The Arcane Schools by John Yarker

PREFACE.

IN the following pages I have sought to satisfy a request, often made to me, to give a short but comprehensive view of the whole fabric of the Arcane mysteries, and affinity with the Masonic System; and I here take the opportunity of recording my protest against the sceptical tendencies of the present generation of the Moderns who are Masons, and against the efforts that are made, in season and out of season, to underrate the indubitable antiquity of the Masonic ceremonies. These efforts, which tend to lower the prestige of our ancient Craft, are not altogether without good results, as they have led to a more careful examination of our Masonic legends and of ancient documents, and I have therefore added, to a general History of the Arcane Schools, a view, sufficiently explicit, of the ancient rites of the Masons, leaving the intelligent Freemason of our day to trace the relative bearing of these. It is no compliment to the Masons who founded the Grand Lodge of England in 1717, and who, however ill informed they may have been in London, yet, as is amply proved, accepted old customs of the Guilds with discrimination, to suppose that they unanimously undertook to impose upon the public, a system as ancient which they themselves were engaged in concocting. Nor is it any compliment to the intelligence of their imagined victims. Whether or not I succeed in convincing the candid reader of the great antiquity of the Institution must be left to time; those of my readers who are pledged to the views of these Moderns will no doubt adhere {v} through life to the ideas in which they have indoctrinated themselves, but enquiry is progressing and there is still a very large substratum of the Craft whose belief is yet strong in the good-faith of their predecessors, whether, in what was last century, termed Ancients or Moderns, and it is to such that I more particularly address myself. The best reward for my labours would be to find that the study of our Craft and analogous societies was making progress, and that others are supplying new facts from old books, that may aid in bridging over any chasms that may be noticed in the following pages. My endeavour has been to print well authenticated matter only, in order that the information supplied may be reliable. Every paragraph is a fact or deduction from facts, and however much condensed nothing of moment, known to the present time and having a bearing upon Freemasonry, has been omitted. The works of the learned Brother George Oliver, D.D., lack critical cohesion, and have consequently fallen into undeserved neglect, but sufficient will be found in these pages to show that his theories are not devoid of method, and will admit of an authentic construction being put upon those claims which he advances for the antiquity of the Masonic Institution.

Those who obstinately deny the existence of anything which is outside their own comprehension are fully as credulous as those who accept everything without discrimination. There are certain intellects which lack intuition and the ability to take in and assimilate abstruse truths, just as much as there are people who are colour-blind, or deaf to the more delicate notes of music; this was well known to the ancient theologians and mystics, and the reasons which they assigned for the mental incapacity will appear in the following pages.

I cannot allow the opportunity to pass, in closing my labours, without thanking my publisher for his invariable kindness, courtesy, and general care; and the reader is also much indebted to him for the compilation of the Index. We have considerably exceeded the 500 pages {vi} with which we made the announcement to the public, hence the slight delay in publication.

I have also to thank our subscribers for their unwearied patience in waiting for the appearance of this work, which, except for modern revisions, has lain dormant for 10 years.

JOHN YARKER.

WEST DIDSBURY,
MANCHESTER,
17th April, 1909.

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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 | …