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their private object is not exclusively an idea so bold for those times as the the characteristic of Rosicrucians union of nobles and burghers under a and Free-masons. True: it belongs law of perfect equality could ever have no less to all the secret societies been realized. And in fact amongst which have arisen in modern times. any other people than the English, But, notwithstanding that, it is indis- with their national habits of thinkputable that to them was due the ing and other favourable' circumoriginal scheme of an institution, stances, it could not have been realhaving neither an ecclesiastic nor a ized. Minors were rejected unless political tendency, and built on the when the consent of their guardians personal equality of all the indivi- was obtained; for otherwise the order duals who composed it.
would have exposed itself to the susII. Women, children, those who were picion of tampering with young peonot in the full possession of civic free- ple in an illegal way: to say nothing dom, Jews, Anti-christians generally, of the want of free-agency in minors. and (according to undoubted historic That lay-brothers were admitted for documents) in the early days of these the performance of servile offices—is orders-Roman Catholics, were exclud- not to be taken as any departure ed from the society. For what reason from the general rule : for it was women were excluded, I suppose it matter of necessity that persons of can hardly be necessary to say. The lower rank should fill the menial absurd spirit of curiosity, talkative- offices attached to the society; and ness, and levity, which distinguish these persons, be it observed, were that unhappy sex, were obviously in- always chosen from amongst those compatible with the grave purposes who had an independent property of the Rosicrucians and Masons. however small. As to the exclusion Not to mention that the familiar in- of Anti-christians, especially of Jews, tercourse, which co-membership in this may seem at first sight inconthese societies brings along with it, sistent with the cosmo-political tenwould probably have led to some dency of Masonry. But had it that disorders in a promiscuous assem- tendency at its first establishment? blage of both sexes, such as might Be this as it may, we need not be have tainted the good fame or even surprised at such a regulation in an threatened the existence of the order. age so little impressed with the virMore remarkable is the exclusion of tue of toleration, and indeed so little persons not wholly free, of Jews, and able—from political circumstances of Anti-christians; and indeed it to practise it. Besides it was necesthrows an important light upon the sary for their own security: the Freeorigin and character of the institu- masons themselves were exposed to tions. By persons not free we are to a suspicion of atheism and sorcery; understand not merely slaves and and this suspicion would have been vassals, but also those who were in confirmed by the indiscriminate adthe service of others--and generally mission of persons hostile to chris all who had not an independent live tianity.2. For the Jews in particular, lihood. Even freeborn persons are there was a further reason for rejectcomprehended in this designation, so ing them founded on the deep delong as they continued in the state of gradation of the national character. minority; Masonry presumes in all With respect to the Roman Cathoits members the devotiont of their lics, I need not at this point anticiknowledge and powers to the objects pate the historie data which favour of the institution. Now what ser their exclusion: the fact is certain ; vices could be rendered by vassals, but, I add, only for the earlier periods menial servants, day-labourers, jour of Free-masonry: further on, the neymen, with the limited meang at cosmo-political constitution of the their disposal as to wealth of know- order had cleared it of all such reliledge, and in their state of depen- gious tests: and at this day I bedency upon others ? Besides, with the lieve that in the lodges of London prejudices of birth and rank preva- and Paris there would be no hesitalent in that age, any admission of tion in receiving as a brother any upplebeian members would have imme- right Mahometan or Jew. Even in diately ruined the scheme. Indeed smaller citiesgow
bere lingering prewe have great reason to wonder that judices wouldistill cleave with more bigotry to the old exclusions, greater nature of these mysteries. To this stress is laid upon the natural reli- question we must seek for a key in gion of the candidate-his belief in the spirit of that age when the soGod and his sense of moral obliga- cieties themselves originated. We tion-than upon his positive con- shall thus learn first of all whether fession of faith. In saying this how- these societies do in reality cherish ever I would not be understood to any mystery as the final object of speak of certain individual sects their researches; and secondiy peramongst the Rosicrucians, whose haps we shall thus come to undermysticism leads them to demand spe- stand the extraordinary fact that the cial religious qualities in their prose- Rosicrucian and Masonic secret lytes which are dispensed with by should not long ago have been becommon Free-masonry.
trayed in spite of the treachery which III. The orders make pretensions we must suppose in a certain proporto mysteries: these relate partly to tion of those who were parties to that ends, and partly to means; and are secret in every age. derived from the East, whence they IV. These orders have a general profess to derive an occult wisdom system of signs (e. g: that of recogninot revealed to the profane. This tition) usages, symbols, mythi, and striving after hidden knowledge—it festivals. In this place it may be was, that specially distinguished these sufficient to say generally that even societies from others that pursued that part of the ritual and mythology unknown objects. And because their which is already known to the pubmain object was a mystery, and that lic,* will be found to confirm the conit might remain such, an oath of se- clusions drawn from other historical crecy was demanded of every mem- data as to the origin and purpose of ber on his admission. Nothing of the institution : thus, for instance, this mystery could ever be discover- we may be assured beforehand that ed by a visit from the police for the original Free-masons must have when such an event happens, and had some reason for appropriating to naturally it has happened many times, themselves the attributes and emthe business is at an end-and the blems of real handicraft Masons: lodge ipso facto dissolved: besides which part of their ritual they are so that all the acts of the members are far from concealing that in London symbolic, and unintelligible to all they often parade on solemn occasions but the initiated. Meantime no go- attired in full costume. As little can it vernment can complain of this exclu- be imagined that the selection of the sion from the mysteries: as every feast of St. John (Midsummer-day) governor has it at his own option to as their own chief festival-was at make himself fully acquainted with first arbitrary and without a signifithem by procuring his own adoption cant import. into the society. This it is which in Of the external characteristics--or most countries has gradually recon- those which the society itself anciled the supreme authorities to Ma- nounces to the world—the main is sonic Societies, hard as the persecu- the public profession of beneficence; tion was which they experienced at not to the brothers only, though of first. Princes and prelates made course to them more especially, but themselves brothers of the order as also to strangers. And it cannot be the condition of admission to the denied by those who are least favourmysteries. And, think what they ably disposed to the order of Freewould of these mysteries in other re- masons that many states in Europe, spects, they found nothing in them where lodges have formerly existed which could justify any hostility on or do still exist, are indebted to the part of the state.
them for the original establishment In an examination of Masonic and of many salutary institutions, having Rosicrucian Societies the weightiest for their object the mitigation of huquestion is that which regards the man suffering. The other external
We must not forget however that the Rosicrucian and Masonic orders were not originally at all points what they now are: they have passed through many changes and modifications; and no inconsiderable part of their symbolic system, &c. has been the product of successive generations.
characteristics are properly negative, them; and, under no circumstances, and are these:
of returning. This last was a politic I. Masonry is compatible with every regulation : for, whilst on one hand form of civil constitution ; which cos- the society was sufficiently secured mo-political relation of the order to by the oath of secrecy, on the other every mode and form of social ar- hand by the easiness of the yoke rangements has secured the possibi- which it imposed it could the more lity of its reception amongst all na- readily attract members. A young tions however widely separated in man might enter the order; satisfy policy and laws.
himself as to the advantages that II. It does not impose celibacy : and were to be expected from it; and this is the criterion that distinguishes leave it upon further experience or it from the religious orders and from any revolution in his own way of many of the old knightly orders, in thinking. which celibacy was an indispensable law or still is so.
In thus assigning the internal and III. It enjoins no peculiar dress, external characteristics of the Rosi(except indeed in the official assem- crucians and Free-masons, I have blages of the lodges, for the purpose purposely said nothing of the disof marking the different degrees), tinctions between the two orders no marks of distinction in the ordinary themselves: for this would have precommerce of life, and no abstinence supposed that historical inquiry which from civil offices and business. Here is now to follow. That the above again is a remarkable distinctiin characteristics however were common from the religious and knightly or- to both-is not to be doubted. Roders.
sicrucianism, it is true, is not FreeIV. It grants to every member a masonry: but the latter borrowed full liberty to dissolve his connexion its form from the first. He that with the order at any time and without gives himself out for a Rosicrucian, even acquainting the superiors of the without knowing the general ritual lodge : though of course he cannot of masonry, is unquestionably an imrelease himself from the obligation postor. Some peculiar sects there of his vow of secrecy. Nay, even are which adopt certain follies and after many years of voluntary sepa- chimeras of the Rosicrucians (as ration from the order, a return to it gold-making); and to these he may is always allowed. In the religious belong; but a legitimate Rosicrucian, and knightly orders the members in the original sense and spirit of the have not the power, excepting under order, he cannot be. certain circumstances, of leaving
Upon the earliest Historical traces of the Rosicrucian and Masonic Orders. The accredited records of these join that this might have secured orders do not ascend beyond the two their doctrines and mysteries from last centuries. On the other hand it being divulged but not the mere fact is alleged by many that they have of their existence. My view of their existed for eighteen hundred years. origin will perhaps be granted with He, who adopts this latter hypo- relation to Western Europe : but I thesis, which even as a hypothesis shall be referred to the east for the seems to me scarcely endurable for a incunabula of the order. At one time moment, is bound to show in the first Greece, at another Egypt, or different place in what respect the deduction countries of Asia, are alleged as the of these orders from modern history is cradle of the Rosicrucians and the at all unsatisfactory; and secondly, Free-masons. Let us take a cursory upon his own assumption of a far survey of the several hypotheses. elder origin, to explain how it hap- 1. In the earlier records of GREECE pened that for sixteen entire cen- we meet with nothing which bears turies writers contemporary any resemblance to these institutions with the different periods of these but the Orphic and Eleusinian mysorders have made any allusion to teries. Here however the word mysthem. If he replies by alleging the teries implied not any occult problem secrecy of their proceedings,-I re- or science sought for, but simply
sensuous and dramatic representa- stance of the Hermetic writings distions of religious ideas—which could connects them wholly from masonic not otherwise be communicated to objects : it consists of a romanthe people in the existing state of in- tic Theology and Theurgy, and the tellectual culture, and which (as often whole is very intelligible and far happens) having been once establish- from mysterious. What is true of ed were afterwards retained in a these Hermetic books—is true à formore advanced state of the national tiori of all later writings that profess mind. In the Grecian mysteries to deliver the traditional wisdom of there were degrees of initiation a- ancient Egypt. mongst the members : but with pur- 3. If we look to ancient CHALDÆA poses wholly distinct from those of and Persia for the origin of these the masonic degrees. The Grecian orders, we shall be as much disapmysteries were not to be profaned: pointed. The vaunted knowledge of but that was on religious accounts. the Chaldæans extended only to AsLastly the Grecian mysteries were a trology, the interpretation of dreams, part of the popular religion acknow- and the common arts of jugglers. ledged and authorised by the state. As to the Persian Magi, as well beThe whole resemblance in short rests fore as after the introduction of the upon nothing, and serves only to doctrine of Zoroaster, they were sim4 prove an utter ignorance of Grecian ply the depositaries of religious ideas, antiquities in those who have alleged and traditions, and the organs of the it. +
public worship. Moreover, they 2. Neither in the history of Egypt composed no secret order; but rather is
any trące to be found of the Rosi, constituted the highest caste or rank crucian and Masonic characteristics. in the nation, and were recognized It is true that the meaning of the by the government as an essential Egyptian religious symbols and part of the body politic. In succeedusages was kept secret from the peo- ing ages the religion of the Magi ple and from strangers: and in that passed over to many great nations, sense Egypt may be said to have had and has supported itself up to our mysteries: but these mysteries in, days. Anquetil du Perron has col. volved nothing more than the essen- lected and published the holy books tial points of the popular religion. I in which it is contained. But no As to the writings attributed to doctrine of the Zendavesta is presentHermes Trismegistus, they are now ed as a mystery; nor could any of known to be spurious; and their pre- those doctrines from their very nam tensions could never have imposed ture have been presented as such. upon any person who had examined Undoubtedly amongst the Rosicruthem by the light of such knowledge cian titles of honour we find that of as we still possess of the ancient Magus: but with them it simply deEgyptian history and religion : in- signates a man of rare knowledge in deed the gross syncretism in these physics-i. e. especially in Alchemy. writings of Egyptian doctrines with That the ancient Magi in the age imthose of the later Platonists too ma-, mediately before and after the birth nifestly betrays them as a forgery of Christ attempted the transmutafrom the schools of Alexandria. tion of metals is highly improbable: Forgery apart however, the sub- that idea, there is reason to believe,
* The word sensuous is a Miltonic word ; and is moreover a word that cannot be dis. pensed with.
+ See the German essay of Meiners upon the Mysteries of the Ancients, especially the Eleusinian mysteries, in the 3d part of his Miscellaneous Philosophical Works. Col. late with this the work of Ste. Croix entitled Mémoires pour servir à l'Histoire de la Réligion secréte des anciens Peuples. Paris : 1784.
# On the principle and meaning of the popular religion in Egypt and the hierogly. phics connected with it, consult Gatterer's essay De Theogoniâ Aegyptiorum in the 7th vol.--and his essay De metempsychosi, immortalitatis animorum symbolo Aegyptio in the 9th vol, of the Göttingen Transactions. The path opened by Gatterer has been since pursued with success by Darnedden in his Amenophis and in his new theory for the explanation of the Grecian Mythology: 1802. Consult also Vogel's Essay on the Religion of the ancient Egyptians and the Greeks. 4to. Nuremberg: 1793.
first began to influence the course of by little and little their sects expired. chemical pursuits amongst the Ara- Now to the Christians the rebuilding bian students of natural philosophy of the Temple must have been an and medicine.
object of perfect indifference; and 4. The pretensions of the DERVISHES to the Jews it must have been an and Bramins of Asia, especially of important object in the literal sense. Hindostan, to be the fathers of the But with the Free-masons it is a two orders need no examination,- mere figure under which is repreas they are still more groundless than sented the secret purpose of the sothose which have been just noticed. ciety: why this image was selected,
5. A little before and after the will be satisfactorily accounted for birth of Christ there arose in Egypt further on. and Palestine a Jewish religious sect 6. The ARABS, who step forth which split into two divisions--the upon the stage of history in the Essenes, and the THERAPEUTÆ. seventh century after Christ, have Their history and an account of as little concern with the origin of their principles may be found in Jo- these orders. They were originally a sephus and more fully in Philo, who nomadic people that rapidly became probably himself belonged to the a conquering nation not less from Therapeutæ. The difference be- the weakness of their neighbours tween the two sects consisted in this than their own courage and religi-that the Essenes looked upon prac- ous fanaticism. They advanced not tical morality and religion as the less rapidly in their intellectual conmain business of life, whereas the quests; and these they owed chiefly Therapeutæ attached themselves to their Grecian masters, who had more to philosophic speculations, themselves at that time greatly degeand placed the essence of religion in nerated from the refinement of their the contemplation and reverence of ancestors. The sciences in which the deity. They dwelt in hermitages, the Arabs made original discoveries gardens, villages, and cottages, shun- and in which, next after the Greeks, ning the uproar of crowds and cities. they have been the instructors of With them arose the idea of monkish the moderns, were Mathematics, Aslife, which has subsisted to this day tronomy, Astrology, Medicine, Ma--though it has received a mortal teria Medica, and Chemistry. Now shock in our revolutionary times. To it is very possible that from the these two sects have been traced the Arabs may have originally proceedRosicrucians and Free-masons. Now, ed the conceit of physical mysteries without entering minutely into their without aid of magic, such as the history, it is sufficient for the over- art of gold-making, the invention of throw of such a hypothesis to cite a panacea, the philosopher's stone, the following principles common to and other chimæras of alchemy which both the Essenes and the Thera- afterwards haunted the heads of the peutæ. First, they rejected as mo- Rosicrucians and the elder Freerally unlawful all distinction of ranks
But of Cabbalism and in civil society. Secondly, they Theosophy, which occupied both made no mystery of their doctrines. sects in their early period, the Arabs Thirdly, they admitted to their com- as Mahometans could know nothing. munion persons of either sex. Fourth- And, and if those sects had been ly, though not peremptorily enjoin- derived from an Arabian stock, ing celibacy, they held it to be a how comes it that at this day in more holy state than that of mar, most parts of Europe (and until riage. Fifthly, they disallowed of lately everywhere) a Mahometan oaths., Sixthly, they had nothing candidate would be rejected by symbolic in their worship or ritual. both of them? And how comes it If it should be objected that the that in no Mahometan country at Free-masons talk much of the re- this time are there any remains of building of Solomon's temple, and either? refer some of their legends to this In general then I affirm as a fact speculation,–I answer that the Es- established upon historical research senes and Therapeutæ either were that, before the beginning of the Christians, or continued Jews until seventeenth century, no traces are to