Imágenes de página

This answer, which is mere catechismal form, is not an answer to the question. It does no more than remove the question a point further, which is, why ought all churches. and chapels to be so? But as the entered apprentice is not initiated into the Druidical mysteries of Masonry, he is not asked any questions to which a direct answer would lead thereto.

Q. Where stands your master?

d. In the East.

Q. Why so?

4. As the sun rises in the East, and opens the day, so the master stands in the East, (with his right hand upon his left breast, being a sign, and the square about his neck), to open the lodge, and set his men at work.

Q. Where stands your wardens?

A. In the West.

Q. What is their business?

A. As the sun sets in the West to close the day, so the wardens stand in the West with their right hands upon their left breasts, being a sign, and the level and plumb rule about their necks to close the lodge, and disiniss the men from labour paying them their wages.

Here the name of the sun is mentioned, but it is proper to observe, that in this place it has reference only to labour, or to the time of labour, and not to any religious Druidical rite or ceremony, as it would have with respect to the situation of Lodges East and West. I have already observed in the chapter on the origin of the Christian religion, that the situation of churches East and West is taken from the worship of the sun which rises in the East. The Christians never bury their dead on the North side of the church; and a Mason's Lodge always has, or is supposed to have, three windows, which are called fixed lights, to distinguish thein from the moveable lights of the sun and the moon. The master asks the entered apprentice,

Q. How are they (the fixed lights) situated?

1. East, West, and South.

Q. What are their uses?

A. To light the men to and from their work.

Q. Why are there no lights in the north?

A. Because the sun darts no rays from thence.

This, among numerous other instances, shews that the Christian religion, and Masonry, have one and the same common origin, the ancient worship of the sun.

The high festival of the Masons is on the day they call St. John's day; but every enlightened Mason must know that holding their festival on this day has no reference to the person called St. John; and that it is only to disguise the true cause of holding it on this day, that they call the day by that name. As there were Masous, or at least

Druids, many centuries before the time of St. John, if such person ever existed, the holding their festival on this day inust refer to some cause totally unconnected with John.

The case is, that the day called St. John's day is the 24th of June, and is what is called Midsummer-day. The sun is then arrived at the summer solstice; and with respect to his meridional altitude, or height at high noon, appears for some days to be of the same height. The Astronomical longest day, like the shortest day, is not every year," on account of leap year, on the same numerical day, and therefore the 24th of June is always taken for Midsummer-day; and it is in honour of the sun, which has then arrived at his greatest height, in our hemisphere, and not any thing with respect to St. John, that this annual festival of the Masons, taken from the Druids, is celebrated on Midsummer day..

Customs will often outlive the remembrance of their origin, and this is the case with respect to a custom still practised in Ireland, where the Druids flourished at the time they flourished in Britain. On the eve of St. John's day, that is, on the eve of Midsummer day, the Irish light fires on the tops of the hills. This can have no reference to St. John; but it has emblématical reference to the sun, which on that day is at its highest summer elevation, and might in common language be said to have arrived at the top of the hill.

As to what Masons, and books of Masonry tell us of Solomon's Temple at Jerusalem, it is no wise improbable. that some masonic ceremonies may have been derived from the building of that temple, for the worship of the sun was in practice many centuries before the temple existed, or before the Israelites came out of Egypt. And we learn from the history of the Jewish Kings, 2 Kings, chap. xxii. xxiii. that the worship of the sun was per formed by the Jews in that temple. It is, however, much to be doubted, if it was done with the same scientific pu-rity and religious morality, with which it was performed by the Druids, who by all accounts that historically remain of them, were a wise, learned, and moral class of men. The Jews, on the contrary, were ignorant of astronomy, and of science in general, and if a religion founded upon astronomy, fell into their hands, it is almost certain it would be corrupted. We do not read in the history of the Jews, whether in the Bible or elsewhere, that they were the inventors or the improvers of any one art or science. Even in, the building of this temple, the Jews did not. know how to square and frame the timber for beginning and carrying on the work, and Solomon was obliged to send to Hiram, king of Tyre, (Zidon) to procure work


"for thou knowest, (says Solomon to Hiram, 1 Kings, chap. v. ver. 6.) that there is not among us any that can skill to hew timber like unto the Zidonians." This temple was more properly Hiram's temple than Solomon's, and if the Masons derive any thing from the building of it, they owe it to the Zidonians and not to the Jews.-But to return to the worship of the sun in this temple. It is said, 2 Kings, chap. xxiii. ver. 8. "And King Josiah put down all the idolatrous priests that burned incense unto the sun, the moon, the planets, and to all the host of heaven."-And it is said at the 11th ver. "and he took away the horses that the kings of Judah had given to the sun, at the entering in of the house of the Lord, and burned the chariots of the sun with fire, ver. 13, and the high places that were before Jerusalem, which were on the right hand of the mount of corruption, which Solomon, the king of Israel had builded for Astoreth, the abomination of the Zidonians (the very people that built the temple) did the king defile.

Besides these things, the description that Josephus gives of the decorations of this temple, resembles, on a large scale those of a Mason's Lodge. He says that the distribution of the several parts of the Temple of the Jews represented all nature, particularly the parts most apparent of it, as the sun, the moon, the planets, the zodiac, the earth, the elements, and that the system of the world was retraced there by numerous ingenious emblems. These in all probability are what Josiah in his ignorance calls the abominations of the Zidonians (2). Every thing however, drawn from this temple (3), and applied to Masonry still refers to the worship of the sun, however corrupted or misunderstood by the Jews, and consequently, to the religion of the Druids.

Another circumstance which shews that Masonry is derived from some ancient system, prior to, and unconnected with, the Christian religion, is the chronology, or method

(2) Smith, in speaking of a Lodge, says, when the Lodge is revealed to an entering Mason, it discovers to him a representation of the world: in which, from the wonders of nature, we are led to contemplate her great original, and worship him from his mighty works; and we are thereby also moved to exercise those moral and social virtues which become mankind as the servants of the great architect of the world.

(3) It may not be improper here to observe, that the law called the law of Moses could not have been in existence at the time of building this temple. Here is the likeness of things in heaven above, and in the earth beneath. And we read in I Kings, chap. 6, 7, that Solomon made cherubs and cherubims, that he carved all the walls of the house round about with che rubims and palm-trees, and open flowers, and that he made a molten sea, placed on twelve oxen, and the ledges of it were ornamented with lions, oxen, and cherubims; all this is contrary to the law, called the law of Moses.

of counting time, used by the Masons in the records of their lodges. They make no use of what is called the Christian era; and they reckon their months numerically, as the ancient Egyptians did, and as the Quakers do now. I have by ine, a record of a French Lodge, at the time the late Duke of Orleans, then Duke de Chartres, was Grand Master of Masonry in France. It begins as follows: "Le trentieme jour due sixième mois de l'an de la V. L. cing. mil sepcent soixante trize," that is, the thirtieth day of the sixth month of the year of the venerable Lodge, five thousand seven hundred and seventy three. By what I observe in English books of Masonry, the English Masons use the initials A. L. and not V. L. By A. L. they mean in the year of the Lodge, as the Christians by A. D. mean in the year of the Lord. But A. L. like V. L. refers to the same chronological era, that is, to the supposed time of the creation. In the chapter on the origin of the Christian religion, I have shewn that the cosmogony, that is the account of the creation, with which the book of Genesis opens, has been taken and mutilated from the Zend-Avista of Zoroaster, and is fixed as a preface to the Bible, after the Jews returned from captivity in Babylon, and that the rabbins of the Jews do not hold their account in Genesis to be a fact, but mere allegory. The six thousand years in the Zeud-Avista, is changed or interpolated into six days in the account of Genesis. The Masons appear to have chosen the same period, and perhaps to avoid the suspicion and persecution of the church, have adopted the era of the world, as the era of Masonry. The V. L. of the French, and A. L. of the English Mason, answer to the A. M. Anno Mundi, or year of the world.

Though the Masons have taken many of their ceremonies and hieroglyphics from the ancient Egyptians, it is certain they have not taken their chronology from thence. If they had, the church would soon have sent them to the stake; as the chronology of the Egyptians, like that of the Chinese, goes many thousand years beyond the Bible chronology.

The religion of the Druids, as before said, was the same as the religion of the ancient Egyptians. The priests of Egypt were the professors and teachers of science, and were styled priests of Heliopolis, that is, of the city of the sun. The Druids in Europe, who were the same order of men, have their name from the Teutonic or ancient German language: the Germans being anciently call Teutones. The word Druid signifies a wise man. In Persia they were called magi, which signifies the same thing.

"Egypt," says Smith, "from whence we derive many of our mysteries, hath always borne a distinguished rank in history, and was once celebrated above all others for its

antiquities, learning, opulence, and fertility. In their system, their principal hero-gods, Osiris and Isis, theologically represented the Supreme Being and universal nature; and physically, the two great celestial luminaries, the sun and the moon, by whose influence all nature was actuated. The experienced brethren of the Society (says Smith in a note to this passage) are well informed what affinity these symbols bear to Masonry, and why they are used in all Masonic Lodges."

In speaking of the apparel of the Masons in their Lodges, part of which, as we see in their public processions, is a white leather apron, he says, "the Druids were apparelled in white at the time of their sacrifices and solemn offices. The Egyptian priests of Osiris wore snowwhite cotton. The Grecian, and most other priests, wore white garments. As Masons, we regard the principles of those who were the first worshippers of the true God imitate their apparel, and assume the badge of innocence.

[ocr errors]

The Egyptians," continues Smith, "in the earliest ages, constituted a great number of Lodges, but with assiduous care kept their secrets of Masonry from all strangers. These secrets have been imperfectly handed down to us by tradition only, and ought to be kept undiscovered to the labourers, craftsmen, and apprentices, till by good behaviour and long study, they become better acquainted in Geometry and the liberal arts, and thereby qualified for Masters and Wardens, which is seldom or ever the case with English Masons."

Under the head of Free Masonry, written by the astronomer Lalande, in the French Encyclopedia, I expected from his great knowledge in astronomy, to have found much information on the origin of Masonry; for what connection can there be between any institution and the sun and twelve signs of the Zodiac, if there be not something in that institution, or in its origin, that has reference to astronomy. Every thing used as an hieroglyphic has reference to the subject and purpose for which it is used; and we are not to suppose the Free Masons, among whom are many very learned and scientific men, to be such idiots as to make use of astronomical signs without some astronomical purpose.

[ocr errors]

But I was much disappointed in my expectation from Lalande. In speaking of the origin of Masonry, he says, L'origine de la maçoniere se perd, comme tant d'autres dans l'obscurite des temps," that is, the origin of Masonry, like many others, loses itself in the obscurity of time. When I came to this expression, I supposed Lalande a Mason, and on enquiry found he was. This passing over saved him from the embarrassment which Masons are under respecting the disclosure of their origin, and which

« AnteriorContinuar »