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by Frank C. Higgins, F. R. N. S.
The American Freemason - December 1912

In his facetious search for a "Brand New Theory of Masonic Origins" in last February's AMERICAN FREEMASON, the Editor "found all countries and nations of antiquity preempted. Paradise, the Garden of Eden, Egypt, India, Ancient Britain and prehistoric America had been exploited, while Gymnosophists, Buddhists, Thibetan Lamas, Chinamen, Mayas, Incas, Benedictine Monks and Jesuit Fathers had been laid under contribution, and each heralded in turn as responsible for the beginnings of Masonry. 

The writer is but too familiar with the resources of Masonic bibliography not to feel sympathetically akin to the shepherd lad "with his sling and five small stones from a brook," who sallied forth to meet the giant Philistine; but like David of old he does not despair of returning with the head of the giant problem which will never cease to puzzle humanity until it is adequately worked out. 

The purpose of this paper is less to enter point blank upon the labyrinthine paths of solution than to define the exact character of the "riddle of the ages" and hazard a theory of how it may or can, - yes, has been solved. 

The growing body of students of comparative religion, who term themselves "Theosophists," have a precisely similar difficulty to cope with, and as among interested Masonic students, hundreds are at work endeavouring to localize and historicize principles which are ever elusive, because the truth concerning them is that they are everywhere manifest and have been so during all time. The beginning of Masonry cannot he found, for the precise reason that "before Abraham was, Masonry is." 

That which Masonry searches, that which Theosophy searches, that which dogmatic religion fears to search, or rather fears the discovery of, is one and the selfsame thing. Theosophy, for want of a better term, calls it the "Ancient Wisdom," and is in a measure right, but not even Theosophy has fully grasped the specific identity of the lost science of the Logos. 

And yet, Theosophy is full of it, Masonry is full of it and the religions of the world are full of it; full of its fragments, its unidentified debris, its mutilated fractions, scattered like those of Osiris upon the waves. 

"Paradise" and Noah's Ark are indeed part of it and the Creation epic of Hawaii is but an echo of that of Babylon. 

There is a LAW, so simple in itself and in its applications that the veriest child may be made to comprehend its lessons, by which the Universe unfolds like a plant from within the germ heart of its seed, and to man exhibits, as though upon an unrolled scroll, all those marvellous philosophies which have conferred immortality upon the Sages of Hellas and the Orient. 

This LAW reveals at once the nature of our Creator; enough of the bent of His infinite mind for us to be assured that our own finite natures are truly reflexes of the Divine prototype, so that the assurance that "God made man in His own image" ceases to be but pointless babble. 

It reveals, by the minute and incontrovertible testimonies which it gives to that effect, that all of the historical mythologies and religious philosophies which the world has ever harboured were originally designed as exoteric, recordable veils for esoteric, unrevealable, unrecordable FACTS, classed today as "Mysteries," not as unknowable but as unknown. 

The "keeping of this LAW," in the aspirational, emotional, sacrificial sense, even though it be today unidentified except as a vague longing of the human heart for a reality which is sensed rather than comprehended, is RELIGION. 

The knowledge of this LAW, the power to grasp and apply it, to consciously and knowingly work, hand in hand, with the G.A.O.T.U., to live in a close bond of union with an ever present Master, and realize that physical death is but loving initiation to a loftier degree, was once MASONRY. 

Religion was the promise, Masonry the pledge. 

That pledge exists to-day enshrined in every Lodge, for he who can penetrate behind the veil may read in every sign and symbol the story and the reason of his being. As beautiful and inspiring as is the Masonic ritual and as full of manifest heart-searching truth as it may be, it has been completely voided of its ancient science. Many of its monitorial injunctions, though full of benevolence and solicitude for the brother, are vapid and unhistoric or unscientific. It has become a species of religion also, to be taken on faith in statements which make no tax upon the understanding. 

Yet Masonry and Religion are children of the same divine parentage. Alike, each had its rise in a precise, God-communicated fund of practicable, ponderable fact. This is the reason for the universality of symbolisms. 

The salient features of the ancient Mysteries of various lands in which initiations were the requisites of practical worship, as differentiated from mere prayers, offerings and sacrifices in full light of day, have been ably handled by several generations of Masonic writers, but the nature of the superior information conveyed to the high initiate has not only eluded discovery, and in most cases no suspicion has been entertained by modern writers that there was any more to the ceremonies of the ancient Mysteries than a sort of super-heated Italian apprentisaggio, which taught the neophyte wholesome respect for the power of his order. 

It is upon this point that we base our dissent from the theory that the controversy anent Masonic origins be closed, because we are personally convinced that it has not even yet begun. 

In expectation of further light on this interesting topic, we may be permitted to hazard a few hints as to the direction from which it may be anticipated. 

There is not a symbol or article of furniture in the Lodge which has not a reason for its shape, size, number, (if plural) and presence, utterly outside of and transcending the monitorial explanation thereof, as a scientific demonstration of which the moral deduction gives no hint whatsoever. 

The higher the degree, the more this divergence becomes apparent, for while the symbolism becomes more expressive and claims to embody more subtle teachings, it fails to convey to initiates therein certain positive knowledge, the possession of which would raise them head and shoulders above the lewd of non-initiates, intellectually, without reference to the resonance of their titles or the size of their medals or jewels. 

This knowledge, which was the fruit of ancient initiations was not only positive, but practical. 

It would enable a single individual to give arts, letters and science to a race of nomad barbarians within the space of his own life-time, and the semi-myths of Hermes, Thoth, Cadmus, Oannes, Fo-Hi and others who are enshrined in the histories of ancient peoples as having actually done so, are but embodiments of the truth that it was of a superior manner of imparting practical knowledge and the impressing of such as the direct gift of God, made manifest as the giver entitled to the gratitude and claiming it, that initiation consisted.  

The universality of these "first civilizer" myths therefore direct our attention to the possibility of a teaching capable of transforming the poor, blind and ignorant, wherever found, into masters of the work of civilization and enlightenment by process of initiation, rather than education, although the one is the corollary of the other.  

To the universality of the "Teacher" myths must be added the universality of the majority of Masonic symbols, which as we have noted, are being pointed out under every sky as proof positive that whatever it was, which has since become Masonry, originated at that latitude and longitude. 

We have therefore to halt in our wild globe scurry after the site of the legendary Masonic "Garden of Eden" and realize that in pursuit of something of which we find the prehistoric traces EVERYWHERE, coupled with traditions of Divine origin, we may have to recast our notions and re-focus our binoculars upon some principle or set of correlated principles which express the same things to all peoples, times and places, because they are eternal verities and not mere toys. Now the astonishing part of it all is that Masonry possesses this marvellous treasure and do" not know it. 

"He came unto his own and they knew him not," applies with as great force to the pseudo Jew of the Lodge as to the racial Jew of be "promised land." 

The Masonic ritual of the civilized world bespeaks a line of descent more particularly from the Jewish deposit of the "Ancient Wisdom," than from, for example, the Chinese or the Aztec. 

Therefore we will probably not go far astray in tracing our ritualistic development along that historical line of racial progress. 

The history of the Jewish people is something widely apart from the trash taught with the avowed object of fastening the crime of the ages upon the heads of this people. 

Their historical contacts with Persia, Babylonia and Egypt during both Pharaohonic and Ptolemaic times and their contacts with Greek philosophy must be placed in the balance. 

We must not forget that the Old Testament of the Christian was translated not from the "Thorah," but from the copied "Pentateuch," a work which filled the orthodox Jewish world, at the time the original translation was made, with horror, because the Egyptian-Greek-Hebrew rabbis who made it injected therein the glyphs of the secret philosophy of the Sun-priests of Heliopolis, so that Kohaleth, son of David, surnamed "Shelomoh," "the Prince of Peace," became for all time Sol-Om-On, "The Sun, breathing life upon Heliopolis," and the fundamental principles of the Babylonian Kabbalah, or number philosophy of the ancient Magi, which the Thorah already embodied, applied to the construction of proper names, extended so as to make them conceal a sort of Baconian cipher of the "Wisdom of the Egyptians," a system which develops in excelsis in the subsequent construction of the "New Testament." 

That this cipher is a concealment of the true meanings of the symbols of the Masonic Lodge and the revelation of the LAW to which they bear witness, of its Divinity, of its globe-encircling universality, and of its eternal truth, it is the promise of the immediate future to make manifest.

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