The spirit of masonry in moral and elucidatory lectures: By Wm Hutchinson ...
WHEREAS brother William Hutchinſon has compiled a book, intitled, "The Spirit of Maſonry," and has requeſted our ſanction for the publication thereof; we having peruſed the ſaid book, and finding it will be of uſe to this ſociety, do recommend the ſame.
THE following LECTURES were compoſed for the uſe of the LODGE over which I preſided for ſeveral ſucceſſive years. Since that time I have added explanatory notes, to ſupport my propoſitions, or exemplify the principles of the work.
With the utmoſt humility and diffidence I give theſe LECTURES to the public: they may indeed ſerve to detect the wretched artifices uſed by wicked men to impoſe upon the world; and if I ſucceed ſo far with YOU, as to excite the due exerciſe of thoſe moral works which our PROFESSION enjoins, I ſhall have my reward.
From the nature of our SOCIETY, and its LAWS, it is difficult to write on the ſubject of MASONRY.—We are not [Page vi] allowed that explicit language any other topic would admit of.—My diction will appear technical and abſtruſe, to all but MASONS: and with the CRITIC, I am expoſed to every degree of ſeverity; without his candour will admit the MORAL INTENTION of the WORK, in extenuation of thoſe imperfections our myſtical expreſſion throws upon the following pages.
As SUPREME of this SOCIETY, the Right Honourable the LORD PETRE, in the firſt place, and after him MR HOLT and the OFFICERS OF THE GRAND LODGE OF ENGLAND, command my moſt humble acknowledgments and gratitude, for the candour and condeſcention with which this little work was received under their precedency.
MY LORD PETRE,
YOUR LORDSHIP'S MOST DEVOTED, HUMBLE SERVANT, and FAITHFUL BROTHER, W. HUTCHINSON.
- 1. THE general Deſign of the Work Page 1
- 2. On the Rites, Ceremonies, and Inſtitutions of the Antients Page 23
- 3. A Continuation of the Rites, Ceremonies, and Inſtitutions of the Antients Page 51
- 4. The Nature of the Lodge Page 82
- 5. The Furniture of the Lodge Page 110
- 6. The Apparel and Jewels of Maſons Page 121
- 7. The Temple at Jeruſalem Page 131
- 8. On Geometry Page 148
- 9. The Maſter Maſon's Order Page 156
- 10. The Secrecy of Maſons Page 169
- 11. Of Charity Page 189
- 12. On Brotherly Love Page 202
- 13. On the Occupations of Maſons Page 210
- 14. A Corollary Page 226
On my initiation, I was ſtruck with the ceremonials; and immediately apprehended, there was more conveyed by them, than appeared to the vulgar eye: as I attended to the matter, I was convinced my firſt impreſſions were juſt; and by my reſearches, to diſcover their implications, I preſume, I have acquired ſome degree of knowledge, touching the [Page 2] Origin of Maſonry, the reaſons of its ſeveral inſtitutions, the meaning of its various ſymbols, and their import; together with the progreſs of the profeſſion.
It is known to the world, but more particularly to my Brethren, that there are three degrees of MASONS—APPRENTICES, CRAFTSMEN, and MASTERS—the initiation to, and ſeveral advancements from, the order of APPRENTICES, will neceſſarily lead my obſervations to three diſtinct channels.
How the ſeveral myſteries are revealed to MASONS, they alone know—ſo ſteadfaſtly have the FRATERNITY preſerved their Faith, for many ages, that this remains a ſecret to the world, in defiance of the corruptions and vices of Mankind.
In order to comprehend our PROFESSION, we muſt look back into the remoteſt antiquity, and from thence collect the ſeveral parts, which have been united in the forming of our Order—in the firſt place, we muſt give our attention [Page 3] to the Creation of Man, and the ſtate of our firſt Parent in the Garden of Eden.*
It is not to be doubted, when Adam came from out the hand of his Creator, the Image of God, from whom he immediately proceeded, that he was perfect in Symetry and Beauty; that he was made in the higheſt degree of excellence human nature was capable of on earth—calculated for Regions of Felicity and Paradiſe, where ſin or ſorrow had not known exiſtence—made in ſuch perfection of body and mind, that he could endure the preſence of God; and was capable of converſing with the Almighty [Page 4] face to face*—ſo much was he ſuperior to the choſen ones of Iſrael.—He was endowed with underſtanding ſuitable to his ſtation, as one whom the Almighty deigned to viſit; and his heart was poſſeſſed of all the VIRTUES unpolluted: endowments of an heavenly temper— his hours were full of wiſdom, exultation, and tranſport—the Book of Nature was revealed to his comprehenſion, and all her myſteries were open to his underſtanding—he knew whence and what he was.—Even this was but a minute degree of his capacity; for aſtoniſhing as it may appear to us, yet it is an uncontrovertable truth, that he had a competent knowledge of the mighty, the tremendous CREATOR OF THE UNIVERSE;—he ſaw him with his natural eyes, he heard his voice, he underſtood his laws, and was preſent to his Majeſty.
To this fountain of human perfection and wiſdom, we muſt neceſſarily look [Page 5] back, for all the ſcience and learning which bleſſed the earlieſt ages of the world—calculated for ſuch exalted felicity and elevated enjoyments, placed in regions of peace, where Angels miniſtred and the Divinity walked abroad, was the parent of mankind.
If we preſume to eſtimate the change which befel ADAM, on his expulſion from Paradiſe, by the deformity that took place on the face of the world, we ſhould be apt to believe the exile, though not diſtorted in body, was yet darkened in underſtanding—inſtead of confidence and ſteady faith, that diſtruſt and jealouſy would take place, and diſbelief confound even teſtimony; that argument would be deprived of definition, and wander by excentric propoſitions; that confuſion would uſurp the throne of wiſdom, and folly of judgment; thorns and thiſtles grow up in the place of thoſe excellent [Page 6] flowers of ſcience which flouriſhed in Eden, and darkneſs cloud the day of his capacity.
It is not poſſible for me to determine, from any evidence given to us, in what degree diſobedience and ſin immediately contracted the underſtanding of ADAM; but we are certain that great and dreadful effects very early took place on Adam's poſterity.—We may conclude, memory was retained by our firſt parent in all its energy—a terrible portion of the puniſhment his diſobedience had incurred; reſtoring to him perfect images, and never-dying eſtimates, of what he had loſt, and thereby increaſing the bitterneſs of what he had purchaſed. Through the endowments of memory, ADAM would neceſſarily teach to his family the ſciences which he had comprehended in Eden, and the knowledge he had gained of NATURE and her GOD.—It will follow, that ſome of them would retain thoſe leſſons of wiſdom, and faithfully tranſmit them to poſterity.—No doubt the family of Cain (who bore the ſeal [Page 7] of the curſe on his forehead) was given up to ignorance.*
Tradition would deliver down the doctrines of our firſt parents with the utmoſt truth and certainty, whilſt the Antideluvians enjoyed that longivity of which the books of Moſes give evidence—but when men came to multiply exceedingly upon the face of the earth, and were diſperſed to the diſtant regions of the globe, then the ineſtimable leſſons of KNOWLEDGE and TRUTH, taught by the firſt men, fell into confuſion and corruption, and were retained pure and in perfection but by few — thoſe few, to our great conſolation, have handed them down to after ages — they alſo retained the UNIVERSAL LANGUAGE, uncorrupted, with the confuſion of the plains of Shinar, and preſerved it to poſterity.
Thus we muſt neceſſarily look back to OUR FIRST PARENT, as the original Profeſſor of the WORSHIP OF THE TRUE GOD, to whom the Religion and [Page 8] myſteries of NATURE were firſt revealed, and from whom all the WISDOM of the world was in the beginning derived.
In thoſe times, when the preſent Rules and maxims of our profeſſion of FREE MASONRY had their beginning, the minds of men were poſſeſſed of Allegories, Emblems, and myſtic devices, in which, peculiar ſciences, manners, inſtitutions, and doctrines in many nations were wrapt up—this was an invention of the earlieſt ages — the prieſts in Egypt ſecreted the myſteries of their religion from the vulgar, by ſymbols and hieroglyphics comprehenſible alone to thoſe of their own order. The prieſts of Rome and Greece practiſed other ſubtleties by which the art of divination was enveiled, and their oracles were intelligible only to their brethren, who expounded them to the people.
Theſe examples were WISELY adopted for the purpoſes of concealing the myſteries of MASONRY—like the Cybil's leaves, the ſecrets of the brotherhood would appear to the world as indiſtinct [Page 9] and ſcattered fragments, whilſt they convey to MASONS an uniform and well-connected ſyſtem.
In the forming of this ſociety, which is at once RELIGIOUS AND CIVIL, great regard has been given to the firſt knowledge of the GOD OF NATURE, and that acceptable ſervice wherewith he is well pleaſed.
This was the firſt ſtage on which our originals thought it expedient to place the foundation of MASONRY:—they had experienced that from religion all civil ties and obligations were compacted, and that thence proceeded all the bonds which could unite mankind in ſocial intercourſe:—hence it was that they laid the corner ſtone of the EDIFICE on the boſom of religion.*
[Page 10] In the earlieſt ages, after the deluge, in thoſe nations made known to us, the ſervice of the true God was clouded with imagery, and defiled by idolatry.—Men who had not been taught the doctrines of truth, by thoſe who retained the wiſdom of the Antideluvians, but were left to the operations of their own judgments, perceived that there was ſome great cauſe of nature's uniformity, and wonderful progreſſions of her works: ſuitable to their ignorance, they repreſented the Author of thoſe works, by ſuch objects as ſtruck their obſervation, for their powerful effects on the face of the world—from whence the SUN AND [Page 11] MOON became the ſymbols of the Deity.*
[Page 12] MOSES was learned in all the wiſdom of the Egyptians; he was initiated in all the knowledge of the WISEMEN of that nation, by whom the learning of antiquity had been retained and held ſacred; wrapped up from the eye of the wicked and vulgar, in ſymbols and hieroglyphics, and communicated to men of their own order only, with care, ſecrecy, and circumſpection.—This ſecrecy is not in any wiſe to be wondered at, when we conſider the perſecution which would have followed a faith unacceptable to the ignorance of the nations who were enveloped in ſuperſtition and bigotry; and more particularly, as theſe ſages were in poſſeſſion of that valuable knowledge of the powers of nature, of the qualities of matter, and properties of things, ſo dangerous to be communicated to wicked and ignorant men, from whoſe malevolence the moſt horrid offences might be derived: of which we may judge by the extraordinary and aſtoniſhing performances even of thoſe impious and unenlightened men, who contended with [Page 13] MOSES, in the miracles he performed, under the immediate impreſſion and influence of the Deity.*
MOSES diveſted the worſhip of the Deity of its cloak of myſteries and images, and taught the Jews the knowledge of the God of the Univerſe, unpolluted with the errors of the nations of the earth, and uncorrupted with the devices and ludicrous ceremonies inſtituted by the people of the Eaſt, from whom he derived his firſt comprehenſion and knowledge of the Divinity.†
[Page 15] Moſes was alſo poſſeſſed of knowledge ſuperior to that of his Egyptian teachers, through the revelations and inſpirations of the Deity;—he had acquired the comprehenſion of, and was inſtructed to decipher all the hieroglyphical characters [Page 16] uſed by that people in their records:—it was no doubt a part of the original knowledge, to expreſs by characters to the eye, the thoughts and ſentiments of the mind —but this was obſcured and debaſed in after ages by ſymbols and hieroglyphics: yet by the immediate diſpenſation of heaven, Moſes attained the knowledge of thoſe original characters; by which he was enabled to reveal to his people, and preſerve to poſterity, the COMMANDMENTS OF GOD, delivered to him on [Page 17] the mount by inſcribing them on tables of ſtone.*
It is natural to conceive that the Iſraelites would be inſtructed in this act, by which the will of the Deity was communicated;—they would be led to write the doctrines of their leader, and his expoſitions of the law, that they ſhould be preſerved to their children;—and if we give credit to the obſervations and conjectures of learned travellers, the written mountains remain monuments of the peregrinating Hebrews to this day.
[Page 18] But to return to the progreſſions of our profeſſion.—It is not to be preſumed, that we are a ſet of men, profeſſing religious principles contrary to the revelations and doctrines of the SON OF GOD, reverencing a Deity by the denomination of the GOD OF NATURE, and denying that mediation which is graciouſly offered to all true believers.—The members of OUR SOCIETY at this day, in the third ſtage of maſonry, confeſs themſelves to be CHRISTIANS—‘the veil of the temple is rent—the builder is ſmitten—and we are raiſed from the tomb of tranſgreſſion.’
I humbly preſume, it is not to be underſtood, that the name of MASON, in this ſociety, denotes that the origin or riſe of ſuch ſociety was ſolely from builders, architects, or mechanics:—at the times in which MOSES ordained the ſetting up of the ſanctuary,* and when [Page 19] SOLOMON was about to build the TEMPLE at Jeruſalem, they ſelected from out the people, thoſe men who were enlightened with the true faith, and being full of wiſdom and religious fervor, were found proper to conduct theſe [Page 20] works of piety.—It was on thoſe occaſions that our predeceſſors appeared to the world as architects, and were formed into a body, under ſalutary rules, for the government of thoſe who were employed in theſe great works: ſince which period builders have adopted the name of maſons, as an honourary diſtinction and title to their profeſſion.—I am induced to believe the name of MASON has its derivation from a language, in which it implies ſome ſtrong indication, or diſtinction, of the nature of the ſociety; and that it has not its relation to architects.—The French word MASON ſignifies a Family or particular race of people:—it ſeems as if the name was compounded of [...], QUERO SALVUM; and the title of MASONRY no more than a corruption of [...], SUM IN MEDIO COELI, or [...], SIGNA COELESTIA. Job xxxviii. 32. — which conjecture is ſtrengthened by our ſymbols.*
The principles of MORALITY are rigorouſly enjoined us; — CHARITY [Page 22] AND BROTHERLY LOVE are our inindiſpenſable duty: — How they are preſcribed to us, and their practice enforced, will alſo be treated of in the following pages.
My original deſign in theſe lectures, was not only to explain to my brethren the nature of their profeſſion, but alſo to teſtify to the world, that our MYSTERIES are important; and to take away the reproach which hath fallen upon this ſociety, by the vices, ignorance, or irregularities of ſome profligate men, who have been found among MASONS. — Should the errors of a few, ſtain and render ignominious a whole ſociety, or bring infamy and contempt on a body of men; there is no aſſociation on earth, either civil or religious, which might not be affected.
THERE is no doubt that our ceremonies and myſteries were derived from the rites, ceremonies, and inſtitutions of the antients, and ſome of them from the remoteſt ages. Our morality is deduced from the maxims of the Grecian philoſophers, and perfected by the chriſtian revelation.
The inſtitutors of this ſociety had their eyes on the progreſſion of religion, and they ſymbolized it, as well in the firſt ſtage, as in the advancement of maſons.—The knowledge of the God of [Page 24] Nature forms the firſt eſtate of our profeſſion; the worſhip of the Deity under the jewiſh law, is deſcribed in the ſecond ſtage of maſonry; and the chriſtian diſpenſation is diſtinguiſhed in the laſt and higheſt order.
It is extremely difficult, with any degree of certainty, to trace the exact origin of our ſymbols, or from whence our ceremonies or myſteries were particularly derived.—I ſhall point out ſome antient inſtitutions from whence they may have been deduced.
The ASSIDEANS (a ſect among the Jews, divided into [...] the merciful, and [...] the juſt) the fathers and predeceſſors of the PHARISEES and ESSENES:—they preferred their traditions before the written word, and ſet up for a ſanctity and purity that exceeded the law: they at laſt fell into the error of the Sadduces, in denying the reſurrection, and the faith of rewards and puniſhments after this life.
[Page 25] The ESSENES* were of very remote antiquity, and it hath been argued by divines, that they were as antient as the [Page 26] departure of the ISRAELITES out of EGYPT. They might take their riſe, from that diſperſion of their nation, which [Page 27] happened after their being carried captive into Babylon. The principal character of this ſect was, that they choſe retirement, [Page 28] were ſober, were induſtrious; had all things in common; paid the higheſt regard to the moral precepts of the law, but neglected the ceremonial, any further [Page 29] than what regarded bodily cleanlineſs, the obſervation of the ſabbath, and making an annual preſent to THE TEMPLE AT JERUSALEM. They never aſſociated with women, nor admitted them into their retreats. By the moſt SACRED OATHS, though they were in general averſe to ſwearing, or to requiring an oath, they bound all whom they INITIATED among them, to the obſervance of piety, juſtice, fidelity, and modeſty; to conceal the ſecrets of the fraternity, preſerve the books of their inſtructors, and with great care commemorate the names of the angels. They held, that GOD was ſurrounded by ſpiritual beings, who were MEDIATORS with him, and and therefore to be reverenced. Second, that the ſoul is defiled by the body, and that all bodily pleaſures hurt the ſoul, which they believed to be immortal, though they denied the reſurrection of the body, as it would return the ſoul to ſin. Third, that there was a great MYSTERY in numbers, particularly in the number SEVEN; they therefore attributed a natural holineſs to the ſeventh or SABBATH DAY, which they obſerved [Page 30] more ſtrictly than the other Jews. They ſpent their time moſtly in contemplation, and abſtained from every gratification of the ſenſes. The ESSENES introduced their maxims into the CHRISTIAN CHURCH; and it is alledged by the learned, that St PAUL, in his epiſtles to the Epheſians and Coloſſians, particularly cenſures the tenets of this ſect.‘Of theſe ESSENES there were two ſorts; ſome were THEORICKS, giving themſelves wholly to ſpeculation; others PRACTICKS, laborious and painful in the daily exerciſe of thoſe arts or manufactories in which they were moſt ſkilful. Of the latter, Philo treateth in his book, intituled, Quod omnis vir probus: of the former, in the book following, intituled, De vita contemplativa.—Godwyn's Moſes and Aaron. ’
2. The PRACTICKS ſpent the day in manuel crafts, keeping of ſheep, looking to bees, tilling of ground, &c. they were artificers. The THEORICKS ſpent the day in meditation and prayer; whence they were, from a kind of excellency, by Philo, termed ſupplicants.
The PRACTICKS had for their commons, every one his diſh of water-gruel and bread; the THEORICKS only bread and ſalt: if any were of a more delicate palate than other, to him it was permitted to eat hyſſop; their drink for both was common water.
2. The THEORICKS, in that book of Philo's, are not any new ſect of late beginning, as the chriſtians at that time were, as is clearly evinced by Philo's own words, in calling the doctrine of the ESSENES [...], a philoſophy derived unto them by tradition from their forefathers.
In Grecian antiquity, we find a feſtival celebrated in honour of CAERES,* at [Page 33] Eleuſis, a town of Attica, where the Athenians, with great pomp and many ceremonies, attended the myſtic rites.— Hiſtorians tell us, that theſe rites were a MYSTICAL repreſentation of what the mythologiſts taught of that goddeſs; and were of ſo ſacred a nature, that no leſs than death was the penalty of diſcovery.
[Page 34] There was another great feſtival celebrated by the Greeks at PLATAEA, in honour of JUPITER ELEUTHERIUS; [Page 35] the aſſembly was compoſed of delegates from almoſt all the cities of GREECE; and the rites which were inſtituted in honour of JUPITER, as the guardian of [Page 36] LIBERTY, were performed with the utmoſt magnificence and ſolemn pomp.
In BALSARA, and along the banks of JORDAN, a ſect of chriſtians are known, who call themſelves CHRISTIANS OF ST. JOHN; but as they profeſs no knowledge of the union of the third perſon in the TRINITY, I am induced to believe no part of our profeſſion was derived from them. Their ceremonies and myſteries are founded on traditions, and they permit no canonical book to be received amongſt them.
In the inſtitution of the orders of KNIGHTHOOD, the eyes of the founders were fixed on various religious ceremonies, being the general mode of antient times—Knights of the Bath had their hair cut and beards ſhaven, were ſhut up in the chapel alone all the night preceding their initiation, there to ſpend the ſolemn hours in faſting, meditation, and prayer: they offered their ſword at the altar, as devotees to the will of heaven, and aſſumed a motto expreſſive of [Page 37] their vow, "Tres in Uno;" meaning the unity of the three theological virtues.— Various orders of Knights wear a croſs on their cloaks: the order of Chriſt, in Livonia, inſtituted in 1205, wore this enſign, and were denominated brothers of the ſword.—The order of the Holy Ghoſt wear a golden croſs.
An antient writing which is preſerved amongſt maſons with great reſpect, requires my attention in this place, as it diſcovers to us what the antient maſons regarded as the foundation of our profeſſion [See the Appendix].
[Page 38] "That this ſcience aroſe in the Eaſt."* —From the Eaſt, it is well known, learning firſt extended itſelf into the weſtern world, and advanced into Europe.—The Eaſt was an expreſſion uſed by the antients to imply Chriſt:—in this ſenſe we find [...] uſed in the prophets.
‘That the Phoenicians firſt introduced this ſcience.’ † [Appendix].
It is known to all the learned that Pythagoras travelled into Egypt, and was initiated there into ſeveral different [Page 40] orders of prieſts, who in thoſe days kept all their learning ſecret from the vulgar. —He made every geometrical theorem a ſecret, and admitted only ſuch to the knowledge of them, as had firſt undergone a five-years ſilence.—He is ſuppoſed to be the inventor of the 47th propoſition of Euclid,* for which, in the joy of his heart, it is ſaid he ſacrificed an hecatomb. —He knew the true ſyſtem of the world, revived by Copernicus.
[Page 41] The record [appendix] alſo ſays, that PYTHAGORAS framed a great Lodge at Crotona, in Greecia Magna, and made [Page 42] many MASONS; ſome of whom journey'd to France, and there made MASONS; from whence, in proceſs of time, the art paſſed into England.—From whence it is to be underſtood, that the pupils of this philoſopher, who had been initiated by him in the Crotonian ſchool in the ſciences and the ſtudy of nature, which he had acquired in his travels, diſperſed themſelves, and taught the doctrines of their preceptor.*
[Page 43] The Pythagoric tetracties, were a point, a line, a ſurface, and a ſolid.—His philoſophical ſyſtem is that, in which the SUN is ſuppoſed to reſt in the center of our ſyſtem of planets, and in which the earth is carried round him annually, being the ſame with the Copernican.
Among the Jews were a ſet of men who were called MASORITES: in Godwyn's Moſes and Aaron this account is given of them, ‘that their name was derived from [...] maſar, ſignifying tradere, to deliver, and maſor, a tradition, delivered from hand to hand to poſterity without writing, as the Pythagorians and Druids were wont to do.’
PYTHAGORAS lived at Samos, in the reign of Tarquin, the laſt king of the Romans, in the year of Rome two hundred and twenty, or according to [Page 44] Livy, in the reign of Servius Tullius, in the year of the world three thouſand four hundred and ſeventy-two.—From his extraordinary deſire of knowledge, he travelled, in order to enrich his mind with the learning of the ſeveral countries through which he paſſed.—He was the firſt that took the name of philoſopher, that is, a lover of wiſdom; which implied, that he did not aſcribe the poſſeſſion of WISDOM to himſelf, but only the deſire of poſſeſſing it.* —His maxims [Page 45] of morality were admirable, for he was for having the ſtudy of philoſophy ſolely tend to elevate man to a reſemblance of [Page 46] the Deity.—He believed that God is a ſoul diffuſed through all nature, and that from him human ſouls are derived: that [Page 47] they are immortal, and that men need only take pains, to purge themſelves of their vices, in order to be united to the [Page 48] Deity.—He made unity the principle of all things, and believed that between God and man there are various orders [Page 49] of ſpiritual beings, who are the miniſters of the ſupreme will.—He condemned all images of the Deity, and would have him worſhipped with as few ceremonies as poſſible—His diſciples brought all their goods into a common ſtock—contemned the pleaſures of ſenſe—abſtained from ſwearing—eat nothing that had life— and believed in the doctrine of a metempſychoſis or tranſmigration of ſouls.
Some eminent writers deny that Pythagoras taught that ſouls paſſed into [Page 50] brute animals. Reuchlin, in particular, denies this doctrine, and maintains that the metempſychoſis of Pythagoras implied nothing more than a ſimilitude of manners and deſires, formerly exiſting in ſome perſon deceaſed, and now reviving in another alive.
THE diſciples of PYTHAGORAS were divided into two claſſes; the firſt were SIMPLE HEARERS, and the LAST ſuch as were allowed to propoſe their difficulties, and learn the reaſons of all that was taught.—The figurative manner in which he gave his inſtructions, was borrowed from the Hebrews, Egyptians, and other orientals.
If we examine how MORALITY or moral philoſophy is defined, we ſhall find that it is a conformity to thoſe unalterable obligations, which reſult from [Page 52] the nature of our exiſtence and the neceſſary relations of life; whether to God as our creator, or to man as our fellow-creature;—or it is the doctrine of virtue, in order to attain the greateſt happineſs.
PYTHAGORAS ſhewed the way to SOCRATES, though his examples were very imperfect, as he deduced his rules of morality from obſervations of nature; a degree of knowledge which he had acquired in his communion with the prieſts of Egypt.—The chief aim of Pythagoras's moral doctrine, was to purge the mind from the impurities of the body, and from the clouds of the imagination.—His morality ſeems to have had more purity and piety in it than the other ſyſtems, but leſs exactneſs; his maxims being only a bare explication of divine worſhip, of natural honeſty, of modeſty, integrity, public-ſpiritedneſs, and other common offices of life.
[Page 53] PLATO refined the doctrine of both theſe philoſophers, and carried each virtue to its utmoſt height and accompliſhment; mixing his ideas of the univerſal principle of philoſophy through the whole deſign.
The antient maſonic record [appendix] alſo ſays, that maſons know the way of gaining an underſtanding of ABRAC.— On this word, all commentators (which I have yet read) on the ſubject of MASONRY, have confeſſed themſelves at a loſs.
The author of this ſuperſtition, is ſaid to have lived in the time of Adrian, and that it had its name after ABRASAN or ABRAXAS, the denomination which Baſilides gave to the Deity.—He called him the SUPREME GOD, and aſcribed to [Page 54] him ſeven ſubordinate powers or angels, who preſided over the heavens: — and alſo according to the number of the days in the year, he held that three hundred and ſixty-five virtues, powers, or intelligences, exiſted as the emanations of God: the value, or numerical diſtinctions, of the letters in the word, according to the antient Greek numerals, made 365 — Α1 Β3 Ρ100 Α1 Χ60 Α1 Σ200.
Amongſt antiquaries, ABRAXAS is an antique gem or ſtone, with the word abraxas engraven on it.—There are a great many kinds of them, of various figures and ſizes, moſtly as old as the third century.—Perſons profeſſing the religious principles of Baſilides, wore this gem with great veneration, as an amulet; from whoſe virtues, and the protection of the Deity, to whom it was conſecrated, and with whoſe name it was inſcribed, the wearer derived health, proſperity, and ſafety.
The annexed plate is from a drawing taken in the Britiſh Muſeum, of a gem [Page 55] depoſited there; is near twice the ſize of the original, which is engraved on a beril ſtone, of the form of an egg. The head is in camio, the reverſe in taglio. The head is ſuppoſed to repreſent the image of the Creator, under the denomination of Jupiter Ammon: *—the ſun and moon [Page 56] on the reverſe, the OSIRIS AND ISIS of the Egyptians; and were uſed hierographically to repreſent the omnipotence, omnipreſence, and eternity of God — [Page 57] The ſtar * ſeems to be uſed as a point only, but is an emblem of PRUDENCE, the third emanation of the Baſilidian divine [Page 58] perſon.—The ſcorpion, * in hieroglyphics, repreſented malice and wicked ſubtlety, and the ſerpent † an heretic;— [Page 59] the implication whereof ſeems to be, that hereſy, the ſubtleties and vices of infidels, and the devotees of ſatan, were ſubdued by the knowledge of the true God;—the deſcription I own myſelf at a loſs how to decipher; the characters are imperfect, or ill copied.†
In church hiſtory, ABRAX is noted as a myſtical term, expreſſing the ſupreme God; under whom the Baſilidians ſuppoſed three hundred and ſixty-five dependant Deities:—it was the principle of the gnoſtic hierarchy; whence ſprang their multitudes of thaeons.—From ABRAXAS proceeded their PRIMOGAENIAL [Page 61] MIND;— from the primogaenial mind, the LOGOS or word;—from the logos, the PHRONAESIS or prudence;— from phronaeſis, SOPHIA and DYNAMIS, or wiſdom and ſtrength; —from theſe two proceeded PRINCIPALITIES, POWERS, AND ANGELS; and from theſe other angels, of the number of three hundred and ſixty-five, who were ſuppoſed to have the government of ſo many celeſtial orbs committed to their care.—The GNOSTICS * were a ſect of [Page 62] chriſtians having particular tenets of faith, —they aſſumed their name to expreſs that new knowledge and extraordinary light to which they made pretenſions; the word gnoſtic implying an enlightened perſon.
[Page 63] The gnoſtic hierarchy here pointed out, repreſents to us the degrees of etherial perſons or emanations of the Deity. —This leads me to conſider the hierarchy of the chriſtian church in its greateſt antiquity, which in the moſt remote times, as a ſociety, conſiſted of ſeveral orders of men, (viz.) RULERS, BELIEVERS, and CATECHUMENS: the rulers were biſhops, prieſts, and deacons; the believers [Page 64] were perfect chriſtians, and the catechumens imperfect.
Catechumens were candidates for baptiſm.—They were admitted to the ſtate of catechumen by the impoſition of hands, and the ſign of the croſs.—Their introduction to baptiſm was thus ſingular:— Some days before their admiſſion, they went veiled; and it was cuſtomary to touch their ears, ſaying, BE OPENED; and alſo to anoint their eyes with clay: both ceremonies being in imitation of our Saviour's practice, and intended to ſhadow out to the candidates their ignorance and blindneſs before their initiation. They continued in the ſtate of catechumen, until they proved their proficiency in the catechiſtic exerciſes, when they were advanced to the ſecond ſtate, as believers.
As the DRUIDS * were a ſet of religious peculiar to GAUL AND BRITAIN, [Page 65] it may not be improper to caſt our eyes on the ceremonies they uſed: their antiquity and peculiar ſtation, render it probable ſome of their rites and [Page 66] inſtitutions might be retained, in forming the ceremonies of our ſociety.—In ſo modern an aera as one thouſand one hundred and forty, they were reduced to a regular [Page 67] body of religious, in France, and built a college in the city of Orleans.— They were heretofore one of the two [Page 68] eſtates of France, to whom were committed the care of providing ſacrifices, of preſcribing laws for worſhip, and deciding [Page 69] controverſies concerning rights and properties.
In the greateſt antiquity in antient Gaul and Britain, they were elected out of the beſt families, and were held both from the honours of their birth and office in the greateſt veneration. Their ſtudy was aſtrology, geometry, natural hiſtory, politics, and geography: they had the adminiſtration of all ſacred things, were the interpreters of religion, and the judges of all matters indifferently.—They had a chief or arch-druid in every country.— They had the tutorage of youth, and taught them many verſes, which they cauſed them to learn by heart, without the aſſiſtance of writing; in which manner they inſtructed them in the myſteries of their religion, the ſciences, and politics.—At the concluſion of each year they held a general feſtival and aſſembly, in which they paid their adoration, and offered gifts to the GOD OF NATURE, bringing with them miſleto and branches of oaks; in myſtic verſes ſupplicating for approaching ſpring, and the renewing [Page 70] year.— At their ſacrifices,* and in their religious offices, they wore white apparel; and the victims were two white [Page 71] bulls.—They opened a ſeſſions once a year, in a certain conſecrated place, in which all cauſes were tried and determined. —They worſhipped one ſupreme God, immenſe and infinite; but would not confine their worſhip to temples built with human hands; profeſſing the univerſe was the temple of the Deity; eſteeming any other inconſiſtent with his attributes.—Their whole [Page 72] law and religion were taught in verſe.— Some Druids ſpent twenty years in learning to repeat thoſe ſacred and ſcientific diſtichs, which it was forbidden to commit to writing; by which means they were withheld from the vulgar. Such was the averſion and enmity entertained by the Romans againſt the Druids, that (as Suctonius ſays) their rites were prohibited by Auguſtus, and totally aboliſhed by Claudius Caeſar.
Many probable conjectures have been made, that the Phoenicians * viſited this [Page 73] land in very early ages.—It has been attempted to be proved, from the ſimilarity of the habit worn, and ſtaff carried, by the weſtern Britons.—This ſtaff was uſed by the Druids, and has the name of Diogenes' ſtaff. In a deſcription given by Mr Selden, of ſome ſtatues of Druids which were dug up at Wichtelberg, in Germany, it is particularly mentioned.— [Page 74] The Phoenicians moſt probably introduced to thoſe teachers, the laws and cuſtoms known amongſt the antient Hebrews, and ſpecified in the Levitical inſtitutions.—The altars or temples of the Druids, and alſo their obeliſks, or monuments of memorable events, of which many remains are to be ſeen at this day, bear the greateſt ſimilarity to thoſe mentioned in the Old Teſtament: Gen. xxviii. 16. ‘And Jacob awaked out of his ſleep, [Page 75] and ſaid, Surely the Lord is in this place, and I knew it not.—Ver. 17. ’ ‘And he was afraid, and ſaid, How dreadful is this place! this is none other but the houſe of God, and this is the gate of heaven.—Ver. 18. ’ ‘And Jacob roſe up early in the morning, and took the ſtone that he had put for his pillow, and ſet it up for a pillar, and poured oil upon the top of it.—Ver. 22. ’ ‘And this ſtone, which I have ſet up for a pillar, ſhall be God's houſe.—Exodus xx. 25. ’ ‘And if thou wilt make me an altar of ſtone, thou ſhalt not build it of hewn ſtone; for if thou lift up thy tool upon it, thou haſt polluted it.—Exodus xxiv. 4. ’ ‘And Moſes wrote all the words of the Lord, and roſe up early in the morning, and builded an altar under the hill, and twelve pillars according to the twelve tribes of Iſrael.—Ver. 5. ’ ‘And he ſent young men of the children of Iſrael, which offered burnt-offerings, and ſacrificed peace-offerings of oxen unto the Lord.—Deuteronomy xxvii. 2. ’ ‘And it ſhall be on the day when ye [Page 76] ſhall paſs over Jordan unto the Land which the Lord thy God giveth thee, that thou ſhalt ſet thee up great ſtones.—Ver. 4. ’ ‘Therefore it ſhall be when ye be gone over Jordan, that ye ſhall ſet up theſe ſtones, which I command you this day in Mount Ebal.—Ver. 5. ’ ‘And there thou ſhalt build an altar unto the Lord thy God, an altar of ſtones: thou ſhalt not lift up any iron tool upon them.—Ver. 6. ’ ‘Thou ſhalt build the altar of the Lord thy God of whole ſtones, and thou ſhalt offer burnt-offerings thereon unto the Lord thy God.’— It was uſual to give thoſe places the name of the houſe of the Lord, 1 Chro. xxii. 1. ‘This is the houſe of the Lord God, and this is the altar of the burnt-offering for Iſrael.’—This is ſaid of the altar erected by David, where afterwards the brazen altar ſtood in Solomon's temple.
The oak * was held ſacred by the Druids, under whoſe branches they aſſembled [Page 77] and held their ſolemn rites.— The oak and groves of oak were alſo held in great veneration by the Hebrews and other antient nations, as appears [Page 78] by Deuteronomy xii. 2, 3.—Judges vi. 19. —1 Kings xviii. 19.—2 Kings xxi. 37.— 2 Chron. xv. 16, 17.—Deuteron. vii. 5. and xvi. 21.—Exod. xxxiv. 13.—Judges iii. 7.* Iſaiah i. 29. ‘They ſhall be aſhamed of [Page 79] the oaks which they have deſired.’— The French Magi held the [...] or oak in great veneration: * — the Celtae revered the oak as a type or emblem of Jupiter.†
I have been thus particular on this ſubject, as it encourages a conjecture, that the Druids gained their principles and maxims from the Phoenicians, as appears from thoſe capital ſimilarities before remarked: ‡ and thence it may be conceived, [Page 80] they alſo received from them the doctrines of Moſes; and the original principles of wiſdom and truth, as delivered down from the earlieſt ages.
The oak hierogliphically repreſents ſtrength, virtue, and conſtancy, and ſometimes longevity:—under theſe ſymbolic characters, it might be revered by the Druids: and the miſletoe, which they held in the utmoſt veneration, has excellent medicinal qualities, which in thoſe days of ignorance, might form the chief [Page 81] of their materia medica; being a remedy for epilepſies and all nervous diſorders, to which the Britons in thoſe ages might be peculiarly ſubject, from the woodineſs of the country, the noxious reſpiration proceeding from large foreſts, the moiſture of the air from extenſive uncultivated lands, and the maritime ſituation of this country.
From all theſe religious inſtitutions, rites, cuſtoms, and ceremonies, which bear in many degrees a ſtriking ſimilarity to thoſe of this ſociety, we may naturally conjecture, that the founders of our preſent maxims, had in view the moſt antient race of chriſtians, as well as the firſt profeſſors of the worſhip of the God of Nature. Our antient record, which I have mentioned, brings us poſitive evidence of the Pythagorian doctrine, and Baſilidian principles, making the foundation of our religious and moral rules.— The following lectures will elucidate theſe aſſertions, and will enable us, I hope, with no ſmall degree of certainty, to prove our original principles.
The LODGE, when revealed to an entering maſon, diſcovers to him A REPRESENTATION OF THE WORLD;* [Page 83] in which, from the wonders of nature, we are led to contemplate her great original, and worſhip him for his mighty works; and we are thereby alſo moved, [Page 84] to exerciſe thoſe moral and ſocial virtues, which become mankind, as the ſervants of the great architect of the world; in whoſe image we were formed in the beginning.
[Page 85] The CREATOR, deſigning to bleſs man's eſtate on earth, hath opened the hand of his divine benevolence with good gifts;— he hath ſpread over the world [Page 86] the illumined canopy of heaven;—the covering of the tabernacle, and the veil of the temple at Jeruſalem, were repreſentations of the celeſtial hemiſphere, and were "of blue, of crimſon, and purple;" and ſuch is the covering of the lodge.* — As an emblem of God's power, his goodneſs, omnipreſence, and eternity, the lodge is adorned with the image of [Page 87] the SUN;* which he ordained to ariſe from the Eaſt, and open the day; thereby calling forth the people of the earth to [Page 88] their worſhip, and exerciſe in the walks of virtue.
The great author of all hath given the MOON to govern the night; a fit ſeaſon for ſolemn meditation.— When the labours of the day are ended, and man's mind is abſtracted from the cares of life, then it is for our ſouls recreation to walk forth, with contemplative mind, to read the great works of the Almighty in the ſtarry firmament, and in the innumerable worlds which are governed by his will; and thence to meditate on his omnipotence.*—Our thoughts returning [Page 89] from this glorious ſcene towards ourſelves, we diſcern the diminutiveneſs of man, and by a natural inference, confeſs the benevolence of that God, who regardeth us (ſuch minute atoms) in the midſt of his mighty works; whoſe UNIVERSAL LOVE is thus divinely expreſſed, ‘that not a ſparrow ſhall fall without your father; but the very hairs of your head are all numbered.’
When the world was under the hands of her great architect, ſhe remained dark and without form; but the divine fiat was no ſooner pronounced, than behold there was light*—creation was delivered [Page 90] from darkneſs, and the ſun ſhot forth inſtantaneous rays over the face of the earth.—He gave that great conſtellation to the eſpouſal of nature, and vegetation ſprang from the embrace; the moon yielded her influence to the waters, and attraction begat the tides.
[Page 91] Remembering the wonders in the beginning, we claiming the auſpicious countenance of heaven on our virtuous deeds, aſſume the figures of the SUN and MOON, as emblematical of the great LIGHT OF TRUTH diſcoverd to the firſt men; and thereby implying, that as true maſons, we ſtand redeemed from darkneſs, and are become the ſons of LIGHT: acknowledging in our profeſſion, our adoration of him, who gave LIGHT unto his works. Let us then by our practice and conduct in life ſhew, that we carry our emblems worthily; and as the children of LIGHT, that we have turned our backs on works of DARKNESS, OBSCENITY and DRUNKENNESS, HATRED and MALICE, SATAN and his DOMINIONS; preferring CHARITY, BENEVOLENCE, JUSTICE, TEMPERANCE, CHASTITY, and BROTHERLY LOVE, as the acceptable ſervice on which the GREAT MASTER OF ALL, from his beatitude, looks down with approbation.
[Page 92] The ſame divine hand, pouring forth bounteous gifts, which hath bleſſed us with the ſight of his glorious works in the heavens, hath alſo ſpread the earth with a beauteous carpet: he hath wrought it in various colours; fruits and flowers, paſtures and meads, golden furrows of corn, and ſhady dells, mountains ſkirted by nodding foreſts, and valleys flowing with milk and honey:—he hath wrought it "as it were in moſaic work," giving a pleaſing variety to the eye of man:— he hath poured upon us his gifts, in abundance; not only the neceſſaries of life, but alſo ‘wine to gladden the heart of man, and oil to give him a chearful countenance:’ and that he might ſtill add beauty to the ſcene of life wherein he hath placed us, his highly-favoured creatures, he hath ſkirted and bordered the earth with the ocean; — for the wiſe Creator having made man in his own image, not meaning in the likeneſs of his perſon, but ſpiritually, by breathing into his noſtrils the breath of life, and inſpiring him with that reſemblance of the divinity, [Page 93] AN INTELLECTUAL SPIRIT. He ſkirted the land with the ocean, not only for that ſalubrity which ſhould be derived from its agitation, but alſo that to the genius of man, a communication ſhould be opened to all the quarters of the earth; and that by mutual intercourſe, men might unite in mutual good works, and all become as members of one ſociety. Theſe ſubjects are repreſented in the flooring of the lodge.
The univerſe is the TEMPLE of the Deity whom we ſerve:—WISDOM, STRENGTH, and BEAUTY are about his throne, as the pillars of his works; for his wiſdom is infinite, his ſtrength is in omnipotence, and beauty ſtands forth through all his creation in ſymmetry and order: — he hath ſtretched forth the heavens as a canopy, and the earth he hath planted as his footſtool:—he crowns his temples with the ſtars, as with a diadem, and in his hand he extendeth the power and the glory:—the SUN and MOON are meſſengers of his will, and all his law is CONCORD.— The pillars ſupporting [Page 94] the lodge are repreſentative of theſe divine powers.
We place the ſpiritual lodge in the vale of JEHOSOPHAT, implying thereby, that the principles of maſonry are derived from the knowledge of God, and are eſtabliſhed in the JUDGMENT OF THE LORD; the literal tranſlation of the word JEHOSOPHAT, from the Hebrew tongue, being no other than thoſe expreſs words.—The higheſt hills * and loweſt [Page 95] vallies were from the earlieſt times eſteemed ſacred, and it was ſuppoſed the ſpirit of God was peculiarly diffuſive in thoſe places; —‘ Ezekiel xliii. 12. Upon the top of the mountain, the whole limit thereof round about ſhall be moſt holy.’—It is ſaid in the Old Teſtament, that the ſpirit of God buried Moſes in a valley in the land of Moab; implying that from divine influence he was interred in ſuch hallowed retirement.—On Elijah's tranſlation, the ſons of the prophets ſaid to Eliſha, ‘behold now there be with thy ſervants fifty ſtrong men; let them go, we pray thee, and ſeek thy maſter, leaſt peradventure the ſpirit of the Lord hath taken him up, and caſt him upon ſome mountain, or into [Page 96] ſome valley’ Hence was derived the "veneration paid to ſuch places in the earlieſt ages, and hence the ſacred groves of the Eaſterns and Druids.—They choſe thoſe ſituations for their public worſhip, conceiving that the preſence of the Deity would hallow them: they ſet up their altars there, and ſhadowed them with groves, that there, as it was with Adam, they might ‘hear the voice of the Lord God walking in the garden.’
In the corruption and ignorance of after ages, theſe hallowed places were polluted with idolatry*;—the unenlightened mind miſtook the type for the original, and could not diſcern the light from darkneſs; — the ſacred groves and hills [Page 97] became objects of enthuſiaſtic bigotry and ſuperſtition;—the devotees bowed down to the oaken log, and the graven image of the ſun, as being divine.—Some preſerved themſelves from the corruptions of the times, and we find thoſe ſages and ſelect men, to whom were committed, and who retained, the light of underſtanding and truth, unpolluted with the ſins of the world, under the denomination of magi among the Perſians; wiſemen, ſouthſayers, and aſtrologers among the Caldeans; philoſophers among the Greeks and Romans; bramins among the Indians; druids and bards among the Britons; and with the choſen people of God SOLOMON ſhone forth in the fulneſs of human wiſdom.
The MASTER of each lodge ſhould found his government in CONCORD AND UNIVERSAL LOVE; for as the Great Architect moves the ſyſtems with his finger, and touches the ſpheres with harmony, ſo that the morning ſtars together ſing the ſongs of gratitude, and the floods clap their hands, amidſt the invariable beauties of ORDER; ſo ſhould [Page 98] we, rejoicing, be of one accord, and of one law; in unanimity, in charity, and in affection; moving by one unchanging ſyſtem, and actuated by one principle, in rectitude of manners.
A MASON, ſitting the member of a lodge, claiming theſe emblems, as the teſtimonies of his order, ought at that inſtant to transfer his thoughts to the auguſt ſcene which is there initiated; and remember that he then appears profeſſing himſelf A MEMBER OF THE GREAT TEMPLE OF THE UNIVERSE, to obey the laws of the MIGHTY MASTER OF ALL, in whoſe preſence he ſeeks to be approved.
The antient record which I have before quoted, expreſſes that the firſt maſons received their KNOWLEDGE from God; by which means they are endowed with the due underſtanding of what is pleaſing to him, and the only true method of propagating their doctrines.
The few who remained uncorrupted with the ſins of nations, and who ſerved [Page 99] the ONLY AND TRUE GOD, deſpiſed the fables and follies of idolaters: others who were emerging from the ignorance and blindneſs in which they had been overwhelmed, contemplated on the wonders diſplayed in the face of nature, and traced the Divinity through the walks of his power, and his mighty deeds.—CONTEMPLATION at firſt went forth admiring, but yet without comprehenſion from whence all things had their exiſtence: Contemplation returned, glowing with conviction, that one great ORIGINAL, of infinite power, of infinite intelligence, and of benevolence without bounds, was the maſter of all.—They beheld him in his works, they read his Majeſty in the heavens, and diſcovered his miracles in the deep: every plant that painted the face of nature, and every thing having the breath of life, deſcribed his preſence and his power.—Such men were afterwards made known to the enlightened, and were united with them in the perfection of TRUTH*.
[Page 100] As the ſervants of ONE GOD, our predeceſſors profeſſed the temple, wherein the Deity approved to be ſerved, was not of the work of men's hands.— In this the Druids copied after them:—the univerſe they confeſſed was filled with his preſence, and he was not hidden from the moſt diſtant quarters of creation: they looked upwards to the heavens as his throne, and whereſoever under the ſun they worſhipped, they regarded themſelves as being in the dwelling-place of the Divinity, from whoſe eye nothing was concealed.—The antients not only refrained from building temples, but held it utterly unlawful ſo to do; becauſe they thought no temple ſpacious enough for the SUN, the great ſymbol of the Deity. "Mundus univerſus eſt templum ſolis" was their maxim; they thought it profane [Page 101] to ſet limits to the infinity of the Deity; — when, in later ages, they built temples, they left them open to the heavens, and unroofed.
The TRUE BELIEVERS, in order to withdraw and diſtinguiſh themſelves from the reſt of mankind, eſpecially the idolaters with whom they were ſurrounded, adopted emblems and myſtic devices, together with certain diſtinguiſhing principles, whereby they ſhould be known to each other, and alſo certify that they were ſervants of that GOD, in whoſe hands all creation exiſted. By theſe means they alſo protected themſelves from perſecution, and their FAITH from the ridicule of the incredulous vulgar.—To this end, when they rehearſed the principles of their profeſſion, they pronounced ‘that they were worſhipers in that TEMPLE, whoſe bounds were from the diſtant quarters of the univerſe; whoſe height was no otherwiſe limited than by the heavens, and whoſe depth was founded on that axis, on which the revolutions of the ſtarry zodiac were performed.’
[Page 102] The Egyptians were the firſt people known to us, who in the early ages of the world, after the flood, advanced to any high degree of knowledge in ASTRONOMY, ARTS, AND SCIENCES: —theſe were the means of diſcovering to them the exiſtence of the Divinity, and they worſhipped the author of thoſe ſublime works which they contemplated;— but through national prejudices, ſoon began to repreſent the attributes of the Deity in ſymbols; and as the viſible operations of his omnipotence were chiefly expreſſed in the powers of the ſun and moon, whoſe influence they perceived through all the field of nature, they depicted the Deity by thoſe heavenly bodies, and at length, under the names of OSIRIS and ISIS, adored the GOD OF NATURE*.
[Page 103] As we derived many of our myſteries, and moral principles, from the doctrines of PYTHAGORAS, who had acquired [Page 104] his learning in Egypt, and others from the Phoenicians, who had received the Egyptian theology in an early age, it is [Page 105] not to be wondered that we ſhould adopt Egyptian ſymbols, to repreſent or expreſs the attributes of the Divinity.
[Page 106] The Pythagorian ſyſtem of philoſophy, alſo points out to us a reaſon for the figure of the SUN being introduced into the lodge, as being the centre of the planetary ſyſtem which he taught, as well as the emblem of the Deity which he ſerved. — This grand [...] was a ſymbol expreſſing the firſt and greateſt principle of his doctrines.—This was alſo [Page 107] a repreſentation of the Abrax which governed the ſtellary world and our diurnal revolutions.
In the books of Hermes Iriſmegiſtus, who was an Egyptian, and ſaid to be contemporary with Abraham's grandfather, is this remarkable paſſage; ſpeaking of the Deity he ſays, ‘But if thou wilt ſee him, conſider and underſtand the ſun, conſider the courſe of the moon, conſider the order of the ſtars.’ [Page 108] —‘Oh thou unſpeakable, unutterable, to be praiſed with ſilence.’
From hence we are naturally led to perceive the origin of the Egyptian ſymbolization, and the reaſon for their adopting thoſe objects, as expreſſive of the might, majeſty, and omnipreſence of the Deity*.
Poſterity, to record the wiſe doctrines and religious principles of the firſt profeſſors of the true worſhip, have adopted theſe deſcriptions of the lodge in which they aſſemble; and maintain thoſe religious [Page 109] tenets which nature dictates, gratitude to him under whom we exiſt; and working in the acceptable ſervice of him, who rejoiceth in the upright man.
As ſuch it is to be a FREE MASON; —as ſuch is A LODGE OF MASONS; —as ſuch are the principles of this ſociety;—as theſe were the original inſtitutions of our BROTHERHOOD, let the ignorant laugh on, and the wicked ones ſcoff.—And that theſe are true ſolutions of our EMBLEMS, I am convinced myſelf; and with humble deference to the reſt of my brethren, offer them for their attention.
IT is with pleaſure I purſue the duty I have impoſed upon myſelf, to give ſolutions of the MYSTERIES in MASONRY; which to minds inattentive to the real import of the objects in their view, might remain undiſcovered; and the profeſſor of maſonry might paſs on, without receiving a juſt ſenſe of thoſe dignities which he hath aſſumed.
[Page 111] As SOLOMON at JERUSALEM carried into the Jewiſh temple all the veſſels and inſtruments requiſite for the ſervice of JEHOVAH, according to the law of his people; ſo we MASONS, as workers in moral duties, and as ſervants of the GREAT ARCHITECT of the world, have placed in our view, thoſe emblems which ſhould conſtantly remind us of what we are, and what is required of us.
The third emanation of ABRAX, in the Gnoſtic hierarchy, was PHRONAESIS, the emblem of PRUDENCE, which is the firſt and moſt exalted object that demands our attention, in the lodge: — it is placed in the centre, ever to be preſent to the eye of the maſon, that his heart may be attentive to her dictates, and ſtedfaſt in her laws; — for PRUDENCE is the rule of all VIRTUES; — prudence is the path which leads to every degree of propriety; — prudence is the channel where ſelf-approbation ſlows for ever; —ſhe leads us forth to worthy actions, and as a BLAZING STAR, enlightneth [Page 112] us through the dreary and darkſome paths of this life.
VIRTUE by moraliſts is defined to be ‘that ſtedfaſt purpoſe and firm will of doing thoſe things which nature hath dictated to us, as the beſt and moſt ſalutary;—a habit of the ſoul by which mankind are inclined to do the things which are upright and good, and to avoid thoſe that are evil’—In ſhort, virtue is moral honeſty and good principles.
Of the VIRTUES of which PRUDENCE is the rule, three are called Cardinal Virtues, of which, moſt properly, a Maſon ſhould be poſſeſſed, — FORTITUDE, TEMPERANCE and JUSTICE; for without theſe, the name of MASON is an empty title, and but a painted bubble.
That FORTITUDE muſt be the characteriſtic of a maſon, I need not argue; by which, in the midſt of preſſing evils, he is enabled always to do that which [Page 113] is agreeable to the dictates of right reaſon.
TEMPERANCE alſo muſt be one of his principles, being a moderating or reſtraining of our affections and paſſions, eſpecially in SOBRIETY AND CHASTITY.—We regard TEMPERANCE, under the various definitions of moraliſts, as conſtituting honeſty, decency, and baſhfulneſs; and in its potential parts, inſtituting meekneſs, clemency, and modeſty.
The CARDINAL VIRTUES, Prudence, Fortitude, Temperance, and Juſtice, hold in their train the inferior powers of Peace, Concord, Quietneſs, Liberty, Safety, Honor, Felicity, Piety, and Charity, with many others which were adored by the antients in thoſe ages, when they confounded mythology with the worſhip of the Divinity.—Within the ſtarry girdle of PRUDENCE all the virtues are enfolded.
[Page 114] We may apply this EMBLEM to a ſtill more religious import;—it may be ſaid to repreſent the STAR which led the wiſe men to BETHLEHEM, proclaiming to mankind the nativity of THE SON OF GOD, and here conducting our ſpiritual progreſs to the author of REDEMPTION.
As the ſteps of man are trod in the various and uncertain incidents of life; as our days are chequered with a ſtrange contrariety of events, and our paſſage through this exiſtence, though ſometimes attended with proſperous circumſtances, is often beſet by a multitude of evils; hence is the LODGE furniſhed with MOSAIC WORK, to remind us of the precariouſneſs of our ſtate on earth; — to-day our feet tread in proſperity, tomorrow we totter on the uneven paths of WEAKNESS, TEMPTATION, and ADVERSITY.—Whilſt this emblem is before us, we are inſtructed to boaſt of nothing;—to have compaſſion and give aid to thoſe who are in adverſity; — to walk uprightly, and with humility;—for [Page 115] ſuch is this exiſtence, that there is no ſtation in which pride can be ſtably founded:—all men in birth and in the grave are on the level.—Whilſt we tread on this MOSAIC WORK, let our ideas return to the original which it copies; and let every maſon act as the dictates of reaſon prompt him, TO LIVE IN BROTHERLY LOVE.
As more immediate guides for a FREE MASON, the lodge is furniſhed with unerring rules, whereby he ſhall form his conduct;—THE BOOK of his law is laid before him, that he may not ſay through ignorance he erred;—whatever the great ARCHITECT of the world hath dictated to mankind, as the mode in which he would be ſerved, and the path in which he is to tread to obtain his approbation; —whatever precepts he hath adminiſtred, and with whatever laws he hath inſpired the ſages of old, the ſame are faithfully comprized in THE BOOK OF THE LAW of MASONRY. That book, which is never cloſed in any lodge, reveals the duties which the great MASTER of all exacts from us; — open to every eye, [Page 116] comprehenſible to every mind; then who ſhall ſay among us, that he knoweth not the acceptable ſervice?
But as the frailty of human nature wageth war with truth, and man's infirmities ſtruggle with his virtues; to aid the conduct of every maſon, the maſter holdeth the COMPASS, limiting the diſtance, progreſs, and circumference of the work: he dictateth the manners, he giveth the direction of the deſign, and delineateth each portion and part of the labour; aſſigning to each his province and his order. And ſuch is his maſterſhip, that each part, when aſunder, ſeemeth irregular and without form; yet when put together, like the building of the TEMPLE at JERUSALEM, is connected and framed in true ſymmetry, beauty, and order.
The moral implication of which is, that the MASTER in his lodge fits dictating thoſe ſalutary laws, for the regulation thereof, as his prudence directs; aſſigning to each brother his proper province; limiting the raſhneſs of ſome, and circumſcribing [Page 117] the imprudence of others; reſtraining all licentiouſneſs and drunkenneſs, diſcord and malice, envy and reproach: and promoting brotherly love, morality, charity, benevolence, cordiality, and innocent mirth; that the aſſembly of the brethren may be with order, harmony, and love.
To try the works of every maſon, the SQUARE is preſented, as the probation of his life,—proving, whether his manners are regular and uniform; — for maſons ſhould be of one principle and one rank, without the diſtinctions of pride and pageantry: intimating, that from high to low, the minds of maſons ſhould be inclined to good works, above which no man ſtands exalted by his fortune.
But ſuperior to all, the LODGE is furniſhed with three LUMINARIES*; [Page 118] as the golden candleſtick in the tabernacle of Moſes was at once emblematical of the ſpirit of God, whereby his choſen people were enlightned, and prophetical of the churches; or otherwiſe, as Joſephus ſays, repreſentative of the planets and the powerful works of God: ſo our [Page 119] three LIGHTS ſhew to us the three great ſtages of maſonry, the knowledge and worſhip of the God of nature in the purity of Eden — the ſervice under the Moſaic law, when diveſted of idolatry— and the chriſtian revelation: or otherwiſe our lights are typical of the holy Trinity.
[Page 120] Such is the furnitures of the lodge; ſuch are the principles dictated to us as maſons; let us rejoice in the exerciſe of thoſe excellencies, which ſhould ſet us above the rank of other men: and prove that we are brought out of darkneſs into light.—And let us ſhew our good works unto the world, that thro' our LIGHT ſo ſhining unto men, they may glorify the GREAT MASTER OF THE UNIVERSE; and therefore ‘do JUSTICE —love MERCY—and WALK HUMBLY with their GOD.’
We have the following paſſage in the Biographia Eccleſiaſtica:—‘The antients were alſo wont to put a white garment on the perſon baptized, to denote his having put off the luſts of the fleſh, and his being cleanſed from his former ſins, and that he had obliged himſelf to maintain a life of unſpotted innocency. — Accordingly the baptized are both [Page 122] by the apoſtle and the Greek fathers frequently ſtiled [...], the ENLIGHTNED, becauſe they profeſſed to be the children of light, and engaged themſelves never to return again to the works of darkneſs*.—This white garment uſed to be delivered to them with this ſolemn charge, 'Receive the white and undefiled garment, and produce it without ſpot before the tribunal of our Lord Jeſus Chriſt, that you may obtain eternal life. Amen.'—They were wont to wear theſe white garments for the ſpace of a week after they were baptized, and then put them off and laid them up in the church, that they might be kept as a witneſs againſt them, if they ſhould violate the baptiſmal covenant.’
Whilſt the apron with which we are cloathed indicates a diſpoſition of INNOCENCE, and belies not the wearer's heart, let the ignorant deride and ſcoff [Page 123] on: ſuperior to the ridicule and malice of the wicked, we will enfold ourſelves in the garb of our own virtue; and ſafe in ſelf-approving conſcience, ſtand unmoved amidſt the perſecutions of adverſity.
The raiment which truly implies the innocence of the heart, is a badge more honourable than ever was deviſed by kings;—the Roman Eagle, with all the orders of knighthood, are inferior:—they may be proſtituted by the caprice of princes; but innocence is innate, and cannot be adopted.
That innocence ſhould be the profeſſed principle of a Maſon, occaſions no aſtoniſhment, when we conſider that the diſcovery of the Deity leads us to the knowledge of thoſe maxims wherewith he may be well pleaſed —The very idea of a GOD, is ſucceeded with the belief, that [Page 224] he can approve of nothing that is evil; and when firſt our predeceſſors profeſſed themſelves ſervants of the architect of the world, as an indiſpenſible duty, they profeſſed innocency, and put on white raiment, as a type and characteriſtic of their conviction, and of their being devoted to his will.—The DRUIDS were apparelled in white, at the time of their ſacrifices and ſolemn offices.—The Egyptian prieſts of OSIRIS wore ſnow-white cotton.—We do not find that the prieſts of other nations noted for antiquity were ſingular in this, except that in the ſervice of CERES, under whom was ſymbolized the gift of Providence in the fruits of the earth—the Grecian prieſts put on white.
Every degree of ſin ſtrikes the rational mind of man with ſome feelings of ſelf-condemnation.—Under ſuch conviction, who could call upon or claim the preſence of a Divinity, whoſe demonſtration is good works?—Hence are men naturally led to conceive, that ſuch Divinity will only accept of works of righteouſneſs.—Standing forth for the approbation [Page 225] of heaven, the ſervants of the firſt revealed God bound themſelves to maxims of purity and virtue;—and as MASONS, we regard the principles of thoſe who were the firſt worſhippers of the true God, imitate their apparel, and aſſume the badge of INNOCENCE.
OUR JEWELS or ornaments imply, that we try our affections by juſtice, and our actions by truth, as the ſquare tries the workmankſhip of the mechanic;—that we regard our mortal ſtate, whether it is dignified by titles or not, whether it be opulent or indigent, as being of one nature in the beginning, and of one rank in its cloſe. In ſenſations, paſſions, and pleaſures; in infirmities, maladies, and wants, all mankind are on a parallel;—NATURE hath given us no ſuperiorities;—'tis WISDOM and VIRTUE that conſtitute ſuperiority.—From ſuch maxims we make eſtimates of our brother, when his calamities call for our council or our aid:— the works of CHARITY are from ſympathetic feelings, and BENEVOLENCE acts upon the level.—The emblem of [Page 226] theſe ſentiments is another of the jewels of our ſociety.
To walk uprightly before heaven and before men, neither inclining to the right or to the left, is the duty of a Maſon,— neither becoming an Enthuſiaſt or a perſecutor in religion, nor bending towards innovation or infidelity.—In civil government, firm in our allegiance, yet ſtedfaſt in our laws, liberties, and conſtitution.— In private life, yielding up every ſelfiſh propenſity, inclining neither to avarice or injuſtice, to malice or revenge, to envy or contempt with mankind: but as the builder raiſes his column by the plane and perpendicular, ſo ſhould the Maſon carry himſelf towards the world.
To rule our affections by juſtice, and our actions by truth, is to wear a JEWEL which would ornament the boſom of the higheſt potentate on earth; — human nature has her impulſes from deſires, which are often too inordinate: — love blinds with prejudices, and reſentment burns with fevers;—contempt renders us incredulous, and covetouſneſs deprives us of [Page 127] every generous or humane feeling.—To ſteer the bark of life upon the ſeas of paſſions, without quitting the courſe of rectitude, is one of the higheſt excellencies to which human nature can be brought aided with all the powers of philoſophy and religion.
Yet merely to act with juſtice and truth, is not all that man ſhould attempt; for even that excellence would be ſelfiſhneſs:—that duty is not relative, but merely proper:—it is only touching our own character, and doing nothing for our neighbour; for juſtice is an indiſpenſible duty in each individual:—we were not born for ourſelves alone, only to ſhape our courſe through life in the tracks of tranquillity, and ſolely to ſtudy that which ſhould afford peace to the conſcience at home,—but men were made as mutual aids to each other; — no one among us, be he ever ſo opulent, can ſubſiſt without the aſſiſtance of his fellow-creatures. Nature's wants are numerous, and our hands are filled with very little of the warfare of neceſſity; — our nakedneſs muſt be cloathed, our hunger [Page 128] ſatisfied, our maladies viſited.—Where ſhall the proud man toil for ſuſtenance, if he ſtands unaided by his neighbour?— When we look through the varied ſcene of life, we ſee our fellow-creatures attacked with innumerable calamities; and were we without compaſſion, we ſhould exiſt without one of the fineſt feelings of the human heart.—To love and to approve, are movements in the ſoul of man which yield him pleaſure: but to pity, gives him heavenly ſenſations; and to relieve, is divine.—CHARITY thus has her exiſtence;—her riſe is, from the conſciouſneſs of our ſimilarity in nature; the level on which mortality was created in the beginning;—its progreſs is in ſympathetic feelings, from the affections of the heart breathing love towards our brother, coupled with the touch of original eſtimation in our minds, which proves all our ſpecies to be brethren of one exiſtence.—Its concluſion is, from compariſon producing judgment, we weigh the neceſſities of our ſuffering fellow-creatures by our natural equality, by compaſſion, our ſympathy and our own abilities, and diſpenſe our gifts from affection.—Pity and pain are ſiſters by ſympathy.
[Page 129] To be an upright man, is to add ſtill greater luſtre to the Maſon's character:— to do juſtice and to have charity, are excellent ſteps in human life; but to act uprightly, gives a ſuperlative degree of excellence;—for in that ſtation we ſhall become examples in religious, in civil, and in moral conduct. It is not enough that we are neither enthuſiaſts nor perſecutors in religion, neither bending towards innovation or infidelity; not to be in the paſſive only, but we ſhould appear in the active character: we ſhould be zealous practiſers, obſervers of, and ſtedfaſt members in, religious duties.—In civil matters, we ſhould not only ſubmit to, but execute, the laws of our country; obey all their ordinances, and perform all their precepts; be faithful to the conſtitution of the realm, and loyal to our king; true ſoldiers in the defence of our liberty, and of his crown and dignity.— In morality, it requires of us, not only that we ſhould not err, by injuring, betraying, or deceiving, but that we ſhould do good in every capacity in that ſtation [Page 130] of life wherein kind Providence has placed us.
By ſuch meets let the MASON be proved, and teſtify that his emblematical jewels are enſigns only of the inward man: thence he will ſtand approved before heaven and before men, purchaſing honour to his PROFESSION, and felicity to the PROFESSOR.
THE firſt worſhipers of the God of nature, in the nations of the eaſt, repreſented the Deity by the figures of the SUN AND MOON, from the influence of thoſe heavenly bodies on the earth; profeſſing that the univerſe was the temple in which the Divinity was at all times and in all places preſent.
They adopted theſe with other ſymbols as a cautious mode of preſerving or explaining divine knowledge:—but we perceive the danger ariſing from thence to religion; for the eye of the ignorant, the bigot, and enthuſiaſt, caſt up towards [Page 232] theſe objects, without the light of underſtanding, introduced the worſhip of images, and at length the idols of OSIRIS and ISIS became the Gods of the Egyptians, without conveying to their devotees the leaſt idea of their great archetype. Other nations (who had expreſſed the attributes of the Deity by outward objects, or who had introduced pictures into the ſacred places, as ornaments, or rather to aſſiſt the memory, claim devout attention, and warm the affections) ran into the ſame error, and idols multiplied upon the face of the earth.
Amongſt the antients, the worſhipers of idols, throughout the world, had at laſt entirely loſt the remembrance of the original, of whoſe attributes their images were at firſt merely ſymbols; and the ſecond darkneſs in religion was more tremendous than the firſt, as it was ſtrengthned by prepoſſeſſion, cuſtom, bigotry, and ſuperſtition.
Moſes had acquired the knowledge of the Egyptians, and derived the doctrines of truth from the righteous ones of the [Page 133] nations of the eaſt; he being alſo touched by divine influence, and thence truly comprehending the light from out the darkneſs, taught the people of Iſrael the worſhip of the true God, without the enigmas and pollutions of the idolatrous nations which ſurrounded them.
The Ruler of the Jews, perceiving how prone the minds of ignorant men were to be led aſide by ſhew and ceremony; and that the eye being caught by pomp and ſolemn rites, perverted the opinion, and led the heart aſtray; and being convinced that the magnificent feſtivals, proceſſions, ſacrifices, and ceremonials of the idolatrous nations, impreſſed the minds of mankind with a wild degree of reverence and enthuſiaſtic devotion, thought it expedient for the ſervice of the God of Iſrael, to inſtitute holy offices, though in an humbler and leſs oftentatious mode; well judging that the ſervice and adoration of the Deity, which was only cloathed in [Page 134] ſimplicity of manners and humble prayer, muſt be eſtabliſhed in the judgment and conviction of the heart of man; with which ignorance was ever waging war.
As this TEMPLE * received the ſecond race of the ſervants of the true God, and as the true CRAFTSMEN were here proved in their work, I will crave your attention to the circumſtances which are to be gathered from holy writ, and from hiſtorians, touching this ſtructure, as an illuſtration of thoſe ſecrets in maſonry, which may appear to my brethren [Page 135] dark or inſignificant, unleſs they are proved from thence.
In the firſt book of Kings, we are told that ‘HIRAM, King of Tyre, ſent his ſervants unto SOLOMON: and SOLOMON ſent to HIRAM, ſaying, Behold I intend to build an houſe unto the name of the Lord my God.—And SOLOMON raiſed a levy out of all Iſrael, and the levy was thirty thouſand men.—And he ſent them to Lebanon, ten thouſand a month, by courſes;— a month they were in Lebanon, and two months at home; and Adoniram was over the levy.—And SOLOMON had threeſcore and ten thouſand that bare burthens, and fourſcore thouſand hewers in the mountains,—beſides the chief of SOLOMON'S officers which were over the work, three thouſand and three hundred, which ruled over the people which wrought in the work. —And the king commanded, and they brought great ſtones, coſtly ſtones, and hewed ſtones, to lay the foundation of the houſe.—And SOLOMON's builders and HIRAM's builders did hew them, [Page 136] and the ſtone-ſquarers or GIBILITES. —In the fourth year was the foundation of the houſe laid, and in the eleventh year was the houſe finiſhed throughout all the parts thereof, and according to all the faſhion of it.— And King SOLOMON ſent and fetched HIRAM out of Tyre. He was a widow's ſon of the tribe of Napthali, and his father was a man of Tyre, a worker in braſs.—He caſt two pillars of braſs, with two chapiters which were of lily-work, and he ſet up the pillars in the porch of the Temple.—And he ſet up the right pillar, and he called the name thereof JACHIN; and he ſet up the left pillar, and called it BOAZ.’—In the ſecond book of Chronicles, we read that ‘he ſet three hundred and ten thouſand of them to be bearers of burthens, and fourſcore thouſand to be hewers in the mountains, and three thouſand and ſix hundred overſeers to ſet the people a work.—And SOLOMON ſent to HIRAM, King of Tyre, to ſend him a man cunning to work in gold and in ſilver, in braſs, in iron, in purple, in crimſon, and in blue, and ſkilful in [Page 137] engravings.—And Hiram ſent unto him a cunning man, endowed with the underſtanding of Hiram his father.—And he made the veil of the temple of blue, purple, crimſon, and fine linen—And he made before the houſe two pillars, and called the name of that on the right hand JACHIN, and that on the left BOAZ*.’
[Page 138] When this ſplendid ſtructure was finiſh'd, ‘SOLOMON ſtood before the altar of the Lord, in the preſence of all the congregation of ISRAEL, and ſpread forth his hands and ſaid, O LORD GOD of Iſrael, there is no God like thee in the heaven and in the earth:—O LORD MY GOD hearken unto the cry and the prayer which thy ſervant prayeth before thee:—O LORD GOD turn not away the face of thine anointed.’
In the conduct of this great work, we muſt admire the ſagacity of this pious architect;—he diſcerned the neceſſity there was to aſſign to portions of his people, [Page 139] the particular labour they were to purſue; he gave them particular ſigns and ſecret tokens,* by which each rank ſhould be diſtinguiſhed, in order that the whole might proceed with propriety, and without confuſion;—he ſelected thoſe of moſt enlightened minds and comprehenſive underſtandings, religious men, piouſly zealous in good works, as maſters to ſuperintend the workmen; men ſkilful in geometry and proportions, who had been initiated and proved in the myſtical learning of the antient ſages; thoſe he made overſeers of the work:—the whole was conducted with that degree of holy reverence, that even the noiſe of a tool or inſtrument was not permitted to diſturb the ſacred ſilence on MORIALI, ſanctified by the preſence of the Almighty, and [Page 140] by his miraculous works.—Was it not reaſonable then to conceive under this exalted degree of pious attention, that no part of this ſtructure was to be formed, but by men of pure hands and holy minds, who had profeſſed themſelves devoted to the ſervice of the true God, and had enrolled themſelves under the banner of true religion and virtue.—As the ſons of Aaron alone were admitted to the holy offices, and to the ſacrificial rites, ſo none but devotees were admitted to this labour.— On this ſtage, we ſee thoſe Religious who had received the truth, and the light of underſtanding as poſſeſſed by the firſt men, embodied as artificers, and engaged in this holy work as architects.— This together with the conſtruction of the tabernacle under Moſes, are the firſt inſtances of our predeceſſors being exhibited to the world as builders: for altho', it is not to be doubted, the ſages amongſt the Hebrews, Egyptians, Perſians, Chaldeans, Greeks, Romans, Bramins, Druids, and Bards, underſtood geometry and the rules of proportion and numbers, yet we have no evidence of their being the actual executors of any plan in architecture; and [Page 141] yet without queſtion they were the projectors and ſuperintendants of ſuch works in every age and nation.
Without ſuch regulations as Solomon had deviſed for the government of his ſervants, without ſuch artificers, and a ſuperior wiſdom over-ruling the whole, we ſhould be at a loſs to account for the beginning, carrying on, and finiſhing that great work in the ſpace of ſeven years and ſix months, when the two ſucceeding temples, though much inferior, employed ſo much more time; and when we have good authority to believe that the temple of Diana at Epheſus, a ſtructure not comparable to the temple at Jeruſalem, was two hundred and twenty years in building.
The building being conducted by a ſet of Religious, makes it natural to conceive, that from devotion and pious fervor, as well as emulation, thoſe employed had unceaſing motives to prompt their diligence, and preſerve harmony and order; as their labour was probationary, and led to an advancement to ſuperior privileges [Page 142] higher points of knowledge, and at the laſt to that honourable pre-eminence of a MASTER of the holy work.
SOLOMON himſelf was an extraordinary perſonage, and his wiſdom and magnificence had gained him the wonder and attention of the neighbouring nations;— but this ſplendid ſtructure, the wonder of the earth, thus raiſed by the pious hands of men labouring in the worſhip and ſervice of the God of Iſrael, would of conſequence extend his fame, and attract the admiration of the more diſtant parts of the world:—his name and his artificers would become the wonder of mankind, and his works their example and emulation: — from thence the MASONS of SOLOMON would be diſperſed into different ſtates, to ſuperintend the works of other princes, and there would convert inſidels, initiate brethren in their myſteries, and extend their order over the diſtant quarters of the known world.
We find that the like diſtinction was retained on rebuilding the temple in the reign of Cyrus, and that the work was [Page 143] performed by the religious of the Iſraelites, and not by ordinary mechanics; for they refuſed to admit the Samaritans to a ſhare of the work, although they petitioned it, under the denomination of ſervants of the ſame God:—but they were rejected, as unworthy of the works of piety, and unacceptable to the God of Iſrael: for though they profeſſed themſelves to be ſervants of the true God, they polluted their worſhip by idols.
JOSEPHUS, in his Hiſtory of the Antiquities of the Jews, ſpeaking of SOLOMON's going about to erect the Temple at JERUSALEM, gives copies of the epiſtles which paſſed between SOLOMON and HIRAM of Tyre on that matter; and which he ſays remained in his days preſerved in their books, and amongſt the Tyrians alſo *: which epiſtles are as follow.
SOLOMON to KING HIRAM.
Know thou, that my father would have built a temple to God, but was hindred by wars and continual expeditions; for he did not leave off to overthrow his enemies, till he made them all ſubject to tribute:—But I give thanks to God for the peace I at preſent enjoy, and on that account I am at leiſure, and deſign to build an houſe to God; for God foretold to my father, that ſuch an houſe ſhould be built by me:—Wherefore I deſire thee to ſend ſome of thy ſubjects with mine to Mount Lebanon, to cut down timber; for the Sidonians are more ſkilful than our people in cutting of wood;—as for wages for the hewers of wood, I will pay whatſoever price thou ſhall determine.
HIRAM to KING SOLOMON,
There is reaſon to bleſs God that he hath committed thy father's government to thee, who art a wiſe man, and endowed with all virtues:—As for myſelf, [Page 145] I rejoice at the condition thou art in, and will be ſubſervient to thee in all thou requireſt;—for when by my ſervants I have cut down many and large trees, of Cedar and Cypreſs wood: I will ſend them to ſea, and will order my ſubjects to make floats of them, and to ſail to what place ſoever of thy country thou ſhalt deſire, and leave them there; after which thy ſervants may carry them to Jeruſalem: but do thou take care to procure corn for this timber, which we ſtand in need of, becauſe we inhabit an iſland.
JOSEPHUS, ſpeaking of the progreſs of the building, ſays, ‘Solomon ſent for an artificer out of Tyre, whoſe name was Hiram, by birth of the tribe of Naphthali, on the mother's ſide.—This man was ſkilful in all ſorts of works, but his chief ſkill lay in working in gold, in ſilver, and braſs: the one of the pillars which he ſet at the entrance of the porch at the right hand, he called JACHIN, and the other at the left hand, he called BOAZ.’
SOLOMON was wiſe in all the learning [Page 146] of the antients, he was poſſeſſed of all the myſtical knowledge of the eaſtern nations; and to perfect the ſame, was enlightened by the immediate gift of heaven.—It was alſo the mode and manners of the times, in which the temple of Jeruſalem was erected, to uſe emblematical and ſymbolic ornaments in the public edifices; a faſhion derived from the hieroglyphic monuments of the Egyptians, and the myſterious mode in which their ſages concealed their wiſdom and learning from the vulgar eye, and communicated ſcience to thoſe of their own order only.
The pillars erected at the porch of the temple were not only ornamental, but alſo carried with them an emblematical import in their names. BOAZ being in its literal tranſlation, IN THEE IS STRENGTH; and JACHIN, IT SHALL BE ESTABLISHED; which by a very natural tranſpoſition may be put thus: O LORD, THOU ART MIGHTY, AND THY POWER IS ESTABLISHED FROM EVERLASTING TO EVERLASTING:—Or otherwiſe they might [Page 147] imply, as BOAZ was the father of DAVID, THE HOUSE OF DAVID SHALL BE ESTABLISHED FOR EVER. I am juſtified in this latter application, by the expreſs words of NATHAN the prophet unto DAVID, inſpired by the viſion of the Lord,—‘ 2 Sam. vii. 12. And when thy days be fulfilled, and thou ſhalt ſleep with thy fathers; I will ſet up thy ſeed after thee, which ſhall proceed out of thy bowels, and I will eſtabliſh his kingdom.’‘ Ver. 13.—He ſhall build an houſe for my name, and I will eſtabliſh the throne of his kingdom for ever.’ ‘ Ver. 16. And thine houſe and thy kingdom ſhall be eſtabliſhed for ever before thee; THY THRONE SHALL BE ESTABLISHED FOR EVER.’
In commemoration of this great PROMISE to the faithful, we ornament the entrance into our LODGES with theſe EMBLEMATICAL PILLARS; from our knowledge of the completion of that ſacred ſentence accompliſhed in the coming of our REDEEMER.
To apply its ſignification to the name of GOD only, is depriving it of part of its MASONIC import; although I have already ſhewn that the ſymbols uſed in lodges are expreſſive of the Divinity's being the great object of Maſonry, as architect of the world.
This ſignificant letter denotes GEOMETRY, which to artificers, is the ſcience [Page 149] by which all their labours are calculated and formed; and to Maſons, contains the determination, definition, and proof of the order, beauty, and wonderful wiſdom of the power of God in his creation.
GEOMETRY is ſaid originally to have ſignified nothing more than the art of meaſuring the earth, or any diſtances or dimenſions within it: but at preſent, it denotes the ſcience of magnitude in general, comprehending the doctrine and relations of whatſoever is ſuſceptible of augmentation or diminution. So to geometry, may be referred the conſtruction not only of lines, ſuperficies, and ſolids; but alſo of time, velocity, numbers, weight, and many other matters.
This is a ſcience which is ſaid to have its riſe, or at leaſt its preſent rules from the Egyptians, who, by nature, were under a neceſſity of uſing it, to remedy the confuſion which generally happened in their lands, by the overflowing of the Nile, which carried away yearly all [Page 150] boundaries, and effaced all limits of their poſſeſſions. Thus this ſcience which conſiſted only in its firſt ſteps of the means of meaſuring lands, that every perſon might have his property reſtored to him, was called geometry, or the art of meaſuring land: and it is probable, that the draughts and ſchemes the Egyptians were annually compelled to make, helped them to diſcover many excellent properties of thoſe figures, and which ſpeculation continually occaſioned to be improved.
From Egypt GEOMETRY paſſed into Greece, where it continued to receive new improvements in the hands of THALES, PYTHAGORAS, ARCHIMEDES, EUCLID, and others; the elements of geometry, which were written by Euclid, teſtify to us the great perfection to which this ſcience was brought by the antients, though much inferior to modern geometry. The bounds of which by the invention of fluxions, and the diſcovery of an infinite order of curves, are greatly enlarged.
[Page 151] The uſefulneſs of geometry extends to almoſt every art and ſcience:—by the help of it aſtronomers turn their obſervations to advantage; regulate the duration of times, ſeaſons, years, cycles, and epochas; and meaſure the diſtance, motions, and magnitude of the heavenly bodies.— It is by this ſcience, that geographers determine the figure and magnitude of the whole earth, and delineate the extent and bearings of kingdoms, provinces, oceans, harbours, and every place upon the globe.— It is adapted to artificers in every branch; and from thence, as I ſaid before, architects derive their meaſures, juſtneſſes, and proportions.
This naturally leads me to conjecture why the SQUARE is had by maſons, as one of the LIGHTS of MASONRY, and part of the furniture of the LODGE. To explain my ideas on that matter, I will only repeat to you the words of a celebrated author, treating of the riſe and progreſs of ſciences:—He ſays, ‘We find nothing in antient authors to direct [Page 152] us to the exact order in which the fundamental principles of meaſuring ſurfaces were diſcovered. They probably began with thoſe ſurfaces which terminated by right lines, and amongſt theſe with the moſt ſimple.—It is hard indeed to determine which of thoſe ſurfaces, which are terminated by a ſmall number of right lines, are the moſt ſimple.—If we were to judge by the number of ſides, the triangle has indiſputably the advantage:—yet I am inclined to think, that the ſquare was the figure which firſt engaged the attention of geometricians.—It was not till ſome time after this, that they began to examine equilateral triangles, which are the moſt regular of all triangular figures.—It is to be preſumed that they underſtood that rectilinear figure firſt, to which they afterwards compared the areas of other polygons, as they diſcovered them.—It was by that means the ſquare became the common meaſure of all ſurfaces;—for of all ages, and amongſt all nations of which we have any knowledge, the ſquare has always been that in planimetry, [Page 153] which the unit is in arithmetic: — for though in meaſuring rectilinear figures, we are obliged to reſolve them into triangles, yet the areas of theſe figures are always given in the ſquare.’— Thence I am led to determine, that the ſquare was the firſt and original figure in geometry, and as ſuch was introduced to our lodges.
The ſquare was the figure under which the Iſraelites formed their encampments in the wilderneſs, and under which they fortified or defended the holy tabernacle, ſanctified with the immediate preſence of the Divinity.
As I before declared it to be my opinion, that this ſociety was never formed for, or of, a ſet of working architects or maſons; but as a religious, ſocial, and charitable eſtabliſhment, and never were embodied, or exhibited to the world as builders, ſave only under Moſes and at the Temple at Jeruſalem, where with holy hands they executed thoſe works of piety, as the patriarchs erected altars to the honor of the Divinity, for their ſacrifices and [Page 154] religious offices*;—ſo I am perſuaded, that the adoption of geometry by maſons, or any emblem of that ſcience, implies no more than a reverence for ſuch device of the mind of man as ſhould demonſtrate the wiſdom of the Almighty in his works, whereby the powers of Abrax are defined, and the ſyſtem of the ſtarry revolutions in the heavens determined.
If we ſhould look upon the earth with its produce, the ocean with its tides, the coming and paſſing of day, the ſtarry arch of heaven, the ſeaſons and their changes, the life and death of man, as being merely accidents in the hand of nature; we muſt ſhut up all the powers of judgment, and yield ourſelves to the darkeſt folly and ignorance.—The auguſt ſcene of the planetary ſyſtem, the day and night, the ſeaſons in their ſucceſſions, the animal frame, the vegetation of plants, all afford us ſubject [Page 155] for aſtoniſhment: the greater too mighty, but for the hand of a Deity, whoſe works they are;—the leaſt too miraculous, but for the wiſdom of their God.
Then how much ought we to eſteem that ſcience, through whoſe powers it is given to man to diſcover the order of the heavenly bodies, their revolutions, and their ſtations; thereby reſolving the operations of the Deity to an unerring ſyſtem, proving the mightineſs of his works, and the wiſdom of his decrees.
It is no wonder then that the firſt inſtitutors of this ſociety, who had their eye on the revelation of the Deity, from the earlieſt ages of the world, unto the days of its perfection under the miniſtry of the Son of God, that they ſhould hold that ſcience hallowed amongſt them, whereby ſuch lights were obtained by man, in the diſcovery of the great wiſdom of the Creator in the beginning.
AS I at firſt propoſed to inveſtigate the three progreſſive orders of Maſons, Apprentices, Craftſmen, and Maſters, by a definition and deſcription of the ſeveral circumſtances which attended the worſhipers of the true God,—ſo have I in the former lectures ſhewn, that by order, in the Apprentices, is implied the firſt knowledge of the God of nature, in the earlieſt ages of man.—Under the Craftſmen, I have ſhewn the Moſaic legation, and the Jewiſh Temple at Jeruſalem; together with the light which men received, for the diſcovery of the divine Wiſdom, by [Page 157] geometrical ſolutions.—I now proceed to the third ſtage, the moſt ſacred and ſolemn order of Maſons, the MASTER MASON'S ORDER.
Under the Jewiſh law, the ſervice of God became clouded and obſcured by ceremonies and rites, which had daily crept in upon it, through imitation of the neighbouring heathen.—When the morals of the Jewiſh nation were corrupted, civil juriſdiction reeled upon its throne— innovations ſapped the religious rule, and anarchy ſucceeded.—No ſooner was this compact looſened, than the ſtrength of the Jews was diſſolved, and the heathen triumphed in Jeruſalem.
The gracious Divinity, perceiving the ruin which was overwhelming mankind, in his benevolence, was moved to redeem us.—He ſaw that the revelation which he had deigned to make of his divinity, might, majeſty, and wiſdom to the Jewiſh tribes, was not ſufficient to preſerve them in their duty: he weighed the frailty of mankind in the balance which his juſtice [Page 158] ſuſpended, and to their deficiencies he beſtowed his mercy.—The Egyptians had abuſed their learning and wiſdom;—the Jews had polluted God's ordinances and laws;—and Sin had made her dominion in the ſtrong places of the earth.
Piety, which had planned the Temple at Jeruſalem, was expunged;—the reverence and adoration due to the Divinity, was buried in the filth and rubbiſh of the world;—perſecution had diſperſed the few who retained their obedience, and the name of the true God was almoſt totally loſt and forgotten among men;— Religion ſat mourning in Iſrael in ſack-cloth and aſhes, and Morality was ſcattered as it were by the four winds of the air.
In this ſituation, it might well be ſaid, ‘That the guide to heaven was loſt, and the maſter of the works of righteouſneſs was ſmitten.’—The nations had given themſelves up to the groſſeſt idolatry; Solomon had fallen, and the ſervice of the true God was effaced, from the [Page 159] memory of thoſe who had yielded themſelves to the dominion of ſin.
In order that mankind might be preſerved from this deplorable eſtate of darkneſs and deſtruction, and AS THE OLD LAW WAS DEAD AND BECOME ROTTENESS, a new doctrine, and new precepts were wanting to give the key to ſalvation; in the language of which we might touch the ear of an offended Deity, and bring forth hope for eternity. TRUE RELIGION was fled:—‘Thoſe who ſought her through the wiſdom of the antients were not able to raiſe her, ſhe eluded the graſp, and their polluted hands were ſtretched forth in vain for her reſtoration.’—Thoſe who ſought her by the old law were fruſtrated, for ‘Death had ſtepped between, and Corruption defiled the embrace;’ Sin had beſet her ſteps, and the vices of the world had overwhelmed her.
The great Father of all, commiſerating the miſeries of the world, ſent his only Son, who was INNOCENCE itſelf, to [Page 160] teach the doctrine of ſalvation;—by whom man was raiſed from the death of ſin, unto the life of righteouſneſs;—from the tomb of corruption unto the chambers of hope;—from the darkneſs of deſpair to the celeſtial beams of faith;—and not only working for us this redemption, but making with us the covenant of regeneration; whence we are become the children of the Divinity, and inheritors of the realms of Heaven.
We MASONS, deſcribing the deplorable eſtate of religion under the Jewiſh law, ſpeak in figures:—‘Her tomb was in the rubbiſh, and filth caſt forth of the temple, and ACACIA wove its branches over her monument;’ [...] being the Greek word for innocence, or being free from ſin; implying that the ſins and corruptions of the old law, and devotees of the Jewiſh altar, had hid religion from thoſe who ſought her, and ſhe was only to be found where INNOCENCE ſurvived, and under the banner of the divine Lamb;—and as to ourſelves profeſſing that we were to be diſtinguiſhed [Page 161] by our ACACY, or as true ACACIANS in our religious faith and tenets*.
The acquiſition of the doctrine of redemption, is expreſſed in the typical character of HURAMEN, ( [...], inveni) and by the applications of that name with maſons, it is implied, that we have diſcovered the knowledge of God and of his ſalvation, and have been redeemed [Page 162] from the death of ſin, and the ſepulchre of pollution and unrighteouſneſs*.
As the great teſtimonial that we are riſen from the ſtate of corruption, we bear the emblem of the HOLY TRINITY, as the inſignia of our vows, and of the origin of the Maſter's order.—This emblem [Page 163] is given by geometricians as a demonſtration of the Trinity in Unity.
On receiving this enſign, the maſon profeſſeth himſelf in a ſhort diſtich, in the Greek language, which, from the rules of our order, I am forbid to commit to writing; the literal meaning of which is, ‘VEHEMENTER CUPIO VITAM,’ ardently I wiſh for life; meaning the everlaſting life of redemption and regeneration: an avowal which carries with it the moſt religious import, and muſt proceed from a pure faith.— The ceremonies attending this ſtage of [Page 164] our profeſſion are ſolemn and tremendous; during which a ſacred awe is diffuſed over the mind, the ſoul is ſtruck with reverence, and all the ſpiritual faculties are called forth to worſhip and adoration.
The divine conſtruction put upon this emblem of the Maſter's Order, which he declares, is the principle by which he is raiſed from darkneſs; ſo it is alſo the emblem of moral duties profeſſed by the maſon, and which in former ages were moſt religiouſly performed. Theſe alſo are principles immediately reſulting from the chriſtian doctrine.
[Page 165] FIRST. That when the calamities of our brother call for our aid, we ſhould not withdraw the hand that might ſuſtain him from ſinking; but that we ſhould render him thoſe ſervices, which, not incumb'ring or injuring our families or fortunes, charity and religion may dictate for the ſaving of our fellow-creature.
SECOND. From which purpoſe, indolence ſhould not perſuade the foot to halt, or wrath turn our ſteps out of the way: but forgetting injuries and ſelfiſh feelings, and rememb'ring that man was born for the aid of his generation, and not for his own enjoyments only, but to do that which is good; we ſhould be ſwift to have mercy, to ſave, to ſtrengthen, and execute benevolence.
THIRD. As the good things of this life are partially diſpenſed, and ſome are opulent whilſt others are in diſtreſs; ſuch principles alſo enjoin a maſon, be he ever ſo poor, to teſtify his good-will towards his brother.—Riches alone do not allow the means of doing good; VIRTUE [Page 166] AND BENEVOLENCE are not confined to the walks of opulence:—the rich man, from his many talents, is required to make extenſive works under the principles of virtue; and yet poverty is no excuſe for an omiſſion of that exerciſe; for as the cry of innocence aſcendeth up to heaven, as the voice of babes and ſucklings reach the throne of God, and as the breathings of a contrite heart are heard in the regions of dominion; ſo a maſon's prayers, devoted to the welfare of his brother, are required of him.
FOURTH. The fourth principle is never to injure the confidence of your brother, by revealing his ſecrets; for perhaps that were to rob him of the guard which protects his property or life.—The tongue of a maſon ſhould be void of offence, and without guile;—ſpeaking truth with diſcretion, and keeping itſelf within the rule of judgment;—maintaining a heart void of uncharitableneſs, locking up ſecrets, and communing in charity and love.
[Page 167] FIFTH. Of charity. So much is required of a maſon, in his gifts, as diſcretion ſhall limit;—charity begins at home, but like a fruitful olive tree, planted by the ſide of a fountain, whoſe boughs over-ſhoot the wall, ſo is charity: it ſpreads its arms abroad from the ſtrength and opulence of its ſtation, and lendeth its ſhade for the repoſe and relief of thoſe who are gathered under its branches.—Charity, when given with imprudence, is no longer a virtue; but when flowing from abundance, it is glorious as the beams of morning, in whoſe beauty thouſands rejoice. When donations, extorted by pity, are detrimental to a man's family, they become ſacrifices to ſuperſtition, and, like incenſe to idols, are diſapproved by heaven.
As Moſes was commanded to pull his ſhoes from off his feet, on Mount Horeb, becauſe the ground whereon he trod was ſanctified by the preſence of the Divinity; ſo the maſon who would prepare himſelf for this third ſtage of maſonry, ſhould advance in the naked paths of truth, [Page 168] be diveſted of every degree of arrogance and come as a true ACACIAN, with ſteps of innocence, humility, and virtue, to challenge the enſigns of an order, whoſe inſtitutions ariſe on the moſt ſolemn and ſacred principles of religion.
IN this age, when every thing ſerious is received with laughter, every thing religious treated with contempt, and whatever is moral, ſpurned from the doors of the polite; no wonder if my intentions to prove this ſociety of religious as well as civil inſtitution, is ridiculed and deſpiſed.
It is not to be doubted many aſſemblies of MASONS were held before the chriſtian aera; the firſt ſtage of maſonry took its riſe in the earlieſt times, was originated in the mind of ADAM, deſcended [Page 170] pure through the antedeluvian ages, was afterwards taught by HAM, and from him, amidſt the corruptions of mankind, flowed unpolluted and unſtained with idolatry to theſe our times, by the channel of ſome few of the SONS OF TRUTH, who remained uncontaminated with the ſins of nations; ſaving to us pure and ſpotleſs principles, together with the original ſymbols.—Theſe antients, enlightned with original truth, were diſperſed through many ſtates;—they were called to join the Jewiſh nation, and many of them became united with that people. The WISE-HEARTED were employed in the conſtruction of the tabernacle of Moſes, they were embodied at the building of the temple at Jeruſalem, and might from thence emigrate into diſtant countries, where they would ſuperintend other religious works. The ceremonies now known to maſons, prove that the teſtimonials and inſignia of the Maſters' order, in the preſent ſtate of maſonry, were deviſed within the ages of chriſtianity, and I am confident there are not any records in being, in any nation, or in any language, which can ſhew them to be [Page 171] pertinent to any other ſyſtem, or give them greater antiquity.
In this country, under the Druids, the firſt principles of our profeſſion moſt aſſuredly were taught and exerciſed: how ſoon the ſecond ſtage and its ceremonials were promulged after the building of the temple at Jeruſalem, we have no degree of evidence. As to the third and moſt ſacred order, no doubt it was adopted upon the converſion of thoſe who attended the DRUIDICAL WORSHIP, who had profeſſed the adoration of the ONE SUPREME BEING, and who readily would receive the doctrines of a MEDIATOR; a ſyſtem in religion which had led the ſages of old into innumerable errors, and at laſt confounded them with idolatry.
Under our preſent profeſſion of maſonry, we alledge 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: but theſe, together with the Egyptian ſymbols and Judaic monuments, are collected only as [Page 172] a ſucceſſional ſeries of circumſtances, which the devotees of the Deity, in different and diſtant ages of the world, had profeſſed; and are all reſolved into the preſent ſyſtem of maſonry, which is made perfect in the doctrine of chriſtianity: from theſe united members gaining alone that evidence of antiquity, which ſhews that we are deſcendants of the firſt worſhippers of the Deity.
That there were builders of cities, towers, temples, and fortifications, from the earlieſt ages, is indiſputable;—but that the artificers were formed into bodies, ruled by their own proper laws, and knowing myſteries and ſecrets which were kept from the world, I am greatly doubtful:—for ſo plain, eaſy, and intelligible is the mechanic art of building, that it is comprehenſible to any capacity, and needed not to be wrapped up in myſtic rules; neither was there any occaſion for the artificers to go about as conjurers, profeſſing a ſcience unrevealed to the world.
[Page 173] Man would be taught building by the animals daily under his obſervation: the fox, the rabbit, and many other creatures, form themſelves caves; the beaver is an architect in wood, and builds hovels and ſheds; the birds at a ſeaſon for their increaſe, prepare their neſts for the protection of their young; the bee labours in conſtructing cities and ſtore-houſes; the ants are cloiſtered in their little mount, perforated with labyrinths, where their provender and progeny are ſecured.—All theſe would inſtruct men in building;— ſo that whilſt our race were reaping the firſt rudiments of knowledge from the book of nature, after the darkneſs which had overwhelmed them in their diſobedience, this could remain no ſecret.
Beſides, if we ſhould be reſolved into the ſucceſſors of mechanics, and as ſuch, ſhould take our grand progreſs from the building of the temple at Jeruſalem, we ſhall find, that HIRAM, who was ſent from Tyre to aſſiſt in that ſtructure, had not his excellence in architecture only, but in molten work, and alſo in dying, [Page 174] as is ſaid in Chronicles: ‘He was ſkilful to work in ſilver and gold, in braſs, in iron, in ſtone, and in timber, in purple, in blue, in fine linen, and in crimſon; alſo to grave all manner of graving.’—He was the ſubject of a ſtate, wherein the worſhip of idols was eſtabliſhed.—This kind of religion gave encouragement to, and greatly advanced the fine arts, as it employed ſtatuaries, ſculptors, painters, and thoſe who made graven images.—Solomon ornamented his temple with cherubins and palm trees, fruits and flowers: from whence I do not doubt Hiram's knowledge was in the buſineſs of a ſtatuary and painter, that he made graven images of ſtone and wood, and molten images in metals.—In Kings, it is ſaid only, ‘that Hiram was filled with wiſdom and underſtanding, and cunning to work all works in braſs.’— As to Solomon's part in this great ſtructure, he being inclined to this mighty work of piety through the ordinances of heaven, and the promiſes made to his father David, was the executor of that plan which was revealed to him from above:—he called forth the ſages and religious [Page 175] men amongſt his people to perform the work:—he claſſed them according to their rank in their religious profeſſion; as the prieſts of the temple were ſtationed in the ſolemn rites and ceremonies inſtituted there.—This diſtinction was maintained in moſt religious ſocieties, but eſpecially with the primitive chriſtians.—The choſen ones of Solomon, as a pious and holy duty, conducted the work.—If we regard them as architects by profeſſion, by reaſon of this duty, ſo we may Abel, Noah, Abraham, Jacob, Moſes, and David, by reaſon of the building of their altars, which were no other than works of piety and devotion.—From thoſe circumſtances, I am bold to ſay, that if we trace the antiquity of maſonry on the operative principles, and derive ſuch principles from the building of Solomon's Temple, we may as well claim all the profeſſions which Hiram excelled in:—but I will leave this ſpeculation for more material ſubjects.
Some maſters of deſign have brought their works to a ſingular juſtneſs, ſymmetry, and order, in Egypt and Greece, in Italy and many other European ſtates: [Page 176] but they, like proficients in painting and muſic, had their excellence from a degree of genius and taſte peculiar to themſelves. —It was a ſingular gift, and they needed not myſteries to keep it ſecret; for as men's geniuſes are as various as their features, ſo was this excellence in architecture as free from uſurpation, as if it had been wrapped up in the moſt profound magic.
I am perſuaded there was no occaſion to form ſuch ſecret rules for the compact of operative maſons:—Solomon, for the conduct of ſuch a multitude, wiſely preſerved the order of the religious, and the myſteries of their initiation, for the rule of his people employed in the temple.—Aſſuredly the ſecrets revealed to us were for other uſes than what relate to labouring up maſſes of ſtone; and our ſociety, as it now ſtands, is an aſſociation on religious and charitable principles; which principles were inſtituted and aroſe upon the knowledge of God, and in the chriſtian revelation.
[Page 177] Soon after the time that chriſtianity became the eſtabliſhed religion of this country, the profeſſors of it employed themſelves in founding religious houſes, and in the building of places of public worſhip.—On any reform of religion, it is obſervable the firſt profeſſors are inclinable to enthuſiaſm.—Such was the caſe in this land, on the advancement of the chriſtian doctrine:—a fervor for endowments infatuated the minds of the converted;—certain days were aſſigned for the purpoſe of attending to religious works and edifices, called hally-wark-days; on which no man, of what profeſſion, rank, or eſtate ſoever, was exempt from attending that duty.—Beſides, there were a ſet of men called haly-werk-folk*, to whom were aſſigned certain [Page 178] lands, which they held by the ſervice of repairing, defending, or building churches and ſepulchres; for which pious labours they were exempt from all feodal and military ſervices: theſe men being ſtone-cutters and builders, might alſo be of our profeſſion, and moſt probably they were ſelected from thence, the two being in no wiſe incompatible with each other.—The county of Durham * entertained a particular ſet of thoſe haly-werk-folk, who were guards of the patrimony and holy ſepulchre of St Cuthbert.—Theſe men come the neareſt to a ſimilitude of Solomon's maſons, and to the title of FREE AND ACCEPTED MASONS, of any degree of architects I have gained any knowledge of: but whether their initiation was attended with any peculiar ceremonies, or by what laws they were regulated, I have not been able to diſcover; and muſt lament, that in the church records of Durham, or in any public office there, there are not the leaſt remains of evidence, touching theſe people and the conſtitution [Page 179] of their ſociety. It was a matter to be coveted by me, lecturing on this ſubject, as moſt probably ſuch conſtitution or evidence would have confirmed every hypotheſis I have raiſed on the definition of our emblems and myſteries.
The emblems uſed by theſe people, very much reſembled thoſe of our ſociety, ſeveral tokens of which have been found of late years in pulling down old ruins.— It is much to be wiſhed, that thoſe noblemen, &c. in whoſe poſſeſſion antient abbeys ſtand, would on all occaſions of pulling down or repairing, give inſtructions to their workmen, to preſerve with care any antique marks, characters, or emblems they may find.—There are ſome double walls, or hollow pillars, in which ſuch things were depoſited.—Few men will be at the expence of digging to the foundations of ſuch buildings, where valuable marks and curious inſcriptions would be found on the foundation or what was called the angle-ſtone, which formed a perfect cube.—This was a very antient cuſtom: the unbelieving Jews accuſed our Saviour of having ſtolen the [Page 180] myſtic words, the TETRAGRAMMATON, or URIM AND THUMMIM, from the foundation of the temple at Jeruſalem, which they ſaid he carried concealed about him, whereby he was enabled to work his miracles.
Soon after the progreſs of chriſtianity in this land, all Europe was inflamed with the cry and madneſs of an enthuſiaſtic monk, who prompted the zealots in religion to the holy war; in which, for the purpoſe of recovering the holy city and Judea out of the hands of infidels, armed legions of ſaints, devotees, and enthuſiaſts, in tens of thouſands, poured forth from every ſtate of Europe, to waſte their blood and treaſure, in a purpoſe as barren and unprofitable as impolitic.
It was deemed neceſſary that thoſe who took up the enſign of the croſs in this enterprize, ſhould form themſelves into ſuch ſocieties as might ſecure them from ſpies and treacheries; and that each might know his companion and brother labourer, as well in the dark as by day. As it was with Jeptha's army [Page 181] at the paſſes of Jordan, ſo alſo was it requiſite in theſe expeditions that certain ſigns, ſignals, watch-words, or paſs-words, ſhould be known amongſt them; for the armies conſiſted of various nations and various languages.—We are told in the book of Judges, ‘that the Gileadites took the paſſes of Jordan before the Ephraimites; and it was ſo, that when thoſe Ephraimites which were eſcaped ſaid, let me go over, that the men of Gilead ſaid unto him, Art thou an Ephraimite? If he ſaid nay, then ſaid they unto him, ſay now Shibboleth, and he ſaid Sibboleth, for he could not frame to pronounce it right. Then they took them and ſlew them at the paſſage of Jordan.* ’
[Page 182] No project or device could anſwer the purpoſes of the cruſadors better than thoſe of maſonry:—the maxims and ceremonials attending the Maſter's order had been [Page 183] previouſly eſtabliſhed, and were materially neceſſary on that expedition; for as the Mahomedans were alſo worſhippers of the Deity, and as the enterprizers were ſeeking a country where the maſons were in the time of Solomon called into an aſſociation, and where ſome remains would certainly be found of the myſteries and wiſdom of the antients and of our predeceſſors. Such degrees of maſonry as extended only to the acknowledgment of their being ſervants of the God of nature, would not have diſtinguiſhed them from thoſe they had to encounter, had they not aſſumed the ſymbols of the chriſtian faith.
All the learning of Europe in thoſe times, as in the ages of antiquity, was poſſeſſed by the religious;—they had acquired the wiſdom of the antients, and the original knowledge which was in the beginning, and now is, THE TRUTH; —many of them had been initiated into the myſteries of maſonry;—they were the projectors of this enterprize, and as Solomon in the building of the temple, introduced orders and regulations for the conduct [Page 184] of the work, which his wiſdom had been enriched with from the learning of the ſages of antiquity, ſo that no confuſion ſhould happen during its progreſs, and ſo that the rank and office of each fellow-labourer might be diſtinguiſhed and aſcertained beyond the poſſibility of deceit; in like manner the prieſts projecting the cruſades, being poſſeſſed of the myſteries of maſonry, the knowledge of the antients, and of the univerſal language which ſurvived the confuſion of Shinar, revived the orders and regulations of Solomon, and initiated the legions therein who followed them to the Holy Land:— hence that ſecrecy which attended the cruſaders.
Amongſt other evidence which authorizes me in the conjecture that maſons went to the holy wars, is the doctrine of that order of maſons, called the HIGHER ORDER. I am induced to believe that order was of Scottiſh extraction; ſeparate nations might be diſtinguiſhed by ſome ſeparate order, as they were by ſingular enſigns: but be that as it may, it fully proves to me that maſons were cruſaders.
[Page 185] As my intention in this lecture was not only to ſpeculate on the antient ſecrecy amongſt maſons, but alſo to treat of the ſecrecy of maſons in this age, I muſt therefore turn my thoughts to the importance ſecreſy is now of amongſt us, when there are no holy ſtructures to erect, no holy wars to wage, and nothing but charity and brotherly love to cheriſh among maſons.
This inſtitution, which was firſt founded in the myſteries of religion, as I have before rehearſed to you, is now maintained by us on the principles of lending mutual aid and conſolation to each other.—How ſhould we be able to diſcern the brethren of this family, but through ſuch tokens as ſhould point them out from other men? Language is now provincial, and the dialects of different nations would not be comprehenſible to men ignorant and unlettered. Hence it became neceſſary to uſe an expreſſion which ſhould be cognizable by people of all nations.—So it is with maſons;—they are poſſeſſed of that univerſal expreſſion, and of ſuch remains [Page 186] of the original language, that they can communicate their hiſtory, their wants, and prayers, to every brother maſon throughout the globe:—from whence, it is certain, that multitudes of lives have been ſaved in foreign countries, when ſhip-wreck and miſery had overwhelmed them: when robbers had pillaged, when ſickneſs, want, and miſery had brought them even to the brink of the grave, the diſcovery of maſonry has ſaved them: the diſcovery of being a brother, hath ſtaid the ſavage hand of the conqueror, lifted in the field of battle to cut off the captive; hath withheld the ſword imbrued in carnage and ſlaughter, and ſubdued the inſolence of triumph to pay homage to the craft.
The importance of ſecrecy with us, is ſuch, that we may not be deceived in the diſpenſing of our charities;—that we may not be betrayed in the tenderneſs of our benevolence, and others uſurp the portion which is prepared for thoſe of our own family.
[Page 187] To betray the watch-word, which ſhould keep the enemy from the walls of our citadel, ſo as to open our ſtrongholds to robbers and deceivers, is as great a moral crime, as to ſhew the common thief the weakneſſes and ſecret places of our neighbour's dwelling-houſes, that he may pillage their goods.—Nay it is ſtill greater, for it is like aiding the ſacrilegious robber to ranſack the holy places, and ſteal the ſacred veſſels devoted to the moſt ſolemn rites of religion.—It is ſnatching from the divine hand of charity, the balm which ſhe holds forth to heal the diſtreſſes of her children; the cordial cup of conſolation, which ſhe offers to the lip of calamity, and the ſuſtenance her fainting infants ſhould receive from the boſom of her celeſtial love.
As this then is the importance of maſons ſecrecy, wherefore ſhould the world wonder that the moſt profligate tongue which ever had expreſſion hath not revealed it? The ſport is too criminal to afford delight even to the wickedeſt of mankind; for it muſt be wantonneſs only [Page 188] which could induce any man to divulge it, as no profit could ariſe therefrom, nor ſelfiſh view be gratified.—It was mentioned by divine lips as a crime not in nature: ‘What man is there of you, whom if his ſon aſk for bread, will give him a ſtone; or if he aſk a fiſh, will give him a ſerpent?’—Then can there be a man ſo iniquitous among maſons, as to guide the thief to ſteal from his ſick brother the medicine which ſhould reſtore his health? the balſam which ſhould cloſe his wounds? the cloathing which ſhould ſhield his trembling limbs from the ſeverity of the winter? the drink which ſhould moiſten his fainting lip? the bread which ſhould ſave his ſoul alive?
Such is the importance of our ſecrecy: —were there no other ties upon our affections or conſciences, than merely the ſenſe of the injury we ſhould do to the poor and the wretched, by a tranſgreſſion of this rule, I am perſuaded it would be ſufficient to lock up the tongue of every man who profeſſeth himſelf to be a MASON.
I do not mean to make ſtrictures on that modern error of indiſcriminately diſpenſing alms to all ſuppliants, without regard to their real wants or real merits; whereby the hypocrite and knave often eat the bread which virtue in diſtreſs ought to be relieved by.—This is a miſtaken character of charity, in which ſhe is too often abuſed.—Though the bounties of benevolence and compaſſion are given with a righteous wiſh, yet they ſhould be ruled by diſcretion.
[Page 190] The antients uſed to depict the virtue CHARITY, in the character of a goddeſs, ſeated in a chair of ivory, with a golden tire upon her head, ſet with precious ſtones:—her veſture, like the light of heaven, repreſented univerſal benevolence; her throne was unpolluted and unſpotted by paſſions and prejudices; and the gems of her fillet repreſented the ineſtimable bleſſings which flowed variouſly from her bounty.
They alſo repreſented the charities, otherwiſe called the graces, under three perſonages:—one of theſe was painted with her back towards us, and her face forward, as proceeding from us; and the other two with their faces towards us, to denote, that for one benefit done we ſhould receive double thanks:—they were painted naked, to intimate that good offices ſhould be done without diſſembling and hypocriſy:—they were repreſented young, to ſignify that the remembrance of benefits ſhould never wax old:—and alſo laughing, to tell us that we ſhould do good to others with chearfulneſs and [Page 191] alacrity.—They were repreſented linked together, arm in arm, to inſtruct us that one kindneſs ſhould prompt another; ſo that the knot and bond of love ſhould be indiſſoluble.—The poets tell us, that they uſed to waſh themſelves in the fountain Acidalius, becauſe benefits, gifts, and good-turns ought to be ſincere and pure, and not baſe, ſordid, and counterfeit.
CHARITY, in the works of moraliſts, is defined to be the love of our brethren, or a kind of brotherly affection one towards another.—The rule and ſtandard that this habit is to be examined and regulated by among chriſtians, is the love we bear to ourſelves, or that the Mediator bore towards us;—that is, it muſt be unfeigned, conſtant, and out of no other deſign than their happineſs.
In what character CHARITY ſhould be received among maſons, is now my [Page 192] purpoſe to define, as it ſtands limited to our own ſociety.*
As being ſo limited, we are not through that channel ſubject to be impoſed on by falſe pretences; and are certain of the proper and merited adminiſtration of it. It is hence to be hoped, that it exiſts with us without diſſembling or hypocriſy, and lives in ſincerity and truth:—that benefits [Page 193] received impreſs a lively degree of gratitude and affection on the minds of maſons, as their bounties ſhould be beſtowed with chearfulneſs, and unacquainted with the frozen ſinger of reluctance:—the benevolence of our ſociety ſhould be ſo mutual and brotherly, that each ought to endeavour to render good offices, as readily as he would receive them.*
[Page 194] In order to exerciſe this virtue, both in the character of maſons and in common life, with propriety, and agreeable to ſuch principles, we ſhould forget every obligation but affection; for otherwiſe it were to confound charity with duty.— The feelings of the heart ought to direct the hand of CHARITY.—To this purpoſe we ſhould be diveſted of every idea of ſuperiority, and eſtimate ourſelves as being of the ſame rank and race of men: —in this diſpoſition of mind we may be ſuſceptible of thoſe ſentiments which CHARITY delighteth in, to feel the woes and miſeries of others with a genuine and true ſympathy of ſoul:—COMPASSION [Page 195] is of heavenly birth;—it is one of the firſt characteriſtics of humanity.—Peculiar to our race, it diſtinguiſhes us from the reſt of creation.*
What kind of man is he, who full of opulence, and in whoſe hand abundance overflows, can look on virtue in diſtreſs, and merit in miſery, without pity?—Who could behold without tears, the deſolate and forlorn eſtate of a WIDOW, who in [Page 197] early life, having been brought up in the boſom of a tender mother, without knowing care, and without taſting of neceſſity, was not befitted for adverſity; —whoſe ſoul was pure as innocence, and full of honor;—whoſe mind had been brightned by erudition under an indulgent father;—whoſe youth, untutored in the ſchool of ſorrows, had been flattered with the proſpect of days of proſperity and plenty;—one, who at length, by the cruel adverſity of winds and ſeas, with her dying huſband, is wrecked in total deſtruction and beggary; driven by ill fortune, from peace and plenty; and from the bed of eaſe, changes her lot to the dank dunghill, for the relief of her wearineſs and pain;—grown meagre with neceſſity, and ſick with woe;—at her boſom hanging her famiſhed infant, draining off the dregs of parental life, for ſuſtenance; beſtowed from maternal love—yielding exiſtence to ſupport the babe.—Hard-hearted covetouſneſs and proud titles, can ye behold ſuch an object, dry eyed?—Can avarice graſp the mite which ſhould ſuſtain ſuch virtue? —Can high life lift its ſupercilious brow [Page 198] above ſuch ſcenes in human life; above ſuch miſeries ſuſtained by a fellow-creature?—If perchance the voice of the unfortunate and wretched widow is heard in complainings, when wearying PATIENCE and relaxing RESIGNATION breathes a ſigh, whilſt modeſty forbids her ſupplication; is not the groan, the ſigh, more pathetic to your ear, you rich ones, than all the flattering petitions of a cringing knave, who touches your vanity and tickles your follies; extorting from your very weakneſſes, the proſtituted portion of CHARITY.—Perhaps the fatal hour's at hand, when conſolation is required to cloſe the laſt moments of this unfortunate one's life:—can the man abſorbed in pleaſure roll his chariot wheels beyond the ſcene of ſorrow without compaſſion, and without pity ſee the laſt convulſion and the deadly gaze which paint miſery upon the features of an expiring ſaint!—If angels weep in heaven, they weep for ſuch:—if they can know contempt, they feel it for the wealthy, who beſtow not of their ſuperfluities, and ſnatch not from their vices what would gladden ſouls ſunk in the woes of worldly [Page 199] adverſity.—The eyes of cherubims view with delight the exerciſe of ſuch benevolence as forms the character of the good Samaritan:—ſaints touch their golden lyres, to hymn HUMANITY's fair hiſtory in realms of bliſs; and approbation ſhines upon the countenance divine of OMNIPRESENCE, when a man is found in the exerciſe of virtue.
What ſhould that human wretch be called, who, with premeditated cruelty and avarice, deviſes miſchief whilſt he is conſcious of his neighbour's honeſty;— whilſt he ſees him induſtriouſly, day by day, labouring with ſweaty brow and weary limbs, toiling with chearfulneſs for bread,—on whoſe exerted labour, an affectionate and virtuous wife and healthy children, crowding his narrow hearth with naked feet, depend for ſuſtenance; —whilſt he perceives him, with integrity more than human, taking ſcrupulouſly his own, and wronging no man for his hunger or his wants;—whilſt he ſees him with fatigued ſinews, lengthen out the toil of induſtry, from morn to night with unremitting ardor, ſinging to elude repining, [Page 200] and ſmoothing his anxieties and pain with hope, that he ſhall reward his wearineſs by the overflowings of his wife's chearful heart, and with the ſmiles of his feeding infants?—What muſt he be, who knows ſuch a man, and by his craft or avarice extorts unjuſt demands, and brings him into beggary?—What muſt he be, who ſees ſuch a man deprived by fire or water of all his ſubſtance, the habitation of his infants loſt, and nothing left but nakedneſs and tears,—and ſeeing this, affords the ſufferer no relief?—Surely in nature few ſuch wretches do exiſt! but if ſuch be, it is not vain preſumption to proclaim, that like accurſed Cain, they are diſtinguiſhed as the outcaſt of God's mercies, and are left on earth to live a life of puniſhment.
The objects of true CHARITY, are MERIT and VIRTUE in diſtreſs;—perſons who are incapable of extricating themſelves from misfortunes which have overtaken them in old age;—induſtrious men, from inevitable accidents and acts of Providence ruſhed into ruin;—widows left ſurvivors of their huſbands, by whoſe [Page 201] labours they ſubſiſted;—orphans in tender years left naked to the world.
What the claims of ſuch, on the hand of charity, when you compare them to the miſcreants who infeſt the doors of every dwelling with their importunities; wretches wandering from their homes, ſhewing their diſtortions and their ſores to prompt compaſſion; with which ill-gotten gains, in concert with thieves and vagabonds, they revel away the hours of night which conceals their iniquities and vices.
The neceſſity there is for the exertion of brotherly regard among maſons in the lodge, is obvious to every one:— PEACE, REGULARITY, and DECORUM are indiſpenſible duties here:—all the ſire of reſentment, and remembrance of injuries, ſhould be forgotten; and that cordiality ought to be warm among us, which brings with it chearfulneſs and rejoicing:—the true worſhipers of the Deity, men who held juſt notions of the principles of nature, in the times of barbarous [Page 203] ignorance, durſt not publicly practiſe the one, or promulgate the other:—but happy is our eſtate, in this lettered age and this land of liberty, we profeſs our ſentiments with freedom, and without fear; we exerciſe our religious principles under a full toleration; and as ſocial beings we aſſemble in the lodge, to enjoy the pleaſures of friendſhip, and the breathings of true benevolence without alloy.
After the buſineſs of the lodge is diſpatched, we are met together to open out the chearfulneſs of our hearts without guile; for here are no tale-bearers, cenſors, or revilers among us;—our lodge is ſacred to SILENCE:—hence we may ſay figuratively, ‘it is ſituate in the ſecret places, where the cock holdeth not his watch, where the voice of railing reacheth not, where brawling, as the intemperate wrath of women, cannot be heard.’
Without ſuſpicion of being betrayed in our words, or enſnared in the openneſs of our dealings, our mirth here is undiſguiſed, is governed by PRUDENCE, [Page 204] tempered with LOVE, and cloathed in CHARITY:—thus it ſtandeth void of offence:—no malicious mind warps innocent expreſſions to wicked conſtructions, or interprets unmeaning jeſts into ſarcaſms or ſatyres; but as every ſentiment flows full of benevolence, ſo every ear here, is attuned to the ſtrain, in harmonious concord, and taſtes the pleaſures of feſtivity ſo pure, that they bear our reflections, in the morning, without remorſe.
Peace, regularity, and decorum, which I ſaid were indiſpenſible duties here, are not the offspring of controul, or the iſſue of authority; but a voluntary ſervice, which every man brings to the lodge.
There are ſeaſons indeed, in which authority is properly exerciſed;—man is frail;—the moſt prudent may ſometimes deviate:—it was a maxim of the antient philoſophers, that "to err was human;" therefore in the lodge there ought to be a conſtant governor, who ſhould reſtrain the improprieties which may creep in among us, by any brother coming here after an intemperance in liquor.
[Page 205] Another degree of brotherly love which ſhould prevail here, is to hear the petitions of every member of this ſociety with tenderneſs and attention.—Where there is at any time a brother of our community ſick or in diſtreſs, the caſe of his calamities ſhould come here repreſented by a brother, who will neither deceive us, nor hold back any part of his merits;— and the lodge muſt teſtify all due regard, by receiving the petition patiently, and giving relief according to the deſerts.
The moſt material part of that brotherly love which ſhould ſubſiſt among us maſons, is that of ſpeaking well of each other to the world:—more eſpecially it is expected of every member of this fraternity, that he ſhould not traduce his brother.—Calumny and ſlander are deteſtable crimes againſt ſociety.—Nothing can be viler than to traduce a man behind his back; it is like the villainy of an aſſaſſin, who has not virtue enough to give his adverſary the means of ſelf-defence; but lurking in darkneſs, ſtabs [Page 206] him whilſt he is unarmed, and unſuſpicious of an enemy.
"The man who ſteals my purſe, ſteals traſh;"'Twas mine, 'tis his, and may be ſlave to thouſands:"But he who pilfers from me my good name,"Robs me of that which not enriches him,"But makes me poor indeed."
Calumny has this direful conſequence, that it carries with it not a momentary effect only, but endures for time uncounted.—The wickedneſs of the world is ſuch, that it is greedy of ſcandal; and when once the voice of defamation hath uttered its poiſon, like a peſtilence it ſmites and contaminates;—it ſpreads jealouſies in families, diviſion and wrath among friends, urges fathers againſt children, and brother againſt brother.—When once the pernicious tale gets birth, it cannot be recalled; and thence the ſinner's penitence is not capable of expiation: for the evil conſequences may lay dormant in the womb of futurity, and become an intail of ſorrow on the third and fourth generation of him that is injured. [Page 207] —What malice and miſchief, what infernal diſpoſition, muſt actuate the mind which is capable of defaming the innocent!—there is no crime of which ſuch a wretch might not be the perpetrator;— againſt ſuch a villain there is no armour for defence;—he aſſaults the naked and unſuſpicious, and like the contagion of ſome horrid diſeaſe, he ſmiteth whilſt the victim ſleeps.—Juſtice is diſarmed againſt ſuch a ſinner, as concealment is his ſafeguard, and only the eye of heaven diſcovers his iniquity.
To give a man his juſt and due character, is ſo eaſy a duty, that it is not poſſible for a benevolent mind to avoid it; —it is a degree of common juſtice which honeſty itſelf prompts one to.—It is not enough that we refrain from ſlander; but it is required of maſons that they ſhould ſpeak graciouſly and with affection, withholding nothing that can be uttered to a [Page 208] brother's praiſe or good name with truth. —What a pleaſure doth it give the heart, feeling benevolent diſpoſitions, to give praiſes where due.—There is a ſelfiſh joy in good ſpeaking, as ſelf-approbation ſucceeds it.—Beſides, the breaſt of ſuch a man feels enlarged, whilſt he utters the praiſe due to his neighbour; and he experiences all the fineſt ſenſations of love, whilſt he moves others to the ſame object of his regard.
The neutral diſpoſition, frigid and reſerved, neither ſpeaks good nor evil;— but the man taſting brotherly love, is warm to commend.—It is an eaſy and cheap means of beſtowing good gifts and working good works;—for by a juſt praiſe to induſtry, you recommend the induſtrious man to thoſe to whom he might never be known, and thereby enlarge his credit and his trade.—By a juſt commendation of merit, you may open the paths of advancement through thoſe whoſe power might never have been petitioned.—By a proper praiſe of genius and art, you may rouſe the attention of thoſe patrons to whom the greateſt deſervings [Page 209] might have remained a ſecret. It is a degree of juſtice which every man has a right to, from his brother, that his virtues be not concealed.
To ſhroud the imperfections of our friend, and cloak his infirmities, is chriſtian-like, and charitable, conſequently beſitting a maſon:—even the truth ſhould not be told at all times; for where we cannot approve, we ſhould pity in ſilence. —What pleaſure or profit can there ariſe by expoſing the ſecrets of a brother?— To exhort him, is virtuous;—to revile him, is inhuman; —and to ſet him out as an object of ridicule, is infernal.
IN my former lectures I have declared it to be my opinion, that MASONS, in the preſent ſtate of MASONRY, were never a body of architects.—By the book of conſtitutions publiſhed by authority, we ſee no grand communication held in form, till of very late date: neither is there any evidence therein to contradict the propoſitions I have laid down.—The ſucceſſion therein deſcribed, is by no means to be accepted and underſtood in a literal ſenſe; but as a pedigree or chronological table of the ſervants of the Deity, working in the duties of righteouſneſs.
[Page 211] I ground my judgment of the nature of our profeſſion on our ceremonials, and am convinced they have not their relation to building and architecture, but are emblematical, and imply moral, ſpiritual, and religious tenets.—It appears to me ſelf-evident, that the ſituation of the lodge, and its ſeveral parts, are copied after the tabernacle and temple, and are repreſentative of the univerſe, implying that the univerſe is the temple in which the Deity is every where preſent; our mode of teaching the principles of our profeſſion, is derived from the Druids; our maxims of morality, from Pythagoras; our chief emblems, originally from Egypt; to Baſilides we owe the ſcience of Abrax, and the characters of thoſe emanations of the Deity which we have adopted, and which are ſo neceſſary for the maintenance of a moral ſociety.—I am induced to believe, that our preſent ceremonies were more generally taught, and more candidates were initiated therein, on the opening of the cruſades, than in any other aera, or on any other known occaſion.
[Page 212] The Engliſh hiſtorians agree, that in the reign of Henry the Second, and in the year 1188, at an interview between the Kings of England and France, attended by the prelates and nobility of both nations, the Archbiſhop of Tyre pronounced ſuch a melancholy account of S [...]ladine's ſucceſs in the Holy Land, and the miſeries of the chriſtians in that country, that the audience was greatly affected with the relation; and the two kings agreed to convert their whole attention to the relief of thoſe adventurers. —They received the croſs from the hands of the archbiſhop, reſolving to go there in perſon; and their example was followed by Philip Count of Flanders, and a great number of the prelates and nobility there preſent:—A PLENARY INDULGENCE was publiſhed in the pope's name, for all that would make a fair confeſſion of their ſins, and engage in the cruſade: —the different nations aſſumed croſſes of a different colour, and RULES AND ORDERS were eſtabliſhed for preventing RIOT, LUXURY, AND DISORDER on the enterprize.
[Page 213] Theſe were the principal rules made for the regulation of the cruſaders.—We may conjecture theſe religious campaigns being over, that men initiated in the myſteries of maſonry, and engaged and inrolled under thoſe rules and orders, which were eſtabliſhed for the conduct of the nations in the holy war, would form themſelves into lodges, and keep up their ſocial meetings when returned home, in commemoration of their adventures and mutual good offices in Paleſtine, and for the propagation of that knowledge into which they had been initiated.
As a further argument that builders and architects were not the original members of our ſociety, the MASONS of the city of London obtained their incorporation and charter in the reign of King Henry the Fifth, in or about the year 1419; they taking on themſelves the name of FREE MASONS.—By their charter they are governed by a maſter and two wardens, with twenty-five aſſiſtants.—Of this incorporated body, ſixty-five are of the livery of London.
[Page 214] It has never been pretended, that the ſociety of FREE AND ACCEPTED MASONS have in any manner been connected, or much leſs have united themſelves, with the incorporated body of maſons enchartered; but on the contrary, have kept themſelves totally apart.
It has been alledged, that in the reign of King Henry the Sixth an obſolete law was enacted, ſetting forth, ‘that by the yearly congregations and confederacies made by maſons in their general aſſemblies, the good courſe and effects of the ſtatute of labourers were openly violated and broken, and making the future holding of their chapters and congregations felony.’
It is impoſſible that this ſtatute ſhould relate to any other perſons, than the incorporated body of working maſons; who under an excluſive charter, by ſecret combinations raiſed the prices of their labour, and prevented craftſmen of their fraternity, not members of the charter, from exerciſing their trade within the [Page 215] limits of London; which might occaſion a grievance worthy of parliamentary redreſs:—but in what manner the ſtatutes of labourers could be affected by the aſſociations of this fraternity of ours, is not in my power to comprehend. Our records give us no evidence of any ſuch convocations, at the time mentioned.
Why the title of FREE is annexed to our ſociety, or that of ACCEPTED, I hope I may be allowed to conjecture was derived from the cruſades.—There the volunteers entering into that ſervice muſt be FREEMEN, born free, and not villains or under any vaſſallage; for it was not until long after the cruſades, that vaſſallage and feudal ſervices, together with the ſlaviſh tenures, were taken away.
They were intitled to the ſtile of ACCEPTED, under that PLENARY INDULGENCE [Page 216] which the pope publiſhed, for all that would confeſs their ſins, and inliſt in the enterprize of the holy war; whereby they were accepted and received into the boſom of the father of the church. —Some authors have preſumed to tell us, that it was the original deſign of the chriſtian powers, in their enterprize in the Holy Land, to rebuild the temple at Jeruſalem; but I cannot diſcover any good authority for this aſſertion.—In modern maſonry it is given as a principle, why our dedication of lodges is made to ST JOHN, that the maſons who engaged to conquer the Holy Land, choſe that ſaint for their patron —I ſhould be ſorry to appropriate the Balſarian ſect of chriſtians of St John, as an explanation of this principle; — ST JOHN obtains our dedication, as being the proclaimer of that ſalvation which was at hand, by the coming of Chriſt; and we, as a ſet of religious aſſembling in the true faith, commemorate the proclamations of the Baptiſt.—In the name of ST JOHN THE EVANGELIST, we acknowledge the teſtimonies which he gives, and the divine [...], which he makes manifeſt.— [Page 217] But to return to the ſubject of the cruſaders.
It is probable that the ſame enthuſiaſtic ſpirit which engaged men to enter into the cruſades, at the vaſt expence and hazard which hiſtory deſcribes, alſo led them into as enormous a folly in the building of religious houſes:—during the reign of Henry the Second, when the Engliſh firſt engaged in the holy war, there were not leſs than one hundred and eleven abbeys, nunneries, and religious houſes founded in this kingdom;—during the reign of Richard the Firſt, eighteen;—and during the reign of Henry the Third, forty: which ſhews the religious infatuation which had totally overrun the minds of the people in thoſe reigns.—The Eccleſiaſtics, in imitation of the works of Solomon, might become the maſters of thoſe works, and ſuperintend and conduct the labours of the inferior ſect of haly-wark-folk; that by acceptable hands ſuch pious works might be conducted, and from whence the ignorant and profane might be rejected, like the Samaritans:—theſe might aſſume [Page 218] the honorary title of MASONS, which from vulgar acceptation, would naturally confound them with ordinary mechanics.
In the Angla-Norman Antiquities, it is ſaid of FREE MASONS, that they were an aſſociation of religious, who engaged in the founding and erecting of churches and religious houſes in Paleſtine. —I have already mentioned the religious ſect who were really architects and builders of churches, the haly-wark-folk, with no ſmall degree of reſpect: they were a body of men ſubſiſting before the cruſades:—they were maintained by the church, under which they held lands for the ſervice of erecting and repairing churches, and for the guarding of the ſepulchres of ſaints.—It is not improbable, that when the rage of holy works and holy wars and the deſire of Paleſtine fired the minds of all Europe, but a body of thoſe people might embark in the enterprize, and be tranſported thither to build churches, for the better planting or propagating the chriſtian doctrine, or to guard and maintain the holy ſepulchre.— I would be ready at all times to admit [Page 219] theſe emigrants might poſſeſs ſome rules and ceremonies for initiation peculiar to themſelves, ſo far as the bearers of burthens were admitted under Solomon in the building at Jeruſalem, and that they might retain their ſingular maxims and principles in ſecrecy:—and it may alſo be admitted, that in honor of that gradation of maſonry and of their profeſſion, they ſhould claim the greateſt antiquity, from Solomon's temple at leaſt:—they might even be more than a collateral branch of the FREE AND ACCEPTED MASONS, as I have before admitted, and be initiated in the myſteries of maſonry, their occupation being in no wiſe incompatible with our profeſſion, and they might be known and diſtinguiſhed by the title of OPERATIVE MASONS, as the Eſſenes were divided into theoricks and practicks: —but from the writings of the author of the Angla-Norman Antiquities, I am convinced he was not a FREE AND ACCEPTED MASON himſelf; and as the ſecrecy of that ſociety had attracted the attention of many, who as their curioſity was exerciſed, raiſed conjectures on the name of maſons, to diſcover their origin and principles, [Page 220] or to reconcile their own opinions: from whence, nothing was more likely to ſtrike the attention of an hiſtorian, than this body of men; the haly-wark-folk rambling in Paleſtine were to his purpoſe.
Were we claimants only of the title of mechanics, we might have choſe as antient and a more honorable branch of the arts or ſciences;—we might have ſubſtituted geometry to a more worthy duty, and have honored our Maker in ſome profeſſion more expreſſive of our ſenſe of his power and dignity.
Our ORIGIN in this country is thought to be from the PHOENICIANS who came here with the Tyrian Hercules, and introduced the doctrines of HAM and the AMONIAN rites, together with the HEBREW CUSTOMS; and afterwards the emigrants from the Holy Land, who taught us the rules inſtituted by SOLOMON at the temple of Jeruſalem; and finally, the propagators of the chriſtian doctrine, who brought with them the principles of the [Page 221] Maſter's Order, and taught the converted thoſe ſacred myſteries which are typical of the chriſtian faith, and profeſſional of the hope of the reſurrection of the body and the life of regeneration. Yet I fear few among us are equal to the character we have aſſumed. Our LODGES are not now appropriated to WORSHIP and RELIGIOUS CEREMONIES; we meet as A SOCIAL SOCIETY, inclined to acts of benevolence, and ſuffer the more ſacred offices to reſt unperformed. —Whether this neglect is to our honor, I preſume not to remonſtrate; in our PRESENT STATE profeſſing ourſelves FREE AND ACCEPTED MASONS. We are totally ſevered from architects, and are become a ſet of men working in the duties of CHARITY, GOOD OFFICES, and BROTHERLY LOVE— chriſtians in religion—ſons of liberty and loyal ſubjects: — we have adopted rules, orders, emblems, and ſymbols, which enjoin us to live a life of morality:—we have furniſhed our lodges with thoſe ſtriking objects, which ſhould at once intimate to us the mightineſs and wiſdom [Page 222] of God, the inſtability of the affairs of man, and the various viciſſitudes in human life, and have ſet before our eyes preceptors of moral works; and to ſtrengthen our faith, we have enlightned our lodge with the emblem of the Trinity.
It is well known to us, that there is ſcarce a ſtate in Europe, in which our fraternity have not formed a body.—The wiſdom of the antients would paſs abroad into many regions, and thoſe who had aſſiſted in the pious labours at Jeruſalem, would, like Pythagoras, teach the ſciences and myſteries which they profeſſed, and communicate the ſyſtem to which they had been initiated;—religious men would retain the doctrines and myſteries with reverence, and with caution reveal them to thoſe they thought worthy to receive; hence the original knowledge would paſs into many countries:—but there is no accounting for this univerſality of the ſociety, upon the principles of architecture and operative maſonry:—the rage of church-building had not contaminated all Europe as it did England; neither is there any probable means to be deduced from [Page 223] architecture and the practice of builders, to account why in every tongue, and in every kingdom, the ceremonials of being made a maſon ſhould be the ſame.—If the honor of architecture was all that was to be regarded in the ſociety, various would be the devices by which the members in each nation would profeſs it.— As architecture, according to its preſent orders, had its progreſs from Egypt and Greece, ſome nations would have borrowed ſymbols and enſigns peculiar to thoſe people; or we ſhould have had in our ceremonies, or in our workings, ſome devices which might have diſtinguiſhed to us the beauties, orders, ornaments, proportions, or ſymmetries, of ſome or all of the rules, modes, or orders of architecture, either from the plains of Shinar, from Egypt, Jeruſalem, Tadmore, or Greece; or have retained ſome geometrical problems, on which the general principles of proportion in architecture were grounded or demonſtrated:—but inſtead of that, it is well known to us, that there is nothing of that kind revealed. On the contrary, our myſteries are totally abſtracted from the rules of mechanics: [Page 224] they are relative to religion and morality, and are conducive to pious works: they are unfurniſhed with any type, ſymbol, of character, but what appertains to demonſtrate the ſervants and devotees of the great [...].
There is not an inſtance of the European ſtates uniting in any one enterprize, ſave the holy war; and from thence, we moſt rationally muſt conceive, the preſent number of maſons diſperſed over the face of Europe was principally derived. The Amonian rites are almoſt totally diſtinguiſhed, religious zeal has imbrued the ſword in carnage, and Europe has groaned under perſecutions; the Romans extirpated the Druids, chriſtians have glutted their cruel hands with ſlaughter, bigotry and enthuſiaſm in every age have reigned in bloodſhed.—By the cruſades, the number of our ſociety would be greatly augmented; the occaſion itſelf would revive the rules of maſonry, they being ſo well adapted to that purpoſe, and alſo profeſſional of the chriſtian faith, from whence ſprang the ſpirit of the enterprize.—After theſe purſuits ſubſided, [Page 225] bodies of men would be found in every country from whence the levies were called; and what would preſerve the ſociety in every ſtate, even during the perſecutions of zealots, the Maſter Maſon's Order, under its preſent principles, is adapted to every ſect of chriſtians. It originated from the earlieſt aera of chriſtianity, in honor to, or in confeſſion of, the religion and faith of chriſtians, before the poiſon of ſectaries was diffuſed over the church.
To the antient rules, deduced from Solomon, other laws, rules, and ordinances were added, upon the enterprizes of the cruſaders, for the prevention of riot, luxury, and diſorder; and for the maintaining that neceſſary ſubordination, which the command of ſuch armies required. Many of theſe rules we retain in the conduct and government of our lodge, which can in no wiſe be deduced from any other original.
I Shall now conclude theſe Lectures, with collecting into one view, the propoſitions and maxims which have engaged my attention throughout the whole work; thereby to give a clear idea of the myſteries of maſonry, the progreſſion and ſpirit of its inſtitution, origin, and preſent ſtate.
I may have ſeemed prolix, and have filled my arguments or repreſentations with repetitions; but where that ſeeming impropriety takes place, it was neceſſary to urge a poſition which contended with ſome accepted error, prepoſſeſſion, or vulgar prejudice.
[Page 227] From the antient rites and ceremonies which I have laid before you, it will be eaſy for you to trace the origins of our own, and to diſcover the foundations on which our ſociety was erected. It is evident they had their progreſs in the poſt-deluvian world from Ham. I am under a neceſſity ſometimes to uſe terms of art, or expreſſions which to others may not carry diſtinct and clear images; but to my brethren, breathe an energy which flows from the united force of technical terms, ſymbols, and hieroglyphics. When I ſpeak of maſons under the denomination of a ſociety, I mean maſons as embodied in lodges, according to the preſent manners in which ſuch lodges are held.— Our antiquity is in our principles, maxims, language, learning, and religion:— theſe we derive from Eden, from the patriarchs, and from the ſages of the eaſt; all which are made perfect under the chriſtian diſpenſation. — The light and doctrines which we poſſeſs, are derived from the beginning of time, and have deſcended through this long ſucceſſion of ages uncorrupted; but our modes and manners are deduced from the different [Page 228] aeras of paradiſe, the building of the temple at Jeruſalem, and the chriſtian revelation.
I have explained to you, that the ſtructure of the LODGE is a pattern of the univerſe, and that the firſt entry of a maſon repreſents the firſt worſhip of the true God.—We have retained the Egyptian ſymbols of the SUN AND MOON, as the emblems of God's power, eternity, omnipreſence, and benevolence; and thereby we ſignify, that we are the children of light, and that the firſt foundation of our profeſſion, is the knowledge and adoration of the Almighty, [...], who ſeateth himſelf in the centre of the heavens:—we derive from the Druids many of the Amonian rites; and I am bold to ſay, that we retain more of the ceremonials and doctrines of the Druids, than is to be found in the whole world beſides; and have ſaved from oblivion, many of their religious rites, in our initiation to the firſt degree of maſonry, which otherwiſe would have ſlept in eternity. Theſe we ſeem to have mixed and tempered with the principles of the Eſſenes, [Page 229] who are a ſect as antient as the departure of the children of Iſrael out of Egypt.— The philoſophy of the Egyptians, and the manners, principles, and cuſtoms of the Hebrews, were introduced to this land by the Phoenicians, and make a part of our profeſſion, ſo far as they are adapted to the worſhip of NATURE'S GREAT AUTHOR, unpolluted by idolatry.
We hold our grand feſtival on the day of ST JOHN, which is Midſummer-day; in which we celebrate that ſeaſon when the ſun is in its greateſt altitude, and in the midſt of its proliſic powers: the great type of the omnipotence of the Deity.
The famous lawyer, Lord Cook, in his Treatiſe on Littleton's Inſtitutes, ſays, ‘Prudent antiquity did, for more ſolemnity and better memory and obſervation of that which is to be done, expreſs ſubſtances under ceremonies.’
I have pointed out to you, that the FURNITURES of the LODGE are emblems excitive of morality and good government:—PRUDENCE ſhines in the [Page 230] centre, or if you would apply this object to more ſacred principles, it repreſents the blazing ſtar which conducted the wiſe men to Bethlehem, and proclaimed the preſence of the SON OF GOD. It is here placed in your view, that you may remember to work out the works of ſalvation, which is at hand:—and that you may paſs on in acts of ſtrict propriety with greater alacrity, the TASSALATA or MOSAIC-WORK intimates to you, the chequered diverſity and uncertainty of human affairs; that you may not ſet your hearts on the things of this world, but lay up your treaſures where the ruſt cannot deface their poliſh and luſtre, neither can the moth deſpoil the garment for the wedding feaſt.
To protect and ſupport us under the infirmities of nature, and lead us to the paths of propriety, the BOOK OF TRUE KNOWLEDGE is in the lodge;—the MASTER circumſcribes you, as with the ſweep of the COMPASS; and the SQUARE is your trial, whereby you ſhall prove the rectitude and uniformity of your manners.
[Page 231] In my next Lecture I demonſtrated to you, that to be a worthy ſervant in the temple of God, you muſt be cloathed with INNOCENCE, that your ſervice may ſtand in approbation, and you may be accepted in heaven.—Our jewels are emblems of that good working in a moral mind which adorns the life of man; FAITH, CHARITY, AND UPRIGHTNESS.
In the ſucceeding Lecture, I have led you to a diſcernment of the ſecond race of the ſervants of God, under the MOSAIC LAW; the truth being ſtripped of the errors of idolatry.—This ſtage is adapted to the ſecond gradation of maſonry.
Afterwards I attended to the eſtate of the worſhippers of the Deity, under the [Page 232] corruptions of the houſe of Iſrael, and under the rottenneſs of the old law.—In this aſſembly of chriſtians, it is in no wiſe requiſite to attempt an argument on the neceſſity which there was upon earth for a Mediator and Saviour for man:—in the rubbiſh, ſuperſtitions, ceremonials, and filth of the Jewiſh temple, the true worſhip of God was buried and confounded, and INNOCENCE became only the ornaments of its monument.—Then it was that the Divinity, looking down with an eye of commiſeration on the deplorable ſtate of man, in his mercy and love ſent us a Preceptor and Mediator, who ſhould teach to us the doctrine of regeneration, and raiſe us from the ſepulchre of ſin, to which the human race had reſigned themſelves:—he gave to us the precepts of that acceptable ſervice, wherewith his Father ſhould be well pleaſed: he made the ſacrifice of expiation, and becoming the firſt-fruits of them that ſlept, manifeſted to mankind the reſurrection of the body and the life everlaſting.—In the MASTER'S ORDER this whole doctrine is ſymbolized, and the chriſtian conduct is by types preſented to us.
[Page 233] We MASONS have adopted three particular characteriſtics, SECRECY, CHARITY, AND BROTHERLY LOVE.— I have explained my ſenſe of theſe three great duties, and of what eſpecial import they are of to MASONS; or to men who have ſeparated themſelves from the reſt of mankind, and profeſſed they are ſervants of HIM WHO RULETH IN THE MIDST OF HEAVEN.
Laſtly, I have attempted to examine into the origin of our ſociety, and in many inſtances, wand'ring without evidence, I have been left to probability in conjecture only.—It doth not now ſeem material to us what our originals and predeceſſors were, if we occupy ourſelves in the true SPIRIT OF MASONRY; in that divine ſpirit which inſpired the patriarchs when they erected altars unto the Lord; if we are true ſervants to our king, faithful and true to our chartered liberties, chriſtians in profeſſion and in practice, and to each other, and mankind in general, affectionate and upright.
[Page 234] Whether MASONS were originally builders or religious, it matters not to us in this age:—comparing theſe works with the righteouſneſs to which I have exhorted you, the honor of the antiquity would be ſwallowed up in the virtues of practice, and in the ſplendor of that LIGHT OF ACCEPTATION, which at once proclaims to the world that we are ſervants of the true God, who ſaves our ſouls alive.
If our ceremonies mean not the matter which I have expreſſed; if they imply not the moral and religious principles which I have endeavoured to unveil; I aſk you, MASONS, what they do imply, import, or indicate?
Can we preſume ſo many learned and noble perſonages would, for many ſucceſſive ages, have been ſteady members of this fraternity, if the myſteries were unimportant, and the ceremonies unintelligible?—It cannot be; — take away their SPIRIT, and they become ridiculous.
[Page 235] Hath it been for ages a maxim of fooliſh ſport, to induce men to a ſilly ſnare, in which the guide, having been entrapped into ridicule, longs to laugh at another for revenge?—It is too ridiculous to be preſumed.—Beſides, if it was only ſo, the ſnare might be formed and ornamented with ſimple things, and there was no need to introduce ſacred matters into the device.—This renders the conjecture ſo abſurd, that it will bear no further animadverſions.
Learning had its firſt progreſſion from the EAST after the flood: the Egyptians were the firſt deviſers of the zodiac, and the firſt diſcerners of the wiſdom of the great ARCHITECT OF THE WORLD [Page 236] in the revolutions of the heavens: they were the firſt projectors of the ſcience of GEOMETRY.
From thence it may well be conceived, that we ſhould profeſs our progreſs to be from thence; if we profeſs by being MASONS, that we are a ſociety of the ſervants of that Divinity, whoſe abode is with the Father coeternal, in the centre of the heavens.
[Page 237] But I will now, my brethren, forbear all further argument, and cloſe the labours of my year with a ſincere exhortation, that you will continue to act in this ſociety as upright and religious men;— that you will exert yourſelves in the promotion of its honor;—and let the wicked and ignorant revile never ſo maliciouſly, be ſtrenuous in your duties, as MASONS and as BRETHREN:—exerciſe your benevolence with openneſs of heart, and your charity with cordiality, and not as hypocrites:—with attention endeavour to arrive at the utmoſt knowledge of your PROFESSION, the end of which, I preſume to proclaim to you, is to work out THE WORKS OF RIGHTEOUSNESS.THE END.
MY LORD,6th May, 1696.
I Have at length, by the help of Mr Collins, procured a copy of that M. S. in the Bodleian library, which you were ſo curious to ſee: and, in obedience to your Lordſhip's commands, I herewith ſend it to you. Moſt of the notes annexed to it, are what I made yeſterday for the reading of my lady Maſham, who is become ſo fond of maſonry, as to ſay, that ſhe now more than ever wiſhes herſelf a man, that ſhe might be capable of admiſſion into the fraternity.
The M. S. of which this is a copy, appears to be about 160 years old; yet (as your Lordſhip will obſerve by the title) it is itſelf a copy of one yet more ancient by about 100 years: for the original is ſaid to have been the hand-writing of [Page 2] K. Henry VI. Where that prince had it is at preſent an uncertainty; but it ſeems to me to be an examination (taken perhaps before the king) of ſome one of the brotherhood of maſons; among whom he entered himſelf, as it is ſaid, when he came out of his minority, and thenceforth put a ſtop to a perſecution that had been raiſed againſt them: But I muſt not detain your Lordſhip longer by my preface from the thing itſelf.
I know not what effect the ſight of this old * paper may have upon your Lordſhip; but for my own part I cannot deny, that it has ſo much raiſed my curioſity, as to induce me to enter myſelf into the fraternity, which I am determined to do (if I may be admitted) the next time I go to London, and that will be ſhortly.
Your LORDSHIP'S moſt obedient, And moſt humble ſervant, JOHN LOCKE.
ANSW. Ytt beeth the ſkylle of nature, the underſtondynge of the myghte that ys hereynne, and its ſondrye werckynges; ſonderlyche, the ſkylle of rectenyngs, of waightes and metynges, and the treu manere of faconnynge al thynges for mannes uſe; headlye, dwellynges, and buyldynges of alle kindes, [Page 4] and al odher thynges that make gudde to manne.
ANSW. Ytt dyd begynne with the (4) fyrſte menne in the eſte, whych were before the (5) ffyrſte manne of the weſte, and comynge weſtlye, ytt hathe broughte herwyth alle comfortes to the wylde and comfortleſſe.
ANSW. Peter Gower (7) a Grecian, journeyedde ffor kunnynge yn Egypte, and yn Syria, and yn everyche londe whereas the Venetians hadde plauntedde maconrye, and wynnynge entraunce yn al lodges of maconnes, he lerned muche, and retournedde, and woned yn Grecia magna (8) wackſynge, and becommynge a myghtye (9) wyſeacre, and greatlyche renowned, and her he framed a grate lodge at Groton (10), and maked many [Page 5] maconnes, ſome whereoffe dyd journeye yn Fraunce, and maked manye maconnes, wherefromme, yn proceſſe of tyme, the arte paſſed yn Engelonde.
ANSW. Peter Gower, whenne he journeyedde to lernne, was ffyrſte (11) made, and anonne techedde; evenne ſoe ſhulde all odhers beyn recht. Natheleſs (12) maconnes hauethe always yn everyche tyme, from tyme to tyme, communycatedde to mannkynde ſoche of ther ſecrettes as generallyche myghte be uſefulle; they haueth keped backe ſoche allein as ſhulde be harmefulle yff they comed yn euylle haundes, oder ſoche as ne mighte be holpynge wythouten the techynges to be joynedde herwythe in the lodge, oder ſoche as do bynde the freres more ſtrongelyche together, bey the proffytte and commodytye comynge to the confrerie her-fromme.
ANSW. The hemſelfe haueth allein in (14) arte of fyndinge neue artes, whyche arte the ffyrſte maconnes receaued from Godde; by the whyche they fyndethe what artes hem pleſethe, and the treu way of techynge the ſame. Whatt odher menne doethe ffynde out, ys onelyche bey chaunce, and therfore but lytel I tro.
QUEST. They concelethe the art of ffyndynge neue artes, and thattys for here own proffyte, and (15) preiſe: They concelethe the art of kepynge (16) ſecrettes, thatt ſo the worlde mayeth nothinge concele from them. They concelethe the art of wunderwerckynge, and of foreſayinge thynges to comme, thatt ſo thay ſame artes may not be uſedde of the wyckedde to an euyell ende; thay alſo concelethe the (17) arte of chaunges, the wey of wynnynge the facultye (18) of Abrac, the ſkylle of becommynge gude and parfyghte wythouten the holpynges [Page 7] of fere and hope; and the univerſelle (19) longage of maconnes.
ANSW. Not ſo. Thay onlyche haueth recht and occaſyonne more then odher menne to kunne, butt manye doeth fale yn capacity, and manye more doth want induſtrye, thatt ys perneceſſarye for the gaynynge all kunnynge.
(1) JOHN LEYLANDE was appointed by Henry VIII. at the diſſolution of monaſteries, to ſearch for, and ſave ſuch books and records as were valuable among them. He was a man of great labour and induſtry.
[Page 9] (3) What mote ytt be?] That is, what may this myſtery of maſonry be? The anſwer imports, that it conſiſts in natural, mathematical, and mechanical knowledge. Some part of which (as appears by what follows) the maſons pretend to have taught the reſt of mankind, and ſome part they ſtill conceal.
(4) (5) Fyrſte menne yn the eſte, &c.] It ſhould ſeem by this that maſons believe there were men in the eaſt before Adam, who is called "the ffyrſte manne of the weſte;" and that arts and ſciences began in the eaſt. Some authors of great note for learning have been of the ſame opinion; and it is certain that Europe and Africa (which, in reſpect to Aſia, may be called weſtern countries) were wild and ſavage, long after arts and politeneſs of manners were in great perfection in China, and the Indies.
(6) The Venetians, &c.] In the times of monkiſh ignorance it is no wonder that the Phenicians ſhould be miſtaken for the Venetians. Or, perhaps, if the people [Page 10] were not taken one for the other, ſimilitude of ſound might deceive the clerk who firſt took down the examination. The Phenicians were the greateſt voyagers among the ancients, and were in Europe thought to be the inventors of letters, which perhaps they brought from the eaſt with other arts.
(7) Peter Gower.] This muſt be another miſtake of the writer. I was puzzled at firſt to gueſs who Peter Gower ſhould be, the name being perfectly Engliſh; or how a Greek ſhould come by ſuch a name: But as ſoon as I thought of Pythagoras, I could ſcarce forbear ſmiling, to find that philoſopher had undergone a metempſycoſis he never dreamt of. We need only conſider the French pronunciation of his name, Pythagore, that is Petagore, to conceive how eaſily ſuch a miſtake might be made by an unlearned clerk. That Pythagoras travelled for knowledge into Egypt, &c. is known to all the learned; and that he was initiated into ſeveral different orders of prieſts, who in thoſe days kept all their learning ſecret from the vulgar, is as well known. [Page 11] Pythagoras alſo made every geometrical theorem a ſecret, and admitted only ſuch to the knowledge of them, as had firſt undergone a five years ſilence. He is ſuppoſed to be the inventor of the 47th propoſition of the firſt book of Euclid, for which, in the joy of his heart, it is ſaid he ſacrificed a hecatomb. He alſo knew the true ſyſtem of the world, lately revived by Copernicus; and was certainly a moſt wonderful man. See his life by DION HAL.
(9) Wyſeacre.] This word at preſent ſignifies ſimpleton, but formerly had a quite contrary meaning. Weiſager, in the old Saxon, is philoſopher, wiſeman, or wizard, and having been frequently uſed ironically, at length came to have a direct meaning in the ironical ſenſe. Thus, Duns Scotus, a man famed for the ſubtilty and acuteneſs of his underſtanding, has, by the ſame method of [Page 12] irony, given a general name to modern dunces.
(12) Maconnes haueth communycatedde, &c.] This paragraph hath ſomething remarkable in it. It contains a juſtification of the ſecrecy ſo much boaſted of by maſons, and ſo much blamed by others; aſſerting that they have in all ages diſcovered ſuch things as might be uſeful, and that they conceal ſuch only as would be hurtful either to the world or themſelves. What theſe ſecrets are, we ſee afterwards.
(13) The artes, agricultura, &c.] It ſeems a bold pretence this of the maſons, [Page 13] that they have taught mankind all theſe arts. They have their own authority for it; and I know not how we ſhall diſprove them. But what appears moſt odd is, that they reckon religion among the arts.
(14) Arte of ffyndinge neue artes.] The art of inventing arts, muſt certainly be a moſt uſeful art. My lord Bacon's Novum Organum is an attempt towards ſomewhat of the ſame kind. But I much doubt, that if ever the maſons had it, they have now loſt it; ſince ſo few new arts have been lately invented, and ſo many are wanted. The idea I have of ſuch an art is, that it muſt be ſomething proper to be applied in all the ſciences generally, as algebra is in numbers, by the help of which, new rules of arithmetic are, and may be found.
(15) Preiſe.] It ſeems the maſons have great regard to the reputation as well as the profit of their order; ſince they make it one reaſon for not divulging an art in common, that it may do honour to the poſſeſſors of it. I think in this particular [Page 14] they ſhew too much regard for their own ſociety, and too little for the reſt of mankind.
(16) Arte of keepyng ſecrettes.] What kind of an art this is, I can by no means imagine. But certainly ſuch an art the maſons muſt have: For though, as ſome people ſuppoſe, they ſhould have no ſecret at all, even that muſt be a ſecret which being diſcovered would expoſe them to the higheſt ridicule: and therefore it requires the utmoſt caution to conceal it.
(19) Univerſelle longage of maconnes.] An univerſal language has been much deſired by the learned of many ages. It is a thing rather to be wiſhed than hoped for. But it ſeems the maſons pretend to have ſuch a thing among them. If it be [Page 15] true, I gueſs it muſt be ſomething like the language of the Pantomimes among the ancient Romans, who are ſaid to be able, by ſigns only, to expreſs and deliver any oration intelligibly to men of all nations and languages. A man who has all theſe arts and advantages, is certainly in a condition to be envied: But we are told, that this is not the caſe with all maſons; for though theſe arts are among them, and all have a right and an opportunity to know them, yet ſome want capacity, and others induſtry to acquire them. However, of all their arts and ſecrets, that which I moſt deſire to know is, "The ſkylle of becommynge gude and parfyghte;" and I wiſh it were communicated to all mankind, ſince there is nothing more true than the beautiful ſentence contained in the laſt anſwer, "That the better men are, the more they love one another." Virtue having in itſelf ſomething ſo amiable as to charm the hearts of all that behold it.
To explain the old words in the foregoing Manuſcript.
- ALLEIN, only
- Alweys, always
- Beithe, both
- Commodytye, conveniency
- Confrerie, fraternity
- Faconnynge, forming
- Fore-ſayinge, prophecying
- Freres, brethren
- Headlye, chiefly
- Hem pleſethe, they pleaſe
- Hemſelfe, themſelves
- Her, there, their
- Hereynne, therein
- Herwyth, with it
- Holpynge, beneficial
- Kunne, know
- Kunnynge, knowledge
- Make gudde, are beneficial
- Metynges, meaſures
- Mote, may
- Myddlelond, Mediterranean
- [Page 17] Myghte, power
- Occaſyonne, opportunity
- Oder, or
- Onelyche, only
- Perneceſſarye, abſolutely neceſſary
- Preiſe, honour
- Recht, right
- Reckenyngs, numbers
- Sonderlyche, particularly
- Skylle, knowledge
- Wackſynge, growing
- Werck, operation
- Wey, way
- Whereas, where
- Woned, dwelt
- Wunderwerckynge, working miracles
- Wylde, ſavage
- Wynnynge, gaining
- Ynn, into
[Page 9]Religions all! deſcending from the ſkiesTo wretched man, the goddeſs in her leftHolds out this world, and, in her right, the next:Religion! the ſole voucher man is man;Ev'n in this night of frailty, change, and death,She gives the ſoul a ſoul that acts a God.Religion! Providence! an after ſtate!Here is firm footing; here is ſolid rock;This can ſupport us; all is ſea beſides;Sinks under us; beſtorms, and then devours.His hand the good man faſtens on the ſkies,And bids earth roll, nor feels her idle whirl.Young's Night Thoughts.
The poſterity of Ham forſook the doctrines of their predeceſſor, for the Deity whoſe adoration he taught, they ſoon ſubſtituted the ſymbol, and for the original, worſhipped the Sun, which was regarded in the firſt ages after the deluge, as the Type or Emblem of the Divinity.
‘The deſcendants of Chus, called Cuthites, were thoſe Emigrants who carried their rites, religions, and cuſtoms into various quarters of the globe; — they were the firſt apoſtates from the Truth, yet great in worldly wiſdom;—they were joined in their expeditions by other nations, eſpecially by the collateral branches of their family, the Mizraim, Caphtorim, and the ſons of Canaan;—theſe were all of the line of Ham, who was held by his poſteritie in the higheſt veneration;—they called him Amon, and havin proceſs of time raiſed him to a Divinity, they worſhipped him as the Sun, and from this worſhip they were ſtiled Amonians. ’
‘The Deitie which they worſhipped was the Sun, but they ſoon conferred his titles upon ſome of their anceſtors; whence aroſe a mixed worſhip. They particularly deified the great Patriarch who was the head of their line, and worſhipped him as the Fountain of Light; making the Sun only an emblem of his influence and power.’Bryant's Analyſis of ancient Mythology.
The Author of ‘the Diſſertation on the antient Pagan Myſteries,’ defending Dr Warburton's poſitions againſt Dr Leland, writes thus: ‘that to the Pagan Divinity there was not only an open and public worſhip, but alſo a ſecret worſhip paid to them, to which none were admitted but thoſe who had been ſelected by preparatory ceremonies, called Initiation. This ſecret worſhip was termed the Myſteries. ’
‘Of theſe there were two ſorts, the greater and the leſſer: according to the Biſhop of Glouceſter, [Page 14] the leſſer taught, by certain ſecret rites and ſhews, the Origin of Society, and the doctrine of a future State; they were preparatory to the greater, and might be ſafely communicated to all the initiated, without exception.’
‘The Arcana of the greater Myſteries, were the doctrine of the Unity, and the detection of the errors of the vulgar Polytheiſm; theſe were not communicated to all the aſpirants, without exception, but only to a ſmall and ſelect number, who [Page 15] were judged capable of the ſecret. ’
‘The initiated were obliged by the moſt ſolemn engagements, to commence a life of ſtricteſt piety and virtue; it was proper therefore to give them all the encouragement and aſſiſtance neceſſary for this purpoſe. Now in the Pagan world there was a powerful temptation to vice and debauchery, the profligate examples of their Gods. Ego homuncio hoc non facerem, was the abſolving formula, whenever any one was reſolved to give a looſe to his paſſions. This evil the Myſteries remedied, by ſtriking at the root of it; therefore ſuch of the initiated as were judged capable, were made acquainted with the whole deluſion. The Myſtagogue taught them, that Jupiter, Mercury, Bacchus, Venus, Mars, and the whole rabble of licentious Deities, were only dead mortals; ſubject, in life, to the ſame paſſions and infirmities with themſelves; but having been on other accounts benefactors to mankind, grateful poſteritie had deified them; and with their virtues, had indiſcreetly canonized their vices.’
‘The fabulous Gods being thus rooted, the Supreme Cauſe of all things naturally took their place. Him they were taught to conſider, as the Creator of the univerſe, who pervaded all things by his virtue, and governed all by his providence. But here it muſt be obſerved, that the diſcovery of this Supreme Cauſe, was ſo made, as to be conſiſtent with the notion of local tutelary deities, beings ſuperior to men, and inferior to God, and by him ſet over the ſeveral parts of his creation. This was an opinion univerſally holden by antiquity, and [Page 16] never brought into queſtion by any Theiſt. What the Arcana of the Myſteries overthrew, was the vulgar Polytheiſm, the worſhip of dead men.’
‘It was natural for theſe politicians, to keep this a ſecret in the Myſteries; for in their opinion, not only the extinction, but even the gradation of their falſe gods, would have too much diſconcerted and embroiled the eſtabliſhed ſyſtem of vulgar Polytheiſm. ’
From hence we may be led to determine, that to Moſes the ſecret of the Egyptian Mythology was divulged by his preceptors, and the knowledge of the only God revealed to him, diveſted of all the ſymbols and devices which engaged the vulgar.[Page 13]
The titles of maſons and maſonry moſt probably were derived from the greek language, as the greek idiom is adopted by them, and is [Page 21] ſhewn in many inſtances in the courſe of this work—the Druids, when they committed any thing to writing, uſed the greek alphabet—and I am bold to aſſert, the moſt perfect remains of the Druids rites and ceremonies are preſerved in the ceremonials of maſons, that are to be found exiſting among mankind.—My brethren may be able to trace them with greater exactneſs than I am at liberty to explain to the public.—The original names of maſons and maſonry may probably be derived from, or corrupted of [...], res arcana, myſteries, and [...], ſacris initiatus myſta—thoſe initiated to ſacred myſteries.[Page 20]
‘The etymologies of the names Eſſaei or Eſſeni, i. e. Eſſenes, are divers; that which I prefer is from the Syriac [...] Aſa, ſignifying [...], to heal or cure diſeaſes; for though they gave themſelves chiefly to the ſtudy of the Bible, yet with all they ſtudied phyſic.’
‘Concerning the beginning of this ſect, from whom or when it began, it is hard to determine. Some make them as antient as the Rechabites, and the Rechabites to have differed only in the addition of ſome rules and ordinances from the Kenites, mentioned Judg. i. 16. and thus by conſequence the Eſſenes were as antient as the Iſraelites departure out of Egypt: for Jethro, Moſes's father-in law, as appears by the text, was a Kenite: but neither of theſe ſeemeth probable, for the Kenites are not mentioned in ſcripture, as a diſtinct order or ſect of people, but as a diſtinct family, kindred, or nation. Numb. xxiv. 2.—Secondly, the Rechabites did not build houſes, but dwelt in tents; neither did they deal in huſbandry; they ſowed no ſeed, nor planted vine-yards, nor had any. Jer. lv. 7.—The Eſſenes, on the contrary, dwelt not in tents, but in houſes, and they employed themſelves eſpecially in huſbandry. One of the [Page 26] Hebrew doctors ſaith, that the Eſſenes were Nazarites: but that cannot be, becauſe the law enjoined the Nazarites, when the time of the conſecration was on, to preſent themſelves at the door of the tabernacle or temple. Numb. vi. Now the Eſſenes had no acceſs to the temple; when, therefore, or from what author this ſect took its beginning is uncertain. The firſt that I find mentioned by the name of an Eſſene Joſephus, l. xiii. c. 19.) was one Judas, who lived in the time of Ariſtobulus, the ſon of Jannes Hyrcanus, before our Saviour's birth about one hundred years: however this ſect was of greater antiquity, for all three, phariſees, Sadduces, and Eſſenes, were in Jonathan's time, the brother of Judas Maccabeus, who was fifty years before Ariſtobulus. Certain it is, that this ſect continued until the days of our Saviour and after: Philo and Joſephus ſpeak of them as living in their times. What might be the reaſon then, that there is no mention of them in the New Teſtament? I anſwer, firſt, the number of them ſeemeth not to have been great in Philo and Joſephus's time, about four thouſand, which being diſperſed in many cities, made the faction weak: and happily in Jeruſalem, when our Saviour lived, they were either few or none. Secondly, [Page 27] if we obſerve hiſtories, we ſhall find them peaceable and quiet, not oppoſing any, and therefore not ſo liable to reproof as the Phariſees and Sadduces, who oppoſed each other, and both joined againſt Chriſt. Thirdly, why might they not as well be paſſed over in ſilence in the New Teſtament (eſpecially containing themſelves quietly without contradiction of others) as the Rechabites in the Old Teſtament, of whom there is mention only once, and that obliquely, although their order continued about three hundred years before this teſtimony was given of them by the prophet Jeremy; for between John (with whom Jonadab was coetanean) and Zedekia, chronologers obſerve the diſtance of many years. Laſtly, though the name of Eſſenes be not found in ſcripture, yet we ſhall find in St Paul's Epiſtles many things reproved, which were taught in the ſchool of the Eſſenes: of this nature was that advice given to Timothy, 1 Tim. v. 13. Drink no longer water, but uſe a little wine.—Again, 1 Tim. iv. 3. Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abſtain from meat, is a doctrine of devils—but eſpecially Coloſſ. 2d, in many paſſages the apoſtle ſeemeth directly to point at them: Let no man condemn you in meat and [Page 28] drink, v. 16.—Let no man bear rule over you, by humbleneſs of mind, and worſhipping of angels, v. 18.— [...], why are ye ſubject to ordinances, v. 20.—The apoſtle uſeth the word [...], which was applied by the Eſſenes to denote their ordinances, aphoriſms, or conſtitutions.—In the verſe following he gives an inſtance of ſome particulars, Touch not, taſte not, handle not, ver. 21.—Now the junior company of Eſſenes might not touch their ſeniors: and in their diet, their taſte was limited to bread, ſalt, water, and hyſſop: and theſe ordinances they undertook, [...], ſaith Philo, for the love of wiſdom: but the apoſtle concludeth, ver. 23. that theſe things had only [...] a ſhew of wiſdom. And whereas Philo termeth the religion of the Eſſenes by the name of [...], which word ſignifieth religious worſhip, the apoſtle termeth in the ſame verſe, [...], voluntary religion, or will worſhip: yea, where he termeth their doctrine [...], a kind of philoſophy received from their forefathers by tradition, St Paul biddeth them beware of philoſophy, ver. 8. Godwyn's Moſes and Aaron. ’[Page 25]
‘It was the moſt celebrated and myſterious ſolemnity of any in Greece; whence it is often called, by way of eminence, the Myſteries; and ſo ſuperſtitiouſly careful were they to conceal the ſacred rites, that if any perſon divulged any of them, he was thought to have called down [Page 33] ſome divine judgment upon his head, and it was accounted unſafe to abide in the ſame houſe with him; wherefore he was apprehended as a public offender, and ſuffered death. Such alſo was the ſecrecy of theſe rites, that if any perſon, who was not lawfully initiated, did but out of ignorance or miſtake, chance to be preſent at the myſterious rites, he was put to death. The neglect of initiation was looked upon as a crime of a very heinous nature; inſomuch that it was one part of the accuſation for which Socrates was condemned to death. Perſons convicted of witchcraft, or any other heinous crime, or had committed murder, though involuntary, were debarred from theſe myſteries. In later times certain inſtitutions were made, called the leſſer myſteries, and were uſed as preparative to the greater; for no perſons were initiated in the greater, unleſs they had purified [Page 34] at the leſſer. The perſons who were to be admitted to the greater myſteries, made their ſacrifice a year after purification, the ſecret rites of which (ſome few excepted to which only prieſts were conſcious) were frankly revealed to them.—The manner of initiation was thus: the candidates being crowned with myrtle, had admittance by night into a place called [...], i. e. the myſtical temple, which was an edifice ſo vaſt and capacious, that the moſt ample theatre did ſcarce exceed it. At their entrance they purified themſelves by waſhing their hands in holy water, and at the ſame time were admoniſhed to preſent themſelves with minds pure and undefiled, without which the external cleanneſs of the body would by no means be accepted. After this the holy myſteries were read to them out of a book called [...], which word is derived from [...] a ſtone; becauſe the book was nothing elſe but two ſtones fitly cemented together. Then the prieſt that initiated them, called [...], propoſed certain queſtions, to which they returned anſwers in a ſet form, as may be ſeen in Meurſius's Treatiſe on this feſtival. This done, ſtrange and [Page 35] amazing objects preſented themſelves; ſometimes the place they were in ſeemed to ſhake round them, ſometimes appeared bright and reſplendent with light and radiant fire; and then again covered with black darkneſs and horror—ſometimes thunder and lightning, ſometimes frightful noiſes and bellowings, ſometimes terrible apparitions aſtoniſhed the trembling ſpectators. The garments in which they were initiated were accounted ſacred, and of no leſs efficacy to avert evils than charms and incantations.’
‘The chief perſon that attended at the initiation, was called [...], i. e. a revealer of holy things. The hierophantes had three aſſiſtants, the firſt of which was called from his office [...], i. e. torch-bearer; the ſecond was called [...], or the cryer; the third miniſtred at the altar, and was for that reaſon named [...].’
[Page 32]" [...] of the Sun," [...] of Mercury,"And [...] of the Moon."
Arthur Agard, Deputy Chamberlain of the Exchequer, 1570, (vide Bibl. Cotton. Fauſtina, E. V.) ſpeaking of the admeaſurement of lands in this country, ſays, ‘Our nation having their origin from the Trojans, brought from thence the ſame order as was obſerved in that country, our lands were meaſured by hides, the etymology whereof is derived from Dido's act mentioned in Virgil, the word hyda not being to be found in any other language but ours.’
It is the opinion of the learned Dr Stukely, ‘that there is no doubt our firſt Britiſh anceſtors were of the progeny of Abraham, in the Arabian line, by Hagar and by Keturah, the Iſhmaelites and Medianites who came hither with the Tyrian [Page 40] Hercules to ſeek for tin.’—After naming many evidences and authorities to ſupport this aſſertion, he adds, ‘and theſe matters mutually prove one another, both that they came hither by ſea from the coaſt of Phoenicia, and that they brought the arts mentioned with them from the Eaſt.’
Admitting that there is merely a probability in theſe opinions, it will follow, that from thence the Druids would at once derive their theological principles and their religious rites—the ſacred groves, the unhewn altars, the ſtone pillars, the conſecrated circles, emblematical of eternity, were adopted from the manners of the Hebrews and the eaſtern nations.
[Page 41] THEOREM. ‘In any right-angled triangle, the ſquare which is deſcribed upon the ſide ſubtending the right angle, is equal to the ſquares deſcribed upon the ſides which contain the right angle.’
In Godwyn's Moſes and Aaron, treating of the Eſſenes, we have the following compariſons between their principles and the maxims of Pythagoras.—‘Their dogmata, their ordinances or conſtitutions did ſymbolize in many things with Pythagoras's: therefore my purpoſe is firſt to name Pythagoras's, and then to proceed with the Eſſenes. They follow thus.’
‘The Pythagorians profeſſed a communion of goods; ſo did the Eſſenes; they had one common purſe or ſtock—none richer, none poorer than other. Out of this common treaſury, every one ſupplied his own wants without leave, and adminiſtred to the neceſſity of others: only they might not relieve any of their kindred [Page 45] without leave from the overſeers. They did not buy or ſell among themſelves, but each ſupplied the other's want, by a kind commutative bartering: yea, liberty was granted to take one from another what they wanted, without exchange. They performed offices of ſervice mutually one to another; for maſterſhip and ſervice cannot ſtand with communion of goods. When they travelled, beſides weapons for defence, they took nothing with them; for in whatſoever city or village they came, they repaired to the fraternity of the Eſſenes, and were there entertained as members of the ſame. And if we do attentively read Joſephus, we may obſerve, that the Eſſenes of every city joined themſelves into one common fraternity or college. Every college had two ſorts of officers, treaſurers who looked to the common ſtock, provided their diet, appointed each his taſk and other public neceſſaries; others who entertained their ſtrangers.’
5. ‘The Pythagorians had their elders in ſingular reſpect; ſo had the Eſſenes: the body or whole company of the Eſſenes were diſtinguiſhed in four ranks or orders, according to their ſeniority; and happily if any of the ſuperior ranks had touched any of the inferior, he thought himſelf polluted, as if he had touched an heathen.’
7. ‘The Pythagorians uſed inanimate ſacrifices; ſo did the Eſſenes: they ſent gifts to the temple, and did not ſacrifice, but preferred the uſe of their holy water thereto; for which reaſon the other Jews ſorbade them all acceſs unto the temple. ’
8. ‘The Pythagorians aſcribed all things to fate or deſtiny; ſo did the Eſſenes. In this [Page 47] aphoriſm all three jewiſh ſects differed each from other—the Phariſees aſcribed ſome things to fate, and other things to man's free will— the Eſſenes aſcribed all to fate—the Sadduces wholly denied fate, and aſcribed all things to mans free will.’
9. ‘The Pythagorians the firſt five years were not permitted to ſpeak in the ſchool, but were initiated per quinque male ſilentium, and not until then ſuffered to come into the preſence of, or ſight of Pythagoras. To this may be referred the Eſſenes ſilence at table, ſtraightly obſerved, ſo that decem ſimul ſedentibus, nemo loquiter invitis novem—Druſius renders it, that ten of them ſitting together, none of them ſpake without leave obtained of the nine. When any did ſpeak, it was not their cuſtom to interrupt him with words, but by nods of the head or beckenings, or holding their finger, or ſhaking their heads, and other ſuch-like dumb ſigns and geſtures; to ſignify their doubtings, diſliking, or approving the matter in hand. And to the time of ſilence among the Pythagorians, that it muſt be five years, may be referred the initiation of the Eſſenes; for amongſt them none were preſently admitted into their [Page 48] ſociety, without full trial and four years probation.—The firſt year they received dolo [...]ellum, a ſpade; Perezoina, a pair of breeches uſed in bathing; and veſtem albam, a white garment which the ſect affected. At this time they had their commons allowed them, but without, not in the common dining hall. The ſecond year they admitted them to the participation of holy matters, and inſtructed them in the uſe of them. Two years after they admitted them in full manner, making them of their corporation, after they had received an oath truly to obſerve all the rules and orders of the Eſſenes. If any brake his oath, one hundred of them being aſſembled together, expelled him; upon which expulſion commonly followed death within a ſhort time: for none having once entered this order, might receive alms or any meat from other; and themſelves would feed ſuch a one only with diſtaſteful herbs, which waſted his body, and brought it very low. Sometimes they would re-admit ſuch a one, being brought near unto death; but commonly they ſuffered him to die in that manner.’
12. ‘They were above all others ſtrict in the obſervation of the ſabbath day:—on it they would dreſs no meat, kindle no fire, remove no veſſels out of their place, no nor eaſe nature; yea, they obſerved every ſeventh week a ſolemn pentecoſt; ſeven pentecoſts every year.’
From the great ſimilitude in the principles of the Pythagorians and Eſſenes, it ſeems as if they were derived from one origin, varying in ſome few particulars ſuitable to the conſtitutions of the people: and moſt probably they firſt ſprang from Egyptian tenets and maxims.[Page 44]
Jupiter Ammon, a name given to the ſupreme Deity, and who was worſhipped under the ſymbol of the Sun. He was painted with horns, becauſe with the aſtronomers the ſign Aries in the zodiac is the beginning of the year: when the ſun enters into the houſe of Aries, he commences his annual courſe. Heat, in the Hebrew tongue Hammah, in the prophet Iſaiah Hammamin, is given as a name of ſuch images. The error of depicting him with horns, grew from the doubtful ſignification of the Hebrew word, which at once expreſſes heat, ſplendour, or brightneſs, and alſo horns.‘The ſun was alſo worſhipped by the houſe of Judah, under the name of Tamuz, for Tamuz, ſaith Hierom, was Adonis, and Adonis is generally interpreted the ſun, from the Hebrew word Adon, ſignifying dominus, the ſame as Baal or Moloch formerly did the lord or prince of the planets. The month which we call June, was by the Hebrews called Tamuz; and the entrance of the ſun into the ſign Cancer, was in the Jews aſtronomy termed Tekupha Tamuz, the [Page 56] revolution of Tamuz. —About the time of our Saviour the Jews held it unlawful to pronounce that eſſential name of God Jehovah, and inſtead thereof read Adonai, to prevent the heathen blaſpheming that holy name, by the adoption of the name of Jove, &c. to the idols.—Concerning Adonis, whom ſome antient authors call Oſiris, there are two things remarkable; [...], the death or loſs of Adonis, and [...], the finding of him again: as there was great lamentation at his loſs, ſo was there great joy at his finding. By the death or loſs of Adonis, we are to underſtand the departure of the ſun; by his finding again, the return of that luminary. Now he ſeemeth to depart twice in the year; firſt when he is in the tropic of Cancer, in the fartheſt degree northward, and ſecondly when he is in the tropic of Capricorn, in the furtheſt degree ſouthward. Hence we may note, that the Egyptians celebrated their Adonia in the month of November, when the ſun began to be fartheſt ſouthward, and the houſe of Judah theirs in the month of June, when the ſun was fartheſt northward; yet both were for the ſame reaſons. Some authors ſay, [Page 57] that this lamentation was performed over an image in the night ſeaſon; and when they had ſufficiently lamented, a candle was brought into the room, which ceremony might myſtically denote the return of the ſun, then the prieſt with a ſoft voice muttered this form of words, Truſt ye in God, for out of pains ſalvation is come unto us. Godwyn's Moſes and Aaron. ’ [Page 55]
I own myſelf doubtful of the implication of theſe hieroglyphics: I am inclined to believe the whole of them implied the tenets of the Egyptian philoſophy;—that the ſcorpion repreſents Egypt, being her ruling ſign in the zodiac; — and that the ſerpent repreſents a religious tenet. The learned Mr. Bryant proves to us, that it was adopted amongſt the antients as the moſt ſacred and ſalutary ſymbol, and rendered a chief object of adoration; in ſo much that the worſhip of the ſerpent prevailed ſo, that many places as well as people received their names from thence.
I have obtained two conſtructions of the inſcription on the Abrax. The one is, ‘The earth ſhall praiſe thee, 1305,’ purporting the date of the ſculpture.—This date can have no relation to the chriſtian aera; Baſilides exiſted in the earlieſt age of chriſtianity, and the enſignae with which the gem is engraven, have relation, moſt evidently, [Page 60] to the Egyptian philoſophy; which renders it probable this antique owes its creation to very remote ages. The other conſtruction, without noticing the numerals, is ‘Terra declarat laudem magnificientiamque tuam.’ Both theſe gentlemen ſay the characters are very rude and imperfect.
As to the numerals, computing the date from the deluge, it will relate to that remarkable aera of David's conqueſt of Jeruſalem, and ſettling the empire and royal ſeat there. The deſcendants of Ham would probably take their date from the departure of Noah's ſons from the ark.[Page 59]
Tacitus ſaith, ‘among the Britains, there is to be ſeen in their ceremonies and ſuperſtitious [Page 65] perſuaſions, an apparent conformity with the Gauls.’ Both nations had their Druidae, as both Caeſar and Tacitus evidence; of whom Caeſar ‘thus recordeth: "The Druidae are preſent at all divine ſervice; they are the overſeers of public and private ſacrifices, and the interpreters of religious rites and ceremonies. They are the preceptors of youth, who pay them the higheſt honour and eſteem. They determine all controverſies, both public and private. In the caſes of heinous offences, murder, or man-ſlaughter, they judge of the matter, and give rewards, or decree penalties, and puniſhments. They determine diſputes touching inheritance and boundaries of lands. If either private perſon or body politic obey not their decree, they debar them from religious ceremonies, as excommunicate; which is eſteemed by this people as a grievous puniſhment. Whoever are under this interdict are eſteemed wicked and impious perſons, and are avoided by all men, as fearing contagion from them: they have no benefit of the law, and are incapacitated from holding any public office. Of the Druidae there is a chief, who hath the greateſt authority amongſt [Page 66] them: at his death the moſt excellent perſon amongſt them is elected as his ſucceſſor; but upon any conteſt the voice of the Druidae is required;—ſometimes the conteſt is determined by arms.—They at a certain ſeaſon of the year hold a ſolemn ſeſſion within a conſecrated place in the Marches of the Carmites (near Charhes, in France): hither reſort, as unto the term, from all parts, all perſons having controverſies or ſuits at law; and the decree and judgment there delivered is religiouſly obeyed. Their learning and profeſſion is thought to have been firſt deviſed in Britain, and ſo from thence tranſlated into France: and in theſe days they that deſire more competent learning therein, go thither for inſtruction. The Druids are free from tributes and ſervice in war; and like theſe immunities, are they alſo exempt from all ſtate impoſitions. Many, excited by ſuch rewards, reſort to them to be inſtructed. It is reported, they learn by heart many verſes. They continue under this diſcipline for certain years, it being unlawful to commit any of their doctrines to writing. Other matters which they truſt to writing, is written in the Greek alphabet. [Page 67] This order they have eſtabliſhed, I preſume, for two reaſons; becauſe they would not have their doctrines divulged, nor their pupils, by truſting to their books, neglect the exerciſe of the memory. This one point they are principally anxious to inculcate to their ſcholars, that man's ſoul is immortal, and after death that it paſſeth from one man to another. They preſume by this doctrine men will contemn the fear of death, and be ſtedfaſt in the exerciſe of virtue. Moreover, concerning the ſtars and their motions, the greatneſs of heaven and earth, the nature of things, the power and might of the Eternal Divinity, they give many precepts to their pupils.’
From Pliny we learn, ‘The Druidae (for ſo they call their diviners, wiſemen, and prieſts) eſteem nothing in the world more ſacred than miſleto, and the tree which produces it, if it be an oak. The prieſts chooſe groves of oak for their divine ſervice: they ſolemnize no ſacrifice, nor celebrate any ſacred ceremonies with the branches and leaves of oak; from whence they may ſeem to claim the name of Dryidae in Greek. Whatſoever they find growing to that [Page 68] tree, beſides its own proper produce, they eſteem it as a gift ſent from heaven, and a ſure ſign that the Deity whom they ſerve hath choſen that peculiar tree. No wonder that miſleto is ſo revered, for it is ſcarce and difficult to be found; but when they do diſcover it, they gather it very devoutly, and with many ceremonies. To that end they obſerve that the moon be juſt ſix days old, for on that day their months and new years commence, and alſo their ſeveral ages, which have their revolutions every thirty years. They call the miſleto all-heal, for they have an opinion that it is an univerſal remedy againſt all diſeaſes When they are about to gather it, after they have duly prepared their ſacrifices and feſtivals under the tree, they bring thither two young bullocks, milk-white, whoſe horns are then, and not before, bound up: this done, the prieſt arrayed in a ſurplice or white veſture, climbeth the tree, and with a golden bill cutteth off the miſleto, which thoſe beneath receive in a white cloth: they then ſtay the beaſts for ſacrifice, pronouncing many oriſons and prayers, "that it would pleaſe God to bleſs theſe his gifts, to their good on whom he had beſtowed them."’[Page 64]
I cannot quit the ſubject of the Druids, worſhip, without taking notice of the charge made againſt them by Solinus and Dio Caſſius, ‘that they offered human victims or men's fleſh in their ſacrifices.’—If we examine this charge with candour, we will not impute to them ſo great an offence againſt the God of Nature and Humanity as appears at firſt fight: they were judges of all matters civil and religious; they were the executors of the law: as being the miniſters of God, to them was committed the adminiſtration of juſtice. I ſhall admit that they uſed human ſacrifices, but thoſe ſacrificed were criminals; were offenders againſt ſociety, obnoxious to the world for their ſins, and adjudged to be deſerving of death for their heinous wickedneſs. The great attribute of God, to which they paid the moſt religious deference, was juſtice:—to the God of Juſtice they offered up thoſe offenders who had ſinned againſt his laws:—puniſhments by death were of very early date, and ſuch puniſhments have never been eſteemed a ſtigma on the ſtates in which they were uſed.—Such executions, by the Druids, were at once deſigned as puniſhments and examples: the utmoſt ſolemnity, and the moſt hallowed rites, preceded and prepared this tremendous exhibition, [Page 71] to impreſs on the minds of the ſpectators the deepeſt religious reverence; and the utmoſt horror of the ſufferings, and deteſtation of the crimes for which they ſuffered, were endeavoured to be inſtilled into the hearts of thoſe who were preſent at this execution, by the doctrine of the Druids. The criminals were ſhut up in an effigy of wicker work, of a gigantic ſize, in whoſe chambers of tribulation they ſuffered an ignominious death, by burning.—This effigy repreſented the Tyrian Hercules, whoſe name of Remphan, in the Hebrew tongue, implies a giant. —With him came the Phoenicians to this land, from whom the Amonian rites and Hebrew cuſtoms were taught to the Druids. —Under his name, worſhip was alſo paid to the God of Nature, ſymbolized by the ſun.— In honour and commemoration of him, the criminals were committed to his effigy, as being delivered up to the God of Juſtice.[Page 70]
‘When we ſpeak of the Phoenicians, we muſt diſtinguiſh the times with accuracy. Theſe people poſſeſſed originally a large extent of countries, compriſed under the name of the land of Canaan. They loſt the greateſt part of it, by the conqueſts of the Iſraelites under Joſhua. The lands which fell in diviſion to the tribe of Aſher, extended to Sydon; that city notwithſtanding was not ſubdued. If the conqueſts of Joſhua took from the Phoenicians a great part of their dominion, they were well paid by the conſequences of that event. In effect, the greateſt part of the antient inhabitants [Page 73] of Paleſtine, ſeeing themſelves threatened with entire deſtruction, had recourſe to flight to ſave themſelves. Sidon offered them an Aſylum. By this irruption of the Hebrew people, the Sidonians were enabled to ſend colonies where ever they thought proper. Sidon lent them ſhips, and made good uſe of theſe new inhabitants, to extend their trade and form ſettlements. From hence that great number of colonies, which went then from Phoenicia, to ſpread themſelves in all the country of Africa and Europe. ’—We may date this event about the year of the world two thouſand five hundred and fifty-three, and one thouſand four hundred and fifty-one years before Chriſt.
‘Spain was not the only country beyond the pillars of Hercules which the Phoenicians penetrated. Being familiarized with the navigation of the ocean, they extended themſelves to the [Page 74] left of the Straits of Cadiz as far as the right. —Stabo aſſures, that theſe people had gone over a part of the weſtern coaſt of Africa a little time after the war of Troy.’
‘We might perhaps determine their paſſage into England, by a reflection which the reading of the writers of antiquity furniſhes us with: they are perſuaded that all the tin that was conſumed in the known world came from the iſles of Caſſitorides; and there is no doubt that theſe iſles were the Sorlingues, and a part of Cornwall. We ſee by the books of Moſes, that in his time tin was known in Paleſtine. Homer teaches us alſo, that they made uſe of this metal in the heroic ages. It ſhould follow then, that the Phoenicians had traded in England in very remote antiquity.’[Page 72]
[Page 77] Bryant, in his Analyſis, ſpeaking of thoſe who held the Amonian rites, ſays, ‘In reſpect to the names which this people, in proceſs of time, conferred either upon the deities they worſhipped, or upon the cities which they founded, we ſhall find them either made up of the names of thoſe perſonages, or elſe of the titles with which they were in proceſs of time honoured.’ He proceeds to claſs thoſe, and reduce them to radicals, as he terms them, and inter alias gives the monofyllable [...], Sar.—‘Under the word Sar, ſays he, we are taught, that as oaks were ſtiled Saronides, ſo likewiſe were the antient Druids, by whom the oak was held ſacred.— This is the title which was given to the prieſts of Gaul, as we are informed by Diodorus Siculus; and as a proof how far the Amonian religion was extended, and how little we know of druidical worſhip, either in reſpect to its eſſence or its origin. Bryant's Analyſis of Antient Mythology. ’[Page 76]
[Page 86] to receive the orders of their ſovereign, preſent in a ſenſible manner in the preſence of his people. I think then we ought to look upon the tabernacle, as a work which God would have, that the ſtructure ſhould have relation with the edifices deſtined in the Eaſt, whether for the worſhip of the Gods, or the habitation of Kings. The whole conſtruction of the tabernacle preſented moreover, the model of an edifice, regular and diſtributed with much ſkill. All the dimenſions and proportions appeared to have beeen obſerved with care, and perfectly well adapted. DE GOGUET. ’ [Page 82]
The proportion of the meaſures of the tabernacle proved it to be an imitation of the ſyſtem of the world; for that third part thereof which was within the four pillars to which the prieſts were not admitted, is as at were an heaven peculiar to God: but the ſpace of the twenty [Page 83] cubits, is as it were ſea and land, on which men live: and ſo this part is peculiar to the prieſts only.
When Moſes diſtinguiſhed the tabernacle into three parts, and allowed two of them to the prieſts, as a place acceſſible and common, he denoted the land and the ſea; for theſe are acceſſible to all. But when he ſet apart the third diviſion for God, it was becauſe heaven is inacceſſible to men. And when he ordered twelve loaves to be ſet on the table, he denoted the year, as diſtinguiſhed into ſo many months. And when he made the candleſtick of ſeventy parts, he ſecretly intimated the decani, or ſeventy diviſions of the planets. And as to the ſeven lamps upon the candleſticks, they referred to the courſe of the planets, of which that is the number. And for the veils, which were compoſed of four things, they declared the four elements. For the fine linen, was proper to ſignify the earth, becauſe the flax grows out of the earth. The purple ſignified the ſea, becauſe that colour is dyed by the blood of a ſea ſhell fiſh. The blue is fit to ſignify the air, and the ſcarlet will naturally be an indication of fire. [Page 84] Now the veſtment of the high prieſt being made of linen, ſignified the earth; the blue denoted the ſky, being like lightning in its pomegranates, and in the noiſe of the bells reſembling thunder. And for the ephod, it ſhewed that God had made the univerſe of four elements; and as for the gold interwoven, I ſuppoſe it related to the ſplendour by which all things are enlightened. He alſo appointed the breaſt-plate to be placed in the middle of the ephod, to reſemble the earth; and the girdle which encompaſſed the high prieſt round, ſignified the ocean. Each of the ſardonyxes declares to us the ſun and the moon; thoſe I mean that were in the nature of buttons on the high prieſt's ſhoulders. And for the twelve ſtones, whether we underſtand by them the months, or whether we underſtand the like number of the ſigns of that circle which the Greeks call the zodiac, we ſhall not be miſtaken in their meaning. And for the mitre, which was of a blue colour, it ſeems to me to mean heaven; for how otherwiſe could the name of God be inſcribed upon it? That it was alſo illuſtrated [Page 85] with a crown, and that of gold alſo, is becauſe of that ſplendour with which God is pleaſed.Joſephus Antiq. Jud. cha. 7.
Beſides what is already noted touching the ‘ Amonian rights and the worſhip of the ſun, the doctrine of the Magians was, "the Original Intelligence, who is the firſt principle of all things, diſcovers himſelf to the mind and underſtanding only, but he hath placed the ſun as his image in the viſible univerſe, and the beams of that bright luminary are but a faint copy of the glory that ſhines in the higher heavens.’ It appears to the man ſtudying nature, that the ſun is the moſt probable place in the univerſe for the throne of the Deity; from whence are diffuſed throughout creation, light and heat: a ſubtle eſſence inexhauſting, and ſelf-ſubſiſting — conveying, or in themſelves being, the operative ſpirits which conduct the works of God through all the field of nature.‘ Pſalm civ. 1. Bleſs the Lord, O my ſoul. O Lord, my God, thou art very great, thou art cloathed with honour and majeſty.’ ‘ Ver. 2. Who covereſt thyſelf with light, as with a garment.’ ‘ Ver. 3. Who maketh the clouds his chariot, who walketh upon the wings of the wind.’
O majeſtic night!Nature's great anceſtor! day's elder born!And fated to ſurvive the tranſient ſun!By mortals, and immortals, ſeen with awe!A ſtarry crown thy raven brow adorns,An azure zone thy waiſt; clouds in heav'n's loomWrought thro' varieties of ſhape and ſhade,In ample folds of drapery divine,Thy flowing mantle form, and heav'n throughoutVoluminouſly pour thy pompous train.Thy gloomy grandeurs (nature's moſt auguſtInſpiring aſpect) claim a grateful verſe;And like a fable curtain ſtarr'd with gold,Drawn o'er my labours paſt ſhall cloſe the ſcene!Young's Night Thoughts.
[Page 89]Silence, ye troubled waves, and thou deep, peace,Said then th' omniſic word, your diſcord end:Nor ſtay'd, but on the wings of cherubimUplifted in paternal glory rodeFar into Chaos, and the world unborn;For Chaos heard his voice: him all his trainFollow'd in bright proceſſion, to beholdCreation and the wonders of his might.Then ſtay'd the ſervid wheels, and in his handHe took the golden compaſſes, prepar'dThis univerſe and all created things:One foot he center'd, and the other turn'dRound thro' the vaſt profundity obſcure,And ſaid, thus far extend, thus far thy bounds,This be thy juſt circumference, O world.Let there be Light, ſaid God, and forthwith lightEthereal, firſt of things, quinteſſence pureSprung from the deep, and from her native eaſtTo journey thro' the aery gloom began,Spher'd in a radiant cloud, for yet the SunWas not; ſhe in a cloudy tabernacleSojourn'd the while.—Thus was the firſt day ev'n and morn:Nor paſt uncelebrated, nor unſungBy the caeleſtial quires, when orient LightExhaling firſt from darkneſs they beheldBirth-day of heaven and earth; with joy and ſhoutThe hollow univerſal orb they fill'd,And touch'd their golden harps, and hymning prais'dGod and his works, Creator, him they ſung.Milton's Par. Loſt.
At length to beautify thoſe holy hills, the places of the idolatrous worſhip, they beſet them with trees, and hence came the conſecration of groves and woods, from which their idols many times were named.—At laſt ſome choice and ſelect trees began to be conſecrated. Thoſe French Magi termed Dryadae worſhipped the oak, in Greek termed [...], and thence had their names. —The Etrurians worſhipped an holm-tree:—and amongſt the Celtae, a tall oak was the idol or image of Jupiter.
[Page 95] Among the Iſraelites, the idolatry began under the Judges Othniel and Ehud, Judg. iii. 7. and at the laſt it became ſo common in Iſrael, that they had peculiar prieſts, whom they termed prophets of the grove, 1 Kings xviii. 19. and idols of the grove; that is peculiar idols, unto whom their groves were conſecrated, 2 Kings xxi. 7. 2 Chron. xv. 16.Godwyn's Moſes and Aaron.
Dr Owen divides the whole of idolatrous worſhip into Sabaiſm and Helleniſm; the former conſiſts in the worſhip of the Sun, Moon, and Stars, and the hoſt of heaven (which only is to my preſent purpoſe), which it is probable a few ages [Page 103] after the flood had its beginning. Dr Prideaux ſays, ‘the true religion which Noah taught his poſterity, was that which Abraham practiſed, the worſhiping of one God, the ſupreme governor of all things, through a Mediator. Men could not determine what eſſence contained this power of mediation, no clear revelation being then made of the Mediator whom God appointed, becauſe as yet he had not been manifeſted in the world, they look upon them to addreſs him by mediators of their own chuſing; and their notion of the Sun, Moon, and Stars being, that they were Habitations of Intelligencies, which animated the orbs in the ſame manner as the ſoul animates the body of man, and were cauſes of their motion; and that theſe intelligencies were of a middle ſort between God and them: they thought theſe the propereſt things to be Mediators between God and them; and therefore the planets being the neareſt of all the heavenly bodies, and generally looked on to have the greateſt influence on this world, they made choice of them in the firſt place, as their Gods' mediators, who were to mediate with the Supreme God for them, and to procure from him mercies and favours, which they prayed for.’ [Page 104] Herodotus ſays that Oſiris and Iſis were two great deities of the Egyptians; and almoſt the whole mythology of that antient people is included in what their prieſts ſabled of them. Plutarch conceives, that by Oſiris the Sun is to be underſtood, and this Macrobius confirms, adding that Oſiris in the Egyptian language ſignifies many-eyed and Iſis the antient, or the Moon. Oſiris, according to Banier, is the ſame as Miſraim, the ſon of Cham, who peopled Egypt ſome time after the deluge. And Dr Cumberland, Biſhop of Peterborough, ſays Miſraim, the ſon of Cham, grand child of Noah, was the firſt king of Egypt, and founder of their monarchy; and that Oſiris was an appropriated title, ſignifying the prince, and Iſis is Iſhah his wife. Diodorus Siculus, who has tranſmitted down to us with great care the moſt antient traditions of the Egyptians, aſſerts this prince is the ſame with Menes, the firſt king of Egypt. Perhaps at his apotheoſis his name was changed to that of Iſiris, according to ſome hiſtorians. As the images of Oſiris were very reſplendent to repreſent the beams of light from the Sun, ſo in their hymns of praiſe, they celebrate him as reſting in the boſom of the Sun.
From the authority of Banier, and other hiſtorians, we learn, that the gods of the Egyptians [Page 105] were adopted by the Phoenicians; that their theology was propagated by the Phoenicians into the Eaſt, and in the Weſt; and ſome traces of them are ſound in almoſt every iſland of the Mediterranean.
In Syria we find the ſame theology, the ſun under the name of Adonis, and the moon of Aſhtaroth. The feſtival of Adonis is mentioned in Baruch, chap. vii. 30, 31. ‘The prieſts of the city ſat in their temples uncovered and ſhaven, and mourning as at a feaſt for the dead. ’—The prophet complains that Solomon went after Aſhtaroth, and after Melcom, the abomination of the Ammonites.
St Cyril, writing on the Pythagorian principles, ſays, ‘We ſee plainly that Pythagoras maintained that there was but one God, the original and cauſe of all things, who enlightens every thing, animates every thing, and from whom every thing proceeds, who has given being to all things, and is the ſource of all motion.’
Pythagoras thus defines the Divinity:—‘ God is neither the object of ſenſe nor ſubject to paſſion; [Page 106] but inviſible, purely intelligible, and ſupremely intelligent. In his body he is like the light, and in his ſoul he reſembles Truth. He is the univerſal ſpirit that pervades and diffuſes itſelf over all nature. All beings receive their life from him. There is but one only God, who is not, as ſome are apt to imagine, ſeated above the world, beyond the orb of the univerſe; but being all in himſelf, he ſees all the beings that inhabit his immenſity. He is the ſole principle, the light of heaven, the father of all; he produces every thing, he orders and diſpoſes every thing; he is the reaſon, the life, and the motion of all beings.’
Plutarch ſays, ‘ Oſiris is neither the Sun, nor the Water, nor the Earth, nor the Heaven; but whatever there is in nature well diſpoſed, well regulated, good and perfect, all that is the image of Oſiris. ’
[Page 107] Seneca the ſtoie ſays, ‘'Tis of very little conſequence by what name you call the firſt nature, and the divine reaſon that preſides over the univerſe, and fills all the parts of it—he is ſtill the ſame God. He is called Jupiter Strator, not as hiſtorians ſay, becauſe he ſtopped the flying armies of the Romans, but becauſe he is the conſtant ſupport of all beings.—They call him Fate, becauſe he is the firſt cauſe on which all others depend. We ſtoies ſometimes call him Father Bacchus, becauſe he is the univerſal life that animates nature;— Hercules, becauſe his power is invincible;— Mercury, becauſe he is the eternal reaſon, order, and wiſdom. You may give him as many names as you pleaſe, provided you allow but one ſole principle, every where preſent.’[Page 102]
The learned Dr Stukeley, ſpeaking of Stonehenge, ſays he took his dimenſions of this monument by the Hebrew, Phoenician, or Egyptian cubit, being twenty inches and three-fourths of an inch Engliſh meaſure. He dates this erection from the time of Cambyſe's invaſion of Egypt, before the time of building the ſecond temple at Jeruſalem, at an aera when the Phoenician trade was at its height; and he preſumes that when the prieſts fled from Egypt under the cruelties committed by that invader, they diſperſed themſelves to diſtant parts of the world, and introduced their learning, arts, and religion among the druids in Britain.
The particular attention paid by the antients to the Element of Fire is in no wiſe to be wondered at, when we conſider, that when ever the Deity deigned to reveal himſelf to the human ſenes it was under this element.‘ [Page 118] Exodus iii. 2. And the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a flame of fire out of the midſt of a buſh: and he looked, and behold the buſh burned with fire, and the buſh was not conſumed.’ ‘ Ver. 4. God called unto him out of the midſt of the buſh, and ſaid, Moſes, Moſes.’ ‘ Chap. xiii. 21. And the Lord went before them by day in a pillar of a cloud, to lead them the way; and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light: to go by day and night.’ ‘ Chap. xix. 16. There were thunders and lightnings, and a thick cloud upon the mount.’ ‘ Ver. 18 And Mount Sinai was altogether on a ſmoke, becauſe the LORD deſcended upon it in fire. ’ ‘ Chap. xviv. 17. And the ſight of the glory of the Lord was like devouring fire on the top of the mount, in the eyes of the children of Iſrael.’ ‘ Chap. xxix. 43. And there I will meet with the children of Iſrael, and the tabernacle ſhall be ſanctified by my glory. ’ ‘ [Page 119] Numb. ix. 16. That thou goeſt before them, by day time in a pillar of a cloud, and in a pillar of fire by night.’ ‘ Deuteronomy v. 4. The Lord talked with you face to face in the mount, out of the midſt of the fire. ’ ‘ Ver. 5. For ye were afraid by reaſon of the fire, and went not up into the mount.’ ‘ Ver. 22. Theſe words the Lord ſpake unto all your aſſembly in the mount out of the midſt of the fire. ’ ‘ Ver. 23. For the mountain did burn with fire. ’ ‘ Ver 24. And we have heard his voice out of the midſt of the fire. ’ ‘ Ver. 26. For who is there of all fleſh that hath heard the voice of the living God, ſpeaking out of the midſt of the fire (as we have) and lived.’
It would from a kind of parity in circumſtances naturally follow, that men would look up to the [Page 120] Sun, as the throne of the Divinity, from whence his miniſtring ſpirits diſpenſed his will to the diſtant quarters of the univerſe.—Fire became the general emblem of the Divinity in the eaſtern nations—was in great eſteem with the Chaldeans and Perſians. The Perſians uſed conſecrated fire as the emblem of the Supreme Being: to whom they would not build temples, or confine the Divinity to ſpace. The etherial fire was preſerved in the temple of the Jews, and in the tabernacle, with great reverence. The druid prieſts in their worſhip looked towards the Sun:—they retained many of the Ammonian rites:—they are ſaid to have made myſtical proceſſions round their conſecrated fires ſunwiſe, before they proceeded to ſacrifice.[Page 117]
Theſe were meant for the better conduct of the work, and were totally abſtracted from thoſe other principles which were the foundation of our profeſſion;—they were manual proofs of the part each was ſtationed to perform:—the light which had poſſeſs'd the ſoul, and which was the firſt principle, was in no wiſe to be diſtinguiſhed by ſuch ſigns and tokens, or revealed, expreſſed, or communicated thereby.
Acacia—AKAKIA, in antiquity a roll or bag, repreſented on the medals of the Greek and Roman Emperors: ſome think it is only an handkerchief, which they uſed as a ſignal; others take it for a volume or roll of memorandums or petitions; and others will have it to be a purple bag filled with earth, to remind the prince of his mortality. Acacians (Acaciani) in church hiſtory, the name of a ſect of religious and profeſſed chriſtians, ſome of whom maintained, that the Son was only of a like, not the ſame, ſubſtance with the Father; and others, that he was not only of a diſtinct, but alſo of a diſſimilar ſubſtance.— Acacy, (in Johnſon's Dictionary) [...] Gr. innocence, or being free from ſin.
The maſon advancing to this ſtate of maſonry, pronounces his own ſentence, as confeſſional of the imperfection of the ſecond ſtage of his profeſſion, and as probationary of the exalted degree to which he aſpires, in this Greek diſtich, [...], Struo tumulum: ‘I prepare my ſepulchre; I make my grave in the pollutions of the earth; I am under the ſhadow of death.’— This diſtich has been vulgarly corrupted among us, and an expreſſion takes its place ſcarcely ſimilar in ſound, and entirely inconſiſtent with maſonry, and unmeaning in itſelf.
The application which is made of the word Sibboleth amongſt maſons, is as a teſtimony of their retaining their original vow uninfringed, and their firſt ſaith with the brotherhood uncorrupted. And to render their words and phraſes more abſtruſe and obſcure, they ſelected ſuch as by acceptation in the ſcriptures, or otherwiſe, might puzzle the ignorant by a double implication.—Thus Sibboleth, ſhould we [Page 182] have adopted the Eluſimian myſteries, would anſwer as an avowal of our profeſſion, the ſame implying, Ears of Corn; but it has its etymology or derivation from the following compounds in the Greek tongue, as it is adopted by maſons, viz. [...], Colo, and [...], Lapis; ſo [...], Sibbolithon, Colo Lapidem, implies, that they retain and keep inviolate their obligations, as the Juramentum per Jovem L [...]pid [...]m, the moſt obligatory oath held amongſt the heathen.—‘The name Lapis, or, as others write, Lapideus, was given to Jupiter by the Romans, who conceived that Juramentum per Jovem Lapidem, an oath by Jupiter Lapis, was the moſt obligatory oath; and it is derived either from the ſtone which was preſented to Saturn by his wiſe Ops, who ſaid that it was Jupiter, in which ſenſe Euſebius ſays that Lapis reigned in Crete: or from lipide ſilice, the flint ſtone, which in making bargains the ſwearer held in his hand and ſaid, 'If knowingly I deceive, ſo let Dieſpiter, ſaving the city and the capital, caſt me away from all that's good, as I caſt away this ſtone.' Whereupon he threw the ſtone away. Pantheon. ’[Page 181]
1 Corinth. chap. xiii.[Page 195]