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FERDINAND IV. This King of the two Sicilies, on the 12th of September, 1775, issued an edict forbidding the meeting of Freemasons in Lodges in his dominions, under penalty of death. In 1777, at the solicitation of his queen, Caroline, this edict was repealed, and Freemasonry was once more tolerated; but in 1781 the decree was renewed.
In 1751, Ferdinand VI, King of Spain, at the solicitation of Joseph Torrubia, Visitor of the Holy Inquisition, enforced in his dominions the Bull of excommunication of Pope Benedict XIV, and forbade the congregation of Freemasons under the highest penalties of law. In the Journal of Freemasonry, Vienna, 1784 (pages 176-224), will be found a translation from Spanish into German of Torrubia's Act of Accusation, which gave rise to this persecution.
The King of Spain who bore this title was one of the greatest bigots of his time. He had no sooner ascended the throne in 1814, than he reestablished the Inquisition, which had been abolished by his predecessor, prescribed the exercise of Freemasonry, and ordered the Closing of all the Lodges, under the heaviest penalties. In September following, twenty-five persons, among whom were several distinguished noblemen, were arrested as "suspected of Freemasonry." On March 30, 1818, a still more rigorous edict was issued, by which those convicted of being Freemasons were subjected to the most severe punishments, such as banishment to India and confiscation of goods, or sometimes death by a cruel form of execution. But the subsequent Revolution of 1820 and the abolition of the Inquisition removed these blots from the Spanish records.
Painter and author on ancient art, was born on November 19, 1763, at Pomerania, Germany; was at Rome from 1795 and lectured there on archaeology; returning to Germany, 1802, he became a professor of Italian literature at Sena; then in 1804 was librarian for the Duchess Amalia at Weimar. Fernow was a member of the Lodge Arrmlia, which honored his memory by a special assembly in 1809, he having died on December 4, 1808.
A French statesman, born at Saint Dié, April 5, 1832, studied law, entered politics at Paris, protested against war of 1870 but administered that city during the siege by the German army. Twice Premier, he had been Minister of Education and Minister of Foreign Affairs; in the latter positions he organized public education on a non-clerical basis and provided for colonial growth. He made elementary education free, obligatory, and non-clerical, and urged the destruction of church control in the University and the removal from religious orders of a right to teach. Violent attacks made upon him ended in his death on March 17, 1893, from a pistol shot. He was an associate of Emile Littré and Leon Gambetta and in company with them affiliated with the Masonic Lodge La Clemente Amitie at Paris on July 8, 1875.
From the middle eighteenth century, ardent devotion to duty, fervor or fervency, was taught as a Masonic virtue in the lectures of the First Degree, and symbolized by charcoal, because, as later instructions say, all metals were dissolved by the fervor of ignited charcoal. Subsequently, in further Degrees, fervency and zeal were symbolized by the color scarlet, which is the appropriate tincture of Royal Arch Masonry.
A distinguished German writer and Masonic reformer, who was born at Czurendorf, in Hungary, in 1756. He was the son of very poor parents. His mother, who was a bigoted Catholic, had devoted him to a monastic life, and having been educated at the Jesuit School of Raab, he took holy orders in 1772, and was removed to the Capuchin monastery in Vienna. In consequence, however, of his exposure to the Emperor Joseph II of monastic abuses, he incurred the persecutions of his superiors. But the emperor, having taken him under his protection, nominated him, in 1783, as ex-professor of the Oriental languages in the University of Lemberg. But the monks having threatened him with legal proceedings, he fled to Breslau in 1788, where he subsequently was appointed the tutor of the son of the Prince of Corolath. Here he established a secret order, called by him the Evergreen, which bore a resemblance to Freemasonry in its organization, and was intended to effect moral reforms, which at the time he thought Freemasonry incapable of producing. The Order, however, never really had an active existence, and the attempt of Fessler failed by the dissolution, in 1793, of the society. In 1791 he adopted the Lutheran faith, and, having married, settled in Berlin, where until 1806, he was employed as a superintendent of schools. He wrote during this period several historical works, which gave him a high reputation as an author.
But the victorious progress of the French army in Prussia caused him to lose his official position. having been divorced from his wife in 1802, he again married, and retiring in 1803 from Berlin, betook himself to the quietude of a country life. Becoming now greatly embarrassed in pecuniary matters, he received adequate relief from several of the German Lodges, for which he expressed the most lively gratitude. In 1808 he accepted the position of a professor in the University of St. Petersburg, which, however, he was soon compelled to relinquish in consequence of the intrigues of the clergy, who were displeased with his liberal views.
Subsequently he was appointed superintendent of the evangelical community, over nine Russian departments, and Ecclesiastical President of the Consistory at Saratow, with a large salary. In l827, on the invitation of the Emperor Alexander, he removed permanently to St. Petersburg, where, in 1833, he received the appointment of Ecclesiastical Counselor, and died there December 15, 1839, at the advanced age of eighty-three years.
Fessler was initiated in Freemasonry at Lemberg, in 1783, and immediately devoted himself to the study of its science and history. In June, 1796, he affiliated with the Lodge Royal York, zur Freundschaft, in Berlin, and having been made one of its Sublime Council, was invested with the charge of revising and remodeling the entire ritual of the Lodge, which was based on the advanced Degrees of the French system. To the accomplishment of this laborious task, Fessler at once, and for a long time afterward, devoted his great intellect and his indefatigable energies. In a very short period he succeeded in a reformation of the symbolic Degrees, and finding the Brethren unwilling to reject the high Degrees, which were four in number, then practiced by the Lodge, he remodeled them, retaining a considerable part of the French ritual, but incorporated with it a portion of the Swedish system. The work thus accomplished met with general approbation. In his next task of forming a new Constitution he was not so successful, although at length he induced the Royal York Lodge to assume the character and rank of a Grand Lodge, which it did in 1798, with seven subordinate Lodges under its obedience. Again Fessler commenced the work of a revision of the ritual.
He had always been opposed to the high Degree system. He proposed, therefore, the abolition of everything above the Degree of Master. In this, however, he was warmly opposed, and was compelled to abandon his project of reducing German Free masonry to the simplicity of the English system. Yet he was enabled to accomplish something, and had the satisfaction, in 1800, of metamorphosing the Elu, the Ecossais, and the Rose Croix, of the old ritual of the Royal York Lodge into the "degrees of knowledge, " which constitute the System known as the Rite of Fessler.
In 1798, Fessler had been elected Deputy Grand Master when there were but three Lodges under the Grand Lodge. In 1801, by his persevering activity the number had been increased to sixteen. Still, notwithstanding his meritorious exertions in behalf of Freemasonry, he met with that ingratitude, from those whom he sought to serve, which appears to be the fate or almost all Masonic reformers. In 1802, wearied with the opposition of his antagonists, he renounced all the offices that he had filled, and resigned from the Grand Lodge. Thenceforth he devoted himself in a more retired way to the pursuits of Freemasonry.
Before Fessler resigned, he had conceived and carried out the scheme of establishing a great union of scientific Freemasons, who should devote themselves to the investigation of the history of Freemasonry. Of this society Mossdorf, Fischer; and many other distinguished Freemasons, were members (see Scientific Masonic Association).
Fessler's contributions to the literature of Freemasonry were numerous and valuable. His chief work was An Atternpt to Furnish a Critical History of Freemasonry and the Masonic Fraternity from the earliest times to the year 1802. This work was never printed, but only loaned in four folio manuscript volumes at the price of £30, say about $135, in present-day ratios, to persons who pledged themselves eventually to return it. It was a mistake to circumscribe the results of his researches within so narrow a field. But he published many other works. His productions were mostly historical and judicial, and made a great impression on the German Masonic mind. His collected works were published in Berlin, from 1801 to 1807, but unfortunately, they have never been translated into English. The object of all he wrote was to elevate Freemasonry to the highest sphere of intellectual character.
This Rite, which was prepared by Fessler at the request of the Grand Lodge Royal York of Berlin, consisted of nine Degrees, as follows:
  • 1. Entered Apprentice
  • 2. Fellow Craft.
  • 3. Master Mason. These three differ but slightly from the same Degrees in all the Rites, and are followed by six other Degrees, which he called the higher knowledge, namely:
  • 4. The Holy of Holies. This Degree is occupied in a critical exposition of the various hypotheses which have been proposed as to the origin of Freemasonry; as, whether it sprang from the Templars, from the Cathedral of Strasburg, from the Rose Croix of the seventeenth century, from Oliver Cromwell, from the Cathedral of Saint Paul's at London, from that of the Palace of Kensington, or from the Jesuits.
  • 5. Justification. Critical examination of the origin of certain of the advanced Degrees, such as the Ecossais and the Chapter of Clermont.
  • 6. Celebration. Critical examination of the four following systems: Rose Croix, Strict Observance, African Architects, and Initiated Brothers of Asia.
  • 7. True Light. Critical examination of the Swedish System, the System of Zinnendorf, the Royal Arch of England, of the succession of the Mysteries, and of all systems and their ramifications.
  • 8. The Country. Examination of the origin of the Mysteries of the Divine Kingdom, introduced by Jesus of Nazareth; of the exoteric doctrines communicated by him immediately to his disciples, and of those which sprang up after his death, up to the time of the Gnosties.
  • 9. Perfection. A complete critical history of all Mysteries comprehended in actual Freemasonry.
Both Clavel and Ragon say that the rituals of these Degrees svere drawn up from the work of the Golden Rose Croix, of the Rite of Strct Observance, of the Illuminated Chapter of Sweden, and the Ancient Chapter of Clerrnont. Fessler's Rite was, perhaps, the most abstrusely learned and philosophical of all the Masonic systems; but it did not have a long existence, as it was abandoned by the Grand Lodge, which had at first accepted it, for the purpose of adopting the Ancient York Rite under the Constitutions of England.
All religions have had certain days consecrated to festive enjoyrnent, hence called festivals. Sir Isaac Newton (on Daniel, page 204) says:
The heathen were delighted with the festivals of their gods, and unwilling to part with these delights, and therefore, Gregory Thaumaturgus, who died in 265, and was Bishop of Neocaesarea, to facilitate their conversion instituted annual festivals to the saints and martyrs. Hence it came to pass that, for exploding the festivals of the heathens, the principal festivals of the Christians succeeded in their room: as the keeping of Christmas with joy, and feasting, and playing, and sports, in the room of the Bacchinatia and Satumlia; the celebrating of May day with flowers, in the room of the floral and the keeping of festivals to the Virgin Mary, John the Baptist and divers of the apostles, in the room of the solemnities at the entrance of the sun into the signs of the Zodiac in the old Julian Calendar.
The Freemasons, borrowing from and imitating the usage of the Church, have also always had their festivals or days of festivity and celebration. The chief festivals of the Operatives or Stonemasons of the Middle Ages were those of Saint John the Baptist on June 24, and the Four Crowned Martyrs on the 8th of November. The latter was, however, discarded by the Speculative Freemasons; and the festivals now most generally celebrated by the Fraternity are those of Saint John the Baptist, June 24, and Saint John the Evangelist, December 27. These are the days kept in the United States. Such, too, was formerly the case in England; but the annual festival of the Grand Lodge of England now falls on the Wednesday following Saint George's day, April 23, that Saint being the patron of England. For a similar reason, Saint Andrew's day, November 30, is kept by the Grand Lodge of Scotland. In Ireland the festival kept is that of Saint John on December 27.
An androgynous, both sexes, system, found in Fustier's collection, and governed by the statutes of Saint Bernard.
An organization established about the middle of the eighteenth century in Brittany, France. The grip was given by shaking hands with the fingers interlaced three times reciprocally. The sign was made by the hands being raised to a level with the eyes, the palms turned upwards with the fingers interlaced.
The pass-words were
Have you gathered the roses?
The correct response was
Also the grapes.
A Latin motto frequently written Sit Lux et Lux Fuit, referring to Genesis(i, 3), "Let there be light, and there was light" (see True Light).
See Fides.
Instituted in 1716 by Charles Margrave of Baden Durlach. The members of the Order were knighted, selections being made only from the nobles of ancient family. The reigning princes were hereditary Grand Masters.
In the instruction of the First Degree, it is said that "our ancient Brethren worshipped deity under the name of Fides or Fidelity, which was sometimes represented by two right hands joined, and some times by two human figures holding each other by the right hands." The deity here referred to was the goddess Fides, to whom Numa first erected temples, and whose priests were covered by a white veil as a symbol of the purity which should characterize Fidelity. No victims were slain on her altars, and no offerings made to her except flowers, wine, and incense. Her statues were represented clothed in a white mantle, with a key in her hand and a dog at her feet. The virtue of Fidelity is, however, frequently symbolized in ancient medals by a heart in the open hand, but more usually by two right hands clasped.
Horace calls her Incorrupta Fides, and makes her the sister of Justice; while Cicero says that that which is religion toward God and piety toward our parents is fidelity toward our fellow-men. There was among the Romans another deity called Fidius, who presided over oaths and contracts, a very usual form of imprecation or oath being Me dius fidius adjured that is, so help me the God Fidius. Noel (Dictionary of Fables) says that there was an ancient marble at Rome consecrated to the god Fidius, on which was depicted two figures clasping each other's hands as the representatives of Honor and Truth, without which there can be no fidelity nor truth among men. Freemasonry, borrowing its ideals from the ancient poets, also makes the right hand the symbol of Fidelity.
That is, the sign of confiding trust, called also the sign of Truth and Hope. One of the signs of the English Royal Arch system, which is thus explained by Doctor Oliver (Dictionary of Symbolic Masonry).
The fiducial sign shows us if we prostrate ourselves with our face to the earth, we thus throw ourselves on the mercy of our Creator and Judge, looking forward with humble confidence to his holy promises, by which alone we hope to pass through the Ark of our redemption into the mansion of eternal bliss and glory to the presence of Him who is the great I AM, the Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the lending, the First and the Last.
A Lodge duly instituted under proper authority from a Grand Body of competent jurisdiction, and authorized to exercise during its peripatetic existence all the powers and privileges that it might possess if permanently located. 6 Charters of this nature, as the name implies, are intended for the tented field, and have been of the no greatest service to humanity in its trying hours, when the worst of passions are appealed.
A sacred number symbolic of the name of God, because the letters of the holy name xs, Jah, are equal, in the Hebrew mode of numeration by the letters of the alphabet, to fifteen; for ‘ is equal to ten, and n is equal to five. Hence, from veneration for this sacred name, the Hebrews do not, in ordinary computations, when they wish to express the number fifteen, make use of these two letters, but of two others, which are equivalent to nine and six (see also Fourteen).
See Oceania.
According to universal usage on Freemasonry, the Treasurer of the Lodge or other Body is the banker or depositary of the finances of the Lodge. They are first received by the Secretary, who receipts for them, and immediately pays them over to the Treasurer. The Treasurer distributes them under the orders of the Master and the consent of the Lodge. This consent can only be known officially to him by the statement of the Secretary, and hence all orders drawn on the Treasurer for the disbursement of money should be countersigned by the Secretary.
A Masonic charlatan, or fraud, who flourished at the end of the preceding and the beginning of the nineteenth century. Finch was a tailor in Canterbury, who, having been expelled for some misconduct by the Grand Lodge, commenced a system of practical Freemasonry on his own account, and opened a Lodge in his house, where he undertook to initiate candidates and to give instructions in Freemasonry. He published a great number of pamphlets, many of them in a cipher of his own, which he pretended were for the instruction of the Fraternity. Among the books published by him are: A Masonic Treatise, with an Elucidation on the Religious and Moral Beauties of Freemasonry, etc.; printed at Canterbury in 1802. The Lectures, Laws, and Ceremonies of the Holy Arch Degree of Freemasonry, etc., Lambeth, 181°. The Origin of Freemasons, etc.; London, 1816.
Finch found many dupes, and made a great deal of money. But having on one occasion been sued bar an engraver named Smith, for money due for printing his plates, Finch pleaded an offset of money due by Smith for initiation and instruction in Freemasonry. Smith brought the brand Secretary and other distinguished Freemasons into court, who testified that Finch was an impostor. In consequence of this exposure, Finch lost credit with the community, and, sinking into obscurity, died sometime after, in abject poverty.
As it is impossible to read Finch's Treatises without a knowledge of the cipher employed by him, the following key will be found useful. We owe it to the researches of Brother H. C. Levander (Freemasons Magazine and Review, 1859, page 490). In the first part of the book the cipher used is formed by reversing the alphabet, writing z for a, by for b, etc. The cipher used the title-page differs somewhat from this, as will be seen from the following:
Cipher. a,b,c,d,e,f,g,h,i,j,k,l,m,n,o,p,q,r,s,t,u,v,w,x,y,z,
Key. b, d, f, h, j. l, n, p, r, t, v, x, z, y, w, u, s, q, o, m, k, i, g, e, c, a.
Cipher. a, b, c, d, e, f, g, h, i, j, k, l, m, n, o, p, q, r, t, u, v, w, x, y, z.
Key. z, y, x, v., v, u, t, s, r, q, p, o, n, m, l, k, j, i, h f, e, d, c, b, a.
In the second part of the work, a totally different svstem is employed. The words may be deciphered by taking the last letter, then the first, then the last but one, then the second, and so on. Two or three words are also often run into one; for example erectemhdrdoh, is he ordered them.
The nine digits, the Arabic numerals, 1 to 9, represent certain words of frequent recurrence, a repetition of the same digit denoting the plural; thus stands for Lodge; 11, for Lodges; 3, Fellow Craft; 33, Fellow Crafts, etc.
A Masonic writer of more than ordinary note, who was admitted in the Lodge Eleusis zur Verschwiegenheit (relating to the secrecy discretely followed at Eleusis, the place in Grecee of the famous Mysteries of Demeter and Persephone), at Baireuth in 1856. He was editor of the Bauhütte, or Craft Lodged an interesting journal, at Leipsic, in 1858, and added materially to Masonic literature in founding the Verein Deutscher Freimaurer, Union of German Freemasons about 1860, and publishing, in 1874, Geist unit Form der Freimaurerei, Genius and Form of Freemasonry.
His best known and most important work is his Geschichte der Freimaurerei or General History of Freemasonry, published in 1861, which has been translated into English, Freneh, and other languages, and was the first attempt at a critical history of the Craft. He died in 1905.
Fines for nonattendance or neglect of duty are not now usually imposed in Masonie Bodies, because each member is bound to the discharge of these duties by a motive more powerful than any that could be furnished by a pecuniary penalty. The imposition of such a penalty would be a tacit acknowledgment of the inadequacy of that motive, and would hence detract from its solemnity and its binding nature. It cannot, however, be denied that the records of old Lodges show that it was formerly a common custom to impose fines for a violation of the rules.


The French, in their Table Lodges, called the drinking of 3 toast, fee! or fire. The word is also applied to the action immediately following the drinking of a toast in British Lodges when a quaint little ceremonial is observed by all the Brethren.
See Theosophists.
See Pillars of Cloud arms Fire.
See Purification..
Of all the ancient religions, fireworship was one of the earliest next to Sabaism; the worship of the heavenly bodies, and even of this it seems only have been a development, as with the Sabaists the sun was deemed the Universal Fire. "Darius," says Quintus Curtius, "invoked the sun as Mithras, the sacred and eternal fire." It was the faith of the ancient Magi and the old Persians, still retained by their modern descendants the Parsees. But with them it was not an idolatry. The fire was venerated only as a visible symbol of the Supreme Deity, of the Creative Energy, from Whom all things come, and to Whom all things ascend. The flame darting upward to meet its divine original, the mundane fire seeking an ascension to and an absorption into the celestial fire, or God Himself, constituted what has been called the lame-secret of the fire-worshipers. This religion was not only ancient, but also universal. From India it passed over into Egypt, and thence extended to the Hebrews and to the Greeks, and has shown its power and prevalence even in modern thought. On the banks of the Nile, the people did not, indeed, fall down like the old Persians and worship fire, but they venerated the fire-secret and its symbolic teaching. Hence the Pyramids, pyr is Greek for fire, the representation of ascending flame; and Hargrave Jennings shrewdly says that what has been supposed to be a tomb, in the center of the Great Pyramid, was in reality a depository of the sacred, ever-burning fire. Monoliths were everywhere in antiquity erected to fire or to the sun, as the type of fire. Among the Hebrews. the sacred idea of fire, as something connected with the Divine Being, was very prominent. God appeared to Moses in a flame of fire; he descended on Mount Sinai in the midst of flames; at the Temple the fire ascended from heaven to consume the burntoffering. Everywhere in Scripture, fire is a symbol of the holiness of God. The lights on the altar are the symbols of the Christian God. The purifying power of fire is naturally deduced from this symbol of the holiness of the element. And in the advanced Degrees of Freemasonry, as in the ancient institutions, there is a purification by fire, coming down to us insensibly and unconsciously from the old Magian cultus. In the Medieval ages there was a sect of fire-philosophers hilosophi per ignem who were a branch of offshoot of Rosicrucianism, with which Freemasonry has so much in common. These fire-philosophers kept up the veneration for fire, and cultivated the fire-secret, not as an idolatrous belief, but modified by their hermetic notions. They were also called theosophists, and through them, or in reference to them, we find the theosophic Degrees of Freemasonry, which sprang up in the eighteenth century. As fire and light are identical, so the fire, which was to the Zoroastrians the symbol of the Divine Being, is to the Freemason, under the equivalent idea of light, the symbol of Divine Truth, or of the Grand Architect.
A cardinal priest who, in 1738, published the edict of Pope Clement XII against Freemasonry.
See Generous Freemason.
The Greek word for fish is IZ0T2. Now these five letters are the initials of the five words X ous Xp~vros Leon TLos Zxrr/p, that is, Jesus Christ the Son of God, the Savior. Hence the early Christians adopted the fish as a Christian symbol; and it is to be found on many of their tombs, and was often worn as an ornament. Clement of Alexandria, in writing of the ornaments that a Christian may constantly wear, mentions the fish as a proper device for a ring, as serving to remind the Christian of the origin of his spiritual life, the fish referring to the waters of baptism. The Vesica Piscis, which is an oval figure, pointed at both ends, and representing the air bladder of a fish, was adopted, and is still often used as the form of the seal of religious houses and con-fraternities, Margoliouth (Vestiges of General Freemasonry, 45) says: "In former days, the Grand Master of our Order used to wear a silver fish on his person; but it is to be regretted that, amongst the many innovations which have been of late introduced into the Society to conciliate the prejudices of some who cannot consistently be members of it, this beautiful emblem has disappeared "

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