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The Abbé Lefranc, Superior of the House of the Eudistes at Caen, was a very bitter enemy of Freemasonry, and the author of two libelous works against the Craft, both published in Paris; the first and best known, entitled Le Voile lePé pour les curieuc, ou le secret des revolutions, réuélé àraids de la franc-Mafonnerie, or The Veil Lified for the Curious, or the Secret of Revolutions, disclosed as the effort of Freemasonry, 1791, republished at Leige in 1827, arid the other, Conjuration corare la religion Catholique et les sowerains, dent le projet, coypu en France, dot s'éxécuter dans Junipers entier, or the Conspiracy against the Catholic Religion and Rulers, a Project conceived in France aims to spread over the Whole World, 1792. In these scandalous books, and especially in the former, Lefranc has, to use the language of Thory (Acta Latomorum i, 192), "vomited the most undeserved abuse of the Order." Of the Veil Lifled, the two great detractors of Freemasonry, Robison and Barruel, entertained different opinions. Robison made great use of it in his Proofs of a Conspiracy; but Barruel, while speaking highly of the Abbé's virtues, doubts his accuracy and declines to trust to his authority.
Lefranc was slain in the massacre of September 9, at the Convent of the Carmelites, in Paris, with one hundred and ninety-one other priests. Thory (Acta Latomorum i, 192) says that M. Ledhui, a Freemason, who was present at the sanguinary scene, attempted to save the life of Lefranc, and nearly lost his own in the effort. The Abbé says that, on the death of a friend, who was a zealous Freemason and Master of a Lodge, he found among his papers a collection of Masonic writings containing the rituals of a great many Degrees, and from these he obtained the information on which he has based his attacks upon the Order. Some idea may be formed of his accuracy and credibility, from the fact that he asserts that Faustus Socinus, the Father of Mcdern Unitarianism, was the contriver and inventor of the Masonic system a theory so absurd that even Robison and Barruel both reject it.
Among the ancients the left hand was a symbol of equity and justice. Thus, Apulcius (Metamorphoses 1, xi), when describing the procession in honor of Isis, says one of the ministers of the sacred rites "bore the symbol of equity, a left hand, fashioned with the palm extended; which seems to be more adapted to administering equity than the right, from its natural inertness, and its being endowed with no craft and no subtlety."
In the symbolism of Freemasonry, the First Degree is represented by the left side, which is to indicate that as the left is the weaker part of the body, so is the Entered Apprentice's Degree the weakest part of Freemasonry. This doctrine, that the left is the weaker side of the body, is very ancient.
Plato savs it arises from the fact that the right is more used; but Aristotle contends that the organs of the right side are by nature more powerful than those of the left.
See Constituted, Legally.
In the Middle Ages, a Legate, or leqatus, was one who was, says Du Cange (Glossary or Glossarium)," in provincias à Principe ad exercendas judicias mittebalur," that is sent by Prince into the Provinces to exercise judicial functions. The word is now applied by the Supreme Council of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite to designate certain persons who are sent into unoccupied territory to propagate the Rite. The word is, however, of comparatively recent origin, not having been used before 1866. A Legate should be in possession of at least the Thirty-second Degree.


Strictly speaking, a legend, from the Latin, legendus, meaning to be read, should be restricted to a story that has been committed to writing; but by good usage the word has been applied more extensively, and now properly means a narrative, whether true orfalse, that has been traditionally preserved from the time of its first oral communication. Such is the definition of a Masonic legend. The authors of the Conversatiorus-Lericon, referring to the monkish lives of the saints which originated in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, say that the title legend was given to all fictions which made pretensions to truth. Such a remark, however correct it may be in reference to these monkish narratives, which were often invented as ecclesiastical exercises, is by no means applicable to the legends of Freemasonry. These are not necessarily fictitious, but are either based on actual and historical facts which have been but slightly modified, or they are the offspring and expansion of some symbolic idea; in which latter respect they differ entirely from the monastic legends, which often have only the fertile imagination of some studious monk for the basis of their construction.

The instructions of Freemasonry are given to us in two modes; by the symbol and by the legend. The symbol is a material, and the legend a mental, representation of a truth. The sources of neither can be in every case authentically traced. Many of them come to us, undoubtedly, from the old Operative Freemasons of the Medieval Gilds. But whence they got them is a question that naturally arises, and which stills remains unanswered. Others have sprung from a far earlier source; perhaps, as Creuzer has suggested in his Sywibolik, from an effort to engraft higher and purer knowledge on an imperfect religious idea. If so, then the myths of the Ancient Mysteries, and the legends or traditions of Freemasonry, would have the same remote and the same final cause. They would differ in construction, but they would agree in design. For instance, the myth of Adonis in the Syrian Mysteries, and the legend of Hiram Abif in the Third Degree, would differ very widely in their details; but the object of each would be the same, namely, to teach the doctrine of the restoration from death to eternal life.

The legends of Freemasonry constitute a considerable and a very important part of its ritual. Without them, its most valuable portions as a scientific system would cease to exist. It is, in fact, in the traditions and legends of Freemasonry, more, even, than in its material symbols, that we are to find the deep religious instructions which the Institution is intended to inculcate. It must be remembered that Freemasonry has been defined to be "a system of morality, veiled in allegory and illustrated by symbols." Symbols, then, alone, do not constitute the whole of the system: allegory comes in for its share; and this allegory, which veils the Divine truths of Freemasonry, is presented to the neophyte in the various legends which have been traditionally preserved in the Order.
They may be divided into three classes:
1. The Mythical Legend.
2. The Philosophical Legend.
3. The historical Legend.

These three classes may be defined as follows:
1. The myth may be engaged in the transmission of a narrative of early deeds and events having a foundation in truth, which truth, however, has been greatly distorted and perverted by the omission or introduction of circumstances and personages, and then it constitutes the mythzeal legend.
2. Or it may have been invented and adopted as the medium of enunciating a particular thought, or of inculcating a certain doctrine, when it becomes a philosophicallegend.
3. Or, lastly, the truthful elements of actual history may greatly predominate over the fictitious and invented materials of the myth- and the narrative may be, in the main, made up of facts, with a slight coloring of imagination, when it forms a historial legend.

Thus far Doctor Mackey, but we can add further comments to advantage here. The very phrase, Historical Legends, may seem to some a contradiction in terms. Let us look further into the matter. Speaking generally, legend and tradition are any knowledge handed down from one generation to another by word of mouth. Much of what we know of Freemasonry, and especially that which pertains directly to our ceremonies, comes down through the centuries exactly in that way. Arriving as it does, we may naturally expect that in its progress something may have been lost a change here or there may have been made in the story that reaches our hands but, as we know, the old Lectures of the Craft have a flavor of the past and it is not at all unlikely that many of the circumstances that we frankly deal with as legends may have nevertheless sound historical foundation for their existence. It is interesting, of course, to note in this connection how a legend may continue even in our own day and generation.
There is available an example of the difficulty of preserving truth and discarding error, popular belief being so easily apt to retain something of both in the same statement. We do not always have as good an example as the one which is here submitted and which illustrates how in the course of time the description of a circumstance has been subjected to alteration and yet has preserved to a very large extent the original facts. An inquiry came to us from a Brother in Michigan which in part read as follows: I have on file an article relative to a Maçonic event in the history of the City of Paris in the year 1871, when France was at war with Germany. It is to the effect that the City of Paris was surrounded by German cannon ready for bombardment. The Germans sent an ultimatum to the Parisian Offieials which required action within twelve hours, otherwise the city would be bombarded.
Somehow or other the proper officials did not take the necessary and immediate steps; the consequences were that the Masonic Lodges of Paris met, prepared an answer to the ultimatum, went to the outskirts of the city, raised certain Masonic ensigns which the Germans recognized, with the result that there was no bombardment.
No better means seemed available than to communicate with that well-informed Brother, Oswald Wirth, at Paris. The Editor of Le Symbolisme replied under date of March 20, 1925, thus: If you receive L'Acacia, a French Masonic journal, you will have found there, in the Februarv issue (page 30 an article which answers your question. The legend which is circulating in the United States ought to be corrected as follows:
On April 29, 1871, the Freemasons of Paris willingly attempted to stop the shedding on` brood between the French themselves. Paris was then bombarded, not by the Germans, but by the troops under orders from the Government which sat at Versailles.
Paris was insurgent against that Government on the eighteenth of March, 1871, but would have submitted forthwith if the authorities of Versailles had wished to show a little of the spirit of conciliation- There was a supreme offer of conciliation to which nearly ten thousand persons had publicly given themselves on that April 29, 1871. Numerous Lodges were represented by their banners, each accompanied by a delegation of Brethren In the lead was the white banner of the Lodge of Vineennes. The procession proceeded along the Faubourg St. Honoré and the Avenue of Friedland on to the Arch of Triumph, and descended thence to the Avenue of the Grand Army. From the Neuilly Bridge, occupied by the troops of Versailles these beheld the white banner, and ceased the firing which already had made several victims in the procession the latter being at this time reduced to delegations only of Lodges since it entered within the flaming zone of flying shells. The delegations halted at the ramparts of Paris. Forty Worshipful Masters detached themselves from the rest of their associates in the Neuilly Avenue.
They thus arrived alone at the Bridge where a Colonel received them. At their request they were conducted to his chief, General Montandon, who was a Freemason and had taken the initiative of causing the firing to be stopped. But, not withstanding his good will, he was powerless to decide further, so at the outpost he eaused a carriage to be put at the service of three of these Freemasons who thereby presented themselves at the Palace of Versailles for the purpose of negotiating with the Government. This unfortunately showed itself unbending. It demanded of Paris submission without conditions standing on the principle, they bargained not with rioters. Alienating these, they were heedless about sparing the blood of the French which Republican exigencies involved. The enter prise of the Freemasons had therefore none other result than to cause an interruption of the bombardment of Paris for a period of twenty-seven hours and forty-five minutes.
You see that the Germans had nothing to do in this incident of Civil War. The Freemasons exerted them selves to ward off the horrors of hIay, 1871, at the turmoil in the streets of Paris, in the political broils and during the shooting of insurgents who were made prisoners. At Versailles was a man, Thiers, who was bankrupt in heart and above all bereft of democratic sentiment. He was without consideration for the people and believed every thing was permitted in the name of a legality however debatable and disputed. I will not delay the opportunity of furnishing you this information, of which you will detach the moral for yourself. As historian, you will understand that a legend may partake of some exact fact, hut which can be ill transmitted, so much so that it ends by giving rein to fantastic accounts. It is regrettable that all legends do not permit of being traced so easily to their point of departure from reality.

There is, as Brother Wirth points out, just enough flavor of the fact to give this freely circulated story some foothold amongst us as it originally appeared. The whole truth seldom has so hearty and permanent a reception. Certainly the facts deserve publicity because the Germans were not at Paris in May, 1871. They had then evacuated the city and such bloodshed as is spoken of by Brother Wirth was caused by Frenchrnen. However, the circumstances are easily misunderstood and an event which for a time delayed warfare in the streets of Paris so nearly took place after the departure of the Gertnan forces that, the facts must be carefully ascertained in order to avoid a confusion of two distinctly different events.

The Living Age, March 28, 1925, mentions an instance from the Nordisk Tidskrift of Stockholm where a Swedish writer, Wilhelm Cederschiold, relates an interesting story which seems to show that an isolated historical fact may be preserved in the popular memory for thousends of years. This is the tale:
Near Lohede, in Slesvig, there stands a great burialmound, which the country people call the Queen's Barrow. Here, according to the legend, lies a prince whom "Black Margaret," the Consort of Christian I, slew With her own hand. The country folk relate that she was at war with a foreign prince and this artful woman sent a message to her enemy inviting him to settle the difference between them in single combat. The prince agreed. They met and fought together for a time but without either receiving a wound. Then Black Margaret coiled out: " Wait a moment. I must fasten the strap of my helmet," and she made him stick his sword to the hilt in the ground! Immediately Black Margaret swung her Sword and cut off the Prince's head.

But did Queen Margaret murder the man who lies in the Queen's Barrow! There is no difficulty in clearing her memory on that score inasmueb as he lived three thousand years before she was born. Nevertheless the kernel ot the story, that a man with head cut off lies in the (Queen's Barrow, is absolutely true. When the Barrow was opened, a skeleton with the head lying at its feet was found. It was a true story that had been retained in the memory of the country folk for almost four thousand years.

Arthur Machen in Dog and Duck has collected a number of similar instances where investigation has revealed the curious exactness of ancient legend and tradition. One such folk-story avers that the field where the battle of Na9eby was fought was "down in oats at the time" but of this account there is usually proposed no way of checking its entire trustworthiness with any satisfaction.

See Enoch.
See Eudid, Legend of.
The Old Records of the Fraternity of Operative Freernasons, under the general name of Old Constitutions or Constitutions of Freemasonry, or Old Charges, were written in the fourteenth, fifteenth, sixteenth, and seventeenth centuries. The 1099 of many of these by the indiscretion of overzealous Brethren was deplored by Anderson. This is mentioned by Dr. James Anderson in the Constitutions, 1738, as having taken place at the Assembly of June 24, 1720, "This Year, at some private Lodges, several very valuable Manuscripts for they had- nothing yet in Print concerning the Fraternity, their Lodges, Regulations, Charges, Secrets, and Usages particularly one writ by Mr. Nicholas Stone the Warden of Inigo Jones were too hastily burnt by some scrupulous Brothers; that those papers might not fall into strange Hands."

But a few of them have been long known to us, and many more have been recently recovered, by the labors of such men as Brother Hughan, from the archives of old Lodges and from manuscript coll dmnq in the British Museum. In these is to be found a history of Freemasonry; full, it is true, of absurdities and anachronisms, and yet exceedingly interesting, as giving us the belief of our ancient Brethren on the subject of the origin of the Order. This history has been called by Masonic writers the Legend of the Craft, because it is really a legendary narrative, having little or no historic authenticity. In all these Old Constitutions, the legend is substantially the same; showing, evidently, a common origin; most probably an oral teaching which prevailed in the earliest ages of the confraternity. In giving it, the Dowland Manuscript, as reproduced in Brother Hughan's Old Charges, 1872, has been selected for the purpose, because it is believed to be a copy of an older one of the beginning of the sixteenth century, and because its rather modernized spelling makes it more intelligible to the general reader.


Before Noyes floode there was a man called Lameche as it is written in the Byble, in the iiijth chapter of Genesis; and this Lameehe had two wives, and the one height Ada and the other height Sella; by his first wife Ada he gott two sonns and that one Jahell, and thother Tuball, And by that other wife Sella he gott a son and a daughter. And these four children founden the beginning of all the sciences in the world. And this elder son Jahell found the science of Geometrie, and he departed flocks of sheepe and lambs in the field, and first wrought house of stone and tree as is noted in the chapter above said. And his brother Tuball found the science of .NIusieke, songe of tonge, harpe, and orgaine. And the third brother Tuball Cain found smitheraft of gold silver, copper, iron and steely and the daughter found the eraft of Weavinge. And these children knew well that God would take vengeance for synn, either by fire or by water; wherefore they writt their science that they had found in two pillars of stone that they might be found after Noyes flood. And that one stone was marble, for that would not bren with fire; and that other stone was clepped laterns, and would not drown in noe water.

Our intent is to tell you trulie how and in what manner these stones were found, that thise sciences were written in. The great Hermarynes that was Cubys son the which Cub was Sem's son that was Noys son. This Hermarynes afterwards was called Harmes the father of wise men: he found one of the two pillars of stone, and found the science written there, and he taught it to other men. And at the making of the Tower of Babylon there was Masonrye first made much of. And the Kinge of Babylon that height Nemrothe, was a mason himselfe, and loved well the science, as it is said with masters of histories. And when the City of Nyneve, and other citties of the East should be made, Nemrothe, the Kinge of Babilon, sent thither threescore Masons at the rogation of the Kinge of Nyneve his cosen. And when he sent them forth, he gave them a charge on this manner: That they should be true each of them to other, and that they should love truly together, and that they should serve their lord truly for their pay- soe that the master may have worshipp, and all that long to him. And other moe charges he gave them. And this was the first tyme that ever Masons had any charge of his science.

Moreover, when Abraham and Sara his wife went into Egipt, there he taught the Seaven Scyences to the Egip~ tians; and he had a worthy Seoller that height Ewelyde and he learned right well, and was a master of all the vij Sciences liberall. And in his dayes it befell that the lord and the estates of the realme had soe many sonns that they had gotten some by their wifes and some by other ladyes of the realme; for that land is a hott land and a plentious of generation. And they had not competent livelode to find with their children, wherefore they made much care. And then the King of the land made a great Counsell and a parliament, to witt how they might find their children honestly as gentlemen. And they could find non manner of good way. And then they did crye through all the realme, it their were any man that could informe them, that he should come to them, and he should be soe rewarded for his travail, that he should hold him pleased.

After that this cry was made, then come this worthy clarke Ewelyde, and said to the king and to all his great lords: "If yee will. take me your children to governe, and to teache them one of the Seaven Scyences, wherewith they may live honestly as gentlemen should, under a condition that yee will grant me and them a commission that I may have power to rule them after the manner that the science ought to be ruled," And that the Kinge and all his Counsell granted to him anone, and sealed their commission. And then this worthy Doctor tooke to him these lords' songs, and taught them the seyence of Geometrie in practice, for to work in stones all manner of worthy worke that belongeth to buildinge churches temples, castells, towres, and mannors, and all other manner of buildings: and he gave them a charge on this manner:

The first was, that they should be true to the Kinge, and to the lord that they owe. And that they should love well together, and be true each one to other. And that they should call each other his fellowe, or else brother and not by servant, nor his nave, nor none other foule name. And that they should deserve their paie of the lord, or of the master that they serve. And that they should ordaine the wisest of them to be master of the worke; and neither for love nor great Iynneage, ne Atehes ne for noe favour to lett another that hath little conning for to be master of the lord's worke, wherethrough the lord should be evill served and they ashamed. And also that they should call their governors of the worke, Master, in the time that they worke with him. And other many moe charges that longe to tell. And to all these charges he made them to sweare a great oath that men used in that time- and ordayned them for reasonable wages, that they might live honestly by. And also that they should come and semble together every yeare once, how they might worke best to serve the lord for his profitt, and to their own worshipp; and to correct within themselves him that had trespassed against the alienee. And thus was the seyence grounded there; and that worthy Mr. Ewelide gave it the name of Geometrie. And now it is called through all this land Masonrye.

Sythen longe after, when the Children of Israell were coming into the Land of Beheast, that is now called amongst us the Country of Jhrlm, King David began the Temple that they caned Templum D'ni and it is named with us the Temple of Jerusalem. And the same King David loved Masons well and cherished them much, and gave them good paie. And he gave the charges and the manners as he had learned of Egipt given by Ewelyde, and other charges moe that ye shall heare afterwards.
And after the decease of Kinge David, Salamon, that was David's sonn, performed out the Temple that his father begonne, and sent after Masons into divers countries and of divers lands; and gathered them together, 80 that he had fourscore thousand workers of stone, and were all named Masons. And he chose out of them three thousand that were ordayned to be maisters and governors of his worke. And furthermore, there was a Kinge of another region that men called Iram, and he loved well Binge Solomon, and he gave him tymber to his worke. And he had a son that height Aynon, and he was a Master of Geometrie, and was ehiefe Maister of all his Masons, and was Master of all his gravings and carvinge, and of all other manner of Masonrye that longed to the Templeand this is witnessed by the Bible in libro Requm the third chapter. And this Solomon confirmed both charges and the manners that his father had given to Masons. And thus was that worthy science of Masonrye confirmed in the country of Jerusalem, and in many other kingdoms

Curious craftsmen walked about full wide into divers countryes, some because of learninge more craft and cunninge, and some to teach them that had but little conynge. And soe it befell that there was one curious Mason that height Maymus Grecus, that had been at the making of Solomon's Temple, and he came into France, and there he taught the science of Masonrye to men of France. And there was one of the Regal lyne of France, that height Charles Martell: and he was a man that loved well such a science, and drew to this Maymus Grecus that is above said, and learned of him the ecience, and tooke upon him the charges and manners; and afterwards, by the grace of God, he was elect to be Binge of France. And when he was in his estate he tooke Masons, and did helpe to make men Masons that were none; and set them to worke, and gave them both the charge and the manners and good paie as he had learned of other Masons; and confirmed them a Chartor from yeare to yeare, to hold their semble wher they would; and cherished them right much; And thus came the science into France.

England in all this season stood voyd as for any charge of Masonrye unto Saint Albones tyme. And in his days the King of England that was a Pagan, he did wall the to me about that is called Sainet Albones. And Sainet Albones was a worthy Knight, and steward with tbe Binge of his Household, and had governance of the realme, and also of the makinge of the town walls, and loved well Masons and cherished them much. And he made their paie right good, standinge as the realm did, for he gave them ijs. vjd. a weeke, and iijd. to their nonesynehes. And before that time, through all this land, a Mason took but a penny a day and his meate, till Sainet Albone amended it, and gave them a chartour of the Binge and his Counsell for to hold a general councell, and gave it the name of Assemble; and thereat he was himselfe, and helpe to make Masons, and gave them charges as yee shad heare afterward.

Right soone after the decease of Sainct Albone, there came divers warrs into the realme of England of divers Nations, soe that the good rule of Masonrye was de stroyed unto the tyme of Singe Athelstone days that was a worthy Kinge of England and brought this land into good rest and peace- and builded many great works of Abbyes and Towres and other many divers building,and loved well Masons. And he had a son that height Edwinne, and he loved Masons much more than his father did. And he was a great practiser in Geometric and he drew him much to talke and to commune with Masons and to learne of them seienee; and afterward, for love that he had to Masons, and to the science, he was made a Mason, and he gatt of the Kinge his father a Chartour and Commission to hold every yeare once an Assemble wher that ever they would within the realme of Englandand to eorreet within themselves defaults and trespasses that were done within the science. And he held himself an Assemble at Yorke, and there he made Masons, and gave them charges, and taught them the manners, and commanded that rule to be kept ever after, and tooke then the Chartour and Commission to keepe, and made ordinance that it should be renewed from Kinge to Kinge

And when the assemble was gathered he made a cry that all old Masons and young that had any writeinge or understanding of the charges and the manners that were made before in this land or in any other, that they should show them forth. And when it was proved, there were founden some in Frenche, and some in Greek, and some in English, and some in other languages: and the intent of them all was founden all one. And he did make a booke thereof, and how the science was founded. And he himselfe bad and commanded that it should be readd or tould, when that any Mason should be made, for to give him his Charge. And fro that day unto this tyme manmers of Masons have beene kept in that forme as well as men might governe it. And furthermore divers Assembles have beene put and ordayned eertaine charges by the best advice of Masters and fellowes.

If anyone carefully examines this legend, he anll find that it is really a history of the rise and progress of architecture, with which is mixed allusions to the ancient Gilds of the Operative Masons. Geometry also, as a science essentially necessary to the proper cultivation of architecture, receives a due share of attention. In thus confounding architecture, geometry, and Freemasonry, the workmen of the Middle Ages were but obeying a natural instinct which leads every man to seek to elevate the character of his profession, and to give to it an authentic claim to antiquity. It is this instinct which has given rise to so much of the mythical element in the modern history of Freemasonry. Anderson hag thug written his records in the very spirit of the Legend of the Craft, and Preston and Oliver have followed his example. Hence this legend derives its great importance from the fact that it has given a complexion to all subsequent Masonic history. In dissecting it with critical handy we shall be enabled to dissever its historical from its mythical portions and assign to it its true value as an exponent of the Masonic sentiment of the Middle Ages.

Brother W. SI. Rylands offers some suggestive comments on the legendary history that may well be inserted at this stage of the di8cussion bib Doctor Mackey (see Some Notes on the Legends of Masonry Transacts s of Quatuor Coronati Lodge, volume xvi, page 9, 1903).

It appears to me not at all improbable that much, if not all, of the legendary history was composed in answer to the Writ for their Returns, issued to the Gilds all over the country, in the twelfth year of Richard II, 1388 A-DSome of the points and articles would, no doubt, be in use from an earlier period in pretty much the same form everywhere. One great difficulty appears to present itsself. If the legendary history was composed for these purposes, the Old Charges, as we now have them must either represent the Return made by one Gild of Masons or all the Gilds must have possessed almost exactly the same legend- unless it was agreed to be a collected body from the various Gilds.
Of course, the easiest way to decide the question is to accept the statement that the history was collected by Edwin: but this solution of the difficulty does not satisfy me. There is still another. If the Old Charges do really represent the Return made in 1388 by one of most important Gild of Mssons in England, it is not very difficult to understand how during the long period of years when copies are entirely wanting, the legendary history was spread by the Priesthood, and the Masons themselves, so that it was at least generally adopted in almost its present form. It must be understood that in making these suggestions I do not overlook the possibility or probability of the Gild of Masons having possessed so short legendary history at any earlier date: but if such were the case, it would stand alone among all other trades

The various legends pertaining to the Craft are discussed at length in Doctor Mackey's revised History of Freemasonry.
A title by which the Legend of the Craft is sometimes designated is in Dreference to the Gild of Operative Masons.
Much of this legend is a myth, having very little foundation, and some of it none, in historical accuracy. But underneath it all there lies a profound stratum of philosophical symbolism. The destruction and the rebuilding of the Temple by the efforts of Zerubbabel and his compatriots, the captivity and the return of the captives, are matters of sacred history; but many of the details have been invented and introduced for the purpose of giving fonn to a symbolic idea. And this idea, expressed in the symbolism of the Royal Arch, is the very highest form of that which the ancient Mystagogues, interpreters of religious mysteries, called the Euresis, or the Discovery.
There are some portions of the legend which do not bear directly on the symbolism of the second Temple as a type of the second life, but which still have an indirect bearing on the general idea. Thus the particular legend of the three weary sojourners is undoubtedly a mere myth, there being no known historical testimony for its support; but it is evidently the enunciation symwbolically of the religious and philosophical idea that Divine Truth may be sought and won only by successful perseverance through all the dangers, trials, and tribulations of life, and that it is not in this, but in the next life, that it is fully attained. The legend of the English and the American systems is identical; that of the Irish is very different as to the time and events; and the legend of the Royal Arch of the Scottish Rite is more usually called the Legend of Enoch.

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