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MEMPHIS, RITE OF.
In 1839, two French Freemasons, named respectively Marconis and Moullet, of whom the former was undoubtedly the leader, instituted, first at Paris, then at Marseilles, and afterward at Brussels, a new Rite which they called the Rite of Memphis, and which consisted of ninetyone Degrees. Subsequently, another Degree was added to this already too long list. The Rite, however, has repeatedly undergone modifications. The Rite of Memphis was undoubtedly founded on the extinct Rite of Mizraim; for, as Ragon says, the Egyptian Rite seems to have inspired Marconis and Moullet in the organization of their new Rite. It is said by Ragon, who has written copiously on the Rite, that the first series of Degrees, extending to the Thirty-fifth Degree, is an assumption of the thirty three Degrees of the Ancient and Accepted Rite, with scarcely a change of name. The remaining Degrees of the Rite are borrowed, according to the same authority, from other well-known systems, and some, perhaps, the invention'.of their founders. The Rite of Memphis was not at first recognized by the Grand Orient of France, and consequently formed no part of legal French Freemasonry. So about 1852 its Lodges were closed by the civil authority, and the Rite,touseaFrench Masonic phrase, "went to sleep."
A Lodge was operating in 1859 as of the Reformed Masonic Order of Memphis, or Rite of the Grand Lodge of-Philadelphes, in England, and issuing certificates of membership. The Grand Secretary of the Grand Lodge of England therefore sent out a circular warning members of the English Lodges against spurious Lodges claiming to be Masonic.
In the year 1869, Marconis, still faithful to the system which he had invented, applied to the Grand Master of Franee to give to it a new life. The Grand wollege of Rites was consulted on the subject, and the Council of the Order having made a favorable degree, the Rite of Memphis was adrnitted, in November, 1869, among those Masonic systems which acknowledge obedience to the Grand Orient of France, and perform their functions within its bosom. To obtain this position! however, the onlv one which, in France, preserves a Masonic system from the reputation of being clandestine, it was necessary that Marconis, who was then the Grand Hierophant, should, as a step preliminary to any favorable action on the part of the Grand Orient, take an obligation by which he forever after divested himself of all authority, of any kind whatsoever, over the Rite. It passed entirely out of his hands, and, going into obedience to the Grand Orient, that Body has taken complete and undivided possession of it, and laid its advanced Degrees upon the shelf, as Masonic curiosities, since the Grand Orient only recognizes, in practise, the thirtythree degrees of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite.
This, then, became the position of the Rite of Memphis in France. Its original possessors have disclaimed all further control or direction of it. It has been admitted by the Grand Orient among the eight systems of Rites which are placed under its obedience; that is to say, it admits its existence, but it does not suffer it to be worked. Like all Masonic Rites that have ever been invented the organization of the Rite of Memphis is founded on the first three Degrees of Ancient Craft Masonrv. These three Degrees, of course, are given in Symbolic Lodges. In 1862, when Marconis surrendered the Rite into the hands of the ruling powers of French Freemasonry, many of these Lodges existed in various parts of France, although in a dormant condition, because, as we have already seen, ten years before they had been closed by the civil authority Had they been in active operation, thev would not have been recognized by the French Freemasons; they would have been looked upon as clandestine, and there would have been no affiliation with them because the Grand Orient recognizes no Masonic Bodies as legal which do not in return recognize it as the head of French Freemasonry.
But when Marconis surrendered his powers as Grand Hierophant of the Rite of Memphis to the Grand Orient, that Body permitted these Lodges to be resuscitated and reopened only on the conditions that they would acknowledge their subordination to the Grand Orient; that they would work only in the first three Degrees and never confer any Degree higher than that of Master Mason; the members of these Lodges, however high might be their dignities in the Rite of Memphis, were to be recognized only as Master Masons; every Freemason of the Rite of Memphis was to deposit his Masonic titles with the Grand Secretary of the Grand Orient; these titles were then to be visé or approved and regularized, but only as far as the Degree of Master Mason; no Freemason of the Rite of Memphis was to be permitted to claim any higher Degree, and if he attempted to assume any such title of a higher Degree which was not approved by the Grand Master, he was to be considered as irregular, and was not to be affiliated with by the members of any of the regular Lodges.
Such became the condition of the Rite of Memphis in France. It was absorbed into the Grand Orient; Marconis, its founder and head, surrendered all claim to any jurisdiction over it; there are Lodges under the jurisdiction of the Grand Orient which originally belonged to the Rite of Memphis, and they practise its Ritual, but onlv so far as to give the Degrees of Apprentice, Fellow Craft, and Master Mason. Its "Sages of the Pyramids" its "Grand Architects of the Mysterious City," its "Sovereign Princes of the Magi of the Sanctuary of Memphis," with its "Sanctuary," its "Mystical Temple," its "Liturgical College," its "Grand Consistor) ," and its "Supreme Tribunal," existed no longer except in the Diplomas and Charters which were quietly laid away on the shelves of the Secretariat of the Grand Orient. To attempt to propagate the Rite became in France a high Masonie offense. The Grand Orient had the power, but there seemed no likelihood that it would ever exercise it.
Some circumstances which occurred in the Grand Orient of France very clearly show the true condition of the Rite of Memphis. A meeting was held in Paris by the Council of the Order, a Bodv which something like the Committee of General Purposes of the Grand Lodge of England, does all the preliminary business for the Grand Orient, but which is possessed of rather extensive legislative and administrative powers, as it directs the Order during the recess of the Grand Orient. At that meeting, a communication was received from a Lodge in Moldavia, called The Disciples of Truth, which Lodge is under the jurisdiction of the Grand Orient of Franee, having been chartered by that Body. This communication stated that certain Brethren of that Lodge had been invested by one Carence with the Degree of Rose Croix in the Rite of Memphis, and that the diplomas had been dated at the Grand Orient of Egypt, and signed by Brother Marconis as Grand Hierophant.
The Commission of the Council of the Order, to whom the subject was referred, reported that the conferring of these Degrees was null and void; that neither Carence nor Marconis had any commission. authority, or power to confer Degrees of the Memphis Rite or to organize Bodies; and that Marconis had, by oath, solemnly divested himself of all right to claim the title of Grand Hierophant of the Rite; which oath, originally taken in May, 1862, had at several subsequent times, namely, in Septembers 1863, March, 1864 September, 1865, and March. 1566, been renewed. its a matter of clemency, the Council determined not, for the present at least, to prefer charges against Marconis and Carence before the Grand Orients but to warn them of the error they committed in malting a traffic of Masonic Degrees. It also ordered the report to be published and widely diffused, so that the Fraternity might be appraised that there was no power outside of the Grand Orient which could confer the high Degrees of any Rite.
An attempt having been made, in 1872, to establish the Rite in England, Brother Montague, the Seeretarv-General of the Supreme Couneil, wrote to Brother Thevenot, the Grand Secretary of the Grand Orient of France, for information as to its validity. From him he received a letter containing the following statements. from vhich official authority we gather the fact that the Rite of Memphis is a dead Rite, and that no one has authority in any country to propagate it: "Neither in 1866, nor at any other period, has the Grand Orient of France recognized "the Ancient and Primitive Rite of Masonry," concerning which you inquire. and which has been recently introduced in Lancashire. At a particular time, and with the intention of causing the plurality of Rites to disappear, the Grand Orient of France annexed and absorbed the Rite of Memphis, under the express condition that the Lodges of that Rite, which were received under its jurisdiction, should confer only the three Symbolic Degrees of Apprentiee, Fellow Craft, and Master, according to its Special rituals, and refused to recognize any other Degree, or any other title, belonging to such Rite.
At the period when this treaty was negotiated with the Supreme Chief of this Rite by Brother Marconis de Stegre, Brother H. J. Seymour was at Paris! and seen by us but no power was conferred on him by the Grand Orient of France concerning this Rite; and, what is more, the Grand Orient of France does not give, and has never given, to any single person the right to make Freemasons or to create Lodges. Afterwards, and in consequence of the bad faith of Brother Marconis de Négre, who pretended he had ceded his Rite to the Grand Orient of France for France alone, Brother Harry J. Seymour assumed the title of Grand Master of the Rite of Memphis in America, and founded in New York a Sovereign Sanctuary of this Rite. A correspondence ensued between this new power and the Grand Orient of France, and even the name of this Sovereign Sanctuary appeared in our Calendar for 1867. But when the Grand Orient of France learned that this power went beyond the three symbolic Degrees, and that its confidence had been deceived, the Grand Orient broke off all connection with this power, and personally with Brother Harry J. Seymour; and, in fact, since that period, neither the name of Brother Harry J. Seymour, as Grand Masters nor the Masonic power which he founcled, have any longer appeared in the Masonic Calendar of the Grand Orient.
" Your letter leads me to believe that Brother Harry J. Seymour is endeavoring, I do not know with what object, to introduce a new Rite into England. in that country of the primitive and only true Freemasonry, one of the most respectable that I know of. I consider this event as a misfortune. The Grand Orient of Franee has made the strongest efforts to destroy the Rite of Memphis; it has succeeded. The Lodges of the Rite, which it at first received within its jurisdiction, have all abandoned the Rite of Memphis to work according to the French Rite. I sincerely desire that it may be the same in the United Kingdom, and you will ever find me ready to second your efforts.
"Referring to this letter, I have, Very Illustrious Brother, but one word to add, and that is, that the Constitution of the Grand Orient of France interdicts its founding Lodges in countries where a regular Masonic power already exists; and if it cannot found Lodges a fortiori, it cannot grant Charters to establish Grand Masonic Powers: in other terms, the Grand Orient of France never has given to Brother Harry J. Seymour, nor to any other person, powers to constitute a Lodge, or to create a Rite, or to make Masons. Brother Harry J. Seymour may perfectly well have the signatures of the Grand Master and of the Chief of the Secretary's office of the Grand Orient of France on a Diploma, as a fraternal vise; but certainly lie has neither a Charter nor a Power. I also beg you to make every effort to obtain the textual copy of the documents of which Brother Harry J. Seymour takes advantage. It is by the inspection of this document it will be necessary to judge the question, and I await new communications on this subject from your fraternal kindness" (see Marconis, also Yarker and Seymour).
In Second Chronicles in, 18, it is said that at the building of the Temple there were "three thousand and six hundred overseers to set the people awork." The word translated "overseers" is, in the original, Ohmic, Menatzchim. Doctor Anderson, in his catalogue of workmen at the Temple. calls these Menatzchim "expert Master Masons, " saying they were "overseers and Comforters of the People in Working, that were expert Master Masons"; and so they have been considered in all subsequent lectures.
When the secret intention wilfully disagrees with the spoken promise, we call that sort of dishonesty, an equivocation, or mental reservation. To purposely mislead by one's deceitful statement is to equivocate; to withhold one's inner consent from what he outwardly says is a mental reservation, a disagreement between a person's purpose and pledge. Such a difference between the will and the word, an unspoken qualification partially or wholly altering a statement so as to lead the hearer astray is mental reservation.
For the causes and reasons behind such deceptive actions there is much scope for speculation. A doctor may temper an explanation of the facts according to his knowledge of the hearer's ability to listen helpfully. In the face of danger, fear suggests dodging. The historian James A. Froude tells in the Divorce of Catherine (page 326), that:
The Abbots and Priors had sworn to the Supremaey (of King over Pope), but had sworn reluctantly, with secret reservations to save their consciences.
Here is the report, as Froude gas it, of a case where allegiance to a foreign power was mentally approved but openly denied. The moral danger of the practise is evident and Blaise Pascal in his Provincial Letters has exposed its possibilities with wit and vigor in discussing the Jesuits within his Church. In the ninth letter, July 3, 1656, we find the following dialogue beginning with the explanation by a monk of the Jesuitical use of equivocations, words and sentences of intentional deceitfulness and then passing to the use of mental reservations:
"I would now say a little about the facilities we have invented for avoiding sin in worldly conversations and intrigues. One of the most embarrassing of these cases is how to avoid telling lies, particularly when one is anxious to induce a belief in what is false. In such cases, our doctrine of equivocations has been found of admirable service, according to which, as Sanchez has it, ' it is permitted to use ambiguous terms, leading people to understand them in another sense from that in which we understand them ourselves."'
"I know that already father," said I.
" We have published it so often," continued he, " that at length, it seems, everybody knows of it. But do you knon what is to be done when no equivocal words can be got? "
"I thought as much," said the Jesuit; "this is some thing new, sir: I mean the doctrine of mental reservations. 'it man may swear.' as Sanchez says in the same place. ' that he never did such a thing (though he actually did it). cleaning within himself that he did not do so on a certain dale or before he was born, or understanding any other such circumstance, While the words which he employs have no such sense as whould discover his meaning. And this is very convenient in many cases, and quite innocent, when necessary or conducive to one's health, honor, or advantage.' "
" Indeed, father! is that not a lie, and perjury to boot?"
"No," said the father; "Sanchez and Filiutius prove that it is not: for, says the latter, 'it is the intention that determines the quality of the action.' And he suggests a still surer method for avoiding falsehood, which is this:
After saving aloud I swear that I hare not done that, to add, in a low voice today; or after saying aloud, I swear, to interpose in a whisper, that I say, and then continue aloud, that I have done that. This, thou perceive, is telling the truth."
"I grant it," said I, "it might possibly, however, he found to be telling the truth in a low key, and falsehood in a loud one, besides, I should be afraid that many people might not have sufficient presence of mind to avail themselves of these methods.'
' Our doctors," replied the Jesuit, "have taught, in the same passage, for the benefit of such as might not be expert in the use of these reservations, that no more is required of them, to avoid lying. than simply to say that they have not done what thes have done, provided 'they have, in general, the intention of giving to their language the sense which an able man would give to it.' Be candid. now, and confess if you have not often felt yourself embarrassed, in consequence of not knowing this""
' Sometimes," said l.
"And will you not also acknowledge," continued he, "that it would often prove very convenient to be absolved in conscience from keeping certain engagements one may have made? "
"The most convenient thing in the world!" I replied
" Listen, then, to the general rule laid down by Escobar:
'Promises are not binding, when the person in making them had no intention to bind himself. Now, it seldom happens that any have such an intention, unless when they confirm their promises by an oath or contract; so that when one simply says, I will do it, he means that he will do it if he does not change his mind: for he does not mish. by saving that. to deprive himself of his liberty He gives other rules in the same strain, which you may consult for yourself, and tells us, in conclusion, 'that all this is taken from Molina and our other authors, and is therefore settled beyond all doubt ""
"My dear father," I observed, "I had no idea that the direction of the intention possessed the power of rendering promises null and void."
' You must perceive," returned he, " what facility this affords for prosecuting the business of life." Needless to say that the attempt to involve the subject in a fog of difficulties by supposing extreme cases where equivocation and mental reservation may be believed necessary, as to save life, for example, is not to deal with the matter squarely. As the Scriptures say, "Let your yea be yea; and your nay nay" (James v, 12), remembering an example of such sincerity as that of Paul who wrote in the Second Epistle to the Corinthians (i, 18), "But as God is true, our word toward you was not yea and nay," not two mutually destroving statements meaning naught in truth, but a straightforward affirmation, the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth (see Equivocation).
In the Indian mythology, Menu is the son of Brahma, and the founder of the Hindu religion. Thirteen other Menus are said to exist, seven of vwhom have alreadv reigned on earth. But it is the first one whose instructions constitute the whole civil and religious politv of the Hindus. The code attributed to him by the Brahmans has been translated by Sir William Jones, with the title of The Institutes of Menu.
The point of a Knight Templar's sword is said to be characterized by the quality of "mercy unrestrained"; which reminds us of the Shakespearian expression—"the quality of mercy is not strained." In the days of chivalry, mercy to the conquered foe was an indispensable quality of a knight. An act of cruelty in battle was considered infamous, for what ever was contrary to the laws of generous warfare was also contrary to the laws of chivalry (see Magnimous)
MERCY, PRINCE OF.
See Prince of Mercy.
The lid or cover of the Ark of the Covenant was called the Mercy-seat or the Propitiatory, because on the day of the atonement the High Priest poured on it the blood of the sacrifice for the sins of the people.
The sun in the South is represented in Freemasonry by the Junior Warden, for this reason: when the sun has arrived at the zenith, at which time he is in the South, the splendor of his beams entitles him to the appellation which he receives in the instructions as "the beauty and glory of the day." Hence, as the Pillar of Beauty which supports the Lodge is referred to the Junior Wardens that officer is said to represent "the sun in the South at High Twelve," at which hour the Craft are called by him to refreshment, and therefore is he also placed in the South that he may the better observe the time and mark the progress of the shadow over the dialplate as it crosses the meridian line.
The Old Charges say, "all preferment among Masons is grounded upon real worth and personal merit only; that so the Lords mav be well served, the Brethren not put to shame, nor the Royal Craf. despised. Therefore no Master or Warden is chosen by seniority, but for his merit" (see Preferments
The space in which the sun moves, as an Egyptian personification, signifying, the habitation of Horus.
MERZDORF, J. L. T.
A learned German Freemason, born in 1812. Initiated in Apollo Lodge, at Leipsic ad in 1834. He resuscitated the Lodge Zum goldenen Hirsch (Golden Stag), Oldenburg, and was for years Deputy Master. He published Die Symbole, die Gesetze. die Geschichte, der Zweck: der Masonei schliessen keine Religion von derselben aus, Leipsic, 1836; Die Denkmunzen der Freimaurer Brüderschaft, Oldenburg, 1852; Lessing's Ernst und Fallc, historisch kritisch beleuchtet, Hanover, 1855; Geschichte der Freimaurer Brüderschaft im Schottland, 1861, and several other works.
Corresponding to Adam and Eve, in accordance with Persian cosmogony.
MESMER, FRIEDERICH ANTON.
A German physician who was born in Suabia, in 1734, and, after a long life, a part of which was passed in notoriety and the closing years in obscurity, died in 1815. He was the founder of the doctrine of animal magnetism, called after him Mesmerism. He visited Paris, and became there in some degree intermixed with the Masonic activities of Cagliostro, who used the magnetic operations of Mesmer's new science in his initiations (see Mesmeric Freemasonry).
In the year 1782 Mesmer established in Paris a Society which he called the Order of Universal Harmony. It was based on the principles of animal magnetism or mesmerism, and had a form of initiation by which the founder elaimed that its adepts were purified and rendered more fit to propagate the doctrines of his science. French writers have dignified this Order by the title of Mesmeric Freemasonry.
The Fourth Degree of the German Union of XXII.
A Greek word, signifying, I am in the center of heaven. Hutchinson fancifully derives from it the word Masonry, which he says is a corruption of the Greek and refers to the constellation Magaroth mentioned by Job; but he fails to give a satisfactory reason for his etymology. Nevertheless, Oliver favors it.
In the divestiture of metals as a preliminary to initiation, we are symbolically taught that Freemasonry regards no man on account of his wealth. The Talmudical treatise Beracorh, with a like spirit of symbolism, directs in the Temple service that no man shall go into the Mountain of the House, that is, into the Holy Temple, "with money tied up in his purse."
We are told in Scripture that the Temple was "built of stone made ready before it was brought thither, so that there was neither hammer, nor axe, nor any tool of iron heard in the house while it was in the buildings (First Kings vi, 7). Freemasonry has adopted this as a symbol of the peace and harmony which should reign in a Lodge, itself a type of the world. But Clarke, in his commentary on the place, suggests that it was intended to teach us that the Temple was a type of the kingdom of God, and that the souls of men are to be prepared here for that place of blessedness. There is no repentance, tears, nor prayers: the stones must be all squared, and fitted here for their place in the New Jerusalem; and, being liteng stoners must be built up a holy temple for the habitation of God.
METROPOLITAN CHAPTER OF FRANCE.
There existed in France, toward the end of the last century, a Body calling itself the Grand Chapter General of France. It was formed out of the débris of the Council of Emperors of the East and latest, and the Council of Knights of the East, which had been founded by Pirlet. In l786, it united with the schismatic Grand Orient, anal then received the title ot the Metropolitan Chapter of France. It possessed in its archives a large collection of manuscript cahiers of Degrees, most ot them being mere Masonic curiosities.
The name given to the Hebrew Quarryman, who is represented in some legends as one of the assassins, Fanor and Amru being the other two.
The first recorded Masonic Lodge in Mexico was probably Arquitectura Moral which met in Mexico City as early as 1806. The Scottish Rite was introduced about four years later and in l813 a Grand Lodge was established with Don Felipe Martinez Aragon as Grand Master.
About 1824 the York Rite was brought into the territory by the American Ambassador, Brother Joel R. Poinsett, who procured a Charter for a Lodge through the Grand Lodge of New York. Brother Mackey states that three Lodges were opened in the year 1825 and that they established a Grand Lodge of the York Rite. The two systems existing side by side were the cause of much bitterness and political strife and in 1830 some of the leading Brethren of both Rites planned to bring about more peaceful conditions bv forming a third Rite, consisting of nine Degrees and composed of both York and Scottish Rite Freemasons. A Grand Orient was formed with a National Grand Lodge attached. From 1833 to 1863 Freemasonry, at any rate as far as the activities of the Grand Bodies were concerned, was dormant. In 1859 Brother Lafon de Ladebat had been sent by authority of Brother Albert Pike to organize Freemasonry in Mexico but instead of opening a Grand Lodge of Symbolic Freemasonry as expected he constituted a Supreme Council.
In 1858 the Supreme Councils were fused with the National Grand Lodge. In 1872 dissension again arose. Grand Lodges were probably organized at the time by Lodges under the jurisdiction of the Supreme Council. A Central Grand Lodge was formed at Vera Cruz but the Supreme Council did not give up its authority.
There were seven Grand Lodges in Mexico when the Grand Lodge of Colon, regarding Mexico as unoecupied territory, proceeded to form three Lodges whieh in January, 1883, established at Vera Cruz the Mexican Grand Lodge.
On June 25, the same year, twelve Lodges met and established a Grand Lodge of the Federal District of Mexico.
According to Brother Oliver Day Street's Report on Correspondence made in 1922 to the Grand Lodge of Alabama, in 1882 "all Masonry of the Craft, Symbolic or Blue degrees except possibly a few Lodges of the old Mexican National Rite had fallen under the control of Scottish Rite bodies of which there were at least three contending with each other for supremacy."
In February, 1890, was established the Gran Dieta Simbolica which was to be a central governing Body for the entire republic. It started well and had at one time seventeen of the State Grand Lodges under its control. In April, 1901, it was disbanded and with the Grand Lodges became independent. Brother Street remarks: "Our information is that at present there ares or recently were, four Grand Lodges in the Federal District, each claiming to be sovereign and independent, and each exercising jurisdiction not only in the district but in several states."
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