Garden of Venus ⬩ Gate and Sanctuary ⬩ Germanic Masonry ⬩ Golden Fleece ⬩ Grades of Installation ⬩ Grades of Saint Andrew ⬩ Grand and Sublime Mason ⬩ Grand Architect ⬩ Grand Grade Écossais ⬩ Grand Inspector ⬩ Grand Lodge ⬩ Grand Master Architect ⬩ Grand Master of All Symbolic Lodges ⬩ Grand Pontiff
Garden of Venus
Pausanius tells us that in the Enclosure or Garden of Venus there was a subterranean method of descent which was natural and not to be removed, and to return by the same way was considered, in the higher philosophy, a possible and reasonable thing. It was an exceedingly narrow pathway and the ascent was very nearly impossible, but to those who could take it the way was always open. This parable is reproduced in one or another form by several Schools of the Mysteries, as by a Secret Order of the Garden. It is in this manner that the great intimations of Mysticism are said by its opponents to repeat themselves. They do as a fact go over the same ground continually in the literature, but it is a ground of experience: the intimations are witnesses of experience, a concurrent testimony of many individual voices. It comes about for this reason that the positive philosophy is not merely of archaeological or historical importance and that its study is something more than a curious departure in literary research.
A Mystery of Sex.—The legend to which I have alluded is perhaps the most profound and most secret which has come down to us from antiquity, and it contains within itself a plenary demonstration concerning the real knowledge of old transcendental philosophy on the subject of the Great Mystery—being the law which governs manifestation and the law that withdraws therefrom. The so-called descent or advent of the soul into matter is a mystery of generation: the ascent or liberation of the soul from the material world is another mystery of generation. He who understands the secret of the sexes has the key of all things. Physical generation is the consequence of an act of love consummated on the material plane, and it brings souls into the manifestation of mortal life, symbolised as a Garden of Venus. Spiritual generation is the consequence of an act of love consummated on the spiritual plane, and it takes souls into the hiddenness of eternal life, as by an escape from the Garden of Venus. When it is said that the so-called ascent is very nearly impossible, though the way is always open, I suppose that this is to be understood primarily of the inhibiting insistence of sensuous life, but there is another and more profound reason. “To return by the same way,” in the words of the parable, did not signify a permanent withdrawal from manifest existence, but the attainment in this life of a mystic state which is an experience in the eternal hiddenness and in some of its modes and degrees is well known to the expert doctors of the soul. The primary difficulty concerning it is that it postulates a great height of sanctity—that is to say, of Divine Love. But the act of love on the spiritual as on the physical plane has its fruition in an ejaculation and the ecstasy of this state on the spiritual side is such that all consciousness may be suspended thereby and nothing brought back from the experience but a conviction of perfect bliss, or the return of the soul into manifestation may be itself endangered.
The Instituted Mysteries.—When an old writer tells us that initiation is a process of going back to “that first pure and immaterial Being whom truly to know and to be able to approach with purity is the highest pitch of perfection at which philosophy can arrive,” the process indicated is that of the return upward from the Garden of Venus; but whether the Instituted Mysteries connoted by the word initiation could do more at their best than convey a shadow of the process in ceremonial pageant remains an open question. It is a great testimony to their value if they conveyed in Ritual. There are Rites and Ceremonies among us at this day, passing under the name of Masonry, which communicate in this secondary sense for those who have eyes to see. The ascent to Mansions of Bliss by the Ladder of Perfection in the Grade of Rose-Croix is an ascent from the Garden of Venus, when it is understood in the terms of the highest, as we should always understand our Rituals.
Gate and Sanctuary
The place of initiation is a Sanctuary, and to know the meaning and purpose of initiation it is necessary that the Sanctuary should be entered. But we can enter by the Gate only. There is a root-sense in which this Gate is always the same and the Sanctuary is the same also. In different orders of initiation they are variously adorned and vested, for the modes of symbolism are many; yet there is invariably an outward sign that the Candidate is crossing a threshold, and that beyond this threshold he shall pass into a world of knowledge from which he is debarred otherwise. The difficulties of entrance vary also with the Rites, but those difficulties always exist; the conventions of their removal vary, but the conventions also exist. A certain preparation is requisite on the part of the Candidate which constitutes the spirit of his entrance; the details of preparation differ, but the spirit is always the same; for—by the hypothesis—he enters always upon that which is Holy Ground, and in one or another way he is required to put off the common habits of earth, that he may make ready for a new life. To understand adequately the meaning of this symbolical departure from the things that are behind him in his past to those that await him in the future is to take the first step towards knowledge of the real secret of initiation.
Candidate and Master.—Who is it therefore that enters, what are the conditions of his reception and by whom is he received? It is—speaking broadly—the natural man, man as we find him on earth, complete in his own degree, according to the lights of humanity, and also justified morally, since otherwise he would be unfit for reception. But he is incomplete from the standpoint of the modes of another order and is seeking initiation that he may superadd something to himself. The manner of his entrance is that which is proper to a Postulant praying for gifts, humbly soliciting advantages, and to illustrate this position he may permit himself to be denuded of vested dignities attaching to his place and grade in organised society. By the hypothesis, at least, those who receive him are those who can confer upon him that which he does not possess and of the want of which he is conscious. As regards himself, they stand therefore in a superior place, as something more by their office than the mere natural man; and that in which they differ from himself is that also which—under certain conditions—they can dispense to him. In other respects he who gives may be less than he who receives.
Beyond the Threshold.—As the Gate of initiation has been from all time a part of the symbolism of the Mysteries, so the sanctuary has signified the Mystery itself and that illumination which it imparts to the Neophyte. By the use of these formulae each particular fraternity is in communion with universal initiation and is a daughter of its immemorial past. The threshold is crossed by the Candidate as one who cannot walk alone, for as yet he has not eyes to see in the light of the secret knowledge. He is hoodwinked without because he is blind within. He is thus admitted unawares into the Secret Presence of the Sanctuary and thereafter is restored to light; but it is to find himself encompassed only by signs and symbols, allegories of pageant and parables of liturgic speech. Once more they vary with the nature of the FeDowship, but some things are common to all. One recurring practice extends before him a symbolic mode of ascent—it may be of Grade to Grade or otherwise. In some cases it is that of a spiritual mountain rooted on earth but its height ascending into heaven, and signifying not only the just man whose body is in this world while his soul is in the world to come, but also that line of transcension whereby the kingdom of earth is taken up into the kingdom of Heaven, being the place of the King in His beauty.
The Soul’s Journey.—Initiation in the proper understanding is a hieroglyphical abstract or itinerary of the reintegration of the soul in God, or a summary of that science which Thomas Vaughan termed both ancient and infinite. But this is a definition of the word at its highest, while those Orders and Sodalities which are met with in the open day—including Masonry under all its denominations and in all its Rites—offer only a faded transfer of the radiant image. I am too well aware that the measure of this catholic affirmation cannot enter into the understanding of any rank and file in the brotherhoods. I speak here indeed only to a small assembly of the elect and of such as are capable of election, who know that they move through a world of shadows in the Rites to which they belong and that there is no Master-Builder who can speak over them the Word of Life. Doubtless those far vaster numbers which remain in the letter of the symbols, as in the porch of a spiritual temple, are in the outward grace of the symbols and are partakers—according to their capacity of a certain derivative light, following an obscure leading. That age-long process of initiation which we understand as our daily life carries forward in this manner. Concerning the one and the other, the prayer of the Holy Sanctuary is that they may befit their partakers for the greater ends beyond.
In a short consideration of the Eclectic Union I have marked out sufficiently the position of the German Fatherland so far as Freemasonry is concerned, and there is no call to enlarge upon it in this place, where our concern is chiefly with the past. There is no question that the Order entered Germany from England, while for my present purpose there can be little need to debate at any length as to the earliest foundations. Findel speaks of temporary Lodges existing about the year 1730. Whatever meaning may be attached to such a description, the inference would be that they derived from an English source, owing to the intercommunication between the two countries brought about by the dynasty of Hanover. We hear also of a Lodge founded at Hamburg in 1733 under a warrant of Lord Strathmore. The first is a matter of report and report is peculiarly worthless where Masonic history is concerned. Woodford is an authority for the second, but according to Gould there is no trace of any such foundation prior to 1737 and none of any definite warrant till late in 1740, when a Provincial Grand Master was appointed. Meanwhile the Lodge in question had initiated that Crown Prince of Prussia who was afterwards Frederick the Great. To make an end of the early history, another fiction states that before 1730 the Duke of Norfolk—as Grand Master in England—appointed a Provincial Grand Master for Lower Saxony before 1730, a mythical person with an evidently mythical name—Fredericas du Thom. Respecting facts and inventions alike, the Masonic colonisation of Germany is referable and referred to England, and that which went over is that which was practised here at the period. As such, it owed nothing whatever to German Steinmetzen, nor is there any trace that Germanic Masonry in the course of its subsequent history borrowed anything from this source. The kind of influence to which it became open will appear in a few moments.
German Grand Lodges.—Masonic progress in the Fatherland will be represented sufficiently for my purpose by an enumeration of the names and dates of its Grand Lodges, my authority for which shall be the excellent account of Gould in his Concise History. (1) Grand National Mother Lodge of the Three Globes in Berlin, 1740, originating from the Provincial Grand Lodge at Hamburg. (2) Grand National Lodge of German Freemasons in Berlin, 1770, founded by Zinnendorf, who had been Grand Master of the Three Globes. (3) Grand Lodge of Prussia, otherwise Royal York of Friendship, Berlin, 1798, originating from the Three Globes. (4) Grand Lodge of Hamburg, 1811, deriving from the Provincial Grand Lodge of 1740. (5) Grand National Lodge of Saxony at Dresden, 1811. (6) Grand Lodge of the Sun at Bayreuth, 1811, having a somewhat broken or indirect derivation from the Royal York of Friendship. (7) Grand Mother Lodge of the Eclectic Union at Frankfort-on-the-Main, 1823, referable in respect of claim to the year 1738 and to the Provincial Grand Lodge of the same city in conjunction with that of Wetzlar. (8) Grand Lodge of Concord at Darmstadt, 1846. Gould enumerates also five Independent Lodges of some historical importance, existing under their own obedience and all regarded as regular: (1) Minerva of the Three Palms, Leipsic, being the old Three Compasses of 1741; (2) Baldwin of the Linden, Leipsic, 1776, deriving from the Grand National Lodge of Berlin; (3) Archimedes of the Three Tracing-Boards, Altenburg, founded in 1742 and practically independent from 1786, though it joined the Eclectic Union for a period of five years; (4) Archimedes of Eternal Union, Gera, 1804, deriving from Altenburg; (5) Karl of the Wreath of Rue, Hildburgshausen, originally established in 1786 and independent from 1815, or a little earlier.
French Influence.—There was an early influence of France on Germanic Masonry, and it may be illustrated sufficiently for my purpose by the names of the early Lodges, as for example Les Trois Globes, Les Trois Colombes, Royale York de l’Amitié, Les Trois Aigles, etc. It is to France also that Prussia owed the beginnings—the seed at least and more possibly than this—of the Rite of the Strict Observance. My views as to the importance of this foundation and the singular consequence of its final development, for which it returned to France, have been expressed in several places. Upon Germany itself its marks were also left, for as the Observance drew within its mighty circle nearly all that was memorable in personalities, so there were many who came out of it as those who have passed through a great education, with awakened minds in the world of symbolism, and they made their contributions to the subject independently by means of other systems. Zinnendorf was an active member of the Observance and his influence remains to this day. There were several others whose seals at a later period were set on some of the Rites: some of them abandoned the Templar system and some varied the form in which it was presented. We may never know certainly—by the evidence of historical fact—the exact circumstances under which that influence on Masonry originated. There was a memorable occasion on which Baron von Hund laid his hand on his sword and appealed to his knightly honour as evidence for the truth of his story, and could we be satisfied with such testimony—otherwise unaccredited—the Templar system existed at Paris in or about 1743. But we cannot be so satisfied, nor with the alleged Templar elements in that Chapter of Clermont which is referable to the year 1754. We seem passing towards surer ground in arriving at the year 1758 and the Council of Emperors, but—as seen by implication already—there is no means of knowing whether the Grade of Kadosh existed ab origine in their system, or was added later. I believe personally—and know of no counter-view—that the Templar theory arose in France, and as I have said elsewhere that von Hund received something in that country which he elaborated afterwards on his own authority, possibly with the assistance of a Roll of Templar Provinces and a succession of mythical Grand Masters. There are otherwise several French Templar Grades, independently of the German Strict Observance.
Modern German Grades.—In the German High Grades the Templar claim has been abandoned, but the marks and characters remain, in derivations from Écossais and St. Andrew Grades. It should be mentioned in this connection that at least until recent years the Masonic system of the Three Globes comprised Seven Degrees, being (1) Blue Masonry, (2) Écossais, and (3) Chapter Masonry; that of the Grand National Lodge was extended to Ten Degrees, capable of similar subdivision; that of the Royal York added Scottish Master only to the Craft Degrees. The Grand Lodge at Bayreuth and the Minerva at Leipsic had also High Grades, the activities of the rest being confined within the measures of the Craft.
Points of Doctrine and Practice.—The following additional particulars should perhaps be added to a notice of this kind, though we have no means of knowing, nor does it indeed signify, whether they are still in force. (1) Many months might elapse between the proposal of a Candidate for initiation and his actual reception, because his character and suitability were subjects of close examination. (2) The space of five years might intervene before an Entered Apprentice attained the full stature of a Master Mason. (3) Prior at least to 1914 the true Prussian Grand Lodges were so far militantly Christian that they rejected applicants of non-Christian belief. (4) The High Grades in particular were evidently not less expressly Christian than those that work in England, which notwithstanding it appears that when Lord Ampthill and others visited the Prussian Grand Lodges in 1912 they were assured that non-Christian Brethren under the English Constitution would be admitted as visitors, if they came with proper vouchers; but obviously their reception would be within the limits of the Craft Degrees. (5) In 1905-9 a bond of recognition was established between the two French Grand Lodges and the Grand Obediences of Germany, after the separation which followed the Franco-Prussian War.
The concern or experiment of Freemasonry being analogical in nature and essence with that of other Orders and Sodalities in the farthest past, there is some justification for affirming that in its significance our Masonic Badge is more ancient than the Golden Fleece and that our honourable institution though in truth under many transformations has subsisted from time immemorial. The statement obtains in the same manner as does that of St. Augustine when he said that Christianity has been always in the world, though it has not been known always under that name. I am not concerned, however, with justifying the occasional levies made by the Craft Degrees on an antiquity which they did not share. The Quest of the Golden Fleece and Argonautic symbolism at large are part of the classical properties taken over by alchemists, and when the time came for Hermetic and Alchemical Rites to be grafted on the Masonic Tree, the Golden Fleece and the Argonauts assumed new vestures in Ritual. It came about in this manner that a Grade called Knight of the Argonauts figured in several collections, as in the Hermetic Rite of Montpellier, which passes as one of the creations of Abbé Pernety. I have dealt fully with the subject of alchemical Grades and Orders in Book V of my Secret Tradition in Freemasonry, and as there is nothing of real moment that can be added thereto, I do not propose to retrace the ground in the present place. Moreover, the Grade is not available in any of its codices. Those who will be at such pains concerning it may consult, however, Pernety’s Fables Égyptiennes et Grecques, Tom. i. Livre i, cap. i, where the mythical quests and attainments are explained as delineating the process of the Great Work of metallic transmutation. According to this scheme, Jason is the successful alchemist who converts base metal into gold; but as Pernety was not in a position to instruct his Candidate so that he could go and do likewise, he may either have supplied him with Masonic moralities arising out of Hermetic symbolism or with dark counsels drawn from the books of the Masters.
Grades of Installation
The Forty-third Grade of the Rite of Memphis, according to the second revision of nomenclature and arrangement, was called Adept Installator. It had not appeared under this title previously, nor is it found in the third and final classification of 1862. When the time came for an abortive attempt to establish the system in England as an Antient and Primitive Rite of thirty-three Degrees the twenty-first was entitled Grand Installator. It is in the charge of a Consistory, a denomination which seems to be interchangeable with that of Sublime Council. The form of Opening is a servile imitation of the terms adopted in the case of Hermetic Philosopher, so that the work of installation goes on without break or interruption, except when the Experts, Mystagogues and disciples are yielding to the demands of “exhausted nature.” As regards the labours involved they are defined as “investigation of the religious dogmas of remote antiquity”; and the Candidate is advised that in combination with two immediately succeeding Ceremonies the Grade of Grand Installator is intended to prepare him for “officiating in the Public Ceremonials of the Rite,” as well as to teach him that “our doctrine and faith” are of “the most remote antiquity.” Hereof is the kind of Installation.
Recapitulation of Grades.—With this object in view it is proposed to recall before him the various experiences through which he has passed already, from the time that he served in Masonry as an Entered Apprentice. They are summarised as (1) Primitive Craft Traditions of the Semitic branch of humanity; (2) Geometry, together with the natural and mechanical sciences; (3) the study of theosophical emblems. It is now his duty “to make a practical application of these in conducting the Installation of the Officers of subordinate bodies of the Antient and Primitive Rite.” I present the above statements in their literal terms without adjudicating on the adaptation of Craft Traditions, Geometry and Theosophy to the formal appointment and investiture of Grade functionaries. We are dealing with an ill-starred Rite, and the canons of sane procedure are not to be expected therein.
Lessons of the Grade.—The Charge after Obligation affirms: (1) that symbols and emblems were the primitive language of the people of the East; (2) that their metaphysical envelope is the basis of the religious dogma and philosophy of Masonry; (3) that they lead the intelligent initiate to discover the essence of truth and “what is good and just in each thing”; (4) that Masonry is divided primarily into three Degrees, because there were three divisions in ancient Temples—meaning nave, chancel, and sanctuary; (5) that the First Degree teaches morality and love, the Second natural science, and the Third knowledge of the dogma of life beyond the grave—otherwise, elementary principles, scientific instruction, and sacred theosophy; (6) that this Triad was symbolised of old by “the rough and perfect ashlar, and the white marble stone of true die or square”; (7) that the mosaic pavement signifies the doctrine of good and evil; (8) that the two Pillars mark the solstitial points; (9) that the Blazing Star is Sothis or Sirius; (10) that the seven Steps represent the seven properties of Nature—attraction, repulsion, circulation, heat, light, sound and corporeity. It is obvious that significations like these are arbitrary in the highest degree, and that most of them lead nowhere.
Grand Consecrator.—By the hypothesis, however, the Candidate has earned his qualification to install Officers belonging to inferior Grades, and his next step is that of Grand Consecrator, in which capacity he will be able to consecrate Temples. To this end “a full knowledge of symbolism is of the greatest importance,” and here is how he is instructed. (1) The Grand aim of the Rite of Memphis is to raise a Temple to Wisdom, and there is apparently a Transparency or Tracing-Board, which represents this emblematic edifice. (2) Benevolence is seated in the first portico, on the front of which the image of the sun is emblazoned above the Ineffable Name. (3) The interior of the Temple has bas reliefs, representing the history of man, as also personifications of Beauty and Nature. (4) An Orator addresses the Candidate in the person of the Eternal, giving a general description of the earth and animated things. (5) These are said to be the language which God “holds to our senses.” (6) The Candidate is called therefore to contemplate the world which we inhabit and the starry heavens. (7) The Universe is a book which is open to all men, and is that road which leads to the Divine Temple. (8) He is told in fine that when death has detached him from earth he will shine as an angel of light, above the cohorts of passion. Hereof is the consecration of this Grade, that those who are blessed thereby may bless and consecrate in turn. Hereof also is the Fourty-fourth Grade of the Rite of Memphis—according to the revision which I have mentioned—and the Twenty-second of the Primitive Rite. As regards the externalised Temple which the Candidate is supposed to contemplate, I have given only some points of its description. It could not be contained by a Tracing-Board, nor indeed by the largest Lodge-Room of Freemasons’ Hall. It is obvious, however, that the Grade never existed except on paper.
Grand Eulogist.—And now as to the third of this series, it is called Grand Eulogist with characteristic ineptitude, and the Candidate who has learned ex hypothesi how to install and consecrate is here and now taught how he should bury the dead, pronouncing suitable panegyrics over the graves of Brethren. For this purpose he hears much about the Funerary Ritual of Egypt, and is counselled to realise that “beyond the tomb commences our true activity,” in a “kingdom of certitude” which is our real country. The universal respect for the dead is held to be a proof that all nations, even the most barbarous, admit the existence of God and the immortality of the human soul. There is finally a diatribe against atheism—a sterile rehearsal of hackneyed notions in terms of everlasting commonplace.
Grades of Saint Andrew
The Écossais Grades of Masonry—and if their name is not legion, they are many—are not all Grades of St. Andrew; but in a general sense he is the patron of all and over all a presiding spirit. Setting aside comparative trivialities and minima, Grades of St. Andrew enter into two systems of great historical importance, the Rite of the Strict Observance and the Swedish Rite. To my poignant and lasting regret I can speak of the latter at second-hand only, and it is preferable therefore scarcely to speak at all, except to put on record an opinion that having regard to the date of its formation and the fact that its inspiration and character were drawn from many sources, something may have been reflected into it from the former. It has been a custom to speak of these creations and their kindred generally as Jacobite Degrees, as introduced by partisans of the Stuarts, as connected in particular with the thing called Ramsay’s Rite, because Ramsay was tutor of Stuart Princes in his day. These affirmations are of the world of myth and legend, like the great romantic fables of Heredom and Kilwinning. We shall see that the Chevalier Ramsay never founded a Rite, that so far as evidence is concerned no Stuart Prince ever meddled with Masonry, for his own or any other purpose, that the Grades of St. Andrew which count in Masonry and their developed symbolism are things of the spirit and have no part in earthly kingdoms, their loss or their recovery. Finally, as regards Kilwinning, it may be noted as a curious point that its Annual Festival is on the day of St. Thomas, not that of St. Andrew.
Régime Écossais.—The Grades which are connected by their titles with the patron saint of Scotland are of necessity and obviously Écossais Grades of Masonry, but they are ‘not all distinguished by the particular qualification itself, and I have shewn elsewhere that this is the only pretence under which we can group together a vast Ritual collection which has no essential elements in common. I have said also that the Grades of Master and Perfect Master of St. Andrew are the head and crown of the Écossais cohort. They are included under these names in the Régime Écossais Ancien et Rectifié, but in the Rite of the Strict Observance they formed a single Degree under the denomination of Scottish Master. When the Strict Observance came to be modified and transformed by the Martinists of Lyons, and at the memorable Masonic Convention held in that city, the Écossais Degree was so altered that it fell naturally into two parts and has so remained. They constitute together an alternative in Christian Masonry to that Order of the Holy Royal Arch which is claimed as the completion of Craft Masonry under the aegis of the Old Law.
The Master Grade.—The Candidate for advancement has been occupied, since he was Raised to the Third Degree, in the preparation of plans for the erection of the Second Temple, and a long period of symbolical time has elapsed therefore since he took part in certain memorable events referable to the reign of Solomon and his work on the first House of God. The doom of the House has overtaken it, and he himself has been in exile at Babylon. But at length he has come out of captivity and out of its great tribulation to rejoin his Brethren at Jerusalem, hoping to assist in the great work of restoration. He is shewn the ruins of the First Temple and the cause of its destruction is explained to him, with its symbolical message in Masonry—the profanation of Sacred Rites and the occultation or Loss of the Sacred Word. He is covenanted to assist those who are at work on his own objects and for his own ends, and in accordance therewith it comes about that, through his instrumentality, the Seven-Branched Candlestick, the Table of Shew Bread and certain Masonic implements, “without which every construction is irregular,” are recovered. He raises the overthrown Altar of Incense and finds that lamina aurea which is inscribed with the Lost Word, some particulars of which are communicated in the Royal Arch of Enoch. He is told to pronounce it with confidence and in a loud voice, he being in the presence of those who have travelled the path before him which leads to the Holy of Holies and have found, also before him, the sacred object of research. An historical discourse completes the reconstruction of the Second Temple and tells how the sacred fire was restored to the Sanctuary. So far therefore as the Temple of Zerubbabel is concerned we are in the presence of a completed symbol and not with its initial part as in the English Royal Arch.
Grade of Perfect Master.—In the Second Degree, or that of Perfect Master, the undertaking is to continue that work “which has been some time since commenced” and carry it in fine to perfection. Now, I have said that the Second Temple is already finished in the hypothesis of the symbolism. What is therefore that work which all are pledged to continue and what do they expect to complete? There has been an intimation already in a Discourse of the First Degree: they are engaged in erecting a Temple to Virtue and a Sanctuary to Holy Service, and though the day is far to the end, yet ever the work goes on. The First House of God erected by Solomon typifies a state of perfection, of integration in the Eternal Law, of love to God and man. That was the kind of Masonry, and it is this which was built in the heart and soul of the Brotherhood. But the Legend of the Third Degree indicates that even then there were evil forces at work, and not among Entered Apprentices but those who had so worked and so attained that they were numbered among the Craftsmen. As time went on the keepers of the Secret Tradition and the Wardens of the Sacred Law betrayed their trust; the House of God was destroyed; the city and the nation fell. It is said that “the wages of sin is death,” and of such was the captivity in Babylon, till the day came when Masonry remembered Zion and wept beside the bitter waters. It was given to the elect people that they should rebuild the House of God, and the Temple of Zerubbabel represents the Israel of Masonry renouncing its false idols, the yoke of the evil law, and a return by the path of conduct to the freedom of the sons of God. This is how the Perfect Master of St. Andrew is taught as a Mason to read the history of Jewry, for his own profit and that of the Order at large. It leads him on to the Law of Christ.
Hiram and Christ.—That which is shewn to him in the Ceremony is therefore the Resurrection of Hiram, issuing gloriously—as it is said—from the tomb and “reborn to a new life.” In a word, the Master-Builder arises as Christ. The Temple of Masonry is henceforward the House of Christ, at once of earth and of Heaven, of earth in so far as it is realised here in the heart and life of the Brotherhood, of Heaven as it is built in Christ, world without end. So in the Apocalyptic Vision is the New Jerusalem represented descending foursquare out of Heaven—perfect in its parts and honourable to the builder—that it may be manifested here below. And this is the last picture which is shewn to the Candidate, after which it is said to him that “all instruction by the mediation of symbols will for you have ceased.” It is said to him also that “the Temple of the Old Law has given place to the mystical Zion, on the summit of which is shewn the Lamb of God, bearing the standard of omnipotence acquired by His atoning immolation.” And lastly: “the time has come, my Brother, to announce that our Order is Christian, though in the largest and highest sense of the term.”
Issue of the Grade.—These Grades of the Régime Écossais may be defective from the dramatic standpoint, though they lend themselves readily to amendment in this respect, they may leave something to be desired from the sacramental standpoint, but this is a question of development; and they may have suffered within comparatively recent years from an attempt to edit them in accordance with so-called liberal religion, but the implicits remain untouched. While acknowledging these disabilities, and admitting that the Royal Arch of England has divine gleams, they offer in respect of it two advantages which are of great and living reality—an unfolded consciousness of the spiritual messages conveyed to those who can receive them by the two Temples in Israel, and a saving realisation that no initiatory system based on symbols derived from the First Dispensation can be called complete unless it leads on the recipient to the higher sacramentalism which succeeded it. We shall see in the proper place that these Grades of St. Andrew are introductory to certain Grades of Spiritual Chivalry which carry on their gospel tidings, and that after the accolade of a Knight Beneficent and a figurative integration in the Fellowship of the Holy City there remains something in the hiddenness about which I have no intention to speak.
Grand and Sublime Mason
In the Royal Arch of Enoch the Candidate is supposed to receive the Lost Word of the Holy and Royal Art, but it is communicated—as we know—in a number of other Grades, it being understood that there are several modes of restoration, even as the Divine Names—which are Names and Titles of God—are numerous under the aegis of the religions of Christ and Israel. The fact that the Lost Word, in whatever manner it is formulated, belongs always to this class indicates the persistence of Jewish theosophy—meaning Kabalistic tradition—through every development of Masonry. It is too often apart from any trace of scholarship in the makers of Grades, and too often a clouded reflection, but the traces are always there. In the Grade which I am denominating Grand and Sublime Mason, as one who uses a shortened codex, that which is revealed in the Arch of Enoch is communicated for a second time under circumstances that will appear immediately. This is the first point and represents a general note of intention. The second point is regarding the claim advanced on the part of the Grade, and as to this it is said in the Lecture that the Grand and Sublime Masons are the only depositaries of Ancient Masonry. We shall see that this claim depends from the traditional history, which belongs to a well-known form, is made in various synonymous terms on behalf of many Degrees or Rites, most of which exclude one another. It is otherwise and of course fabulous. The third and last point is that the Grade is found under a considerable number of obediences, though most belong to the past, and has a marked variety of titles: they may be specified as follows, in order to clear the issues in respect of Masonic nomenclature. It has been known therefore (1) as the Grand Écossais Mason of Perfection of the Sacred Vault of James VI; (2) as the Degree of Perfection, a reduced version of the former title; (3) as Scotch Knight of Perfection, according to the modern rendering of the Accepted Rite in England; (4) as Grand Elect Ancient Perfect Master, being its original denomination in the Council of Emperors; (5) as Écossais of Perfection, or Grand Elect, in the classification of the French Supreme Council, during the first half of the nineteenth century; (6) as Knight of the Sacred Vault, otherwise Grand Écossais Elect in the Rite of Memphis; (7) as Grand Elect Perfect and Sublime Mason, according to the Scottish Rite in America. I have not dealt with it under the Royal Arch of Enoch, because of the vast symbolical time which separates the two Grades; nor under the section devoted to Écossais Masonry, because it bears none of the characteristics of that series, dubious and fluidic as they are; nor lastly in my summary concerning Elect Grades, because it is not Elect Masonry.
Heads of the Legend.—It has passed through almost as many variations in Ritual procedure and motive as in descriptive names. We may compare the summary furnished by Ragon in his account of Capitular Grades with the recension of Albert Pike, which was based probably on several versions of the past, and offers by derivation from these a variant of the widespread myth concerning the preservation of Masonry in Palestine, from the age of Solomon and his Temple to the epoch of the Crusades, or in other words a theory of the transmission of Secret Tradition from the Covenant of Israel to that of Christ. It is to be regretted that such a subject should not have fallen into more capable hands, whether those of the original inventors or of the American Grand Commander by whom it was revised as usual. The traditional story is given here in its baldest form and recounts how certain Masons, about whom we shall hear in connection with the Royal Arch of Enoch, carried the Ineffable Treasure of the True Word from Judea into other countries, giving secret instruction to those who were worthy of being included among the keepers of the Royal Art. Masonry was propagated otherwise in the lower Degrees by far less cautious custodians and degenerated as it extended everywhere, but the Supreme Mysteries were reserved in sacred hiddenness by the Grand and Sublime Masons. They passed into Egypt and Assyria, they crossed over into Europe, and as it was indubitable that the original and historical home of Emblematic Masonry should not be left out, it is said that many settled in England, Scotland and Ireland. After such manner were Kilwinning and Heredom assured their own in legend. The centre of all remained, however, in Palestine, as did Christian Rosy Cross abide in the House of the Holy Spirit while the Brothers travelled abroad. They must have seen therefore the Lamp of Christ uplifted in the Holy Land, and though it is not said that they adopted the New Law, when the time came for the kings, princes and faithful of Europe to deliver Jerusalem from the yoke of unbelief and its miscreants, we are told that they offered their services in that all-holy enterprise and that the Sublime Masons performed prodigies of valour. One result was that the royal and noble crusaders solicited and obtained initiation. The legend breaks off at this point, so that it is left an open question whether the Christian Brethren who returned again to Europe communicated that which they had received under the same seals to others or whether they were received into those Hidden and Holy Houses which, by the hypothesis of the story, were located already in the West.
Version of Baron Tschoudy.—I have said that there are several versions of this traditional myth, and seeing that it is the key of Templar Masonry, it is desirable at this point to observe how it stands in the earliest available if not original form, being that of Baron Tschoudy in his memorable L’Étoile Flamboyante. It is possible that what he offers is drawn from the traditional history communicated in the Fourteenth Degree of the Council of Emperors, and as I have indicated that this Rite most probably began within more modest dimensions of Ritual, which were expanded as opportunity offered, it is possible also that its Grand Elect Ancient Perfect Master may have been the work of Tschoudy himself, who composed many Grades and has been credited with the Institution of fully fledged Rites, complete with all their workings. I present therefore his story of Elect Masonry in Palestine in his own words.
Knights of the Morning.—”The most ancient of military Orders, or otherwise the first to assume a corporate form, was the Knights of the Morning and of Palestine, who were, moreover, the ancestors, fathers or founders of the Masonic Brotherhood. I must refrain from indicating the precise date of these illustrious men, and I dare not unveil their Mysteries; but it can be said that they were sorrowful spectators of ah those misfortunes which successively befell the Kingdom of Judea. They looked also for that desired time when God would deign to turn an eye of compassion upon those Holy Places, where His presence had been manifested from the days of the Mosaic Law. Most of them were as yet unconvinced that His Divine Incarnation had hallowed those regions for a second time by the Gospel of the Law of Grace. They were dispersed among various hiding-places, where the conspiracy of untoward events and the almost complete destruction of the Jewish nation had driven them. Amidst such surroundings they awaited some future revolution which should place them once more in possession of their ancestral patrimony and enable them for a third time to erect their Holy Temple, to reassume their functions within its blessed precincts and otherwise those exalted occupations which had gathered them in old days about the person of their sovereign. In expectation of this glory to come, they stood guard jealously over their primeval traditions, their laws and their liturgy. The age of the world drew on to that year of grace in the Lord when Peter the Hermit summoned the Princes of Christendom to deliver the Holy Land: it was then that the Secret Companions discerned the approaching term of their long exile. From their concealment in the desert of the Thebaid and from the obscurity of centuries the Knights of Palestine came forth, reassumed their distinctive insignia and communicated with some of their associates who had remained as watchers in Jerusalem. These had applied themselves to the study of Nature and the profound consideration of her secret forces, making precious discoveries, which might well contribute successfully to the general designs of the Order. Their most especial attention had been directed to the sublime treatise of Morien, an ascetic of the Thebaid, their purpose being to secure those resources which were necessary to encompass their ambitions.”
A Hermetic Motive.—Baron Tschoudy confesses that his narrative is intentionally obscure, since he is discoursing on subjects which should be understood only by a few, and it is indubitable that his Knights of the Morning are left as to identity in a cloud of his own creation: they might be Essenes, Therapeutae, successors of Prophets or Levites; they might be lineal descendants of Melchizedek, King of Salem, Werner’s Sons of the Valley or the Grand and Sublime Masons of the Fourteenth Degree. But about the purpose of the Hidden Sodality there is no obscurity whatever, for Morien was an alchemist of his period and the alleged sublime treatise is still extant. It follows that the consociates at Jerusalem were themselves Hermetic students, aiming at the transmutation of metals to enrich the chivalry. It is said further that they had embraced Christianity, and when the Knights of the Morning came from the Thebaid desert they were persuaded to do in like manner, from which, adds the author, it follows that the splendid edifice which they had erected so long in their hearts would now be devoted to the offering of “a pure, holy, unspotted, emblematic sacrifice,” when it came to be built on earth. It should be understood that Baron Tschoudy was of the Catholic and Roman faith, as well as a literary alchemist.
A Third Temple.—He affirms further that, under one or another disguise, the rebuilding of the Temple at Jerusalem was the real object of all crusaders, that the solitaries of the Thebaid made common cause with the cross-bearing warriors of Christendom, keeping, however, their peculiar designs a secret, save only that they were in possession of the mystic measurements of the First Temple, being descended from its original builders. It is said also that beneath the pretence of speculative architecture they pursued a more glorious ambition. There is no doubt that this in the implicits of the reverie was the ambition of the Sons of Hermes. Such also, we are left to infer, was the inward secret of Emblematic Freemasonry, which—by the hypothesis—is indebted to this Militia Hermetica for its Laws and Constitutions, for its tissue of symbols, if not indeed its Rituals. According to Tschoudy, the Knights of the Morning assumed the name of Freemasons and were identified as such with the work of the Holy Wars. Their isolation and modest demeanour amidst the turmoil of ambitious crowds drew upon them the attention of the cross-bearing chivalries, who sought to be admitted among them, as affirmed by the traditional history of the Grand and Sublime Masons. A fixed method of reception was therefore devised, which is the root and essence of our present Speculative Masonry, as it is also out of this primitive observance that all the crazy medley of bizarre formulae, forced analogies and equivocal symbols has grown up in the hands of unwise imitators. It follows that the Knights of the Morning were the original founding Masters, creative agents and sole depositaries of the Royal Art.
The Primeval Order.—Baron Tschoudy says otherwise that this handful of faithful souls who assumed the denomination of Masons—and whom he distinguishes additionally by a conventional and impossible title—marks the existence of something most ancient and most noble of all, “the first Order of the world, the trunk of all others, which are nothing more than its branches.” Sacred and profane writings are represented as bearing their unqualified testimony to this Order, “apart from all tradition,” and “ n a manner so clear and positive that the least instructed man can easily verify all its data and attain certitude concerning it.” Baron Tschoudy in this seemingly ingenuous affirmation is imitating his alchemical masters, who were invariably most ambiguous when they claimed to be speaking most frankly and apart from all similitude. As his Knights of the Morning are incorporated from his own dreams and those of the Chevalier Ramsay, in combination with cognate reveries of High Grade legends, it is idle to ask who they were—as, for example, the Fratres Lucis or the Brethren of the Rosy Cross, referred back in chronology almost to the Gates of Eden; a school of the prophets in Israel perpetuated to Christian times; a priesthood within and behind the Jewish priesthood. They may have been any of these, according to his own mind, or a blending of all the elect companies: it matters nothing historically. Philosophically it is Tschoudy’s mode of recognising the fact of a Secret Tradition, its subsistence from generation to generation, even from the earliest days of Israel, and its presumed transmission to Masonry. But it is not without interest to observe how it worked in the mind of another Masonic writer, many years after the author of L’Étoile Flamboyante had passed from earthly life, though his work was still in circulation.
Thebaid Solitaries.—An anonymous Dictionnaire Maçonnique was issued at Paris in the pseudo-Masonic year 5025 and embodies a collection of outline sketches concerning the various parts of that symbolic edifice known by the name of Freemasonry. One of its perfect ashlars is the legendary history of a particular Templar Grade which represents the Order of the Temple as derived from certain solitaries of the Thebaid, from the healing fraternity of Therapeutæ and from those Knights of the Morning and of Palestine whose claims were first made known to us by Baron Tschoudy. The instruction sets forth that Alexander, Patriarch of Alexandria, was a great ornament of the Order and that so early as the seventh century of this era the vows of the Templars were made in the presence of Simon, Patriarch of Jerusalem. Towards the eleventh century they are believed to have initiated a considerable number of virtuous crusaders, and it was at this epoch that the mythical Knights of the Morning assumed the historical title of Knights Templar. Their abolition at the beginning of the fourteenth century put an end to their visible existence, but the Order was not destroyed: “it has continued in an unbroken succession but secretly to this day and constitutes a Grade of the Elect.” Its object is said to be defined in a verse of the Psalmist which is cited by one of its adepts: “I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall be ever in my mouth.” A sentence from the pledge of the chivalry is cited also as defining its will and purpose: “I will ever assist the poor and regard them as my Brethren.”
Knights of the Temple.—On the faith of this unknown witness, summarising the traditional history of a Templar Grade early in the nineteenth century, the Knights of the Morning, who appear under such mysterious veils in L’Étoile Flamboyante—as if by way of a commentary on that document—are explained to be the Knights of the Temple.
Ritual of the Grade.—In the Ceremony of Admission as revised by Albert Pike the Candidate demands the Perfection of Masonry, which he is not supposed to receive under all obediences except in the Grade of Rose-Croix, though he is destined to travel much further if he is to attain the completion of his experience. He desires also to continue his research into the Mystery of that Sacred Word about which he had heard and seen in the Royal Arch of Enoch, as one who stands upon the threshold. He is made subject to a minute searching in respect of all previous Degrees and to a Masonic examination of conscience. He is pledged and anointed with oil, which is testified in the symbolism to be that used in the consecration of Aaron, and this is followed by a ceremonial observance of the Eucharistic kind—according to ancient custom, as it is said in the usual ineffectual formula of procedure. But in respect of the Sacred Word he is told that it is essentially ineffable, as it is spoken only in the heart. In the heart therefore he shall preserve the Sacred Mysteries of Masonry, and in his heart shall the Word be graven. So will he learn how to live in the immediate presence of the Grand Architect of the Universe, Whom it is prayed that his eyes may behold face to face. The lesson of the Grade is in reality that he has been upon a false quest in respect of the Word, but the mind of Pike was confused, and he missed the opportunity of enforcing this conclusion, so that it remains as a matter of inference.
Whether operative or speculative, it should be remembered that the Mason as such is Caementarius and not architect. His elevation from the one to the other rank is of course a conceivable proposition in both Orders of the Craft. We have seen that the so-called Degree of Architect in the system of the Early Grand Scottish Rite is memorial in character and has no connection with building or plans for building, material or spiritual, in the heart or with the hand on earth. It is followed by the Grade of Grand Architect, a mere vestige in the form under which it is presented, yet having a dramatic moment and a symbolic notion behind it, as exhibited by the following summary: (1) At the beginning of the procedure all work on the Temple has been brought practically to a standstill, for the want of a Master-Builder has put an end to the production of plans. (2) The fact is proclaimed, and the Master Architects are called upon to testify whether one of them is in possession of a design or has heard of a Brother who can supply the deficiency anywhere in the ranks without. (3) It is announced presently that Bro. ∴ Moabon is at the door of the Lodge, having a scheme for “the second elevation.” (4) Here is the signal for the Candidate’s entrance with plans to submit for approval, which are examined and ratified in due course. (5) In this manner Bro. ∴ Moabon is judged worthy to be acknowledged as a Master Architect, and—after being pledged—to take his seat among his peers.
Master Architect.—The proper title of this Degree is obviously Master Architect. The superior designation is reproduced in various Rites and Collections—as Grand or Grand Master Architect. It is found in the Ancient and Accepted Rite, in that of Mizraim and in the Elect Priesthood of Pasqually. It is also in the Peuvret collection and in that of the Metropolitan Chapter of France.
Grand Grade Écossais
I know this only in a detached form, as I have found it in an old French manuscript; but it appears to belong to a series, having English Master or Favourite behind it—this being the Candidate’s qualification—and one of the multitudinous Grades of Knight or Prince of the East in front, as a Sovereign Grand Lodge under this title is the ultimate Court of Appeal, to which blind obedience must be rendered. The Statutes and Rules of the Worshipful Scottish Masters are formulated in twelve articles, which embody the usual claims to superiority and precedence over ordinary Lodges of the Craft. Unfortunately for these magnificent pretensions, the Grand Grade is the last and most negligible of Masonic simulacra. The Master and Wardens personate Solomon, King of Israel, Hiram, King of Tyre and Manon, being the name of that favourite who—according to the English Master—was appointed in succession to the Builder, after his untimely death. The name is affirmed to signify Master of Masters and servant of the Grand Master. Nothing, however, is said, and there is nothing done to connect the officers with the Grand Originals whom they represent. There is simply the introduction of the Candidate, who is pledged, instructed and clothed; after which a Catechism is recited, which retraces the foolish historical episode of English Master and refers to the pièce de résistance of the Grade Écossais, being a Tracing-Board or Transparency, representing St. John the Baptist baptizing on the banks of the Jordan, having the Sun and Moon as spectators at either foot of a rainbow, while the Ark of the Covenant, the Brazen Sea, and the Altar of Incense are very naturally grouped about him. Add to this that the historical anachronism is purposeless, even within its own measures, for nothing follows on the introduction of the Precursor, unless it be the explanation that the twelve oxen supporting the Brazen Sea represent the Twelve Tribes of Israel, according to the Old Law, and the Twelve Apostles in the New. There is also a circle, to signify the omnipotence of the Most High, and within it is the Great Light, otherwise the Triangle of Perfection; but this betokens the grandeur of Écossais Masons, who are built about by Truth. Those who in such a connection might ask—What is Truth?— would do well to leave the Lodge of the Grand Grade Écossais without waiting for an answer. Compare Écossais Masonry.
An Ineffable Degree.—There are no particulars of this Ineffable Degree, and there is no authority concerning it except the old French manuscript already mentioned and entitled Grand Grade d’Écossais: it has a name therefore but no local habitation.
The makers of colossal Rites in Masonry have too often forgotten or failed to fulfil an old counsel concerning development from small beginnings to greater ends. The Ceremony of Rose-Croix is the pearl within the wide circle of the Scottish Rite, but it is only the Eighteenth Degree. That of Kadosh bears no comparison with this, though it may not be without claims, as it is worked in certain Supreme Councils. The Thirty-first Degree has the intimidating title of Grand Inspector Inquisitor Commander, as if it had been generated by the Holy Office, and there are ample materials for a judgment on the claims of the Ritual under several independent obediences. I have intimated otherwise my view that most additional Grades superposed on the Rite of Perfection when it was transformed into the Scottish Rite were drawn from anterior sources and not invented at Charleston. The Thirty-first Degree recalls by its title the Seventh and culminating Grade of the Écossais Philosophical Rite under the title of Inspector Commander, which is found also in the collection of the Metropolitan Chapter of France. It was probably drawn therefrom, and this has been suggested by Woodford, but in terms of certitude which he was not entitled to use, as the name only is in evidence.
A French Version.—Under the aegis of the Supreme Council of France there is no ceremonial procedure and no pretence of a traditional history, but a Grand Inspector or Inquisitor testifies that he is not a Knight of Malta, which is more than presumptive evidence that the Grade was originally Templar. This is otherwise probable as it follows the Kadosh immediately. His duties are (1) to strive for the removal of abuses; (2) to see that Masonic Laws are not contravened; (3) to watch over Brethren of all Grades, lest they neglect the duties imposed on them, and—with characteristically illogical ineptitude—(4) to examine Candidates for the Thirty-second Degree, being Prince of the Royal Secret, which is not possessed by the examiner and about which—technically and officially—he can therefore know nothing.
The Recension of Pike.—In the recension of Albert Pike an elaborate and not unsuccessful attempt has been made to vindicate the claims of the Degree as a Supreme Masonic Tribunal and the obvious inconsistencies are removed; but the real government of the Rite is in the hands of its Supreme Council, from which it follows that the whole position is illogical, that the alleged Tribunal neither is nor can be supreme and that its true status corresponds to the indications of the French form—apart from the final clause, specified above—as competent only to the trial of minor causes: it is in fact conventional and pro forma. One is thus able to estimate the real value of the ceremonial affirmation that it is the Holy Sanctuary of Eternal Masonic Justice and Equity.
Procedure in this Version.—In the course of his advancement the Candidate is taken from Pillar to Pillar and is brought before various Officers who personate great lawgivers of the past. Alfred the Great testifies that he caused just and speedy judgment to be given and that he reigned only to bless those over whom his dominion extended; Socrates states that when he sat in the Court of the Areopagus he swore to give sentence uprightly, receiving neither gifts nor bribes; Confucius read and interpreted the great laws engraved by the finger of God upon the Book of Nature; Minos taught the Cretans that the laws enacted by himself were those of Zeus, because righteous human justice is a reflection of that which is eternal; Zoroaster does not testify especially concerning himself, but lays down that the evil intentions of the criminal are the true measure of crime and not the events which follow it; Moses quotes some of his own sayings, affirms that he was initiated into the Mysteries and Wisdom of ancient Egypt and that this wisdom dictated those statutes by which he governed Israel. It must be said that the general impression of the several utterances and their applications impressed on the Candidate are precisely analogous to those produced by the trance orations of mediums when under the alleged control of great teachers of the past. The matter and manner correspond obviously to the mental and ethical measures of Albert Pike, on whom there never fell “the spark from heaven”. The fact is illustrated further by the wilderness of lucubration which follows in discourses delivered by the Most Perfect President and by another Officer, who bears the title of Advocate. Their only point is one which elicits the general claim of the Grade, being (1) that it was established for the maintenance of principles and regularity in Masonic forms; (2) that it is charged with the duty of visiting and inspecting work in the various Lodges and Chapters under the obedience of the Rite; (3) that it supervises selection of Candidates and has the care of Ritual observance in the Higher Degrees; and finally, as something added at a later period, (4) that it gives judgment on differences between Brethren and on offences against Masonic Law. To what extent these minor powers are exercised in the Northern or Southern Jurisdictions of the Scottish Rite I am not in a position to speak; but it is certain that the Grand Inquisitors can act only as delegates of their Supreme Council, to whom appeal must also be possible. There is no such delegation of powers by the Supreme Council of England and Wales, while on the continent of Europe it is doubtful whether the Grade of Grand Inspector is conferred except pro forma or that it has any activity at all.
The circumstances attending that ever-memorable meeting of four London Lodges at the Apple-Tree Tavern in 1717, and the great train of its consequences, have been recited times without number. The most recent and in several respects the best account by far is that of Mr. A. F. Calvert, in his History of the Grand Lodge of England, 1916, to which I refer my readers. It is reasonably exhaustive, impartial and lies within the strict measures of its proper issues. There was no convocation ever held with less pretence of importance than that of the Apple-Tree Tavern; there was no epoch-making meeting in which the parties concerned were less conscious that they were originating a mighty movement, were setting a force in motion which hereafter was to fill the world. It was felt that Freemasonry had almost fallen into desuetude and that the practice of its immemorial customs was passing rapidly out of mind. The old Masons might have said with Matthew Arnold that “the end is everywhere.” That on which they resolved, however, was to establish a governing or Grand Lodge for the purpose of saving the situation, so that the life of a head might save the body from decay; and a Grand Lodge was founded, not indeed at that meeting but at another which followed promptly. I am not concerned with elaborating the familiar facts more than is absolutely essential: a comprehensive review of the subject is the main purpose in mind, and it must begin with things antecedent to the event which has made an obscure house of call in Covent Garden a building of immortal memory.
Decay of Operative Lodges.—About the decay of Freemasonry itself there seems no question whatever. M. Viollet le Duc says that after the fourteenth century the architect lost his importance, the reason assigned by Fergusson being that every kind of tradesman had his share in the work at that period, or—in other words—that increasing specialisation produced many experts in as many branches. But according to Gould the art at large of Masonry had passed its meridian in the sixteenth century and remained a shadow of itself till the end of the seventeenth. He gives specific reasons in respect of the two dates, being (1) in respect of the earlier, that the building of monasteries had given place to castles, manors, colleges, schools and hospitals, putting an end in this manner to the exclusive monopoly of the Church; and (2) as regards the later, that the builders almost died out after the Reformation. There was nothing that remained to be done for the glory of God, except to destroy or deface the great works of art which had been produced in His Name. By the end of the seventeenth century the Operative Lodges had lost much of their raison d’être; they had adopted, moreover, the custom of admitting persons not belonging to the trades, and it would appear that such honorary members outnumbered not infrequently the real craftsmen. We have every reason to know that this was no isolated practice peculiar to the Building Guild, and that in the words of Sir Henry S. Maine every trade company was transformed or transmuted and has long since relinquished “the occupation which gave it a name.” I have not taken the history of all Liveries and Guilds as my province, but it is correct to say that the transformations in question were gradual and that with one exception it is difficult or impossible to put a finger on the precise date when the conversion could be called complete. This exception is Masonry, and the date is 1717.
Non-Operative Masons.—It seems obvious that such miscellaneous association could have no welding interest in common, and the Lodges naturally suffered, to the South at least of the Tweed. What Mr. D. Murray Lyon has termed “the grafting of the non-professional element on to the stem of the Operative system” originated in Scotland and—in his opinion—“about the period of the Reformation.” The earliest instance on record belongs, however, to June 8, 1600, when James Boswell, Laird of Auchinleck, was received into the Lodge of Edinburgh, as its Minutes testify. The same archives appear also to provide us with the first example in England, for they certify the admission of Sir Robert Moray at Newcastle on May 20, 1641, Gould making the happy conjecture that members of the Edinburgh Lodge accompanied the forces of the Covenanters to that city, and that “it was at the hands of these militant Craftsmen” that he who was General Quartermaster to the army of Scotland received the benefit of initiation. A more satisfactory case is obviously that of an Englishman “made” in England: it belongs to the year 1646 and has been dealt with already under the name of Elias Ashmole. I refer to it here because in March, 1682, or after the lapse of thirty-five years, there is a second note in his Diary, according to which he was summoned to a Lodge at Masons’ Hall, London, and attended a meeting, as it would seem, for the second time in his life. If this inference from silence is correct, if also it was a general state of things at that period among “Gentlemen Masons,” and if there was little more to bind the Operative section together, it was high time in 1717 to convene the meeting at the Apple-Tree Tavern.
Operative or Speculative.—Our next question is concerned with the kind of Masonry which it was proposed to set in order. We have seen elsewhere that Old Charges and Constitutions are without trace of any speculative element in the modern understanding of the term. It is true that Gould in his Concise History does not fail to mention it as radiating to all parts from North and South Britain, being something that had originated during the splendour of mediaeval Operative days; but his dicta on the subject are worthless and are characterised by the vicious habit of calling non-operative Masons speculative instead of theoretical or honorary members. For the rest, he puts forward “the solemn declaration” of a Scottish Presbyterian Synod in 1652 that “ministers of this persuasion had been Freemasons in the poorest times of the kirk, as indicating that Speculative or Symbolical Masonry” flourished side by side with the Operative. What it proves is mixed membership, of which we have seen that there are examples much earlier; but in the absence of all other evidence to say that such membership suggests, implies or involves the existence of Emblematic Masonry is to talk nonsense.
The Masons’ Company.—Gould reaches no firmer ground in discussing the Masons’ Company of London, as he has done on several occasions at a certain length. In the opinion of Mr. Edward Conder, this institution may be referred to about 1220, though the earliest notice of Masons as one of the City Guilds occurs in a list of Companies entitled to send representatives to the Common Council, and this document is dated in August, 1376. In 1472 the London Company was described as “the Hole Crafte and Felowship of Masons”; by 1537 it had become the Company of Freemasons; and in 1655-56 it assumed the title of Worshipful Company of Masons of London. On the basis of an old book of accounts, found among the archives consulted by Mr. Conder, it can be shewn that “certain Brethren who were members of the Company, in conjunction, it is supposed, with others who were not, met at a Lodge in Masons’ Hall” and “were known to the Company as the Accepted Masons.” This was in 1620-21. Those who belonged to the Acception were not for such reason members of the Company, and vice versa, as evidenced in the case of Nicholas Stone, “the King’s Master Mason,” who “was not enrolled among the Accepted Masons of the Lodge until 1639,” though he had been twice Master of the Company. Most of the Company’s records were destroyed, I believe, in the Great Fire of London, including those of the Acception, if any existed. There are, however, two inventories, of the years 1665 and 1676 respectively, the former including a list of the Lodge Members and the latter the Book of their Constitutions. Apparently there is no separate list of those who were freemen of the Company. I have put every point of the evidence fully and without prejudice, but nothing follows therefrom, except that the institution was Operative at the dates under notice, as indicated by the Master whom I have mentioned, which notwithstanding there was a Lodge of mixed membership attached to it. The income accruing from this was paid into the funds of the Company. Mr. Conder says, citing the book of accounts, that its freemen paid 20s. “for coming on the Acception,” whereas strangers paid double. Later on there are references to the Lodge in the Minutes of the Company, the last belonging to the year 1677. But from the wording of Ashmole’s Diary it seems certain that the Meeting which he attended in 1682 was one of a Lodge of Accepted Masons. It follows that we have excellent evidence of Craftsmen and non-Craftsmen meeting together within the walls of the Masons’ Company of London and under their auspices, but of Emblematic or Speculative Masonry, “veiled in allegory and illustrated by symbols,” we have no evidence at all. It may be added that there were Masons’ Companies in various English cities and at Edinburgh.
Issues of Modern Research.—Before finishing with Masonry prior to the Grand Lodge period, it is desirable to put on record certain findings of research which are designed to reduce the elements of old romance in its history. The authorities are Street and Gould, the latter especially having done sane and good work in this connection. The findings may be summarised as follows: (1) There is no evidence forthcoming from any statute of the Realm or other authentic record that Freemasons—“as a Fraternity or Guild”—possessed any exclusive privileges in England at any period whatever. (2) There is no evidence that continental Freemasons were warranted by Papal Bulls to go at their will over Europe, for the purpose of building churches: stories to this effect were challenged even by Ashmole in the seventeenth century. (3) The old story concerning Colleges of Masons founded in various countries may be dismissed as “chimerical,” and so also that of the Comacines, which originated with Hope in 1835. (4) The common belief in ubiquitous bodies of touring Freemasons is “altogether erroneous,” but it is obvious that they travelled within certain limits, wherever they heard of work in their own land. (5) There is no evidence that companies of Masons passed from land to land and kingdom to kingdom for the erection of sacred edifices and royal palaces: a cloud of traditional histories and mythical hypotheses dissolves under this test. (6) The Building Guilds were ordinary mediaeval Guilds. Among findings which remain open to debate are (1) the alleged exaggeration of monastic influence on architecture and (2) the view which has been fathered on Christopher Wren—that what is called Gothic architecture arose through the influence of the Saracenic style on Crusaders. They do not belong to our subject, for our concern is Emblematic Freemasonry and not the Building Art; but generations of misconception make it needful to turn away at times from the real issues.
The Grand Lodge Heritage.—After a due consideration of all these facts and points, it would appear that there came into the hands of the Grand Lodge of 1717 the remnants of a Society in and about London which had lost its raison d’être as a Trade Guild, which no longer consisted exclusively or even generally of persons belonging to the building trade, but which continued to meet in various Lodges and to transact some kind of formal business, including the admission of fresh persons within their ranks. When the business was over there followed a meal in common. It will be seen that on the surface at least the heritage committed into the hands of the Grand Lodge was not a little like the dry bones of Ezekiel’s Vision, and that unless they could be raised by a word of life passing over them the experiment of the Apple-Tree Tavern was likely to prove abortive. The living element was supplied in my view by the group of literati who were gathered within the walls of the first Grand Lodge; but not at the beginning of things. Besides the proposition “to cement under a Grand Master as the centre of union and harmony,” it was resolved (1) to revive the Quarterly Communications, (2) “to hold the Annual Assembly and Feast.” Of an Annual or Triennial Assembly we hear very often in the Old Charges, including the Regius and Cooke Codices and the Roberts group of MSS. But of anything corresponding to quarterly communications I can remember only the Charter granted by the Bishop of Durham on April 24, 1671, whereby various crafts were constituted into a Community, Fellowship and Company, and were enjoined to meet on the Feast of St. John Baptist, the Feast of St. Michael the Archangel, St. John’s Day in Christeninas and the 25th day of March in every year. It is well known, moreover, that there is no trace of the proposed revival in the first Book of Constitutions, and as a fact quarterly communications find no place in the records till St. John the Evangelist’s Day in 1720.
Creation of Grand Lodge.—The first Minutes of Grand Lodge are dated June 24, 1723, and the sole record of the early proceedings was inserted by James Anderson in his second Book of Constitutions, published in 1738, or more than twenty years after the chief event. He tells us (1) that “the few Lodges at London” thought fit, as we have seen, “to cement under a Grand Master”; (2) that these Lodges met (a) at the Goose and Gridiron Ale-House in St. Paul’s Churchyard, (6) at the Crown Ale-House in Parker’s Lane, (c) at the Apple-Tree Tavern in Charles Street, Covent Garden, and (d) at the Rummer and Grapes Tavern in Channel Row, Westminster; (3) that there were further “some old Brothers,” in addition to the members—few or many—of these Lodges; (4) that in February, 1717, they put the oldest Master Mason into the Chair; (5) that they constituted themselves a Grand Lodge pro tempore; (6) that they decided to hold the Quarterly Communications and the Annual Assembly, at which they would choose a Grand Master from among themselves, “till they should have the honour of a noble Brother at their head;” (7) that accordingly on St. John Baptist’s Day, being June 24 of the same year, they elected Antony Sayer, Gentleman, Grand Master of Masons, Jacob Lamball, a carpenter, and Captain Joseph Elliott being appointed Grand Wardens; (8) that the Grand Master commanded the Masters and Wardens of Lodges “to meet the Grand Officers every quarter in communication,” at the place appointed in his Summons. Such, in summary form, are the Minutes of the first Grand Lodge Meeting and of that which led thereto. It is obvious that four London Lodges had no power to appoint “a Grand Master of Masons,” considering that Masonry was spread over Great Britain, Scotland and existed also in Ireland. They could act only for themselves. It is probable, however, that the title was a subsequent invention, making in 1738—when the face of things had changed very much—a more extended claim on jurisdiction. We may dismiss also the question of quarterly communications, as according to Anderson’s own showing they do not seem to have been held till much later. the rule concerning them is presumably antedated. When the maker of the Book of Constitutions is unsupported by evidence outside his own, it is prudent to infer that he was dreaming.
A Conflagration of Archives.—The chronological record of Anderson continues to the year 1723, at which period Grand Lodge thought fit, as we have seen, to begin keeping Minutes. The notion of its original importance may be gauged by the previous omission. The succession of Grand Masters is given and there is information on matters connected therewith. Among things extrinsic to this, there is a note under 1720 that in this year certain “private Lodges,” i.e. not under the jurisdiction of Grand Lodge—burnt their “Regulations, Charges, Secrets and Usages,” lest they might “fall into strange hands.” There must have been an understanding in common leading to the concurrent act, and as there were no enemies—real or supposed—without the gates at the period, it must be concluded that they were thought to be within. I do not wish to be invidious where there is no ground of certitude, but the destruction may have been actuated by hostility to the new Grand Lodge, which was on the quest of old memorials, and was unwelcome in several quarters.
The Order to Anderson.—The desire for a “noble Brother” at the head of affairs was gratified in 1721 by the installation of the Duke of Montague, and on September 29 of that year Anderson was ordered to “digest” the old “Gothic Constitutions” in “a new and better method,” which work being finished “fourteen learned Brothers” were appointed on December 27 to examine the MS. and report thereon. Their report was presented and their approval signified on March 25, 1722. Thereupon the Grand Master, at the request of the Lodge, ordered the MS. to be printed. It appears on other authority that this order was ratified by the signatures of twenty-four representatives of Lodges. As a typical anomaly of the period, the ownership of the Book of Constitutions remained with Anderson as his sole property. I pass now to the last notable point in the belated records.
The Chair of Grand Master.—Regarding the proclamation of Montague, four years after Grand Lodge was created, it is said for the first time that he was installed “in Solomon’s Chair” and that Dr. John Beal was installed thereafter “in Hiram Abif’s Chair on the Grand Master’s left hand.” The absence of these formularies from the installations of 1717, 1718, 1719 and 1720 are, in my view, pregnant with significance, while their sudden introduction in 1721 is a silent indication of a great change which is commemorated in no Minutes and no other records.
Craft Expansion.—In respect finally of the Anderson chronology, it is stated that on the installation of Montague, Philip Lord Stanhope—afterwards Earl of Chesterfield—was made a Mason and that during the reign of his successor, the Duke of Wharton, “many noblemen and gentlemen of the first rank desired to be admitted into the Fraternity, besides other learned men.” There is evidence also that still earlier than this the Roll of membership included the Duke of Queensboro’, Lord Dumbarton and Lord Dalkeith, not to speak of Wharton himself. It has been said in view of these facts but more especially on the accession of Montague that the Masonic Society “ rose at one bound into notice and esteem.” Previous Grand Lodge doings, according to Gould, evoked no notice in contemporary writings or newspapers. The point is borne out curiously by the Diary of Dr. William Stukeley, who affirms, under date of January 6, 1721—or prior to the accession in question—(1) that he was made a Freemason at the Salutation Tavern, Tavistock Street; (2) that he was the first person so made in London “ for many years “; (3) that great difficulty was experienced in finding members enough to perform the ceremony; but (4) that “ immediately upon that it took a run, and ran itself out through the folly of its members.” The Diary, which is in private hands, has not been printed and is not available for consultation, but it seems obvious that the date mentioned refers to the initiation of Stukeley, the other points being drawn from a later entry. Alternatively, he also wrote up his notes from memory, a considerable time after.
Book of Constitutions.—The internal history of this document has been certified as follows by Gould and other writers: (1) The dedicatory Preface was the work of Desaguliers; (2) The New Regulations were drafted by George Payne and were agreed by Grand Lodge in 1720; (3) the Constitution and History, described as collected from general records and faithful traditions, was the compilation of Anderson, in accordance with his order to “digest,” as were also the Charges of a Freemason and the Manner of Constituting a New Lodge, for which last there is no old authority. Gould tells us that the Book of Constitutions and its author were openly derided in many publications, while there was otherwise marked resentment, owing to the innovations of Anderson and the new Grand Lodge. It was the culmination of a hostility to which I have adverted previously and which had grown from more to more during a period of six years. The most universal of the old charges was “to be true to God and the Holy Church”; but the Church was now relegated to the region of “particular opinions” and placed on a par with the synagogue, the free thought of Deism and the general horde of sects. The hands of a Scotch Presbyterian and a French Huguenot were seen presumably therein, and those who understood the clause in the Apostles’ Creed concerning the Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church either in the sense of Rome or Canterbury would be alike offended. There would be those also who objected on the general ground that Masonry was a Christian Institution, outside all question of Churches. The resentment signified, however, much that was over and above any matter of official religion, and one must beware of regarding that which is most vital to oneself as the chief operating factor. Gould speaks of the terms Entered Apprentice and Fellow Craft being imposed by the Book of Constitutions on English Masons and suggests that it was a ground of irritation. These compounds were brought over by Desaguliers from Scotland, business having called him to Edinburgh in the summer of 1721. There is something no doubt in the contention, but a grievance of this kind could have played only a small part. Finally, the Constitutions forbade the working of what was termed the “Master’s Part” in private Lodges, by which part Gould understands the old manner of receiving or passing a Fellow. There can be no doubt that this would be opposed with all the strength of—at least—the independent Lodges, for it struck at their liberties and removed a right which they had possessed, by the hypothesis, from immemorial time. But Gould does not observe that this ordinance is the key to a much graver situation. It was one among many moves of the Grand Lodge in the direction of despotic self-aggrandisement. It has been held that its jurisdiction was limited originally to the cities of London and Westminster, but the Constitutions virtually extended it over all England. We shall see shortly how one ancient seat of Masonry in Northern England regarded this arrogation; meanwhile it is certain that within the metropolitan limits just mentioned there were Lodges and individual Masons who looked upon the proceedings of the Apple-Tree Tavern and Goose and Gridiron as ultra vires. This is as much as can be said in the present place on a very wide subject, and it is of course understood that many great movements begin in an irregular manner, having the seal of heresy upon them, but they become orthodox in the effluxion of time, more especially if they happen to succeed.
Old Operative Grades.—The reference to a “Master’s Part” opens another subject. No person at the present day whose opinion is entitled to a hearing would affirm that the three Symbolical Degrees, as now worked among us, antedate the year 1717: against that possibility the canons of literary criticism have some time since pronounced. The debate continues on the antiquity of their root matter, with a tendency—as it would seem—to leave that of the Third Degree in a suspension out of consideration, since no one knows where to look for light thereon—within Masonic limits. In 1862 Findel affirmed that there was “but one Degree of initiation in 1717.” On the other hand, the General Regulations said to have been compiled by George Payne in 1720 and printed in the Book of Constitutions, 1723, provide that Apprentices were only to be “admitted Masters and Fellow Craft” in the Grand Lodge, “unless by dispensation.” The date 1720 is that given by Anderson, but according to Stukeley’s Diary “a new set of articles,” which must have been the General Regulations, were read over by Payne at Grand Lodge on June 24, 1721, though there is no record of the fact in Anderson’s Minutes. The reference to Fellow Craft shews almost certainly that the provision under notice was drawn up after his visit to Edinburgh in August, 1721, or that it was altered subsequently. However this may be, Gould and others understand the words “Masters and Fellow Craft” as alternative titles of one Degree, making with that of Entered Apprentice two Degrees of Masonry in 1723. There are several points of evidence in favour of this view, but they cannot be cited here. The next question is—What was this so-called “Master’s Part,” Masters’ or Fellow Craft Degree? According to Gould, it was some form of our present Third Degree, for which he produces no evidence whatever. In the opinion of others it corresponded to our Second or Pass Degree, and we hear of Brethren being “regularly passed Masters.” My own opinion is that in the year 1723 the Three Degrees of “pure and ancient Freemasonry” were actually in the making and that the Legend of Hiram Abif had been either discovered or invented. In the former case it came from North Britain, a question which remains for our consideration in connection with York and Scotland. So far as all evidence goes, there was nothing whatever in the South. We have to remember in this connection that on August 25, 1781, Theophilus Desaguliers witnessed at Mary’s Chapel how certain “honourable persons were admitted and received Entered Apprentices and Fellow Crafts” in that ancient Lodge. It is probable that he brought something away, and in the opinion of D. Murray Lyon he took something with him, namely, “the Ritual which he was anxious to introduce.” In this manner Lyon accounts for the subsequent adoption by Scotland of “English Symbolical Masonry.” It is of course mere speculation to say that he carried a Ritual; but if he did, then in my opinion it would be that of two Degrees, in the likeness of our First and Second. Speaking not less tentatively, I am disposed to infer that the Third Degree was manufactured in London between 1723 and 1732—embodying whatever archaic materials may have been in the hands of the makers. A letter printed in the Grand Mystery of the Freemasons Discover’d, 2nd edition, October, 1724. embodies a reference to “two unhappy busy persons who were Masons” and who “obtruded their idle notions among the vulgar Chinese, of Adam and Solomon and Hiram.” By the Chinese are understood the rank and file of Masons, while the busy persons are identified with Anderson and Desaguliers. Prichard’s Masonry Dissected speaks of Three Steps or Degrees; in 1732 Lodge No. 83 was working Three Degrees; and in 1738 the second Book of Constitutions alters Payne’s Regulation XIII to “Apprentices must be admitted Fellow Crafts and Masters only here,” while shewing that it was repealed in 1725. It remains to be stated that the Operative Titles of Entered Apprentice, Fellow Craft and Master Mason are found in the Schaw Statutes of 1598, shewing that they were extant in Scotland at that period. There are other early traces of these denominations, but whether they stood for distinct steps, having procedure and official secrets attached thereto, is a very different question. It should be understood that I have no thesis to maintain for the increase or reduction of Operative steps: my concern is that the Grand Lodge of London produced three elaborate Symbolical Degrees during the first fifteen years of its existence, that they were couched in the language and represented the notions of their period, and that we have yet to find their root-matter elsewhere in the Masonic world of antiquity. On the other hand, there is full evidence to shew that the old mode of making a Mason at Mother Kilwinning was one of uttermost simplicity, while at York people were “sworn and admitted.” The Schaw Statutes speak of a “great oath” and also of an “oath of fidelity” which was renewed annually. The qualification for passing from the status of Entered Apprentice to that of Fellow Craft and (or) Master was attained in a trial of skill, success in which seems to have conferred the new status and not a ceremonial advancement. In fine, as regards official secrets, Gould has shewn conclusively that Scotland knew only of one “Master Word.” The key-distinctions therefore between Scottish Operative Masonry and Emblematic or Symbolical Freemasonry as developed by the Grand Lodge is that the one possessed the Word while the other commemorates its loss.
Divisions and Feuds.—The later history of Grand Lodge must be dismissed in a few words. In the year 1726 the old Lodge at York began to assume the title of Grand Lodge of all England, on the authority of its legend that in A.D. 600 Edwin, “the first Christian King of the Northumbrians,” had “sat as Grand Master therein,” and though often in a state of inactivity it appears to have continued till 1740 or 1750. It was revived again when the Grand Lodge in the South invaded its territory, i.e. in 1761, and continued till about 1792, or a few years later. In 1751 a “schismatic” Grand Lodge was formed in London under the title of “Grand Lodge of England, according to the Old Institutions.” Laurence Dermott was appointed Grand Secretary in the year following, he having seceded from the other jurisdiction. I do not know that the last word has been said on the subject; but the disposition of the present time is to accept the evidence and arguments produced by Henry Sadler, according to which the new organisation was established by Irish Masons in London. It has been attributed otherwise (1) to lethargy and supineness on the part of “the constitutional Grand Body”; (2) to the transposition of certain official words for a certain specific reason which was adopted by the recognised Grand Lodge; (3) to other innovations; (4) to the presence of a general innovating spirit which tended to remove all ancient vestiges; and (5) to what Gould terms “the summary erasure of Lodges at the Quarterly Communications” for not “paying in their charity.” Over and above all perhaps, it is suggested that the Irish Masons had the matter of the Royal Arch, or alternatively that this had been derived from York. It is certain that the new Grand Lodge identified itself with York Masonry and it conferred also on its members the title of Ancients as a distinction from those of the authorised Grand Lodge, whom it termed Modern. Its claims were recognised by the Supreme Obediences of Scotland and Ireland, while owing to the successful administration of Dermott and the conspicuous success of his Ahiman Rezon its influence was extended into the continent of Europe, the British Colonies and America. This is as much as can be said upon the subject in the present place. There came a time fortunately when both parties were anxious to heal the breach, in the course of which process it is a matter of history that the older Grand Lodge made a surrender which has been called “unconditional” and almost deserves the epithet. In more desirable language it had come to see that the alternative orthodoxy had won its way to very full recognition and was in the right over several things. The way of reunion was paved by a Lodge of Promulgation. The Duke of Sussex became Grand Master of the original Grand Lodge in May, 1813; the Duke of Kent took the chair of the Ancient Grand Lodge on December 1; and on the Day of St. John the Evangelist in the same month “the Freemasons of England were reunited in a single society,” the Duke of Sussex becoming Grand Master of the United Grand Lodge on the motion of the Duke of Kent.
Grand Masters.—The succession of Grand Masters can be seen in any Masonic Calendar, but presumably must be given here for the sake of completeness: (1) Anthony Sayer, 1717; (2) George Payne, 1718; (3) J. T. Desaguliers, 1719; (4) George Payne, 1720; (5) John, Duke of Montague, 1721; (6) Philip, Duke of Wharton, 1722; (7) Francis Scott, Earl of Dalkeith, 1723; (8) Charles Lenox, Duke of Richmond, 1724; (9) James Hamilton, Lord Paisley, 1725; (10) William O’Brien, Earl of Inchiquin, 1726; (11) Henry Hare, Lord Coleraine, 1727; (12) James King, Lord Kingston, 1728; (13) Thomas Howard, Duke of Norfolk, 1729-30; (14) Thomas Coke, Lord Lovel, 1731; (15) Anthony Brown, Viscount Montague, 1732; (16) James Lyon, Earl of Strathmore; (17) John Lindsay, Earl of Crawford; (18) Thomas Thynne, Viscount Weymouth, 1735; (19) John Campbell, Earl of Loudoun, 1736; (20) Edward Bligh, Earl of Darnley, 1737; (21) Henry Bridges, Marquess of Carnarvon, 1738; (22) Robert, Lord Raymond, 1739; (23) John Keith, Earl of Kintore, 1740; (24) James Douglas, Earl of Morton, 1741; (25) John, Viscount Dudley, 1742-43; (26) Thomas Lyon, Earl of Strathmore, 1744; (27) James, Lord Cranstoun, 1745-46; (28) William, Lord Byron, 1747-51; (29) John Proby, Lord Carysfort, 1752-53; (30) James Bridges, Marquess of Carnarvon, 1754-56; (31) Sholto Douglas, Lord Aberdour, 1757-61; (32) Washington Shirley, Earl Ferrers, 1762-63; (33) Cadwallader, Lord Blarney, 1764-66; (34) Henry Somerset, Duke of Beaufort, 1767-71; (35) Robert Edward, Lord Petre, 1772-76; (36) George Montagu, Duke of Manchester, 1777-82; (37) H.R.H. Henry Frederick, Duke of Cumberland, 1782-90; (38) H.R.H. The Prince of Wales, afterwards George IV, 1790-1813; (39) H.R.H. Augustus Frederick, Duke of Sussex 1813-43; (40) Earl of Zetland, 1844-70; (41) Earl de Grey and Ripon, afterwards Marquess of Ripon, 1870-74; (42) H.R.H. The Prince of Wales, afterwards Edward VII, 1874-1901; (43) H.R.H. The Duke of Connaught and Strathearn, K.G., 1901. Antient or Atholl Grand Lodge: (1) The Grand Committee, 1751-53; (2) Robert Turner, 1753; (3) Hon. Edward Vaughan, 1754-55; (4) Earl of Blessington, 1756-59; (5) Thomas, Earl of Kelly, 1760- 65; (6) Hon. Thomas Mathew, 1766-70; (7) John, 3rd Duke of Atholl, 1771-74; (8) John, 4th Duke of Atholl, 1775-1781; (9) William Randal, Earl of Antrim, afterwards Marquess of Antrim, 1783-91; (10) John, 4th Duke of Atholl, 1791-1813; (11) H.R.H. The Duke of Kent, 1813. I cannot conceive that it will serve any useful purpose to reproduce the catalogue of mythical Grand Masters inserted by Anderson in his second Book of Constitutions, in 1738, and extended further by John Entick in a later edition, dated 1767. It begins with St. Alban, includes Alfred the Great, St. Edward the Confessor, Gilbert de Clare, a Grand Master of the Templars, Henry VII, Cardinal Wolsey, Inigo Jones, Charles I, Charles II, William III and Sir Christopher Wren. It is agreed on all sides that the Constitutions of 1738 were a miserable production, too bad even for that uncritical period of Masonic history.
Authorities.—As regards points of fact, apart from individual views, the sources of this notice are: (1) Gould’s large History of Freemasonry, especially the second volume, 1887; (2) Gould’s Concise History of Freemasonry, 1903; (3) A. F. Calvert’s Grand Lodge of England, already cited; (4) Findel’s History of Freemasonry; (5) Fergusson’s History of Architecture; (6) Robert Plot’s Natural History of Staffordshire, cap. 3, 1686; (7) D. Murray Lyon’s History of the Lodge of Edinburgh; (8) W. J. Hughan’s Origin of the English Rite of Freemasonry, 1884; (9) William Preston’s Illustrations of Freemasonry, of which there are several editions, onwards from 1772; (10) Henry Sadler’s Masonic Facts and Fictions, 1887; (11) Gould’s Four Old Lodges, 1879; (12) Laurence Dermott’s Ahiman Rezon, the polemical introduction to which is of importance for the “schismatic” point of view and also on the historical side. I have cited the various editions previously. Dermott died in 1791, having been twice Deputy Grand Master of the body whose cause he espoused for a period of about forty years.
Grand Master Architect
The thesis is (1) that every experienced Mason has a right to further knowledge; (2) that to each is the proportionate reward which belongs to his measures of attainment; and (3) that those who know the origin of things and apply this knowledge to the good of mankind are Grand Master Architects. It is the Twelfth Degree of the Scottish Rite and is held to unfold the principles of architecture and the Masonic connections of the “liberal arts.” According to the traditional history, it was established by Solomon as a school of architecture for the instruction of craftsmen and to animate them with zeal for perfection in the Royal Art. But according to the revision of Albert Pike the attainment of this end was a preparation of those who would approach the Throne of God. The King of Israel is affirmed to have selected such as were already Grand Masters of the workmen, otherwise the Sublime Elects of the Eleventh Degree in the series of the Scottish Rite, looking towards that time when God would dwell in His Temple and His Name should be revealed therein. This is the plan of the Grade and now as to the mode of its fulfilment.
Points of the Grade.—The Candidate testifies that he has seen the symbolical circles and beheld the square; that he has distributed justice impartially to all the workmen; that he has penetrated to the inner parts of the Temple; that he knows the mysterious cavern—being intimations of his experience in earlier Grades of the Rite. He is still on the quest of knowledge, as one who would find a sure path through the darkness and the unknown places. He has not finished with the Temple of Solomon, for he is still Joubert and Solomon is the Master of the Lodge, but in the delirium of the procedure he calls on the Holy Evangelist, meaning St. John, to be with him in the keeping of his pledge. He is a Perfect Master, Intendant of the Building and Sublime Elect, but that which is now offered him as a means of unfolding “the most sublime knowledge” is a case of mathematical instruments, and one of the simplest kind. That which they teach symbolically is (1) the equilibrium of opposing forces; (2) the necessity of a distinct plan to precede action; (3) the fundamental agreement of truth in the particular with truth in the universal state; (4) the limitations of designs within the due measures of means and time; and (5) the necessity of a sure beginning in order to discover truth as well as to act with confidence. The closing Instruction explains that the five Pillars which are part of the furniture of the Lodge not only correspond to the Five Orders of Architecture, but that in combination with these they are emblematical of five divisions of the Scottish Rite: (1) the Tuscan is referable to the Blue Degrees, understood as primitive Masonry; (2) the Doric corresponds to the Ineffable Degrees, so called, or from the Fourth to the Fourteenth inclusive; (3) the Ionic belongs to the Fifteenth and Sixteenth Degrees, which are those of the Second Temple; (4) the Corinthian is connected with the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Degrees, which are under the obedience of the New Law; while (5) the Composite is in analogy with the long series extending from the Nineteenth to the Thirty-second Degree, those being in part philosophical and in part Christian.
The French Legend.—The traditional History is different in the French version, which is of course the original form. It represents the people of Israel overburdened by tributes, the public treasury empty and the labours of the Temple suspended for want of funds. Twelve architects, who are Intendants of the Building, are appointed by the Twelve Tribes and are delegated to provide a practical plan for the unfinished part of the scheme, together with a method of raising funds for the amelioration of the people.
Grand Master of All Symbolic Lodges
Few and rare are the moments in which “the shaping spirit of imagination” comes down on the makers of Masonic Grades; rare is the sense of the sacraments and of the higher life of symbolism; rarest perhaps of all is the light—which is grace—of the eternal and its shining in the offices of time. But ever present, insistent and super-insistent is the ringing of everlasting changes on the counsels of commonplace and the revelation, under solemn pledges, of the things that all men know. The Grand Master of all Symbolic Lodges attains as such a very high titular distinction and solemn conventional duties are imposed upon him; but he has not in reality advanced one step further, even in the acquisition of canons of morality—not to speak of hidden truths or the Mysteries of Nature and Science—than when he took the Craft Degrees.
Defects and Insufficiencies.—The Grade has its moments, more especially in the Opening and Closing, as revised by Albert Pike, for the kindling and extinction of certain symbolical lights are acts performed with ceremonial dignity amidst the interchange of unexceptionable maxims—even if these are “familiar in our mouths as household words,” and then in more favoured forms. But a great opportunity is missed, as we have found in other Degrees, because the significance of the symbolism is so much wider than was dreamed by Albert Pike. It is over and over the same record of insufficiency and hence the same line of criticism. He who in comparative youth wrote his Hymns to the Gods had—as the saying goes—registered at once, and from the beginning, his “ambition and incapacity.”
Horizon of the Grade.—There is again no real procedure. The proclamation of the Four Cardinal Virtues, with all their possible variants and analogies that can be formed in fours, fills up the opening part, toleration and truth resounding as watchwords over all. It is perhaps rather fortunate that the question of Pilate is itself neither asked nor answered, but it is certified that no man has truth in his possession as if it were a chattel. Under these circumstances there is no right of dictation on the part of any one in matters of religious belief: it is go as you please in your gospels, almost as a counsel of scorn. Nor is any one to judge another, save only as he judges himself—dismissing him presumably with a caution or at most recommending to mercy. Out of these banalities arises a fervid denunciation of persecution, much as if the rack and the faggot still prevailed among us. Truth and Toleration outstanding, there remain Veneration, Charity, Generosity, Heroism, Honour, Patriotism and Justice, as already defined: these are the lights of a Grand Master, and very nice too—as we learned them at our mother’s knee, or with the pictured help of Mr. Peter Parley. It is these which shall qualify Candidates by the hypothesis to rule over all Symbolic Lodges, not that the Twentieth Degree of the Scottish Rite, in America or otherwhere, really conveys the Office, even within the extent of its own circuit. Under the auspices of such aids to perfection, it becomes the duty and privilege of each Candidate who is promoted to this Honourable Degree of pretentious Masonry to work at the restoration of the Order, so that it may shine forth in its primitive purity. From this it has degenerated through the foolishness of innovating minds. There is what might be termed by admirers a trenchant criticism of grandiloquent and meaningless titles, which used to be conferred in the past; but under the obedience of the Scottish Rite it is indicated proudly that a Knight is one who is devoted—hand and heart and brain—to the science of Masonry; the Sovereign is among Sovereigns, and is supreme only by virtue of the supremacy of that law which he is entitled to administer in Masonry. How and in what wise or prudent sense those who go yet further are entitled to call themselves Prince of Mercy, Knight of the Sun and Sublime Prince of the Royal Secret are questions perhaps left over, pending further advancements. They suggest meanwhile the decried distinctions of Memphis and Mizraim, their Commanders of the Stars, Adepts and Masters of the Great Work, with many others—a great galaxy.
The Candidate for Masonic perfection in the Grade of Rose-Croix affirms not only his integration in the great Order of Christian Knighthood but his princely descent as belonging to the Tribe of Judah. His actual, though implied qualification is, however, that he has accepted the yoke of the New Law and entered under the obedience of Christ. In the Grade of Grand Pontiff we are again among the Tribes of Israel, but they are now on the quest of light, as those who are coming out of exile, symbolised by Egypt and Babylon. Their faces are set towards the Mystic City, the Jerusalem which is above. There is no question therefore that it is a Grade of Christian priesthood, but in the reconstruction of Albert Pike, though the New Law is explained to be that of Love, the name of Christ is suppressed, in the interests of a spurious catholicity, which throws open the portals of the High Grades to Jews and Deists. Let it be understood once and for all that my arms are against no man on the ground of his official religion, while my respect and veneration for the great theosophy of Israel is like that of the Sons of its Doctrine: the opposition of my thesis, here as elsewhere in these volumes, is directed towards those who have tampered with Christian documents to suppress their essential element and have done their work so badly that the thing which they sought to exclude has been mangled only and manifests in this condition at every point and page. The lead in the case of Pike was taken from the fraudulent manufactories of Memphis and Mizraim, and though as ritualist and symbolist—when engaged in this kind of work—he was always in marsh and quagmire, his worst floundering is, I think, in the present case.
An Apocalyptic Grade.—The Grade of Grand Pontiff remains that which it was, an Apocalyptic Mystery. The Candidate hears that Judah shall be restored to its first estate, that Issachar shall enter into liberation, that peace shall descend upon Zebulun, that the dawn comes for Reuben, that Simeon shall be reconciled to God, that Gad in the end shall triumph, that Ephraim, however hardly, shall find eternal rest, that Manasseh in Divine Light shall yet see and know, that Benjamin shall attain redemption, that Dan shall obey the New Law, that Asher shall eat the fruit of the Tree of Life in the Kingdom of the Lord, and that Naphtali shall not wait in “vain” on the fulfilment of the promises of God.
Points of the Pageant.—Amidst darkness and isolation thereafter the officers of the Chapter proclaim the dominion of the beast, the opening of the seven vials of Revelation and the fall of Babylon. But it is the city of intolerance which has passed, the city of fraud and falsehood. So also when the Candidate is brought into light and is shewn the four-square city coming down out of Heaven, when he hears of the new Heaven and the new earth, the apocalyptic account is reduced so that the city appears to be one of simple theism, governed by principles of good-will, while He Who sits upon the throne, though He is called the Lord God Almighty and Redeemer, is not the Christ of St. John. So does Pike put on record by implication his view of the judgment which threatens those who “shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy.” The Candidate is anointed with oil, is made and proclaimed a priest for ever according to the Order of Melchizedek, but the equivalent of this title in the nameless banality of the scheme is Scottish Mason. The New Jerusalem is interpreted as Ancient Masonry. There is otherwise nothing more preposterous than the attempt to expunge the Name of Christ from the memorial of a revelation which is made under His Name, while retaining the other apocalyptic elements and appealing to the authority of St. John. We hear also of the Twelve Apostles, the initials of whose names are inscribed upon the gates and foundations of this Mystical City; of the seed of the woman who should bruise the serpent’s head; while the Obligation has reference to honour and truth in Christendom.