Help Me Maintain OUR Website!!!!!!
This manuscript is no longer in existence, having been one of those which was destroyed, in 1720, by some too scrupulous Brethren. Brother Preston (1792 edition, page 167), deseribes it as "an old manuscript, which was destroyed with many others in 1720, said to have been in the possession of Nicholas Stone, a curious sculptor under Inigo Jones." Preston gives, however, an extract from it, which details the affection borne by Saint Alban for the Freemasons, the wages he gave thern, an(l the Chalter which he obtained from the King to hold a General Assembly (see Saint Alban). Anderson (Constitutions, 1738, page .99), who calls Stone the Warden of Inigo Jones, intimates that he wrote the manuscript, and gives it as authority for a statement that in 1607 Jones held the Quarterly Communications. The extract made by Preston, and the brief reference by Anderson, are all that is left of the Stone Manuscript.
See Stone Manuscript.
Doctor Oliver says that, in the English system, "the stone pavement is a figurative appendage to a Master Masons' Lodge, and, like that of the Most Holv Place in the Temple, is for the High Priest to walk on." This is not recognized in the American system, where the stone or mosaic pavement is appropriated to the Entered Apprentice's Degree.
Saint Matthew records (xxi, 42) that our Lord said to the Chief Priests and Elders, "Did ye never read in the Scriptures, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner'?" Commenting on this, Dr. Adam Clarke says: "It is an expression borrowed from masons, who, finding a stone which, being tried in a particular place, and appearing improper for it, is thrown aside and another taken; however, at last, it may happen that the very stone which had been before rejected may be found the most suitable as the head stone of the corner." This is precisely the symbolism of the Mark Master or Fourth Degree of the American Rite, where the rejected stone is suggested to the neophyte "as a consolation under all the frowns of fortune, and as an encouragement to hope for better prospects." Brother G. F. Yates says that the Symbolism of the rejected stone in the present Mark Degree is not in the original Master Mark Mason's Degree, out of which Webb manufactured his ritual, but was introduced by him from some other unknown source.
Among the ancient Greeks and Romans, sentence was given in courts of judicature by white and black stones or pebbles. Those who were in favor of acquittal cast a white stone, and those who were for condemning, a black one. So, too, in popular elections a white stone was deposited by those who were favorable to the candidate, and a black one by those who wished to reject him. In this ancient practise we find the origin of white and black balls in the Masonic ballot. The white stone is also a symbol of victory.
"To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white Stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it" (Revelation iii, 17). Here is a recognition of the conquerors the stone as in the Roman tessera gladiatoria being the reward of the victorious in the arena, a mark of distinction. There was also the tessera hospitalis, a token or pledge of hospitality, a stone broken in halves, each half retained by both of two friends, and they or any of their families could at a future time assemble and unite the parts of the stone to prompt and renew the fellowship as of old. Hence, too, the white stone has become the symbol of absolution in judgment, and of the conferring of honors and rewards. The white stone with the new name, mentioned in the Mark Master's Degree, refers to the keystone.
STONE, WILLIAM LEETE.
An American journalist and writer, who was born in the State of New York in 1792, and died in 1844. He was the author of several literary works, generally of a biographical character. But his largest work was Letters on Masonry and anti-Masonry adressed to the Hon. John Quincy Adams, New York, 1832. This was one of the productions which were indebted for their appearance to the anti-Masonic excitement that prevailed at that time in this country. Although free from the bitterness of tone and abusive language which characterized most of the contemporaneous writings of the anti-Masons, it is, as an argumentative work, discreditable to the critical acumen of the author. It abounds in statements made without authority and unsustained by proofs, while its premises being in most instances false, its deductions are necessarily illogical.
This was, perhaps, the earliest form of fetishism. Before the discovery of metals, men were accustomed to worship unhewn stones. From China, whom Sanchoniathan calls the first Phenician, the Canaanites learned the practise, the influence of which we may trace in the stone pillar erected and consecrated by Jacob. The account in Genesis (xxviii, 18, 22) is that "Jacob took the stone that he had put for his pillows and set it up for a pillar, and poured oil upon the top of it; and he called the name of that place Bethel, saving, This stone which I have set for a pillar shall be God's house." The Israelites were repeatedly commanded to destroy the stone idols of the Canaanites, and Moses corrects his own people when falling into this species of idolatry.
Various theories have been suggested as to the origin of stone-worship. Lord Kames' theory was that stones erected as monuments of the dead became the place where posterity paid their veneration to the memory of the deceased, and that the monumental stones at length became objects of worship, the people having lost sight of the emblematical signification, which was not readily understood.
Others have sought to find the origin of stone-worsship in the stone that was set up and anointed by Jacob at Bethel, and the tradition of which had extended into the heathen nations and become corruptett. It is certain that the Phenicians worshiped sacred stones uniter the name of Boetylia, which word is evidently derived from the Hebrew Bethel, and this undoubtedly gives some appearance of probability to the theory.
Out a third theory supposes that the worship of stones was derived from the unskilfulness of the primitive sculptors, wily unable to frame, by their meager principles of plastic art, a true image of the God whom they adored, were content to substitute in its place a rude or scarcely polished stone. Hence the Greeks, according to Pausanias, originally used unhewn stones to represent their deities, thirty of which, that historian says, he saw in the City of Pharoe. These stones were of a cubical form, and, as the greater number of them were dedicated to the god Hermes, or Mereury, they received the generic name of Hermae. Subsequently, with the improvement of the plastic art, the head was added.
So difficult, indeed, was it, in even the most refined era of Grecian civilization, for the people to divest themselves of the influences of this superstition, that Theophrastus characterizes the superstitious man as one who could not resist the impulse to bow to those mysterious stones which served to mark the confluence of the highways.
One of these consecrated stones was placed before the door of almost every house in Athens. They were also placed in front of the temples, in the gymnasia or schools, in libraries, and at the corners of streets, and in the roads. When dedicated to the god Terminus, whose Special province, was held to be boundaries, they were used as landmarks, and placed as such upon the concurrent lines of neighboring possessions.
The Thebans worshiped Bacchus under the form of a rude, square stone.
Arnobius says that Cybele was represented by a small stone of a black color. Eusebius cites Porphyry as saying that the ancients represented the Deity by a black stone, because His nature is obscure and inserutable. The reader will here be reminded of the black stone, Hadsjar el Aswad, placed in the southwest corner of the Kaaba at Mecca, which was worshiped by the ancient Arabians, and is still treated with religious veneration by the modern Mohammedans. The Mussulman priests, however, say that it was at first white, of such surprising splendor to be seen at the distance of four days journey, but that it has been blackened by the tears of pilgrims.
The Druids, it is well known, had no other images of their gods but cubical or Sometimes columnar stones, of which Toland gives several instances.
The Chaldeans had a sacred stone, which they held in great veneration, under the name of Mnizuris, and to which they sacrificed for the purpose of evoking the Good Demon. Stone-worship existed among the early American races. Squier quotes Skinner as asserting that the Peruvians used to set up rough stones in their fields and plantations, which were worshiped as protectors of their crops. And Gama says that in Mexico the presiding god of the spring was often represented without a human body, and in place thereof a pilaster or square column, whose pedestal was covered with various sculptures Indeed, so universal was this stone-worship, that Godfrey Higgins, in his Celtic Druids, says that "throughout the world the first object of idolatry seems to have been a plain, unwrought stone, placed in the grounds as an emblem of the generative or procreative powers of nature." And Bryant, in his Anallysts of Ancient Mythology, asserts that "there is in every oracular temple some legend about a stone. "
Without further citations of examples from the religious usages of antiquity, it will, we think, be conceded that the cubical stone formed an important part of the religious worship of primitive nations. But Cudworth, Bryant, Faber, and all other distinguished writers who have treated the Subject, have long since established the theory that the Pagan religions were eminently symbolic. Thus, to use the language of Dudley, the pillar or stone was "adopted as a symbol of strength and firmness—a symbol, also, of the Divine Power, and, by a ready inference, a symbol or idol of the Deity Himself." And this symbolism is confirmed by Phurnutus, whom Toland quotes as saying that the god Hermes was represented without hands or feet, being a cubical stone, because the cubical figure betokened his solidity and stability.
The influence of this old stone-worship, but of course divested of its idolatrous spirit, and developed into the system of Symbolic instruction, is to be found in Freemasonry, where the reference to sacred stones is made in the Foundation-Stone, the Cubical Stone, the Corner-Stone, and some other symbols of a similar character. Indeed, the stone supplies Masonic science with a very important and diversified symbolism.
As stone-worship was one of the oldest of the deflections from the pure religion, so it was one of the last to be abandoned. A Decree of the Council of Aries, which was held in the year 452, declares that "if, in any diocese, any infidel either lighted torches or worshipped trees, fountains, or stones, or neglected to destroy them, he should be found guilty of sacrilege." A similar decree was subsequently issued by the Council of Tours in 507, that of Nantes in 658, and that of Toledo in 681. Charlemagne, of France, in the eighth century, and Canute, of England, in the eleventh, found it necessary to execrate and forbid the worship of stones.
Even in the present day, the worship has not been altogether abandoned, but still exists in some remote districts of Christendom. Scheffer, in his Description of Lapland, cited by Tennent, in Notes and Queries (first series, v, 122) says that in 1673 the Laplanders worshiped an unhewn stone found upon the banks of lakes and rivers, and which they called kied kie jubmal, that is, the stone god. Martin, in his Description of the Western Islands (page 88) says: "There is a stone set up near a mile to the south of Saint Columbus's church, about eight feet high and two broad. It is called by the natives the bounng stone; for when the inhabitants had the first sight of the church, they set up this, and then bowed, and said the Lord's Prayer." He also describes several other stones in different parts of the islands which were objects of veneration. Finally, in a work published years ago by the Earl of Roden, entitled Progress of the Reformation in Ireland, he says (page 51), that at Inniskea, an island off the coast of Mayo, "a stone carefully wrapped up in flannels is brought out at certain periods to be adored; and when a storm arises, this god is supplicated to send a vreek on their coasts."
Tennent, to whom we are indebted for these citations, adds another from Borlase, who, in his Antiquities of Cornwall, says (book iii, chapter ii, page 162), that "after Christianity took place, many (in Cornwall) continued to worship these stones; coming thither with lighted torches, and praying for safety and success." It is more than probable that in many remote regions of Europe, where the sun of Christianity has only darted its dimmest rays, this old worship of sacred stones still remains.
A crown colony of Great Britain, situated in the East Indies, on anel off the Malay Peninsula, comprising Singapore, Labuan, Penang, the Dindings, Province Wellesley, Malacea, and a number of small islands. Neptune Lodge, No. 344, was established by the Duke of Athol on September 6, 1809, but the Lodge only existed for ten years. It was revived again by the Duke of Sussex but its name was once more dropped from the register m 1862. Lodges Zetland in the East, No. 748, warranted 1845, No. 1555, warranted 1875, and Saint George, No. 1152, warranted 1867, comprise the Province of the Eastern Archipelago which was established with Brother W. H. Read as Provineial Grand Master in 1858. Provinces abroad from the year 1866 have been styled Districts to distinguish them from Provinces in England.
STRASBURG, CATHEDRAL OF.
This has always been considered as one of the finest Gothic buildings in Europe. The original cathedral was founded in 504, but in 1007 it was almost completely destroyed by lightning. The present edifice was begun in 1015 and completed in 1439. The Cathedral of Strasburg is very closely connected with the history of Freemasonry. The most important Association of Master Builders, says Stieglitz (vow Altdeutscher Baukunst, or An Essay on the Old German Architecture) for the culture and extension of German art, was that which took place at Strasburg under Erwin von Steinbach.
As soon as this architecture had undertaken the direction of the works at the Strasburg Cathedral, he summoned Freemasons out of Germany and Italy, and formed with them a Brotherhood. Thence hütten, or Lodges, were scattered over Europe. In 1459, on April 25, says the Abbé Grandidier, the Masters of many of these Lodges assembled at Ratisbon and drew up an Act of Fraternity, which made the Master of the Works at Strasburg, and his successors, the Perpetual Grand Masters of the Fraternity of German Freemasons.
This was confirmed by the Emperor Maximilian in 1498. By the Statutes of this Association, the Haupt-Hütte. Grand or Mother Lodge of Strasburg, was invested with a judicature, without appeal, over all the Lodges of Germany. Strasburg thus takes in German Freemasonry a position equivalent to that of legendary Lodge York in the Freemasonry of England, or Kilwinning in that of Scotland. And although the Haupt-Hütte of Strasburg with all other Haupt-Hütten were abolished by an Imperial Edict on August 16, 1731, the Mother Lodge never lost its prestige. "This," says Findel (History of Freemasonry, page 72), "is the case even now in many places in Germany; the Saxon Stone-Masons still regarding the Strasburg Lodge as their chief Lodge" (see stone-Masons of the Middle Ages).
STRASBURG, CONGRESSES OF.
Two important Masonic Congresses have been held at Strasburg.
First Congress of Strasburg. This was convoked in 1275 by Erwin von Steinbach. The object was the establishment of a Brotherhood for the continuation of the labors on the Cathedral. It was attended by a large concourse of Freemasons from Germany and Italy. It was at this Congress that the German builders and architects, in imitation of their English Brethrent assumed the name of Freemasons, and established a system of regulations for the government of the Craft (see Combinations of Freemasons).
Second Congress of Strasburg. This was convoked by the Grand Lodge, or Haupte-Hütte of Strasburg, in 1564, as a continuation of one which had been held in the same year at Basle. Here several statutes were adopted, by which the Steinwerksrecht, or Stone Masons' Law, was brought into a better condition.
STRASBURG, CONSTITUTIONS OF.
On April 25, 1459, nineteen Bauhütten, or Lodges, in Southern and Central Germany met at Ratisbon, and adopted regulations for the government of the German Stone-Masons. Another meeting was held shortly afterward at Strasburg, where these Statutes were definitively adopted and promulgated, under the title of Ordenunge der Steinmetzen Strasburg, or Constitutions of the Stone-Masons of Strasburg.
They from time to time underwent many alterations, and were confirmed by Maximilian I in 1498, and subsequently by many succeeding Emperors. This old document has several times been printed; in 1810, by Krause, in his drei altesten Kunsterkunden der Freimaurerbruderschaft; in 1819, by Heldmann, in die drei ältested geschichtlichen Denkmale der deutschen Friemaurerbrüderschaft, in 1844, by Heideloff, in his Bauhütte des Mittelalters in ihrer wahren Bedeutung; Findel also, in 1866, inserted portions of it in his Geschichte der Freimaurerei. Findel says the Strasburg Constitution was first printed, from a well-authenticated Manuscript, by Heldmann.
The invocation with which these Constitutions commence is different from that of the English Constitutions The latter begin thus: "The might of the Father of Heaven, with the wisdom of the blessed Son, through the grace of God and goodness of the Holy Ghost, that be three persons in one Godhead, be with us," etc. The Strasburg Constitutions begin: "In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, and of our gracious Mother Mary, and also her blessed servants, the holy four crowned martyrs of everlasting memory"; etc. The reference to the Virgin Mary and to the four crowned martyrs is found in none of the English Constitutions except the oldest of them, the Halliwell or Regius Manuscript (line 498). But Kloss has compared the Strasburg and the English statutes, and shown the great similarity in many of the regulations of both.
This is said to be one of the three principal supports of a Lodge, as the representative of the whole Institution, because it is necessary that where should be Strength to support and maintain every great and important undertaking, not less than there should be Wisdom to contrive it, and Beauty to adorn it. Hence, Strength is symbolized in Freemasonry by the Doric Column, because, of all the orders of architecture, it is the most massive; by the Senior Warden, because it is his duty to strengthen and support the authority of the Master; and by Hiram of Tyre, because of the material assistance that he gave in men and materials for the construction of the Temple.
STRICT OBSERVANCE, RITE OF.
The Rite of Strict Observance was a modification of Freemasonry based on the Order of Knights Templar, and introduced into Germany in 1754 by its founder, the Baron von Hund. It was divided into the following seven Degrees:
2. Fellow Craft;
4. Scottish Master;
7. Professed Knight.
According to the system of the founder of this Rite, upon the death of Jaeques de Molay, the Grand Master of the Templars, Pierre d'Aumont, the Provineial Grand Master of Auvergne, with two Commanders and five Knights, retired for purposes of safety into Scotland, which place they reached disguised as Operative Masons, and there finding the Grand Commander, George Harris, and several Knights, they determined to continue the Order. Aumont was nominated Grand Master, at a Chapter held on St. John's Day, 1313. To avoid persecution, the Knights became Freemasons. In 1361, the Grand Master of the Temple removed his seat to Old Aberdeen, and from that time the Order uniter the veil of Freemasonry, spread rapidly through Franee, Germany, Spain, Portugal, and elsewhere. These events constituted the principal subjeet of many of the Degrees of the Rite of Strict Observance. The others were connected with alchemy, magic, and other superstitious practises. The great doctrine contended for by the followers of the Rite was, "that every true Freemason is a Knight Templar." For an account of the rise, the progress, the decay, and the final extinction of this once important Rite (see Hund, Baron son).
Striking off a Lodge from the Registry of the Grand Lodge is a phrase of English Freemasonry, equivalent to what in the United States of America is called a Forfeiture of Charter. It is now more commonly called Erasingfrom the List of Lodges.
This title is given by Masonic historians to that system of Freemasonry Which is supposed to have been invented by the adherents of the exiled House of Stuart for the purpose of being used as a political means of restoring, first, James II, and afterward his son and grandson, James and Charles Edward, respectively known in history as the Chevalier Saint George and the Young Pretender. Most of the conclusions to which Masonic writers have arrived on the subject of this connection of the Stuarts with the advaneed Degrees of Freemasonry are based on conjecture; but in the opinion of Doctor Mackey there is sufficient internal evidence in the character of some of these Degrees, as well as in the known history of their organization, to establish the faet that such a connection did actually exist.
The first efforts to create a Masonic influence in behalf of his family is attributed to James II, who had abdicated the throne of England in 1688. Of him, Noorthouck says (Constitutions, 1784, page 192), that he was not "a Brother Mason," and sneeringly adds, in his index, that "he might have been a better King had he been a Mason." But Lenning says that after his flight to France, and during his residence at the Jesuit College of Clermont, where he remained for some time, his adherents, among whom were the Jesuits, fabricated certain Degrees with the ulterior design of carrying out their political views. At a later period these Degrees were, he says, incorporated into French Freemasonry under the name of the Clermont System, in reference to their original construction at that place. Gädicke had also said that many Scotchmen followed him, and thus introduced Freemasonry into France. But this opinion is only worthy of citation because it proves that such an opinion was current among the German scholars of the eighteenth century.
On his death, which took place at the Palace of St. Germain en Laye in 1701, he was succeeded in his claims to the British throne by his son, who was recognized by Louis XIV, of France, under the title of James III, but who is better known as the Chevalier Saint George, or the Old Preteruler. The word Pretender here should be given the understanding of claimant. He also sought, says Lenning, to find in the high Degrees of Freemasonry a support for his political views, but, as he remarks, with no better results than those which had attended the attempts of his father.
His son, Prince Charles Edward, who was commonly called by the English the YoungPretender, took a more active part than either his father or grandfather in the pursuits of Freemasonry; and there is abundant historical evidence that he was not only a Freemason, but that he held high office in the Order, and was for a time zealously engaged in its propagation; always, however, it is supposed, with political views.
In 1745 he invaded Scotland, with a view to regain the lost throne of his ancestors, and met for some time with more than partial success. On September 24, 1745, he was admitted into the Order of Knights' Templar, and was elected Grand Master, an office which it is said that he held until his death. On his return to France after his ill-fated expedition, the Prince is said to have established at the City of Arras, on April 151 1747, a Rose Croix Chapter under the title of Scottish Jacobite Chapter. In the Patent for this Chapter he styles himself "King of England, France, Scotland, and Ireland, and, as such, Substitute Grand Master of the Chapter of Herodem, known under the title of Knight of the Eagle and Peliean, and since our misfortunes and disasters under that of Rose Croix."
In 1748, the Rite of the Veille-Bru, or Faithful Scottish Masons, was created at Toulouse in grateful remembrance of the reception given by the Freemasons of that Orient to Sir Samuel Lockhart, the Aide-de-camp of the Pretender. Ragan says (Orthodoxie Maçonnique, page 122), in a note to this statement, the "favorites who accompanied this prince into France were in the habit of selling to speculators Charters for Mother Lodges, Patents for Chapters, etc. These titles were their property, and they did not fail to make use of them as a means of livelihood." Ragon says (Thuileur General, page 367), that the degrees of Irish Master, Perfect Irish Master, and Puissant Irish Master were invented in France, in 1747, by the favorites of Charles Edward Stuart and sold to the partisans of that Prince. One Degree was openly called the Scottish Master of the Sacree Vault of James VI, as if to indicate its Stuart character. The Degree still exists as the Thirteenth of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite, but it has been shorn of its political pretensions and its title changed.
Findell has given in his History of Freemasonry (English translation, page 209), a very calm and impartial account of the rise of this Stuart Freemasonry. He says: "Ever since the banishment of the Stuarts from England in 1688, secret alliances had been kept up between Rome and Scotland; for to the former place the Pretender James Stuart had retired in l719, and his son Charles Edward was born there in 1720; and these communications became the more intimate, the higher the hopes of the Pretender rose. The Jesuits played a very important part in these conferences. Regarding the reinstatement of the Stuarts and the extension of the power of the Roman church as identical, they sought, at that time, to make the society of Freemasons subservient to their ends. But to make use of the Fratenlity to restore the exiled family to the throne could not possibly have been contemplated, as Freemasonry could hardly be said to exist in Scotland then.
Perhaps in 1724, when Ramsay was a year in Rome, or in 1728, when the Pretender in Parma kept up an intercourse with the restless Duke of Wharton, a Past Grand Master, this idea was first entertained; and then, when it was apparent how difficult it would be to corrupt the loyalty and fealty of Freemasonry in the Grand Lodge of Scotland, founded in 1736, this Scheme was set on foot, of assembling the faithful adherents of the banished royal family in the high Degrees! The soil which was best adapted for this innovation was France, where the low ebb to which Freernasonry had sunk had paved the way for all kinds of newfangled notions, and where the Lodges were composed of Scotch conspirators and accomplices of the Jesuits. When the path had thus been smoothed by the agency of these secret propagandists, Ramsay, at that time Grand Orator, an office unknown in England, by his speech completed the preliminaries necessary for the introduction of the high Degrees; their further development was left to the instrumentality of others, whose influence produced a result somewhat different from that originally intended. Their course we can now pursue, assisted by authentic historical information.
In 1752, Scottish Masonry, as it was denominated, penetrated into Germany, Berlin, prepared from a ritual very similar to one used in Lille in 1749 and 1750. In 1743, Thory tells us, the Masons in Lyons, under the name of the Petit Elu, or the Lesser Elect, invented the Degree of Kadosh, which represents the revenge of the Templars. The Order of Knights Templar had been abolished in 1311, and to that epoch they were obliged to have recourse when, after the banishment of several Knights from Malta in 1720 bees.use they rvere Freemasons, it was not longer possible to keep up a connection with the Order of Saint John or Knights of Malta. then in the plenitude of their power under the sovereignty of the Pope. A pamphlet entitled Freemasozlry Divested of all its Secrets published in Strasburg in 1745, contains the first glimpse of the Strict Observance, and demonstrates how much they expected the Brotherhood to contribute towards the expedition in favor of the Pretender. "
From what has been said, it is evident there was a strong belief that the exiled House of Stuart exercised an important part in the invention and extension of what has been called the High Masonry. The traces of the politlcal system are seen at the present day in the internal organization of some of the advanced Degrees especially in the derivation and meaning of certain significant words. There is, indeed, abundant reason for believing that the substitute word of the Third Degree was changed by Ramsay, or some other fabricator of Degrees, to give it a reference to James II as "the son of the widow," Queen Henrietta Maria. Further researches are needed to enable any author to Satisfactorily write all the details of this interesting episode in the history of Continontal freemasonry . Documents are still wanting to elucidate certain intricate and, at present, apparently contradictory points.
In the Jacobite Lodge at Rome, by Brother William James Hughan, the author states (page 25): "Many statements have appeared from time to time respecting Prince Charles Edward Stuart's connection with Freemasonry, documents being submitted to prove that he even held the highest possible rank in the craft; but so far as I have been able to discover, all such claims are of an apocryphal character. Some are most absurd, while others are directly opposed to the actual facts of the case."
This may be supplemented by what Brother George W. Speth states on page 27 of the same work where he advises students, "to put no trust whatever in amounts connecting the Stuarts with Freemasonry. We have, too, in the Young Pretender's own written and verbal statements that they are absolutely baseless, pure inventions." However, as Brother Robert Freke Gould tells us, some "have affirmed, and whrith perhaps the greater share of reason, that the Prince was compelled by altered circumstances of his cause to repudiate any relations with Freemasonry," and, of course, that gives another view of the matter, though it is curious that all through these years the tradition should have held its own with such remarkable tenacity.
In accordance with the Doctor's diary, he "was made a Mason, January 6, 1721, at the Salutation Tavern, Tavistock street, London, with Mr. Collins and Captain Rowe, who made the famous diving engine." The Doctor adds: "I was the first person in London made a free mason in that city for many years. We had great difficulty to find members enough to perform the ceremony. Immediately upon that it took a run, and ran itself out of breath thro the folly of its members."
The Stukely papers containing the Doctor's diary are of continuous interest; and according to Rev. W. C. Lukis, P.M., F.lS.A., "Pain (or Payne) had been reelected Grand Master in 1720, and Doctor Desaguliers was the Immediate Past Grand Master." The last mentioned Brother pronouncing the Oration on June 24, 1721, at Stationers' Hall; on the following Saint John's Day (Evangelist), Decernber 27, 1721, "We met at the Fountain Tavern, Strand, and by consent of the Grand Mr. present, Doctor Beal constituted a new Lodge, where I was chosen Mr."
A trite remark of Doctor Stukely as to symbolism, was: "The first learning of the world consisted chiefly of symbols, the wisdom of the Chaldeans, Phenicians, Egyptians, Jews, of Zoroaster, Sanchoniathon, Pherecydes, Syrus, Pythagoras, Socrates, Plato, of all the ancients that have come to our hand, is symbolic"
Doctor Stukely has a curious reference in his diary, noted by Dudley Wright in England's Masonic Pioneers, page 114, to the Order of the Book. Whatever this Order may have been was not made clear but mentioned along with the Masonic activities of Doctor Stukely there is some interest for us in the items:
3rd Nov. 1722. The Duke of Wharton & Td. Dalkeith visited our Lodg.at the Fountain.
7th Nov. 1722. Order of the book Instituted.
28th Dec. 1722. I dined with Ld. Hertford introduced by Ld. Winchelsea. I made them both members of the Order of the Book or Roman Knighthood.
The word is from the Latin Sublimis, meaning lofty, an allusion properly expressive of the teaching in the final symbolic ceremony of our ancient Craft. The Third Degree is called the Sublime Degree of a Master Mason, in reference to the exalted lessons that it teaches of God and of a future life. The epithet is, however, comparatively modern. It is not to be found in any of the rituals of the eighteenth century. Neither Hutchinson, nor Smith, nor Preston use it; and it was not, probably, in the original Prestonian lecture. Hutchinson speaks of "the most sacred and solemn Order" and of "the Exalted," but not of "the Sublime" Degree. Webb, who leased his lectures on the Prestonian system, applies no epithet to the Master's Degree. In an edition of the Constitutions, published at Dublin in 1769, the Master's Degree is spoken of as "the most respectable"; and forty years ago the epithet "high and honorable" was used in some of the instructions of the United States.
The first book in which we meet w ith the adjective sublime applied to the Third Degree, is the Masonic Discourses of Dr. T. M. Harris, published at Boston in 1801. Cole also used it in 1817, in his Freemasons' Library; and about the same time Jeremy Cross, the well-known lecturer, introduced it into his teachings, and used it in his hieroglyphic Chart, which was, for many years, the text-book of American Lodges. The word is now, however, to be found in the modern English lectures, and is of universal use in the rituals of the United States, where the Third Degree is always called the Sublime Degree of a Master Mason.
The word sublime was the password of the Master's Degree in the Adonhiramite Rite, because it was said to have been the surname of Hiram, or Adonhiram. On this subject, Guillemain, in his Recueil Précieux, or Choice Collection (i, page 91), makes the following singular remarks: "For a long time a great number of Masons were unacquainted with this worth and they erroneously made use of another in its stead which they did not understand, and to which they gave a meaning that was doubtful and improbable. This is proved by the fact that the first knights adopted for the Master's Password the Latin word Sublimis, which the French, as soon as they received Masonry, pronounced Sublime, which was so far very well. But some profanes, who were desirous of divulging our secrets, but who did not perfectly understand this word, wrote it sublime, which they said signified excellence. Others, who followed, surpassed the error of the first by printing it Giblos, and were bold enough to say that it was the name of the place where the body of Adonhiram was found. As in those days the number of uneducated was considerable, these ridiculous assertions were readily received, and the truth was generally forgotten."
The whole of this narrative is a mere visionary invention of the founder of the Adonhiramite system; but it is barely possible that there is some remote connection between the use of the word sublime in that Rite, as a Significant word of the Third Degree, and its modern employment as an epithet of the same Degree. However, the ordinary signification of the word, as referring to things of an exalted character, would alone sufficiently account for the use of the expression.
[What is Freemasonry] [Leadership
Development] [Education] [Masonic
This site is not an official site of any recognized Masonic body in the United
States or elsewhere.
Last modified: March 22, 2014