The Arcane Schools by John Yarker

INTRODUCTION.

THE object of the following chapters is to give a broad but condensed view of the various traces which are to be found amongst the ancients, in their religion, in their Art, and in their buildings — civil, sacred, and military — of a speculative system, such as is now professed under the designation of Freemasonry. The work is necessarily a compilation of suitable information gathered from books upon history, mystery, mysticism, and Freemasonry; but it embraces the most recent views upon these subjects which have been evolved by a close critical examination, and generally accepted by the learned.

In the first and second chapters will be found the proofs of a system of most ancient sacerdotal grades and mysteries which in the earliest or proto-Aryan, civilisation added to their ceremonies those emblems of geometry and art which have been transmitted by Freemasonry.

In the third and fourth chapters we see more clearly the advance which the Aryan civilisation introduced into the primitive association; the development of a caste organisation, and the reduction of the more ancient civilisation, by invasions, to a subject state, which in time created an independent system of Art-Mysteries, combined with natural religion, or what we now term Freemasonry.

In the fifth and sixth chapters we have attempted the elucidation of the doctrine and symbolism of the Ancient Mysteries and their relationship with the minor schools {x} of Philosophy which sprang from them, as for instance the Pythagorean and Platonic schools, proving that all these possessed much in common — in doctrine, rites, and symbols, not only with each other but with Free Masonry of our own days, without the distinguishing features of the latter as an operative art; whilst, side by side, the Arcane schools of Philosophy passed onwards through the centuries of Christianity, in numerous branches, with the old rites and symbols.

In the seventh and eighth chapters we have, for convenience, a recapitulation of proofs of the existence and transmission of Art Mysteries and symbols from the most ancient times to our own days, with details of the Constitutions of a Fraternity, speculative in its teaching and operative in its application, for the conservation of Arts and Sciences in their tripartite application to houses, churches, and fortications, and which entering this country in British and Roman times from Egypt was modified by Culdee monks and learned clerics, and so continued as Folc-motes or Guilds in the time of the Anglo-Saxons.

In the ninth and tenth chapters some space is devoted to an enquiry as to the origin of the Semitic legends of Free Masonry which entering this country in Anglo-Norman times, with an Eastern system of work, of marks, and symbols, were engrafted upon the older Constitutions; together with some account of the esoteric marks, emblems, and rites of the organised Building-brotherhood who erected our noble Gothic edices, and references are made to many of these edifices in illustration of Free Masonry. We see the end of the Gothic and revival of the Classic Arcanum.

The remaining eleventh, twelfth, and thirteenth chapters give a short account of the principal points in the history of Modern Freemasonry from 1717 to our own days; and which includes a chapter upon the design, origin and history of what has come to be termed high-grade Free-masonry, {xi} and out of which sprung the distinction between Ancient and Modern Masonry, a dissension which continued until the union of these two sects of Masons in 1813.

Lastly in the Appendix we have added a full series of Constitutional Charges which continued in force from Saxon times until the year 1717 and even much later; these we have slightly modernised for the ease of the reader.

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Table of Contents | Archaic Legends | Proto-Aryan Civilisation and Mysteries | Aryan Civilisation and Mysteries | The Mysteries in Relation to Philosophy | Philosophy in Relation to Masonic Rites | The Mystic and Hermetic Schools in Christian Times | Recapitulated Proof of Ancient Masonry | Masonry in Saxon England | Masonry in Norman England | …