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The Latin word ritus, Whence we get the English Rite, signifies an approved usage or custom, or an external observance. Vossius derives it by metathesis, a transposition of letters or sounds, from the Greek whence literally it signifies a trodden path, and, metaphorically, a long-followed custom As a Masonic term its application is therefore apparent. It signifies a method of conferring Masonic light by a collection and distribution of Degrees. It is, in other words, the method and order observed in the government of a Masonic system. The original system of Speculative Freemasonry consisted of only the three Symholic Degrees, called, therefore, Ancient Craft Masonry. Such was the condition of Freemasonry at the time of what is called the Reviual in 1717. Hence, this was the original Rite or approved usage, and so it continued in England until the year 1813, when at the union of the two Grand Lodges the Holy Royal Arch was declared to be a part of the system; and thus the English Rite was made legitimately to consist of four Degrees.
But on the Continent of Europe, the organization of near systems began at a much earlier period, and by the invention of what are known as the advanced degrees a multitude of Rites was established. All of these agreed in one important essential. They were built upon the three Symbolic Degrees, which, in every instance, constituted the fundamental basis upon which they were erected. They were intended as an expansion and development of the Masonic ideas contained in these Degrees. The Apprentice, Fellow Craft, and Master's Degree were the poreh through which every initiate was required to pass before he could gain entrance into the inner temple which had been erected by the founders of the Rite. They were the tent and the advanced degrees the commentary.
Hence arises the law, that whatever may be the constitution and teachings of any Rite as to the advanced Degrees peculiar to it, the three Symbolic Degrees being common to all the Rites, a Master Mason, in any one of the Rites, may visit and labor in a Master's Lodge of every other Rite. It is only after that Degree is passed that the exclusiveness of each Rite begins to operate.
There has been a multitude of these Rites. Some of them have lived only with their authors, and died when their parental energy in fostering them ceased to exert itself. Others have had a more permanent existence, and still continue to divide the Masonic family, furnishing, however, only diverse methods of attaining to the same great end, the acquisition of divine Truth by Masonic light Ragon, in his Tuilier General, Supplies us with the names of a hundred and eight, under the different titles of Rites, Orders, and academies But many of these are unmasollic, being merely of a political, social or literary character. The following catalogue ernl)races the most important of those which has e hitherto or still continue to arrest the attention of the Masonic student:
RITE DES ELUS COENS, OU PRETRES.
The Freneh for Rite of Elect Cohens, or Priests. A system adopted in 1750, but which did not attain its full vigor until twenty-five years thereafter, when Lodges were opened in Paris, Marseilles, Bordeaux, and Toulouse. The devotees of Martinez Pasqualis, the founder, were called Martirlistes, and were partly Hermetic and partly Swedenborgian in their teachings. Martinez was a religious man, and based his teachings partly on the Jewish Cabala and partly on Hermetie supernaturalism. The grades were as follows in French:
4. Grand Elu
5. Apprenti Coen;
6. Compagnon Coen;
7. Maitre Coen;
8. Grand Architecte;
9. Grand Commandeur
RITE OF THE GRAND LODGE OF PHILADELPHES.
See Memphis, Rite of
German for Knight, as Der Preußische Ritter, meaning the Prussian Knight. The word is not, however, applied to a Knight Templar, who is more usually called Tempelherr; although, when spoken of as a Knight of the Temple, he would be styled Ritter vom Tempel.
The mode of opening and closing Lodge, of conferring the Degrees, of installation, and Other duties, constitute a System of ceremonies which are called the Ritual. Much of this Ritual is esoteric, and, not being permitted to be committed to writing, is communicated only by oral instruction. In each Masonic Jurisdiction it is required, by the superintending authority, that the Ritual shall be the same; but it more or less differs in the different Rites and Jurisdictions But this does not affect the universality of Freemasonry.
The Ritual is only the external and extrinsic form. The doctrine of Freemasonry is everywhere the same. It is the Body which is unchangeable—remaining always and everywhere the same. The Ritual is but the outer garment which covers this Body, which is Subject to continual variation It is right and desirable that the Ritual should be made perfect, and everywhere alike. But if this be impossible, as it is, this at least will console us, that while the ceremonies, or Ritual, have varied at different periods, and still vary in different countries, the science and philosophy, the symbolism and the religion, of Freemasonry continue, and will continue to be the same wherever true Freemasonry is practised.
Little can be added to the above paragraph lay brother Mackey without perhaps saying too much. The reader must fill in between the lines. But the pages of the Transactions, Quatuor Coronati and particularly the papers by Brother E. L. Hawkins are well worth study. The National Masonic Research Society has in every volume of the Builder had Something of highly suggestive value on the subject, especially the essays by Brothers Silas H. Shepherd (volume 1, page 166); Roscoe Pound (volume 3, page 4); Louis H. Fead, R. J. Meekren, A. L. Cress, Ray V. Denslow, H. L. Haywood, C. C. linnt, Ernest E. Thiemeyer, and others. Brother Lionel Vibert in MiscelZanea Latow7Zoruwn, Bath, l glan(l, has had many noteworthy comments; also brother C. C. Hunt, Iowa Masonic Bulletin (No. 4, 1922, and No. 1, 1923). Brother Melvin M. Johnson, New England Craftsman (April, 1923) has a most cresting commentary on Masonic Ritual in America before l750.
An able address by Brother Roscoe Pound on The Causes of Divergence in Ritual was delivered before the Harvard Chapter of the Acacia fraternity during the school year, 1911-2, and was also submitted to the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts (see Proceedings, 1915, page 143; also Builder, November, 1917, page 74). This vahlable lecture was based on a critical study of various rituals and of the proecedings of Grand Lodges from the beginning. brother Shepherd, Notes on the Ritual, March 1914, published by the Wisconsin Grand Lodge Committee on Masonic Research, deals with the tradition, the simple ceremonics, the introduction of the work into the United States, Webb's participation, and the development of standards—a study of great importance and merit. Among Causes of divergence, a topic frequently arousing inquiry, Brother Pound mentions these:
Masonry was transplanted to this country (United States) while the ritual was still formative in many respects in England.
There were several foci, and, as it were, several subloci of Masonry in the United States, from each of which was transmitted its own version of what it received.
The schism of ancients and moderns which obtained in England in the last half of the eighteenth century, led to two rituals in this country during the formative period of America Masonry, and later these were fused in varying degrees in different Jurisdictions.
It was not until the end of the eighteenth century in England, and not until the first quarter of the nineteenth century in this country, that literal knowledge of the work was regarded as of paramount importance. Moreover, complete uniformity of work does not obtain in England, where two distinct schools perpetuate the work as taught by ancient Masonic teachers of the first part of the Last century.
New Grand Lodges were formed in this country by the union of lodges chartered from different States, and these unions gave rise to all sorts of combinattions. Each Jurisdiction, when it established a Grand Lodge, became independent and preserved its ritual as it had received it or made it over by way of compromise, or worked it out, as a possession of its own.
As to the origin of the Ritual, there are many allusions elsewhere in this work to the Mysteries. The reader will also note various other sources of consequence and upon which he may further pursue research, as in the curious resemblance of certain ceremonies still found in religious observances of such bodies as the Benedictines (see account of ceremonial forms in English Black Monks of Saint Benedict, E. L. Taunton, 1898, Appendix). Also note Brother W. Simpson (Transactions, Quatuor Coronati Lodge. 1889, volume 22, page 17) says:
On the first of January, 1870, I saw in the great basilica of Saint Paul's without the walls at Rome, the ceremony known as the Profession of a Benedictine, that is the phrase meaning the reception of a monk into the Benedictine Order. At one point of the ceremony a black cloth was laid on the floor in front of the altar; on this the noviciate lay down and was covered with a black pall with silver lace on it.
A large candle stood at his head and another at his feet. There the man lay in semblance of death. The Abbot of the Order celebrated Mass, which occupied about half an hour. At the end of this the Deacon of the Mass came near to the prostrate figure, and reading from a book in his hand in Latin some words which were to this effect, " oh, thou that steepest arise to everlasting life." The man rose up and, if I remember right, received the sacrament. He then took his place amongst the Brethren of the Order, kissing each of them as he passed along. The proof that he is supposed to leave one state of existence and become a nen individual is supplied by the fact that when I asked his name it was refused to me. I was told that henceforth he would be known as Jacobus—his old name went with the former existence. It is the same with nuns.
They all receive a new name and they also go through the semblance of death as a final ceremony of the Order. I have an amount of a ceremony that took place in the Monastery Church of Llanthony Abbey in Wales, of which Father Ignatius is the Superior and in which he took a leading part. A Sister was to receive the Blacks Veil. She entered the church dressed in white, as a bride, to be married to Christ. This Rite was celebrated by cutting off her hair, putting on the robes of a Benedictine Nun, including the Black Veil, and the marriage ring was put on her finger. The newly wedded bride was then led to a bier, covered with a pall and carried out of the church, while the burial service, "I am the reisurrection and life," and "earth to earth, ashes to ashes," was uttered and the great bell of the Abbey tolled, while the chant for the dead was solemnly sung. This was in 1882 and on the Octave (Latin, applied to the eighth day of a festival) of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin.
There is at the Island of Caldey, off the Welsh coast, less than three miles from Tenby, a household of Benedictine Monks, who on every Friday during Lent give a Passion Play, lasting about two hours for its rendition, and similar in purpose, though original in arrangement and musical accessories, to the famous one exhibited at Oberammergau in Germany, while markedly unlike all others, and difficult to explain its appeal and power, let it be said that among the special features described for us are these:
Each character is represented by a monk—at other Passion Plays there are male and female actors. The monks are dressed in their habits, voluminous and of milk-white wool, all alike except the young Religious who represents the Christus, who is clad in a girded alb of white linen, reaching to the ground, and long stole, the emblem of priesthood. No character speaks. Thero is no scenery.
The action is not represented on a stage. On the contrary, the stage of the hall, in which the Passion Play is given, is occupied by the audience, who look down into what would (at any other representation) be the auditorium, in which the fourteen actions of the play take place. In place of dialogue there is this— behind curtains a group of chanters. To one falls throughout the function of recitative. He sings, to a plain, quick, even monotonous chant each scripture as it is called for describing the passage in the Redemption Tragedy which is at the moment being enacted. One chanter gives only the words of Peter, another those of Judas, or Pilate, or Caiaphas, the whole group sing when the multitude speak, and the chant is then harmonised. So of the words used by Christ; they are sung by an unseen singer. The lighting of the fourteen scenes is amazingly skilful and is also another instance of that amazingly perfect restraint.
There is light just enough, barely enough. and yet quite enough. Whence or how it comes does not appear. It is there, with no betrayal of mechanical throwing of it there. In the supreme scene of all it fades, absolutely imperceptibly, to complete darkness, till only the Crucified Himself is visible through the gloom, soundless, motionless, utterly alone. The words chanted are those of the Gospels only, without addition or paraphrase, and they are given in English, except that in certain scenes (as in that of the Entombment), where the characters are, by force of the narrative itself, silent, a few verses of the Stabat SIater (Latin hymn on the seven lvoes of Mary, so-called from opening words) are chanted to the Solesmes tones. At certain places, too, the audience, between the risings of the curtain, almost whisper one or other of the sorrowful mysteries of the rosary.
Let the student in seeking ritualistic light read also particularly the Gospels, beginning at Matthew 28, Mark 16, Luke 23, and John 20, and continuing to the ascension. He will understand according to his ability to receive and little or nothing more need be said by way of instruction here. Ceremonially, textually and permanently the Bible has so large a place in our ritualism that we cannot mine too deeply its contents in our search. Operative, we have advanced to speculative and there is much of the former in our Masonic system. Of this and its possibilities the pamphlet on Ancient Trade Guilds and Companies; Free Masons Guilds, Clement E. Stretton, and the Guild Charges, John Yarker, both of 1909, published by William Tait, Belfast, Ireland, are suggestive and have evoked much controversy over old operative customs still favored by Lodges of the kind working in Great Britain and the United States.
There is also a curious comparison of Masonic forms and customs with those of the Jesuits in Les Jésuites Chassés de la MaMonnerie et leur Poignard brisé par les Masons, 1788, and in this connection one notes with attention the reference in Loyola arDd the Educational System of the Jesuits, Rev. Thomas Hughes, S. J. (chapter iv, page 232), the repeated reference to the Lion's Paw, "The paw shows the lion," "You can tell a lion by his paw," "Ex ungue leonem," etc., in a discourse are somewhat suggestive, but the other work is much more elaborate and detailed.
Here we may also in considering any lesson upon immortality mention the search for the body of the slain Osiris which was placed in a eoffin and thrown into the sea. Thence it was east up later upon the shores of the Phenecia at the foot of a tamarack tree Here it was discovered through the search by Isis and brought back to Egypt for ceremonious burial. Of the same sort is the allusion in the third book of the Aeneid by Vergil. Here the hero, Aeneas, by means of a message given to him by the uprooting of a plant on the hillside, discovers the grave of a lost prince. A free translation is given as follows of this interesting story by the ancient Roman poet:
Near at hand there chanced to be sloping ground crested by trees and with a myrtle rough with spearlike branches. Unto it I came. There I strove to tear from the earth its forest growth of foliage that the altars I might cover with the leafy boughs. But at that I saw a dreadful wonder, marvelous to tell. That tree first torn from the soil as its rooted fibers were wrenched asunder, black blood distilled in drops and gore stained the ground. My limbs shook with eold terror and the chill veins froze with fear.
Again I essayed to tear off one slender branch from another nnd thus thoroughly search for the hidden cause. From the bark of that one there descended purpled blood. Awaking in my mind many an anxious thought, I reverently beseeched the rural divinities and father Mars who presides over these Thracian territories, to kindly bless the vision and divert the evil of the omen. So a third time I grasped the boughs with greater vigor and on mv knees struggled again with the opposing ground. Then I heard a piteous groan from the depths of the hill and unto mine ears there issued forth a voice. "Aeneas, why dost thou strive with an unhappy wretch? Now that I am in my grave spare me. Forbear with guilt to pollute thy pious handsg To you Troy brought me forth no stranger. Oh, flee this barbarous land, flee the greedy shore. Polydore am I. Here an iron crop of darts hath me overwhelmed, transfixed, and over me shoots up pointed javelins."
Then indeed, depressed with perplexing fear at heart, was I stunned. On end stood my hair, to my jaws clung my tongue. This Polydore unhappy Priam formerly had sent in seereey with a great weight of gold to be stored safely with the king of Thrace when Priam began to distrust the arms of Troy and saw the city blocked up by close siege.
The King of Thrace as soon as the power of the Trojans was crushed and gone their fortune, he broke every sacred bond, killed Polydore and by violence took his gold. Cursed greed of gold, to what dost thou not urge the hearts of men! When fear left my bones I reported the warnings of the gods to our chosen leaders and especially to my father, and their opinion asked. All agreed to quit that accursed country, abandon the corrupt associations, and spread our sails to the winds. Thereupon we renewed funeral rites to Polydore. A large hill of earth was heaped for the tomb. A memorial altar was reared to his soul and mournfully bedecked with grey wreaths and gloomy eypress. Around it the Trojan Patrons stood with hair dishevelled aceording to the custom. We offered the sacrifices to the dead, bowls foaming with warm milk, and goblets of the sacred blood. We gave the soul repose in the grave, and with loud voice addressed to him the last farewell.
There is still another direction of inquiry. This relates to the possible influence of that buoyancy of spirit or exuberance of play that evolves rituals that are usually thought of as Side Degrees. Of these there are many, not a few old of evolution and even associated with the crafts. One of these is the old morality play, the Deposisio Cornuti Typographi, of which there are before us the particulars of the 1621 edition reprinted by William Blades, London, 1885, version credited to a German, John Rist, born 607, died 1667, and is an initiatory ceremony in rhich such instruments as the compasses had a part. Blades gives several comparisons with other trade and colleges and church customs. Of the latter there are still a number of old Churches well equipped for dramatically presenting the lessons of immortality ad these sepulchers have been employed for the deesit of the Cross about Easter and on that day to e lifted out in memory of the Lord and with rejoicing over the successful climax of the seared
RITUAL, OPERATIVE MASONS AND.
From the beginning of Medieval (or Operative) Freemasonry and almost to the Renaissance, the Roman church enforced a rigid censorship over, and control of, the use of ceremonies, rituals, symbols, emblems, sculptures, images, and pictures, even, in most instances, when not used in the Church or for religious purposes. It was not only matters of theological doctrines and ecclesiastical rules that the General Councils decided or the Popes enforced; the Councils also decided those other things as well, and including the authoring, illustrating, and copying of manuscripts; and a man could be declared a heretic for using an unpermitted ceremony as easily as for believing an unorthodox doctrine.
Thus, to give one example, for centuries the orthodox Crucifix was carved or modelled or painted with the two feet of the figure held apart; this required four nails; some unknown artist, with a sense for form, made a crucifix with the feet crossed, and therefore used only three nails. For years a controversy raged between the three nails school and the four nails school. A German bishop, finding that one of his churches had received a costly three-nail crucifix, was so indignant that he formed a procession and carried the unorthodox image out into the country, dumped It into a hole, and forbade any man ever to look at it. Painters were instructed by written rules what eostumes a saint should wear, its color, what other figures could be included in the picture, etc.
Each Masonic student who is piecing together the external and internal evidence in an endeavor to discover what the ceremony or ritual of the early Operative Freemasons must have been, finds it necessary to keep the above facts in mind, just as he must keep in mind the fact that the General Council at Avignon forbade secret societies. Either the ceremonies and symbols were orthodox, in which case it becomes difficult to know why they were kept in such secrecy; or they were not orthodox, which explains the secrecy. And yet an Apprentice, as we know from the Old Charges, swore to be obedient and loyal to Holy Church! If so, how could such a pledge be asked in the midst of a ceremony which had to be walled in by secrecy, the door protected by a guard with a sword? The facts appear to complicate the question with one paradox on top of another; we can be certain that the builders of the cathedrals were not heretical we can also be certain that they held their assemblies behind closed doors!
The most likely answer is that their ceremonies, symbols, and truths (and no Mason should ever hesitate to call them truthst) were netther heretical nor orthodox, but of a character so unlike any other ceremonies and symbols that the words "heretical" and "orthodox" were irrelevant; and that the Freemasons, than whom there were in the Middle Ages no men more intelligent, sincere, or better educated, knew them to be irrelevant and therefore had no scruples about them, one way or another.
They had constantly before them in their work and in their minds a set of arts and sciences which also were irrelevant to theology; for geometry, engineering, chemistry, and the physics of a building are self-same the world over, and cannot be made to conform to any one theological system. They called their own art by the name of "geometry" oftenerthan by any other name; since so it is reasonable to believe that they included their Freemasonry in the samespeciesasgeometry,something outside thespheres of the Church; and that they kept it secret for many sound and righteous reasons, among them being the danger that an art so mysterious to outsiders might be misunderstood and thereby occasion trouble.
RITUALS USED BY ANCIENT GREEKS.
The Ancient Mysteries of Greece, the Greater and the Lesser Mysteries of the Eleusinia in particular, have received attention from Mnsonic historians, because rituals of initiation were employed in them, and many symbols and emblems. But the Greek use of ritual w as not confined to the Mysteries; on the contrary the Mysteries employed but a fraction of the rituals, for the Greek people were fond of them, employed them for a hundred purposes, and as was their way, made of them a work of art; nothing in any of their classics, not even in Homer, is more beautiful than, to give but one instance, the lovely and haunting ritual of the Garden of Adonis. From them a modern Freemason can learn more than facts about the backgrounds of the Masonic Ritual, the masterpiece of existing rituals; he can learn that ritualism is an art; is, in its own right, comparable with music and the drama.
(The literature is of overflowing abundance. See Ancient Art and Ritual, Primitive Athens, Religion of Ancient Greece, and ProleSJomena to the Sludy of Greek Religion, each by Jane Ellen Harrison. Siz Stages of Greek Religion, a great and brilliant book, by Gilbert Murray, famous for his translation of Euripides. The Golden Bough [the complete editions by J. G. Frazer.)
Formerly an advocate of the parliament of Dijon, a distinguished Freneh Freemason, and the author of several Masonie discourses, espeially of one delivered before the Mother Lodge of the philosophic Seottish Rite, of which he was Grand orator, December 8, 1808, at the reception of Askeri Khan, the Persian Ambassador, as a Master Mason. this address gave so much satisfaction to the Lodge, hat it decreed a medal to M. Robelot, on one side of which was a bust of the Grand Master, and on the other an inscription which recounted the valuable services rendered to the Society by M. Robelot as its Orator, and as a Masonic author. Robelot held the theory that Freemasonry owed its origin to the East, and was the invention of Zoroaster.
Commonly called Robert Bruce. He was crowned King of Scotland in 1306, and died in 1329. After the turbulence of the early years of his reign had ceased, and peace had been restored, he devoted himself to the encouragement of architecture in his kingdom.
His connection with Freemasonry, and especially with the advanced Degrees, is thus given by Doctor Oliver (Landmarks ii, page 12): "The only high degree to which an early date can be safely assigned is the Royal Order of H. R. D. WI., founded by Robert Bruee in 1314. Its history in brief refers to the dissolution of the Order of the Temple. Some of those persecuted individuals took refuge in Seotland, and placed themselves under the protection of Robert Bruee, and assisted him at the battle of Bannoekburn, which was fought on Saint John's day, 1314. After this battle the Royal Order was founded; and from the fact of the Templars having contributed to the victory, and the subsequent grants to their Order by King Robert, for which they were formally exeommunicated by the Chureh, it has, by some persons, been identified with that ancient military Order. But there are sound reasons for believing that the two systems were unconnected with each other."
Thory (Acta Latomorum i, 6), quoting from a manuscript ritual in the library of the Mother Lodge of the Philosophie Rite, gives the following statement: "Robert Bruee, King of Scotland, under the name of Robert I, created on the 24th of June, after the battle of Bannockburn, the Order of Saint Andrew of the Thistle, to which he afterwards united that of H. R. I)., for the sake of the Scottish Freemasons who made a part of the thirty thousand men with whom he had fought an army of one hundred thousand English. He reserved forever to himself and his successors the title of Grand Master. He founded the Grand Lodge of the Royal Order of H. R. D. at Kilwinning, and died, covered with glory and honor, on the 9th July, 1329." Both of these statements or legends require for all their details authentication (see Royal Order of Scotland).
This is the first of those manuscripts the originals of which have not yet been recovered, and which are known to us only in a printed copy. The Roberts Manuscript, so called from the name of the printer, J. Roberts, was published by him at London, in 1722, under the title of The Old Constitutions belonging to the Ancient and Honorable Society of Free and Accepted Masons. Taken from a Manuscript wrote above fife hundred years since. Of this work, which had passed out of the notice and knowledge of the Masonic world, Richard Spencer, of London, being in possession of a eopy, published a second edition in 1870. On a collation of this work with the Harleian Manuscript, it is evident that either both were derived from one and the same older manuscript, or that one of them has been copied from the other; although, if this be the ease, there has been much carelessness on the part of the transcriber.
If the one was transcribed from the other, there is internal evidence that the Harleian is the older exemplar. The statement on the title-page of Roberts' book, that it was "taken from a manuscript wrote over five hundred years since," is contradicted by the simple fact that, like the Harleian Manuscript, it contains the regulations adopted at the General Assembly held in 1663. There is a reprint of the work in the Constitutionsof the Freemasons, 1871, a compilation by the Rev. J. E. Cox, also published by Brother Richard Spencer. The Spencer sale in 1875 resulted in the Grand Lodge of Iowa acquiring the printed version of which there was then known to be but the one specimen.
Since then another copy has appeared which, passing through the hands of Messrs. Fletcher of Bayswater, England, is now privately owned. An excellent reprint was published by eourtesy of the Grand Lodge of Iowa, in 1917, at Anamosa, Iowa, then the headquarters of the National Masonic Research Society, and having a foreword by Brother J. F. Newton. Discussions of this version of the old Constitutions have appeared in Doctor Mackey's revised History of Freemasonry (page iii), Gould's History of Freemasonry (i, page 75); W. J. Hughan's Old Charges (page 121); Ars Quatuor Coronatorum (1909, page 185) .
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