miércoles, 9 de junio de 2010

Tres siglos de ocultismo

THREE CENTURIES OF OCCULTISM



It has been shown in the foregoing chapters that from very early times
occult sects had existed for two purposes--esoteric and political.
Whilst the Manicheans, the early Ismailis, the Bogomils, and the
Luciferians had concerned themselves mainly with religious or esoteric
doctrines, the later Ismailis, the Fatimites, the Karmathites, and
Templars had combined secrecy and occult rites with the political aim of
domination. We shall find this double tradition running through all the
secret society movement up to the present day.

The Dualist doctrines attributed to the Templars were not, however,
confined to this Order in Europe, but had been, as we have seen, those
professed by the Bogomils and also by the Cathari, who spread westwards
from Bulgaria and Bosnia to France. It was owing to their sojourn in
Bulgaria that the Cathari gained the popular nickname of "Bulgars" or
"Bourgres," signifying those addicted to unnatural vice. One section of
the Cathari in the South of France became known after 1180 as the
Albigenses, thus called from the town of Albi, although their
headquarters were really in Toulouse. Christians only in name, they
adhered in secret to the Gnostic and Manichean doctrines of the earlier
Cathari, which they would appear to have combined with Johannism, since,
like this Eastern sect, they claimed to possess their own Gospel of St.
John.[216]

Although not strictly a secret society, the Albigenses were divided
after the secret society system into initiates and semi-initiates. The
former, few in number, known as the _Perfecti_, led in appearance an
austere life, refraining from meat and professing abhorrence of oaths
or of lying. The mystery in which they enveloped themselves won for them
the adoring reverence of the _Credentes_, who formed the great majority
of the sect and gave themselves up to every vice, to usury, brigandage,
and perjury, and whilst describing marriage as prostitution, condoning
incest and all forms of licence.[217] The _Credentes_, who were probably
not fully initiated into the Dualist doctrines of their superiors,
looked to them for salvation through the laying-on of hands according to
the system of the Manicheans.

It was amongst the nobles of Languedoc that the Albigenses found their
principal support. This "Judæa of France," as it has been called, was
peopled by a medley of mixed races, Iberian, Gallic, Roman, and
Semitic.[218] The nobles, very different from the "ignorant and pious
chivalry of the North," had lost all respect for their traditions.
"There were few who in going back did not encounter some Saracen or
Jewish grandmother in their genealogy."[219] Moreover, many had brought
back to Europe the laxity of morals they had contracted during the
Crusades. The Comte de Comminges practised polygamy, and, according to
ecclesiastical chronicles, Raymond VI, Comte de Toulouse, one of the
most ardent of the Albigense _Credentes_, had his harem.[220] The
Albigensian movement has been falsely represented as a protest merely
against the tyranny of the Church of Rome; in reality it was a rising
against the fundamental doctrines of Christianity--more than this,
against all principles of religion and morality. For whilst some of the
sect openly declared that the Jewish law was preferable to that of the
Christians,[221] to others the God of the Old Testament was as abhorrent
as the "false Christ" who suffered at Golgotha; the old hatred of the
Gnostics and Manicheans for the demiurgus lived again in these rebels
against the social order. Forerunners of the seventeenth-century
Libertines and eighteenth-century Illuminati, the Albigense nobles,
under the pretext of fighting the priesthood, strove to throw off all
the restraints the Church imposed.

Inevitably the disorders that took place throughout the South of France
led to reprisals, and the Albigenses were suppressed with all the
cruelty of the age--a fact which has afforded historians the opportunity
to exalt them as noble martyrs, victims of ecclesiastical despotism. But
again, as in the case of the Templars, the fact that they were
persecuted does not prove them innocent of the crimes laid to their
charge.



Satanism


At the beginning of the fourteenth century another development of
Dualism, far more horrible than the Manichean heresy of the Albigenses,
began to make itself felt. This was the cult of Satanism, or black
magic. The subject is one that must be approached with extreme caution,
owing to the fact that on one hand much that has been written about it
is the result of mediæval superstition, which sees in every departure
from the Roman Catholic Faith the direct intervention of the Evil One,
whilst on the other hand the conspiracy of history, which denies _in
toto_ the existence of the Occult Power, discredits all revelations on
this question, from whatever source they emanate, as the outcome of
hysterical imagination.[222] This is rendered all the easier since the
subject by its amazing extravagance lends itself to ridicule.

It is, however, idle to deny that the cult of evil has always existed;
the invocation of the powers of darkness was practised in the earliest
days of the human race and, after the Christian era, found its
expression, as we have seen, in the Cainites, the Euchites, and the
Luciferians. These are not surmises, but actual facts of history.
Towards the end of the twelfth century Luciferianism spread eastwards
through Styria, the Tyrol, and Bohemia, even as far as Brandenburg; by
the beginning of the thirteenth century it had invaded western Germany,
and in the fourteenth century reached its zenith in that country, as
also in Italy and France. The cult had now reached a further stage in
its development, and it was not the mere propitiation of Satanael as the
prince of this world practised by the Luciferians, but actual
Satanism--the love of evil for the sake of evil--which formed the
doctrine of the sect known in Italy as _la vecchia religione_ or the
"old religion." Sorcery was adopted as a profession, and witches, not,
as is popularly supposed, sporadic growths, were trained in schools of
magic to practise their art. These facts should be remembered when the
Church is blamed for the violence it displayed against witchcraft--it
was not individuals, but a system which it set out to destroy.

The essence of Satanism is desecration. In the ceremonies for infernal
evocation described by Eliphas Lévi we read: "It is requisite to profane
the ceremonies of the religion one belongs to and to trample its holiest
symbols under foot."[223] This practice found a climax in desecrating
the Holy Sacrament. The consecrated wafer was given as food to mice,
toads, and pigs, or denied in unspeakable ways. A revolting description
of the Black Mass may be found in Huysmans's book _Là-bas_. It is
unnecessary to transcribe the loathsome details here. Suffice it, then,
to show that this cult had a very real existence, and if any further
doubt remains on the matter, the life of Gilles de Rais supplies
documentary evidence of the visible results of black magic in the Middle
Ages.

Gilles de Rais was born at Machecoul in Brittany about the year 1404.
The first period of his life was glorious; the companion and guide of
Jeanne d'Arc, he became Maréchal of France and distinguished himself by
many deeds of valour. But after dissipating his immense fortune, largely
on Church ceremonies carried out with the wildest extravagance, he was
led to study alchemy, partly by curiosity and partly as a means for
restoring his shattered fortunes. Hearing that Germany and Italy were
the countries where alchemy flourished, he enlisted Italians in his
service and was gradually drawn into the further region of magic.
According to Huysmans, Gilles de Rais had remained until this moment a
Christian mystic under the influence of Jeanne d'Arc, but after her
death--possibly in despair--he offered himself to the powers of
darkness. Evokers of Satan now flocked to him from every side, amongst
them Prelati, an Italian, by no means the old and wrinkled sorcerer of
tradition, but a young and attractive man of charming manners. For it
was from Italy that came the most skilful adepts in the art of alchemy,
astrology, magic, and infernal evocation, who spread themselves over
Europe, particularly France. Under the influence of these initiators
Gilles de Rais signed a letter to the devil in a meadow near Machecoul
asking him for "knowledge, power, and riches," and offering in exchange
anything that might be asked of him with the exception of his life or
his soul. But in spite of this appeal and of a pact signed with the
blood of the writer, no Satanic apparitions were forthcoming.

It was then that, becoming still more desperate, Gilles de Rais had
recourse to the abominations for which his name has remained
infamous--still more frightful invocations, loathsome debaucheries,
perverted vice in every form, Sadic cruelties, horrible sacrifices, and,
finally, holocausts of little boys and girls collected by his agents in
the surrounding country and put to death with the most inhuman tortures.
During the years 1432-40 literally hundreds of children disappeared.
Many of the names of the unhappy little victims were preserved in the
records of the period. Gilles de Rais met with a well-deserved end: in
1440 he was hanged and burnt. So far he does not appear to have found a
panegyrist to place him in the ranks of noble martyrs.

It will, of course, be urged that the crimes here described were those
of a criminal lunatic and not to be attributed to any occult cause; the
answer to this is that Gilles was not an isolated unit, but one of a
group of occultists who cannot all have been mad. Moreover, it was only
after his invocation of the Evil One that he developed these monstrous
proclivities. So also his eighteenth-century replica, the Marquis de
Sade, combined with his abominations an impassioned hatred of the
Christian religion.

What is the explanation of this craze for magic in Western Europe?
Deschamps points to the Cabala, "that science of demoniacal arts, of
which the Jews were the initiators," and undoubtedly in any
comprehensive review of the question the influence of the Jewish
Cabalists cannot be ignored. In Spain, Portugal, Provence, and Italy the
Jews by the fifteenth century had become a power; as early as 1450 they
had penetrated into the intellectual circles of Florence, and it was
also in Italy that, a century later, the modern Cabalistic school was
inaugurated by Isaac Luria (1533-72), whose doctrines were organized
into a practical system by the Hasidim of Eastern Europe for the writing
of amulets, the conjuration of devils, mystical jugglery with numbers
and letters, etc.[224] Italy in the fifteenth century was thus a centre
from which Cabalistic influences radiated, and it may be that the
Italians who indoctrinated Gilles de Rais had drawn their inspiration
from this source. Indeed Eliphas Lévi, who certainly cannot be accused
of "Anti-Semitism," declares that "the Jews, the most faithful trustees
of the secret of the Cabala, were almost always the reat masters of
magic in the Middle Ages,"[225] and suggests that Gilles de Rais took
his monstrous recipes for using the blood of murdered children "from
some of those old Hebrew _grimoires_ (books on magic), which, if they
had been known, would have sufficed to hold up the Jews to the
execration of the whole earth."[226]

Voltaire, in his _Henriade_,
likewise attributes the magical blood-rites practised in the sixteenth
century to Jewish inspiration:


Dans l'ombre de la nuit, sous une voûte obscure,
Le silence conduit leui assemblée impure.
A la pàle lueur d'un magique flambeau
S'élève un vil autel dressé sur un tombeau.
C'est là que des deux rois on plaça les images,
Objets de leur terreur, objets de leurs outrages.
Leurs sacrilèges mains out mêlé sur l'autel
A des noms infernaux le nom de l'Éternel.
Sur ces murs ténébreux des lances sont rangées,
Dans des vases de sang leurs pointes sont plongées;
Appareil menaçant de leur mystère affreux.
Le prêtre de ce temple est un de ces Hébreux
Qui, proscrits sur la terre et citoyens du monde,
Portent de mers en mers leur misère profonde,
Et, d'un antique ramas de superstitions,
Out rempli dès longtemps toutes les nations, etc.


Voltaire adds in a footnote: "It was ordinarily Jews that were made use
of for magical operations. This ancient superstition comes from the
secrets of the Cabala, of which the Jews called themselves the sole
depositaries. Catherine de Medicis, the Maréchal d'Ancre, and many
others employed Jews for these spells."


This charge of black magic recurs all through the history of Europe from
the earliest times. The Jews are accused of poisoning wells, of
practising ritual murder, of using stolen church property for purposes
of desecration, etc
. No doubt there enters into all this a great amount
of exaggeration, inspired by popular prejudice and mediæval
superstition. Yet, whilst condeming the persecution to which the Jews
were subjected on this account, it must be admitted that they laid
themselves open to suspicion by their real addiction to magical arts. If
ignorant superstition is found on the side of the persecutors, still
more amazing superstition is found on the side of the persecuted.
Demonology in Europe was in fact essentially a Jewish science, for
although a belief in evil spirits existed from the earliest times and
has always continued to exist amongst primitive races, and also amongst
the ignorant classes in civilized countries, it was mainly through the
Jews that these dark superstitions were imported to the West, where they
persisted not merely amongst the lower strata of the Jewish population,
but formed an essential part of Jewish tradition. Thus the Talmud says:

If the eye could perceive the demons that people the universe,
existence would be impossible. The demons are more numerous than we
are: they surround us on all sides like trenches dug round
vineyards. Every one of us has a thousand on his left hand and ten
thousand on his right. The discomfort endured by those who attend
rabbinical conferences ... comes from the demons mingling with men
in these circumstances. Besides, the fatigue one feels in one's
knees in walking comes from the demons that one knocks up against
at every step. If the clothing of the Rabbis wears out so quickly,
it is again because the demons rub up against them. Whoever wants
to convince himself of their presence has only to surround his bed
with sifted cinders and the next morning he will see the imprints
of cocks' feet.[227]

The same treatise goes on to give directions for seeing demons by
burning portions of a black cat and placing the ashes in one's eye:
"then at once one perceives the demons." The Talmud also explains that
devils particularly inhabit the waterspouts on houses and are fond of
drinking out of water-jugs, therefore it is advisable to pour a little
water out of a jug before drinking, so as to get rid of the unclean
part.[228]

These ideas received a fresh impetus from the publication of the Zohar,
which, a Jewish writer tells us, "from the fourteenth century held
almost unbroken sway over the minds of the majority of the Jews. In it
the Talmudic legends concerning the existence and activity of the
_shedhim_ (demons) are repeated and amplified, and a hierarchy of demons
was established corresponding to the heavenly hierarchy.... Manasseh
[ben Israel]'s _Nishmat Hayim_ is full of information concerning belief
in demons.... Even the scholarly and learned Rabbis of the seventeenth
century clung to the belief."[229]

Here, then, it is not a case of ignorant peasants evolving fantastic
visions from their own scared imaginations, but of the Rabbis, the
acknowledged leaders of a race claiming civilized traditions and a high
order of intelligence, deliberately inculcating in their disciples the
perpetual fear of demoniacal influences. How much of this fear
communicated itself to the Gentile population? It is at any rate a
curious coincidence to notice the resemblances between so-called popular
superstitions and the writings of the Rabbis. For example, the vile
confessions made both by Scotch and French peasant women accused of
witchcraft concerning the nocturnal visits paid them by male devils[230]
find an exact counterpart in passages of the Cabala, where it is said
that "the demons are both male and female, and they also endeavour to
consort with human beings--a conception from which arises the belief in
_incubi_ and _succubæ_."[231] Thus, on Jewish authority, we learn the
Judaic origin of this strange delusion.

It is clearly to the same source that we may trace the magical formulæ
for the healing of diseases current at the same period. From the
earliest times the Jews had specialized in medicine, and many royal
personages insisted on employing Jewish doctors,[232] some of whom may
have acquired medical knowledge of a high order. The Jewish writer
Margoliouth dwells on this fact with some complacency, and goes on to
contrast the scientific methods of the Hebrew doctors with the
quackeries of the monks:

In spite of the reports circulated by the monks, that the Jews were
sorcerers (in consequence of their superior medical skill),
Christian patients would frequent the houses of the Jewish
physicians in preference to the monasteries, where cures were
pretended to have been effected by some extraordinary relics, such
as the nails of St. Augustine, the extremity of St. Peter's second
toe, ... etc. It need hardly be added that the cures effected by
the Jewish physicians were more numerous than those by the monkish
impostors.[233]

Yet in reality the grotesque remedies which Margoliouth attributes to
Christian superstition appear to have been partly derived from Jewish
sources. The author of a further article on Magic in Hastings'
_Encyclopædia_ goes on to say that the magical formulæ handed down in
Latin in ancient medical writings and used by the monks were mainly of
Eastern origin, derived from Babylonish, Egyptian, and Jewish magic. The
monks therefore "played merely an intermediate rôle."[234]

Indeed, if we turn to the Talmud we shall find cures recommended no less absurd
than those which Margoliouth derides. For example:

The eggs of a grasshopper as a remedy for toothache, the tooth of a
fox as a remedy for sleep, viz. the tooth of a live fox to prevent
sleep and of a dead one to cause sleep, the nail from the gallows
where a man was hanged, as a remedy for swelling.[235]


A strongly "pro-Semite" writer quotes a number of Jewish medical
writings of the eighteenth century, republished as late as the end of
the nineteenth, which show the persistence of these magical formulæ
amongst the Jews
. Most of these are too loathsome to transcribe; but
some of the more innocuous are as follows: "For epilepsy kill a cock and
let it putrefy." "In order to protect yourself from all evils, gird
yourself with the rope with which a criminal has been hung." Blood of
different kinds also plays an important part: "Fox's blood and wolf's
blood are good for stone in the bladder, ram's blood for colic, weasel
blood for scrofula," etc.--these to be externally applied.[236]

But to return to Satanism.

Whoever were the secret inspirers of magical and diabolical practices during the fourteenth to the eighteenth centuries, the evidence of the existence of Satanism during this long period is overwhelming and rests on the actual facts of history. Details quite as extravagant and revolting as those contained in the works of
Eliphas Lévi[237] or in Huysmans's _Là-bas_ are given in documentary
form by Margaret Alice Murray in her singularly passionless work
relating principally to the witches of Scotland.[238]

The cult of evil is a reality--by whatever means we may seek to explain
it. Eliphas Lévi, whilst denying the existence of Satan "as a superior
personality and power," admits this fundamental truth: "Evil exists; it
is impossible to doubt it. We can do good or evil. There are beings who
knowingly and voluntarily do evil."[239] There are also beings who love
evil. Lévi has admirably described the spirit that animates such beings
in his definition of black magic:



Black magic is really but a combination of sacrileges and murders
graduated with a view to the permanent perversion of the human will
and the realization in a living man of the monstrous phantom of the
fiend. It is, therefore, properly speaking, the religion of the
devil, the worship of darkness, the hatred of goodness exaggerated
to the point of paroxysm; it is the incarnation of death and the
permanent creation of hell.[240]


The Middle Ages, which depicted the devil fleeing from holy water, were
not perhaps quite so benighted as our superior modern culture has led us
to suppose. For that "hatred of goodness exaggerated to the point of
paroxysm," that impulse to desecrate and defile which forms the basis of
black magic and has manifested itself in successive phases of the
world-revolution, springs from fear. So by their very hatred the powers
of darkness proclaim the existence of the powers of light and their own
impotence. In the cry of the demoniac: "What have we to do with Thee,
Jesus of Nazareth? art Thou come to destroy us? I know Thee who Thou
art, the Holy One of God," do we not hear the unwilling tribute of the
vanquished to the victor in the mighty conflict between good; and evil?



The Rosicrucians


In dealing with the question of Magic it is necessary to realize that
although to the world in general the word is synonymous with necromancy,
it does not bear this significance in the language of occultism,
particularly the occultism of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.
Magic at this date was a term employed to cover many branches of
investigation which Robert Fludd, the English Rosicrucian, classified
under various headings, of which the first three are as follows: (1)
"_Natural Magic_, ... that most occult and secret department of physics
by which the mystical properties of natural substances are extracted";
(2) _Mathematical Magic_, which enables adepts in the art to "construct
marvellous machines by means of their geometrical knowledge "; whilst
(3) _Venefic Magic_ "is familiar with potions, philtres, and with
various preparations of poisons."[241]

It is obvious that all these have now passed into the realms of science
and are no longer regarded as magical arts; but the further categories
enumerated by Fludd and comprised under the general heading of
_Necromantic Magic_ retain the popular sense of the term. These are
described as (i) _Goetic_, which consists in "diabolical commerce with
unclean spirits, in rites of criminal curiosity, in illicit songs and
invocations, and in the evocation of the souls of the dead"; (2)
_Maleficent_, which is the adjuration of the devils by the virtue of
Divine Names; and (3) _Theurgic_, purporting "to be governed by good
angels and the Divine Will, but its wonders are most frequently
performed by evil spirits, who assume the names of God and of the
angels." (4) "The last species of magic is the _Thaumaturgic_, begetting
illusory phenomena; by this art the Magi produced their phantoms and
other marvels." To this list might be added _Celestial Magic_, or
knowledge dealing with the influence of the heavenly bodies, on which
astrology is based.

The forms of magic dealt with in the preceding part of this chapter
belong therefore to the second half of these categories, that is to say,
to Necromantic Magic. But at the same period another movement was
gradually taking shape which concerned itself with the first category
enumerated above, that is to say, the secret properties of natural
substances.

A man whose methods appear to have approached to the modern conception
of scientific research was Theophrastus Bombastus von Hohenheim,
commonly known as Paracelsus, the son of a German doctor, born about
1493, who during his travels in the East is said to have acquired a
knowledge of some secret doctrine which he afterwards elaborated into a
system for the healing of diseases. Although his ideas were thus
doubtless drawn from some of the same sources as those from which the
Jewish Cabala descended, Paracelsus does not appear to have been a
Cabalist, but a scientist of no mean order, and, as an isolated thinker,
apparently connected with no secret association, does not enter further
into the scope of this work.

Paracelsus must therefore not be identified with the school of so-called
"Christian Cabalists," who, from Raymond Lulli, the "doctor illuminatus"

of the thirteenth century, onward, drew their inspiration from the
Cabala of the Jews. This is not to say that the influence under which
they fell was wholly pernicious, for, just as certain Jews appear to
have acquired some real medical skill, so also they appear to have
possessed some real knowledge of natural science, inherited perhaps from
the ancient traditions of the East or derived from the writings of
Hippocrates, Galen, and other of the great Greek physicians and as yet
unknown to Europe. Thus Eliphas Lévi relates that the Rabbi Jechiel, a
Cabalistic Jew protected by St. Louis, possessed the secret of
ever-burning lamps,[242] claimed later by the Rosicrucians, which
suggests the possibility that some kind of luminous gas or electric
light may have been known to the Jews. In alchemy they were the
acknowledged leaders; the most noted alchemist of the fourteenth
century, Nicholas Flamel, discovered the secret of the art from the book
of "Abraham the Jew, Prince, Priest, Levite, Astrologer, and
Philosopher," and this actual book is said to have passed later into the
possession of Cardinal Richelieu.[243]

It was likewise from a Florentine Jew, Alemanus or Datylus, that Pico
della Mirandola, the fifteenth-century mystic, received instructions in
the Cabala[244] and imagined that he had discovered in it the doctrines
of Christianity. This delighted Pope Sixtus IV, who thereupon ordered
Cabalistic writings to be translated into Latin for the use of divinity
students. At the same time the Cabala was introduced into Germany by
Reuchlin, who had learnt Hebrew from the Rabbi Jacob b. Jechiel Loans,
court physician to Frederick III, and in 1494 published a Cabalistic
treatise _De Verbo Mirifico_, showing that all wisdom and true
philosophy are derived from the Hebrews. Considerable alarm appears,
however, to have been created by the spread of Rabbinical literature,
and in 1509 a Jew converted to Christianity, named Pfefferkorn,
persuaded the Emperor Maximilian I to burn all Jewish books except the
Old Testament. Reuchlin, consulted on this matter, advised only the
destruction of the Toledot Yeshu and of the Sepher Nizzachon by the
Rabbi Lipmann, because these works "were full of blasphemies against
Christ and against the Christian religion," but urged the preservation
of the rest. In this defence of Jewish literature he was supported by
the Duke of Bavaria, who appointed him professor at Ingoldstadt, but was
strongly condemned by the Dominicans of Cologne. In reply to their
attacks Reuchlin launched his defence _De Arte Cabalistica_, glorifying
the Cabala, of which the "central doctrine for him was the Messianology
around which all its other doctrines grouped themselves."[245] His
whole philosophical system, as he himself admitted, was in fact entirely
Cabalistic, and his views were shared by his contemporary Cornelius
Agrippa of Nettesheim. As a result of these teachings a craze for
Cabalism spread amongst Christian prelates, statesmen, and warriors, and
a number of Christian thinkers took up the doctrines of the Cabala and
"essayed to work them over in their own way." Athanasius Kircher and
Knorr, Baron von Rosenroth, author of the _Kabbala Denudata_, in the
course of the seventeenth century "endeavoured to spread the Cabala
among the Christians by translating Cabalistic works which they regarded
as most ancient wisdom." "Most of them," the _Jewish Encyclopædia_ goes
on to observe derisively, "held the absurd idea that the Cabala
contained proofs of the truth of Christianity.... Much that appears
Christian [in the Cabala] is, in fact, nothing but the logical
development of certain ancient esoteric doctrines."[246]

The Rosicrucians appear to have been the outcome both of this Cabalistic
movement and of the teachings of Paracelsus. The earliest intimation of
their existence was given in a series of pamphlets which appeared at the
beginning of the seventeenth century. The first of these, entitled the
_Fama Fraternitatis; or a Discovery of the Fraternity of the most
Laudable Order of the Rosy Cross_, was published at Cassel in 1614 and
the _Confessio Fraternitatis_ early in the following year. These contain
what may be described as the "Grand Legend" of Rosicrucianism, which has
been repeated with slight variations up to the present day. Briefly,
this story is as follows[247]:

"The most godly and highly-illuminated Father, our brother C.R.," that
is to say, Christian Rosenkreutz, "a German, the chief and original of
our Fraternity," was born in 1378, and some sixteen years later
travelled to the East with a Brother P.A.L
., who had determined to go to
the Holy Land. On reaching Cyprus, Brother P.A.L. died and "so never
came to Jerusalem."

Brother C.R., however, having become acquainted with
certain Wise Men of "Damasco in Arabia," and beheld what great wonders
they wrought, went on alone to Damasco. Here the Wise Men received him,
and he then set himself to study Physick and Mathematics and to
translate the Book M into Latin. After three years he went to Egypt,
whence he journeyed on to Fez, where "he did get acquaintance with those
who are called the Elementary inhabitants, who revealed to him many of
their secrets.... Of those of Fez he often did confess that their Magia
was not altogether pure and also that their Cabala was defiled with
their religion, but notwithstanding he knew how to make good use of the
same." After two years Brother C.R. departed the city Fez and sailed
away with many costly things into Spain, where he conferred with the
learned men and being "ready bountifully to impart all his arts and
secrets" showed them amongst other things how "there might be a society
in Europe which might have gold, silver, and precious stones sufficient
for them to bestow on kings for their necessary uses and lawful
purposes...."

Christian Rosenkreutz then returned to Germany, where "there is nowadays
no want of learned men, Magicians, Cabalists, Physicians, and
Philosophers." Here he "builded himself a fitting and neat habitation in
which he ruminated his voyage and philosophy and reduced them together
in a true memorial." At the end of five years' meditation there "came
again into his mind the wished-for Reformation: accordingly he chose
some few adjoyned with him," the Brethren G.V., I.A., and I.O.--the
last of whom "was very expert and well learned in Cabala as his book H
witnesseth"--to form a circle of initiates. "After this manner began
the Fraternity of the Rosy Cross." Five other Brethren were afterwards
added, all Germans except I.A., and these eight constituted his new
building called Sancti Spiritus. The following agreement was then drawn
up:

First, that none of them should profess any other thing than to
cure the sick, and that gratis.

Second, none of the posterity should be constrained to wear one
certain kind of habit, but therein to follow the custom of the
country.


Third, that every year, upon the day C., they should meet together
at the house Sancti Spiritus, or write the cause of his absence
.

Fourth, every Brother should look about for a worthy person who,
after his decease, might succeed him.

Fifth, the word C.R. should be their seal, mark, and character.

Sixth, the Fraternity should remain secret one hundred years.

Finally Brother C.R. died, but where and when, or in what country he was
buried, remained a secret.
The date, however, is generally given as
1484. In 1604 the Brethren who then constituted the inner circle of the
Order discovered a door on which was written in large letters

Post 120 Annos Patebo.

On opening the door a vault was disclosed to view, where beneath a brass
tablet the body of Christian Rosenkreutz was found, "whole and
unconsumed," with all his "ornaments and attires," and holding in his
hand the parchment "I" which "next unto the Bible is our greatest
treasure," whilst beside him lay a number of books, amongst others the
_Vocabulario_ of Paracelsus, who, however, the _Fama_ observes, earlier
"was none of our Fraternity."[248]

The Brethren now knew that after a time there would be "a general
reformation both of divine and human things." While declaring their
belief in the Christian faith, the _Fama_ goes on to explain that:

Our Philosophy is not a new invention, but as Adam after his fall
hath received it and as Moses and Solomon used it, ... wherein
Plato, Aristotle, Pythagoras, and others did hit the mark and
wherein Enoch, Abraham, Moses, Solomon, did excel, but especially
wherewith that wonderful Book the Bible agreeth.


It will be seen that, according to this Manifesto, Rosicrucianism was a
combination of the ancient secret tradition handed down from the
patriarchs through the philosophers of Greece and of the first Cabala of
the Jews.

The "Grand Legend" of Rosicrucianism rests, however, on no historical
evidence; there is, in fact, not the least reason to suppose that any
such person as Christian Rosenkreutz ever existed. The Illuminatus von
Knigge in the eighteenth century asserted that:

It is now recognized amongst enlightened men that no real
Rosicrucians have existed, but that the whole of what is contained
in the _Fama_ and the _Universal Reformation of the World_ [another
Rosicrucian pamphlet which appeared in the same year] was only a
subtle allegory of Valentine Andrea, of which afterwards partly
deceivers (such as the Jesuits) and partly visionaries made use in
order to realize this dream.[249]

What, then, was the origin of the name Rose-Cross? According to one
Rosicrucian tradition, the word "Rose" does not derive from the flower
depicted on the Rosicrucian cross, but from the Latin word _ros_,
signifying "dew," which was supposed to be the most powerful solvent of
gold, whilst _crux_, the cross, was the chemical hieroglyphic for
"light."[250] It is said that the Rosicrucians interpreted the initials
on the cross INRI by the sentence "Igne Nitrum Roris Invenitur."[251]
Supposing this derivation to be correct, it would be interesting to know
whether any connexion could be traced between the first appearance of
the word Rosie Cross in the _Fama Fraternitatis_ at the date of 1614 and
the cabalistic treatise of the celebrated Rabbi of Prague, Shabbethai
Sheftel Horowitz, entitled _Shefa Tal_, that is to say, "The Effusion of
Dew," which appeared in 1612.[252] Although this book has often been
reprinted, no copy is to be found in the British Museum, so I am unable
to pursue this line of enquiry further. A simpler explanation may be
that the Rosy Cross derived from the Red Cross of the Templars.
Mirabeau, who as a Freemason and an Illuminatus was in a position to
discover many facts about the secret societies of Germany during his
stay in the country, definitely asserts that "the Rose Croix Masons of
the seventeenth century were only the ancient Order of the Templars
secretly perpetuated."[253]

Lecouteulx de Canteleu is more explicit:

In France the Knights (Templar) who left the Order, henceforth
hidden, and so to speak unknown, formed the Order of the Flaming
Star and of the Rose-Croix, which in the fifteenth century spread
itself in Bohemia and Silesia. Every Grand officer of these Orders
had all his life to wear the Red Cross and to repeat every day the
prayer of St. Bernard.[254]

Eckert states that the ritual, symbols, and names of the Rose-Croix were
borrowed from the Templars, and that the Order was divided into seven
degrees, according to the seven days of creation, at the same time
signifying that their "principal aim was that of the mysterious, the
investigation of Being and of the forces of nature."[255]

The Rosicrucian Kenneth Mackenzie, in his _Masonic Cyclopædia_, appears to suggest the same possibility of Templar origin. Under the heading of Rosicrucians he refers enigmatically to an invisible fraternity that has existed from very ancient times, as early as the days of the Crusades,
"bound by solemn obligations of impenetrable secrecy," and joining
together in work for humanity and to "glorify the good." At various
periods of history this body has emerged into a sort of temporary light;
but its true name has never transpired and is only known to the
innermost adepts and rulers of the society. "The Rosicrucians of the
sixteenth century finally disappeared and re-entered this invisible
fraternity "--from which they had presumably emerged. Whether any such
body really existed or whether the above account is simply an attempt at
mystification devised to excite curiosity, the incredulous may question.
The writer here observes that it would be indiscreet to say more, but
elsewhere he throws out a hint that may have some bearing on the matter,
for in his article on the Templars he says that after the suppression of
the Order it was revived in a more secret form and subsists to the
present day. This would exactly accord with Mirabeau's statement that
the Rosicrucians were only the Order of the Templars secretly
perpetuated. Moreover, as we shall see later, according to a legend
preserved by the Royal Order of Scotland, the degree of the Rosy Cross
had been instituted by that Order in conjunction with the Templars in
1314, and it would certainly be a remarkable coincidence that a man
bearing the name of Rosenkreutz should happen to have inaugurated a
society, founded, like the Templars, on Eastern secret doctrines during
the course of the same century, without any connexion existing between
the two.

I would suggest, then, that Christian Rosenkreutz was a purely mythical
personage, and that the whole legend concerning his travels was invented
to disguise the real sources whence the Rosicrucians derived their
system, which would appear to have been a compound of ancient esoteric
doctrines, of Arabian and Syrian magic, and of Jewish Cabalism, partly
inherited from the Templars but reinforced by direct contact with
Cabalistic Jews in Germany. The Rose-Croix, says Mirabeau, "were a
mystical, Cabalistic, theological, and magical sect," and Rosicrucianism
thus became in the seventeenth century the generic title by which
everything of the nature of Cabalism, Theosophy, Alchemy, Astrology, and
Mysticism was designated. For this reason it has been said that they
cannot be regarded as the descendants of the Templars. Mr. Waite, in
referring to "the alleged connexion between the Templars and the
Brethren of the Rosy Cross," observes:

The Templars were not alchemists, they had no scientific
pretensions, and their secret, so far as it can be ascertained, was
a religious secret of an anti-Christian kind. The Rosicrucians, on
the other hand, were pre-eminently a learned society and they were
also a Christian sect.[256]

The fact that the Templars do not appear to have practised alchemy is
beside the point;
it is not pretended that the Rosicrucians followed the
Templars in every particular, but that they were the inheritors of a
secret tradition passed on to them by the earlier Order. Moreover, that
they were a learned society, or even a society at all, is not at all
certain, for they would appear to have possessed no organization like
the Templars or the Freemasons, but to have consisted rather of isolated
occultists bound together by some tie of secret knowledge concerning
natural phenomena. This secrecy was no doubt necessary at a period when
scientific research was liable to be regarded as sorcery, but whether
the Rosicrucians really accomplished anything is extremely doubtful.
They are said to have been alchemists; but did they ever succeed in
transmuting metals? They are described as learned, yet do the pamphlets
emanating from the Fraternity betray any proof of superior knowledge?
"The Chymical Marriage of Christian Rosenkreutz," which appeared in
1616, certainly appears to be the purest nonsense--magical imaginings of
the most puerile kind; and Mr. Waite himself observes that the
publication of the _Fama_ and the _Confessio Fraternitalis_ will not add
new lustre to the Rosicrucian reputations:

We are accustomed to regard the adepts of the Rosy Cross as beings
of sublime elevation and preternatural physical powers, masters of
Nature, monarchs of the intellectual world....
But here in their
own acknowledged manifestos they avow themselves a mere
theosophical offshoot of the Lutheran heresy, acknowledging the
spiritual supremacy of a temporal prince, and calling the Pope
anti-Christ.... We find them intemperate in their language, rabid
in their religious prejudices, and instead of towering giant-like
above the intellectual average of their age, we see them buffeted
by the same passions and identified with all opinions of the men by
whom they were environed. The voice which addresses us behind the
mystical mask of the Rose-Croix does not come from an intellectual
throne....

So much for the Rosicrucians as a "learned society."

What, then, of their claim to be a Christian body? The Rosicrucian
student of the Cabala, Julius Sperber, in his _Echo of the Divinely
Illuminated Fraternity of the Admirable Order of the R.C._ (1615), has
indicated the place assigned to Christ by the Rosicrucians. In De
Quincey's words:

Having maintained the probability of the Rosicrucian pretensions
on the ground that such _magnalia Dei_ had from the creation
downwards been confided to the keeping of a few
individuals--agreeably to which he affirms that Adam was the first
Rosicrucian of the Old Testament and Simeon the last--he goes on to
ask whether the Gospel put an end to the secret tradition? By no
means, he answers: Christ established a new "college of magic"
among His disciples, and the greater mysteries were revealed to St.
John and St. Paul.

John Yarker, quoting this passage, adds: "This, Brother Findel points
out, was a claim of the Carpocratian Gnostics"; it was also, as we have
seen, a part of the Johannite tradition which is said to have been
imparted to the Templars. We shall find the same idea of Christ as an
"initiate" running all through the secret societies up to the present
day.

These doctrines not unnaturally brought on the Rosicrucians the
suspicion of being an anti-Christian body. The writer of a contemporary
pamphlet published in 1624, declares that "this fraternity is a
stratagem of the Jews and Cabalistic Hebrews, in whose philosophy, says
Pic de la Mirandole, all things are ... as if hidden in the majesty of
truth or as ... in very sacred Mysteries."[257]

Another work, _Examination of the Unknown and Novel Cabala of the
Brethren of the Rose-Cross_, agrees with the assertion that the chief of
this "execrable college is Satan, that its first rule is denial of God,
blasphemy against the most simple and undivided Trinity, trampling on
the mysteries of the redemption, spitting in the face of the mother of
God and of all the saints." The sect is further accused of compacts with
the devil, sacrifices of children, of cherishing toads, making poisonous
powders, dancing with fiends, etc.

Now, although all this would appear to be quite incompatible with the
character of the Rosicrucians as far as it is known, we have already
seen that the practices here described were by no means imaginary; in
this same seventeenth century, when the fame of the Rosicrucians was
first noised abroad, black magic was still, as in the days of Gilles de
Rais, a horrible reality, not only in France but in England, Scotland,
and Germany, where sorcerers of both sexes were continually put to
death.[258] However much we may deplore the methods employed against
these people or question the supernatural origin of their cult, it would
be idle to deny that the cult itself existed.

Moreover, towards the end of the century it assumed in France a very
tangible form in the series of mysterious dramas known as the "Affaire
des Poisons," of which the first act took place in 1666, when the
celebrated Marquise de Brinvilliers embarked on her amazing career of
crime in collaboration with her lover Sainte-Croix. This extraordinary
woman, who for ten years made a hobby of trying the effects of various
slow poisons on her nearest relations, thereby causing the death of her
father and brothers, might appear to have been merely an isolated
criminal of the abnormal type but for the sequel to her exploits in the
epidemic of poisoning which followed and during twenty years kept Paris
in a state of terror. The investigations of the police finally led to
the discovery of a whole band of magicians and alchemists--"a vast
ramification of malefactors covering all France"--who specialized in
the art of poisoning without fear of detection.

Concerning all these sorcerers, alchemists, compounders of magical
powders and philtres, frightful rumours circulated, "pacts with the
devil were talked of, sacrifices of new-born babies, incantations,
sacrilegious Masses and other practices as disquieting as they were
lugubrious."[259] Even the King's mistress, Madame de Montespan, is
said to have had recourse to black Masses in order to retain the royal
favour through the agency of the celebrated sorceress La Voisin, with
whom she was later implicated in an accusation of having attempted the
life of the King.

All the extraordinary details of these events have recently been
described in the book of Madame Latour, where the intimate connexion
between the poisoners and the magicians is shown. In the opinion of
contemporaries, these were not isolated individuals:

"Their methods were too certain, their execution of crime too
skilful and too easy for them not to have belonged, either directly
or indirectly, to a whole organization of criminals who prepared
the way, and studied the method of giving to crime the appearance
of illness, of forming, in a word, a school."[260]

The author of the work here quoted draws an interesting parallel between
this organization and the modern traffic in cocaine, and goes on to
describe the three degrees into which it was divided: firstly, the
Heads, cultivated and intelligent men, who understood chemistry,
physics, and nearly all useful sciences, "invisible counsellors but
supreme, without whom the sorcerers and diviners would have been
powerless"; secondly, the visible magicians employing mysterious
processes, complicated rites and terrifying ceremonies; and thirdly, the
crowd of nobles and plebeians who flocked to the doors of the sorcerers
and filled their pockets in return for magic potions, philtres, and, in
certain cases, insidious poisons. Thus La Voisin must be placed in the
second category; "in spite of her luxury, her profits, and her fame,"
she "is only a subaltern agent in this vast organization of criminals.
She depends entirely for her great enterprises on the intellectual
chiefs of the corporation...."[261]

Who were these intellectual chiefs? The man who first initiated Madame
de Brinvilliers' lover Sainte-Croix into the art of poisoning was an
Italian named Exili or Eggidi; but the real initiate from whom Eggidi
and another Italian poisoner had learnt their secrets is said to have
been Glaser, variously described as a German or a Swiss chemist, who
followed the principles of Paracelsus and occupied the post of physician
to the King and the Duc d'Orléans.[262] This man, about whose history
little is known, might thus have been a kind of Rosicrucian. For since,
as has been said, the intellectual chiefs from whom the poisoners
derived their inspiration were men versed in chemistry, in science, in
physics, and the treatment of diseases, and since, further, they
included alchemists and people professing to be in possession of the
Philosopher's Stone, their resemblance with the Rosicrucians is at once
apparent. Indeed, in turning back to the branches of magic enumerated by
the Rosicrucian Robert Fludd, we find not only Natural Magic, "that most
occult and secret department of physics by which the mystical properties
of natural substances are extracted," but also Venefic Magic, which "is
familiar with potions, philtres, and with various preparations of
poisons."

The art of poisoning was therefore known to the Rosicrucians, and,
although there is no reason to suppose it was ever practised by the
heads of the Fraternity, it is possible that the inspirers of the
poisoners may have been perverted Rosicrucians, that is to say, students
of those portions of the Cabala relating to magic both of the
necromantic and venefic varieties, who turned the scientific knowledge
which the Fraternity of the Rosy Cross used for healing to a precisely
opposite and deadly purpose. This would explain the fact that
contemporaries like the author of the _Examination of the Unknown and
Novel Cabala of the Brethren of the Rose-Cross_ should identify these
brethren with the magicians and believe them to be guilty of practices
deriving from the same source as Rosicrucian knowledge--the Cabala of
the Jews. Their modern admirers would, of course, declare that they were
the poles asunder, the difference being between white and black magic.
Huysmans, however, scoffs at this distinction and says the use of the
term "white magic" was a ruse of the Rose-Croix.

But of the real doctrines of the Rosicrucians no one can speak with
certainty. The whole story of the Fraternity is wrapped in mystery.
Mystery was avowedly the essence of their system; their identity, their
aims, their doctrines, are said to have been kept a profound secret from
the world. Indeed it is said that no real Rosicrucian ever allowed
himself to be known as such. As a result of this systematic method of
concealment, sceptics on the one hand have declared the Rosicrucians to
have been charlatans and impostors or have denied their very existence,
whilst on the other hand romancers have exalted them as depositaries of
supernatural wisdom. The question is further obscured by the fact that
most accounts of the Fraternity--as, for example, those of Eliphas Lévi,
Hargrave Jennings, Kenneth Mackenzie, Mr. A.E. Waite, Dr. Wynn Westcott,
and Mr. Cadbury Jones--are the work of men claiming or believing
themselves to be initiated into Rosicrucianism or other occult systems
of a kindred nature and as such in possession of peculiar and exclusive
knowledge. This pretension may at once be dismissed as an absurdity;
nothing is easier than for anyone to make a compound out of Jewish
Cabalism and Eastern theosophy and to label it Rosicrucianism, but no
proof whatever exists of any affiliation between the self-styled
Rosicrucians of to-day and the seventeenth-century "Brothers of the Rosy
Cross."[263]

In spite of Mr. Wake's claim, "The Real History of the Rosicrucians"
still remains to be written, at any rate in the English language. The
book he has published under this name is merely a superficial study of
the question largely composed of reprints of Rosicrucian pamphlets
accessible to any student. Mr. Wigston and Mrs. Pott merely echo Mr.
Waite. Thus everything that has been published hitherto consists in the
repetition of Rosicrucian legends or in unsubstantiated theorizings on
their doctrines. What we need are facts. We want to know who were the
early Rosicrucians, when the Fraternity originated, and what were its
real aims. These researches must be made, not by an occultist weaving
his own theories into the subject, but by a historian free from any
prejudices for or against the Order, capable of weighing evidence and
bringing a judicial mind to bear on the material to be found in the
libraries of the Continent--notably the Bibliothèque de l'Arsenal in
Paris. Such a work would be a valuable contribution to the history of
secret societies in our country.

But if the Continental Brethren of the Rose-Croix form but a shadowy
group of "Invisibles" whose identity yet remains a mystery, the English
adepts of the Order stand forth in the light of day as, philosophers
well known to their age and country. That Francis Bacon was initiated
into Rosicrucianism is now recognized by Freemasons, but a more definite
link with the Rosicrucians of the Continent was Robert Fludd, who after
travelling for six years in France, Germany, Italy, and Spain--where he
formed connexions with Jewish Cabalists[264]--was visited by the German
Jew Rosicrucian Michel Maier--doctor to the Emperor Rudolf--by whom he
appears to have been initiated into further mysteries.

In 1616 Fludd published his _Tractatus Apologeticus_, defending the
Rosicrucians against the charges of "detestable magic and diabolical
superstition" brought against them by Libavius. Twelve years later Fludd
was attacked by Father Mersenne, to whom a reply was made "by Fludd or a
friend of Fludd's" containing a further defence of the Order. "The
Book," says Mr. Waite, "treats of the noble art of magic, the foundation
and nature of the Cabala, the essence of veritable alchemy, and of the
Causa Fratrum Rosae Crucis. It identifies the palace or home of the
Rosicrucians with the Scriptural House of Wisdom."

In further works by English writers the Eastern origin of the Fraternity
is insisted on. Thus Thomas Vaughan, known as Eugenius Philalethes,
writing in praise of the Rosicrucians in 1652, says that "their
knowledge at first was not purchased by their own disquisitions, for
they received it from the Arabians, amongst whom it remained as the
monument and legacy of the Children of the East. Nor is this at all
improbable, for the Eastern countries have been always famous for
magical and secret societies."

Another apologist of the Rosicrucians, John Heydon, who travelled in
Egypt, Persia, and Arabia, is described by a contemporary as having been
in "many strange places among the Rosie Crucians and at their castles,
holy houses, temples, sepulchres, sacrifices." Heydon himself, whilst
declaring that he is not a Rosicrucian, says that he knows members of
the Fraternity and its secrets, that they are sons of Moses, and that
"this Rosie Crucian Physick or Medicine, I happily and unexpectedly
alight upon in Arabia." These references to castles, temples,
sacrifices, encountered in Egypt, Persia, and Arabia inevitably recall
memories of both Templars and Ismailis. Is there no connexion between
"the Invisible Mountains of the Brethren" referred to elsewhere by
Heydon and the Mountains of the Assassins and the Freemasons? between
the Scriptural "House of Wisdom" and the Dar-ul-Hikmat or Grand Lodge of
Cairo, the model for Western masonic lodges?

It is as the precursors of the crisis which arose in 1717 that the
English Rosicrucians of the seventeenth century are of supreme
importance. No longer need we concern ourselves with shadowy Brethren
laying dubious claim to supernatural wisdom, but with a concrete
association of professed Initiates proclaiming their existence to the
world under the name of Freemasonry.




5

ORIGINS OF FREEMASONRY




"The origin of Freemasonry," says a masonic writer of the eighteenth
century, "is known to Freemasons alone."[
265] If this was once the
case, it is so no longer, for, although the question would certainly
appear to be one on which the initiated should be most qualified to
speak, the fact is that no official theory on the origin of Freemasonry
exists; the great mass of the Freemasons do _not_ know or care to know
anything about the history of their Order, whilst Masonic authorities
are entirely disagreed on the matter. Dr. Mackey admits that "the origin
and source whence first sprang the institution of Freemasonry has given
rise to more difference of opinion and discussion among masonic scholars
than any other topic in the literature of the institution."[266] Nor is
this ignorance maintained merely in books for the general public, since
in those specially addressed to the Craft and at discussions in lodges
the same diversity of opinion prevails, and no decisive conclusions
appear to be reached. Thus Mr. Albert Churchward, a Freemason of the
thirtieth degree, who deplores the small amount of interest taken in
this matter by Masons in general, observes:

Hitherto there have been so many contradictory opinions and theories in
the attempt to supply the origin and the reason whence, where, and why
the Brotherhood of Freemasonry came into existence, and all the
"different parts" and various rituals of the "different degrees." All
that has been written on this has hitherto been _theories_, without any
facts for their fundation.[267]

In the absence, therefore, of any origin universally recognized by the
Craft, it is surely open to the lay mind to speculate on the matter and
to draw conclusions from history as to which of the many explanations
put forward seems to supply the key to the mystery.

According to the _Royal Masonic Cyclopædia_, no less than twelve
theories have been advanced as to the origins of the Order, namely, that
Masonry derived:

"(1) From the patriarchs. (2) From the mysteries of the pagans. (3) From
the construction of Solomon's Temple, (4) From the Crusades. (5) From
the Knights Templar. (6) From the Roman Collegia of Artificers. (7) From
the operative masons of the Middle Ages. (8) From the Rosicrucians of
the sixteenth century. (9) From Oliver Cromwell. (10) From Prince
Charles Stuart for political purposes. (11) From Sir Christopher Wren,
at the building of St. Paul's. (12) From Dr. Desaguliers and his friends
in 1717."

This enumeration is, however, misleading, for it implies that in _one_
of these various theories the true origin of Freemasonry may be found.
In reality modern Freemasonry is a dual system, a blend of two distinct
traditions--of operative masonry, that is to say the actual art of
building, and of speculative theory on the great truths of life and
death. As a well-known Freemason, the Count Goblet d'Alviella, has
expressed it: "Speculative Masonry" (that is to say, the dual system we
now know as Freemasonry) "is the legitimate offspring of a fruitful
union between the professional guild of mediæval Masons and of a secret
group of philosophical Adepts, the first having furnished the form and
the second the spirit."[268] In studying the origins of the present
system we have therefore (1) to examine separately the history of each
of these two traditions, and (2) to discover their point of junction.



Operative Masonry


Beginning with the first of these two traditions, we find that guilds of
working masons existed in very ancient times. Without going back as far
as ancient Egypt or Greece, which would be beyond the scope of the
present work, the course of these associations may be traced throughout
the history of Western Europe from the beginning of the Christian era.
According to certain masonic writers, the Druids originally came from
Egypt and brought with them traditions relating to the art of building.
The _Culdees_, who later on established schools and colleges in this
country for the teaching of arts, sciences, and handicrafts, are said
to have derived from the Druids.

But a more probable source of inspiration in the art of building are the
Romans, who established the famous collegia of architects referred to in
the list of alternative theories given in the _Masonic Cyclopædia_.
Advocates of the Roman Collegia origin of Freemasonry might be right as
far as operative masonry is concerned, for it is to the period following
on the Roman occupation of Britain that our masonic guilds can with the
greatest degree of certainty be traced. Owing to the importance the art
of building now acquired it is said that many distinguished men, such as
St. Alban, King Alfred, King Edwin, and King Athelstan, were numbered
amongst its patrons,[269] so that in time the guilds came to occupy the
position of privileged bodies and were known as "free corporations";
further that York was the first masonic centre in England, largely under
the control of the Culdees, who at the same period exercised much
influence over the Masonic Collegia in Scotland, at Kilwinning, Melrose,
and Aberdeen.[270]

But it must be remembered that all this is speculation. No documentary
evidence has ever been produced to prove the existence of masonic guilds
before the famous York charter of A.D. 936, and even the date of this
document is doubtful. Only with the period of Gothic architecture do we
reach firm ground. That guilds of working masons known in France as
"Compagnonnages" and in Germany as "Steinmetzen" did then form close
corporations and possibly possess secrets connected with their
profession is more than probable. That, in consequence of their skill in
building the magnificent cathedrals of this period, they now came to
occupy a privileged position seems fairly certain.

The Abbé Grandidier, writing from Strasbourg in 1778, traces the whole
system of Freemasonry from these German guilds: "This much-vaunted
Society of Freemasons is nothing but a servile imitation of an ancient
and useful _confrèrie_ of real masons whose headquarters was formerly at
Strasbourg and of which the constitution was confirmed by the Emperor
Maximilian in 1498."[271]

As far as it is possible to discover from the scanty documentary
evidence the fourteenth, fifteenth, and sixteenth centuries provide,
the same privileges appear to have been accorded to the guilds of
working masons in England and Scotland, which, although presided over by
powerful nobles and apparently on occasion admitting members from
outside the Craft, remained essentially operative bodies. Nevertheless
we find the assemblies of Masons suppressed by Act of Parliament in the
beginning of the reign of Henry VI, and later on an armed force sent by
Queen Elizabeth to break up the Annual Grand Lodge at York. It is
possible that the fraternity merely by the secrecy with which it was
surrounded excited the suspicions of authority, for nothing could be
more law-abiding than its published statutes. Masons were to be "true
men to God and the Holy Church," also to the masters that they served.
They were to be honest in their manner of life and "to do no villainy
whereby the Craft or the Science may be slandered."[272]

Yet the seventeenth-century writer Plot, in his _Natural History of
Staffordshire_, expresses some suspicion with regard to the secrets of
Freemasonry. That these could not be merely trade secrets relating to
the art of building, but that already some speculative element had been
introduced to the lodges, seems the more probable from the fact that by
the middle of the seventeenth century not only noble patrons headed the
Craft, but ordinary gentlemen entirely unconnected with building were
received into the fraternity. The well-known entry in the diary of Elias
Ashmole under the date of October 16, 1646, clearly proves this fact: "I
was made a Freemason at Warrington in Lancashire with Col. Henry
Mainwaring of Karticham [?] in Cheshire. The names of those that were
then of the Lodge, Mr. Rich. Penket, Warden, Mr. James Collier, Mr.
Rich. Sankey, Henry Littler, John Ellam, Rich. Ellam and Hugh Brewer."[273]
"It is now ascertained," says Yarker, "that the majority of the
members present were not operative masons."[274]

Again, in 1682 Ashmole relates that he attended a meeting held at Mason
Hall in London, where with a number of other gentlemen he was admitted
into "the Fellowship of the Freemasons," that is to say, into the second
degree. We have then clear proof that already in the seventeenth century
Freemasonry had ceased to be an association composed exclusively of men
concerned with building, although eminent architects ranked high in the
Order; Inigo Jones is said to have been Grand Master under James I, and
Sir Christopher Wren to have occupied the same position from about 1685
to 1702. But it was not until 1703 that the Lodge of St. Paul in London
officially announced "that the privileges of Masonry should no longer be
restricted to operative Masons, but extended to men of various
professions, provided they were regularly approved and initiated into
the Order."[275]

This was followed in 1717 by the great _coup d'état_ when Grand Lodge
was founded, and Speculative Masonry, which we now know as Freemasonry,
was established on a settled basis with a ritual, rules, and
constitution drawn up in due form. It is at this important date that the
official history of Freemasonry begins.

But before pursuing the course of the Order through what is known as the
"Grand Lodge Era," it is necessary to go back and enquire into the
origins of the philosophy that was now combined with the system of
operative masonry. This is the point on which opinions are divided and
to which the various theories summarized in the _Masonic Cyclopcædia_
relate. Let us examine each of these in turn.



Speculative Masonry


According to certain sceptics concerning the mysteries of Freemasonry,
the system inaugurated in 1717 had no existence before that date, but
"was devised, promulgated, and palmed upon the world by Dr. Desaguliers,
Dr. Anderson, and others, who then founded the Grand Lodge of England."
Mr. Paton, in an admirable little pamphlet,[276] has shown the futility
of this contention and also the injustice of representing the founders
of Grand Lodge as perpetrating so gross a deception.

This 1717 theory ascribes to men of the highest character the
invention of a system of mere imposture..
.. It was brought forward
with pretensions which its framers knew to be false pretensions of
high antiquity; whereas ... it had newly been invented in their
studies. Is this likely? Or is it reasonable to ascribe such
conduct to honourable men, without even assigning a probable motive
for it?

We have indeed only to study masonic ritual--which is open to everyone
to read--in order to arrive at the same conclusion, that there could be
no motive for this imposture, and further that these two clergymen
cannot be supposed to have evolved the whole thing out of their heads.
Obviously some movement of a kindred nature must have led up to this
crisis. And since Elias Ashmole's diary clearly proves that a ceremony
of masonic initiation had existed in the preceding century, it is surely
only reasonable to conclude that Drs. Anderson and Desaguliers revised
but did not originate the ritual and constitutions drawn up by them.

Now, although the ritual of Freemasonry is couched in modern and by no
means classical English, the ideas running through it certainly bear
traces of extreme antiquity. The central idea of Freemasonry concerning
a loss which has befallen man and the hope of its ultimate recovery is
in fact no other than the ancient secret tradition described in the
first chapter of this book. Certain masonic writers indeed ascribe to
Freemasonry precisely the same genealogy as that of the early Cabala,
declaring that it descended from Adam and the first patriarchs of the
human race, and thence through groups of Wise Men amongst the Egyptians,
Chaldeans, Persians, and Greeks.[277] Mr. Albert Churchward insists
particularly on the Egyptian origin of the speculative element in
Freemasonry: "Brother Gould and other Freemasons will never understand
the meaning and origin of our sacred tenets till they have studied and
unlocked the mysteries of the past." This study will then reveal the
fact that "the Druids, the Gymnosophists of India, the Magi of Persia,
and the Chaldeans of Assyria had all the same religious rites and
ceremonies as practised by their priests who were initiated to their
Order, and that these were solemnly sworn to keep the doctrines a
profound secret from the rest of mankind. All these flowed from one
source--Egypt."[278]

Mr. Churchward further quotes the speech of the Rev. Dr. William Dodd at
the opening of a masonic temple in 1794, who traced Freemasonry from
"the first astronomers on the plains of Chaldea, the wise and mystic
kings and priests of Egypt, the sages of Greece and philosophers of
Rome," etc.[279]

But how did these traditions descend to the masons of the West?
According to a large body of masonic opinion in this country which
recognizes only a single source of inspiration to the system we now know
as Freemasonry, the speculative as well as the operative traditions of
the Order descended from the building guilds and were imported to
England by means of the Roman Collegia. Mr. Churchward, however,
strongly dissents from this view:

In the new and revised edition of the Perfect Ceremonies, according
to our E. working, a theory is given that Freemasonry originated
from certain guilds of workmen which are well known in history as
the "Roman College of Artificers." There is no foundation of fact
for such a theory. Freemasonry is now, and always was, an
Eschatology, as may be proved by the whole of our signs, symbols,
and words, and our rituals.[280]

But what Mr. Churchward fails to explain is how this eschatology reached
the working masons; moreover why, if as he asserts, it derived from
Egypt, Assyria, India, and Persia, Freemasonry no longer bears the stamp
of these countries. For although vestiges of Sabeism may be found in the
decoration of the lodges, and brief references to the mysteries of Egypt
and Phoenicia, to the secret teaching of Pythagoras, to Euclid, and to
Plato in the Ritual and instructions of the Craft degrees--nevertheless
the form in which the ancient tradition is clothed, the phraseology and
pass-words employed, are neither Egyptian, Chaldean, Greek, nor Persian,
but Judaic. Thus although some portion of the ancient secret tradition
may have penetrated to Great Britain through the Druids or the
Romans--versed in the lore of Greece and Egypt--another channel for its
introduction was clearly the Cabala of the Jews. Certain masonic writers
recognize this double tradition, the one descending from Egypt, Chaldea,
and Greece, the other from the Israelites, and assert that it is from
the latter source their system is derived.[281] For after tracing its
origin from Adam, Noah, Enoch, and Abraham, they proceed to show its
line of descent through Moses, David, and Solomon[282]--descent from
Solomon is in fact officially recognized by the Craft and forms a part
of the instructions to candidates for initiation into the first degree.
But, as we have already seen, this is the precise genealogy attributed
to the Cabala by the Jews. Moreover, modern Freemasonry is entirely
built up on the Solomonic, or rather the Hiramic legend. For the sake of
readers unfamiliar with the ritual of Freemasonry a brief _résumé_ of
this "Grand Legend" must be given here.

Solomon, when building the Temple, employed the services of a certain
artificer in brass, named Hiram, the son of a widow of the tribe of
Naphthali, who was sent to him by Hiram, King of Tyre. So much we know
from the Book of Kings, but the masonic legend goes on to relate that
Hiram, the widow's son, referred to as Hiram Abiff, and described as the
master-builder, met with an untimely end. For the purpose of preserving
order the masons working on the Temple were divided into three classes,
Entered Apprentices, Fellow Crafts, and Master Masons, the first two
distinguished by different pass-words and grips and paid at different
rates of wages, the last consisting only of three persons--Solomon
himself, Hiram King of Tyre, who had provided him with wood and precious
stones and Hiram Abiff. Now, before the completion of the Temple fifteen
of the Fellow Crafts conspired together to find out the secrets of the
Master Masons and resolved to waylay Hiram Abiff at the door of the
Temple.

At the last moment twelve of the fifteen drew back, but the remaining
three carried out the fell design, and after threatening Hiram in vain
in order to obtain the secrets, killed him with three blows on the head,
delivered by each in turn. They then conveyed the body away and buried
it on Mount Moriah in Jerusalem. Solomon, informed of the disappearance
of the master-builder, sent out fifteen Fellow Crafts to seek for him;
five of these, having arrived at the mountain, noticed a place where the
earth had been disturbed and there discovered the body of Hiram. Leaving
a branch of acacia to mark the spot, they returned with their story to
Solomon, who ordered them to go and exhume the body--an order that was
immediately carried out.

The murder and exhumation, or "raising," of Hiram, accompanied by
extraordinary lamentations, form the climax of Craft Masonry; and when
it is remembered that in all probability no such, tragedy ever took
place, that possibly no one known as Hiram Abiff ever existed,[283] the
whole story can only be regarded as the survival of some ancient cult
relating not to an actual event, but to an esoteric doctrine. A legend
and a ceremony of this kind is indeed to be found in many earlier
mythologies; the story of the murder of Hiram had been foreshadowed by
the Egyptian legend of the murder of Osiris and the quest for his body
by Isis, whilst the lamentations around the tomb of Hiram had a
counterpart in the mourning ceremonies for Osiris and Adonis--both, like
Hiram, subsequently "raised"--and later on in that which took place
around the catafalque of Manes, who, like Hiram, was barbarously put to
death and is said to have been known to the Manicheans as "the son of
the widow." But in the form given to it by Freemasonry the legend is
purely Judaic, and would therefore appear to have derived from the
Judaic version of the ancient tradition. The pillars of the Temple,
Jachin and Boaz, which play so important a part in Craft Masonry, are
symbols which occur in the Jewish Cabala, where they are described as
two of the ten Sephiroths.[284] A writer of the eighteenth century,
referring to "fyve curiosities" he has discovered in Scotland, describes
one as--

The Mason word, which tho' some make a Misterie of it, I will not
conceal a little of what I know. It is lyke a Rabbinical Tradition
in way of Comment on Jachin and Boaz, the Two Pillars erected in
Solomon's Temple with ane Addition delyvered from Hand to Hand, by
which they know and become familiar one with another.[285]

This is precisely the system by which the Cabala was handed down amongst
the Jews. The _Jewish Encyclopædia_ lends colour to the theory of
Cabalistic transmission by suggesting that the story of Hiram "may
possibly trace back to the Rabbinic legend concerning the Temple of
Solomon," that "while all the workmen were killed so that they should
not build another temple devoted to idolatry, Hiram himself was raised
to Heaven like Enoch."[286]

How did this Rabbinic legend find its way into Freemasonry? Advocates of
the Roman Collegia theory explain it in the following manner.

After the building of the Temple of Solomon the masons who had been
engaged in the work were dispersed and a number made their way to
Europe, some to Marseilles, some perhaps to Rome, where they may have
introduced Judaic legends to the Collegia, which then passed on to the
Comacini Masters of the seventh century and from these to the mediæval
working guilds of England, France, and Germany. It is said that during
the Middle Ages a story concerning the Temple of Solomon was current
amongst the _compagnonnages_ of France. In one of these groups, known as
"the children of Solomon," the legend of Hiram appears to have existed
much in its present form; according to another group the victim of the
murder was not Hiram Abiff, but one of his companions named Maître
Jacques, who, whilst engaged with Hiram on the construction of the
Temple, met his death at the hands of five wicked Fellow Crafts,
instigated by a sixth, the Père Soubise.[287]

But the date at which this legend originated is unknown. Clavel thinks
that the "Hebraic mysteries" existed as early as the Roman Collegia,
which he describes as largely Judaized[288]; Yarker expresses precisely
the opposite view: "It is not so difficult to connect Freemasonry with
the Collegia; the difficulty lies in attributing Jewish traditions to
the Collegia, and we say on the evidence of the oldest charges that such
traditions had no existence in Saxon times."[289] Again: "So far as
this country is concerned, we know nothing from documents of a Masonry
dating from Solomon's Temple until after the Crusades, when the
constitution believed to have been sanctioned by King Athelstan
gradually underwent a change."[290] In a discussion which took place
recently at the Quatuor Coronati Lodge the Hiramic legend could only be
traced back--and then without absolute certainty--to the fourteenth
century, which would coincide with the date indicated by Yarker.[291]

Up to this period the lore of the masonic guilds appears to have
contained only the exoteric doctrines of Egypt and Greece--which may
have reached them through the Roman Collegia, whilst the traditions of
Masonry are traced from Adam, Jabal, Tubal Cain, from Nimrod and the
Tower of Babel, with Hermes and Pythagoras as their more immediate
progenitors.[292] These doctrines were evidently in the main geometrical
or technical, and in no sense Cabalistic. There is therefore some
justification for Eckert's statement that "the Judeo-Christian mysteries
were not yet introduced into the masonic corporations; nowhere can we
find the least trace of them. Nowhere do we find any classification, not
even that of masters, fellow-crafts, and apprentices. We observe no
symbol of the Temple of Solomon; all their symbolism relates to masonic
labours and to a few philosophical maxims of morality."[293] The date
at which Eckert, like Yarker, places the introduction of these Judaic
elements is the time of the Crusades.

But whilst recognizing that modern Craft Masonry is largely founded on
the Cabala, it is necessary to distinguish between the different
Cabalas. For by this date no less than three Cabalas appear to have
existed: firstly, the ancient secret tradition of the patriarchs handed
down from the Egyptians through the Greeks and Romans, and possibly
through the Roman Collegia to the Craft Masons of Britain; secondly, the
Jewish version of this tradition, the first Cabala of the Jews, in no
way incompatible with Christianity, descending from Moses, David and
Solomon to the Essenes and the more enlightened Jews; and thirdly, the
perverted Cabala, mingled by the Rabbis with magic, barbaric
superstitions, and--after the death of Christ--with anti-Christian
legends.

Whatever Cabalistic elements were introduced into Craft Masonry at the
time of the Crusades appear to have belonged to the second of these
traditions, the unperverted Cabala of the Jews, known to the Essenes.
There are, in fact, striking resemblances betwen Freemasonry and
Essenism--degrees of initiation, oaths of secrecy, the wearing of the
apron, and a certain masonic sign; whilst to the Sabeist traditions of
the Essenes may perhaps be traced the solar and stellar symbolism of the
lodges.[294] The Hiramic legend may have belonged to the same tradition.



The Templar Tradition


If then no documentary evidence can be brought forward to show that
either the Solomonic legend or any traces of Judaic symbolism and
traditions existed either in the monuments of the period or in the
ritual of the masons before the fourteenth century, it is surely
reasonable to recognize the plausibility of the contention put forward
by a great number of masonic writers--particularly on the
Continent--that the Judaic elements penetrated into Masonry by means of
the Templars.[295] The Templars, as we have already seen, had taken
their name from the Temple of Solomon in Jerusalem. What then more
likely than that during the time they had lived there they had learnt
the Rabbinical legends connected with the Temple? According to George
Sand, who was deeply versed in the history of secret societies, the
Hiramic legend was adopted by the Templars as symbolic of the
destruction of their Order. "They wept over their impotence in the
person of Hiram. The word lost and recovered is their empire...."[296]
The Freemason Ragon likewise declares that the catastrophe they lamented
was the catastrophe that destroyed their Order.[297] Further, the Grand
Master whose fate they deplored was Jacques du Molay. Here then we have
two bodies in France at the same period, the Templars and the
_compagnonnages_, both possessing a legend concerning the Temple of
Solomon and both mourning a Maître Jacques who had been barbarously put
to death. If we accept the possibility that the Hiramic legend existed
amongst the masons before the Crusades, how are we to explain this
extraordinary coincidence? It is certainly easier to believe that the
Judaic traditions were introduced to the masons by the Templars and
grafted on to the ancient lore that the masonic guilds had inherited
from the Roman Collegia.

That some connexion existed between the Templars and the working masons
is indicated by the new influence that entered into building at this
period. A modern Freemason comparing "the beautifully designed and
deep-cut marks of the true Gothic period, say circa 1150-1350," with
"the careless and roughly executed marks, many of them mere scratches,
of later periods," points out that "the Knights Templars rose and fell
with that wonderful development of architecture." The same writer goes
on to show that some of the most important masonic symbols, the
equilateral triangle and the Mason's square surmounting two pillars,
came through from Gothic times.[298] Yarker asserts that the level, the
flaming star, and the Tau cross which have since passed into the
symbolism of Freemasonry may be traced to the Knights Templar, as also
the five-pointed star in Salisbury Cathedral, the double triangle in
Westminster Abbey, Jachin and Boaz, the circle and the pentagon in the
masonry of the fourteenth century. Yarker cites later, in 1556, the eye
and crescent moon, the three stars and the ladder of five steps, as
further evidences of Templar influence.[299] "The Templars were large
builders, and Jacques du Molay alleged the zeal of his Order in
decorating churches in the process against him in 1310; hence the
alleged connexion of Templary and Freemasonry is bound to have a
substratum of truth."[300]

Moreover, according to a masonic tradition, an alliance definitely took
place between the Templars and the masonic guilds at this period. During
the proceedings taken against the Order of the Temple in France it is
said that Pierre d'Aumont and seven other Knights escaped to Scotland in
the guise of working masons and landed in the Island of Mull. On St.
John's Day, 1307, they held their first chapter. Robert Bruce then took
them under his protection, and seven years later they fought under his
standard at Bannockburn against Edward II, who had suppressed their
Order in England. After this battle, which took place on St. John the
Baptist's Day in summer (June 24), Robert Bruce is said to have
instituted the Royal Order of H.R.M. (Heredom) and Knights of the
R.S.Y.C.S. (Rosy Cross).[301] These two degrees now constitute the Royal
Order of Scotland, and it seems not improbable that in reality they were
brought to Scotland by the Templars. Thus, according to one of the early
writers on Freemasonry, the degree of the Rose-Croix originated with the
Templars in Palestine as early as 1188[302]; whilst the Eastern origin
of the word Heredom, supposed to derive from a mythical mountain on an
island south of the Hebrides[303] where the Culdees practised their
rites, is indicated by another eighteenth-century writer, who traces it
to a Jewish source.[304] In this same year of 1314 Robert Bruce is said
to have united the Templars and the Royal Order of H.R.M. with the
guilds of working masons, who had also fought in his army, at the famous
Lodge of Kilwinning, founded in 1286,[305] which now added to its name
that of Heredom and became the chief seat of the Order.[306] Scotland
was essentially a home of operative masonry, and, in view of the
Templar's prowess in the art of building, what more natural than that
the two bodies should enter into an alliance? Already in England the
Temple is said between 1155 and 1199 to have administered the
Craft.[307] It is thus at Heredom of Kilwinning, "the Holy House of
Masonry"--"Mother Kilwinning," as it is still known to Freemasons--that
a speculative element of a fresh kind may have found its way into the
lodges. Is it not here, then, that we may see that "fruitful union
between the professional guild of mediæval masons and a secret group of
philosophical Adepts" alluded to by Count Goblet d'Aviella and described
by Mr. Waite in the following words:

The mystery of the building guilds--whatever it may be held to have
been--was that of a simple, unpolished, pious, and utilitarian
device; and this daughter of Nature, in the absence of all
intention on her own part, underwent, or was coerced into one of
the strangest marriages which has been celebrated in occult
history. It so happened that her particular form and figure lent
itself to such a union, etc.[308]?

Mr. Waite with his usual vagueness does not explain when and where this
marriage took place, but the account would certainly apply to the
alliance between the Templars and Scottish guilds of working masons,
which, as we have seen, is admitted by masonic authorities, and presents
exactly the conditions described, the Templars being peculiarly fitted
by their initiation into the legend concerning the building of the
Temple of Solomon to co-operate with the masons, and the masons being
prepared by their partial initiation into ancient mysteries to receive
the fresh influx of Eastern tradition from the Templars.

A further indication of the Templar influence in Craft Masonry is the
system of degrees and initiations. The names of Entered Apprentice,
Fellow Craft, and Master Mason are said to have derived from
Scotland,[309] and the analogy between these and the degrees of the
Assassins has already been shown. Indeed, the resemblance between the
outer organization of Freemasonry and the system of the Ismailis is
shown by many writers. Thus Dr. Bussell observes: "No doubt together
with some knowledge of geometry regarded as an esoteric trade secret,
many symbols to-day current did pass down from very primitive times. But
a more certain model was the Grand Lodge of the Ismailis in Cairo"--that
is to say the Dar-ul-Hikmat.[310] Syed Ameer Ali also expresses the
opinion that "Makrisi's account of the different degrees of initiation
adopted in this lodge forms an invaluable record of Freemasonry. In
fact, the lodge at Cairo became the model of all the Lodges created
afterwards in Christendom."[311] Mr. Bernard Springett, a Freemason,
quoting this passage, adds: "In this last assertion I am myself greatly
in agreement."[312]

It is surely therefore legitimate to surmise that this system penetrated
to Craft Masonry through the Templars, whose connexion with the
Assassins--offshoot of the Dar-ul-Hikmat--was a matter of common
knowledge.

The question of the Templar succession in Freemasonry forms perhaps the
most controversial point in the whole history of the Roman Collegia
theory, Continental Masons more generally accepting it, and even
glorying in it.[313] Mackey, in his _Lexicon of Freemasonry_, thus sums
up the matter:

The connexion between the Knights Templar and the Freemasons has
been repeatedly asserted by the enemies of both institutions, and
has often been admitted by their friends. Lawrie, on this subject,
holds the following language: "We know that the Knights Templar not
only possessed the mysteries but performed the ceremonies and
inculcated the duties of Freemasons," and he attributes the
dissolution of the Order to the discovery of their being Freemasons
and their assembling in secret to practise the rites of the
Order.[314]

This explains why Freemasons have always shown indulgence to the
Templars.


It was above all Freemasonry [says Findel], which--because it
falsely held itself to be a daughter of Templarism--took the
greatest pains to represent the Order of the Templars as innocent
and therefore free from all mystery. For this purpose not only
legends and unhistorical facts were brought forward, but
manoeuvres were also resorted to in order to suppress the truth.
The masonic reverers of the Temple Order bought up the whole
edition of the _Actes du Procès_ of Moldenhawer, because this
showed the guilt of the Order; only a few copies reached the
booksellers.... Already several decades before ... the Freemasons
in their unhistorical efforts had been guilty of real forgery.
Dupuy had published his _History of the Trial of the Templars_ as
early as 1654 in Paris, for which he had made use of the original
of the _Actes du Procès_, according to which the guilt of the Order
leaves no room for doubt.... But when in the middle of the
eighteenth century several branches of Freemasonry wished to recall
the Templar Order into being, the work of Dupuy was naturally very
displeasing. It had already been current amongst the public for a
hundred years, so it could no longer be bought; therefore they
falsified it.[315]

Accordingly in 1751 a reprint of Dupuy's work appeared with the addition
of a number of notes and remarks and mutilated in such a way as to prove
not the guilt but the innocence of the Templars.

Now, although British Masonry has played no part in these intrigues, the
question of the Templar succession has been very inadequately dealt with
by the masonic writers of our country. As a rule they have adopted one
of two courses--either they have persistently denied connexion with the
Templars or they have represented them as a blameless and cruelly
maligned Order. But in reality neither of these expedients is necessary
to save the honour of British Masonry, for not even the bitterest enemy
of Masonry has ever suggested that British masons have adopted any
portion of the Templar heresy. The Knights who fled to Scotland may have
been perfectly innocent of the charges brought against their Order;
indeed, there is good reason to believe this was the case. Thus the
_Manuel des Chevaliers de l'Ordre du Temple_ relates the incident in the
following manner:

After the death of Jacques du Molay, some Scottish Templars having
become apostates, at the instigation of Robert Bruce ranged
themselves under the banners of a new Order[316] instituted by this
prince and in which the receptions were based on those of the Order
of the Temple. It is there that we must seek the origin of Scottish
Masonry and even that of the other masonic rites. The Scottish
Templars were excommunicated in 1324 by Larmenius, who declared
them to be _Templi desertores_ and the Knights of St. John of
Jerusalem, _Dominiorum Militiæ spoliatores_, placed for ever
outside the pale of the Temple: _Extra girum Templi, nunc et in
futurum, volo, dico et jubeo._ A similar anathema has since been
launched by several Grand Masters against Templars who were
rebellious to legitimate authority. From the schism that was
introduced into Scotland a number of sects took birth.[317]

This account forms a complete exoneration of the Scottish Templars; as
apostates from the bogus Christian Church and the doctrines of Johannism
they showed themselves loyal to the true Church and to the Christian
faith as formulated in the published statutes of their Order. What they
appear, then, to have introduced to Masonry was their manner of
reception, that is to say their outer forms and organization, and
possibly certain Eastern esoteric doctrines and Judaic legends
concerning the building of the Temple of Solomon in no way incompatible
with the teaching of Christianity.

It will be noticed, moreover, that in the ban passed by the _Ordre du
Temple_ on the Scottish Templars the Knights of St. John of Jerusalem
are also included. This is a further tribute to the orthodoxy of the
Scottish Knights. For to the Knights of St. John of Jerusalem--to whom
the Templar property was given--no suspicion of heresy had ever
attached. After the suppression of the Order of the Temple in 1312 a
number of the Knights joined themselves to the Knights of St. John of
Jerusalem, by whom the Templar system appears to have been purged of its
heretical elements. As we shall see later, the same process is said to
have been carried out by the Royal Order of Scotland, All this suggests
that the Templars had imported a secret doctrine from the East which was
capable either of a Christian or an anti-Christian interpretation, that
through their connexion with the Royal Order of Scotland and the Knights
of St. John of Jerusalem this Christian interpretation was preserved,
and finally that it was this pure doctrine which passed into
Freemasonry. According to early masonic authorities, the adoption of the
two St. Johns as the patron saints of Masonry arose, not from Johannism,
but from the alliance between the Templars and the Knights of St. John
of Jerusalem.[318]

It is important to remember that the theory of the Templar connexion
with Freemasonry was held by the Continental Freemasons of the
eighteenth century,
who, living at the time the Order was reconstituted
on its present basis, were clearly in a better position to know its
origins than we who are separated from that date by a distance of two
hundred years. But since their testimony first comes to light at the
period of the upper degrees, in which the Templar influence is more
clearly visible than in Craft Masonry, it must be reserved for a later
chapter. Before passing on to this further stage in the history of the
Craft, it is necessary to consider

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