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BONNEVILLE, NICOLAS DE.
BOOK OF CHARGES.
There seems, if we may judge from the references in the old records of Freemasonry, to have formerly existed a book under this title, containing the Charges of the Craft; equivalent, probably, to the Book of Constitutions. Thus, the Matthew Cooke Manuscript of the first half of the fifteenth century (line 534) speaks of "othere chargys mo that ben wryten in the Boke of Chargys.''
BOOK OF CONSTITUTIONS.
The Book of Constitutions is that work in which is contained the rules and regulations adopted for the government of the Fraternity of Freemasons. Undoubtedly, a society so orderly and systematic must always have been governed by a prescribed code of laws; but, in the lapse of ages, the precise regulations which were adopted for the direction of the Craf.t in ancient times have been lost. The earliest record that we have of any such Constitutions is in a manuscript, first quoted, in 1723, by Anderson( Constitutions, 1723, pages 32-3), which he said was written in the reign of Edward IV.
Preston (page 182, edition of1788) quotes the same record, and adds, that "it is said to have been in the possession of the famous Elias Ashmole, and unfortunately destroyed,'' a statement which had not been previously made by Anderson. To Anderson, therefore, we must look in our estimation of the authenticity of this document ; and that we cannot too much rely upon his accuracy as a transcriber is apparent, not only from the internal evidence of style, but also from the fact that he made important alterations in his copy of it in his edition of 1738. Such as it is, however, it contains the following particulars: "Though the ancient records of the Brotherhood in England were many of them destroyed or lost in the wars of the Saxons and Danes, yet King Athelstan (the grandson of King Alfrede the Great, a mighty Architect), the first anointed king of England, and who translated the Holy Bible into the Saxon tongue, 930 A. D., when he had brought the land into Rest and Peace, built many great works, and encourag'd many Masons from France, who were appointed Overseers thereof, and brought with them the Charges and Regulations of the Lodges preserv'd since the Roman times, who also prevail'd with the King to improve the Constitution of the English Lodges according to the foreign Model, and to increase the Wages of Working Masons.
"The said king's youngest son, Prince Edwin, being taught Masonry, and taking upon him the Charges of a Master Mason, for the love he had to the said Craft and the honourable Principles whereon it is grounded, purchased a free charter of King Athelatan his Father, for the Masons having a Correction among themselves (as it was anciently express'd), or a Freedom and Power to regulate themselves, to amend what might happen amiss, and to hold a yearly Communication and General Assembly.
"Accordingly, Prince Edwin summoned all the Masons in the Realm to meet him in a Congregation at York, who came and composed a General Lodge, of which he was Grand Master; and having brought with them all the Writings and Records extant, some in Greek, some in Latin, some in French, and other languages, from the Contents thereof that Assembly did frame the Constitution and Charges of an English Lodge, and made a law to preserve and observe the same in all time coming, and ordain'd good Pay for Working Masons, ac."
Other records have from time to time been discovered, most of them recently, which prove beyond a1l doubt that the Fraternity of Freemasons was, at least in the fourteenth, fifteenth, sixteenth, and seventeenth centuries, in possession of manuscript Constitutions containing the rules and regulations of the Craft.
In the year 1717, Freemasonry, which had somewhat fallen into decay in the south of England, was revived by the organization of the Grand Lodge at London; and, in the next year, the Grand Master having desired, says Anderson, "any brethren to bring to the Grand Lodge any old writings and records concerning Freemasons and Freemasonry, in order to show the usages of ancient times, several old copies of the Gothic Constitutions were produced and collated" (see Constitutions, 1738, page l10).
But these Constitutions having been found to be very erroneous and defective, probably from carelessness or ignorance in their frequent transcription, in September, 1721, the Duke of Montagu, who was then Grand Master, ordered Brother James Anderson to digest them "in a new and better method" (see Constitutions, 1738, page 113).
Anderson having accordingly accomplished the important task that had been assigned him, in December of the same year a committee, consisting of fourteen learned Brethren, was appointed to examine the book ; and, in the March Communication of the subsequent year, having reported their approbation of it, it was, after some amendments, adopted by the Grand Lodge, and published, in 1723, under the title of The Constitutions of the Freemasons, containing the History, Charges, Regulations, etc., of that Most Ancient and Right Worshipful Fraternity. For the use of the Lodges.
A second edition was published in 1738, under the superintendence of' a committee of Grand Officers (see the Constitutions of that year, page 133). But this edition contained so many alterations, interpolations, and omissions of the Charges and Regulations as they appeared in the first, as to show the most reprehensible inaccuracy in its composition, and to render it utterly worthless except as a literary curiosity. It does not seem to have been very popular, for the printers, to complete their sales, were compelled to commit a fraud, and to present what they pretended to be a new edition in 1746, but which was really only the edition of 1738, with a new title page neatly pasted in, the old one being canceled.
In 1754, Brother Jonathan Scott presented a memorial to the Grand Lodge, ''showing the necessity of a new edition of the Book of Constitutions.'' It was then ordered that the book "should be revised, and necessary alterations and additions made consistent with the laws and rules of Masonry" ; all of which would seem to show the dissatisfaction of the Fraternity with the errors of the second edition. Accordingly, a third edition was published in 1756, under the editorship of the Rev. John Entick. The fourth edition, prepared by a Committee, was published in 1767.
In 1769, G. Kearsly, of London, published an unauthorized edition of the 1767 issue, with an appendix to 1769 ; this was also published by Thomas Wilkinson in Dublin in the same year, with several curious plates ; both issues are now very scarce. And an authorized supplement appeared in 1776.
John Noorthouck published by authority the fifth edition in 1784. This was well printed in quarto, with numerous notes, and is considered the most valuable edition ; it is the last to contain the historical introduction.
After the Union of the two rival Grand Lodges of England (see Antient Masons) in 1813, the sixth edition was issued in 1815, edited by Brother William Williams, Provincial Grand Master for Dorsetshire; the seventh appeared in 1819, being the last in quarto ; and the eighth in 1827 ; these were called the Second Part, and contained only the Ancient Charges and the General Regulations. The ninth edition of 1841 contained no reference to the First or Historical Part, and may be regarded as the first of the present issue in octavo with the plates of jewels at the end.
Numerous editions have since been issued. In the early days of the Grand Lodge of England in all processions the Book of Constitutiom was carried on a cushion by the Master of the Senior Lodge (Constitutiom, 1738, pages 117-26), but this was altered at the time of the union and it is provided in the Constitutionz of 1815 and in the subsequent issues that the Book of Constitutions on a cushion shall be carried by the Grand Secretary.
BOOK OF CONSTITUTIONS GUARDED BY THE TILER'S SWORD.
An emblem painted on the Master's carpet, and intended to admonish the Freemason that he should be guarded in all his words and actions, preserving unsullied the Masonic virtues of silence and circumspection. Such is Webb's definition of the emblem in the Freemasons monitor (edition of 1818, page 69), which is a very modern one, and Brother Mackey was inclined to think it was introduced by that lecturer. The interpretation of Webb is a very unsatisfactory one in the opinion of Brother Mackey. He held that the Book of Constitutions is rather the symbol of constituted law than of silence and circumspection, and when guarded by the Tiler's sword it would seem properly to symbolize regard for and obedience to law, a prominent Masonic duty.
BOOK OF GOLD.
In the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite, the volume in which the transactions, statutes, decrees, balusters, and protocols of the Supreme Council or a Grand Consistory are contained is called the Book of Gold.
BOOK OF MORMON.
This sacred book of the Mormons was first published in 1830 by Joseph Smith, who claimed to have translated it from gold plates which he had found under Divine guidance secreted in a stone box. The seat of their organization is at Salt Lake City, Utah. In this connection, Mormonism and Masonry, by Brother S. H. Goodwin, Grand Secretary of Utah, is a detailed and excellent work of reference.
BOOK OF THE DEAD.
By some translated the Book of the Master, containing the ancient Egyptian philosophy as to death and the resurrection. A portion of these sacred writings was invariably buried with the dead. The book in facsimile has been published by Doctor Lepsius, and translated by Doctor Birch. The story of the judgment of Amenti forms a part of the Book of the Dead, and shadows forth the verities and judgments of.the unseen world.
The Amenti was the Place of Judgment of the Dead, situated in the West, where Osiris was presumed to be buried. There were forty-two assessors of the amount of sin committed, who sat in judgment, and before whom the adjudged passed in succession.
There seems to be a tie which binds Freemasonry to the noblest of the cults and mysteries of antiquity.
The most striking exponent of the doctrines and language of the Egyptian Mysteries of Osiris is this Book of the Dead, or Ritual of the Underworld, or Egyptian Bible of 165 chapters, the Egyptian title of which was The Manifestation to Light, or the Book Revealing Light to the Soul. Great dependence was had, as to the immediate attainment of celestial happiness, upon the human knowledge of this wonderful Book, especially of the principal chapters.
On a sarcophagus or tomb of the eleventh dynasty, according to the chronology of Professor Lepsius, say 2420 B,c., is this inscription: "He who knows this book is one who, in the day of the resurrection of the underworld, arises and enters in; but he does not know this chapter, he does not enter in so soon as he arises. " The conclusion of the first chapter says: "If a man knows this book thoroughly, and has it inscribed upon his sarcophagus, he will be manifested in the day in all the forms that he may desire, and entering into his abode will not be turned back" (see Tiele's History of Religions, page 25).
The Egyptian belief was that portions of the Book of the Dead were written by the finger of Thoth, that being the name of the Egyptian god of letters, invention and wisdom, the mouthpiece and recorder of the gods, and umpire of their disputes, back in the mist of time, 3000 B,c. The one hundred and twenty-fifth chapter describes the last judgment. The oldest preserved papyrus is of the eighteenth dynasty. Profeswr Lepsius fixes the date at 1591 B,c.
The most perfect copy of this Book of the Dead is in the Turin Museum, where it covers one side of the walls, in four pieces, 300 feet in length.
The following extract is from the first chapter: "Says Thot to Osiris, King of Eternity, I am the great God in the divine boat; I fight for thee; I am one of the divine chiefs who are the TRUE LIVING WORD of Osiris. I am Thot, who makes to be real the word of Horus against his enemies. The word of Osiris against his enemies made truth in Thot, and the order is executed by Thot. I am with Horus on the day of celebrating the festival of Osiris, the good Being, whose Word is truth; I make offerings to Ra (the Sun) ; I am a simple priest in the underworld, anointing in Abydos, elevating to higher degrees of initiation; I am prophet in Abydos on the day of opening or upheaving the earth. I behold the mysteries of the door of the underworld; I direct the ceremonies of Mendes; I am the assistant in the exercise of their functions; I AM GRAND MASTER OF THE CRAFTSMEN WHO SET UP THE SACRED ARCH FOR A SUPPORT" (see Truth).
BOOK OF THE FRATERNITY OF STONE MASONS.
Years ago, a manuscript was discovered in the archives of the City of Cologne bearing the title of Brüderschaftsbuch der Steinmetzen, meaning the Brotherhood Book of the Stonecutters, with records going back to the year 1396. Steinbrenner (Orgin and Early History of Masonry, page104), says: "It fully confirms the conclusions to be derived from the German Constitutions, and those of the English and Scotch Masons, and conclusively proves the inauthenticity of the celebrated Charter of Cologne."
BOOK OF THE LAW.
The Holy Bible, which is always open in a Lodge as a symbol that its fight should be discused among the Brethren. The passages at which it is opened differ in the various Degrees (see Scriptures, Reading of the).
Masonically, the Book of the Law is that sacred book which is believed by the Freemason of any particular religion to contain the revealed will of God; although, technically, among the Jews, the Torah, or Book of the Law, means only the Pentateuch or five books of Moses. Thus, to the Christian Freemason the Book of the Law is the Old and New Testaments; to the Jew, the Old Testament; to the Mussulman, the Koran ; to the Brahman, the Vedas ; and to the Parsee, the Zendavesta.
The Book of the Law is an important symbol in the Royal Arch Degree, concerning which there was a tradition among the Jews that the Book of the Law was lost during the captivity, and that it was among the treasures discovered during the building of the second Temple. The same opinion was entertained by the early Christian fathers, such, for instance, as Irenaeus, Tertullian, and Clemens Alexandrinus; "for," says Prideaux, "they (the Christian fathers) hold that all the Scriptures were lost and destroyed in the Babylonish captivity, and that Ezra restored them all again by Divine revelation." The truth of the tradition is very generally denied by Biblical scholars, who attribute its origin to the fact that Ezra collected together the copies of the law, expurgated them of the errors which had crept into them during the captivity, and arranged a new and correct edition. But the truth or falsity of the legend does not affect the Masonic symbolism. The Book of the Law is the will of God, which, lost to us in our darkness, must be recovered as precedent to our learning what is Truth. As captives to error, truth is lost to us ; when freedom is restored, the first reward will be its discovery.
BOOK, ORDER OF THE.
See Stukely, Doctor.
See Anti-Masonic Books.
See Tesselated Border.
An island in the Malay Archipelago, a great group of islands southeast of Asia. On August 13, 1885, Elopura Lodge, No. 2106, was chartered by the Grand Lodge of England in North Borneo at Elopura. It was, however, never constituted as the petitioners had left before the Lodge could be opened, and it was erased from the register on January 2, 1888.
Borneo Lodge of Harmony was chartered on May 6, 1891, and constituted at Sandakan on June 7, the same year.
The name is sometimes given as Bossonius. The Fourth Degree of the African Architects, also called the Christian Philosopher. The latter reference is by Thory (Acta Latomorum, 1, 297).
BOSTON TEA PARTY.
England in 1773 passed a law levying a tax on all tea shipped into the American Colonies by the East India Tea Company.
Three cargoes of tea were in Boston harbor when from a meeting of citizens, December 16, 1773, held at the Old South Church, forty or fifty men disguised as Indians emerged and in two or three hours three hundred and forty-two chests of tea valued at about eighteen hundred pounds sterling were emptied into the sea (see Brother Elroy McKendree Avery's Histomy of the United States and Its People, volume v, page 166). The secrecy and dispatch of the whole affair definitely indicates previous rehearsals under competent leadership. On that very night the records written by the Secretary state that Lodge of Saint Andrew closed until the next night "On account of the few members in attendance" and then the entire page is filled up with the letters T made large (see Centennial Memorial of Saint Andrew's Lodge, page 347 ; also Green Dragon Tavern).
A Scottish Laird, of Auchinleck, and of the family of the biographer of Doctor Johnson. Laird means the proprietor of a landed estate; occasionally, merely a landlord. His appearance in the Lodge of Edinburgh at a meeting held at Holyrood in June, 1600, affords a very early authentic instance of a person being a member of the Masonic Fraternity who was not an architect or builder by profession. Brother Boswell signed his name and made his mark-as did the Operatives.
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