Templar Priest ⬩ Temple ⬩ Temple ⬩ Teutonic Knights ⬩ Traditional Histories ⬩ True Scottish Master ⬩ Baron Tschoudy ⬩ Tylers
Writing in his accustomed headlong manner, apart from any references, Yarker affirms that all Templar Encampments of the eighteenth century in England, Ireland and Scotland had a Grade under this title, but it has been abandoned long since. He gives also a summary account of the Ritual content, by which it appears to have been based on a doctrine of mystical architecture conceived by Robert Fludd, when he affirmed, on Scripture authority, that "Wisdom hath builded her house and hath hewn out the Seven Pillars thereof." To this the Kentish philosopher added the following counsel: "Let us go up to the mountain of reason and build a Temple of Wisdom thereon." The Grade of Templar Priesthood had accordingly Seven Travellings, Seven Passwords, Seven Manners of Refreshment, Seven Sigils and Seven Characteristic Symbols. It claimed the year 1686 as that of its revival, thus antedating the Calmet story concerning Viscount Dundee. Compare Royal Arch Knight Templar Priest.
The Masonic Temple is in the form of a great cube, and the official explanation can be read in all the Rituals. It is macrocosmic in character, so that the Temple is a symbol of the universe, a type of manifestation itself. As such, it is a continual subject of reference in these volumes.
*A Note on Symbolism.—If taken in the literal sense there is nothing more void of purpose than a solemn commemoration of the Templar work of old, but it is possible to look at the whole subject under another and emblematic light. When I see from my stall in the Preceptory how the Knights of the Order of the Temple are set to keep guard over an empty sepulchre, which is at the same time a most sacred place, I am reminded of our beautiful Christian Churches—Greek, Latin and Anglican—each after its own manner full of grace and truth of the official and external kind, but each wanting something which seems to one the pearl of all. It is as if the Holy Graal had been taken up from their altars and carried—as its German legend tells us—into the far East. In other words, they have the symbols—not the life—of the Mystery that is truest and holiest in this world.
We have seen that Albert Pike reconstructed one of the Ancient and Accepted Grades so as to connect the Teutonic Knights with Masonry. The attempt proved abortive and was altogether inexcusable in the nineteenth century, having regard to the fact that the yoke of its chivalries was more already than the Order could afford to bear. The Teutonic Knights have no connection with Masonry even in the dreams of the past, and the peculiar, clumsy and unsymbolical Teutonic Cross which is a decoration in certain Grades should on grounds of logic in history be taken out of the way. The chivalry began as a work of devotion and mercy under German auspices at Jerusalem for the relief of German pilgrims. The records of its service grew; the Order also extended and wealth poured in upon it, as well as royal patronage. After the siege of Acre it quitted Palestine for ever and transferred its activities to the German fatherland. Wars against heathen Prussia and wars against Polish aggressions fill the pages of its history for a long subsequent period. There came a time, however, when the Knights were excommunicated by Pope John XXII, but in their remote stronghold of Marzburg any edict of the Vatican was virtually a dead letter. Ultimately they received Prussia, within its limits of that period, as a fief from the Kings of Poland. At the beginning of the sixteenth century their Grand Master, the Margrave of Brandenburg, embraced the reformed religion, which appears to have broken the chivalry, though its lease of existence dragged on till the days of the Emperor Francis II, who vested the office of Grand Master in his own person. This was in 1805, and four years later the first Napoleon abolished it altogether for the time being. It remained, however, in Austria as an appanage of the crown, much like the Spanish Order of Christ. Whether or not it has dissolved altogether in the crucible of the Great War there are no means of knowing. It was a turbulent chivalry, and we can dispense profitably with High Grade myths concerning it.
The leading Traditional Histories of Masonic Rites and Grades have been cited in the sections set apart to these. The Legend of the Third Degree stands forth among all as the only one which makes for symbolical greatness, while among many which are pseudo-historical rather than sacramental myths the most curious and important are those which are concerned with the maintenance and perpetuation of the Secret Tradition. Outside these are various scattered memorials, but the greater part are unimportant and would not repay enumeration. A. Operative Legends: (1) The story of Naymus Gracus is found in several of the MS. Charges and Constitutions: it tells how a “curious Mason” of this name had been at the building of Solomon’s Temple but came afterwards into France, teaching the science of Masonry. (2) This legend merges into a story of Charles Martel, who appears as Charles Marshall, Carolus Morter or Marcel and Carolus Secundus, a great protector of the Craft, in which he had become proficient by the help of Naymus Graecus. (3) There is the story of St. Alban, which we have met with otherwise, who was converted by St. Amphibalus of Caerleon-on-Usk, and he loved the Masons well, giving them a Charter and Rule. He appears in nearly all Operative Legends. (4) The Four Crowned Martyrs are also of constant recurrence, beginning with the Regius MS. Their story presents them as four working Masons who suffered martyrdom at Rome under Diocletian for refusing to sculpture a statue of Aesculapius. They became patron saints of the Operative Guilds, including the German Steinmetzen. (5) Pythagoras himself appears—but under the name of Peter Gower—as a prototypical Master of the Craft, who acquired proficiency in his travels by the constant visitation of Lodges and on his return into Greece established a Lodge at Crotona. B. Legends of Solomon and his Period: The Jewish traditions are almost innumerable and those of Islam furnish a considerable quota. Others of Masonic invention have been cited for the most part in considering the Grades to which they belong. (1) There are those in particular which are concerned with the visit of the Queen of Sheba, but I have mentioned two of them already, and a third is in certain secret workings. (2) The Masonic Legends of Hiram, King of Tyre, Hiram Abiff and Adoniram have been also given, with those of the three assassins and the Elect Masons who pursued and brought them to justice of one or another kind. (3) There remain, however, two obscure and indeed negligible stories concerning the Master-Builder. According to one, before he went up to Jerusalem, Hiram Abiff was acting as an agent of the King of Tyre, and in this capacity he purchased precious stones from an Arabian merchant. Having been told that they came from an island in the Red Sea, he proceeded thither and found others in great abundance, including the topaz, with which the King of Tyre adorned his temples and palaces. (4) The second belongs to the worst kind of Masonic invention, and represents the Master-Builder as wearing a Masonic jewel of a very obvious kind. It was found subsequently on his body and sent to King Solomon, who had thus ocular evidence that his great architect was dead. C. Christian Legends: The allusions to St. John the Baptist and St. John the Evangelist as the patron saints of Masonry are very numerous, and we have seen that the latter was made Grand Master of Masons, according to one fable. St. Andrew is a familiar figure in connection with Écossais Degrees. I do not know that the Festival of St. Thomas is observed by any Lodge, excepting Mother Kilwinning, but one story says that he was chosen as the patron of architects and builders. I have met with this reference only at second hand. It has been shewn elsewhere that the greatest of the Christian Grades have no traditional histories.
True Scottish Master
The Grade which I have seen under this title in a rare French manuscript is presumably a variant or alternative title of Maître Écossais in the Rite of Adonhiramite Masonry. It belongs at least to that sequence and has therefore a connection with the Mark—indeed one of an intimate kind, so far as a particular event is concerned. It may be related also to Écossais des Trois J J J Inconnus, which figured in the collection of the Metropolitan Chapter of France and was incorporated subsequently into the Rite of Mizraim. I have followed the quest of Rituals wheresoever it has been possible, in every quarter of the world of Masonry, but I have not exhausted their scheme. I have been taught also to mistrust the common lists which separate things that are identical because of variations in title and confuse things that are distinct in virtue of traditional groupings. A day will come, I hope, when the treasures of Masonic Libraries over the whole continent of Europe and throughout the United States will yield their contents to a great act of collective research, and I would that I might live to take part therein, or at least to see the harvest. As an unaided individual I can offer only a gleaner’s work, but I have sifted to the best of my ability the chaff from the wheat and have plucked out some tares from among the ears of corn which others have garnered previously.
Legend of the Grade.—According to the legend of a True Scottish Master, the body of the Master-Builder was interred in the Holy of Holies, thus offering a marked contrast to a well-known episode in the chief English legend. Thereafter Solomon appointed Seven Experts to replace him, and placed Adoniram—son of Abda, of the tribe of Naphtali—at their head. This is the first point, and the second affirms that the Master-Word was never lost in reality, thus apparently making void in a sentence the whole claim and meaning of the Royal Arch. The explanation, however, is that when Titus took Jerusalem and demolished the Temple that Sacred Word was found beneath the Pillar J ∴, where it had been graven on a plate of gold by the Master-Builder. It will be seen in this manner that we are dealing with an alternative to the Arch-Legend but relegated to a ridiculous epoch and described in terms which suggest that Titus destroyed the Temple of Solomon, instead of a Masonic substitute at a far distance, erected by Herod. After such manner do the Masonic Rites continually falsify and exclude one another, being the work of irresponsible inventors who neither knew nor cared what others had established previously. However, they offer a curious commentary on the growth of spurious legend in connection with mendacious claims, made on the part of people who must forsooth have history of sorts to render symbolism valid.
Pageant of the Grade.—The Grade of True Scottish Master was termed Sublime, and it was conferred on the Candidate as a title of Masonic nobility. The Lodge was illuminated by twenty-five lights, but their purpose is not explained. The Master represented Solomon, and had on a table in front of him a representation of what is called curiously and significantly the New Temple of Solomon, as if to indicate a hidden design of the Brotherhood, about which we have heard previously. There was one Warden only, who represented Adoniram and had his seat in the West. There is but little active procedure, the Lodge appearing to be Opened and Closed in general terms at the will of its Officers, while the Candidate—once introduced—has mainly the part of a listener, except in taking the Pledge, which is again in general terms and consists of a single clause. The Official Secrets are curious but cannot be cited here because of their analogies in Grades which are still active among us. The Catechism explains (1) That the Candidate reaches the door of the Chapter by Seven Degrees, shewing that the True Scottish Master stood eighth in some unknown series; (2) that his arrival was announced by a Battery of 3, 5, and 7 knocks, signifying the Fifteen Experts who raised the body of the Master-Builder according to the Grade de Chevalier Élu de Quinze; that, moreover, the number three has reference to the Eternal, Almighty and All-knowing Power, while five alludes to the five Orders of Architecture, and seven to the number of experts who succeeded the Master-Builder; (4) that advancement to the Écossais Grade takes place by passing from the Middle to the Third Chamber, presumably from the Holy Place to the Holy of Holies; (5) that the latter was the most elevated part of the Temple, and corresponded in the Holy City to a high ground on which David and Solomon offered sacrifice to God prior to the building of the Temple; (6) that it was filled with a great light proceeding from a Blazing Star of Seven Rays or Points, being that which the Magi followed, and also the Glory of Shekinah between the Cherubim on the Mercy-Seat in the first Temple; but at this point the scribe of the French Ritual has mangled the reference; (7) that the edifice of a True Scottish Master is built upon the Corner-Stone, like that Temple of the Lord which consists of Living Stones, and that the Corner-Stone is Virtue; (8) that the Chapter or Lodge of a True Scottish Master is called the Universal Lodge of St. John, by whom it was established, in succession to the Blue or Craft Lodge which was held by St. John Baptist on the banks of the Jordan for the diffusion of Light.
Additamenta.—I should add that the Candidate at his reception approaches the East as an Entered Apprentice, and is smitten on the forehead by the Warden; that he continues as a Fellow Craft and is treated in the same fashion; that he finishes as a Master Mason and is smitten for the third time. He is then placed in a reclining posture on a chair and there is thrown over him a white drapery bordered with black and embroidered with the Blazing Star. It is in this position that he hears the Traditional History and is then raised up by the Master, who leads him direct to the Altar, where the Pledge of the Grade is imposed. In the logic of the procedure it is to be inferred that an Apprentice Écossais and Companion Écossais should have preceded this Grade, which has certain curious elements—some of which are not without import in symbolism, while some are merely frivolous. In the first category is the triple J inscribed within a circle placed in the centre of the Lodge. The letters signify (1) that God the source of all light; (2) that He can so illuminate the mind that it can attain all knowledge; and (3) that the soul is the Throne of God. The circle itself is explained in the usual terms, as exhibiting that God has neither end nor beginning. In the second category is the symbolical age of the Candidate, which is eighty-one years, being those of the Master-Builder at the time of his passion.
Reference.—The authority for this notice is the MS. Ritual entitled Le Vrai Maître Écossais, and the mangled reference to L’Étoile Flamboyante reads thus: D.—Que signifie cette étoile? R.—L’étoile qui conduisait les Mages et Sancta (sic) ou reposait la Divinité.
From the ashes of the Chapter of Clermont we have seen that—according to tradition—there arose in 1758 a Council of Emperors of the East and West, and this institution originated by a process of segregation a rival Sovereign Council of Knights of the Orient. Some Rituals of this Order were furnished by Baron Tschoudy, who was in occult matters a disciple of Paracelsus and an alchemist of his period, though perhaps of the literary rather than of a practical kind. At the present day the Chevalier d’Orient constitutes the Fifteenth Degree in the Ancient and Accepted Rite, as it was once the Sixth in the French Rite; but whether the identity of title connotes similarity in Ritual is another and undetermined question. With the Council of the Knights of the East the work of this alchemical Mason was by no means ended. In 1766 he instituted—on paper or otherwise—an Order of the Burning Star and developed in its Legend a hypothesis that the traditions of Alchemy passed from the ascetics of the Thebaid to the Christian Orders of Chivalry, and were propagated under the guise of Freemasonry. To the fruitful mind of Baron Tschoudy, ever occupied in plotting mysterious systems of initiation and in propagating his Hermetic reveries, it has been suggested that Masonry may be also indebted for a presentation of La Maçonnerie Adonhiramite in thirteen Grades, but the ascription in this case seems indubitably wrong. He was a Catholic by official faith, and some writers have supposed, on this ground, that he was a Jesuit emissary, for which it is scarcely necessary to say that there was no foundation.
Regarded as an historical memorial, the most valuable Tyler is that which appeared in 1821, under the title of Thuileur des Trente-trois Degrés De l’Écossisme du Rit Ancien, Dit Accepté, being an enlarged and revised edition of a production published originally in 1813. It is difficult to suppose that it is not the work of a Mason from the intimate knowledge displayed, but while the anonymous writer was in avowed opposition to all the High Grades he could affirm only respecting those of the Craft, that they contained nothing especially dangerous, though they might be so rendered with an almost fatal facility. The point of view is negligible enough, and so are the disquisitions on numbers and on the system of universal generation. These things, however, are accessory, but as regards the subject-matter of the compilation at large it has been made with exceptional care, and the Hebrew of the various Grade-words is redeemed from chaos and corruption. The result is a complete Tyler of the Scottish Rite, which is serviceable for comparison with ritual procedure at the present day in England and elsewhere. The Seven Grades of the Grand Orient and the Thirteen Grades of Adonhiramite Masonry are treated in the same careful manner. These are followed by a long series of diagrams and secret alphabets. The information contained in the work has been borrowed by later writers, usually without acknowledgment. The book is now rare, and is sought eagerly by French collectors. I do not think that the authorship ever transpired. Other Tylers are numerous, including those under the names of Marconis and Yarker.