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The earliest writers characterize Freemasonry as a Royal Art. Anderson used the expression in 1723, and in such a way as to show that it was even then no new epithet (Constitutions, 1723, page 5). The term has become common in all languages as an appellative of the Institution, and yet but few perhaps have taken occasion to examine into its real signification or have asked what would seem to be questions readily suggested, "Why is Freemasonry called an art?" and next, "Why is it said to be a Royal Art?"
The answer which is generally supposed to be a sufficient'one for the latter inquiry, is that it is so called because many monarchs have been its disciples and its patrons, and some writers have gone so far as to particularize, and to say that Freemasonry was first called a Royal Art in 1693, when William III, of England, was initiated into its rites; and Gädicke, in his Freimaurer Lexicon, states that some have derived the title from the fact that in the times of the English Commonwealth, the members of the English Lodges had joined the party of the exiled Stuarts, and labored for the restoration of Charles II to the throne. He himself, however, seems to think that Freemasonry is called a Royal Art because its object is to erect sbately edifices, and especially palaces, the residences of kings.
Such an answer may serve for the profane, who can have no appreciation of a better reason, but it will hardly meet the demands of the intelligent initiate, who wants some more philosophic explanation —something more consistent with the moral and intellectual character of the Institution.
Let us endeavor to solve the problem, and to determine why Freemasonry is called an art at all; and why, above all others, it is dignified with the appellation of a Royal Art. Our first business will be to find a reply to the former question.
An art is distinguished from a handicraft in this, that the former consists of and supplies the principles which govern and direct the latter. The StoneMason, for instance, is guided in his construction of the building on which he is engaged by the principles which are furnished to him by the architect. Hence Stone-Masonry is a trade, a handicraft, or, as the German significantly expresses it, a handwerk, something which only requires the skill and labor of the hands to accomplish. But architecture is an art, because it is engaged in the establishment of prineiples and scientific tenets which the handwork of the Mason is to carry into practical effect..
The handicraftsman, the handworker, of course, is employed in manual labor. It is the work of his hands that accomplishes the purpose of his trade. But the artist uses no such means. He deals only in principles, and his work is of the head. He prepares his designs according to the principles of his art, and the workman obeys and executes them, often without understanding their ulterior object.
Now, let us apply this distinction to Freemasonry. Years ago many thousand men were engaged in the construction of a Temple in the eity of Jerusalem. 'They felled and prepared the timbers in the forests of Lebanon, and they hewed and eut and squared the stones in the quarries of Judea; and then they put them together under the direction of a skilful architect, and formed a goodly edifice, worthy to be called, as the Rabbis named it, the Chosen House of the Lord. For there, according to the Jewish ritual, in preference to all other places, was the God of Hosts to be worshiped in Oriental splendor.
Something like this has been done thousands of times since. But the men who wrought with the stone-hammer and trowel at the Temple of Solomon, and the men who afterward wrought at the temples and cathedrals of Europe and Asia, were no artists. They were simply handicraftsmen—men raising an edifice by the labor of their hands—men who, in doing their work, were instructed by others skilful in art, but which art looked only to the totality, and had nothing to do with the operative details.
The Giblemites, or stone-squarers, gave form to the stones and laid them in their proper places. But in what form they should be cut, and in what spots they should be laid so that the building might assume a proposed appearance, were matters left entirely to the superintending architect, the artist, who, in giving his instructions, was guided by the principles of his art.
Hence Operative Masonry is not an art. But after these handicraftsmen came other men, who, simulating, or, rather, symbolizing, their labors, eonverted the operative pursuit into a speculative system, and thus made of a handicraft an art. And it was in this wise that the change was accomplished.
The building of a temple is the result of a religious sentiment.
Now, the Freemasons intended to organize a religious institution. We are not going into anv discussion, at this time, of its history. When Freemasonry was founded is immaterial to the theory, provided that the foundation is made posterior to the time of the building of King Solomon's Temple. It is sufficient that it be admitted that in its foundation as an esoteric institution the religious idea prevailed, and that the development of this idea was the predominating object of its first organizers.
Borrowing, then, the name of their Institution from the Operative Masons who constructed the Temple at Jerusalem, by a very natural process they borrowed also the technical language and implements of the same handicraftsmen. But these they did not use for any manual purpose. They did not ereet with them temples of stone, but were occupied solelv in developing the religious idea which the eonstruetion of the material temple had first suggested.
They symbolized this language and these implements, and thus established an art whose province and object it was to elicit religious thought, and to teach religious truth by a system of symbolism. And this symbolism —just as peculiar to Freemasonry as the doctrine of lines and surfaces is to geometry, or of numbers is to arithmetic—constitutes the art of Freemasonry.
If we were to define Freemasonry as an art, we should say that it was an art which taught the eonstruetion of a spiritual temple, just as the art of architecture teaches the construction of a material temple. And we should illustrate the train of ideas by which the Freemasons were led to symbolize the Temple of Solomon as a spiritual temple of man's Mature, by borrowing the language of Saint Peter, who says to his Christian initiates: "Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house." And with greater emphasis, and as still more illustrative, would we cite the language of the Apostle of the Gentiles—that Apostle who, of all others, most delighted in symbolism, and who says: "Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the spirit of God dwelleth in you?" This is the reason why Freemasonry is called an art.
Having thus determined the conditions under which Freemasonry becomes an art, the next inquiry will be why it has been distinguished from all other arts in being designated, par excellence, the Royal Art. Here we must abandon all thought that this title comes in any way from the connection of Freemasonry with earthly monarchs—from the patronage or the membership of kings. Freemasonry obtains no addition to its intrinsic value from a connection with the political heads of states. Kings, when they enter within its sacred portals, are no longer kings, but Brethren. In the Lodge all men are on an equality, and there can be no distinction or preference, except that which is derived from virtue and intelligence. Although a great king once said that Freemasons made the best and truest subjects, yet in the Lodge is there no subjection save to the law of love—that law which, for its excellence above all other laws, has been called by an Apostle the royal law, just as Freemasonry, for its excellence above all other arts, has been called the Royal Art.
Saint James says, in his general Epistle (ii, 8): "If ye fulfil the royal law according to the Scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself, ye do well." Dr. Adam Clarke, in his commentary on this passage—which is so appropriate to the subject we are investigating, and so thoroughly explanatory of this expression in its application to Freemasonry, that it is well worth a citation—uses the following language:
Speaking of the expression of Saint James, nomon 1uasilicon, the royal law, he says: "This epithet, of all the New Testament writers, is peculiar to James; but it is frequent among the Greek writers in the sense in which it appears Saint James uses it. Basilikos, royal, is used to signify anything that is of general concern, is suitable to all, and necessary for all, as brotherly love is.
This commandment, Thou shalt Love thy neighbor as thyself, is a royal law; not only because it is ordained of God, proceeds from his kingly authority over men, but because it is so useful, suitable, and necessary to the present state of man; and as it was given us particularly by Christ himself, who is our king, as well as prophet and priest, it should ever put us in mind of his authority over us, and our subjection to him. As the regat state is the most excellent for secular dignity and civil utility that exists among men, hence we give the epithet royal to whatever is excellent, noble, grand, or useful."
How beautifully and appropriately does all this definition apply to Freemasonry as a Royal Art. It has already been shown how the art of Freemasonry consisted in a symbolization of the technical language and implements and labors of an operative society to a moral and spiritual purpose. The Temple which was constructed by the builders at Jerusalem was taken as the groundwork. Out of this the Free masons have developed an admirable science of symbolism, which on account of its design, and on account of the means by which that design is accomplished, is well entitled, for its "excellence, nobility grandeur, and utility," to be called the Royal Art.
The Stone-Masons at Jerusalem were engaged in the construction of a material temple. But the Freemasons who succeeded them are occupied in the construction of a moral and spiritual temple, man being considered, through the process of the act of symbolism, that holy house.
And in this symbolism the Freemasons have only developed the same idea that was present to Saint Paul when he said to the Corinthians that they were "God's building," of which building He, "as a wise master-builder, had laid the foundation"; and when, still further extending the metaphor, he told the Ephesians that they were "built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being tlh-e chief oorner stone, in Whom all the building fitly framed together, groweth unto a holy temple in the Lord; in Whom also ye are builded together for a habitation of God through the spirit."
This, then, is the true art of Freemasonry. It is an art which teaches the right method of symbolizing the technical language and the material labors of a handicraft, so as to build up in man a holy house for the habitation of God's spirit; to give perfection to man's nature; to give purity to humanity, and to unite mankind in one common bond.
It is singular, and well worthy of notice, how this symbolism of building up man's body into a holy temple, so common with the New Testament writers, and even with Christ Himself—for He speaks of man as a temple which, being destroyed,
He could raise up in three days; in which, as Saint John says, "he spake of the temple of his body"—gave rise to a new word or to a word with a new meaning in all the languages over which Christianity exercises any influence. The old Greeks had from the two words oikos, a house, and domein, to build, constructed the word oikodomein, which of course signified to build a house. In this plain and exclusive sense it is used oy the Attic writers. In like manner, the Romans, out of the two words aedes, a house, and Sincere, to make, constructed their word aedif7zare, which always meant simply to build a house. In this plain sense it is used by Horace, Cicero, and all the old writers.
But when the New Testament writers began to symbolize man as a temple or holy house for the habitation of the Lord, and when they spoke of building up this symbolic house, although it was a moral and spiritual growth to which they alluded, they used the Greek word oikodomein, and their first translators, the Latin word aedificare in a new sense, meaning to build up morally, that is, to educate, to instruct.
And as modern nations learned the faith of Christianity, they imbibed this symbolic idea of a moral building, and adapted for its expression a new word or gave to an old word a new meaning, so that it has come to pass that in French edifier, in Italian ediftcare, in Spanish edifLcar, in German erbauen, and in English edify, each of which literally and etymologically means to build a house, has also the other signification, to instr1tet, to improve, to educate. And thus we speak of a marble building as a magnificent edifice, and of a wholesome doctrine as something that will edify its hearers. There are but few who, when using the word in this latter sense, think of that grand science of symbolism which gave birth to this new meaning, and which constitutes the very essenee of the Royal Art of Freemasonry.
For when this temple is built up, it is to be held together only by the cement of love. Brotherly love, the love of our neighbor as ourself—that love which suffereth long and is kind, which is not easily provoked, and thinketh no evil—that love pervades the whole system of Freemasonry, not only binding all the moral parts of manes nature into one harmonious whole, the building being thus, in the language of Saint Paul, "fitly framed together," but binding man to man, and man to God.
Hence Freemasonry is called a Royal Art, because it is of all arts the most noble; the art which teaches man how to perfect his temple of virtue by pursuing the royal law of universal love, and not because kings have been its patrons and encouragers.
A similar idea is advanced in a Catechism published by the celebrated Lodge Wahrheit und Einigkeit, or Truth and Union, at Prague, in the year 1800, where the following questions and answers occur:
What do Freemasons build?
An invisible temple, of which King Solomon's Temple is the symbol. By what name is the instruction how to erect this mystie building called? The Royal Art; because it teaches man how to govern himself.
Appositely may these thoughts be closed with a fine expression of Ludwig Bechstein, a German writer, in the Astrae:
Every King will be a Freemason, even though he wears no Freemason's apron, if he shall be god-fearing, sincere, good, and kind; if he shall be true and fearless, obedient to the law, his heart abounding in reverence for religion and full of love for mankind, if he shall be a ruler of himself, and if his kingdom be founded on justice. And every Freemason is a King, in whatsoever condition God may have placed him here, with rank equal to that of a King and with sentiments that beeome a King, for his kingdom is Love, the love of his fellow-man, a love which is long-suffering and kind, which beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. This is why Freemasonry is an art, and of all arts, being the most noble, is well called the Royal Art.
See Knight of the Royal Ax.
The Royal Arch lectures in the English system say that the Royal Lodge was held in the City of Jerusalem, on the return of the Babylonish captives, in the first year in the reign of Cyrus; over it presided Zerubbabel the Prince of the Jews, Haggai the Prophet, and Joshua the High Priest.
ROYAL MASONIC BENEVOLENT INSTITUTION.
An English charitable organization founded by Brother R. T. Crucefix in 1835.
The first meeting held that year took into consideration the establishment of an "Asylum for the Aged and Decayed Freemasons" hut met with much opposition from the Duke of Sussex, then Grand Master, who was fearful lest it interfere with the support given to Masonic Schools. After three years work and faith in the plan, Doctor Crucefix was able to begin operations by bestowing annuities on some needy Brethren in 1838by 1839 the institution was in a position to bestow five annuities at ten pounds, £10, nearly $49, each The Grand Lodge, however, instituted a rival organ ization in 1842, the Royal Masonic Annuity for Males, and in 1849 started a like plan for Females. During all of this time Doctor Crucefix persisted in his efforts to build an Asylum and in 1850 his institution and the two Grand Lodge projects were joined together under the name, the Royal Masonic Benevo lent Institution for aged Freemasons and their Widows.
A site was purchased at Croydon and Brother A. Dobie, Provincial Grand Master of Surrey, dedi cated the building on August 1, 1850. The annuitants have since that time been invited to become guests at the Home in the order of their seniority on the list. A Festival was held in February, 1851, to secure funds which netted £894-17-0, over $4,000 The Grand Lodge, still fearing the effect upon other Masonic charities, only permitted Triennial Festivals, the second being held in 1854 and the third in 1857, producing £1602, nearly $7,800, and £1558-16-6, over $7,500 respectively. A LieI ial Feslival was held in 1859, netting £2053-6-0, over $9,970. In 1860 a long series of Annual Festivals was begun, continuing to the present time and producing each year increased returns.
The Eighth Degree of the American Rite, and the first of the Degrees conferred in a Council of Royal and Select Masters. Its officers are a Thrice Illustrious Grand Master, representing King Solomon; Illustrious Hiram of Tyre, Principal Conductor of the Works, representing Hiram Abif; Master of the Exchequer, Master of Finances, Capetain of the Guards, Conductor of the Council and Steward. The place of meeting is called the Council Chamber, and represents the private apartment of King Solomon, in which he is said to have met for consultation with his two colleagues during the construetion of the Temple. Candidates who receive this Decree are said to be "honored with the Degree of Royal Master." Its symbolic colors are black and red—the former significant of grief, and the latter of martyrdom, and both referring to the chief builder of the Temple.
The events recorded in this Degree, looking at them in a legendary point of views must have oecurred at the building of the first Temple, and during that brief period of time after the death of the builder which is embraced between the discovery of his body and its "Masonic interment." In all the initiations into the mysteries of the ancient world, there was, as it is well known to scholars, a legend of the violent death of some distinguished personage, to whose memory the particular mystery was consecrated, of the concealment of the body, and of its subsequent discovery. That part of the initiation which referred to the concealment of the body was called the Aphanism, from a Greek verb which signifies to conceal, and that part which referred to the subsequent finding was called the euresis, from another Greek verb which signifies to discover. It is impossible to avoid seeing the eoineidenees between the system of initiation and that practiced in the Freemasonry of the Third Degree.
But the ancient initiation was not terminated by the euresis or discovery. Up to that point, the ceremonies had been funereal and lugubrious in their character But now they were changed from wailing to rejoicing Other ceremonies were performed by which the restoration of the personage to life, or his apotheosis or change to immortality, was represented, and then came the autopsy or illumination of the neophytes when he was invested with a full knowledge of all the religious doctrines which it was the object of the ancient mysteries to teach—when, in a word, he was instructed in Divine truth.
Now a similar course is pursued in Freemasonry. Here also there is an illumination, a symbolic teaching, or, as we call it, and investiture with that which is the representative of divine truth. The communication to the candidate, in the Master's Degree, of that which is admitted to be merely a representation of or a substitution for that symbol of divine truth, the search for which, under the name of the true word, makes so important a part of the Degree, how imperfect it may be in comparison with that more thorough knowledge which only future researches can enable the Master Mason to attain, constitutes the autopsy of the Third Degree.
Now, the principal event recorded in the legend of the Royal Master, the interview between Adoniram and his two Royal Masters, is to be placed precisely at that juncture of time which is between the euresis or discovery in the Master Mason's Degree and the autopsy, or investiture with the Great Secret. It occurred between the discovery by means of the sprig of acacia and the final interment. It was at the time when Solomon and his colleague, Hiram of Tyre, were in profound consultation as to the mode of repairing the loss which they then supposed had befallen them.
We must come to this conclusion, because there is abundant reference, both in the organized form of the Council and in the instructions of the Degree, to the death as an event that had already occurred; and, on the other hand, while it is evident that Solomon had been made acquainted with the failure to recover, on the person of the builder, that which had been lost, there is no reference whatever to the wellknown substitution which was made at the time of the interment. If, therefore, as is admitted by all Masonic ritualists, the substitution was precedent and preliminary to the establishment of the Master Mason's Degree, it is evident that at the time that the Degree of Royal Master is said to have been founded in the ancient Temple, by our "first Most Excellent Grand Master," all persons present, except the first and second officers, must have been merely Fellow Craft Seasons. In compliance with this tradition, therefore, a Royal Master is, at this day, supposed to represent a Fellow Craft in the search, and making his demand for that reward which was to elevate him to the rank of a Master Mason.
If from the legendary history we proceed to the symbolism of the Degree, we shall find that, brief and simple as are the ceremonies, they present the great Masonic idea of the laborer seeking for his reward.
Throughout all the symbolism of Masonry, from the first to the last Degree, the search for the Word has been considered but as a symbolic expression for the search after Truth. The attainment of this truth has always been acknowledged to be the great object and design of all Masonic labor. Divine truth—the knowledge of God—concealed in the old Cabalistic doctrine, under the symbol of his ineffable name— and typified in the Masonic system under the mystical expression of the True Word, is the reward proposed to every Freemason who has faithfully wrought his task. It is, in short, the "Master's wages."
Now, all this is beautifully symbolized in the Degree of Royal Master. The reward had been promised, and the time had now come, as Adoniram thought, when the promise was to be redeemed, and the true word—divine truth—was to be imparted. Hence, in the person of Adoniram, or the Royal Master, we see symbolized the Speculative Craftsman, who, having labored to complete his spiritual temple, comes to the Divine Master that he may receive his reward, and that his labor may be consummated by the acquisition of truth. But the temple that he had been building is the temple of this life; that first temple which must be destroyed by death that the second temple of the future life may be built on its foundations. And in this first temple the truth cannot be found. We must be contented with its substitute.
ROYAL ORDER OF ERI.
See Eri, Royal Order of.
ROYAL ORDER OF JESTERS.
ROYAL ORDER OF SCOTLAND.
This is an Order of Freemasonry which, formerly conferred on Master Masons, is now restricted to those who have been exalted to the Royal Arch Degree. It consists of two Degrees, namely, that of H. R. D. M. and R. S. Y. C. S., or, in full, Heredom and Rosy Cross. The first may be briefly described as a Christianized form of the Third Degree, purified from the dross of Paganism, and even of Judaism, by the Culdees, who introduced Christianity into Scotland in the early centuries of the church. The Second Degree is an Order of Civil Knighthood, supposed to have been founded by Robert Bruce after the battle of Bannockburn, and conferred by him upon certain Freemasons who had assisted him on that memorable oecasion.
He, so the tradition goes, gave power to the Grand Master of the Order for the time being to confer this honor, which is not inherent in the general Body itself, but is specially given by the Grand Master and his Deputy, and can be conferred only by them, or Provincial Grand Masters appointed by them. The number of knights is limited, and formerly only sixty-three could be appointed, and they Scotchmen; now, however, that number has been much increased, and distinguished Freemasons of all countries are admitted to its ranks. In 1747, Prince Charles Edward Stuart, in his celebrated Charter to Arras is said to have claimed to be the Sovereign Grand Master of the Royal Order, "Nous Charles Edouard Stewart, Roi d'Angleterre, de France, de l'Ecosse, et d'Irlande, et en cette quality S. G. M. du Chapitre de H." Prince Charles goes on to say that H. O. or H. R. M. is known as the Pelican and Eagle.
"Connu sous le titre de Chevalier de l'Aigle et de Pelican, et depuis nos malheurs et nos infortunes, sous celui de Rose Croix, lcnown under the title of Knight of the beagle and Pelican, and since our misfortunes and our disasters, under that of Rose Croix." Nosl, there is not the shadow of a proof that the Rose Croix, says Brother Reitam, was ever known in England till twenty years after 1747; and in Ireland it was introduced by a French Chevalier, M. L'Aurent, about 1782 or 1783. The Chapter at Arras was the first constituted in France—"Chapitre primordial de Rose Croix"; and from other eireumstances, the very name Rose Croak being a translation of R. S. Y. C. S., some writers have been led to the conclusion that the degree chartered by Prinee Charles Edward Stuart was, if not the actual Royal Order in both points, a Masonic ceremony founded on and pirated from that most ancient and venerable Order.
This, however, is an error; because, except in name, there does not appear to be the slightest connection between the Rose Croix and the Royal Order of Scotland. In the first place, the whole ceremonial is different, and different in essentials. Most of the language used in the Royal Order is couched in quaint old rime, modernized, no doubt, to make it "understanded of the vulgar," but still retaining sufficient about it to stamp its genuine antiquity.
The Rose Croix Degree is most probably the genuine descendant of the old Rosierucians, and no doubt it has always had a more or less dose connection with the Templars. Clavel says that the Royal Order of Heredom of Kilwinning is a Rosierueian degree, having many different gradations in the ceremony of consecrations The Kings of Engiand are de jure, by law, if not de facto, actually, Grand Masters; each member has a name given him, denoting some moral attribute. In the initiation the sacrifice of the Messiah is had in remembrance, who shed his blood for the sins of the world, and the neophyte is in a figure sent forth to seek the Lost Word. The ritual states that the Order was first established at Ieomliill, and afterward at Kilxvinning, where the Wing of Seotland, Robert Bruee, took the chair in person; and oral tradition affirms that, in 1314, this monarch again reinstated the Order, admitting into it the Knights Templar who were still left. The Royal Order, according to this ritual, which is written in Anglo-Saxon verse, boasts of great antiquity.
Findel disbelieves in the Royal Order, as he does in all the Christian degrees. He remarks that the Grand Lodge of Scotland formerly linew nothing at all about the existence of this Order of Heredom, as a proof of which he adduces the fact that Laurie, in the first edition of his History of the Grand Lodge of Scotland, has not mentioned it. Doctor Oliver, however, as it will he Seen had a high opinion of the Order, and expressed no doubt of its antiquity. As to the origin of the Order, we have abundant authority both mythical and historical. Thory (Acta Latemorum i, 6) thus traces its establishment:
On June 24, 1314, Robert Bruce, King of Scotland, instituted, after the battle of Bannockburn, the Order of Saint Andrew of the Thistle, to which was afterward united that of H. D. M., for the sake of the Scottish Masons who had composed a part of the thirty thousand men with whom he had fought the English army, consisting of one hundred thousand. He formed the Royal Grand Lodge of the Order of H. D. M. at Kilwinning reserving to himself and his sueeessors forever the title of Grand Masters.
Oliver (in his Histortcal Landmarks ii, page 15) defines the Order more precisely, thus;
The Royal Order of H. R. D. M. had formerly its chief seat at Kilwinning, and there is every reason to think that it and Saint John's Masonry were then governed by the same Grand Lodge. But during the sixteenth and seven teenth centuries Masonry was at a very low ebb in Scotland, and it was with the greatest difficulty that Saint John's Masonry was preserved. The Grand Chapter of H. R. D. M. resumed its functions about the middle of the last century at Edinburgh; and, in order to preserve a marked distinction between the Royal Order and Craft Masonry,—which had formed a Grand Lodge there in 1736,—the former confined itself solely to the two degrees of H. R. D. M. and R. S. Y. C. S.
Again, in the history of the Royal Order, officially printed in Scotland, the following details are found:
It is composed of two parts, H. R. M. and R. S. Y C. S. The former took its rise in the reign of David I; King of Scotland and the latter in that of King Robert the Bruee. The iast is believed to have been originally the same as the most ancient Order of the Thistle, and to contain the ceremonial of admission formerly practised in it.
The Order of H. R. M. had formerly its seat at Kilwinning, and there is reason to suppose that it and the Grand Lodge of Saint John's Masonry were governed by the same Grand Master. The introduction of this Order into Kilwinning appears to have taken place about the same time, or nearly the same period, as the introduction of Freemasonry into Scotland.
The Chaldees, as is well known, introduced Christianity into Seotland, and, from their known habits, there are good grounds for believing that they preserved among them a knowledge of the ceremonies and precautions adopted for their protection in Judea. In establishing the degree in Seotland, it is more than probable that it was done with the view to explain, in a correct Christian manner, the symbols and rites employed by the Christian architects and builders; and this will also explain how the Royal Order is purely catholic,—not Roman Catholie,—but adapted to all who acknowledge the great truths of Christianity, in the same way that Craft or Symbolic Masonry is intended for all, whether Jew or Gentile, who acknowledge a supreme God. The second part, or R. S. Y. C. S., is an Order of Knighthood, and, perhaps, the only genuine one in connection with Masonry, there being in it an intimate connection between the trowel and the sword, which others try to show. The lecture consists of a figurative description of the ceremonial, both of H. R. M. and R. S. Y. C. S., in simple rhyme, modernized, of course, by oral tradition, and breathing the purest spirit of Christianity. Those two degrees constitute, as has already been said, the Royal Order of Seotland, the Grand Lodge of Seotland. Lodges or Chapters cannot legally meet elsewhere, unless possessed of a Charter from it or the Grand Master, or his deputy.
The office of Grand Master is vested in the person of the King of Seotland, now of Great Britain, and one seat is invariably kept vaeant for him in whatever eountry a chapter is opened. and cannot be occupied by any other member. Those who are in possession of this degree, and the so-called higher degrees, cannot fail to perceive that the greater part of them have been eonr.oeted from the Royal Order. to satisfy the morbid craving for distinction which was so characteristic of the Continent during the latter half of the eighteenth century.
There is a tradition among the Masons of Scotland that, after the dissolution of the Templars, many of the Knights repaired to Seotland and placed themselves under the protection of Robert Bruee, and that, after the battle of Bannoekburn which took place on Saint John the Baptist's day, 13;4, this monarch instituted the Royal Order of H. R. M. and Knights of the R. S. Y. C. S., and established the chief seat at Kilwinning. From that Order it seems by no means improbable that the present degree of Rose Croix de Heredom may have taken its origin. In two respects, at least, there seems to be a very close connection between the two systems. They both claim the Kingdom of Scotland and the Abbey of Kilwinning as having been at one time the chief seat of government, and they both seem to have been instituted to give a Christian explanation to Ancient Craft Masonry.
There is, besides, a similarity in the name of the degrees of Rose Croix de Heredom and H. R. M. and R. S. Y. C. S. amounting almost to an identity avllieh appears to indicate a very intimate relation of one to the other.
And now more reeently there comes Brother Randolph Hay, of Glasgow, who, in the Londoll Freemasons gives us this legend, which he is pleased to call "the real history of the Royal Order," and which he, at least, religiously believes to be true:
Among the many precious things which were earefully preserved in a sacred vault of King Solomon's Temple was a portrait of the monarch, painted by Adoniram, the son of Elkanah, Priest of the Second Court This vault remained undiscovered till the time of Herod, although the secret of its existence and a description of its locality were retained by the descendants of Elkanah. During the war of the Maccabees, certain Jews, fleeing from their native country, took refuge, first in Spain and afterward in Britain, and amongst them was one Aholiab, the then possessor of the docunlent necessary to find the hidden treasure. As is well known buildings were then in progress in Edinburgh, or Dun Edwin, as the city was then called, and thither ,Sholiab wended his way to find employment.
His skill ill architecture speedily raised him to a prominent position in the Craft, but his premature death prevented his realizing the dream of his life, whieh was to fetch the portrait from Jerusalem and place it in the custody of the Craft. However, prior to his dissolution, he confided the secret to certain of the Fraternity under the bond of secrecy, and these formed a class known as The Order of the King or The Royal Order. Time sped on, the Romans invaded Britain; and, previous to the crucifixion certain members of the old town guard of Edinburgh, among whom were several of the Royal Order, proceeded to Rome to enter into negotiations with the sovereign. From thence they proceeded to Jerusalem, and were present at the dreadful scene of the crucifixion. They succeeded in obtaining the portrait, and also the blue veil of the Temple rent upon the terrible occasion.
I may dismiss these two venerable relies in a few words. Wilson, in his Memorials of Edinburgh, published hy Hugh Patton, in a note to Masonie Lodges, writes that this portrait was then in the possession of the Brethren of the Lodge Saint David. This is an error, and arose from the fact of the Royal Order then meeting in the Lodge Saint David's room in Hindford's Close. The hills veil was eonverted into a standard for the trades of Edinburgh, and became celebrated on many a battle field, notably in the First Crusade as The Blue Blanket. From the presence of certain of their number in Jerusalem on the occasion in question, the Edinburgh City Guard were often called Pontius Pilate's Praetorians. Now, these are facts well known to many Edinburghers still alive. Let "X. Y. Z." go to Edinburgh and inquire for himself.
The Brethren, in addition, brought with them the teachings of the Christians, and in their meetings they celebrated the death of the Captain and Builder of our Salvation. The oath of the Order seals my lips further as to the peculiar mysteries of the Brethren. I may, however, state that the Ritual, in verse, as in present use, was composed by the venerable Abbot of Inehaffray, the same who, with a crucifix in his hand, passed along the Seots line, blessing the soldiers and the cause in which they were engaged, previous to the battle of Bannoekburn. Thus the Order states justly that it was revived, that is, a profounder spirit of devotion infused into it, by King Robert, by whose directions the Abbot reorganized it.
In this account, it is scarcely necessary to say that there is far more of myth than of legitimate history.
The King of Scotland is hereditary Grand Master of the Order, and at all assemblies a chair is kept vacant for him.
The headquarters of the Grand Lodge and Chapter are at Edinburgh and no meetings can be held of them out of Scotland. The date of the Annual Assembly is July 4 or the first following lawful day if the fourth of July should be on a Saturday or Sunday. The other regular meetings are on the fourth of October, January and April, with the foregoing proviso. The Provincial Grand Lodge has power to superintend and regulate all Chapters within the Province but only by power Specially conferred, usually upon the Provineial Grand Master. The following twenty-four Provincial Grand Lodges under the Grand Lodge at Edinlmrgh have been erected as follows:
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Last modified: March 22, 2014