Illuminati of Avignon ⬩ Illuminati of Bavaria ⬩ Illumination ⬩ Imitation ⬩ Immortality ⬩ Ineffable Mysteries ⬩ Initiated Brothers of Asia ⬩ Initiation ⬩ Intendant of the Building ⬩ Irish Masonry ⬩ Irish Master Grades
Illuminati of Avignon
I have explained elsewhere that there is a mass of error and confusion as regards this foundation, which has been usually termed an Academy. It has been referred erroneously to the year 1760 and alternatively to 1785, having Abbé Pernety as its founder. At or about the first of these periods the retired Benedictine in question seems to have been concerned with an informal and unmasonic association at the place in question for the investigation of future events by means of a peculiar Kabalistic oracle. This oracle directed members to follow the teachings of Emanuel Swedenborg. In view of such mission the association appears to have dissolved. But it was again in session at Avignon about or before 1785, still occupied with prophecy and now with the revelations of Swedenborg. It was visited in 1789 by two Englishmen and had apparently no concern in Masonry. In 1787, however, one of the original members, a Polish noble, Count Grabbianka, having returned to the place in question, founded a Société des Illuminés d’Avignon at a Masonic Lodge. We know but little concerning it at this period, except that it was Masonic in character—though this does not follow of necessity from its place of meeting. It was in existence, according to Kloss, in 1812. See my Secret Tradition in Freemasonry, Vol. II, Book V, § 3.
Illuminati of Bavaria
In the eighteenth century there was one definite and highly organised attempt to appropriate Masonry in the interests of a propaganda which aimed at religious, political and social revolution. The Illuminati of Bavaria was an Order founded in 1776 by a young man named Adam Weishaupt, who had conceived a scheme of universal reform and apparently regarded any method as justified by such an end. He was not a Mason at the time, but he sought initiation subsequently and began to incorporate Masonic elements into his system of Degrees. Of these there were three classes—the first Preparatory, the second Masonic, while the third contained the Final Secrets of the Order. His collaborator in the construction of the last series was Baron von Knigge, a Mason of considerable standing and one who has been praised by almost every writer for great amiability and many intellectual gifts. At the Masonic Convention of Wilhelmsbad in 1782, von Knigge sought and failed to obtain recognition for the Order; but—his zeal notwithstanding—he became dissatisfied with Weishaupt’s propaganda and abandoned the Illuminati, shortly before their forcible suppression by an electoral edict in 1784. In its complexion the Order was anti-Christian, because it was an aggressive Deism; it was anti-monarchical certainly; and those who describe it as an anti-social movement are not far from the mark, if we admit the validity of their implicits in the use of the term. It was an attempt to embody in association a sectarian spirit of the age which was represented individually by—e.g.—the German bookseller, C. F. Nicolai. The latter was a Mason also and is useful to remember as epitomising the set of intellectual, moral and religious feelings which brought about such experiments as the Illuminati. The Masonry of Southern Germany was included for a time in their downfall, and some of the disbanded associates are represented—but on very poor authority—to have entered France and to have been received into a few of its Lodges, where they quickened the Spirit of Revolution. Here is one example of the grounds on which continental Masonry is supposed to have had political aspects and concerns in the worst sense of the expression. The connection of the Illuminati with the older Institution is simply that they adopted some of its Degrees and pressed them into their own service.
Scheme of Degrees.—It is also clear that as the Strict Observance made a valiant attempt to incorporate all Masonry and irradiate it with the light of Christian symbolism, so German Illuminism had a design on the Order at large, for the acquisition of an established institution which might be turned to its own ends. The Strict Observance failed because it built upon the sand of a specific claim which it proved impossible to substantiate; Illuminism failed because, in the first place, it originated in a country which was counter to the spirit of its programme, and, secondly, because simple Deism, otherwise natural religion, is a mental persuasion, restricted by the measures of external testimony, apart from inward experience, and has never been a motive power. But it was on this that Weishaupt sought to raise his doctrine of human perfectibility, while the means sought for its advancement were political revolution and the destruction of all authority, for the restoration of patriarchal life. There is no occasion at this day to discuss the merits of such a scheme, and as it has no concern with our Masonic subject it is only necessary to set out the plan of the Rite as follows: A. Preparatory Degrees.—(1) Novice and Teacher, almost apart as such from ceremonial procedure. (2) Academy of Illuminism, otherwise Brethren of Minerva. The reception was at the dead of night in a dark room. (3) Illuminatus Minor. (4) Illuminatus Major, otherwise Scottish Novice—reflected from Masonry. The Candidate is represented as depositing an account of his life in the hands of his Sponsor, and this was checked by information derived from the Intelligence Department of the Order. B. Intermediary Degree.—Scottish Knight of Illuminism, founded on Ecossais Grades of Masonic Chivalry and reproducing points of their procedure. An alternative name was Illuminatus Dirigens. The Candidate was called upon to testify his belief that the Superiors of Illuminism were also the unknown and lawful Superiors of Freemasonry. C. Class of the Lesser Mysteries.—(1) Epopt, or Priest of Illuminism. The Candidate was hoodwinked and driven by a circuitous route to the place of assembly. He was brought into a brilliantly illuminated Temple, wherein was a vacant throne, by which lay the insignia of royalty, and a cushion whereon was folded a white priestly robe and girdle. The Candidate was to choose between them, and if he was guided rightly he became a Priest of the Order, when a part of its policy was unveiled to him. (2) Regent or Principatus Illuminatus. The political aspects of the Order were developed in this Grade of Knighthood. D. Class of the Greater Mysteries.—(1) Magus or Philosopher. (2) Man-King. The last Mysteries were contained in these Degrees, but no account of their Ritual procedure has transpired. Weishaupt had no influence: his scheme, conceived in the study was devoid of life and substance.
Authorities.—So far as England is concerned, the history of Illuminism in Germany remains to be written, but—as I have indicated already—there is a very full account in the third and fourth volumes of Barruel’s Memoirs of Anti-Jacobinism, and making allowances for the prejudices and misrepresentations of this author it is valuable on the points of fact. Gould also has provided a good summary account in his large History of Freemasonry.
I have had occasion to affirm that Masonry is a hieroglyphical abstract, or itinerary of the integration of the mind in God. Our initiations, passings, raisings, our exaltations and installations are stages of progress by which—ex hypothesi and figuratively—the mind of the recipient enters into light and is advanced therein. From the beginning even to the end he is assumed to be desiring light, and—speaking intellectually—it is claimed that he receives it in stages.
Outward and Inward.—The outward light is in analogy with the light within, but the light signified by the Mysteries is of course an inward light. Now, the great gifts are possible only for those who are prepared to receive them, and the fact that most people are unfitted for the experience of truth is exhibited sufficiently by the further fact that they are without it. No one waits in vain "for the spark from heaven to fall," since the Spiritual Mysteries of the whole stellar universe are ever ready to descend into the soul, if the soul be capable of tolerating that fight which they will enkindle within it. The state of being properly prepared is not only the great secret of the path of quest for light, but is the path itself: it resides in an unity of dedication, an unity of desire and purpose directed towards the one end. The way is then always open; there is always a method of ascent and descent between superiors and inferiors; there is an instrument, a ladder of the soul: in a word, the soul has a scala coeli.
The Rites and their Purpose.—We shall see that the French mystic, L. C. de Saint-Martin was desirous to know God, Who is Truth and the Light of light. When he first entered the Masonic Rite of his teacher, Pasqually, he imagined most probably that his reception and advancement therein would conduce to this end, as if Divine Things could be unveiled suddenly. In this case, he did not understand in his youth what many at the present day fail to realise in their age, namely, that the external part of initiation is only an outer gate and simulacrum of the mystical experiment. The Rites which at any period have been dispensed by the great Confraternities are comparable to the formulae of transmutation in old books of alchemy: they represent the process, but cannot per se perform the life and work of the process. Those who are acquainted with the secret inward paths followed by the old mystics may come to know that their procedure is delineated, step by step, in some of the higher initiations, and though of necessity these can offer only the symbols of things that are incommunicable by any pageant of the Mysteries, they are yet aids by which—if otherwise prepared—the Candidate may be brought into real experience. This is their use at the highest, when it happens that they have been themselves translated into the highest grade of the sacraments. It is also and precisely the use of Emblematic Masonry for those—as unus ex millibus—who can render it for their own purpose out of the sphere of ethical conventions into that of the Divine Spirit.
Scope of Initiation.—-The mystic even as the poetic gift cannot be communicated by systems; but in both cases a certain training may develop a subsisting faculty. The Temple of Initiation is in one sense that universe into which man enters, by the fact of his birth, that he may receive the lights of the universe. But, alike in the Sanctuary and the world, these lights are sacraments, albeit the instituted lights, on which man has set the consecrating seal of his will and purpose, may look nearer to the truth than those which have been put up as beacons in the natural order. The true design of initiation is therefore that of awakening and development: it cannot deliver the gifts except within its own order. If a man does not see that the formula of the Mass Book, “I will go up to the Altar of God,” is a summary and view through the vista of the whole process, there is no hierophant on earth who will be able to open his eyes. At the same time there are nowadays so many initiable persons that the initiations seem almost too narrow and there are so many who have the latent gift that there is a large field for every hierophant.
At all times and in all places, men under the same circumstances tend to think and to act in a similar or identical manner, and it may be thought that the recognition of this fact, which constitutes a kind of ready-made doctrine of imitation, is adequate to explain much of the indubitable likeness between all Instituted Mysteries in all places and times, including the modern system of Freemasonry and coexisting Orders.
Tradition and Experience.—It must not be denied that some of the Mysteries reflected one into another and were adapted one from another, so this fact must be applied as a check on the hypothesis mentioned above. But in addition to both—and indeed overruling both—there is the great and magisterial fact of a Secret Tradition, which itself was reflected from experience. It was the tradition and experience—cited so often in these pages—of a new birth, new life, figurative or mystical death, and in fine a resurrection, rendition or return. There are times and places when it seems to have represented only a procession of events in Nature, the astronomy of the outer world. But in Greece—as our great exemplar—the philosophers took over this subject and exalted it into the soul’s legend, which is “a story written for one of the truest and holiest that are in this world,” because it is a true story and because those who wrote had lived it. In the light of Christ it is summarised by a single sentence: et verbum caro factum est et habitavit in nobis. The wisdom of that Word is formulated in the Craft Degrees as if from very far away, as something in the hiddenness, and hence lost for the time being to the Royal Art of life in Masonry. But it is found with the centre in the Christian Grades, and that centre is like a rock-hewn sepulchre, in which the Word is hidden indeed, but from which it is manifested gloriously, on a certain morning of Easter. So are our altars renewed, the Blazing Star is manifested in all its splendour, the Sacred Word is found: et habitavit in nobis, to the glory of God in the highest, world without end.
So far as procedure is concerned under all existing obediences, it may seem to be technically an open question whether a man who does not believe in the immortality of the soul is qualified to be made a Mason. We know of course that the doctrine of resurrection to a future life has been taught ab origine in the Order and that the Third Degree is without meaning apart from it. But between notions of spurious liberality in matters of religion, Presbyterianism and Hugenot influence, under the aegis of the first Grand Lodge, the nature of the doctrine was confused amidst a cloud of ill-starred similitudes and contradictory symbolism. Moreover, the doctrine that a living and immortal principle abides within the perishable human frame is left to repose only on the sanctions of so-called natural religion, the voice of Nature and other findings belonging to the Paley school of theology. Any considerations which exceed these measures, however slightly, must be sought in the Lectures rather than the Craft Rituals or in the Ceremony of the Holy Royal Arch. The last, as we know, is burdened heavily with the notion of a material resurrection and offers no further light; the Bright and Morning Star of the Craft Degrees brings only veiled tidings of peace and salvation, because in the absence of explicit Christian application the force of the image fails. But there is one clear note in the Lectures which connects directly with St. Paul’s definition of Faith, speaking of Blessed Mansions and eternal happiness with God. It will be observed that this light belongs to the order of revelation and not of natural theology, revelation being understood as experience realised in the soul through Divine Light, or the manifestation of Christ Mystical.
Message of Christian Grades.—It is written: “He that hath an ear to hear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the Churches”—to the Lodges, Chapters and Preceptories, the places of Sacred Mysteries, wherein is the light of Christ. The Mysteries of Christian Masonry bring life and immortality to light. I include among these the beautiful intimations of the Mark, in which we hear of the New Name written in the Mystic Stone and other gospel tidings from the great Apocalypse. But they are declared further and more fully in the Military and Religious Order of the Temple, which signifies the soul’s pilgrimage through life and time to the blessed and eternal shores. In a more perfect form of symbolism, and raising greater issues, the same quest or pilgrimage is signified by the Grade of Rose-Croix, in which the science of the Christhood is written within and without. There are yet other witnesses in Masonry, but these suffice to shew that the light of eternity is upon it and that man under its aegis is pictured as the pilgrim of God, from Whom he comes and unto Whom also he returns. If it be possible as a Craft Mason to elude the splintered intimations of the Third Degree, there is no escape from Immortality in the High Grades.
The expression is purely conventional and involves a tautology of notion, as no one can communicate to another who listens only from without that quality of life and experience which abides within Lodge or Sanctuary. I am using the term here to commemorate a recurring notion that there were Mysteries behind the Mysteries and more Holy Places concealed within the Sanctuaries, even as there may have been—and presumably were—the Unknown Superiors above the great concourse of full Initiates. In a sense it is pure speculation, but from another point of view it can be accepted as literally true, for it represents the resident intention on the part of the Keepers or Wardens, the purpose which informed the Mysteries—the meaning at the back of the pageants. There are various constructions of these, for this kind of world is made up readily enough on the pattern of private views. In the judgment of Rome—so far as it can be held to have pronounced in the mouths of those who have spoken as its champions—the key of all is Satanism. In that of an opposite school the key is priestcraft, typically exemplified by the actuating spirit of that curious compilation called Krata Repoa. In the judgment of Masonic literati belonging to the old order—which has now fortunately changed and ceased to be—the Master-Key, catholic explanation and one thing needful, is Masonry itself, understood as a short manuduction on the great ethical problem of how to be good, without detriment to ourselves and our connections. Beyond these high imaginings there are certain lawful inferences which can be drawn from records of the past on the nature of the Greater Mysteries, the testimony left by those who had experience at first hand concerning them, according to which they were the Legends of the Soul on the way of its return homeward—to that bourne from which in truth no traveller returns, because he has reached thereat the last end and final object of all his age-long wayfaring.
Initiated Brothers of Asia
It is difficult to disentangle the history of this curious but short-lived Rite. The original particulars concerning it are exceedingly rare, and those who drew from them in the first instance have been confused in their own minds or have intended to confuse others, while later writers have accepted their statements implicitly and in the last resource have borrowed successively from each other, according to the common way of research in Masonry. There appeared in the first place a French brochure about 1788, claiming to embody authentic news concerning the Initiated Knights and Brothers. It published their Laws and Statutes and affirmed that the Rite arose in Vienna circa 1780, spreading rapidly from that city into Italy and even Russia. The qualification exacted was that of Master Mason, and it conferred on its own part five further Degrees, being (1) Seekers, (2) Sufferers, (3) Initiated Knights and Brothers, (4) Masters of the Wise, and (5) Royal Priests, or True Rosecross Brothers—otherwise the Grade of Melchisedec. It was governed by a Sanhedrim, consisting of Fathers and Brethren of the Seven Unknown Churches of Asia; but notwithstanding this semi-Apocalyptic designation it was open to Masons without distinction of birth, country or religion. In particular it supported and practised the reception of Jews. The Initiate of the First Degree promised perfect submission and irrevocable obedience to the Laws of the Order, without inquiring by whom they had been framed. The Order on its own part would communicate in return the true secrets of Masonry, together with the ethical and physical significance of its emblems.
The Strict Observance.—After the manner of the Strict Observance, it was hence a system governed by Superiors who remained unknown and whose concealment could not be challenged, in view of the pledges on the part of those who entered. The actual chiefs would seem, however, to have been Johann Karl Baron von Ecker und Eckhoffen and his brother Baron Hans Heinrich, who are accredited with the foundation of the Order, and both of whom are said to have held diplomatic appointments at the Court of Vienna. The very name of the system is at issue, for it is called alternatively Knights and Brethren of St. John the Evangelist for Asia in Europe. It is said also that its title was changed in 1786 to that of the Order of Saint Joachim, but though this statement was made so near the period as 1789 it is almost certainly a matter of confusion, as there was a separate organisation under the latter name. A ready explanation is found in the fact that the two barons were connected with both and may have been originators also in the second case. It is reported, however, that the second claimed to have been established in Bohemia so far back as 1756. There is a story by Kenneth MacKenzie that it derived from an Order of True and Perfect Friendship of St. Jonathan, that it was non-Masonic in character, admitted both sexes and was still meeting in 1804. This is manifestly opposed to fact, and we shall see later on that the Order of Jonathan was of Roman Catholic institution, having no connection with Masonry. A Jew named Hirschmann is believed to have been connected ab origine with the Initiated Brothers and to have introduced Kabalistic and Talmudic elements. There would be thus a triad in the headship, and the names given or assumed were respectively Grand Master, or Priest of Wisdom, Vicar of the Synod and Chancellor of the Order.
Golden and Rosy Cross.—There were also Rosicrucian elements, for one or both of the brothers had belonged previously to the German Fraternity of the Golden and Rosy Cross, from which Hans Heinrich is said to have been expelled for disobedience. But this question—obscure enough in its way—belongs to Rosicrucian history. The publication of its secrets by Rolling in 1787 is said to have destroyed the Order, which however is without foundation, as either its official history was issued by its own authority in 1803 or alternatively it inspired the publication. At that date the Initiated Brethren traced back their origin to A.D. 40 and admitted a reformation of their Rite in 1541. Findel states that the system fell to pieces soon after the death of Baron Hans Heinrich, but his account is muddled. As regards the Secret Doctrine it included the Four Worlds of Zoharic theosophy, and as to interpret Masonic symbols was not more difficult at the end of the eighteenth century than it is at the present day, considering the multitude of explanations both then and now, I make no question that its pledges were fulfilled by the institution. For the rest, such reflections or derivatives of Rosicrucian Grades—of which there were many in and about the eventful period—are of considerable interest after their own manner, because of the importance which attaches to the Order of the Rosy Cross through all the second half of the eighteenth century. It is unfortunate that one is acquainted with most of them, and especially with the Initiated Brothers, in something less than a secondary sense, often by hostile accounts and from the mouths of people who themselves knew little about them, even when they were contemporaries. No one has seen the Rituals of these systems in the great majority of cases, though it is probable enough that, like those which were actually Rosicrucian, they contained nothing of ceremonial importance. Even when an account has issued from adepti or from the Headship itself, there is seldom an opportunity for examination on account of the extreme rarity.
Those who would enter the Temple must ascend by the steps of the Temple. The experience connected therewith cannot be reduced into writing, because there is one incommunicable part, and this is the life of the Sanctuaries, without which no instruction—however explicit—would either enable a person to obtain entrance into any Lodge of the Adepts—if this were possible otherwise—or to be linked up with that chain which has been said parabolically to begin with Hermes and Orpheus and will end only with the world. It should be understood, however, that the simple fact of entrance does not per se communicate the peculiar life of the Sanctuaries, which demands something from those who enter, and this something is well expressed by the old familiar formula which requires that every Candidate shall be prepared properly, like a fruitful ground fitted to receive a seed. So enters the life only; so it springs up and flourishes as a Tree of Life. But in spiritual as in physical biology—if I must make an official distinction in that which is one at the root, although it has more than one aspect—nothing can happen automatically. The Spirit of Life moves everywhere and produces its fruit wheresoever the earth is ready to receive it. The great experiences are not therefore exclusively an heritage of the Mysteries, whence it follows that not only an intellectual but a much more real acquaintance with these experiences is within reach of those who have the zeal of knowledge, apart from all initiation. The ends of the Secret Brotherhoods are not hidden ends: the same objects are pursued outside their hallowed circles. That which initiation offers is (a) an aid to realisation, (b) the advantage of antecedent experience within the Sanctuaries, (c) the help of a research pursued in common, (d) the auxiliaries of brotherhood in quest and the priceless bond of love, (e) the safeguards offered by these, (f) the distinctive features which belong to the life of the Sanctuary, and (g) the pictured quest and attainment expressed in the pageants of Ritual.
First Lessons.—-On his entrance into Freemasonry the newly received Brother has come into a world of emblems or symbolism and whatsoever takes place therein has a meaning behind it, being one which is not always indicated on the surface. The import is sometimes manifold, depending on those various points of view from which it can be approached. The Lodge itself is a speaking instance of this truth. When its door opens for the Candidate he enters an institution which has its branches spread over the four quarters of the Globe. It may be a very small Lodge, a Lodge of poor Brothers only; yet whosoever is received therein is recognised throughout the Masonic world—in all countries and among all peoples. But there is more even than this: however humble in its appointments and proportions, that Lodge is a microcosm, a memorial of universal Freemasonry. It represents also and contains the life of Masonry, while the ceremony of his initiation integrates the newly-made Brother in that peculiar quality of life which is the principle and essence of the Order. He becomes part of an organic whole. Furthermore, the Lodge is held to represent the three dimensions of space, or the universe as a cosmic whole: “in length from East to West, in breadth between North and South, in depth from the surface to the centre and even as high as the heavens.”
A New Birth.—It is therefore as if the Candidate on his initiation had been born anew into the universe or that a door had opened to admit him into another, analogical cosmos. Indeed at that pregnant moment when he is restored to light, he discovers himself in the symbolical representation of a new world; and when he is told subsequently that he is the cornerstone of a new foundation from which he must build up himself, he should realise—if his be the gift of insight that from such point of view the just, perfect and regular Lodge is also his own symbol, a representation of that state which he is called to attain. The word initiate signifies a person who has made a new beginning, who has entered a path of experience, by him heretofore untravelled. Its equivalent in other Orders and Fraternities is the word Neophyte, which is Greek in its origin and represents also a new beginning because it signifies one who has been planted or made newly otherwise, one who is reborn.
Hidden Sanctuaries.—In the old Instituted Mysteries, like those of Samothrace, Egypt and Eleusis, it has been held that the Candidate was regenerated—otherwise, transferred or grafted—at the beginning of his experience and passed subsequently through successive stages of a new life, till he attained its culminating Grade. The old experiment was, in such case, like that of the Craft, however much it differed in form and ceremony, and whether or not it rested like ours within the measures of figuration and signa, or whether—as some have claimed concerning it—there were operations in the Hidden Sanctuaries upon life itself, so that by their own efforts and adept instruction the Candidate was entered, passed and raised through successive stages of veridical experience. He proceeded by this speculative hypothesis, beyond the elementary laws of moral truth and virtue, whereas we remain therein, though not denied intimation of further and deeper states, since we hear—all too faintly adumbrated—that there are Mysteries of Nature and Science, things recommended to our study, because they are Mysteries of God, the path of research into which begins for us in “the estimation of His wonderful works.” There is indeed one elementary sense in which our Secret Art can become an Art of Life, an Art of Creation according to a prescribed standard recognised in Masonry. It does so become to the extent that we can, each one of us, translate ritual and precept into life.
Intendant of the Building
Originating presumably, but not beyond question, with the Rite of Perfection or Council of Emperors of the East and West, in which it occupied the seventh place, this Grade had a life of travel and adventure before it found a final asylum under the obedience of the Scottish Rite, which has assigned to it the eighth position in its series. It was housed for a period by the Metropolitan Chapter of France; as if without visible means of subsistence, it was interned by the Grand Orient; it is said falsely to have escaped in 1770 and to have formed part of the Primitive Scottish Rite at Namur; it was at a loose end somewhere prior to 1805 when it was enrolled under the banner of the Rite of Mizraim, bearing the assumed name of Master in Israel. It had therefore a double life and even at this day it is possibly asleep somewhere in Manchester, protected by the successors if any of the late John Yarker. It is alive in America under the aegis of two jurisdictions of the Scottish Rite and awakes occasionally elsewhere when an illustration of its working is given by other Supreme Councils. For the rest, it is entirely distinct from that Grade under the same title which is cited in my notice of Écossais Masonry.
Symbolic Horizon.—The Grade of Intendant of the Building is one of those numerous devices apart from all inspiration by which it was sought to supply the place for the time being of the Master-Builder after the great catastrophe of his traditional history, so that the suspended work of the Temple might be resumed and carried to its completion. With this object in view, Solomon appointed five Intendants, namely, Adoniram ben Abda, whose traditional history is of great importance in Mark Masonry; Garab the Hebrew, who was chief of the artificers in silver and gold; Zelec the Giblemite, whose jurisdiction was over the stonemasons; Stolkin, at the head of the carpenters; and Joubert the Phoenician, who had charge of the workers in bronze. Like those counterparts and competitors which exclude it and often oust one another, the Grade offers an unintelligent literal sequel to the great allegory of the Craft. We are dealing in the latter with a building myth which is rich in spiritual symbol, but in that which comes after there is neither type nor meaning: it bears the same relation to a purposed Mystery in Ritual that tenth-rate journalism bears now to literature.
Recension of Pike.—As usual, the reconstruction of Albert Pike has failed to save it from essential incompetence and folly. Adoniram is President of the Intendants, and is represented by the Master at the opening part of the Ceremony; but in the Reception of a Candidate he transforms automatically and becomes the King of Israel. As such he proceeds to relate a dull story concerning the Master-Builder, who was fond of the society of the young and delighted in communicating to them those arts and sciences which he had acquired in Egypt and the East. He spoke of these pupils to Solomon on many occasions as of those who might take his place if he died, and he had a particular feeling for Adoniram. There is no ceremonial procedure which deserves the name. The stage is one of transition, the Masonic substitute of a moment, looking towards that time when he shall be found who is worthy in all respects to be appointed Grand Master Architect. The disqualification of Adoniram himself is therefore implied clearly, and yet under other obediences it is he who produces his warrants, which are recognised at once and accepted.
Homiletic Part.—The counsels of the Grade correspond in their quality to the measure of its value in Ritual. To become an Intendant of the Building presupposes (1) acquaintance with the wisdom of India, Media, Chaldaea and Egypt; (2) the skill of an artificer; (3) a benevolent and charitable heart. These requisites remain in the region of hypothesis, not less fortunately for the Candidate than for the active life of the Grade: his proficiency in Eastern lore might be otherwise a bar to progress. The specific directions on the side of works and will are (1) to pay due wages; (2) to relieve those in distress, whether they are Masons or not; (3) to treat well an impoverished brother compelled to engage in one’s service; (4) to remember in the hour of harvest that the corners of the field and the gleanings are for the stranger, the fatherless and the widowed. These are obviously excellent conventions; but the last excepted—and this is by way of similitude—the Candidate in his Masonic progress has been bound to their observance long since, and indeed often, while it might have been expected that a wider horizon of sacred and beneficent activity would have been opened to one who had drunk so freely and fully from the ancient springs of knowledge. It is, however, on such warrants that a Discourse attached to the Grade characterises its teaching as concerned with more than morals. It is said further (1) that the symbols and ceremonies of Masonry have many meanings; (2) that they conceal rather than disclose the truth, or otherwise communicate it in hints; but this notwithstanding (3) that it is the province of Masonry to teach all truth—not alone moral, but political, philosophical and even religious truth, so far as concerns the great, essential principles of each.
A French Codex.—Jean Marie Ragon, speaking of the French version belonging to the first half of the nineteenth century, states that it is founded on Deuteronomy xvi. 18: “Judges and officers shalt thou make thee in all thy gates, which the Lord thy God giveth thee, throughout thy tribes: and they shall judge the people with just judgment.” In his days therefore and antecedently an Intendant or Master in Israel was a warden or keeper of the people; he ascended “ he seven steps of exactitude” and practised “the five points of fidelity.” From Ragon’s standpoint the Grade itself was concerned with the appointment of judges and with architecture. For these reasons he ruled that it had “no connection with Freemasonry”— meaning the Emblematic Art. He never spoke more truly, though he was actuated by considerations of a solar mythologist and so forth, which in a wider light on symbolism are no longer of vital consequence.
Spiritual Aspects.—The Five Intendants represent the Five Orders of Architecture, the work awaiting completion being that of the Inner Chamber and Sanctuary: in other hands than those of Pike and his predecessors in France it would have been concerned with the innermost theosophia of the Secret Doctrine, as indeed is intimated unawares by the qualification required of Intendants—that they should be dead to “sin and vice.” So also it is said that the true and good Mason should be dead to the errors and iniquities of this world. In view of these suggestions one would think that behind the clouded scheme, at the back of the mind of its makers, there must have been a feeling that the Temple of Solomon was not an earthly House, but a Sanctuary of the Spirit and that it was built mystically by Craftsmen who were not of this world. The Candidate takes the part of Joubert, and at a certain point he personates the Master-Builder. I should add that, apart from all rational consistency, St. John the Baptist is called the forerunner of that Temple in which the Lord elected to abide, while there is one very clear vestige of Trinitarian doctrine.
We must set aside in the first place certain discoveries of Dr. Chetwode Crawley concerning allusions to Freemasonry in Irish academical circles before the landing of William of Orange. There was obviously Operative Masonry in Ireland, as in other countries, and the allusions shew that membership was not confined to Operatives. The question before us is when Emblematic Freemasonry under the auspices of the Grand Lodge of 1717 crossed the Irish Channel. Now, the same patient investigator has met with a contemporary newspaper which reports the installation of an Earl of Rosse as Grand Master of Ireland in June, 1725. We know also by reference to Gould that the records of the Grand Lodge of Munster begin on December 27, 1726, but seem to offer internal evidence that it was only a private Lodge, bearing or arrogating to itself an exalted title. By 1728 there were other Lodges in the country, and it was ordained by the Grand Lodge on St. John the Evangelist’s Day that “every Lodge should provide itself with a copy of Dr. Anderson’s Constitutions of 1723.” The Grand Lodge of Munster passes out of sight after 1735, when James, fourth Lord Kingston, became Grand Master of Ireland. Gould tells us further: (1) that “the first Warrant of Constitution ever issued by a Grand Lodge was granted to the First Lodge of Ireland in 1731,” an obscure statement, meaning presumably that the Lodge so warranted stood first on the Roll, (2) that in 1732 the Grand Lodge of Ireland ordered all Lodges under its jurisdiction to take out Warrants; (3) that this ordinance, not having been universally or perhaps generally obeyed, was re-enacted in 1740; (4) that the Irish Regulations were promulgated in 1741 and practically reproduce the second Book of Constitutions of 1738, an observation which applies also to the General Regulations of 1744 and the New Book of Constitutions which appeared in 1751; (5) that revised Constitutions were issued in 1768; (6) that an Ahiman Rezon of 1807 replaced these early documents. From other sources we hear of the Royal Arch at Youghall in 1743 and also the Degree of Excellent Mason; of recognition extended by the Grand Lodge of Ireland to the so-called Antient Grand Lodge in 1772; of the Masonic Templar Degree in 1779; of a Supreme Council of the Scottish Rite for Ireland in 1824, but working only the Grades above Kadosh, as this and the Rose-Croix, with various intermediate Degrees now included in the system of that Rite, had been in the custody of the Grand Chapter of Prince Masons or that of the Templar Grand Conclave prior to the date of the first Supreme Council at Charleston. In 1805 a schismatic Grand Lodge of Ulster caused considerable disaffection and trouble for a few years, but its activities came to an end in 1814 and its history is not of especial Masonic interest at this day. The headquarters of the Grand Lodge of Ireland are at Dublin, the Earl of Donoughmore being the present Grand Master. The Roll of Lodges and Chapters may be found on reference to the Calendar of Irish Masonry, and there is no need to summarise its contents in this place. It remains to say that the Mark Degree is recognised as an integral part of Masonry and that it is in charge of the Grand Royal Arch Chapter. A considerable historical interest attaches to the High Grades in Ireland, but the dates at which they appeared and whence they came are matters which, in most cases, still stand over for settlement.
Irish Grand Masters.—(1) 1730, Viscount Kingston. (2) 1730, Colonel Maynard. (3) 1732, Viscount Netterville. (4) 1733, Lord Kingsland. (5) 1735, Lord Kingston. (6) 1736, Lord Tyrone. (7) 1738, Lord Mountjoy. (8) 1740, Viscount Doneraile. (9) 1741, Lord Tullamore. (10) 1743, Lord Southwell. (11) 1744, Viscount Allen. (12) 1747, Sir Marmaduke Wyvill. (13) 1749, Lord Kingsborough. (14) 1753, Hon. Thomas Southwell. (15) 1757, Lord Newtownbutler. (16) 1758, Earl of Drogheda. (17) 1761, Sir Edward King, Bt. (18) 1764, Earl of Westmeath. (19) 1768, Earl of Cavan. (20) 1771, Marquis of Kildare. (21) 1772, Lord Dunluce. (22) 1773, Viscount Dunluce. (23) 1777, Earl of Mornington. (24) 1778, Duke of Leinster. (25) 1779, Marquis of Antrim (bis), previously Viscount Dunluce, (26) 1782, 2nd Earl of Mornington. (26) 1783, Baron Muskerry. (28) 1785, Viscount Kilwarlin. (29) 1787, Viscount Glenawley. (30) 1789, Baron Donoughmore. (31) 1792, Lord Donoughmore. (32) 1813, Duke of Leinster. (33) 1874, Duke of Abercorn, who was succeeded by the present Grand Master, the Earl of Donoughmore.
Irish Master Grades
According to Lenning’s German Masonic Encyclopaedia there were Irish Colleges or Chapters working in France and claiming either to have been warranted by Dublin or to have migrated from that city. The question is obscure, and no particular importance attaches thereto. The balance of probability on the whole favours the rejection of the claim, more especially as certain so-called Irish Master Grades attached to the said Colleges are almost certainly of French origin. A Rite with a clear title would be a rara avis in Masonry. The Grades in question are (1) Irish Master, (2) Powerful Irish Master, and (3) Perfect Irish Master, being respectively the Seventh, Eighth and Ninth Degrees of the Irish Colleges. I presume that we may judge of the triad by its most exalted example, and the Catechism of Maître Parfait Irlandais is fortunately in my possession, transcribed from a rare manuscript of about the middle of the eighteenth century. It was one of the innumerable so-called Keys of Masonry, and a golden key constituted the jewel of the Grade. It signified a right of inspection over all ordinary Lodges; the solicitude with which the hypothetical building-plans were kept under lock and seal; and—by inference from this fact—the silence which protected the labours. The Lodge had four doors, corresponding to four symbolical ages of the world and man—infancy, the age of maturity, old age and death. The triangle was one of the symbols, and this signified the whole field of the sciences, as well as a certain triplicity formed of three unities, which were and remained one. Another was I. H. S., explained as follows: (1) I=Jehova, the Supreme Grandeur of God, which must be held in everlasting remembrance; (2) H=the Master-Builder, the greatest architect in Masonry; (3) S=Solomon, the acknowledged Lord of the Art. The letter H was surmounted by a branch of acacia, to commemorate the violent death of the Master-Builder. The decorations were in cerise throughout, and the fifteen symbolical lights were arranged by 3, 5, and 7. The Lodge was called the Cabinet of Solomon and the mystical age of the Candidate was thirty-seven years and upward. The mental quality of the proceedings is most probably indicated by the fact that the Apron worn by the Brethren was furnished with a packet into which pencils and paper were thrust by these industrious and most emblematic Masons. I should say that this set of Grades was in every respect comparable to the ineffable English Master, and no doubt Solomon the King had the royal satisfaction of investing the Candidate as Maître Parfait Irlandais.