« הקודםהמשך »
earth, and thereby representing the influence of that glorious lu· minary over both the animal and vegetable creation; admonishing us to be careful to perform every operation in its proper season, that we lose not the fruits of our labour. Under these, is the compound character|, or the Royal Arch Mason's badge.
2. What is the meaning of this compound character ?
N. It signifies Templum Hierosolyma *, the temple of Jerusa- lem, and is always used as the Royal Arch Mason's badge, by
which the wearer acknowledges himself a servant of the true god (the Logos ?) who had there established his worship, and to whose service that glorious temple was erected. It also signifies Thesaurus, a treasure; and Theca ubi res pretiosa deponitur, a place where a precious thing is concealed; or Res ipsa pretiosa, the precious thing itself. Hence, we have the greatest reason to believe, that what was there concealed, was the sacred name itself.
Z. Explain the five grand original signs.
N. The first parents of mankind, formed by the grand architect of the Universe, in the utmost perfection, both of body and mind, seated in a paradise of pleasure, bounteously supplied with means for the gratification of every appetite, and at full liberty for enjoyment, to the end of time itself, with only one prohibition by way of contract, whereon should depend their immortality, soon became disobedient, and thereby obnoxious to sin, misery
and death. To preserve us from which, and as a memento to. : guard us from the like error, we adopted the penal sign.
Scarcely bad our first parents transgressed, conscious of their crime, and filled with shame and horror, they endeavoured to hide themselves from the presence of that being, in whom before had been their chief delight; but hearing the summons of his awful voice, and unable to bear the splendour of his appearance, in a humble bending posture, they approached with awe and palpitation of heart, their right band at their forehead for support, and their lest at the heart, as a shield against the radiant glory; and hence arose the reverential sign or sign of salute.
* I have already refuted this nonsense in the sixth letter to Williams. I further learn, that Williams has lately adopted an old Christian conclu
sion, that the Tau is the mark which God set upon Cain! Poor Cain has 2. been made the father of all the black race, though the Christians so wise
forget the deluge and that none of the race of Cain were saved. So, also, I would ask Mr. Williams, how he traces his knowledge of the Tau being the mark set upon Cain up to Noah. The best conclusion is that of my friend W. W. R. who shews it to be the mark which was set upon Cain and his father Adam too: the mark which the ladies love and which they wear as an emblem and an ornament.
It was now they heard pronounced the dreadful sentence, that the ground, for their sakes accursed, should no longer pour forth in such abundance; but themselves be driven from that happy region, to some less friendly climate, there to cultivate the hungry soil, and to earn their daily food by sweat and labour.---Now banished from the presence of their God, and impelled by the wants and calls of nature to constant toil and care, they become more fully sensible of their crime, and with true contrition of heart, they, with clasped hands, implored forgiveness, and hence arose the penitential or supplicatory sigo, or sign of sorrow.
Now fervent prayer, the grand restorer of true peace of mind and only balm to heal a wounded conscience, first raised a gleam of hope and encouraged them to pursue their daily task with greater cheerfulness; but seized with wea. riness and pain, the sure efforts of constant toil and labour, they were forced to lay their right hands to the regiou of the heart and their left as a support to the side of tbeir head; and thus arose the monitorial sign or sign of admonition.
Now their minds being more calm, their toils seemed less severe, and cheered by bright eyed hope, with uplifted hands and hearts, they clearly saw redemptiou drawing on; and hence arose the last sign called the fiducial sign of sign of faith and hope.
I could add a deal more of nonsense to this catechism, such as a description of the twelve banpers of the twelve tribes of Israel, and many other similar subjects; but I do not fear the complaint of a single reader upon this head of omission. If they want more of such nonsense, let them go to its fountain head--the Bible ; there, if they have a grain of sense or discernment, they may get it to satiety.
In making up the description of this degree, I have had no regular description to copy from, but my information has been derived from three documents, sent to me by three · different persons, in distant parts of England, all agreeing
in substance but differing in form and arrangement. I have 'not, as in the three first degrees, had the regular routine of
ceremony before me; but have been left to cull it from my own arrangement of such matter as I had to cull from. This description, therefore, is confessedly not so full as those : of the first degrees ; but there is enough for general idea ; no thing important is unpublished, and whoever has read the former degrees, may see the whole drift of this « exalted sublime” degree, as Finch calls it. I have all that Finch
ever published upon this degree, and more, much more. He says, that it was introduced into this country by Charles the second, and that, for near a century, it was confined to the aristocracy, and refused to tradesmen, until three Frenchmen came over to this country to sell it to whomsoever would buy it. This set up a new class of Royal Arch Masons, and there has been a sectarianism in this degree, from that day to this. Finch was long the leader of the rebels; but, if I may judge from his printed letters and from one wbich I have in M. S. I should think that he died of vexaation, in finding the Grand lodge too powerful for him.
Finch represented Bonaparte as a great encourager of masonry, and attributes his military success to that encourage
ment; but, if we may credit Barry Omeara ; there is no Bi proof of it. The following is copied from the “ voice of St.
Helena:"-I asked some questions relative to the Freemasons and his opinions concerning them;" A set of imbeciles, who meet, a faire bonne chere, (to make good cbeer) and perform some ridiculous fooleries."* However, said he, they do some good actions. They assisted in the revolution, and latterly to diminish the power of the Pope and the influence of the clergy. When the sentiments of a people are against the government, every society has a tendency to do mischief to it.”+ 1 then asked if the Freemasons on the continent bad any connection with the illuminati. He replied, “ no, that is a society altogether different, and in Germany, is of a very dangerous nature.” I asked if he bad not encouraged the Freemasons: he said, “ rather so for they fought against the Pope.”
Bonaparte was the Pope's best friend. I have heard of a curious anecdote, brought from Rome by an English Peer, about two or three years ago. The pope made some scruples to crown Bonaparte, or to marry him to Maria Louisa ; but yielded on hearing from the soldier, that he must witness the total overthrow of the Christian Religion as the alternative. Verily, I look upon Bonaparte as the preserver of the Christian Religion in Europe to this day. He might certaiuly bave overthrown the whole system, with his power, and probably have been now living to reap the benefit and to enjoy the glory of it. I shall never forgive
* The thing to the life! I cannot agree with Bonaparte that they have latterly done any thing to lessen the influence of the clergy. Why did he restore that influence.
R. C. + It is hardly so in England at this time; for here the corrupt and interested in abuses alone associate. ·
Bonaparte in this matter, unless I were so successful as to do what he neglected to do. The Pope should find po Bona parte in me, if I were to get him into my power. I would not insult him but I would certainly proclaim his popedom at an end, and Christianity too, as far as I could. There will never be sound happiness and good government among mankind, in conjunction with religion of any kind. The latter is a deadly pest-the weeds that grow up with and choke the wheat. Tear them up and cast them into the fire, I bad rather, my Royal Duke, see you a soldier than a bishop ; though we shall want no red coats, when we have got rid of the black oues. The black support and call for the red, and the red the black. This is a very important consideration for the labouring man, who has to work for both : and who pines with want, wbile these red and black coated gentry are feeding in idleness and luxury on the produce of his labour. Wages commensurate with the price of food will not, cannot be generally obtained, under this state of things. The pay of the soldier and the priest is so much per week deducted from the wages of the labouring man. It must come from some where, and where else can it come from, but where it is produced ?
The Royal Arch Chapter is closed in the following manner. The companions, scribes and sojourners stand round the floor cloth, exbibiting the penal sign. The three Principals form a triangle, each holding to the Bible. They salute the book and pass round for each person present to do the same. Then they formed the Grand Triangle and say: -We three do agree, this Royal Arch Chapter to close, and, in love and unity, the sacred word of a Royal Arch Masou to keep, and not to reveal it to any one in the world, unless it be, when three, such as we, do meet and agree, a Royal Arch Chapter to open.
And this, my Royal Duke, closes my description of the Jewish part of Masonry, unless I find a few errors to cor. rect, or a few particulars to add in the way of a note. The Christian Degrees, I have reserved for an inscription to your Brother Sussex. Frivolity, frivolity from beginning to end, is the characteristic of Masonry. Not one useful purpose can be shewn to be associated with it; but much evil, much of revelling and riot and waste of family means must arise from this ale-house and tavern association. I will not say, that it disgraces the Royal Family of this country, as that would not be a courtier-like observation. I will not say, that it disgraces the priesthood, as that would not be a holy
saying. But I will say, that the legislature, the magistracy and the people of this couatry are disgraced in having this association, in existence ainong them. I will say, that it is a scandal to the intelligent character of this country, to its magistracy and its laws, imperfect as they are.
The masons cherish the old tradition, that this earth is to be destroyed by fire. Often, in their ceremonies, I find a he reference to the period, “ until the world is on fire" This ere is a tradition traced to the Egyptian Priests and adopted as
a physical probability by De Maillet. The theory of the thing goes thus:-that the earth, or any planet, begins its existence, if a new formation, as a body of water, or, as a body where water preponderates: and hence a succession of deluges produced by its motions, or by the growth of the earthy and rockey matter, its crackings, its kindlings into fire, its explosions of inflammable matter in its bowels, &c.; until its inflammable matter preponderates, and, from the aridity of the surface, produces an inflammable atmosphere, such as we have every reason to believe that of the sun to be. When a child, I learnt a singular tradition from almost every curious and calculatiog old woman that I heard talk. The masons have not even a theory upon the subject. They adopt it as a tradition, or a godly ordination, as the Devonshire women had done, and doubtless, still do.
I must pow, my royal duke, draw my inscriptions to you, to a very respectful conclusion : and, in doing this, I must notice a report of the newspapers, that, lately, you did not hesitate to receive and answer an address from a Yorkshire Lodge of Orangemen. It is well knowo, that, in disposition, you are their grand patron, and whilst you respect sich an association, you will never be the patron of any system, or society, or purpose, that is respectable.
Had you an idea of dignity, you would not countenance, you would spurp, a private association of the kind. Why, if the Orange Association, or any other private association, were to vote me a subscription and an address, I would not recognize them as the gist and address of a private association, if I accepted them on any terms. My fighting opponent, the Editor of the Palladium, I see, has started his paper to espouse the interest of the Orange Association ; but he cannot make it answer; I see he will die, if he does not accept me for a doctor.
I began my first letter, with the admission of a circumstance asserted by Professor Robison, that Masonry was revived in the early part of the last century, as a means to
No. 13, Vol. XII.