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cele from them. Thay concelethe the arte of wunder-werckynge, and of foresayinge thynges to comme, that so thay same artes may not be usedde of the wyckedde to an euyell ende. Thay also concelethe the " arte of chaunges, the wey of wynnynge the facultye 's of Abrac, the skylle of becommynge gude and parfyghte wythouten the holpynges of fere and hope ; and the universelle " longage of maçonnes.
Q. Wylle he teche me thay same artes ?
A. Ye shalle be techedde yff ye be werthye, and able to lerne.
Q. Dothe all maçonnes kunne more then odher menne?
A. Not so. Thay onlyche haueth recht and occasyonne more then odher menne to kunne, butt manye doeth fale yn capacity, and manye more doth want industrye, that ys pernecessarye for the gaynynge all kupnynge.
Q. Are maçonnes gudder men then odhers ?
A. Some maçonnes are not so virtuous as some odher menne; but, yn the most parte, thay be more gude then they would be yf • thay war not maçonnes.
Q. Doth maçonnes love eidher odher myghtylye as beeth sayde?
A. Yea verylyche, and yt may not odberwise be: for gude menne and true, kennynge eidher odher to be soche, doeth always love the more as they be more gude.
(Here endethe the questyonnes, and awnsweres.]
though, as some people suppose, they should have no secret at all, even that inust be a secret, which, being discovered, would expose them to the highest ridicule; and therefore it requires the utmost caution to conceal it.
17 Arte of chaunges.] I know not what this means, unless it be the transinutation of metals.
18 Facultye of Abrac.] Here I am utterly in the dark. • 19 Universelle longage of maçonnes.] An universal language has been much desired by the learned of many ages. It is a thing rather to be wished than hoped for. But it seems the masons pretend to have such a thing among them. If it be true, I guess it must be something like the language of the Pantomimes among the ancient Romans, who are said to be able, by signs only, to express and deliver any oration intelligibly to men of all nations and languages. A man who has all these arts and advantages, is certainly in a condition to be envied : but we are told that this is not the case with all masons; for though these arts are among them, and all have a right and an opportunity to know them, yet some want capacity, and others industry, to acquire them. lIowever, of all their arts and secrets, that which I desire to know is, “The skylle of becommynge gude and parfyghte ;' and I wish it were communicated to all mankind, since there is nothing more true than the beautiful sentence contained in the last answer, “That the better men are, the more they lore one another:' virtue having in itself something so amiable as to charın the hearts of all that behold it.
A GLOSSARY of antiquated Words in the foregoing Manuscript. Albein, only
Myghte, power Alweys, always
Occasyonne, opportunity Beithe, both
Odher, other Commodytye, conveniency Onelyche, only Confrerie, fraternity
Pernecessarye, absolutely necesFaçonnynge, forming
sary Foresayinge, prophesying Preise, honour Freres, brethren
Wacksynge, growing Hereynne, therein
Werck, operation Herwyth, with it
Wey, way Holpynge, beneficial
Whereas, where Kunne, know
Woned, dwelt Knnnynge, knowledge
Wunderwerckynge, working miMake gudde, are beneficial racles Metynges, measures
Wylde, savage Mote, may
Wynnynge, gaining Myddlonde, Mediterranean Ynn, into
· Remarks on the preceding Manuscript, and on the annotations of
This dialogue possesses a double claim to our regard : first; for its antiquity; and next, for the notes added to it by Mr. Locke, who, though not at that time enrolled in the order of Masons, offers very just conjectures on their history and traditions.
Every reader must feel a secret satisfaction in the perusal of this ancient manuscript, especially the true Mason, whom it more nearly concerns. The recommendation of a philosopher of as great merit and penetration as this nation ever produced, added to the real value of the piece itself, must give it a sanction, and render it deserving a serious examination.
The conjecture of the learned annotator concerning its being an examination taken before King Henry of one of the Fraternity of Masons, is accurate. The severe edict passed at that time against the Society, and the discouragement given to the Masons by the Bishop of Winchester and his party, induced that prince, in bis riper years, to make a strict scrutiny into the nature of the masonic institution; which was attended with the happy circumstance of gaining his favour, and his patronage. Had not the civil commotions in the kingdom during his reign attracted the notice of government, this act would probably have been repealed through the intercession of the Duke of Gloucester, whose attachment to the fraternity was conspicuous.
Page 106. What mote ytt be?] Mr. Locke observes, in his annotation on this question, that the answer imports, Masonry consists of natural, mathematical, and mechanical knowledge ; some part of which, he says, the Masons pretend to have taught mankind, and some part they still conceal. The arts which they have communicated to the world, as particularly specified in an answer to one of the following questions; as are also those which they have restricted to themselves for wise purposes.--Morality, however, might have been included in this answer, as it constitutes a principal part of the Masonic system.
Page 107. Where dyd ytt begynne?] In the annotation to the answer on this question, Mr. Locke seenis to suggest, that Masons believed there were men in the east before Adam, which is indeed a mere conjecture. This opinion may be countenanced by some learned authors; but Masons comprehend the true meaning of Masonry taking rise in the east and spreading to the west, without having recourse to the Preadamites. East and west are terms peculiar to their society; and when masonically adopted, are very intelligible', as they refer to certain forms and establish.. ed customs among themselves. From the east, it is well known, learning extended to the western world, and gradually advanced into Europe.
Page 107. Who dyd bring ytt westlye ?] The judicious correction of an illiterate clerk, in the answer to this question as well as the next, reflects credit on the ingenious annotator. The explanation is just, and the elucidation accurate.
Page 107. Howe comede ytt yn Engelonde ?] The records of the Fraternity inform us, that Pythagoras was regularly initiated into Masonry; and being properly instructed in the mysteries of the Art, propagated the principles of the Order in other countries into which he travelled.
Pythagoras lived at Samos, in the reign of Tarquin, the Jast king of the Romans, in the year of Rome 220; or, according to Livy, in the reign of Servius Tullius, in the year of the world 3472. He was the son of a sculptor, and was educated under one of the greatest men of his time, Pherecydes of Syrus, who first taught the immortality of the soul. On the death of his patron, he determined to trace science to its source, and to supply himself with fresh stores in every part of the world where these could be obtained. Animated by a desire of knowledge, he travelled into Egypt, and submitted to that tedious and discouraging course of prepatory discipline, which was requirite
. And behold the glory of the God of Israel came from the way of the East. Ezek. xlij. 2.
to obtain the benefit of Egyptian initiation. When he had made himself a thorough master of all the sciences, that were cultivated in the sacerdotal colleges of Thebes and Memphis, he pursued his travels through the east, conversing with the Magi and Indian Brachmans, and mixing their doctrines with those he had learnt in Egypt. He afterwards studied the laws of Minos at crete, and those of Lycurgus at Sparta. Having spent the earlier part of his life in this useful manner, he returned to Samos well acquainted with every thing curious either in nature or art in foreign countries, improved with all the advantages proceeding from a regular and laborious course of learned education, and adorned with that knowledge of mankind which was necessary to gain the ascen.. dant over them. Accustomed to freedom, he disliked the arbi. trary government of Polycrates, then tyrant of Samos, and retired to Crotona in Italy, where he opened a shool of philosophy; and, by the gravity and sanctity of his manners, the importance of his tenets, and the peculiarity of his institutions, soon spread his fame and influence over Italy and Greece. Among other projects which he used, to create respect, and gain credit to his assertions, he concealed himself in a cave, and caused it to be reported that he was dead. After some time he came abroad, and pretended that the intelligence which his friends gave him in his retreat, of the transactions of Crotona, was collected during his stay in the other world among the shades of the departed. He formed his disciples, who came from all parts to put themselves under his direction, into a kind of republic, where none were admitted till a severe probation had sufficiently exercised their patience and docility. He afterwards divided them into esoteric and exoteric classes : to the former he entrusted the more sublime and secret doctrines, to the latter the more simple and popular. This great man found himself able to unite the character of the legislator to that of the philosopher, and to rival Lycurgus and orpheus in the one, Pherecedes and thales in the other; following in this particular, the patterns set him by the Egyptian priests, his instructors, who were not less celebrated for settling the civil than the religious economy of their nation. In imitation of them, Pythagoras gave laws to the republic of Crotona, and brought the inhabitants from a state of luxury and dissoluteness, to be eminent for order and sobriety. While he lived, he was frequently consulted by the neighbouring republics, as the composer of their differences, and the reformer of their manners : and, since his death, (which happened about the fourth year of the 70th Olympiad, in a tumult raised against him by one Ceylon,) the administration of their affairs has been generally intrusted to some of his disciples; among whom to produce the authority of their master for any assertion was sufficient to establish the truth of it without further inquiry.
The most celebrated of the philosophical notions of Pythagoras. are those concerning the nature of the Deity, the transmigration i of souls into different bodies (which he borrowed from the Brachmans,) and the system of the world. He was the first who took the name of philosopher, that is, a lover of wisdom. His system of morality was admirable. He made unity the principle of all things, and imagined that between God and man there were various orders of spiritual beings, who administered to the divine will. He believed in the doctrine of the metempsychosis, or transmigration of souls; and held that God was diffused through all parts of the universe, like a kind of universal soul, pervading every particle of matter, and animating every living creature, from the most contemptible reptile to mankind themselves, who shared a larger portion of the Divine spirit. The metempsychosis was founded on this maxim, that as the soul was of celestial origin, it could not be annihilated; and therefore, upon abandoning one body, it necessarily removed into another, and frequently did penance for its former vicious inclinations in the shape of a beast or an insect, before it appeared again in that of a human creature. He asserted that he had a particular faculty given him by the gods, of remembering the various bodies his own soul had passed through, and confounded cavillers by referring them to his own experience. In his system of the world, the third doctrine which distinguishes his sect, was a supposition that the sun was at rest in the centre, and that the earth, the moon and the other planets moved round it in different orhits. He pretended to have great skill in the mysterious properties of numbers, and held that some particular ones contained a peculiar force and significance. He was a geometrician, and admitted only those to the knowledge of his system, who had first undergone a probation of five years silence. To his discovery is attributed the 47th proposition of the first book of Euclid', which in geometrical solutions and demonstrations of quantities, is of excellent use; and for which, as Mr. Locke observes, in the joy of his heart, he is said to have sacrificed 'a hecatomb. His extraordinary desire of knowledge, and the pains he took to propagate his system, have justly transmitted his fame to posterity.
The pupils who were initiated by him in the sciences and study of nature at the Crotonian school, brought all their goods into a common stock, contemned the pleasures of sense, abstained from swearing and ate nothing that had life. Steady to the tenets and principles which they had imbibed, they dispersed abroad, and taught the doctrines of their preceptor in all the countries through which they travelled.
Page 108. Dothe maçonnes discouer here artes unto odhers ?] Masons, in all ages have studied the general good of mankind.
'? Theorem.] In any right-angled triangle, the square which is described upon the side subtending the right angle, is equal to the squares described upon the sides which contain the right angle. Euclid, lib. i. prop. 47.