The Arcane Schools by John Yarker

ORIGIN AND ANTIQUITY OF THE ARCANE SCHOOLS.
CHAPTER V.
PHILOSOPHY IN RELATION TO MASONIC RITES.

WE mentioned in our last chapter the introduction into the State Mysteries of an intellectual class who, as laymen, were destined to exercise great influence upon succeeding generations. The most notable was Pythagoras, who was by birth a Samian of the period of 570 B.C. He obtained initiation into the Mysteries of various countries, and consolidated all that he had thus learned into a school of his own, which he opened at Crotono in Magna Graecia. He conferred upon himself and pupils the title of Philosophers, or lovers of Wisdom, and Philosophy began to lay claim to all the Wisdom possessed by the Mysteries. It was the first of the Arcane Schools that sprang out of the State Mysteries, in the same way that private Lodges of Masons sprang out of the General Assemblies; and in the language of Masons, the School of Pythagoras would be termed a new Rite of the Mysteries, but Pythagoras went beyond speculation, in a Masonic direction, by his practical views upon the necessity of studying the Liberal Arts and Sciences, and though he flourished nearly two centuries before Plato, and nearly three centuries before the time of Euclid, he made Geometry the basic plan of all creation.

The Rite of Pythagoras was divided into three classes or grades, and Dr. George Oliver in his "History of Initiation," makes the School or Academy of Plato, to consist equally of three degrees with Initiatory rites, but it is doubtful whether he had any better authority than will be found in this section; it is full of Masonic doctrine {123} and symbolism which must be left for the reader to apply. The Pythagorean Rite was Exoteric or public in its teaching, and Esoteric or private in things intended for his Disciples, and a like rule was followed by the Egyptian priests. The first step of the Esoteric teaching was an Apprenticeship of five years of silence, which Iamblichus informs us might be abridged in cases of merit; the Aspirants were termed "Mathematici," because the grade embodied instruction in the Liberal arts, and Hippolitus informs us that Deity was denominated "Grand Geometrician;" even as we saw that the Chinese termed Deity the "First Builder," and the Indian Art fraternity the "Great or Divine Builder." The brethren advanced to the second step were termed "Theorilici," and here they were instructed in the elements of divine wisdom. Then followed the very select class of "Electi," who were Perfect Masters. The School had a series of darkly-worded apothegms, as for instance, "Stir not the fire with a sword" -- be calm. "Abstain from beans" -- be chaste. It had also secret modes of recognition. Their brotherly-love was often exemplified in the most remarkable manner, and their devotion to the Society, and its laws, by the sacrifice of life itself. "The Master has said it," was an all-sufficient guide in their conduct.

Ovid in his "Metamorphosis" has an essay upon Pythagoras and his doctrines: -- "Why dread such mere visions as death and Hades? Souls cannot die; they only leave one body to enter another, as I (Pythagoras) know by experience who was once Eupherbus, and recognised the shield I, in his person bore. Death is mere change; the breath goes forth from one body to enter another (be it human or animal) but beneath different shapes the soul remains substantially the same. Hence the horror of killing creatures, it may be, tenanted by kindred souls. But one may go further and say, that not souls alone, but all things shift and pass -- night and day, the hues of the sky and sun, and the shapes of the moon. The seasons, the year, changes in correspondence with the ages of man, {124} Spring answering to youth, Summer to prime, Autumn to maturity, and Winter to old age."

Porphyrios, who was a Tyrian of the name of Melek, informs us that the numerals of Pythagoras are hieroglyphic symbols, by which he explained all ideas concerning the nature of things, and hence of the nature of the symbols to which we have previously alluded. It is said that he taught the true Astronomy, termed "Mesouranios," as typifying the sun in its relation to revolutions of the planetary bodies. Nor need we feel surprised at the knowledge which this implies, as the Vedas and Shastras of the Hindus indicate a conception that the earth was round and the planets in revolution, at least 2,000 B.C.1 Pythagoras was Initiated in Egypt after severe trials, and Porphyrios states that he was initiated in Babylon by Zarades, but it is doubtful whether this person or even Zoroaster were names of persons. Zar-ades may be interpreted by Na-zar-ad, vowed or separated, and Zar-ades may be a chief or Rab-mag, whilst Zoroaster may have been a Zara of Ishter, and Zerubabel the Zoro or Nazar of Babylon, a Nazarene and recoloniser of Jerusalem.2

Pythagoras claimed that all things were created by Geometry and numbers, or as his follower Plato expresses it, "God perpetually Geometrises." Censorinus thus develops his doctrine of the "Harmony of the spheres": "Pythagoras asserted that the whole world is made according to musical proportion, and that the seven planets between heaven and earth have an harmonious motion and intervals, correspondent to the musical diastemes, and render various sounds according to their several heights, so consonant that they make the most sweet melody, but to us inaudible by reason of the greatness of the noise, which the narrow passage of our ear is not capable to receive." Our old Masonic MSS. allege that Jabal discovered the musical notes by listening to the sound of the hammers of Tubal Cain, and tradition {125} assigns the discovery to Pythagoras by the same chance.

The Greeks mention the visit of a man of the name of Abaris from the Hyperborean regions; he appeared at Athens carrying a bow and quiver, girt with a gilded belt, and a plaid round his body. He was a learned man, instructed in Greek, very judicious, and Toland shews him to have been a Druid from the Hebrides. Pythagoras had no reserve with him, nor the Druid with him, and they parted with mutual esteem. It is said metaphorically that Abaris shewed Pythagoras the sacred arrow which Apollo used against the Cyclops by which we are to understand Druidical astronomy, and magic or in Celtic "dry," to which the Anglo-Saxons added craft, denominating Magic Drycraft.

Pythagorean Clubs or Schools were established at Crotona, Sybaris, Metapontum, Tarentum, and other places in Magna Graecia; and Cicero says that he died at Metapontum. The dates assigned to his birth vary from 608 and 570 B.C., and of his death 497 to 472 B.C.

The Philosopher Plato, who died at a great age in the year 347 B.C. was so much attached to Geometry, which the old Masonic Constitutions tell us was the original name of Masonry, that he wrote over his study: "Let none enter here who are ignorant of Geometry"; in his "Republic" he says that "Geometry rightly treated is the knowledge of the eternal"; and in "Timaeus" he says, that Pythagoras first brought Geometry to perfection; but Herodotus and Iamblichus say that Geometry was perfected in Egypt, owing to the necessity of surveying their lands after the overflow of the Nile; that is it had to be applied to the practical purpose of landmeasuring, and one of the probable derivations of the word Mason may be deduced from this use of Geometry.

The poet Chaucer, who was a Clerk of Works to the King and therefore in constant contact with Masons, uses the old word "Mase" to signify an artistic building, and "to mase" is to think out; and Krause observes that, in almost every tongue, m-t, m-s, metz, mess, masz, is used {126} to define the boundaries of an object, and in general, to invent, to measure, to work according to measure. In Latin we have mansio, a day's journey, and Macerieo, a boundary wall, hence our word mansion. The term Mase has now passed out of use, but at the period when the word Macon arose was well understood.

Our ancient MSS. distinctly state that in early Saxon times the word was not in use and the Craft was designated Geometry; we may therefore seek the origin of the word in the Teutonic. In the "Somneri Dictionarium Saxonico-Latino-Anglicum," Oxon. 1689, we have a word which covers what we seek -- Massa, or "Maca, par locius, censors, conjux, a peer, an equal, a companion, a mate." It is therefore a term equally applicable either to the Society or the trade. The builders were Masons because they were Sociates and Fellows of Craft, and the trade was the same because the Sociates made and mated the stones to form a building. The word Massa, a table, a mate, indicates fellowship.

Brother Wm. S. Rockville has hazarded a derivation from the Coptic "Mai" to love, and "Son" a brother, which is quite applicable philologically, and he points out that the hieroglyphic of the first word is a sickle, plough, or scythe, and of the second a chisel, or a seal is used.3

Geometry was the chief qualification for the Arcane Schools, as well as for Masonry, and the following which Plato gives in the "Philebos," and perhaps derives from an older source, appears also in the Masonic MSS.: "All arts require Arithmetic, Mensuration, and Statics, all of which are comprehended in the Mathematical science, and are bounded by the principles which it contains, for the distribution of numbers, the variety of measures, and the difference of weights are known by this science." But Proklos makes Geometry to be also the basis of religion, and confirms what was stated in our last chapter, for he says: -- "The mathematical disciplines were invented by the Pythagoreans, in order to be a reminiscence of divine {127} concerns, at which through these, as SYMBOLS, they endeavour to arrive."

Even at the present day Geometry and its diagrams are the technical language of Architects by which they convey their ideas to each other, and which they have inherited with the Craft of the ancient Masonic Society. It follows that architecture is the best school in which to study speculative geometry, and there must always have existed a close relationship between operative Masonry and Speculative Philosophy, based as the latter is, to a great extent, upon geometrical science. There must be a good reason why old Masonic MSS. couple all the sciences which go to form a liberal education; and though it may seem incongruous to couple grammar and logic, with qualifications necessary to build houses, we can give very ancient Greek evidence to prove its necessity and bearing. Ammonius Saccus says: "For in general the end of theory is the beginning of practice; and so reciprocally the end of practice the beginning of theory. Thus, for instance, an Architect, being ordered to build a house, says to himself, 'I am ordered to build a house; that is to say a certain defence to protect against the rains and the heats. But this cannot be without a roof or covering.'" From this point therefore he begins his theory. He proceeds and says, "But there can be no roof if there be no walls; and there can be no walls without some foundations; nor can there be laid foundations without opening the earth." At this point the theory is at an end. Hence, therefore, commences the practice or action. For, first, he opens the earth, then lays the foundation, then raises the walls, and lastly puts on the roof which is the end of the action or practice, as the beginning of the practice was the end of the theory. And thus also the philosopher does; being willing to form a demonstration he says to himself: "I am willing to speak concerning demonstration. But inasmuch as demonstration is a scientific syllogism, it is impossible to say anything concerning it without first saying what is a syllogism; nor can {128} we learn what is simply a syllogism without having first learned what is a proposition; for propositions are certain sentences; and it is a collection of such sentences that form a syllogism; so that without knowing propositions it is impossible to learn what is a syllogism, because it is out of these that a syllogism is compounded. Further than this, it is impossible to know a proposition without knowing nouns and verbs out of which is composed every species of sentence, or to know nouns and verbs without knowing sounds articulate or simple words, inasmuch as each of these is a sound articulate having a meaning.'" The same writer speaks of "the practical and the speculative part of Philosophy." Plato in his "Republic," makes Socrates to say: "It is indeed no contemptible matter, though a difficult one, to believe that through these particular sciences (arithmetic, music, geometry, and astronomy) the soul has an organ purified and enlightened, which is destroyed and blinded by studies of other kinds; an organ better worth saving than a thousand eyes; inasmuch as truth becomes visible through this alone."

An important part of the Mythologies of various peoples was founded upon TWO PILLARS, where the sciences were alleged to be written; and the old Masonic MSS. state that Hermes and Pythagoras respectively found the Pillars of stone and brick or "latres" upon which the antedeluvian sciences had been engraved. Iamblichus asserts that these two Pillars were preserved in the temple of Amen at Thebes, and Porphyrios, the Platonic philosopher, having addressed a letter of enquiry upon the Mysteries and their doctrine, to "Anebo the Egyptian Prophet," probably of a fifth order of priests established by the Ptolemies in a Synod, is thus answered by Iamblichus in a letter entitled, "The Reply of Ab-Ammon the Master, to the Letter of Porphyrios to Anebo": --

"Hermes, the patron of learning, in ancient times, was rightly considered to be a god in whom the whole sacerdotal Order participated. The One who presides over {129} true knowledge is one, and the same, everywhere. Our ancestors dedicated to him their wise discoveries, and named their respective treatises "Books of Hermes." . . . . It would not be becoming that Pythagoras, Platon, Demokritos, Eudoxes, and many other of the old Greeks, should have been able to receive instruction from the Sacred Scribes of their time when you, our own contemporary holding sentiments like theirs, are disappointed in your endeavour by those now living, and styled Public Teachers. . . . . But if you press an enquiry after the method of the Philosophers, we will adjudicate it according to the ancient "Pillars of Hermes," which Platon and Pythagoras have already recognised and combined with their own philosophical maxims. . . . . The knowledge of the gods is innate and pertains to the very substance of our being. . . . . From the beginning it was one with its own source, and was co-existent with the inherent impulse of the soul to the supreme goodness."

There is altogether much ambiguity and uncertainty as to the nature of these "Two Pillars," but it is evident from the foregoing, that they were much more than a mere record of the worldly arts. They probably stood for two very ancient traditional Pillars, used in the primitive Mysteries, which were copied in the "Petroma" of the temples of the various Mysteries of the world, from which the sacred laws were read to the Initiate, as in the two tablets of Moses in the Jewish law. There was an ancient Babylonian tradition that these Two Tablets were buried by Xisithrus, the Chaldean Noah, beneath the foundation stone of the tower of Borsippa, or Babel.4 Many kings sought for them in vain, until the time of Nabunahid, who professed, if we are to believe his inscription, to have discovered them. Josephus says that one of these Pillars existed in Syria, in his days. What he saw was probably a pillar recording some Egyptian conquest. Diodorus Siculus repeats a tradition that the Egyptians attributed to Thoth or Hermes the discovery {130} of geometry, arithmetic, astronomy, astrology, and the sciences; and as the "method of the philosophers," referred to by Iamblichus, was to employ geometrical symbols as a method of teaching Theosophy, the "Pillars of Hermes" would appear to cover such reference in the quotation.

Manetho, the Egyptian priest who compiled the annals of his order for the Ptolemies, says: "The second Hermes, called Trismegistus, translated, or rather transcribed into vulgar alphabetical characters, what the first Hermes had wrote in hieroglyphical characters upon pillars of stone." Hermes is the Greek name for the Egyptian Thoth, and this second of the name is believed to have been a Royal scribe of Menes the first King of Egypt, the first Thoth was a primitive traditional prophet, and the name, as Iamblichus has told us, of a god of Revelation.

The great Master of Geometry that followed Plato, after a lapse of about a century, was a Tyrian by birth of the name of Euclid, who opened an Academy of the Sciences at Alexandria under the Ptolemies. He was beyond doubt a Platonist, and described as such by Porphyrios in his "Life of Plotinos," a philosopher born at Lykopolis in Egypt, 205 A.D. The words of Porphyrios are thus translated: "In the first class of the Platonists there were Euklides, Demokritos, and Proklinos who lived near Troy. . . . . Of those philosophers, therefore, who were authors some produced nothing more than a collection and transcription of the remains of the ancients, as Euklides, Demokritos, and Proklinos." We see from this that Euclid did no more than reproduce what had existed from ancient times, and hence it is not without some show of authority that later scribes of the Masonic MSS. have substituted the name of Hermes for Euclid, as the author of the Constitutional Charges, and as a matter of fact Hermes was, in a sense, their remote originator. At this distant era there were only five liberal arts and sciences, and the assimilation of these to the five parts of the Mysteries was shewn in our last chapter. In the 11th century of our era these had been increased to {131} seven, in two divisions, designated the "Trivium" which comprised grammar, rhetoric, and logic, and the "Quadrivium" which included arithmetic, geometry, music, and astronomy.

In what has gone before we have various illustrations of the use of the cross as a pre-Christian symbol in the religious Mysteries, and in these minor Arcane Schools of philosophy the symbolic cross is prominent. Aeschylus, the author of "Prometheus Bound," relegates this Cabiric god to a similar punishment on Caucasus for stealing the fire of the gods with which to endow mankind, and he himself narrowly escaped death under a suspicion that he had revealed some of the mystic doctrine. Plato advances that the Logos, or second person of his trinity, had impressed himself upon the world in the shape of an {"X"}, or St. Andrew's cross, as it is now termed; as this symbol is one of the forms used to express the union of two generative principles it may be Plato's secret way of expressing that.

The Indian Guilds say, as previously mentioned, that the Divine Builder crucified his son Surya (the Sun) upon his Lathe which is the Svastica {Symbol: Swastika} cross. All the Guilds, both ancient and modern, in one of the higher degrees, has a symbolic crucifixion at High XII. at noon, which is founded upon the laying of the Foundation stone of a Temple on the 5 Points, by 3, 4, 5, angle. But it goes far beyond this, as there was everywhere an actual sacrifice of human life to ensure safety to the building; and the assertion, traditional, of course, is that it occurred at the erection of Solomon's temple, and it certainly had place in our old English churches even. The temple of Solomon was a 3 to 1 structure, 60 x 20 cubits, the pyramids have a square basis, and therefore a Coptic Guild would lay down a perfect square. The Mysteries were no more than a Guild, and had equally the same rite. Vitruvius gives the {"X"} cross as a canon of proportion of the human figure, the centre of the cross being the navel of the body. This was in Egypt "where also our Lord was crucified" {132} (Rev. xi. 8); a confession of Initiation, "crucified before the sun" as the Mystics say. Minucius Felix, a Christian, taunts the Romans themselves with the worship of wooden gods, and says: "Your victorious trophies not only represent a cross, but a cross with a man upon it."

Various writers of the Platonic school treat of the "Perfect Man" in the light of embracing all the virtues which lead to happiness, but which are never found combined in one individual. It is in this ideal of a perfectly virtuous man that we must look for such works as the Egypto-Greek life of Pythagoras, the Greco-Roman life of Apollonius; and exemplified to the full in the Greco-Jewish life of Jesus of Nazareth. The 2nd and 3rd Books of the "Republic" of Plato teach that goodness to be apparent must be stripped of all adventitious circumstances, and that a really good man will find so much opposition in the world that "he will be scourged, tormented, bound, his eyes put out, and die by crucifixion after he has endured all these evils." Again, "a good man will be tormented, furiously treated, have his hands cut off, his eyes put out, will be bound, condemned, and burnt." Lactantius quotes Seneca as using similar language. Grotius, from whom we take our translation, considers that Plato writes prophetically, but, after the allusions made in previous chapters, we may be pardoned if we look upon them as applied to certain things in the Mysteries, which assigned a reason in the danger of making the Arcane doctrines too public.

The ancient Sybils, or inspired prophetesses of the Mysteries, have similar language. Augustine5 thus quotes the Erythrean Sybil: "He will fall into the hostile hands of the wicked; with poisonous spittle will they spit upon him, on his sacred back they will strike him; they will crown him with a crown of thorns; they will give him gall for food, and vinegar to drink -- five forms of trial. The Veil of the temple will be rent, and at midday there will be a darkness of three hours, and he will die, {133} repose in sleep, and then in joyful light he will come again as at first." One of these Sybils had the following Oracle to deliver: --

"Then suddenly a sign for mortal men shall be,

When out of Egypt's land a stone most fair shall come safeguarded."

Celsus accuses the Christians of interpolating passages from these Oracles "without understanding their meaning," from which we gather that they had a mystical reference. The veil that is rent is that of the Sacred Curtain of Apollo, and Virgil has ascribed to his patron the coming glories of the age of gold. In the temple of Philae in Egypt there is an old-time painting of a man laid upon a cruciform bier asleep, over him stand two persons who are pouring upon his head water in which appears the sacred tau-cross, whilst the sun's rays strike upon him; and it is evident that such an Initiate is represented by a cube opened out as a Latin cross, the top square having a man's head, in the same temple. We mentioned this species of crucifixion in our last chapter, where the Initiate was carried into the lower crypt of the temple. Socrates Scholasticus in referring to crosses found in the temple of Serapis, when it was sacked by the Christians, says: "The Christians contended that the cross belonged to the Master, Jesus Christ, which they also which understood these rites maintained; the Gentiles on the contrary maintaining that the cross was common both to Jesus Christ and Serapis." An eminent Catholic divine says that the cross is "the hidden Mystery, a scandal to the Jews, and folly to the Gentiles, of which Paul writes." Foucart mentions a treatise by a disciple of Pythagoras entitled, "The passing into the invisible world, or the Descent into Hades."

In the ancient Mystery language of pre-Christian times, and with the Gnostics, and in the Arcane Discipline of the church, Chrestos meant a Disciple, whilst Christos was one anointed, purified, and accepted. Boeckhos, in "Corpus Inscriptionem," shews that it was an epithet applied {134} to the departed, or the saved and redeemed, of pre-Christian times, Aeschylus speaks of the Manteumata Pythocresta, or oracles of the Pythoness, in which Chrestos becomes the expounder of Oracles. Justin Martyr, in his Apology, speaks of Chrestians, and Lactantius (iv. c. 8) says that "it is only through ignorance that men call themselves Christians, instead of Chrestians."

As the Mysteries had a symbolic death so had the Minor Arcane Schools, but the language of the latter has a very realistic character, and we will see what has been said on this subject; first quoting Hermias in his "Commentary on the Phaidros:" "The word τελετυ (telete) or Initiation was so denominated from rendering the soul perfect; the soul was therefore once perfect. But here it is divided, and is not able to energise wholly by itself. But it is necessary to know that Telete, Muesis, and Epopteia, differ from each other. Telete therefore is analogous to that which is preparatory to purifications. But Muesis, which is so called from closing the eyes, is more divine. For to close the eyes in Initiation is no longer to receive by sense those divine Mysteries, but with the pure soul itself, and Epopteia is to be established and become a spectator of the Mysteries." Synesius in his treatise on "Providence," as translated by Thomas Taylor, says: "You also who have been initiated in those Mysteries in which there are two pairs of eyes, and it is requisite that the pair which are beneath should be closed, when the pair which are above them perceive, and when the pair above are closed, those which are below should be opened." This means that the spiritual eyes must be used for spiritual things.

Bishop Warburton, in his "Divine Legation," quotes an ancient writer, preserved by Stobaeus, as saying: "The mind is affected in death, just as it is in the Grand Mysteries, and word answers to word, as thing to thing, for τελευτειυ (teleuteiu) is to die and τελεισθαι (teleisthai) is to be initiated." By the word Grand is meant the Greater Mysteries which resemble the Master Mason. {135} Plutarch has some passages which strikingly illustrate the doctrines of the Mysteries and the relation of these to Ceres and Persephone. This writer says: "Now of the deaths we die one makes man two out of three, and the other one out of two. The former is in the region and jurisdiction of Demeter, whence the name given in the Mysteries τελειυ, resembling that given to death τελειταε{?}. The Athenians also heretofore called the deceased sacred to Demeter. As to the other death it is in the Moon or region of Persephone." The first separation is into what he terms "the Meadows of Hades," situate between the earth and the moon, where the soul wanders for a more or less period, where it plucks the soul violently from the body, but Persephone mildly and in a long time disjoins the understanding from the soul"; that is separates the higher and lower self which is the second death, "as if they were returning from a wandering pilgrimage, or long exile, into their country, where they have a taste of joy, such as they principally receive who are initiated into sacred Mysteries, mixed with trouble, admiration, and each one's proper and peculiar hope." This of course refers to actual death, the "three" being body, soul, and spirit, and the "two" soul and spirit. These quotations all apply rather to the State Mysteries than the Arcane Schools of Philosophy, but we have other passages.

The following is found in the "Auxiliaries" of Porphyrios (printed by Ficinus the restorer of the Platonic Academy at Rome in the 15th century): "Hence there is a two-fold death, the one universally known, by which the body is liberated from the soul; the other peculiar to philosophers, by which the soul is liberated from the body; nor does the one at all follow the other." Celsus speaks of a Pagan priest who could voluntarily perform the separation of soul and body, "and lay like one dead void of life and sense."6 The "Phedon" of Plato has several similar passages, of which, in order not to tire the reader, we will take but one: "Now we have shewn that in {136} order to trace the truth or purity of anything, we should lay aside the body and only employ the soul to examine the objects we pursue."

Mr. Robert Brown, in his "Great Dionysiac Myth," says in allusion to the Hall of Arcane rites, or the "sekos," a word literally meaning sheep-fold but which came to signify the interior of a temple: "Here, deeply excited and agitated by all they had gone through, ready to believe anything, and everything, in that state of abstinence which is, or is supposed to be, most favourable to the reception of supernatural displays, and their minds more or less affected by drugs, and their whole being permeated with the impression and expectation of the more-than-mortal, they were allowed to SEE."

We have here to remember that the Mysteries required a long and protracted fast, and the passages that we have quoted state clearly enough that an ultra-natural state was produced. What in these times is called hypnotism, mesmerism, trance, was well known to the ancients. Proclos, quoting Clearchus' "Treatise on Sleep," mentions a wand with which the operator, upon gently striking a boy, drew his soul a distance from his body, for the purpose of proving that the body is without sensation when the soul is taken away, and, by means of his rod, he again restored the soul to the body.6 The writings of the early Christian Fathers afford much testimony of the phenomena, and the Benedictine ceremony of covering the newly received Monk with a funereal pall, equally with a certain Masonic ceremony, is an exoteric reference to it. It is related by Hugh, a Monk of Saltery in Huntingdonshire, that a soldier of King Stephen of England visited "St. Patrick's Hole," in Donegal, and after a fast of nine days, as in the Mysteries, was laid in a kind of grave, where a view of Paradise was shewn to him, the whole of which account reads like a paraphrase of the descent of Aeneas into Tartarus and Elysium. It also resembles the relation in the Metamorphosis of Apuleius, {137} of his initiation into the Mysteries of Isis and Serapis, and as the latter Mystery was introduced into the Christian Church, as the Arcane Discipline, and equally claimed supernatural appearances as a part of the faith, we need be at no loss to account for these relations. The Druses of Lebanon, on the testimony of Professor A. L. Rawson, who is himself an Initiate, require an interval of fasting, of more or less length according to circumstances, with a total fast on the day of Initiation, by which regimen a species of Epopteia is produced which the Professor terms mental illusion or sleep-waking7 The same phenomena is found in the Yogi, or "twice born," and known in certain Rites of the Dervishes. It is almost certain that certain rites of the Egyptians have passed to the Africans, and Heckethorn, and other writers, have shewn that there exists on that Continent, and in other places where the race has carried the Initiation, a society called the Almuseri, with secret rites similar to those of the Orphic and Cabiric Mysteries. The reception takes place once a year in a wood, and the candidate is supposed to die; at the appointed hour the Initiates surround the Neophyte and chant funereal songs. He is then carried to a temple erected for the purpose, and anointed with palm-oil; after forty days of this probation he is supposed to have obtained a new soul; and is greeted with hymns of joy, and conducted home.8 We are informed that Freemasonic signs have been answered by the Kaffirs.

Galen9 may be quoted here as to the existence of this doctrine of a soul which may be separated from the body: "The soul is an immaterial substance, which has a luciform, etherial body, for its first vehicle, by which as a medium it communicates with the gross etherial body." The Chevalier Ramsay says: "It appears that the Platonists, Pythagoreans, Egyptians, Chaldeans, and all Orientals believed that souls had an etherial, aerial, and {138} terrestrial vestment, or tabernacle; that the last named was put off by natural death, the second by a supernatural death, and the other retained for ever."

The mathematical discipline, by aiding thought concentration, was intended to serve a similar purpose to that of the Hindu Yogism and of the Dervishes. Plutarch in his Symposiacs10 ascribes to Plato the words, "God is constantly a Geometer," hence to immerse oneself in Geometrical thought, is to think with the mind of God. All the Platonists taught that the gradations of the spiritual world were arranged in Geometrical order, hence it is, "a science that takes men off from sensible objects, and makes them apply themselves to the spiritual and eternal nature, as a view of epopteia of the Arcane of initiation into holy rites." Proklos makes this assertion of the Pythagoreans: "They perceived that the whole of what is called Muethsis is reminiscence, not externally inserted in souls, in the same manner as phantasms, from sensible objects, are impressed on the imagination; not adventitious like the knowledge resulting from opinion, but excited indeed from things apparent, and inwardly exerted from the reasoning power converted from itself. They likewise say that though reminiscence might be shewn from many particulars, yet it was evinced in a most eminent manner, as Platon also says, from the Mathematical discipline, for if any one, says he, is led to the diagrams he will, from them, easily prove that discipline is reminiscence."

The science of Geometry was also used in a symbolical sense, for Socrates in the "Gorgias," accusing Kallicles of an intemperate life, says to him: "You neglect Geometry and Geometric equality." Zenocrates refused a candidate for Discipleship, saying to him: "Depart, for thou hast not the grip of philosophy."

Of the nature of the SYMBOLS used in the Arcane Schools there is almost as little to be gathered in its books as is to be found in old Masonry, and they were evidently {139} "close tyled." We may fairly seek what we do not know respecting symbols, through what we do know of history, and to comprehend symbols we must study the old historical religions. The Masons, Rosicrucians, Templars, and Gnostics, all used the same class of symbols. The society of Druses in Syria, and the Sufi Dervishes of Persia and Turkey, admit themselves to follow the Platonic School, whether by inspiration from its writers or by descent from the old Mysteries, and from which each and all, in one form or another, derive their knowledge. We may also follow these religious symbols in the unchanged rites of India.

The basis of the Masonic Jewel of a Master in the Chair is an old Egyptian symbol, for Plutarch informs us that a triangle whose base is 4, perpendicular 3, and hypothenuse of 5 parts, the square of which is equal to the square of those sides containing the right angle, was an important emblem in Egypt, as a symbol of nature. The base figured Osiris, the perpendicular Isis, and the hypothenuse Horus; the originating and receptive principles, and the offspring of the two. It was the standard of their measures of extent, and was for modern centuries the traditional method by the application of which the stonemason tested the squareness of his plan (5 x 5 = 25; 4 x 4 and 3 x 3 = 25, the Guilds of both East and West employ the Rites to this day.)

Iamblichus (i. ix.) says: "Amongst those things which are everywhere set forth in the sacred dramas, some have a specific Arcane cause and higher meaning; others preserve the image of some idea beyond, as nature the genatrix develops certain specific formations from invisible principles; others are introduced from the sentiment of veneration, or for the purpose of illustrating something or rendering it familiar. Some enclose what is profitable to us, or in some way purify us, or set us free from our human frailties, or turn aside some other of the evils that are likely to befall us."

We have already referred to the Pythagorean sentiment {140} that "the path of vice and virtue resembles the letter Y," and though the apothegm has been forgotten in Masonry, yet the "Golden branch" by which it was represented is still remembered. The letter {"Y"} is equally a symbol which the Chinese consecrated to the Deity. It has been suggested that as an emblem it is a square {symbol: a chevron with a right angle} placed over a plumb-rule, {symbol: vertical line}. Hermes Trismegistus, or the Thrice-greatest, describes God as "an intelligible sphere, whose centre is everywhere, and circumference nowhere," and this language tends to confirm the remarks we have ventured as to the Two Pillars. Pherekydes Syros, who had the early education of Pythagoras, in his Hymn to Zeus, cited by Kircher ("Oed. Egyptae") has the following noteworthy lines: --

"Jove is a circle, triangle, and square,

Centre, and line, and all things, -- before all."

Plato in his seventh "Epistle to Dion," says expressly that he never will write anything explicitly upon these sublime speculations, but that there are three things through which science, the fourth, is necessarily produced, the fifth establishes that which is known and true. "Now take each of these desiring to learn what we have lately asserted, and think as follows concerning them all -- a circle is called something whose name is so expressed. For that which everywhere is equally distant from the extremes to the centre is the definition of that which we signify by the name of a round or circumference and a circle. But the third is the circle which may be blotted out. But the fourth is science, and intellect, and true opinion about these. And the whole of this again must be established as one thing, which neither subsists in voice, nor in corporeal figures, but is inherent in soul."

We have here an example of the way in which Plato employs Geometry to convey instruction, but in his second epistle to Dion, he employs concentric circles to discourse upon the divine triplicity of Agathos, Logos, and Psyche -- wisdom, mind, life -- Father, Word, Spirit. He says: "You inform me that the nature of the First has {141} not been sufficiently revealed to you. I must write to you in riddles, in order if my letter should miscarry, either by sea or land, the reader may not understand it. All things are round about the king of all things, all things exist for his sake, and that is the cause of all excellent things. Around the second are the things secondary. Around the third are the third class of things. The human souls endeavour to learn the nature of these, looking for what is homogeneous with itself, and consequently imperfect, but in the King, and in these others which I have mentioned, it is not such. . . . . The greatest precaution is to be observed not to write, but to learn by word of mouth, for it is hardly possible for what is written not to come abroad. For which reason I have written nothing upon such topics; no such books of mine exist, nor ever shall." Proklos in his Commentary upon this says: "The Demiurgos or creator is triple, and the three Intellects are the three Kings, He who exists, He who possesses, He who beholds." Several writers give the following appropriate passage, on the authority of Suidas: "Thulis King of Egypt, thus went to the Oracle of Serapis: 'Thou who art the God of fire, and governest the course of the heavens, tell me the truth, was there ever, or will there ever be, one so powerful as myself?' He was answered: 'first God, then the Word, and the Spirit, all united in one. Go hence, O! mortal, whose life is always uncertain.'" In going thence the priests carried out the implied threat by cutting the throat of the egotistic Thulis.

In the "Ethical" Fragments of Hierocles, who wrote towards the end of the second century and was a Pythagorean, the symbol of ten concentric circles is used to set forth our moral duties, and we have seen that the Chaldeans, Medes, and Persians, considered seven concentric circles as a sacred symbol, whilst still more ancient races that we have mentioned are said to have used three such. Hierocles says: "Each of us is, as it were circumscribed by many concentric circles, some of which are {142} less, but others larger, and some comprehend, but others are comprehended, according to the different and unequal habitudes with respect to each other. For the first and most proximate circle is that which everyone describes about his own mind as a centre, in which circle the body, and whatever is assumed for the sake of the body is comprehended. For this is nearly the smallest circle, and almost touches the centre itself. The second from this, and which is at a greater distance from the centre, but comprehends the first circle, is that in which parents, brothers, wife and children are arranged. The third circle from the centre is that which contains uncles, aunts, grandfathers, grandmothers, and the children of brothers and sisters." He then proceeds through six other circles: (4) relations, (5) the people, (6) tribes, (7) citizens, (8) villagers, (9) provincials, and concludes, (10) "But the outermost and greatest circle, and which comprehends all the other circles, is that of the whole human race." In sentiment nothing can be more Masonic than this, but Augustine has a very apposite allusion to the symbolic point within a circle, and he had at one time been a Gnostic. He says: "As in a circle however large, there is a middle point, whither all converge, called by Geometricians the centre, and although the parts of the whole circumference may be divided innumerably, yet is there no other point, save that one, from which all measure equally, and which by a certain law of evenness hath the sovereignty over all. But if you leave this one point, whatever point you take, the greater number of lines you draw, the more everything is confused. So the soul is tossed to and fro by the very vastness of the things, and is crushed by a real destitution, in that its own nature compels it everywhere to seek one object, and the multiplication suffers it not."11 The curious part of this is the involved verbiage, as if Augustine had in his mind, and sought to hide the secret method of finding a true square by the centre. {143}

Lucian makes Cato to say that, "God makes himself known to all the world; He fills up the whole circle of the universe, but makes his particular abode in the centre, which is the soul of the just." Another mode of illustrating this is used by the Rosicrucian Paracelsus, who says: "All numbers are multiples of one, all sciences converge to a common point, all wisdom comes out of one centre, and the number of wisdom is one. . . . . Those who love the luminous circle will be attracted to it, and their knowledge comes from God."

Dionysius Thrax, an eminent grammarian, is quoted by Clemens Alexandrinus as saying, that some converse, "not only by speech but by symbols also." This implies that there was an understood signification attached to the symbols. The same writer informs us that it was a custom of the Egyptians to hold a branch in the hand whilst in the act of adoration.

Aristotle says that, "He who bears the shocks of fortune valiantly and demeans himself uprightly, is truly good, and of a square posture without reproof."12 The Zoroastrian Oracle declares, "the mind of the father decreed that all things should be divided into three"; which Plato geometrises thus: "God resembles a triangle which has three equal sides." Xenocrates, the friend of Plato, assigned the equal triangle to gods, seeing that it is everywhere equal; the scalene to man seeing that it is unequal in its sides; the isosceles to daemons or tutelary spirits, because it is partly equal, and partly unequal in it properties, the daemons being placed between men and gods.

Proklos says that, "Knowledge has three degrees -- opinion, science, and illumination. The means, or instrument, of the first is reception, of the second dialectus, and of the third-intuition." Diodorus of Sicily terms the "Sun" the architect of all nature, and thus we symbolise the Master Mason by that emblem. The square was one of the sacred emblems borne by the Stolistos of the ancient {144} Mysteries. In the real Guild Masonry Man is the living stone and the tools and emblems are used to bring him to due proportions as in the actual stone.

But a very important symbol, philosophic and Masonic, and one which has been common to the world in all time is the cube. Pythagoras is said to have taught that, "the number eight or the octad is the first cube, that is to say, squared in all cases as a die; proceeding from its base the even number two; so is man four square or perfect." Plato in his "Protagorus" causes that character to address Socrates in a quotation from Simonides, a man of Scio who flourished 556 B.C., "It is very difficult to become truly virtuous, and to be in virtue as a cube; that is to say that neither our carriage, our actions, or our thoughts, shall shake us, or even draw us from that state of mind." It is the cubical stone of the Rosy Cross, which "sweats blood and water and suffers anguish of soul."

The passages that we have quoted are a fair example of the moral geometry of antiquity. Those from Plato, for example, indicate the use to be made of geometrical diagrams in teaching science and Theosophy; that from Hierocles the use made of them in teaching morals; and that from Augustine may explain why a Master Mason may find his secrets by the centre. The quotation from Aristotle ought to remind a Mason of the day when he stood at the north-east corner; and that from Simonides of what is required of him in order to become a perfect Ashlar, and the more especially as we have shewn that this cube had the same signification in Egypt, Chaldea, Persia, and America, and that it is, therefore, one of the most primitive symbols. A Persian proverb is thus: --

"O! square thyself for use; a stone that may

Fit in the wall is not left in the way."

The "Regius" Masonic MS. tells us, in the Master's first Article, how he is to regulate his conduct as a judge of work: "And as a jugge stond upright, And then thou dost to bothe good ryght." Curiously enough the Egyptian {145} "Ritual of the Dead," quoted in our 2nd chapter, has a line symbolically identical.

There are numerous references to Symbols which are both Platonic and Masonic in the works of our learned Brother the late George Oliver, D.D., but unfortunately he does not often give references that will enable us to verify them. All the foregoing quotations have been taken from non-Masonic works, and may therefore be considered wholly unbiassed. The following are probably equally reliable, and are chiefly assigned by Oliver to the Pythagoreans, from which school Plato accepted much of his teachings. The "clasped hands" was a Pythagorean symbol. The divine essence was represented by a "quadrangle" or square, which implies order and regularity; it is found in Chinese books of great antiquity with the same meaning. The "right-angle" was the symbol of female deities, as Ceres, Vesta, Rhea. The "pyramid," a valued symbol, referred to the divine triplicity. The "cube" was considered by the Hermesians as the symbol of truth, as the appearance is the same in every point of view. The "double-triangles," "single triangles," "five-pointed star," "cross," etc., have been used by all nations, in all time, and in common with "square and compasses," "plumb," "square," "triangular-level," etc., have figured as alphabetical characters.

The triple-tau {symbol of Triple-tau, like a "T" striking the cross-bar of an "H" from above} is given as the monogram of Hermes; and the letter P crossed, {symbol: "P" with a short horizontal line across the lower vertical} as the staff of Osiris. But the most widely spread, and most ancient of all symbols is the Svastica, Filfot, or Jain cross {Symbol: Swastika}, formed of four squares joined at the ends, derived from the primaeval centre, and Cabiric. The five Platonic bodies are Masonic symbols, and in ancient Arcane Schools were held to teach that the world was made by God, "in thought and not in time," and of the elements thus evolved, "fire" is a pyramid; "earth" a cube; "air" an octohedron; "water" an icosahedron; the "sphere of the universe" a dodecahedron. The "equilateral triangle," the "square," and the "equal hexagon" were considered the most perfect geometrical diagrams, {146} and it was pointed out by Pythagoras that there exist no other forms whose multiples are competent to occupy the whole space about a given centre; and which can only be effected by six equilateral triangles, four squares, and three equal hexagons.

There are certain ancient symbols some of which have the appearance of Roman letters but are not really so, which are found sculptured on stones in Egypt and elsewhere, and found, in later times, in this country as Masons' marks. The letter {"Y"} may be found placed on a reversed triangle {symbol: inverted equilateral triangle with small "Y" hitting upper base}; we have the {X} cross; the reversed tau or level {"T" inverted}; and doubled it may form a cross {+}. There are the masculine and feminine symbols {"V"} and {"V" inverted}, which united may form the {N} symbol, so often found as a Mason's mark, the same symbol is found on pre-Christian coins of Persia, in various angles; the {"V" inverted} and {W}, the latter a double symbol; the {I} is phallic; the {"V" inverted} and {V} crossed or interlaced, as in the Masonic square and compasses. Another very ancient symbolic mark is two triangles {symbol: Two equilateral triangles, top inverted, lower upright and joined at vertices in center like an "X" with closed top an bottom} joined at the apex, which is still a sacred symbol in Thibet, Turkey, and India.

Our readers, who have carefully noted the symbols mentioned in our previous chapters, will have perceived that whilst many of the Arcane emblems have been continued in Free Masonry, throughout the centuries, others have been lost in the speculative system, but were preserved by the Guild and also as Masons' marks; they must at one time have enclosed a recondite doctrine, which was common to both the sacerdotal, and art Colleges; and marks of this class, which go beyond mere monograms, admit of a mystic interpretation, which indicates a culte common to Theosophia and philosophic Geometry or Masonry; it happens that some of these symbols may be interpreted to contain the doctrine of the pre-existence of souls; the union of the spiritual and material nature in man, which enables him to live two lives -- the sensual and the spiritual, the Fall of Man as the Cabalists pretend being figured in the predominance {147} of the former over the latter. Other emblems have reference to the divinity, and an example of the Masonic manner in which these may be made to convey instruction may be illustrated by the equilateral triangle. It has three points; a point has position only; a line has length only and terminates in two points; three lines of equal length at equal angles form an equilateral triangle, or the primary figure in geometry, and represents the trinity in unity, or Deity pervading all space, creator of all things animate and inanimate; doubled it represents the perfect godhead, and the male and female energies of nature. Or again, a "point" is the beginning of any active duty, the flowing of which point generates a "line;" a line is therefore either reward, duty, pleasure, or profit. A "right line" is a duty performed and pursued with constancy. The extension of a right line to generate a "surface" is therefore perfect duty. Better still is a passage from Macrobius in his "Commentary on Scipio's Dream": "And as a line is generated from a point, and proceeds into length from an indivisable, so the soul, from its own point which is a monad, passes into the duad, which is its final extension."

But the most remarkable of all the Arcane and architectural symbols is the vesica-pisces {symbol: an ellipse with major axis vertical, two vertical lines issuing at top and bottom}, it was in use until our days, and Brother Conder (a member of the Masons' Company) says that its formation was the diagram by which old operative Masons tested their squares. Proklos repeatedly refers to this figure, which he had seen in Egypt, and heard interpreted there; it often appears on temples, as well as modern churches, and is found especially on the throne of Osiris. In the Platonic system it is said to have constituted the sign of Epopts, the open hand being united at the finger-ends and the wrists touching each other. We mentioned in our third chapter the affinity of Philosophy with the Mysteries of Serapis, and the Arcane Discipline of the Christians. The Ptolemies, who had the Jewish Scriptures translated in the Septuagint, seem to have found a mode, or thought {149} they had, in the establishment of a fifth order of prophets, of harmonising all faiths in the mysteries of Serapis, and Clement, of Alexandria, informs us that the initiates of these Mysteries wore on their persons the mystic name I-ha-ho, the original of which appears to be IAO, which embodies the symbols of the two generative principles. It is further asserted that the before-mentioned sign of Epopts constituted that of the Arcane Discipline, coupled with the lettering of the word ICHTHUS, a fish, and the Pope's ring is that of the Fisherman. Oliver, quoting Kerrich, says that the vesica-pisces is the great secret of church architecture, and the determinator of all dimensions.13 It continues an equally important symbol amongst the Dervish sects.

We will now pass on to the use in the Platonic system of other symbols in which Masons are interested. Plato in his Philebos has a triad under the names of Bound, Infinite, and Mixed, and likewise a triad still more Masonic of Symmetry, Truth, and Beauty, which, he says, "are seated in the Vestibule of the good." The Masonic pillars of Wisdom, Strength, and Beauty, are an analogy, and the divine triad of Agathos, Logos, and Psyche, if literally translated are a close approximation. He likewise prescribes the following moral qualities as essential in a student of Philosophy: -- "He must have a good memory, learn with facility, be magnificent, magnanimous, and be the friend and ally of Truth, Justice, Fortitude, and Temperance; qualities which are equally made the essential points in a Freemason. Again, in the Phedon, which is a dialogue on the immortality of the soul, we find the following important passage, which he adduces on the authority of the most ancient Mysteries: -- "Wisdom is the only true and unalloyed coin, for which all others must be given in exchange, with that piece of money we purchase. . . . Temperance, Justice, Fortitude, and Prudence, or wisdom itself, are not exchanged for passions but cleanse us of them. And it is pretty evident {149} that those who instituted the Purifications called by us Teletes, i.e., perfect expiations, were persons of no contemptible rank, but men of great genius, who, in the first ages, meant by such riddles to give us to know, that whoever enters the other world, without being Initiated and Purified, shall be hurled headlong into the vast abyss; and that whoever arrives there after due purgation and expiation shall be lodged in the apartments of the gods. For as the dispensors of these expiations say -- 'There are many who bear the Thyrsus, but few that are possessed of the spirit of God.' Now those who are possessed, as I take it, are the true Philosophers." So far Plato, and he may be put into other words -- "Many are called but few are chosen." The Thyrsus here alluded to, as a badge of office in these Mysteries, was carried by the soldiers of Bacchus, Sabazios, or Dionysos; the Chevalier Ramsay says that it was twined with ivy, and very often had upon it a cross, and he compares the Greek conception of Bacchus, as god of the vintage, with the description of Messiah as given in Isaiah and the Apocalypse.

Porphyrios has a long description of the advantage of the four Cardinal virtues, but after the illustration of the Master Plato we may omit this. Stobaeus says of them pretty much what Masonry tells us.14 The pagan Emperor Aurelius Antoninus, "circa" 145 A.D., has several passages on these virtues; in one he says: "If any man should conceive certain things as being really good, such as Prudence, Temperance, Justice, Fortitude, he would not after endure to listen to anything which was not in harmony with what is really good." We wonder how many Masons have this feeling.

The doctrine of equality and brotherly love, which forms the base of the Masonic Institution, may be paralleled in the Arcane Schools with such passages as the following: -- "Alypios," "Tell me, O! Philosopher, is the rich man unjust, or the heir of the unjust! "Iamblichus," {150} "That is not our method of disputing, O! illustrious man; no one is considered rich by us, even if he does possess external riches, unless he likewise has the virtues characteristic of a true philosopher." That is the virtues which have been already mentioned; and brotherly-love is often enforced, but in the "Regius MS." of the old Masonic Constitutions there is a passage which states that the Stewards of the Hall are to serve one another, "like sister and brother," for which sentiment Platon's "Symposiom," or Banquet of Life, may be consulted. Demokritus expresses the gist of this work in a few admirable words: "He who loves the goods of the soul will love things more divine, but he who loves the goods of its transient habitation will love things human."

We may close this chapter with a few hints as to the changes which Christianity forced upon the ancient schools. Iamblichus phrases a Pythagorean dogma thus: "As the Lesser Mysteries are to be delivered before the Greater, thus also must discipline precede philosophy." If the Lesser gave the title of Mystae, the Greater gave that of Epoptae, and if the passage means anything it must be this, that science and art, represented by Geometry, is the counterpart of the former, whilst philosophy is in relationship with Epoptae. Hence after the break-up of the State-Mysteries, we see a succession of two schools, closely related to each other -- the Craftsmen, or art school, and the Gnostics who know. Ragon15 says: "Do we not know that the ancient Initiated Poets, when speaking of the foundation of a "City" meant thereby the establishment of a doctrine? Thus Neptune the god of reasoning, and Apollo the god of hidden things, presented themselves before Laomedon the father of Priam to help him to build the city of Troy, that is to say, to establish the Trojan religion." In other words to "build a city" is to establish a public culte, to "build a temple" is to found an Arcane School. The Mystae, or veiled, are they who see things as they appear; the Epoptae, or set {151} apart, see things as they really are, that is they are Gnostics or knowing ones. There is a passage in the "Prometheus" of Aeschylus, which seems to correspond with the adventures of Aeneas that we have related; and to advise the god that he was to look for an Initiate who would give peace to humanity: "To such labours look thou for no termination to thy pangs till a god shall appear, as thy substitute, willing to go down to gloomy Hades and to the murky depths around Tartarus." Blavatsky observes, and we see no reason to disagree with her views, that when the Hierophants of the Mysteries saw that it was necessary to rebuild the sinking speculative edifice, the "Mystae" had committed to them the rebuilding of the "Upper-temple," or exoteric part; whilst the "Epoptae" had the "Lower-temple," the crypt or the esoteric portion; "for such were their respective appellations in antiquity, and are to this day." Initiation was spoken of as a "walking into the temple," and the "cleaning" or rebuilding of it referred to the body of an Initiate on his supreme trial.

The misfortunes which befell the establishment of Pythagoras at Crotono may possibly have had their origin in the jealousy of the State Mysteries, though the destruction of its building and its members is usually attributed to the anger of one Cylon who had been refused admittance. It is evident, however, that two centuries later the State Mysteries must have lost much of their exclusive power over the mind, when the Arcane Schools of Philosophy were permitted without check to assume the entire role of their doctrines.

The Emperor Galen, at a still later period, gave permission to Plotinos, to build a city by the name of Platonopolis, where the Philosophical system was to be taught, but this does not appear to have been carried out. It is, however, quite clear that the State Mysteries and the Arcane Schools taught the same truths, if in somewhat varied forms, and that these truths are equally represented in Masonry, which is as far as we desire to go in this {152} chapter. It is quite possible that there are some trifling resemblances between Platonism and Masonry, which may have been introduced at a modern date, but it is utterly impossible that this can apply to the great mass of things which are in common, and we shall see more of this affinity, and in the ancient times of Masonry, as we proceed.

Before the reader advances to the next chapter he will be pleased to note, and to remember in regard to all which follows, that these five chapters afford ample evidence that the original "Mysteries" had now culminated in "three" classes, but varying only in profession and technique, in the several systems viz.: 1, "The Sacerdotal." The drama refined into a temporary trance death. 2, "The Military." The original drama of a murdered god. These two classes were suppressed by the Christian Emperors of Rome, but continued to be secretly practised by what one writer terms "strolling priests." The third class learned to "close the lips," which in the Greek is the equivalent of Mystery, and as Art was necessary to the Church they received protection. 3, "The Artizan." A version of the last-named; entering India, China, and Babylon from the North, and Greece, Phoenicia, and Palestine by way of Egypt, at times, in India, imparting the Yogism of the first class. Our Saxon ancestors for these adopted the term Guild, which implies contribution of money. {153}

 

1 Vide "Isis Unveiled," i, p. 10; also ii, p. 128.

2 Vide "Isis Unveiled," i, p. 10; also ii, p. 128.

3 "Mis. Notes and Queries," xi, p. 2; also "Freemason's Mag." 1865.

4 A.Q.C., v, pt. 2 -- "Har-moad."

5 De civ. Dei, lib. xviii, c. 23.

6 "Anatomy of Melancholy" (Burton).

7 Oliver's "Hist. Landmarks." ii, p. 614.

8 Letter in "Isis Unveiled," ii, p. 313.

9 "Secret Societies," ii, p. 283.

10 "Dogm. Hipoc. et Platon," viii.

11 Vol. viii, 2.

12 Oliver's "Symb. Dic." -- Art. Point. &c.

13 "Old York Lectures."

14 "Pythagorean Triangle" (Hogg).

15 "Eccl. Ethio," p. 167.

16 "Orthodoxie Maconique," p. 44.

 

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 | …