in vain for their counterpart or any approximation to them in the system of Speculative Masonry.

 

            That the Masons at a very early period exhibited a tendency to the doctrine of sacred numbers, which has since been largely developed in the Masonry of the modern High Degrees, is true, but this symbolism was derived directly from the teachings of Pythagoras, with which the founders of the primitive rituals were familiar.

 

            That the sun and the moon are briefly referred to in our rituals and may be deemed in some sort Masonic symbols, is also true, but the use made of this symbolism, and the interpretation of it, very clearly prove that it has not been derived from a Gnostic source.

 

            The doctrine of the metempsychosis, which was. taught by the Basilidians, is another marked point which would widely separate Freemasonry from Gnosticism, the dogma of the resurrection being almost the foundation‑stone on which the whole religious philosophy of the former is erected.

 

            Mr. King, in his work on the Gnostics, to which allusion has already been made, seeks to trace the connection between Freemasonry and Gnosticism through a line of argument which only goes to prove his absolute and perhaps his pardonable ignorance of Masonic history.

 

            It requires a careful research, which must be stimulated by a connection with the Order, to enable a scholar to avoid the errors into which he has fallen.

 

            "The foregoing considerations," he says, " seem to afford a rational explanation of the manner in which the genuine Gnostic symbols (whether still retaining any mystic meaning or kept as mere lifeless forms, let the Order declare) have come down to these times, still paraded as things holy and of deep significance.

 

            Treasured up amongst the dark sectaries of the Lebanon and the Sofis of Persia, communicated to the Templars, and transmitted to their heirs, the Brethren of the Rosy Cross, they have kept up an unbroken existence." {1}

 

In the line of history which Mr. King has here pursued, he has presented a mere jumble of non‑consecutive events which it would be impossible to disentangle.

 

            He has evidently confounded the old

 

{1} "The Gnostics and their Remains," p. 191.

 

Rosicrucians with the more modern Rose Croix, while the only connection between the two is to be found in the apparent similarity of name.

 

            If he meant the former, he has failed to show a relation between them and the Freemasons; if the latter, he was wholly ignorant that there is not a Gnostic symbol in their system, which is .wholly constructed out of an ecclesiastical symbolism.

 

            Such inconsequential assertions need no refutation.

 

            Finally he says that " Thus those symbols, in their origin, embodying the highest mysteries of Indian theosophy, afterward eagerly embraced by the subtle genius of the Alexandrian Greeks, and combined by them with the hidden wisdom of Egypt, in whose captivating and profound doctrines the few bright spirits of the Middle Ages sought a refuge from the childish fables then constituting orthodoxy, engendered by monkery upon the primal Buddhistic stock; these sacred symbols exist even now, but serve merely for the insignia of what at best is but a charitable, probably nothing more in its present form than a convivial institution."

 

These last lines indicate the precise amount of knowledge that he possesses of the character and the design of Freemasonry.

 

            It is to be regretted that he had not sought to explain the singular anomaly that "what at best is but a charitable, and probably nothing more than a convivial institution " has been made the depository of the symbols of an abstruse theosophy.

 

            Benevolent societies and convivial clubs do not, as a rule, meddle with matters of such high import.

 

            But to this uncritical essay there need be no reply.

 

            When anyone shall distinctly point out and enumerate the Gnostic symbols that made a part of the pure and simple symbolism of the primitive Speculative Masons, it will be time enough to seek the way in which they came there.

 

            For the present we need not undergo the needless labor of searching for that which we are sure can not be found.

 

            P. 381

 

 


 

CHAPTER XXXIX

 

THE SOCINIANS AND FREEMASONRY

 

While some of the adversaries of Freemasonry have pretended that its origin is to be found in the efforts of the Jesuit who sought to effect certain religious and political objects through the influence of such a society, one, at least, has endeavored to trace its first rise to the Socinians, who sprang up as a religious sect in Italy about the middle of the 16th century.

 

            This hypothesis is of so unhistorical a character that it merits a passing notice in the legendary history of the Institution.

 

            It was first promulgated (and I do not know that it has ever since been repeated) by the Abbe Le Franc, the Superior of the House of the Eudists, at Caen, in a book published by him in the year 1791, under the title of Le Voile leve pour les curieux, ou le secret des Revolutions, revele a l'aide de la Franc‑Maconnerie, or "The Veil lifted for the Inquisitive, or the Secret of Revolutions revealed by the assistance of Freemasonry." This work was deemed of so much importance that it was translated in the following year into Italian.

 

            In this essay Le Franc, as a loyal Catholic ecclesiastic, hating both the Freemasons and the Socinians, readily seized the idea, or at all events advanced it, that the former was derived from the latter, whose origin he assigns to the year 1546.

 

            He recapitulates, only to deny, all the other theories that have been advanced on the subject, such as that the origin of the Institution is to be sought in the fraternities of Operative Masons of the Middle Ages, or in the assembly held at York underthe auspices of King Athelstane, or in the builders of King Solomon's Temple, or in the Ancient Mysteries of Egypt.

 

            Each of these hypotheses he refuses to admit as true.

 

            On the contrary, he says the order can not be traced beyond the famous meeting of Socinians, which was held at the City of Vicenza, in Italy, in the year 1546, by Loclius Socinus, Ochirius, Gentilis, and others, who there and then established the sect which repudiated the doctrine of the Trinity, and whose successors, with some modification of tenets, still exist under the name of Unitarians, or Liberal Christians.

 

            But it is to Faustus Socinus, the nephew of Loclius, he asserts, that the real foundation of Freemasonry as a secret and symbolical society is to be ascribed.

 

            This " artful and indefatigable sectary," as he calls him, having beheld the burning of Servetus at Geneva by Calvin, for maintaining only a part of the system that he advocated, and finding that both Catholics and Protestants were equally hostile to his views, is said to have concealed it under symbols and mysterious ceremonies, accompanied by oaths of secrecy, in order that, while it was publicly taught to the people in countries where it was tolerated, it might be gradually and safely insinuated into other states, where an open confession of it would probably lead its preachers to the stake.

 

            The propagation of this system, he further says, was veiled under the enigmatical allegory of building a temple whose extent, in the very words of Freemasonry, was to be " in length from the east to the west, and in breadth from north to south." The professors of it were therefore furnished, so as to carry out the allegory, with the various implements used in building, such as the square, the compasses, the level, and the plumb.

 

            And here it is that the Abbe Le Franc has found the first form and beginning of the Masonic Institution as it existed at the time of his writing.

 

            I have said that, so far as I have been able to learn, Le Franc is the sole author or inventor of this hypothesis.

 

            Reghellini attributes it to three distinct writers, the author of the Voile leve, Le Franc, and the Abbe Barruel.

 

            But in fact the first and second of these are identical, and Barruel has not made any allusion to it in his History of Jacobinism. He attributes the origin of Freemasonry to the Manicheans, and makes a very elaborate and learned collation of the usages and ceremonies of the two, to show how much the one has taken from the other.

 

            Reghellini, in commenting on this theory of the Abbe Le Franc, says that all that is true in it is that there was at the same period, about the middle of the 16th century, a learned society of philosophers and literary men at Vicenza, who held conferences on the theological questions which at that time divided Europe, and particularly Germany.

 

            The members of this celebrated academy, he says, looked upon all these questions and difficulties concerning the mysteries of the Christian religion as points of doctrine which pertained simply to the philosophy of the ancient Egyptians, Greeks and Christians and had no relation whatever to the dogmas of faith. {1}

 

Considering that out of these meetings of the philosophers at Vicenza issued a religious sect, whose views present a very important modification of the orthodox creeds, we may well suppose that Reghellini is as much in error in his commentary as Le Franc has been in his text.

 

            The society which met at Vicenza and at Venice, though it sought to conceal its new and heterodox doctrines under a veil of secrecy, soon became exposed to the observation of the Papal court, through whose influence the members were expelled from the Venetian republic, some of them seeking safety in Germany, but most of them in Poland, where their doctrines were not only tolerated, but in time became popular.

 

            In consequence, flourishing congregations were established at Cracow, Lublin, and various other places in Poland and in Lithuania.

 

            Loelius Socinus had, soon after the immigration of his followers into Poland, retired to Zurich, in Switzerland, where he died.

 

            He was succeeded by his nephew, Faustus Socinus, who greatly modified the doctrines of his uncle, and may be considered as the real founder of the Socinian sect of Christians.

 

            Now, authentic history furnishes us with these few simple facts.

 

            In the 16th century secret societies were by no means uncommon in various countries of Europe In Italy especially many were to be found.

 

            Some of these coteries were established for the cultivation of philosophical studies, some for the pursuit of alchemy, some for theological discussions, and many were of a mere social character.

 

            In all of them, however, there was an exclusiveness which shut out the vulgar, the illiterate, or the profane.

 

            Thus there was founded at Florence a club which called itself the Societa della Cucchiara, or the Society of the Trowel.

 

            The name and the symbols it used, which were the trowel, the hammer, the square, and

 

{1} Reghellini, "La Maconnerie," tom., p. 60

 

the level, have led both Lenning and Reghellini to suppose that it was a Masonic association.

 

            But the account given of it by Vasari, in his Lives of the Painters and Sculptors, shows that it was merely a social club of Florentine artists, and that it derived its existence and its name from the accidental circumstance that certain painters and sculptors dining together once upon a time, in a certain garden, discovered, not far from their table, a heap of mortar in which a trowel was sticking.

 

            In an exuberance of spirits they began to throw the mortar on each other, and to call for the trowel to scrape it off.

 

            In the same sportive humor they then and there resolved to form an association which should annually thereafter dine together, and to commemorate the ludicrous event which had given rise to their association, they called it the Society of the Trowel, and adopted as emblems certain tools connected with the mystery of bricklaying.

 

            Every city in Italy in which science was cultivated had its academy, many of which, like the Platonic Academy, established at Florence in 1540 held their sessions in secret, and admitted none but members to participate in their mystical studies.

 

            In Germany the secret societies of the Alchemists were abundant.

 

            These spread also into France and England.

 

            To borrow the language of a modern writer, mystical interpretation ran riot, everything was symbolized, and metaphors were elaborated into allegories. {1}

 

It is a matter of historical record that in 1546 there was a society of this kind, consisting of about forty persons, eminent for their learning, who, in the words of Mosheim {2} "held secret assemblies, at different times, in the territory of Venice, and particularly at Vicenza, in which they deliberated concerning a general reformation of the received systems of religion, and, in a more especial manner, undertook to refute the peculiar doctrines that were afterwards publicly rejected by the Socinians."

 

Mosheim, who was rigorous in the application of the canons of criticism to all historical questions that came under his review, says, in a note appended to this passage: "Many circumstances and relations sufficiently

 

{1} Vaughan. "Hours with the Mystics," I., p. 119 {2} "Ecclesiast. Hist. XVI.," Part III., chap. iv.

 

prove that immediately after the reformation had taken place in Germany, secret assemblies were held and measures proposed in several provinces that were still under the jurisdiction of Rome, with a view to combat the errors and superstitions of the times."

 

Such was the character of the secret society at Vicenza to which Le Franc attributes the origin of Freemasonry.

 

            It was an assembly of men of advanced thought, who were compelled to hold their meetings in secret, because the intolerance of the church and the jealous caution of the state forbade the free and open discussion of opinions which militated against the common sentiments of the period.

 

            The further attempt to connect the doctrines of Socinus with those of Freemasonry, because, when speaking of the new religion which he was laboring to establish, he compared it to the building of a new temple‑ in which his disciples were to be diligent workers, is futile.

 

            The use of such expressions is to be attributed merely to a metaphorical and allegorical spirit by no means uncommon in writers of every ago The same metaphor is repeatedly employed by St. Paul in his various Epistles, and it is not improbable that from him Socinus borrowed the idea.

 

            There is, therefore, as I conceive, no historical evidence whatever to support the theory that Faustus Socinus and the Socinians were the founders of Freemasonry.

 

            At the very time when he was establishing the sect whose distinctive feature was its denial of the dogma of the Trinity, the manuscript constitutions of the Masons were beginning their Legend of the Craft, with an in,vocation to " the Might of the Father, the Wisdom of the Glorious Son, and the Goodness of the Holy Ghost, three Persons and one God."

 

The idea of any such connection between two institutions whose doctrines were so antagonistic was the dream‑or rather the malicious invention‑of Le Franc, and has in subsequent times received the amount of credit to which it is entitled.

 

            P. 386

 


 

CHAPTER XL

 

FREEMASONRY AND THE ESSENES

 

Lawrie or I should rather say Brewster ‑ was the first to discover a connection between the Freemasons and the Jewish sect of the Essenes, a doctrine which is announced in his History of Freemsonry.

 

            He does not indeed trace the origin of the Masonic Institution to the Essenes, but only makes them the successors of the Masons of the Temple, whose forms and tenets they transmitted to Pythagoras and his school at Crotona, by whom the art was disseminated throughout Europe.

 

            Believing as he did in the theory that Freemasonry was first organized at the Temple of Solomon by a union of the Jewish workmen with the association of Dionysian Artificers‑a theory which has already been discussed in a preceding chapter‑the editor of Lawrie's History meets with a hiatus in the regular and uninterrupted progress of the Order which requires to be filled up.

 

            The ingenious mode in which he accomplishes this task may be best explained in his own words:

 

"To these opinions it may be objected, that if the Fraternity of Freemasons flourished during the reign of Solomon, it would have existed in Judea in after ages, and attracted the notice of sacred or profane historians.

 

            Whether or not this objection is well founded, we shall not pretend to determine; but if it can be shown That there did exist, after the building of the temple, an association of men resembling Freemasons, in the nature, ceremonies, and object of their institution, the force of the objection will not only be taken away, but additional strength will be communicated to the opinion which we have been supporting.

 

            The association here alluded to is that of the Essenes, whose origin and sentiments have occasioned much discussion among ecclesiastical historians.

 

            They are all, however, of one mind concerning the constitution and observances of this religious order."' {1}

 

The peace making quality of "if" is here very apparent.

 

            "If it can be shown " that there is a chronological sequence from the builders of the Temple to the Essenes, and that there is a resemblance of both to the Freemasons in " the nature, ceremonies, and object of their institution," the conclusion to which Brewster has arrived will be better sustained than it would be if these premises are denied or not proved.

 

            The course of argument must therefore be directed to these points.

 

            In the first place we must inquire, who were the Essenes and what was their history? This subject has already been treated to some extent in a previous portion of this work.

 

            But the integrity of the present argument will require, and I trust excuse, the necessity of a repetition.

 

            The three sects into which the Jews were divided in the time of Christ were the Pharisees, the Sadducees, and the Essenes.

 

            Of these, while the Saviour makes repeated mention of the first two, he never alludes in the remotest manner to the third.

 

            This singular silence of Jesus has been explained by some imaginative Masonic writers, such, for instance, as Clavel, by asserting that he was probably an initiate of the sect.

 

            But scholars have been divided on this subject, some supposing that it is to be attributed to the fact (which, however, has not been established) that the Essenes originated in Egypt at a later period; others that they were not an independent sect, but only an order or subdivision of Pharisaism.

 

            However, in connection with the present argument, the settlement of this question is of no material importance.

 

            The Essenes were an association of ascetic celibates whose numbers were therefore recruited from the children of the Jewish community in which they lived.

 

            These were carefully trained by proper instructions for admission into the society.

 

            The admission into the interior body of the society and to the possession of its mystical doctrine was only attained after a long probation through three stages or degrees, the last of which made the aspirant a participant in the full fellowship of the community.

 

{1} Lawrie's "History of Freemasonry," p. 33

 

The history of the Essenes has been so often written by ancient and modern authors, from Philo and Josephus to Ginsburg, that an inquirer can be at no loss for a knowledge of the sect.

 

            The Masonic student will find the subject discussed in the author's Encyclopedia of Freemasonry, and the ordinary reader may be referred to the able article in McClintock and Strong's Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological, and Ecclesiastical Literature.

 

            I shall content myself, in fairness to the theory, with quoting the brief but compendious description given by the editor of Lawrie's History.

 

            It is in the main correct and sustained by other authorities, except a few deductions which must be attributed to the natural inclination of every theorist to adapt facts to his hypothesis.

 

            A few interpolations will be necessary to correct manifest errors.

 

            "When a candidate was proposed for admission, the strictest scrutiny was made into his character.

 

            If his life had been hitherto exemplary, and he appeared capable of curbing his passions and regulating his conduct according to the virtuous though austere maxims of their order, he was presented, at the expiration of his novitiate, with a white garment, as an emblem of the regularity of his conduct and the purity of his heart."

 

It was not at the termination, but at the beginning of the novitiate, that the white garment or robe was presented, and it was accompanied by the presentation of an apron and a spade.

 

            "A solemn oath was then administered to him that he would never divulge the mysteries of the Order that he would make no innovations on the doctrines of the society and that he would continue in that honorable course of piety and virtue which he had begun to pursue."

 

This is a mere abstract of the oath, which is given at length by Josephus. It was not, however, administered until the candidate had passed through all the degrees or stages, and was ready to be admitted into full fellowship.

 

            "Like Freemasons, they instructed the young member in the knowledge which they derived from their ancestors."

 

He might have said, like all other sects, in which the instruction of the young member is an imperative duty.

 

            "They admitted no women into their Order."

 

Though this is intended by the editor to show a point of identity with Freemasonry, it does no such thing. It is the common rule of all masculine associations. It distinguishes the Essenes from other religious sects, but it by no means essentially likens them to the Freemasons.

 

            "They had particular signs for recognizing each other, which have a strong resemblance to those of Freemasons."

 

This is a mere assumption.

 

            That they had signs for mutual recognition is probable, because such has been in all ages the custom of secret societies.

 

            We have classical authority that they were employed in the ancient Pagan Mysteries.

 

            But there is no authority for saying that these signs of the Essenes bore any resemblance to those of the Freemasons.

 

            The only allusion to this subject is in the treatise of Philo Judaeus, De Vita Contemplativa, where that author says that ‑ the Essenes meet together in an assembly and the right hand is laid upon the part between the chin and the breast, while the left hand hangs straight by the side." But Philo does not say that it was used as a sign of recognition, but rather speaks of it as an attitude or posture assumed in their assemblies.

 

            Of the resemblance every Mason can judge for himself:

 

"They had colleges, or places of retirement, where they resorted to practice their rites, and settle the affairs of the society; and after the performance of these duties, they assembled in a large hall, where an entertainment was provided for them by the president, or master, of the college, who allotted a certain quantity of provisions to every individual."

 

This was the common meal, not partaken on set occasions and in a particular place, as the writer intimates, but every day, in their usual habitation and at the close of daily labor.

 

            "They abolished all distinctions of rank and if preference was ever given, it was given to piety, liberality, and virtue.

 

            Treasurers were appointed in every town to supply the wants of indigent strangers.

 

            The Essenes pretended to higher degrees of piety and knowledge than the uneducated vulgar, and though their pretensions were high, they were never questioned by their enemies.

 

            Austerity of manners was one of the chief characteristics of the Essenian Fraternity.

 

            They frequently assembled, however, in convivial parties, and relieved for awhile the severity of those duties which they were accustomed to perform."

 

In concluding this description of an ascetic religious sect, the writer of Lawrie's History says that "this remarkable coincidence between the chief features of the Masonic and Essenian Fraternities can be accounted for only by referring them to the same origin." Another, and, perhaps, a better reason to account for these coincidences will be hereafter presented.

 

            While admitting that there is a resemblance in some points of the two institutions to each other, such as their secrecy, their classification into different degrees, although there is no evidence that the Essenian initiation had any form except that of a mere passage from a lower to a higher grade and their cultivation of fraternal love, which resemblances may be found in many other secret associations, I fail to see the identity " in the nature, the object, and the external forms of the two institutions " which Brewster claims.

 

            On the contrary, there is a total dissimilarity in each of these points.

 

            The nature of the Essenian institution was that of an ascetic and a bigoted religious sect, and in so far has certainly no resemblance to Freemasonry.

 

            The object of the Essenes was to preserve in its most rigid requirements the observance of the Mosaic law; that of Freemasonry is to diffuse the tolerant principles of a universal religion, which men of every sect and creed may approve.

 

            As to the external form of the two institutions, what little we know of those of the Essenes certainly does not exhibit any other resemblance than that which is common to all secret associations, whatever may be their nature and objects.

 

            But the most fatal objection to the theory of a connection between them, which is maintained by the author of Lawrie's History, has been admitted with some candor by himself.

 

            "There is one point, however," he says, "which may, at first sight, seem to militate against this supposition.

 

            The Essenes appear in no respects connected with architecture; nor addicted to those sciences and pursuits which are subsidiary to the art of building."

 

This objection, I say, is fatal to the theory which makes the Essenes the successors of the builders of Solomon's Temple and the forerunners of the Operative Masons of the Middle Ages, out of whom sprang the Speculative Masons of the 18th century.

 

            Admitting for a moment the reality of the organization of Masonry at the building of the Temple in Jerusalem, any chain which unites that body of builders with the Freemasonry of the present day must show, in every link, the presence and the continuance of pursuits and ideas connected with the operative art of building.

 

            Even the Speculative Masons of the present day have not disturbed that chain, because, though the fraternity is not now composed, necessarily, of architects and builders, yet the ideas and pursuits of those professions are retained in the Speculative science, all of whose symbolism founded on the operative art.

 

            The Essenes were not even Speculative Masons.

 

            Their symbolism, if they had any, was not founded on nor had any reference to the art of building.

 

            The apron which they presented to their novice was intended to be used, according to their practice, in baptism and in bathing; and the spade had no symbolic meaning, but was simply intended for practical purposes.

 

            The defense made by the author of the History, that in modern times there are " many associations of Freemasons where no architects are members, and which have no connection with the art of building," hardly needs a reply.

 

            There never has been an association of Freemasons, either Operative or Speculative, which did not have a connection with the art of building, in the former case practically, in the latter symbolically.

 

            It is absurd to suppose the interpolation between these two classes of an institution which neither practically nor symbolically cultivated the art on which the very existence of Freemasonry in either condition is based.

 

            But another objection, equally as fatal to the theory which makes the Essenes the uninterrupted successors of the Temple builders, is to be found in the chronological sequence of the facts of history.

 

            If this succession is interrupted by any interval, the chain which connects the two institutions is broken, and the theory falls to the ground.

 

            The Temple of Solomon was finished about a thousand years before the Christian era, and, according to the Masonic legendary account, the builders who were engaged in its construction immediately dispersed and traveled into foreign countries to propagate the art which they had there acquired. This, though merely a legend, is not at all improbable.

 

            It is very likely that the Tyrian workmen, at least (and they constituted the larger number of those employed in the building), returned to their homes after the tasks for which they had been sent to Solomon, by the King of Tyre, had been accomplished.

 

            If there were any Jewish Masons at all, who were not mere laborers, it is not unreasonable to suppose that they would seek employment elsewhere, in the art of building which they had acquired from their Tyrian masters.

 

            This is a proper deduction from the tradition, considered as such.

 

            Who, then, were left to continue the due succession of the fraternity? Brewster, in Lawrie's History, and Oliver, in his Antiquities, affirm that it was the Essenes.

 

            But we do not hear of this sect as an organized body until eight centuries afterward.

 

            The apocryphal statement of Pliny, that they had been in being for thousands of years ‑ "pler seculorum millia "has met with no reception from scholars.

 

            It is something which, as he himself admits, is incredible; and Pliny is no authority in Jewish affairs.

 

            Josephus speaks of them, as existing in the days of Jonathan the Maccabaean; but this was only 143 years before Christ.

 

            They are never mentioned in any of the books of the Old Testament, written subsequently to the building of the Temple, and the silence of the Saviour and the Apostles concerning them has been attributed to the fact that they were not even at that time an organized body, but merely an order of the Pharisees.

 

            The Rabbi Nathan distinctly says that "those Pharisees who live in a state of celibacy are Essenes;" and McClintock collates from various authorities fourteen points of resemblance, which are enumerated to show the identity in the most important usages of the two institutions.

 

            At all events, we have no historic evidence of the existence of the Essenes as a distinct organization before the war of the Maccabees, and this would separate them by eight centuries from the builders of Solomon's Temple, of whom the theory under review erroneously supposes them to be the direct descendants.

 

            But Brewster {1} seeks to connect the Essenes and the builders of Solomon through the Assideans, whom he also calls "an order of the Knights of the Temple of Jerusalem who bound themselves to adorn the porches of that magnificent structure and to preserve it from injury

 

{1} The unfairness of the author of Lawrie's History "History" is apparent when he quotes the "Histoire des Juifs," by Basnage, as authority for the existence of the Essenes three hundred years before the Christian era. Basnage actually says that they existed in the reign of Antigonus, but this was only 105 B.C.

 

and decay."

 

He adds that "this association was composed of the greatest men of Israel, who were distinguished for their charitable and peaceful dispositions; and always signalized themselves by their ardent zeal for the purity and preservation of the temple." Hence he argues that "the Essenes were not only an ancient fraternity, but that they originated from an association of architects who were connected with the building of Solomon's temple."

 

All this is very ingenious, but it is very untrue.

 

            It is, however, the style, now nearly obsolete, it is to be hoped, in which Masonic history has been written.

 

            The fact is that the Assideans were not of older date than the Essenes.

 

            They are not mentioned by the canonical writers of the Scriptures, nor by Josephus, but the word first occurs in the book of Maccabees, where it is applied, not, as Brewster calls them, to men of " peaceful dispositions," but to a body of devoted and warlike heroes and patriots who, as Kitto says, rose at the signal for armed resistance given by Mattathias, the father of the Maccabees, and who, under him and his successors, upheld with the sword the great doctrine of the unity of God, and stemming the advancing tide of Grecian manners and idolatries.

 

            Hence the era of the Assideans, like that of the Essenes, is removed eight centuries from the time of the building of the Solomonic Temple.

 

            Scaliger, who is cited in Lawrie's History as authority, only says that the Assideans were a confraternity of Jews whose principal devotion consisted in keeping up the edifices belonging to the Temple; and who, not content with paying the common tribute of half a shekel a head, appointed for Temple repairs, voluntarily imposed upon themselves an additional tax.

 

            But as they are not known to have come into existence until the wars of the Maccabees, it is evident that the Temple to which they devoted their care must have been the second one, which had been built after the return of the Jews from their Babylonian captivity.

 

            With the Temple of Solomon and with its builders the Assideans could not have had any connection.

 

            Prideaux says that the Jews were divided, after the captivity, into two classes‑the Zadikim or righteous, who observed only the written law of Moses, and the Chasidim or pious, who superadded the traditions of the elders.

 

            These latter, he says, were the Assideans, the change of name resulting from a common alteration of the sounds of the original Hebrew letters.

 

            But if this division took place after the captivity, a period of nearly five centuries had then elapsed since the building of Solomon's Temple, and an uninterrupted chain of sequences between that monarch's builders and the Essenes is not preserved.

 

            After the establishment of the Christian religion we lose sight of the Essenes.

 

            Some of them are said to have gone to Egypt, and there to have founded the ascetic sect of Therapeutists.

 

            Others are believed to have been among the first converts to Christianity, but in a short time they faded out of all notice.

 

            I think, from what has been said, that there can be no hesitation in pronouncing the theory of the descent of Freemasonry to modern times through the Assideans and the Essenes to be wholly untenable and unsupported by historical testimony.

 

            In relation to what has been called the "remarkable coincidences " to be met with in the doctrines and usages of this Jewish sect and the Freemasons, giving to them all the weight demanded, the rational explanation appears to be such as I have elsewhere given, and which I may repeat here.

 

            The truth is that the Essenes and the Freemasons derive whatever similarity or resemblance they may have from that spirit of brotherhood which has prevailed in all ages of the civilized world, the inherent principles of which, as the natural results of any fraternization, where all the members are engaged in the same pursuit and governed by one common bond of unity, are brotherly love, charity, and generally that secrecy and exclusiveness which secures to them an isolation, in the practice of their rites, from the rest of the world.

 

            And hence, between all fraternities, ancient and modern, these "remarkable coincidences" will be apt to be found.

 

            P. 395

 

 

 

 

 


 

CHAPTER XLI

 

THE LEGEND OF ENOCH

 

Before concluding this series of essays, as they night be called, on the legendary history of Freemasonry, it will be necessary, so that a completion may be given to the subject, to refer to a few Legends of a peculiar character, which have not yet been noticed.

 

            These Legends form no part of the original Legend of the Craft.

 

            There are, however, brief allusions in that document to them; so brief as almost to attract no especial observation, but which might possibly indicate that some form, perhaps a very mutilated one, of these Legends was familiar to the Mediaeval Masons, or, perhaps, which is more probable, that they have suggested a foundation for the fabrication of these legendary narratives at a later period by the Speculative Freemasons of the 18th century.

 

            Or it may be supposed that both those views are correct, and that while the imperfect and fragmentary Legend was known to the Freemasons of the Middle Ages, its completed form was thereby suggested to the Fraternity at a later period, and after the era of the revival.

 

            Whichever of these views we may accept, it is at least certain that at the present day, and in the present condition of the Order, these Legends form an important part of the ritualism of the Order.

 

            They can not be rejected in their symbolic interpretation, unless we are willing with them to reject the whole fabric of Freemasonry, into which they have been closely interwoven.

 

            Of these Legends and of some minor ones of the same class, Dr. Oliver has spoken with great fairness in his Historical Landmarks, in the following words:

 

"It is admitted that we are in possession of numerous legends which are not found in holy writ, but being of very ancient date, are entitled to consideration, although their authenticity may be questioned and their aid rejected.

 

            I shall not, however, in any case, use their evidence as a prima facie means of proving any doubtful proposition, but merely in corroboration of an argument which might probably be complete without their aid.

 

            Our system of typical or legendary tradition adds to the dignity of the institution by its general reference to sublime truths, which were considered necessary to its existence or its consistency, although some of the facts, how pure soever at their first promulgation, may have been distorted and perverted by passing through a multitude of hands in their transmission down the stream of time, amidst the fluctuation of the earth and the downfall of mighty states and empires."

 

Without discussing the question of their great antiquity, or of their original purity and subsequent distortion and perversion, I propose to present these Legends to the Masonic reader, because they are really not so much traditional narratives of events that are supposed to have at some time occurred, but because they are to be 'considered really as allegorical attempts to symbolize certain ethical or religious ideas, the expression of which lies at the very foundation of the Masonic system.

 

            So considered, they must be deemed of great value.

 

            Their interest will also be much enhanced by a comparison of the facts of history that are interwoven with them, and to certain traditions of the ancient Oriental nations which show the existence of the same Legends among them.

 

            These may, indeed, have been the foundation on which the Masonic ones have been built, the "distortion or perversion " being simply those variations which were necessary to connect the legendary statements more intimately and consistently with the Masonic symbolic ideas.

 

            The first of these to which our attention will be directed is the Legend of Enoch, the seventh of the Patriarchs, of whom Milton has said:

 

"him the Most High, (Rapt in a balmy cloud with winged steeds) Did, as thou seest, receive to walk with God High in salvation and the claims of bliss, Exempt from death."

 

I shall first present the reader with the Masonic Legend, and then endeavor to trace out the idea which it was intended to convey. by a comparison of it with historical occurrences, with Oriental traditions of a similar nature, and with the Masonic symbolism which it seems to embody. The legend as accepted by the Craft, from a time hereafter to be referred to, runs to the following effect.

 

            Enoch, being inspired by the Most High, and in obedience to a vision, constructed underground, in the bosom of Mount Moriah, an edifice consisting of nine brick vaults situated perpendicularly beneath each other and communicating by apertures left in the arch of each vault.

 

            He then caused a triangular plate of gold to be made, each side of which was a cubit long; he enriched it with the most precious stones and engraved upon it the ineffable name of God.

 

            He then encrusted the plate upon a stone of agate of the same form, which he placed upon a cubical stone of marble, and deposited the whole within the ninth or innermost vault.

 

            When this subterranean building was completed, Enoch made a slab or door of stone, and, attaching to it a ring of iron, by which it might, if necessary, be raised, he placed it over the aperture of the uppermost arch, and so covered it overwith soil that the opening could not easily be discovered.

 

            Enoch himself was not permitted to enter it more than once a year, and on his death or translation all knowledge of this building and of the sacred treasure which it contained was lost until in succeeding ages it was accidentally discovered while Solomon was engaged in building, a temple above the spot, on the same mountain.

 

            The Legend proceeds to inform us that after Enoch had finished the construction of the nine vaults, fearing that the principles of the arts and sciences which he had assiduously cultivated would be lost in that universal deluge of which he bad received a prophetic vision, he erected above‑ground two pillars, one of marble, to withstand the destructive influences of foe, and one of brass, to resist the ac6on of water ()n the pillar of brass he engraved the history of the creation, the principles of the arts and sciences, and the doctrines of Speculative Masonry as they were then practiced; and on the pillar of marble he inscribed in hieroglyphic characters the information that near the spot where they stood a precious treasure was deposited in a subterranean vault.

 

            Such is the Legend of Enoch, which forms a very important part of the legendary history of the High Degrees.

 

            As a traditional narrative it has not the slightest support of authentic history, and the events that it relates do not recommend themselves by an air of probability.

 

            But, accepted as the expression of a symbolic idea, it undoubtedly possesses some value.

 

            That part of the Legend which refers to the two pillars is undoubtedly a perversion of the old Craft Legend of Lamech's sons, which has already been treated in this work.

 

            It will need no further consideration.

 

           

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The germ of the Legend is the preservation through the efforts of the Patriarch of the Ineffable Name.

 

            This is in fact the true symbolism of the Legend, and it is thus connected with the whole system of Freemasonry in its Speculative form.

 

            There is no allusion to this story in the Legend of the Craft.

 

            None of the old manuscript Constitutions contain the name of Enoch, nor does he appear to have been deemed by the Mediaeval Masons to be one of the worthies of the Craft.

 

            The Enoch spoken of in the Cooke MS. is the son of Cain, and not the seventh Patriarch.

 

            We must conclude, therefore, that the Legend was a fabrication of a later day, and in no way suggested by anything contained in the original Craft Legend.

 

            But that there were traditions outside of Masonry, which prevailed in the Middle Age, in reference to subterranean caves in Mount Moriah is evident from the writings of the old historians.

 

            Thus there was a tradition of the Talmudists that when King Solomon was building the Temple, foreseeing that at some future time the edifice would be destroyed, he caused a dark and intricate vault to be constructed underground, in which the ark might be concealed whenever such a time of danger should arrive; and that Josiah, being warned by Huldah, the prophetess, of the approaching peril, caused the ark to be hidden in the crypt which had been built by Solomon.

 

            There was also in this vault, as in that of Enoch, a cubical stone, on which the ark was placed.{1}

 

There is a tradition also, among the Arabians, of a sacred stone found by Abraham beneath the earth, and made by him the stone of foundation of the temple which Jehovah ordered him to erect a temple the tradition of which is confined to the Mohammedans.

 

            But the most curious story is one told by Nicephorus Callistus, a Greek historian of the 14th century, in his Ecclesiastical Histories.

 

{1} Lightfoot, "Prospect of the Temple," ch. xv.

 

            When detailing the events that occurred while Julian the Apostate was making his attempt to rebuild the Temple of Jerusalem, he narrates the following fable, but of whose fabulous character the too credulous monk has not the slightest notion.

 

            "When the foundations were being laid, as has been said, one of the stones attached to the lowest part of the foundation was removed from its place and showed the mouth of a cavern which had been cut out of the rock.

 

            But as the cave could not be distinctly seen, those who had charge of the work, wishing to explore it, that they might be better acquainted with the place, sent one of the workmen down tied to a long rope.

 

            When he got to the bottom he found water up to his legs.

 

            Searching the cavern on every side, he found by touching with his hands that it was of a quadrangular form.

 

            When he was returning to the mouth, he discovered a certain pillar standing up scarcely above the water.

 

            Feeling with his hand, he found a little book placed upon it, and wrapped up iii very fine and clan linen Taking possession of it, he gave the signal with the rope that those who had sent him down, should draw him up. Being received above, as soon as the book was shown all were struck with astonishment, especially as it appeared untouched and fresh notwithstanding that it had been found in so dismal and dark a place.

 

            But when the book was unfolded, not only the Jews but the Greeks were astounded.

 

            For even at the beginning it declared in large letters: IN THE BEGINNING WAS THE WORD WITH GOD, AND THE WORD WAS GOD.

 

            To speak plainly, the writing embraced the whole Gospel which was announced in the Divine tongue of the Virgin disciple." {1}

 

It is true that Enoch has been supposed to have been identical with Hermes, and Keriher says, in the OEdipus Egyptiacus, Idris among the Hebrews, has been called Enoch, among the Egyptians Osiris and Hermes, and he was the first who before the Flood had any knowledge of astronomy and geometry.

 

            But the authors of the Legend of the Craft were hardly likely to be acquainted with this piece of archeology, and the Hermes to whom, with a very corrupt spelling, they refer as the son of Cush, was the Hermes Trismegistus, popularly known as the " Father of Wisdom."

 

Enoch is first introduced to the Craft as one of the founders of Geometry and Masonry, by Anderson, in the year 1723, who, in the Constitutions printed in that year, has the following passage:

 

{1} Nicephori Callisti "Ecclesiasticae Historiae," tom. ii., lib. x., cap. Xxxiii


 


 

 

"By some vestiges of antiquity we find one of them (the offspring of Seth) prophesying of the final conflagration at the day of Judgment, as St Jude tells and likewise of the general deluge for the punishment of the world.

 

            Upon which he erected his two large pillars (though some ascribe them to Seth), the one of stone and the other of brick, whereon were engraven the liberal sciences, etc.

 

            And that the stone pillar remained in Syria until the days of Vespasian, the Emperor."' {1}

 

Fifteen years afterward, when he published the second edition of the Constitutions, he repeated the Legend, with the additional statement that Enoch was " expert and bright both in the science and the art " of Geometry and Masonry, an abridgment of which he placed on the pillars which he had erected.

 

            He adds that " the old Masons firmly believed this tradition," but as there is no appearance of any such tradition in the old records, of which since his date a large number have been recovered (for in them the building of the pillars is ascribed to the sons of Lamech), we shall have to accept this assertion with many grains of allowance, and attribute it to the general inaccuracy of Anderson when citing legendary authority.

 

            But as the first mention of Enoch as a Freemason is made by Anderson, and as we not long afterward find him incorporated into the legendary history of the Order, we may, I think, attribute to him the suggestion of the Legend, which was, however, afterward greatly developed.

 

            It was not, however, adopted into the English system, since neither Entick nor Northouck, who subsequently edited the Book of Constitutions, say anything more of Enoch than had already been said by Anderson.

 

            They, indeed, correct to some extent his statement, by ascribing the pillars either to Seth or to Enoch, leaning, therefore, to the authority of Josephus, but, equally with Anderson, abandoning the real tradition of the old Legend, which gave them to the children of Lamech.

 

            It is, I think, very evident that the Legend of Enoch was of Continental origin, and I am inclined conjecturally to assign its invention to the fertile genius of the Chevalier Ramsay, the first fabricator of high degrees, or to some of his immediate successors in the manufactory of Masonic Rites.

 

{1} "Constitutions," 1723, p. 3, notes

 

Ramsay was too learned a man to be ignorant of the numerous Oriental traditions, Arabic, Egyptian, and Rabbinical, concerning Enoch, that had been long in existence.

 

            Of this we have evidence in a very learned work on The Philosophical Principles of Natural and Revealed Religion, published by him in 1749.

 

            In this work {1} he refers to the tradition extant in all nations, of a great man or legislator who was the first author of sacred symbols and hieroglyphics, and who taught the people their sacred mysteries and religious rites.

 

            This man, he says, was, among the Phoenicians, Thaut; the Greeks, Hermes; the Arabians, Edris.

 

            But he must have known that Thaut, Hermes, and Edris were all synonymous of Enoch, for he admits that " all these lived some time before the universal deluge, and they were all the same man, and consequently some antediluvian patriarch."

 

And, finally, he adds that "some think that this antediluvian patriarch was Enoch himself" And then he presents, in the following language, those views which most probably supplied the suggestions that were afterward developed by himself, or some of his followers, in the full form of the Masonic legend of Enoch.

 

            "Whatever be in these conjectures," says Ramsay, " it is certain, from the principles laid down, that the antediluvian or Noevian patriarches ought to have taken some surer measures for transmitting the knowledge of divine truths to their posterity, than by oral tradition, and, consequently, that they either invented or made use of hieroglyphics or symbols to preserve the memory of these sacred truths." And these he calls the Enochian symbols.

 

            He does not, indeed, make any allusion to a secret depository of these symbols of Enoch, and supposes that they must have been communicated to the sons of Noah and their descendants, though in time they lost their true meaning.

 

            But the change made in the Masonic Legend was necessary to adapt it to a peculiar system of ritualism.

 

            It is singular how Enoch ever became among the ancients a type of the mysteries of religion.

 

            The book of Genesis devotes only three short verses to an account of him, and

 

{1} Vol. ii., p. 12 et seq.

 

nothing is there said of him, his deeds, or his character, except an allusion to his piety.

 

            The Oriental writers, however, abound in traditionary tales of the learning of the Patriarch.

 

            One tradition states that God bestowed upon him the gift of knowledge, and that he received thirty volumes from Heaven, filled with all the secrets of the most mysterious sciences.

 

            The Babylonians supposed him to have been intimately acquainted with the nature of the stars, and they attribute to him the invention of astrology.

 

            The Jewish Rabbis maintained that he was taught by Adam how to sacrifice and to worship the Deity aright.

 

            The Cabalistic book of Raziel says that he received the divine mysteries through the direct line of the preceding Patriarchs.

 

            Bar Hebraeus, a Jewish writer, asserts that Enoch was the first who invented books and writing; that he taught men the art of building cities‑thus evidently confounding him with another Enoch, the son of Cain that he discovered the knowledge of the Zodiac and the course of the stars; and that he inculcated the worship of God by religious rites.

 

            There is a coincidence in the sacred character thus bestowed upon Enoch with his name and the age at which he died, and this may have had something to do with the mystical attributes bestowed upon him by the Orientalists.

 

            The word Enoch signifies, in the Hebrew, initiated or consecrated, and would seem, as all Hebrew names are significant, to have authorized, or, perhaps, rather suggested the idea of his connection with a system of initiation into sacred rites.

 

            He lived, the Scriptures say, three hundred and sixty‑five years.

 

            This, too, would readily be received as having a mystical meaning, for 365 is the number of the days in a solar year and was, therefore, deemed a sacred number.

 

            Thus we have seen that the letters of the mystical word Abraxas, which was the Gnostic name of the Supreme Deity, amounted, according to their numerical value in the Greek alphabet, to 365, which was also the case with Mithras, the god to whom the Mithraic mysteries were dedicated.

 

            And this may account for the statement of Bar Hebraeus that Enoch appointed festivals and sacrifices to the sun at the periods when that luminary entered each of the zodiacal signs.

 

            Goldziher, one of the latest of the German ethnologists, has advanced a similar idea in his work on Mythology Among the Hebrews.

 

            He says:

 

"The solar character of Enoch admits of no doubt.

 

            He is brought into connection with the buildingof towns‑a solar feature.

 

            He lives exactly three hundred and sixty‑five years, the number of days of the solar year; which can not be accidental.

 

            And even then he did not die, but Enoch walked with Elohim, and was no more (to be seen), for Elohim took him away.' In the old times when the figure of Enoch was imagined, this was doubtless called Enoch's Ascension to heaven, as in the late traditional legends Ascensions to heaven are generally acknowledged to be solar features."' {1}

 

These statements and speculations have been objected to, because they would tend to make Enoch an idolater and a sun‑worshipper.

 

            This is a consequence by no means absolutely necessary, but, as the whole is merely traditionary, we need waste no time in defending the orthodox character of the Patriarch's religious views.

 

            After all, it would appear that the Legend of Enoch, being wholly unknown to the Fraternity in the Middle Ages, unrecognized in the Legend of the Craft, and the name even, not mentioned in any of the old records, was first introduced into the rituals of some of the higher degrees which began to be fabricated toward the middle of the 18th century; that it was invented by the Chevalier Ramsay, or by some of those ritual‑mongers who immediately succeeded him, and that in its fabrication very copious suggestions were borrowed from the Rabbinical and Oriental traditions on the same subject.

 

            It is impossible then to assign to this Legend the slightest historical character.

 

            It is made up altogether out of traditions which were the inventions of Eastern imagination.

 

            We must view it, therefore, as an allegory; but as one which has a profound symbolic character.

 

            It was intended to teach the doctrine of Divine Truth by the symbol of the Holy Name‑the Tetragrammaton‑the Name most reverently consecrated iii the Jewish system as well as in others, and which has always constituted one of the most important and prominent symbols of Speculative Masonry.

 

            In the Continental system of the High Degrees, this symbol is presented in the form of the Legend of

 

{1} Chap v., sect. viii., p. 127, Martineau's Translation.

 

Enoch.

 

            From the English system of Ancient Craft Masonry, that Legend is rejected, or rather it never has been admitted into it.

 

            In its place, there is another esoteric Legend, which, differing altogether in details, is identical in result and effects the same symbolism.

 

            But this will be more appropriately discussed when the symbolism of Freemasonry is treated. in a future part of this work.

 

            P. 405

 

 

 


 

CHAPTER XLII

 

NOAH AND THE NOACHITES

 

In reality, there is no Legend of Noah to be found in any of the Masonic Rituals.

 

            There is no myth, like that of Enoch or Euclid, which intimately connects him with the legendary history of the institution.

 

            And yet the story of his life has exercised a very important influence in the origin and the development of the principles of Speculative Masonry.

 

            Dr. Oliver has related a few traditions of Noah which, he says, are Masonic, but they never had any general acceptance among the Craft, as they are referred to by no other writer, and, if they ever existed, are now happily obsolete.

 

            The influence of Noah upon Masonic doctrine is to be traced to the almost universal belief of men in the events of the deluge, and the consequent establishment in many nations of a system of religion known to ethnologists as the "Arkite worship." Of this a brief notice must be taken before we can proceed to investigate the connection of the name of Noah with Speculative Masonry.

 

            The character and the actions of Noah are to be looked upon from a twofold stand‑point, the historic and the legendary.

 

            The historic account of Noah is contained in portions of the sixth and seventh chapters in the Book of Genesis, and are readily accessible to every reader, with which, however, they must already be very familiar.

 

            The legendary account is to be found in the almost inexhaustible store of traditions which are scattered among almost all the nations of the world where some more or less dim memory of a cataclysm has been preserved.

 

            If we examine the ancient writers, we shall find ample evidence that among all the pagan peoples there was a tradition of a deluge which, at sonic remote period, had overwhelmed the earth.

 

            This tradition was greatly distorted from the biblical source, and the very name of the Patriarch ‑who was saved was forgotten and replaced by some other, which varied in different countries.

 

            Thus, in different places, he had received the names of Xisuthrus, Prometheus, Deucalion, Ogyges, and many others, where the name has been rendered very unlike itself by terminations and other idiomatic changes.

 

            But everywhere the name was accompanied by a tradition, which also varied in its details, of a deluge by which mankind had been destroyed, and the race had, through the instrumentality of this personage, been renewed.

 

            It is to be supposed that so important an event as the deluge would have been transmitted by the Patriarch to His posterity, and that in after times, when, by reason of the oral transmission of the history, the particular details of the event would be greatly distorted from the truth, a veneration for this new founder of the race of men would be retained.

 

            At length, when various systems of idolatry began to be established, Noah, under whatever name he may have been known, would have been among the first to whom divine honors would be paid.

 

            Hence arose that system known to modern? scholars as the "Arkite worship," in whose rites and mysteries, which were eventually communicated to the other ancient religions, there were always some allusions to the events of the Noachic flood to the ark, as the womb of Nature, to the eight persons saved in it, as the ogdoad or sacred number‑and to the renovation of the world, as symbolizing the passage from death to immortal life.

 

            It is not, therefore, surprising that Noah should have become a mystical personage, and that the modern Speculative Masons should have sought to incorporate some reference to him in their symbolic system, though no such idea appears to have been entertained by the Operative Masons who preceded them.

 

            On examining the old records of the Operative Masons it will be found that no place is assigned to Noah, either as a Mason or as one of the founders of the " science." He receives only the briefest mention

 

In the Halliwell Poem his name and the flood are merely referred to as denoting an era of time in the world's history.

 

            It is only a statement that the tower of Babel was begun many years after " Noees fled."

 

In the Cooke MS. the record is a little more extended, but still is but an historical narrative of the flood, in accordance with the biblical details.

 

            In the Dowland MS. and in all the other manuscripts of the Legend of the Craft that succeeded it, the reference to Noah is exceedingly meager, his name only being mentioned, and that of his sons, from whom descended Hermes, who found one of the pillars and taught the science thereon described to other men.

 

            So far, Noah has had no part in Masonry.

 

            Anderson, who, in the Book of Constitutions modified and enlarged the old Craft Legends at his pleasure, calls Noah and his three sons "all Masons true," and says that they brought over from the flood the traditions and arts of the antediluvians and communicated them to their growing offspring.

 

            And this was perhaps the first time that the Patriarch was presented to the attention of the Fraternity in a Masonic character.

 

            Anderson semms to have cherished this idea, for in the second edition of the Constitutions he still further develops it by saying that the offspring of Noah, " as they journeyed from the East (the plains of Mount Ararat, where the ark rested) towards the West, they found a plain in the land of Shinar, and dwelt there together as NOACHIDAE, or sons of Noah." And, he adds, without the slightest historical authority, that this word " Noachidae " was" the first name of Masons, according to some old traditions." It would have puzzled him to specify any such tradition.

 

            Having thus invented and adopted the name as the distinctive designation of a Mason, he repeats it in his second edition or revision of the "Old Charges" appended to the Book of Constitutions.

 

            The first of these charges, in the Constitutions of 1723, contained this passage: "A Mason is obliged by his tenure to obey the moral law." In the edition of 1738, Dr. Anderson has, without authority, completed the sentence by adding the words "as a true Noachida." This interpolation was reached by Entick, who edited the third and fourth editions in 1756 and 1767, and by Northouck, who published the fifth in 1784, both of whom restored the old reading, which has ever since been preserved in all the Constitutions of the Grand Lodge of England.

 

            Dermott, however, who closely followed the second edition of Anderson, in the composition of his Ahiman Rezon of course adopted the new term.

 

            About that time, or a little later, a degree was fabricated on the continent of Europe, bearing the name of "Patriarch Noachite," one peculiar feature of which was that it represented the existence of two classes or lines of Masons, the one descending from the Temple of Solomon, and who were called Hiramites, and the other tracing their origin to Noah, who were styled Noachites.

 

            Neither Preston nor Hutchison, nor any other writer of the 18th century, appear to have accepted the term.

 

            But it was a favorite with Dr. Oliver, and under his example it has become of so common use that ‑ Noachida and Freemason have come to be considered as synonymous terms.

 

            What does this word really signify, and how came Anderson to adopt it as a Masonic term? The answers to these questions are by no means difficult.

 

            Noachida, or Noachides, from which we get the English Noachite, is a gentilitial name, or a name designating the member of a family or race, and is legitimately formed according to Greek usage, where Atrides means a descendant of Atreus, or Heraclides a descendant of Heracles.

 

            And so Noachides, or its synonyms Noachida or Noachites, means a descendant of Noah.

 

            But why, it may be asked, are the Freemasons called the descendants of Noah? Why has he been selected alone to represent the headship of the Fraternity? I have no doubt that Dr. Anderson was led to the adoption of the word by the following reason.

 

            After Noah's emergence from the ark, he is said to have promulgated seven precepts for the government of the new race of men of whom he was to be the progenitor.

 

            These seven precepts are: 1, to do justice; 2, worship God; 3, abstain from idolatry; 4, preserve chastity; 5, do not commit murder; 6, do not steal; 7, do not eat the blood.

 

            These seven obligations, says the Rev. Dr. Raphall{1} are held binding on all men, inasmuch as all are descendants of Noah, and the Rabbis maintain that he who observes them, though he be not an Israelite, has a share in the future life, and it is the duty of every Jew to enforce their due observance whenever he has the power to do so.

 

            In consequence of this the Jewish religion was not confined during its existence in Palestine to the Jewish nation only, but proselytes of three kinds were freely admitted.

 

            One of these classes was the

 

{1} "Genesis, with Translation and Notes," by Rev. Morris J. Raphall, p. 52

 

"proselytes of the gate." These were persons who, without undergoimg the rite of circumcision or observing the ritual prescribed by the law of Moses, engaged to worship the true God and to observe the seven precepts of Noah, and these things they were to do whether they resided in Judea or in foreign lands.

 

            They were not, however, admitted to all the privileges of the Jewish religion; marriage with Israelites was forbidden, and they were not permitted to enter within the sacred inclosure of the temple.

 

            So that, although they were Noachidoe, they were not considered equal to the true children of Abraham.

 

            Anderson, who was a theologian, was, of course, acquainted with these facts, but, with a more tolerant spirit than the Jewish law, which gave the converted Gentiles only a qualified reception, he was disposed to admit into the full fellowship of Freemasonry all the descendants of Noah who would observe the precepts of the Patriarch; these being the only moral laws inculcated by Masonry.

 

            In giving the history of the introduction of the word into Masonry, I have not cited among the authorities the document known as the Stonehouse MS., because it was verified by a person of that name, but more usually the Krause MS., because it was first published in a German translation by Dr. Krause in his Three Oldest Documents.

 

            It is alleged to be a copy of the York Constitutions, enacted in 926, but is generally admitted by scholars to be spurious.

 

            Yet, as it is probable that it was originally written by a contemporary of Anderson, and about the time of the publishing of the Constitutions Of 1738, it may be accepted, so far as it supplies us with a suggestion of the motive that induced Anderson to interpolate the word "Noachida " into the "Old Charges."

 

In the Krause MS., under the head of "The Laws or Obligations laid before his Brother Masons by Prince Edwin," we find the following article. (I translate from the German of Krause, because the original English document is nowhere to be found.)

 

"The first obligation is that you shall sincerely honor God and obey the laws of the Noachites, because they are divine laws, which should be obeyed by all the world. Therefore, you must avoid all heresies and not thereby sin against God."

 

The language of this document is more precise than that of Anderson, though both have the same purpose.

 

            The meaning is that the only religious laws which a Freemason is required to obey are those which are contained in the code that has been attributed to Noah.

 

            This sentiment is still further expressed toward the close of the " Old Charges," where it is said that the Mason is obliged only " to that religion in which all men agree," excluding, therefore, atheism, and requiring the observance of such simple laws of morality as are enjoined in the precepts of Noah.

 

            Anderson had, however, a particular object in the use of the word "Noachida." The Krause MS. says that the Mason "must obey the laws of the Noachites; " that is, that he is to observe the seven precepts of Noah, without being required to observe any other religious dogmas outside of these‑a matter which is left to himself.

 

            But Anderson says he "must obey the moral law as a true Noachida," by which he intimates that that title is the proper designation of a Mason.

 

            And he has shown that this was his meaning by telling us, in a preceding part of his book, that , Noachidae was the first name of Masons, according to some old traditions."

 

Now the object of Anderson in introducing this word into the second edition of the Constitutions was to sustain his theory that Noah was the founder of the science of Freemasonry after the flood.

 

            This was the theory taught by Dr. Oliver a century afterward, who followed Anderson in the use of the word, with the same meaning and the same object, and his example has been imitated by many recent writers.

 

            But when Anderson speaks of a Noachida or a Noachite as a word synonymous with Freemason, he is in error; for although all Freemasons are necessarily the descendants of Noah, all the descendants of Noah are not Freemasons.

 

            And if by the use of the word he means to indicate that Noah was the founder of post‑diluvian Freemasonry, he is equally in error; for that theory, it has heretofore been shown, can not be sustained, and his statement that Noah and his three sons were " all Masons true " is one for which there is no historical support, and which greatly lacks an clement of probability.

 

            It is better, therefore, when we speak or write historically of Freemasonry, that this word Noachida, or Noachite, should be avoided, since its use leads to a confusion of ideas, and possibly to the promulgation of error.

 

            P. 411

 

 

 

 

 


 

CHAPTER XLIII

 

THE LEGEND OF HIRAM ABIF

 

This is the most important of all the legends of Freemasonry.

 

            It will therefore be considered in respect to its origin, its history, and its meaning;

 

Before, however, proceeding to the discussion of these important subjects, and the investigation of the truly mythical character of Hiram Abif, it will be proper to inquire into the meaning of his name, or rather the meaning of the epithet that accompanies it.

 

            In the places in Scripture in which he is mentioned he is called at one time (in 2 Chronicles ii., 13), by the King of Tyre, in the letter written by him to King Solomon, Churam Abi; in another place (in 2 Chronicles iv., 16), where the writer of the narrative is recording the work done by him for Solomon, Churam Abiv, or, as it might be pronounced according to the sound of the Hebrew letters, Abiu.

 

            But Luther, in his German translation of the Bible, adopted the pronunciation Abif, exchanging the flat v for the sharp f. In this he was followed by Anderson, who was the first to present the full name of Hiram Abif to the Craft.

 

            This he did in the first edition of the English book of Constitutions.

 

            And since his time at least the appellation of Hiram Abif has been adopted by and become familiar to the Craft as the name of the cunning or skillful artist who was sent by Hiram, King of Tyre, to assist King Solomon in the construction of the Temple.

 

            In Chronicles and Kings we find Churam or Huram, as we may use the initial letter as a guttural or an aspirate, and Chiram or Hiram, the vowel u or i being indifferently used.

 

            But the Masonic usage has universally adopted the word Hiram.

 

            Now, the Abi and Abiv, used by the King of Tyre, in the book of Chronicles form no part of the name, but are simply inflections of the possessive pronouns my and his suffixed to the appellative Ab.

 

            Ab in Hebrew means father, i is my, and in, iv, or if is his. Abi is therefore my father, and so he is called by the King of Tyre when he is describing him to Solomon, "Hiram my father;" Abif is his father, and he is so spoken of by the historian when he recounts the various kinds of work which were done for King Solomon by "Hiram his father."

 

But the word Ab in Hebrew, though primarily signifying a male parent, has other derivative significations.

 

            It is evident that in none of the passages in which he is mentioned is it intended to intimate that he held such relationship to either the King of Tyre or the King of Israel.

 

            The word "father " was applied by the Hebrews as a term of honor, or to signify a station of preeminence.

 

            Buxtorf {1} says it sometimes signifed Master, and he cites the fourth chapter of Genesis, where Jabal is called the father of cattle and Jubal the father of musicians.

 

            Hiram Abif was most probably selected by the King of Tyre to be sent to Solomon as a skillful artificer of preeminent skill that he might execute the principal works in the interior of the Temple and fabricate the various utensils intended for the sacred services.

 

            He was a master in his art or calling, and properly dignified with a title which announced his distinguished character.

 

            The title of Father, which was given to him, denotes, says Smith,{2} the respect and esteem in which he was held, according to the similar custom of the people of the East at the present day.

 

            I am well pleased with the suggestion of Dr. McClintock that "Hiram my father seems to mean Hiram my counsellor; that is to say, foreman or master workman" {3}

 

Applying this meaning to the passages in Chronicles which refer to this artist, we shall see how easily every difficulty is removed and the Craftsman Hiram placed in his true light.

 

            When King Hiram, wishing to aid the King of Israel in his contemplated building, writes him a letter in which he promises to comply with the request of Solomon to send him timber from Lebanon and wood‑cutters to hew it, as an additional mark of his friendship and his desire to

 

{1} "Lexicon Talmudicum."

 

{2} "Cylopaedia of Biblical Literature."

 

{3} "Cyclopeadia of Biblical, Theological, and Classical Literature."

 

contribute his aid in building " a house for Jehovah,"

 

he gives him the services of one of his most skillful artisans and announces the gift in these words: "And now I have sent a skillful man, endued with understanding, my master workman Hiram."

 

And when the historian who wrote the Chronicles of the kingdom had recapitulated all the work that Hiram had accomplished, such as the pillars of the porch, the lavers and the candlesticks, and the sacred vessels, he concludes by saying that all these things were made for King Solomon by his master‑workman Hiram, in the Hebrew gnasah Huram Abif Lammelech Schelomoh.

 

            Hiram or Huram was his proper name. Ab, father of his trade or master‑workman, his title, and i or if, any or his, the possessive pronominal suffix, used according to circumstances.

 

            The King of Tyre calls him Hiram Abi, "my master‑workman." When the chronicler speaks of him in his relation to King Solomon, he calls him Hiram Abif " his master‑workman." And as all his Masonic relations are with Solomon, this latter designation has been adopted, from Anderson, by the Craft.

 

            Having thus disposed of the name and title of the personage who constitutes the main point in this Masonic Legend, I proceed to an examination of the origin and progressive growth of the myth.

 

            "The Legend of the Temple‑Builder," as he is commonly but improperly called, is so intimately connected in the ritual with the symbolic history of the Temple, that we would very naturally be led to suppose that the one has always been contemporary and coexistent with the other.

 

            The evidence on this point is, however, by no means conclusive or satisfactory, though a critical examination of the old manuscripts would seem to show that the writers of those documents, while compiling from traditional sources the Legend of the Craft, were not altogether ignorant of the rank and services that have been subsequently attributed by the Speculative Masons of the present day to Hiram Abif.

 

            They certainly had some notion that in the building of the Temple at Jerusalem King Solomon had the assistance of a skillful artist who had been supplied to him by the King of Tyre.

 

            The origin of the Legend must be looked for in the Scriptural account of the building of the Temple of Jerusalem, The story, as told in the books of Kings and Chronicles, is to this effect.

 

            On the death of King David, his son and successor, Solomon, resolved to carry into execution his father's long‑contemplated design of erecting a Temple on Mount Moriah for the worship of Jehovah.

 

            But the Jews were not a nation of artisans, but rather of agriculturists, and had, even in the time of David, depended on the aid of the Phoenicians in the construction of the house built for that monarch at the beginning of his reign.

 

            Solomon, therefore, applied to his ally, Hiram, King of Tyre, to furnish him with trees from Lebanon and with hewers to prepare them, for, as he said in his letter to the Tyrian King, "thou knowest that there is not any among us that can skill to hew timber like unto the Sidonians."

 

Hiram complied with his request, and exchanged the skilled workmen of sterile Phoenicia for the oil and corn and wine of more fertile Judea.

 

            Among the artists who were sent by the King of Tyre to the King of Israel, was one whose appearance at Jerusalem seems to have been in response to the following application of Solomon, recorded in the second book of Chronicles, the second chapter, seventh verse:

 

"Send me now therefore a man cunning to work in gold, and in silver, and in brass, and in iron, and in purple and in crimson, and blue, and that can skill to grave with the cunning men that are with me in Judah, and in Jerusalem, whom David my father did provide."

 

In the epistle of King Hiram, responsive to this request, contained in the same book and chapter, in the thirteenth and fourteenth verses, are the following words:

 

"And now I have sent a cunning man, endued with understanding, of Huram my father's.

 

            The son of a woman of the daughters of Dan, and his father was a man of Tyre, skillful to work in gold and in silver, in brass, in iron, in stone, and in timber, in purple, in blue, and in fine linen, and in crimson; also to grave any manner of graving, and to find out every device which shall be put to him, with thy cunning men, and with the cunning men of my lord David, thy father."

 

A further description of him is given in the seventh chapter of the first book of Kings, in the thirteenth and fourteenth verses, and in these words:

 

"And King Solomon sent and fetched Hiram out of Tyre. He was a widow's son of the tribe of Naphtali‑and his father was a man of Tyre, a worker in brass; and he was filled with wisdom and understanding, and cunning to work all works in brass, and he came to King Solomon and wrought all his work."

 

It is very evident that this was the origin of the Legend which was incorporated into the Masonic system, and which, on the institution of Speculative Freemasonry, was adopted as the most prominent portion of the Third Degree.

 

            The mediaeval Masons were acquainted with the fact that King Solomon had an assistant in the works of the Temple, and that assistant had been sent to him by King Hiram.

 

            But there was considerable confusion in their minds upon the subject, and an ignorance of the scriptural name and attributes of the person.

 

            In the Halliwell MS., the earliest known to us, the Legend is not related.

 

            Either the writers of the two poems of which that manuscript is composed were ignorant of it, or in the combination of the two poems there has been a mutilation and the Hiramic Legend has been omitted.

 

            In the Cooke MS., which is a hundred years later, we meet with the first allusion to it and the first error, which is repeated in various forms in all the subsequent manuscript constitutions.

 

            That manuscript says: "And at the makyng of the temple in Salamonis tyme as lit is seyd in the bibull in the iii boke of Regum in tertio Regum capitulo quinto, that Salomoii had iiii score thousand masons at his werke.

 

            And the kyngis sone of Tyry was his master mason."

 

The reference here made to the third book of Kings is according to the old distribution of the Hebrew canon, where the two books of Samuel are caged the mat and second books of Kings.

 

            According to our present canon, the reference would be to the fifth chapter of the first book of Kings.

 

            In that chapter nothing is said of Hiram Abif, but it is recorded there that  "Adoniram was over the levy." Now the literal meaning of Adoniram is the lord Hiram.

 

            As the King of Tyre had promised to send his workmen to Lebanon, and as it is stated that Adoniram superintended the men who were there hewing the trees, the old legendist, not taking into account that the levy of thirty thousand, over whom Adoniram presided, were Israelites and not Phoenicians, but supposing that they had been sent to Lebanon by Hiram, King of Tyre, and that he had sent Adoniram with them and viewing the word as meaning the lord Hiram, hastily came to the conclusion that this Lord or Prince Hiram was the son of the King.

 

            And hence he made the mistake of saying that the son of the King of Tyre was the person sent to Solomon to be his, master‑mason or master‑builder.

 

            This error was repeated in nearly all the succeeding manuscripts, for they are really only copies of each other, and the word Adon, as meaning lord or prince, seems to have been always assumed in some one or other corrupted form as the name of the workman sent by King Hiram to King Solomon, and whom the Freemasons of the present day know as Hiram Abif.

 

            Thus in the Doweled MS., conjecturally dated at A.D. 1550, it is said:

 

"And furthermore there was a Kinge of another region that men called IRAM, and he loved well Kinge Solomon and he gave him tymber to his worke.

 

            And he had a sonn that height (was called) AYNON, and he was a Master of Geometrie and was chief Master of all his Masons, and was Master of all his gravings and carvings and of all manner of Masonrye that longed to the Temple."

 

There can be no doubt that Aynon is here a corruption of Adon. In the Landsdowne MS., whose date is A.D. 1560, the language is precisely the same, except that it says King Iram " had a sonne that was called a man."

 

It seems almost certain that the initial letter a in this name has been, by careless writing, dislocated from the remaining letters, man, and that the true reading is Aman, which is itself an error, instead of Amon, and this a manifest corruption of Adon.

 

            This is confirmed by the York MS., Number 1 which is about forty years later (A.D.1600), where the name is spelled Amon.

 

            This is also the name in the Lodge of Hope MS., dated A.D. 1680.

 

            In the Grand Lodge MS., date of A.D. 1632, he is again called the son of the King of Tyre, but his name is given as Aynone, another corrupted form of Adon.

 

            In the Sloane MS., Number 3,848, A.D. 1646, it is Aynon, the final e being omitted.

 

            In the Harleian MS., Number 1942, dated A.D. 1670, both the final e and the medial y are omitted, and the name becoming Anon

 

approximates still nearer to the true Adon.

 

            In the Alnwick MS., of A.D. 1701, the name is still further corrupted into Ajuon.

 

            In all of these manuscripts the Legend continues to call this artist the son of the King of Tyre, whose name is said to be Hiram or more usually Iram; and hence the corrupted orthography of Amon, Aynon, or Anon, being restored to the true form of Adon, with which word the old Masons were acquainted, as signifying Lord or Prince, we get, by prefixing it to his father's name, Adon‑Iram or Adoniram, the Lord or Prince Hiram.

 

            And hence arose the mistake of confounding Hiram Abif with Adoniram, the chief of the workmen on Mount Lebanon, who was a very different person.

 

            The Papworth MS., whose date is A. D. 1714, is too near the time of the Revival and the real establishment of Speculative Masonry to be of much value in this inquiry.

 

            It, however, retains the statement from the Old Legend, that the artist was the son of King Hiram.

 

            But it changes his name to that of Benaim.

 

            This is probably an incorrect inflection of the Hebrew word Boneh, a builder, and shows that the writer, in an attempt to correct the error of the preceding legendists who had corrupted Adon into Anon or Amon, or Ajuon, had in his smattering of Hebrew committed a greater one.

 

            The Krause MS. is utterly worthless as authority.

 

            It is a forgery, written most probably, I think I may say certainly, after the publication of the first edition of Anderson's Constitutions, and, of course, takes the name from that work.

 

            The name of Hiram Abif is first introduced to public notice by Anderson in 1723 in the book of Constitutions printed in that year.

 

            In this work he changes the statement made in the Legend of the Craft, and says that the King of Tyre sent to King Solomon his namesake Hiram Abif, the prince of architects."

 

Then quoting in the original Hebrew a passage from the second book of Chronicles, where the name of Hiram Abif is to be found, he excels it "by allowing the word Abif to be the surname of Hiram the Mason;" furthermore he adds that in the passage where the King of Tyre calls him " Huram of my father's," the meaning is that Huram was "the chief Master Mason of my father, King Abibalus," a most uncritical attempt, because he intermixes, as its foundation, the Hebrew original and the English version.

 

            He had not discovered the true explication, namely, that Hiram is the name, and Ab the title, denoting, as I have before said, Master Workman, and that in, or iv, or if, is a pronominal suffix, meaning his, so that when speaking of him in his relation to King Solomon, he is called Hiram Abif, that is Hiram, his or Solomon's Master Workman.

 

            But Anderson introduced an entirely new element in the Legend when he said, in the same book, that "the wise King Solomon was Grand Master of the Lodge at Jerusalem, King Hiram was Grand Master of the Lodge at Tyre, and the inspired Hiram Abif was Master of Work."

 

In the second or 1738 edition of the Constitutions, Anderson considerably enlarged the Legend, for reasons that will be adverted to when I come, in the next part of this work, to treat of the origin of the Third Degree, but on which it is here unnecessary to dwell.

 

            In that second edition, he asserts that the tradition is that King Hiram had been Grand Master of all Masons, but that when the Temple was finished he surrendered the pre‑eminence to King Solomon.

 

            No such tradition, nor any allusion to it, is to be found in any of the Old Records now extant, and it is, moreover, entirely opposed by the current of opinion of all subsequent Masonic writers.

 

            From these suggestions of Anderson, and from some others of a more esoteric character, made, it is supposed, by him and by Dr. Desaguliers about the time of the Revival, we derive that form of the Legend of Hiram Abif which has been preserved to the present day with singular uniformity by the Freemasons of all countries.

 

            The substance of the Legend, so far as it is concerned in the present investigation, is that at the building of the Temple there were three Grand Masters‑Solomon, King of Israel; Hiram, King of Tyre, and Hiram Abif, and that the last was the architect or chief builder of the edifice.

 

            As what relates to the fate of Hiram Abif is to be explained in an altogether allegorical or symbolical sense, it will more appropriately come finder consideration when we are treating, in a subsequent part of this work, of the Symbolism of Freemasonry.

 

            Our present study will be the legendary character of Hiram Abif as the chief Master Mason of the Temple, and our investigations will be directed to the origin and meaning of the myth which has now, by universal consent of the Craft, been adopted, whether correctly or not we shall see hereafter.

 

            The question before us, let it be understood, is not as to the historic truth of the Hiramic legend, as set forth in the Third Degree of the Masonic ritual‑not as to whether this be the narrative of an actual occurrence or merely an allegory accompanied by a moral signification‑not as to the truth or fallacy of the theory which finds the origin of Freemasonry in the Temple of Jerusalem‑but how it has been that the Masons of the Middle Ages should have incorporated into their Legend of the Craft the idea that a worker in metal‑in plain words, a smith‑was the chief builder at the Temple.

 

            This thought, and this thought alone, must govern us in the whole course of our inquiry.

 

            Of all the myths that have prevailed among the peoples of the earth, hardly any has had a greater antiquity or a more extensive existence than that of the Smith who worked in metals, and fabricated shields and swords for warriors, or jewelry for queens and noble ladies.

 

            Such a myth is to be found among the traditions of the earliest religions,{1} and being handed down through ages of popular transmission, it is preserved, with various i‑natural modifications, in the legends of the Middle Age, from Scandinavia to the most southern limit of the Latin race.

 

            Long before this period it was to be found in the mythology and the folk‑lore of Assyria, of India, of Greece, and of Rome.

 

            Freemasonry, in its most recent form as well as in its older Legend, while adopting the story of Hiram Abif, once called Adon Hiram, has strangely distorted its true features, as exhibited in the books of Kings and Chronicles; and it has, without any historical authority, transformed the Scriptural idea of a skillful smith into that of an architect and builder.

 

            Hence, in the Old Legend he is styled a "Master of Geometry and of all Masonry," and in the modern ritual of Speculative Masonry he is called " the Builder," and to him, in both, is supposed to have been intrusted the super‑ intendence of the Temple of Solomon, during its construction, and the government and control of those workmen‑the stone squarers and masons‑who were engaged in the labor of its erection

 

To divest this Legend of its corrupt form, and to give to Hiram Abif, who was actually an historic

 

{1} "Vala, one of the names of Indra, in the Aryan mythology, is traced," says Mr. Cox, "through the Teutonic lands until we reach the cave of Wayland Smith, in Warwickshire." "Myhtology of the Aryan Nations," vol., p. 326

 

personage, his true position among the workmen at the Temple, can not affect, in the slightest degree, the symbolism of which he forms so integral a part, while it will rationally account for the importance that has been attributed to him in the old as well as in the new Masonic system.

 

            Whether we make Hiram Abif the chief Builder and the Operative Grand Master of Solomon's Temple, or whether we assign that position to Anon, Amon, or Ajuon, as it is in the Old Legend, or to Adoniram, as it is done in some Masonic Rites, the symbolism will remain unaffected, because the symbolic idea rests on the fact of a Chief Builder having existed, and it is immaterial to the development of the symbolism what was his true name.

 

            The instruction intended to be conveyed in the legend of the Third Degree must remain unchanged, no matter whom we may identify as its hero; for he truly represents neither Hiram nor Anon nor Adoniram nor any other individual person, but rather the idea of man in an abstract sense,

 

It is, however, important to the truth of history that the real facts should be eliminated out of the mythical statements which envelop them.

 

            We must throw off the husk, that we may get at the germ.

 

            And besides, it will add a new attraction to the system of Masonic ritualism if we shall be able to trace in it any remnant of that oldest and most interesting of the myths, the Legend of the Smith, which, as I have said, has universally prevailed in the most ancient forms of religious faith.

 

            Before investigating this Legend of the Smith in its reference to Freemasonry and to this particular Legend of Hiram Abif which we are now considering, it will be proper to inquire into the character of the Legend as it existed in the old religions and in the mediaeval myths.

 

            We may then inquire how this Legend, adopted in Freemasonry in its stricter ancient form of the Legend of Tubal Cain, became afterward confounded with another legend of a Temple‑Builder.

 

            If we go back to the oldest of all mythologies, that which is taught in the Vedic hymns, we shall find the fire‑god Agni, whose flames are described as being luminous, powerful, fearful, and not to be trusted."

 

The element of fire thus worshipped by the primeval Aryans, as an instrument of good or of evil, was subsequently personified by the Greeks: the Vedic hymns, referring to the continual renovation of the flame, as it was fed by fuel, called it the fire‑god Agni; also Gavishtha, that is, the ever young.

 

            From this the Greeks got their Hephaestus, the mighty workman, the immortal smith who forged the weapons of the gods, and, at the prayer of Thetis, fabricated the irresistible armor of Achilles.

 

            The Romans were indebted to their Aryan ancestors for the same idea of the potency of fire, and personified it in their Vulcan, a name which is evidently derived from the Sanscrit Ulka, a firebrand, although a similarity of sound has led many etymologists to deduce the Roman Vulcan from the Semitic Tubal Cain.

 

            Indeed, until the modern discoveries in comparative philology, this was the universal opinion of the learned.

 

            Among the Babylonians an important god was Bil‑can.

 

            He was the fire‑god, and the name seems to be derived from Baal, or Bel, and Cain, the god of smiths, or the master smith.

 

            George Smith, in his Chaldaen Account of Genesis, thinks that there is possibly some connection here with the Biblical Tubal Cain and the classical Vulcan.

 

            From the fragments of Sanchoniathon we learn that the Phoenicians had a hero whom he calls Chrysor.

 

            He was worshipped after his death, in consequence of the many inventions that he bestowed on man, under the name of Diamichius; that is, the great inventor.

 

            To him was ascribed the invention of all those arts which the Greeks attributed to Hephaestus, and the Romans to Vulcan.

 

            Bishop Cumberland derives the name of Chrysor from the Hebrew Charatz, or the Sharbener, an appropriate designation of one who taught the use of iron tools.

 

            The authorized version of Genesis, which calls Tubal Cain " an instructor of every artificer in brass and iron," is better rendered in the Septuagint and the Vulgate as a sharpener of every instrument in brass and iron."

 

Tubal Cain has been derived, in the English lectures of Dr. Hemming, and, of course, by Dr. Oliver, from a generally received etymology that Cain meant worldly possessions, and the true symbolism of the name has been thus perverted.

 

            The true derivation is from kin, which, says Gesenius, has the especial meaning to forge iron, whence comes Kain, a spear or lance, an instrument of iron that has been forged.

 

            In the cognate Arabic it is Kayin.

 

            "This word," says Dr. Goldziher in his work on Mythology

 

Among the Hebrews" which with other synonymous names of trades occurs several times on the so‑called Nabatean Sinaitic inscriptions, signifies Smith, maker of agricultural implements {1} and has preserved this meaning in the Arabic Kayin and the Aramaic kinaya, whilst in the later Hebrew it was lost altogether, being probably suppressed through the Biblical attempt to derive the proper name Cain etymologically from kana, " to gain." Here it is that Hemming and Oliver got their false symbolism of "worldly possessions."

 

Goldziher attempts to identify mythologically Cain the fratricide with the son of Lamech.

 

            Whether he be correct or not in his theory, it is at least a curious coincidence that Cain, which I have shown to mean a smith, should have been the first builder of a city, and that the same name should have been assigned to the first forger of metals, while the old Masonic Legend makes the master smith, Hiram of Tyre, also the chief builder of Solomon.

 

            It will, I think, be interesting to trace the progress of the myth which has given in every age and every country this prominent position among artisans to the smith.

 

            Hephaestus, or Vulcan, kindling his forges in the isle of Lemnos, and with his Cyclops journeymen beating out and shaping and welding the red‑hot iron into the forms of spears and javelins and helmets and coats of mail, was the southern development of the Aryan fire‑ god Agni.

 

            "Hephaestus, or Vulcan," says Diodorus Siculus, "was the first founder in iron, brass, gold, silver, and all fusible metals, and he taught the uses to which fire might be applied by artificers." Hence he was called by the ancients the god of blacksmiths.

 

            The Scandinavians, or northern descendants of the Aryan race, brought with them, in their emigration from Caucasus, the same reverence for fire and for the working of metals by its potent use.

 

            They did not, however, bring with them such recollections of Agni as would invent a god of fire Eke the Hephaestus and Vulcan of the Greeks and Romans. They had, indeed, Loki, who derived his name, it is said by some, from the Icelandic logi, or flame.

 

{1} He confines the expression to "agricultural" to enforce a particular theory then under consideration. He might correctly have been more general and included all other kinds of implements, warlike and mechanical as well as agricultural.

 

            But he was an evil principle, and represented rather the destructive than the creative powers of fire.

 

            But the Scandinavians, interpolating, like all the northern nations, their folk‑lore into their mythology, invented their legends of a skillful smith, beneath whose mighty blows upon the yielding iron swords of marvelous keenness and strength were forged, or by whose wonderful artistic skill diadems and bracelets and jewels of surpassing beauty were constructed.

 

            Hence the myth of a wonderfully cunning artist was found everywhere, and the Legend of the Smith became the common property of all the Scandinavian and Teutonic nations, and was of so impressive a character that it continued to exist down to mediaeval times, and traces of it have ex‑ tended to the superstitions of the present day.

 

            May we not justly look to its influence for the prominence given by the old Masonic legendists to the Master Smith of King Hiram among the workmen of Solomon?

 

Among the Scandinavians we have the Legend of Volund, whose story is recited in the Volunddarkvitha, or Lay of Volund, contained in the Edda of Saemund.

 

            Volund (pronounced as if spelled Wayland) was one of three brothers, sons of an Elf‑king; that is to say, of a supernatural race.

 

            The three brothers emigrated to Ulfdal, where they married three Valkyries, or choosers of the slain, maidens of celestial origin, the attendants of Odin, and whose attributes were similar to those of the Greek Parcae, or Fates.

 

            After seven years the three wives fled away to pursue their allotted duty of visiting battle‑fields.

 

            Two of the brothers went in search of their errant wives; but Volund remained in Ulfdal.

 

            He was a skillful workman at the forge, and occupied his time in fabricating works in gold and steel, while patiently awaiting the promised return of his beloved spouse.

 

            Niduth, the king of the country, having heard of the wonderful skill of Volund as a forger of metals, visited his home during his absence and surreptitiously got possession of some of the jewels which he had made, and of the beautiful sword which the smith had fabricated for himself Volund, on his return, was seized by the warriors of Niduth and conducted to the castle.

 

            There the queen, terrified at his fierce looks, ordered him to be hamstrung.

 

            Thus, maimed and deprived of the power of escape or resistance, he was confined to a small island in the vicinity of the royal residence and compelled to fabricate jewels for the queen and her daughter, and weapons of war for the king. {1}

 

It were tedious to recount all the adventures of the smith while confined in his island prison.

 

            It is sufficient to say that, having constructed a pair of wings by which he was enabled to fly (by which we are reminded of the Greek fable of Daedalus), he made his escape, having by stratagem first dishonored the princess and slain her two brothers.

 

            This legend of " a curious and cunning workman " at the forge was so popular in Scandinavia that it extended into other countries, where the Legend of the Smith presents itself under various, modifications

 

In the Icelandic legend Volund is described as a great artist in the fabrication of iron, gold and silver.

 

            It does not, however, connect him with supernatural beings, but attributes to him great skill in his art, in which he is assisted by the power of magic.

 

            The Germans had the same legend at a very early period.

 

            In the German Legend the artificer is called Wieland, and he is represented as the son of a giant named Wade.

 

            He acquires the art of a smith from Minner, a skillful workman, and is perfected by the Dwarfs in all his operations at the forge as an armorer and gold smith.

 

            He goes of his own accord to the king, who is here called Nidung, where he finds another skillful smith, named Amilias, with whom he contends in battle, and kills him with his sword, Mimung.

 

            For this offense he is maimed by the king, and then the rest of the story proceeds very much like that of the Scandinavian legend.

 

            Among the Anglo‑Saxons the legend is found not varying much from the original type.

 

            The story where the hero receives the name of Weland is contained in an ancient poem, of which fragments, unfortunately, only remain.

 

            The legend had become so familiar to the people that in the metrical romance of Beowulf the coat of mail of the hero is described as the work of Weland; and King Alfred in his translation of the Consolation of Philosophy by Boethius, where the author allude,, to the bones of the Consul Fabricius, in the passage "ubi sunt ossa Fabricie? " (where now are the bones of Fabricius?), thus paraphrases the question: Where now

 

{1} All these smiths of mythology and folk‑lore are represented as being lame, like Hephaestus, who broke his leg in falling from heaven.

 

are the bones of the wise Weland, the goldsmith that was formerly so famed?" Geoffrey of Monmouth afterward, in a Latin poem, speaks of the gold, and jewels, and cups that had been sculptured by Weland, which name he Latinizes as Gueilandus.

 

            In the old French chronicles we repeatedly encounter the legend of the skillful smith, though, as might be expected, the name undergoes many changes.

 

            Thus, in a poem of the 6th century, entitled Gautier a la main forte, or Walter of the strong hand, it is said that in a combat of Walter de Varkastein he was protected from the lance of Randolf by a cuirass made by Wieland.

 

            Another chronicle, of the 12th century, tells us that a Count of Angouleme, in a battle with the Normans, cut the cuirass and the body of the Norman King in twain at a single stroke, with his sword Durissima, which had been made by the smith Walander.

 

            A chronicle of the same period, written by the monk John of Marmontier, describes the magnificent habiliments of Geoffrey Plantagenet, Duke of Normandy, among which, says the author, was " a sword taken from the royal treasury and long since renowned.

 

            Galannus, the most skillful of armorers, had employed much labor and care in making it." Galans, for Walans (the G being substituted for the W, as a letter unknown in the French alphabet), is the name bestowed in general on this skillful smith, and the romances of the Trouveres and Troubadours of northern and southern France, in the 12th and 13th centuries, abound in references to swords of wondrous keenness and strength that were forged by him for the knights and paladins.

 

            Whether the name was given as Volund, or Wieland, or Weland, or Galans, it found its common origin in the Icelandic Volund, which signifies a smith.

 

            It is a generic term, from which the mythical name has been derived.

 

            So the Greeks called the skillful workman, the smith of their folk‑lore, Daedalus, because there is a verb in their language daidallo, which means to do skillful or ornamental work.

 

            Here it may not be irrelevant to notice the curious fact that concurrently with these legends of a skillful smith there ran in the Middle Ages others, of which King Solomon was the subject.

 

            In many of these old romances and metrical tales, a skill was attributed to him which makes him the rival of the subordinate artisan.

 

            Indeed, the artistic reputation of Solomon was so proverbial at the very time when these legends of the smith were prevalent, that in the poems of those days we meet with repeated uses of the expression " l'uevre Salemon," or "the work of Solomon," to indicate any production of great artistic beauty.

 

            So fully had the Scandinavian sagas the German chroni