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Observantia Lata is the Latin term. When the Rite of Strict Observance was instituted in Germany by Von Hund, its disciples gave to all the other German Lodges which refused to submit to its obedience and adopt its innovations, but preferred to remain faithful to the English Rite, the title of Lodges of Lax Observance. Ragon, in his Orthodosie Maçonnique (page 236), has committed the unaccountable error of calling it a schism, established at Vienna in 1767; thus evidently confounding it with Starck's Rite of the Clerks of Strict Observance.
A Society founded in the eleventh century, consisting of two classes, who were skilled in architecture; also recognized as a Degree in the Rite of Strict Observance.
A term used in the old Records to designate a workman inferior to an Operative Freemason. Thus: "Alsoe that no Mason make moulds, square or rule to any rough layers" (Harleian Manuscript, No. 2054). In Doctor Murray's newEnglish Dictionary the word is said to mean "one who lays stones; a mason," and is described as obsolete in this sense. A quotation is given from Wyclif's Bible of 1382 (First Chronicles xxu, 15), "Many craftise men, masouns and leyers."
LAZARUS, ORDER OF.
An Order instituted in Palestine, termed the "United Order of Saint Lazarus and of our Beloved Lady of Mount Carmel.'' It was a Military Order engaged against the Saracens, by whom it was nearly destroyed. In 1150 the knights assumed the vows of Obedience, Poverty, and Chastity, in the presence of William the Patriarch. In 1572, Gregory XII united the Italian knights of the Order with that of Saint Maurice. Vincent de Paul, in 1617, founded a Religious Order, which was approved in 1626, and erected into a congregation in 1635, and so called from the Priory of Saint Lazarus in Paris, which was occupied by the Order during the French Revolution. The members are called priests of the Mission, and are employed in teaching and missionary labors.
A mountain, or rather a range of mountains in Syria, extending from beyond Sidon to Tvre, and forming the northern boundary of Palestine. Lebanon is celebrated for the cedars which it produces, many of which are from fifty to eighty feet in height and cover with their branches a space of ground the diameter of which is still greater. Hiram, King of Tyre, in whose dominions Mount Lebanon vfas situated, furnished these trees for the building of the Temple of Solomon. In relation to Lebanon, Kitto, in his Biblical Cyclopedia, has these remarks:
The forests of the Lebanon mountains only could supply the timber for the Temple. Such of these forests as lay nearest the sea were in the possession of the Phenicians among whom timber was in such constant demand, that they had acquired great and acknowledged skill in the felling and transportation thereof; and hence it was of such importance that Hiram consented to employ large Bodies of men in Lebanon to hew timber, as well as others to perform the service of bringing it down to the seaside, whence it was to be taken along the coasts in floats to the port of Joppa, from which place it eould be easily taken across the country to Jerusalem.
The Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite has dedicated to this mountain its Twenty-second Degree, or the Prince of Lebanon. The Druses inhabit Mount Lebanon, and preserve there a secret organization (see Druses).
LEBANON, PRINCE OF.
See Knight of the Royal Ax.
LE BAULD DE NANS, CLAUDE ETIENNE.
A distinguished Masonic writer, born at Besangon in 1736. He was by profession a highly respected actor, and a man of much learning, which he devoted to the cultivation of Freemasonry. He was for seven years Master of the Lodge Saint Charles de l'Union, in Mannheim; and on his removal to Berlin, in 1771, became the Orator of the Lodge Royale York de l'.Mmitié, Royal York of Friendship, and editor of a Masonic journal. He delivered, while Orator of the dodge a position which he resigned in 1778 a large number of discourses, a collection of which was published at Berlin in 1788. He also composed many Masonic odes and songs, and published, in 1781, a collection of his songs for the use of the Lodge Royale York, and in 1786, his Lyre Masonnique, or Masonic Harp, a familiar title for a songbook. He is described by his contemporaries as a man of great knowledge and talents, and Fessler has paid a warm tribute to his learning and to his labors in behalf of Freemasonry. He died at Berlin in 1789.
An officer of one of the Lodges of Milan, Italy, of whom Rebold (History of Three Grand Lodges, page 575) gives the following account. When, in 1805, a Supreme Council of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite was established at Milan, Lechangeur became a candidate for membership. He received some of the Degrees; but subsequently the founders of the Council, for satisfactory reasons, declined to confer upon him the superior grades. lncensed at this, Lechangeur announced to them that ne would elevate himself above them by creating a Rite of ninety Degrees, into which they should not be admitted. He carried this project into effect, and the result was the Rite of Mizraim, of which he declared himself to be the Superior Grand Conservator. His energies seem to have been exhausted in the creation of his unwieldy rite, for no Chapters were established except in the City of Naples. But in 1810 a patent was granted by him to Michel Bedarride, by whom the Rite was propagated in France. Lechangeur's fame, as the founder of the Rite, was overshadowed by the greater zeal and impetuosity of Bedarride, by whom his self-assumed prerogatives were usurped. He died in 1812.
Each Degree of Freemasonry contains a course of instruction, in which the ceremonies, traditions, and moral instruction appertaining to the Degree are set forth. This arrangement is called a Lecture. Each lecture, for the sake of convenience, and for the purpose of conforming to certain divisions in the ceremonies, is divided into sections, the number of which have varied at different periods, although the substance remains the same. According to Preston, the lecture of the first Degree contains six sections; that of the second, four; and that of the third, twelve. But according to the arrangement adopted in this country, commonly known as the Webb lectures, there are three sections in the first Degree, two in the second, and three in the third.
In the Entered Apprentice's Degree, the first section is almost entirely devoted to a recapitulation of the ceremonies of initiation. The initiatory portion, however, supplies certain modes of recognition. The second section is occupied with an explanation of the ceremonies that had been detailed in the first the two together furnishing the interpretation of ritualistic symbolism. The third is exclusively occupied in explaining the signification of the symbols peculiar to the Degree.
In the Fellow Craft's Degree, the first section, like the first section of the Entered Apprentice, is merely a recapitulation of ceremonies, with a passing commentary on some of them. The second section introduces the neophyte for the first time to the differences between Operative and Speculative Freemasonry and to the Temple of King Solomon as a Masonic symbol, while the candidate is ingeniously deputed as a seeken after knowledge.
In the Master's Degree the first section is again only a detail of ceremonies. The second section is the most important and impressive portion of all the lectures, for it contains the legend on which the whole symbolic character of the Institution is founded. The third section is an interpretation of the symbols of the Degree, and is, of all the sections, the one least creditable to the composer.
In fact, it must be confessed that many of the interpretations given in these lectures are unsatisfactory to the cultivated mind, and seem to have been adopted on the principle of the old Egyptians, who made use of symbols to conceal rather than to express all their thoughts. Learned Freemasons have been, therefore, always disposed to go beyond the mere technicalities and stereotyped phrases of the lectures, and to look in the history and the philosophy of the ancient religions, and the organization of the ancient mysteries, for a true explanation of most of the symbols of Freemasonry, and there they have always been enabled to find this true interpretation. The lectures, however, serve as an introduction or preliminary es say, enabling the student, as he advances in his initiation, to become acquainted with the symbolic character of the Institution. But if he ever expects to become a learned Freemason, he must seek in other sources for the true development of Masonic symbolism. The lectures alone are but the Primer of the Science.
An officer known only in the United States. He is appointed by the Grand Master or the Grand Lodge. His duty is to visit the subordinate Lodges, and instruct them in the Ritual of the Order as practiced in his Jurisdiction, for which he receives compensation partly from the Grand Lodge and partly from the Lodges which he visits, or wholly from the Grand Lodge.
LECTURES, HISTORY OF THE.
To each of the Degrees of Symbolic Freemasonry a catechetical instruction is appended, in which the ceremonies, traditions, and other esoteric instructions of the Degree are contained. A knowledge of these lectures which must, of course, be communicated by oral teaching constitutes a verfi important part of a Masonic education; and, until the great progress made within the present century in Masonic literature, many bright Masons, as they are technically styled, could claim no other foundation than such a knowl edge for their high Masonic reputation.
But some share of learning more difficult to attain, and more sublime in its character than anything to be found in these oral catechisms, is now considered necessary to form a Masonic scholar. Still, as the best commentary on the ritual observances is to be found in the lectures, and as they also furnish a large portion of that secret mode of recognution, or that universal language, which has always been the boast of the Institution, not only is a knowledge of them abso lutely necessary to every practical Freemason, but a history of the changes which they have from time to time undergone constitutes an interesting part of the literature of the Order. Comparatively speaking, comparatively in respect to the age of the Masonic Institution, the system of Lodge lectures is undoubtedly a modern invention.
That is to say, we can find no traces of any forms of lectures like the present before the middle, or perhaps the close, of the seventeenth century. Examinations, however, of a technical nature, intended to test the claims of the person examined to the privileges of the Order, appear to have existed at an early period.
They were used until at least the middle of the eighteenth century, but were perpetually changing, so that the tests of one generation of Freemasons constituted no tests for the succeeding one. Brother Oliver very properly describes them as being "some thing like the conundrums of the present day difficult of imprehension admitting only of one answer, which appeared to have no direct correspondence with the question, and applicable only in consonance with the mysteries and symbols of the In stitution" (On the Masonic Tests of the Eighteenth Century. Golden Remains, volume iv, page 16).
These tests were sometimes, at first, distinct from the lectures, and sometimes, at a later period, incorporated with them. A specimen is the answer to the question, "How blows the wind?" which was, "Due East and West."
The Examination of a German (Stone-Mason, which is given by Findel in the appendix to his Historic was most probably in use in the fourteenth century. Doctor Oliver was in possession of what purports to be a formula, which he supposes to have been used during the Grand Mastership of Archbishop Chichely in the reign of Henry VI, and from which (Reuelatione of a Spare, page 11) he makes the following extracts:
The earliest form of catechism that we have on record is that contained in the Sloane Manuscript, No. 3329, now in the British Museum, which has been printed and published by the Rev. A. F. A. Woodford. One familiar with the catechisms of the eighteenth century will detect the origin of much that they contain in this early specimen. It iB termed in the manuscript the Freemason's "private discourse by way of question and answer," and is in these words:
Doctor Oliver, who had ampler opportunities than any other Masonic writer of investigating this subjeet, says that the earliest authorized lectures with which he has met were those of 1720. They were arranged by Doctors Anderson and Desaguliers, perhaps, at.the same time that they were compiling the Charges and Regulations from the ancient Constitutions. They were written in a ectechetical form, which form has ever since been retained in all subsequent Masonic lectures. Brother Oliver says that "the questions and answers are short and comprehensive, and contain a brief digest of the general principles of the Craft as it was understood at that period." The "digest" must, indeed, have been brief, since the lecture of the Third Degree, or what was called "the Master's Part," contained only thirty-one questions, many of which are simply tests of recognition. Doctor Oliver says the number of questions was only seven; but he probably refers to the seven tests which conelude the lecture. There are, however, twenty-four other questions that precede these.
A comparison of these the primitive lectures, as they may be called with those in use in America at the present day, demonstrate that a great many changes have taken place. There are not only omissions of some things, and additions of others, but sometimes the explanations of the same points are entirely different in the two systems. Thus the Andersonian lectures describe the "furniture" of a Lodge as being the "Mosaic pavement, blazing star, and indented tassel," emblems which are now, perhaps more properly, designated as "ornaments." But the present furniture of a Lodge is also added to the pavement, star, and tassel, under the name of "other furniture." The "greater lights" of Freemasonry are entirely omitted, or, if we are to suppose them to be meant by the expression "fixed lights," then these are referred, differently from our system, to the three windows of the Lodge.
In the First Degree may be noticed, among others, the following points in the Andersonian lectures which are omitted in the American system: the place and duty of the Senior and Junior Entered Apprentices, the punishment of cowans, the bone bonebox, and all that refers to it; the clothing of the Master, the age of an Apprentice, the uses of the day and night, and the direction of the wind.
These latter, however, are, strictly speaking, what the Freemasons of that time denominated tests. In the same Degree, the following, besides many other important points in the present system, are altogether omitted in the old lectures of Anderson: the place where Freemasons anciently met, the theological ladder, and the lines parallel. Important changes have been made in several particulars; as, for instance, in the "points of entrance," the ancient lecture giving an entirely different interpretation of the expression, and designating what are now called "points of entrance" by the term "principal signs"; the distinctions between Operative and Speculative Freemasonry, which are now referred to the Second Degree, are there given in the First; and the dedication of the Bible, Compass, and Square is differently explained.
In the Second Degree, the variations of the old from the modern lectures are still greater. The old lecture is in the first place, very brief, and much instruction deemed important at the present day was then altogether omitted. There is no reference to the distinctions between Operative and Speculative Freemasonry, but this topic is adverted to in the former lecture; the approaches to the Middle Chamber are very differently arranged; and not a single word is said of the Fords of the River Jordan. It must be confessed that the ancient lecture of the Fellow Craft is immeasurably inferior to that contained in the modern system, and especially in that of Webb.
The Andersonian lecture of the Third Degree is brief, and therefore imperfect. The legend is, of course, referred to, and its explanation occupies nearly the whole of the lecture; but the details are meager, and many important facts are omitted, while there are in other points striking differences between the ancient and the present system.
But, after' all. there is a general feature of similarity a substraturrl of identity pervading the two systems of lectures the ancient and the modern which shows that the one derives its parentage from the other. In fact, some of the answers given in the year 1730 are, word for word, the same as those used in America at the present time.
Here Brother Hawkins says Martin Clare and Dunckerley, which see elsewhere, are often credited with being revisers of the English ritual and lectures, but. as there is no proof whatever that they had anything to do with such revision it does not seem worth while to repeat the well-worn tale here. Nothing can be said with any certainty about the lectures in England until the last quarter of the eighteenth century, when William Preston took the matter in hand and revised or more probably rewrote them entirely. Brother Mackey continues from this point, commenting on Preston.
Preston divided the lecture on the First Degree into six sections, the Second into four, and the Third into twelve. But of the twelve sections of the third lecture, seven only strictly appertain to the Master's Degree, the remaining five referring to the ceremonies of the Order, which, in the American system, are contained in the Past Master's lecture. Preston has recapitulated the subjects of these several lectures in his Illustrations of Masonry; and if the book were not now so readily accessible, it would be worth while to copy his remarks. It is sufficient, however, to say that he has presented us with a philosophical system of Freemasonry, which, coming immediately after the unscientific and scanty details which up to his time had been the subjects of Lodge instructions, must have been like the bursting forth of a sun from the midst of midnight darkness. There was no twilight or dawn to warn the unexpectant Fraternity of the light that was about to shine upon them. But at once, without preparation without any gradual progress or growth from almost nothing to superf uity—the Prestonian lectures were given to the Order in all their fulness of illustration and richness of symbolism and science, as a substitute for the plain and almost unmeaning systems that had previously prevailed.
Not that Freemasonry had not always been a science, but that for all that time, and longer, her science had been dormant—had been in abeyance. From 1717 the Craft had been engaged in something less profitable, but more congenial than the cultivation of Masonic science. The pleasant suppers, the modicums of punch, the harmony of song, the miserable puns, which would have provoked the ire of Johnson beyond anything that Boswell has recorded, left no time for inquiry into abstruser matters. The revelations of Doctor Oliver's square furnish us abundant positive evidence of the low state of Masonic literature in those days; and if we need negative proof, we will find it in the entire absence of any readable book on Scientific Freemasonry, until the appearance of Hutchinson's and Preston's works. Preston's lectures were, therefore, undoubtedly the inauguration of a new era in the esoteric system of Freemasonry.
These lectures continued for nearly half a century to be the authoritative text of the Order in England. But in 1813 the two Grand Lodges the Moderns and the Antiends, as they were called after years of antagonism, were happily united, and then, as the first exercise of this newly combined authority, it was determined "to revise" the system of lectures.
This duty was entrusted to the Rev. Dr. Hemming, the Senior Grand Warden, and the result was the Union or Hemm ng Lectures, which are now the authoritative standard of English Freemasonry. In these lectures many alterations of the Prestonian system were made, and some of the most cherished symbols of the Fraternity were abandoned, as, for instance, the twelve grand points, the initiation of the freeborn, and the lines parallel (as to free born in particulair, see Landmarks). Preston's lectures were rejected in consequence, it is said, of their Christian references; and Doctor Hemming, in attempting to avoid this error, fell into a greater one, of omitting in his new course some of the important ritualistic landmarks of the Order.
Brother E. L. Hawkins here observes that nothing, definite can be stated about the lectures used in America until near the end of the eighteenth century when a system of lectures was put forth by Thomas Smith Webb.
The lectures of Webb contained much, continues Doetor Mackey, that was almost a verbal copy of parts of Preston; but the whole system was briefer and the paragraphs were framed with an evident views to facility in committing them to memory. It is an herculean task to acquire the whole system of Prestonian lectures, while that of Webb may be mastered in a comparatively short time, and by much inferior intellects. There have, in consequence, in former years, been many "bright Masons" and "skilful lecturers" whose brightness and skill consisted only in the easy repetition from memory of the set form of phrases established by Webb, and who were otherwise ignorant of all the science, the philosophy, and the history of Freemasonry. But in the later years, a perfect verbal knowledge of the lectures has not been esteemed so highly in America as in England, and the most erudite Freemasons have devoted themselves to the study of those illustrations and that symbolism of the Order which lie outside of the lectures. Book Freemasonry that is, the study of the principles of the Institution as any other science is studied, by means of the various treatises which have been written on these subjects has been, from year to year, getting more popular with the American Masonic public which is becoming emphatically a reading people.
The lecture on the Third Degree is eminently Hutchinsonian in its character, and Gontains the bud from which, by a little cultivation, we might bring forth a gorgeous blossom of symbolism. Hence, the Third Degree has always been the favoriteofAmerican Freemasons. But the lectures of the First and Second Degrees, the latter particularly, are meager and unsatisfactory. The explanations, for instance, of the Form and Extent of the Lodge, of its Covering, of the Theological Ladder, and especially of the Point within the Circle, will disappoint any intellectual student who is seeking, in a symbolical alience, for some rational explanation of its symbols that promises to be worthy of his investigations (see Dew Drop Lecture and Middle Caliber Lecture)
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