Help Me Maintain OUR Website!!!!!!
THORY, CLAUDE ANTOINE.
A distinguished French Masonic writer, who was born at Paris, May 26, 1759. He was by profession an advocate, and held the official position of Registrar of the Criminal Court of the Chatelet, and afterward of first adjunct of the Mayor of Paris. He was a member of several learned societies, and a naturalist of considerable reputation. He devoted his attention more particularly to botany, and published several valuable works on the genus Rosa, and also one on strawberries, which was published after his death.
Thory took an important part, both as an actor and a writer, in the Masonic history of France. He s as a member Or bhe Lotltge Saint Alexalldre d'Eeosse and of the Contrat Soeial, out of whose incorporation into one proceeded the Mother Lodge of the Philosophie Scottish Rite, of which Thory may be justly called the founder. He was at its constitution made the presiding officer, and afterward its Treasurer, and Keeper of its Archives. In his last capacity, he made a collection of rare and valuable manuscripts, books, medals, seals, jewels, bronze figures, and other objects connected with Freemasonry. Under his administration, the Library and Museum of the Mother Lodge became perhaps the most valuable collection of the kind in France or in any other country. After the Mother Lodge ceased its labors in 1826, this fine collection passed by a previous stipulation into the possession of the Lodge of Wont Thabor, which was the oldest of the Rite.
Thory, while making collections for the Lodge, had amassed for himself a fund of the most valuable materials toward the history of Freemasonry, which he used with great effect in his subsequent publications. In 1813 he published the Annales Originis Magni Galliarum Orientis, ou Histoire de la Fondation du Grand Orient de France, History of the Foundation of the Grand Orient of France, in one volume; and in 1815 his Acta Latomorum, ou Chronologie de l'Histoire de la Franche-Mafonnerie, Francaise et Etrangere, Masonic Proceedings, or Chronology of the History of French and Foreign Freemasonry, in two volumes. The value of these worlds, especially of the latter, if not as well-digested histories, certainly as important contributions to Masonic history cannot be denied. Yet they have been variously appreciated by his contemporaries.
Rebold (History of the Three Grand Lodges, page 530) saxs of the Annales, that it is one of the best historical productions that Freneh Masonic literature possesses; while 13esuchet (Précis If istoriquc} Historical Summary ii, page 275) charges that he has attempted to discharge the functions of a historian without exactitude and without impartiality. These discordant views are to be attributed to the active part that Thory took in the contests between the Grand Orient and the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite, and the opposition which he offered to the claims of the former to the Supreme Masonic authority. Posterity will form its judgment on the character of Thory as a Masonic historian without reference to the evaneseent rivalry of parties He died in October, 1827.
THOUX DE SALVERTE.
Founder in 1767, at Warsaw, of the Academy of-Ancients, which see.
THREAD OF LIFE.
In the earliest lectures of the eighteenth century, we find this Catechism:
THREE GLOBES, RITE OF THE GRAND LODGE OF THE.
THREE GRAND OFFERINGS.
THREE SACRED UTENSILS.
Everywhere among the ancients the number three was deemed the most sacred of numbers. A reverence for its mystical virtues is to be found even among the Chinese, who say that numbers begin at one and are made perfect at three, and hence they denote the multiplicity of any object by repeating the character which stands for it three times. In the philosophy of Plato, it was the image of the Supreme Being, because it includes in itself the properties of the two first numbers, and beeause, as Aristötle says, it contains within itself a beginning, a middle, and an end. The Pythagoreans called it perfect harmony.
The Bible contains significant references to threes. Christ is thus mentioned (Matthew xii, 40): "For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale's belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth." Another allusion is "Jesus answered and said unto them, l)estroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up. Then, said the Jews, Forty and six years was this temple in building, and wilt thou rear it up in three days? But he spake of the temple of his body. " (John ii, 1>91.) David had his choice between three evils extended respectively over three years, or three months, or three days, "Choose thee either three years' famine; or three months to be destroyed before thy foes, while that the sword of thine enemies overtaketh thee; or else three days the sword of the Lord, even the pestilence, in the land, and the angel of the Lord destroying throughout all the coasts of Israel. Now, therefore, advise thyself what word I shall bring again to him that sentele" (First Chronicles xxi! 11, 12). Where is also the division of life, land, sea, stars, sun an(l moon, day and night into thirds as described in the New 'I'estamellt (Revela^ tion viii, 7-13).
Gideon's array of three hundred was divided also into three parts (Judges vii, 16). three of the saerifiees to the Lord God wele eaeh to be three years old (Genesis xv, 9). In fact, the first book of the Old Testament alone has about twentyeight references to three of various kinds. Threescore is also a frequent number in the Bible as in Genesis (xxx, 7, 26) and Revelation (xi, 3; xii, 6, and xiii, 18) and there is the familiar "A three-fold cord is not easily broken" of Ecclesiastes (iv, 12).
So sacred was this number deemed by the ancients, that we find it designating some of the attributes of almost all the gods. The thunderbolt of Jove was three-forked; the scepter of Neptune was a trident; Cerberus, the dog of Pluto, was three-headed; there were three Fates and three Furies; the sun had three narnes, Apollo, Sol, and Liber; and the moon these three, Diana, Luna, and Hecate. In all incantations, three was a favorite number, for, aws Virgil says, Numero Deus impari gaudet, that is God delights in an odd number. A triple cord was used, each cord of three different colors, wilite, red, and black; and a small image of the Subject of charm visas carried thrice around the altar, as we see in Virgil's eighth Eclogue (line 73): Terna taxi hacc prinzuarl, triplici dirersa colore Licia circumdo, terQtte haec altaria circum Effigem duco
First I surround thee with these three pieces of list or thread, and I earrv thy image three times round the altars .
Shakespeare (Macbeth, act i, scene iv) refers to the three-fold sorceries of the three witches. The author, T. G. Limollett in his novel Peregrine Pickle quotes as a well-known proverb the expression "Number three is always fortunate." Oliver Wendell Holmes has in "The Last Leaf" employed an old three-cornered hat as some excuse for mirth and there are many other references of interest in literature.
The Druids paid no less respect to this sacred number. Throughout their whole system, a reference is constantly made to its influence; and so far did their veneration for it extend, that even their sacred poetry was composed in triads.
In all the Mysteries, from Egypt to Scandinavia, we find a sacred regard for the number three, as in the father, mother and child deities, Osiris, Isis, and Horus. In the Rites of Mithras, the Empyrean was said to be supported by three intelligences, Ormuzd, Mithra, and Mithras. In the Rites of Hindustan, there was the trinity of Brahma, Vishnu, and Siva. It was, in short, a general character of the Mysteries to have three principal officers and three grades of initiation.
In Freemasonrv, the ternary is the most saered of all the mystical numbers. Beginning with the old axiom of the Roman Artifieers, that tres factunt colleyfum, or it requires three to make a college, they have established the rule that no less than three shall congregate to form a Lodge. Then in all the hites, whatever may be the number of superimposed grades, there lie at the basis the three Symbolic Degrees. There are in all the Degrees three principal officers, three supports, three greater and three lesser lights, three movable and three imrnovable jewels, three principal tenets, three working-tools of a Fellow Craft, three principal orders of architectures three chief human senses, three Ancient Grand Masters. In fact, everywhere in the system the number three is presented as a prominent Symbol. So much is this the case, that all the other mystical members depend upon it, for each is a multiple of three, its square or its cube, or derived from them.
Thus, 9, 27, 81* are formed by the multiplication f three, as 3 X 3 = 9, and 32 X 3 = 27, and 32 X 32 = 81 (see Triad also 'three Points). But in nothing is tne Masonic signification of the ternary made more interesting than its colmection with the sacred delta, the symbol of Deity (see Triangle).
Unworthy members of the Order, who, using their privileges for interested purposes, traveling from city to city and from Lodge to Codger that they may seek relief by tales of fictitious distress, have been called tramping Masons. The true Brother should ever obtain assistance; the tramper should be driven from the door of every Lodge or the house of every Freemason where he seeks to intrude his imposture.
TRANSFER OF WARRANT.
The English Constitutions (Rule 221) enact that "No Warrant can be transferred under any circumstances." Similarly the Scoteh Constitution (Rule 148) says "A Charter cannot be transferred under any circumstances."
Freemasons who do not reside in a particular place, but only temporarily visit it, are called Transient Brethren. They are, if worthy, to be cordially welcomed, but are never to be admitted into a Lodge until, after the proper precautions, they have been proved to be "true and trusty." This usage of hospitality has the authority of all the Old Constitutions, which are careful to inculcate it. Thus the Lansdowne Manuscript charges "that every Mason receive or cherish Strange Fellows when they come over the countrey, and sett them on worke if they will worke, as the manner is, that is to say, if the Mason have any moulde stone in his place, on worke; and if he have none, the Mason shall refresh him with money unto the next Lodge. "
Although Speculative Freemasons no longer visit Lodges for the sake of work or wages, the usage of our Operative predecessors has been spiritualized in our symbolic system. Hence visitors are often invited to take a part in the labors of the Lodge, and receive their portion of the Light and Truth which constitute symbolic pay of a Speculative Freemason.
Findel calls that period in the history of Freemasonry, when it was gradually changing its character from that of an Operative to that of a Speculative Soeiety, the Transition Period. It began in 1600, and terminated in 1717 by the establishment of the Grand Lodge of England in London, after which, says Findel (History, English Translation page 131), "modern Freemasonry was now to be taught as a spiritualizing art, and the Fraternity of Operative Masons was exalted to a Brotherhood of Symbolic Builders, who, in the place of visible, perishable Temples, are engaged in the erection of that one, invisible, eternal Temple of the heart and mind."
TRANSMISSION, CHARTER OF.
A deed said to have been granted by James de Molay, just before his death, to Mark Larmenius, by which he transmitted to him and to his successors the office of Grand Master of the Templars. It is the foundationdeed of the Order of the Temple. After having disappeared for many rears it was rediscovered and purchased by Brother Fred J. W. Crowe of Chichester, England, who thought it too important and valuable to remain in private hands, and it was placed in the possession of the threat Priory of England. It is written in a Latin cipher on a large folio sheet of parchment. The outward appearance of the document is of great antiquity. but it lacks internal evidence of authenticity. It is, therefore, by many authorities, considered a forgery (see Temple, Order of the).
TRAPPISTS, ORDER OF RELIGIOUS.
An order founded by that devotee of secret organizations, Count La Perche, in 1140.
In the symbolic language of Freemasonry, a Freemason always travels from West to East in search of light—he travels from the lofty tower of Babel, where language was confounded and Freemasonry lost, to the threshing-floor of Ornan the Jebusite, where language was restored and Freemasonry found. The Master Mason also travels into foreign countries in search of wages. All this is pure symbolism, unintelligible, in any other sense (for its interpretation, see Foreign Country and ThreshingFloor) .
There is no portion of the history of the Order so interesting to the Masonic scholar as that which is embraced by the Middle Ages of Christendom, beginning with about the tenth century, when the whole of civilized Europe was perambulated by those associations of workmen, who passed from country to country and from city to city under the name of Traveling Masons, for the purpose of erecting religious edifices. There is not a country of Europe which does not at this day contain honorable evidences of the skill and industry of our Masonic ancestors. We therefore propose, in the present article, to give a brief sketch of the origin, the progress, and the character of these traveling architects.
George Godwin, in a lecture published in the Builder (volume ix, page 463), says: "There are few points in the Middle Ages more pleasing to look back upon than the existence of the associated Masons; they are the bright spot in the general darkness of that period, the patch of verdure when all around is barren. "
Clavel, in his Histoire Pittoresque de la FrancMaçonnerie, has traced the organization of these associations to the "Collegia Artificum," or Colleges of Artisans, which were instituted at Rome, by Numa, in the year 714 B.C., and whose members were originally Greeks, imported by this lawgiver for the purpose of embellishing the city over which he reigned. Tlley continued to exist as well-established corporations throughout all the succeeding vears of the Kingdom, the Republic, and the Empire (see Roman Colleges of Artificers).
These "sodalitates," or fraternities, began, upon the invasion of the barbarians, to decline in number in respectability, and in power. But on the conversion of the whole Empire, they, or others of a similar character, began again to flourish. The Priests of the Christian Church became their patrons, and under their guidance they devoted themselves to the building of churches and monasteries. In the tenth century, they were established as a free Gild or Corporation in Lombardy. For when, after the decline and fall of the empire, the City of Rome was abandoned by its sovereigns for other secondary cities of Italy, such as Milan and Ravenna, and new courts and new capitals were formed, the Kingdom of Lombardy sprang into existence as the great center of all w energy in trade and industry, and of refinements in art and literature. Como was a free Republic to which many fled during the invasions of the Vandals and Goths. It was in Lombardy, as a consequence of the great center of life from Rome, and the development not only of commercial business, but of all sorts of trades and handicrafts, that the corporations known as Gilds were first organized.
Among the arts practised by the Lombards, that of building held a pre-eminent rank. And Muratori tells us that the inhabitants of Como, a principal city of Lombardy, Italy, had become so superior as Masons, that the appellation of Magistri Comacini, or Masters from Como, had become generic to all of the profession.
Thomas Hope, in his Historical Essay on Architecture, has treated this subject almost exhaustively. He says:
We cannot then wonder that, at a period when artificers and artists of every class, from those of the most mechanical, to those of the most intellectual nature formed themselves into exclusive Corporations, architects—whose art may be said to offer the most exact medium between those of the most urgent necessity and those of mere ornament, or, indeed, in its wide span to embrace both—should, above all others, have associated themselves into similar bodies, which, in conformity to the general style of such Corporations assumed that of Free and Accepted Masons, and was composed of those members who, after a regular passage through the different fixed stages of apprenticeship were received as Masters, and entitled to exercise the profession on their own account.
In an age, however, in which lay individuals, from the lowest subject to the sovereign himself, seldom built except for mere shelter and safety—seldom sought, nay rather avoided, in their dwellings an elegance which might lessen their security, in which even the community collectively, in its public and general capacity, divided into component parts less numerous and less varied required not those numerous public edifices which we possess either for business or pleasure.
Thus, when neither domestic nor civic architecture of any sort demanded great ability or afforded great employment churches and monasteries were the only buildings required to combine extent and elegance, and sacred architecture alone could furnish an extensive field for the exercise of great skill, Lombardy itself, opulent and thriving as it was, compared to other countries, soon became nearly saturated with the requisite edifices, and unable to give these Companies of Free and Accepted Masons a longer continuance of sufficient custom, or to render the further maintenance of their exclusive privileges of great benefit to them at home. But if, to the south of the Alps, an earlier civilization had at last caused the number of architects to exceed that of new buildings wanted, it fared otherwise in the north of Europe, where a gradually spreading Christianity began on every side to produce a want of sacred edifices of churches and monasteries, to design which architects existed not on the spot.
Those Italian Corporations of Builders, therefore, whose services ceased to be necessary in the countries where they had arisen, now began to look abroad towards those northern climes for that employment which they no longer found at home: and a certain number united and formed themselves into a single greater Association, or Fraternity, which proposed to seek for occupation beyond its native land; and in any ruder foreign region, however remote, where new religious edifices and skilful artists to erect them, were wanted to offer their services, and bend their steps to undertake the work.
From Lombardy they passed beyond the Alps into all the countries where Christianity, but recently established, required the erection of churches. A monopoly was granted to them for the erection of all religious edifices; they Were declared independent of the sovereign in whose dominions they might he temporarily residing, and Subject only to their own private laws; they were permitted to regulate the amount of their wages; were exempted from all kinds of taxation; and no Freemason, not belonging to their Association, was permitted to compete with or oppose them in the pursuit of employment.
After filling the Continent with cathedrals, parochial churches, and monasteries, and increasing their own numbers by accessions of new members from all the countries in which they had been laboring, they passed over into England, and there introduced their peculiar style of building. Thence they traveled to Scotland, and there have rendered their existence ever memorable by establishing, in the Parish of Kilwinning, where they erected an abbey, the germ of Scottish Freemasonry, whitt h haLs regularly descended through the Grand Lodge of Scotland to the present day.
Thomas Hope accounts for the introduction of the nonworking or unprofessional members into these associations by a theory which is confirmed by contemporary history. He says: Often obliged, from regions the most distant, singly to seek the common place of rendezvous and departure of the troop, or singly to follow its earlier detachments to places of employment equally distant, and that, at an era when travellers met on the road every obstruction and no convenience, when no inns existed at which to purchase hospitality, but lords dwelt everywhere, who only prohibited their tenants from waylaying the traveller because they considered this, like killing game, one of their own exclusive privileges; the members of these communities contrived to render their journeys more easy and safet by engaging with each other, and perhaps even, in many places, with individuals not directly participating in their profession, in compacts of mutual assistance, hospitality and good services, most valuable to men so circumstanced.
They endeavored to compensate for the perils which attended their expeditions by institutions for their needy or disabled brothers, but lest such as belonged not to their communities should benefit surreptitiously by these arrangements for its advantage, they framed signs of mutual recognition, as carefully concealed from the knowledge of the uninitiated, as the mysteries of their art themselves.
Thus supplied with whatever could facilitate such distant journeys and labors as they contemplated, the members of these Corporations were ready to obey any summons with the utmost alacrity, and they soon received the encouragement they anticipated. The militia of the Church of Rome, which diffused itself all over Europe in the shape of missionaries, to instruct nations and to establish their allegiance to the Pope, took care not only to make them feel the want of churches and monasteries, but likewise to learn the manner in which the want might be supplied. Indeed, they themselves generally undertook the supply; and it may be asserted that a new apostle of the Gospel no sooner arrived in the remotest corner of Europe, either to convert the inhabitants to Christianity, or to introduce among them a new religious order, than speedily followed a tribe of itinerant Freemasons to back him, and to provide the inhabitants with the necessary places to worship or reception.
Thus ushered in, by their interior arrangements assured of assistance and of safety on the road, and, by the Bulls of the Pope and the support of his ministers abroad, of every species of immunity and preference at the place of their destination, bodies of Freemasons dispersed themselves in every direction every day began to advance further, and to proceed from country to country, to the utmost verge of the faithful, in order to answer the increasing demand for them, or to seek more distant custom.
The government of these Fraternities, whenever they might be for the time located, was very regular and uniform. When about to commence the erection of a religious edifice, they first built huts, or, as they were termed, Lodges, in the vicinity, in which they resided for the sake of economy as well as convenience. It is from these that the present name of our places of meeting is derived. Over every ten men was placed a Warden, who paid them wages, and tooli care that there should be no needless expenditure of materials and no careless loss of implements. Over the whole, a surveyor or Master, called in their old documents Magister, presided, anti directed the general labor.
The Abbé Grandidier, in a letter at the end of the Marquis Luchet's Essai sur les Illuminés, has quoted from the ancient register of the Freemasons at Strassburg the Regulations of the Association which built the splendid cathedral of that city. Its great rarity renders it difficult to obtain a sight of the original work, but the l'Histoire Pittoresque of Clavel supplies the most prominent details of all that Grandidier has preserved. The Cathedral of Strassburg was commenced in the year 1277, under the direction of Erwin of Steinbach. The Freemasons, who, under his directions, were engaged in the construction of this noblest specimen of the Gothic style of architecture, were divided into the separate ranks of Masters, Craftsmen, and Apprentices.
The place where they assembled was called a Hutte, a German word equivalent to our English term Lodge. They employed the implements of Freemasonry as emblems, and wore them as insignia. They had certain signs and words of recognition, and received their new members vith peculiar and secret ceremonies, admitting, as has already been said many eminent persons, and especially ecclesiasties, who were not Operative Masons, but who gave to them their patronage and protection.
The Fraternity of Strassburg became celebrated throughout Germany, their superiority was acknowledged by the kindred associations, and they in time received the appellation of the Haupt Hütte, or Grand Lodge, and exercised supremacy over the hütten of Suabia, Hesse, Bavaria, Franconia, Saxony, Thuringia, and the countries bordering on the river Moselle. The Masters of these several Lodges assembled at Ratisbon in 1459, and on the 25th of April contracted an Act of Union, declaring the chief of the Strassburg Cathedral the only and perpetual Grand Master of the General Fraternity of Freemasons of Germany. This Act of Union was definitely adopted and promulgated at a meeting held soon afterward at Strassburg.
Similar institutions existed in France and in Switzerland, for wherever Christianity had penetrated, there churches and cathedrals were to be built, and the Traveling Freemasons hastened to undertake the labor.
They entered England and Scotland at an early period. Whatever may be thought of the authenticity of the York and Kilwinning legends, there is ample evidence of the existence of organized Associations Gilds, or Corporations of Operative Freemasons at an epoch not long after their departure from Lombardy. From that period, the Fraternity, with various intermissions, continued to pursue their labors, and constructed many edifices which still remain as monuments of their skill ats workmen and their taste as architects. Kings, in many instances became their patrons, and their labors were superintended by powerful noblemen and eminent prelates who, for this purpose, were admitted as members of the Fraternity. Many of the old Charges for the better government of their Lodges have been preserved, and are still to be found in our Books of Constitutions, every line of which indicates that they were originally drawn up for Associations strictly and exclusively Operative in their character.
In glancing over the history of this singular body of architects, we are struck with several important peculiarities.
In the first place, they vere Strictly ecclesiastical in their Constitution. The Pope, the Supreme Pontiff of the Church, was their patron and protector. They were supported and encouraged by Bishops and Abbots, and hence their chief employment appears to have been in the construction of religious edifices.
They were originally all Operative Masons. But the artisans of that period were not educated men, and they were compelled to seek among the clergy, the only men of learning, for those whose wisdom might contrive, and whose cultivated taste might adorn, the plans which they, by their practical skill, were to carry into effect. Hence the germ of that Speculative Masonry which, once dividing the character of the Fraternity Mrith the Operative, now completely occupies it, to the entire exclusion of the latter.
Brother E. E. Cauthorne has a few words of comment: "There probably never was a time when the Operative Masons did not furnish the architect. When an ecclesiastic performed this function it was an exception, and there were few of them. The profession of the architect seems to have been a distinct profession since Theoderic established himself at Ravenna, in 493, and appointed an official architects All through the Lombard period and at all later periods the architect or Master was distinctive" (see also the Reviser's paragraph in Stone-Masons of the Middle Ages) .
But lastly, from the circumstance of their union and concert arose a uniformity of design in all the public buildings of that period—a uniformity so remarkable as to find its explanation only in the fact that there construction was committed throughout the whole of Europe, if not always to the same individuals, at least to members of the same Association. The remarks of Thomas Hope on this subject are well worthy of perusal:
The architects of all the sacred edifices of the Latin Church, wherever such arose,—North, South, East, or West,—thus derived their science from the same central school, obeyed in their designs the same hierarchy were directed in their constructions by the same principles of propriety and taste; kept up with each other, in the most distant parts to which they might be sent, the most constant correspondence; and rendered every minute improvement the property of the whole body and a new conquest of the art. The result of this unanimity was, that at each successive period of the monastic dynasty, on whatever point a new church or new monastery might be erected, it resembled all those raised at the same period in every other place, however distant from it as if both had been built in the same place by the same artist. For instance, we find, at particular epochs, churches as far distant from each other as the north of Scotland and the south of Italy, to be minutely similar in all the essential characteristics.
In conclusion, we may remark, that the world is indebted to this Association for the introduction of the Gothic, or, as it has lately been denominated, the Pointed Style of architecture. This style—so different from the Greek; and Roman Orders, whose pointed arches and minute tracery distinguish the solemn temples of the olden time, and whose ruins arrest the attention and claim the admiration of the speetator—has been universally acknowledged to be the invention of the Traveling Freemasons of the Middle Ages. And it is to this Association of operative Artists that, by gradual changes into a Speculative System, we are to trace the Freemasons of the present day.
Warrants under which military Lodges are organized, and so called because the Lodges which act under them are permitted to travel from place to place with the regiments to which they are attached (see Military Lodges).
A zealous and devoted French Freemason of much ability, who wrote several Masonic works, which the author published under the assumed name of Leonard Gabanon. The most valuable of his productions is one entitled Catéchisme des Francs-Maçons, précédé d'un Abrégé de l'Histoire d'Adoram, etc. (Catechism of Free Masons, preceded by an Abridged History of Adoram), published by him at Paris in 1743.
This was a phrase of mystical import with the Alchemists and Hermetic Philosophers. Pernetty (Dictionnaire Mytho-Hermetique), thus defines it: "The incomparable treasure is the powder of projection, the source of all that is good, since it procures unbounded riches, and a long life, without infirmities, to enjoy them."
The "powder of projection" was the instrument by which they expected to attain to the full perfection of their work. What was this incomparable treasure was the great secret of the Hermetic Philosophers. They concealed the true object of their art under a symbolic language. "Believest thou, O fool," says Artephius, one of them, "that we plainly teach this secret of secrets, taking our words according to their literal signification?" But we do know that it was not, as the world supposed, the transmutation of metals, or the discovery of an elixir of life, but the acquisition of Divine Truth.
Many of the advanced Degrees which were fabricated in the eighteenth century were founded on the Hermetic Philosophy; and they, too, borrowed from it the idea of an incomparable treasure. Thus in the Ultimate Degree of the Council of the Emperors of East and West, which Degree became afterwards the Sublime Prince of the Royal Secret of the ,Scottish Rite, we find this very expression. In the old French instructions we meet with this Sentence: "Let us now offer to the invincible Xerxes our sacred incomparable Treasure, and we shall succeed victoriously" And out of the initial letters of the words of this Sentence in the original French they fabricated the three most important words of the Degree.
This "incomparable treasure" is to the Freemasons precisely what it was to the Hermetic Philosophers— Divine Truth. "As for the Treasure," says one of these books, the Lumen de Lumine, cited by Hitchcock, "it is not yet discovered, but it is very near."
An officer, found in all Masonic Bodies, whose duty it is to take charge of the funds and pay them out under proper regulations. He is simply the banker of the Lodge or Chapter, and has nothing to do with the collection of money, which should be made by the Secretary. He is in the United States an elective officer.. The Treasurer's jewel is a key, as a symbol that he controls the chest of the Lodge. His position in a Lodge of the United States is on the right of the Worshipful Masters in front. In an English Lodge however, he is placed in the north.
See Grand treasurer.
The French title is Tresorier hermetique. A Degree in the manuscript collection of Peuvret. This collection contains eight other Degrees with a similar title, namely: Illustrious Treasurer, Treasurer of Paracelsus, Treasurer of Solomon, Treasurer of the Masonic Mysteries, Treasurer of the Nurnber Seven, Sublime Treasurer, Depositor of the Key of the Grand Work, and, lastly, one with the grandiloquent title of Grand and Sublime Treasurer, or Depositor of the Great Solomon, Faithful Guardian of Jehovah.