The Arcane Schools by John Yarker

ORIGIN AND ANTIQUITY OF THE ARCANE SCHOOLS.
CHAPTER VI.
THE MYSTIC AND HERMETIC SCHOOLS IN CHRISTIAN TIMES.

WITH the close of our last chapter Philosophy had begun to play an important part upon the stage of ancient Mystery, and the old spiritual faith of Isis, Osiris and Horus, was becoming still more subtilised by the restless Greek at Alexandria, under the rule of the Ptolemies. Here was established a new, or fifth order of priests with the title of Prophets, and the Mysteries of Isis, Serapis, and Anubis became the favourite Arcani.

Ptolemy Philadelphus assembled a Council of Jews, alleged to be 70 in number, for the purpose of translating their scriptures into Greek, which version is yet known as the Septuagint. He also treated with Asoka in regard to the doctrine and progress of Buddhism.1 A wide eclectic school was to be established, under which the existing faiths might be assimilated, and the secret and sublime Mysteries of the School were those of Serapis. How this succeeded may be gathered from a letter of Hadrian, Emperor 118 A.D., to the Consul Servianus, preserved by Vopiscus2, in which we find the following, of the Egyptians: "They who worship Serapis are Christians, and such as are devoted to Serapis call themselves Bishops of Christ" . . . . ("another translation has it"): "those who call themselves Bishops of Christ are vowed to Serapis; there is no ruler of the Jewish Synagogue, no Samaritan, no priest of Christians, who is not an astrologer, a diviner, and a charlatan. Their Patriarch himself when he comes to Egypt is by some forced to adore {154} Serapis, and by others Christ. . . . . They have all but one God, Him the Christians worship, Him the Jews, Him all the Egyptians, and those of all other nations."3

Between the years 300 B.C. and 300 A.D. Alexandria was the seething cauldron whence mystic learning spread over the world: -- Mysteries, Cabala, Theurgy, Gnosticism, Alchemy, Astrology, and even Christianity, for it is said that "out of Egypt I have called my son." The philosophers termed themselves Philalethians, or Lovers of Truth; and the numerous societies which we shall mention in this chapter have much interest, but we must mention them in the briefest possible manner: in many cases successions exist to this day.

CABALISM. It is quite probable that this system of interpreting the Jewish Scriptures was a part of the instruction of the Beni-Hanabiim, or sons of the Prophets, alluded to in "Samuel." According to Clemens Alexandrinus these Colleges consisted of classes designated Sons and Masters, and he observes that there were Novices amongst the Levites, and that Converts were divided into Exotericii or proselytes of the gate, and Trinisecti or proselytes of the covenant -- Perfecti. We are informed by the "Book of Esdras,"4 that Ezra the Scribe dictated to five men, during a period of forty days, books to the number of 204, of which 70 last written, were to be hidden, or Apocryphal, and confined to the "wise amongst the people." The gist of the Cabala is expressed in the words of Philo, who says that: "The law of Moses is like to a living creature whose body is the literal sense, but the soul is the more inward and hidden meaning, covered under the sense of the letter." The Mystery is divided into "three veils," and is said to have been delivered by Moses orally to the Levites and Elders, from whom it descended to the Rabbis. The two grand Pillars of the temple of Solomon were important symbols, and Franck says that upon entering the first veil we are in the Vestibule; in the second the Holy-place; and in the {155} third the Sanctum Sanctorum. The ten Sephiroths, which represent the descent of creation from the Divine, are also divided into three classes which remain an indivisible trinity. The first three express the intelligible first manifestations; the second triad the virtues or sensible world; the third, nature in its essence and active principles. As a system it admits of a perfect assimilation with the wisdom-religion of the old nations. It was prescribed in the "Mercaba," and the Chaldean "Book of Numbers," that the Neophyte was to be led to a secluded spot by an Ancient who whispered in his ear the great secret. The "Sepher Jezirah," which it is argued from astrological allusions therein to be as old as Abraham, says: "Close thy mouth lest thou should speak of this, and thy heart lest thou should think aloud; and if thy heart has escaped thee bring it back to its place, for such is the object of our alliance." The European Jews had an association called the "Order of Elijah," which is said to be mentioned in the "Mishna" and "Gemara," it had passwords, signs, and countersigns, and is believed to have been in existence in Poland and Saxony at a very early period.5 The Masonic Royal Arch Degree has drawn on the Cabala and Talmud, but periodical revisions have taken place.

ESSENES. This important mystic sect amongst the Jews has puzzled historians. It may have struck out a new path from the Cabalistic road, but the extreme veneration of its members for the sun is more characteristic of Chaldea, and of the existing Yezids. Jewish critics believe that they are the Assideans, Chasdim, or old believers allied with the Maccabees; they afterwards divided into two sects, or the practical, and contemplative members. Other writers consider that they were Egyptian priests, driven into Syria by the conquests of Cambyses of Persia, and Alexander the Great, and it is very probable that this may be partly correct, and that they may have included Jesus ben Panther, a nephew of Queen Salome, who after studying Egyptian Theurgy, and preaching to the people, {156} was proclaimed for 40 days, and then stoned to death, and hung on a tree at Lyda, about the year 100 B.C.

The Essenes are said to have recognised eight (some say ten) spiritual stages of ascent to beatitude; and they had, like the Pythagoreans, a system of degrees with a probationary period between each. Their doctrines were delivered orally and they took an oath of Secrecy, Chastity, and Justice in all their dealings. When addressing their Chiefs they stood with their right hand below their chin, and the left let down by the side. As the Pythagoreans assembled in companies of ten, so also the Essenes considered that ten made a lawful assembly for divine worship, but this resemblance may derive from still older societies. The Roman Collegia and English Guild Masonry were ruled by tens and hundreds. Ernest de Bunsen, whom we mentioned in our second chapter, holds that amongst the Egyptian and Jewish Gnostics there was a twofold tradition which passed into Christianity, and that it had the doctrine of a spiritual development which transformed them into "living stones," hence denominated "Banaim," or builders, that is of a bodily temple, and therefore they neglected the material temple of Jerusalem.

A select class of the Essenes were termed "Therapeutae" who were healers, and dwelt in small cottages wherein was an inner shrine used for contemplative purposes. They kept the Sabbath, and, every seventh time seven, they had a special service with Mystic dances, such as we have referred to in the Mysteries. Philo says: "They have impulses of heavenly love by which they kindle, in all, the enthusiasm of the Corybantes, and the Bacchanalians, and are raised to that state of contemplation after which they aspire. This sect had its rise in Alexandria, before the Jews were very numerous, and spread exceedingly throughout Egypt."

Eusebius, the Christian historian, has some curious remarks on the sect. He says: "Their doctrines are to be found among none but in the religion of Christians, according to the Gospel. Their meetings and the separate {157} places of the men and women at their meetings, and the exercises performed by them, are still in use amongst us at the present day, equally at the festival of our Saviour's passion . . . . it is highly probable that the ancient Commentaries which they have are the very writings of the Apostles, and probably some expositions of the ancient Prophets, such as are contained in the Epistle to the Hebrews, and many others of St. Paul's Epistles." Josephus had personal knowledge of the sect, and makes mention of Books which were kept secret, referring to the "names of the Angels," which may mean powers or attributes, and reappearing in the Arcane Discipline. We must remember also in connection with Eusebius' mention of the Saviour's passion that the weeping for Adonis continued in Syria down to the fourth century A.D.

There can be no doubt that a Christianised form of the Mysteries was continued by the Monks, and we have the testimony of the Fathers to this effect, but we might expect that these would vary in the country where they were practised; thus we might expect to find the influence of Adonis in Syria, of Serapis in Egypt, Dionysos and Bacchus in Greece and Rome, and throughout the Roman Empire the influence of the rites of Mythras with the before named.

It would appear, however, that there were branches of the Essenes, and Therapeutae, who became actual Christians -- as Nazarenes, Ebionites, and Nabatheans, and the first term is yet in use in the East to designate Christians, who first took that name at Antioch. Theodoret says: "The Nazareens are Jews, honouring the anointed as a just man," and using the Evangel according to Peter, portions of which were discovered a short time ago in Egypt, and a litle later fragments of the "Logia of the Lord." The Ebionites were a portion of the sect, and had amongst them relatives of Jesus, and used the Gospel of Matthew, derived, it is believed, from the "Logia;" they dwelt in a region near the seat of the Adonisian Mysteries; they looked upon Jesus as assuming his apostleship at the {158} descent of the Holy Spirit, and that his Messiahship would begin with his second coming. The Nabatheans were followers of the Baptist in Lebanon, and the Books of this Sect yet exist in Syria. Marcion, who left Rome, about 140 A.D., would seem to have followed the Gospel of Luke. Eusebius, St. Jerome, and Epiphanius have asserted that these sects were branches of the Essenes, and there is no doubt that several of the sects, which were eventually classed as Gnostic by the Church of Rome, proceeded from them.6 We will, for convenience, before proceeding with the Gnostics, take the secret system of Platonists who Christianised themselves.

ARCANE DISCIPLINE. This system was in vogue in the church of Christ between the first and fourth centuries of our era. For a clearer comprehension of the subject we must consider what has already been written in regard to the assimilation of Philosophy and the Mysteries, more especially the Serapian, and these to esoteric Christianity; that there is a great identity between these cannot be doubted; nor that Arcane Christianity was the essential adoption of Serapian rites. Tertullian, Origen, Cyril, Theodoret, Gregory, Chrysostom, and others, all allude to these Arcane things, in the precise terms in which the Philosophers spoke of the Mysteries. Basileus says that they kept their doctrines secret, their preaching was public; that is, it was esoteric, and exoteric, as the Philosophers held the Mysteries to be. Cardinal J. H. Newman holds that the Arcanum was the introduction of Platonism into the church of Egypt, and he mentions that Ammonius Saccus and Origen were Catechists of the Discipline, and that when the former established an eclectic school of his own he swore his disciples to secrecy. The historians are in doubt whether Ammonius forsook Christianity, or not, upon founding his School; but, in any case, such a man would give more than he received.

The grades of the System are given by some writers as follows: -- Catecomonoi or learners; Pistoi or faithful; {159} Photozomenoi, illuminated or baptised; Memuemenoi or initiated; and Teleioumenoi or perfected. But Bishop Warburton, quoting Casaubon in his 16th exercise on the Annals of Baronius, gives the degrees as follows: -- Catharsis or purified; Myestis or initiated; and Teleosis or the end; but remember the relationship of "telete" to death. Casaubon says, "that which is called a symbol of faith is various in its kinds, and they serve as tokens or tests, by which the faithful may recognise each other." Minucius Felix says that the Christians were known to each other by signs and tokens, which were a ready pass-port to friendship.7 Rufinus compared the use of pass-words to those given by a general to his army. Clemens says: "Let the engraving upon your ring be either a dove, emblem of the Holy-spirit; a palm-branch, peace; an anchor, hope; or a ship running, the church; or a fish." A French writer on Masonry, stated last century that a copy of the Secret Constitutions was in the possession of some Monks on Mount Athos, as late as 1751, and that they were as old as 327 A.D.8 The church itself was divided into three portions; the Nave for the Catechumens, as was the Vestibule for initiates of the Lesser Mysteries; the Aisles for the Faithful; the Chancel for the Perfected.

When the Catechumen had completed his probation, which was usually of two years, he was apparently a Pistos or probationer, and had to fast for 21 days, as usual in the Mysteries; his shoes were removed and all his clothing with the exception of an undergarment, and with a lighted taper in his hand he was led into a room adjoining the church. Prior to Baptism, the aspirant, with his hand raised aloft, and face to the west, or place of darkness, thrice renounced the devil and all his works; then with his face to the east, or place of light, he thrice declared his belief in the doctrines he had been taught, and his intention to remain a soldier of Christ. The Exorcist thrice breathed upon him, in the name of Father, {160} Son, and Holy-spirit, requiring all unclean spirits to depart from him. A prayer was offered that the element of water might be sanctified; and the operator breathed upon him, in expression of the Holy-spirit. After this he was anointed with oil as a wrestler in the faith; his forehead was signed with the cross, and salt tendered as emblem of divine wisdom; his ears were touched with the word Ephphatha -- "be opened," his eyes anointed with clay. He was plunged three times in the water, in the name of each person of the Trinity. He assumed a new name, and was clothed in a pure white garment, and led amongst the Faithful; from whom he received the kiss of peace; but for seven days he had to go veiled. He could now attend service in the aisles as one of the Photozomenoi and was instructed in the full mystical meaning of the Lord's prayer, which he was enjoined to repeat thrice every night, as well he was instructed in the esoteric doctrines; this probably made him one of the Memuemenoi, that is those who are in the light.

The High-mass of the Eucharist was usually celebrated at Easter, or the festival of darkness and resurrection. In the Jewish equivalent whilst the fully initiated pronounced mentally the sacred name with the priest, the masses knew only the substituted word Adonai, chanted by the assistants. In the Church, the Deacons brought water for the Ministers to wash their hands, and the kiss of peace was passed round from the priest, the men and women to each other respectively. The priest offered thanks for the love represented by the death, resurrection, and ascension of Christ. Before entering the chancel the priest exclaimed: "Holy things for holy persons, ye Catechumens go forth." Bread and wine were presented. Pliny states that in the Agapae, or Love feasts, all took a sacred oath to be faithful, reveal no secrets, do no wrong, nor steal, rob, violate a trust, nor commit any act of unchastity. The communicant was now one of the Teleioumenoi or Perfected. There are several points in {161} this account that we have already related as ancient customs of the Mysteries.

No explanation is given of the reason for a long fast, and as this account is but a mystic form of the present exoteric ceremony, we may feel a strong doubt whether it covers all that was done, in the various grades of becoming a Christian. The New Testament repeatedly admits that Jesus had a secret or Mystical teaching, and something may be gathered from the Fathers. Clemens Alexandrinus, who wrote a century after Apostolic times, says: "But it will be an image to recall the architype of him who was struck with the Thyrsus . . . but we profess not to explain secret things sufficiently; far from it, but only to recall them to memory." Again he says: "And was it not this which the prophet meant, when he ordered unleavened cakes to be made, intimating that the truly sacred mystic word, respecting the unbegotten and his powers, ought to be concealed." Origen, whom Socrates in his "Ecclesiastical History" terms the "Expositor of the mystical tradition of the Church," and flourished 185-252 A.D., taught the pre-existence of souls, and on the evolution of man in his ascent to the divine source, he says:9 "But that there should be certain doctrines not made known to the multitude, which are (revealed) after the exoteric ones have been taught, is not a peculiarity of Christianity alone, but also of philosophic systems, in which certain truths are exoteric and others esoteric. Some of the hearers of Pythagoras were content with his "ipse dixit," whilst others were taught in secret those doctrines which were not deemed fit to be communicated to profane and insufficiently prepared ears. Moreover all the Mysteries that are celebrated everywhere, throughout Greece, and barbarous countries, although held in secret, have no discredit thrown upon them, so that it is in vain that he endeavours to calumniate the secret doctrine of Christianity, seeing he does not correctly understand its nature." Again10 "He would have us believe that we and the {162} interpreters of the Mysteries equally teach the doctrine of eternal punishments." Again,11 "Whoever is pure . . . . let him be boldly initiated into the Mysteries of Jesus, which properly are made known only to the holy and pure. . . . . He who acts as Initiator according to the precepts of Jesus, will say to those who have been purified in heart, 'he whose soul has for a long time been conscious of no evil, and especially since he yielded himself to the healing of the Word, let such an one hear the doctrines which were spoken in private to his genuine Disciples.'" Again,12 "To the literal minded we teach the Gospel in the historic way, preaching Christ Jesus and him crucified; but to the proficient, fired with love of the divine wisdom we impart the Logos." Synesius, Bishop of Ptolemais, says that: "the truth must be kept secret, and the masses need a teaching proportioned to their imperfect reason." Both the Mysteries and Arcane Christianity were clearly of opinion that more should not be given than the intellect could understand.

It is a moot point how far architectural symbolism was in use by this School, some writers maintain that all these sects used building symbolism, and Christianity was strong in the Roman Colleges of Artificers. Oliver asserts that in the Catacombs of Rome, a cross was constructed of a square, level, and plumb-rule, in such manner that, if touched, it fell to pieces, and the detected fraternity were supposed to be studying architecture. A representation of the temple of Solomon was found in these subterraneans. That the learned of these times did not ignore the use of Masonic symbolism is very certain, and St. Paul terms himself a "Master Builder," who was engaged in erecting the new church, numerous passages of the same character occur, hints at initiation, which would lead us to believe that there was a Masonic character in the secret system of the Church. The apocryphal book called "The Vision of Hermas" compares the faithful to Perfect ashlars, "of a true die or square," and the less {163} holy to imperfect stones, and rough ashlars. In the so-called Apostolical Constitution, the church is compared to a ship, as it is in the Egyptian "Ritual of the Dead," -- the Minister is Captain, the Deacons Mariners, the congregation are passengers. The Nave of the church is equally an allusion to the ark of the Mysteries.

We have some information upon the organisation of the Arcane Church in the "Stromata" of Clemens, in "Degrees of Glory in Heaven corresponding with the dignities of the church below"; but which is more fully explained by Dionysius the Areopagite; equally based upon heavenly and ecclesiastical hierarchies. In each it is 3 x 3 = 9 classes. In the first division we have Seraphim, Cherubim, and Thrones; in the second, Dominions, Virtues, and Powers; in the third, Principalities, Archangels, and Angels. In the earthly counterpart Jesus stands in relation to it as does the heavenly Father to the celestial Hierarchy. The first triplet is baptism, communion, and consecration of the chrism, representing purification, enlightening, and perfecting. Second, the orders of Deacon, Priest, and Bishop. Third, Monks, Members, and Catechumens. Here we have the Exoteric, Esoteric, and Divine church. The Lectures of the Order of Harodim -- Rosy Cross, which claim a Culdee Masonic origin, speak of these matters; and the Christian Mysteries, equally with the Platonists, speak of hylics, sepulchres, and the dead, as applying to those who are buried in worldly matters and things of sense. We have been more diffuse on this subject, for the reason that Christian churches could only have been built by Masons who possessed its arcanum.

There are two accounts which indicate in this country that either the history of the Arcane Discipline is not fully known, or in the other case that the Culdees had inherited a special Rite from their Druidical ancestors, a Rite which resembled that of the Mysteries of the Philosophers, and they should be considered together. The first Culdees had been Druids and St. Patrick is said to {164} have been born at Dumbarton, and to have gone to Ireland in 432 A.D. St. Columba left Ireland with 12 companions in the 6th century, intending to found a Monastery at Icolmkil on an Island in the Hebrides. It was thought necessary, the legend says, following a widely-spread belief, that the structure should be sanctified by a living sacrifice, and Odrian offered himself for that purpose, and was buried alive; after a lapse of "three days" Columba thought he would like to have a look at his old friend, and uncovered him; upon which Odrian started up alive, and began his experience: he had learned the truth in the other world, there was no fall of man, no personal Christ, no personal devil, and no hell. The scandalised Columba ordered his friend to be covered up again, "that he blab no more." This tale enshrines some of the alleged heresies of the Culdees for there were many others. It is further explained by the following account which we copy from Froissart, and Gough's additions to Camden.13 One Owen, or Tindal, a soldier of Stephen, King of England, repaired to the old Monastery of St. Patrick in Donegal, where was his "Purgatory." He was prepared for his initiation by a nine days' fast on bread and water, but which Matthew Paris says was originally a fast of 21 days, and as this fast is reported both of the Mysteries and the Arcane Discipline, it serves to connect the three accounts. Each day a procession was made round the place, three times the first seven days, and six times on the eighth, bathing each night in the lake, such processions and bathings being also a part of the ancient Mysteries. On the ninth day he observes a complete fast of 24 hours, with the exception of a little water, and was then conducted to the Chapel, "out of which all who enter do not return;" there was a deep well at one end. He then laid down in a sort of grave large enough to hold the body; the only light being from a single window of small dimensions, which looked out upon a field and a {165} hall. Here Owen was visited during the night by 15 persons, clothed in white, who warned him of the trials he would undergo. To these succeeded a troop of demons, who seemed to place him upon a burning pile, which he extinguished in the name of Christ. They then dragged him through scenes of torment, where the wicked suffer a variety of tortures, such as Virgil gives as common to Tartarus. Standing proof against these horrors Owen is taken in hand by two venerable persons, who favour him with a full view and description of Paradise, corresponding with that shown to Aeneas. After this Owen proceeds on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem, and after visiting the Holy Sepulchre, returns to Ireland and labours at erecting the Abbey of Besmagoveisth. Trials were made of this cavern as late as the 15th century, as Froissart records that he had interviewed two soldiers, who had spent a night in the cave, but forgot their visions after leaving the place.

GNOSTICS. These sects are ancient, and Christian Gnosticism sprang out of sects more ancient than themselves. The word means "to know," in opposition to mere theory, and has deep significance, equally with Veda, Wizard, Witch, all meaning a class "who know." An extraordinary man, of the first ages of the Church, was Apollonius of Tyana; Theurgic powers, and many wonderful things are recorded of him: he was an initiate of various Rites, and visited the Indian Gymnosophists, after which he went about Greece reforming the Mysteries. As the Catholic Church uses the term Gnostic he can scarcely be considered one of them, but he was born about the same date as the Gospel Jesus and lived to be 100 years of age. The first Gnostic "of the Church" was Simon Magus, a contemporary of the Christian Apostles, who passed at Rome as "a great power of God," that is an Aeon or Sephiroth, in the language of the Gnosis and Cabala. He was born at Gitta, in Samaria, and his Gnosis is couched in the symbolical language of the period. He was personally known to the Apostles, who {166} clearly considered him a person to be reckoned with, although he would seem to have looked upon them favourably, and mildly asked Cephas -- "Pray for me." Some of his enemies admit his honesty and single-mindedness. He had numerous disciples, and was deeply learned in Oriental, Greek, and Jewish culture, as well as Theurgy. As an anatomist, he wrote upon the circulation of the blood, and the physical system of the female. The handle which he gave to his enemies consisted chiefly in this, that he reformed and married a beautiful harlot, who repaid him with her devotion, and whom he believed, whether rightly or wrongly, to be a reincarnation of Helen of Troy, doomed to such rebirth for her ancient sin with Priam. Irenaeus, who flourished in the second century, and was born 116 A.D., says that the Simonians had a priesthood of the Mysteries, and that such "Initiated priests" practised magic arts, and exorcisms. Simon had as disciples Menander, and Cerinthus, a Jewish Cabalist, and Dositheus was a contemporary; they looked upon the Creation in Genesis as consonant to the gestation of the foetus, and the temptation of Eve had a like characer, as well as the Garden of Eden. After this followed Saturninus of Antioch; Prodicus, 120 A.D.; Valentinian, an Egyptian, 130 A.D.; Ptolemy, and Marcion, 136 A.D. A few details follow.

"Carpocratians." The founder of this Sect was Carpocrates of Alexandria. He would seem to have been a Disciple of Jehoshua ben Panther, previously mentioned, rather than the Gospel Jesus. It is not improbable that the older portions of the Jewish "Sepher Toldoth Jeshu" was a Gospel of Cabalistic Sects, and that Jesus ben Panther was an Essenian leader. The system of Carpocrates taught that Jesus derived the Mysteries of his religion from the temple of Isis in Egypt, where he had studied for six years, and that he taught them to his Apostles, who transmitted them to Carpocrates. The sect used Theurgic incantations, and had grips, signs, and words; symbols and degrees. His son Epiphanes wrote {167} a work on his father's system, but died young. The sect is believed to have endured for some centuries. The Comte de Tromelin, in the Paris "Initiation" (Oct., 1902), says: -- "Hermes has as seat a cross between the four branches of which are written the four letters I.N.R.I., in that order. Is it not the grand Hermetic prediction of the Mages attendant on the Messiah?"

"Cerenthians." These were apparently Essenian Gnostics, and made a distinction between the earthly Jesus and the Angel Messiah that united with the mortal man. Some leading German Savants are now agreed that the Apocalypse, from the 4th to 21st chapter, was the Gospel of the Sect, the remainder being of later date; in this they agree with the Presbyter Cajus of Rome, and Bishop Dionysius of Alexandria, who, according to Eusebius, attributed the book to Cerinthus.

"Marcians." Irenaeus gives an account of their ceremony of Initiation, but which the sect repudiated, but the nature of these details have some agreement with the modern Dervish sects; there is first a baptismal Invocation, a second to light, spirit, and life; followed by one to "angelic redemption," by which the Neophyte became united to his Angel, finally a formula of "restitution," or unity to the super-celestial power, to which the Neophyte responds in declaring his redemption by the name IAO. They gave numbers to the Aeons.

"Basilideans." This sect was founded by Basilides of Alexandria, who was a disciple of Menander, a pupil of Simon Magus; but Clemens says that he claimed to have received his esoteric doctrines from Glaucus, a disciple of the Apostle Peter. The system had three grades -- the material, intellectual, and spiritual; and they had two allegorical statues, the one male and the other female. A quinquennial silence, as in the Mysteries, was exacted from the Disciples; and the doctrine seems to have many points of resemblance to that of the Ophites. It ran on the lines of Jewish Cabalism with a succession of Aeons, Emanations, and Sephiroth, over which an {168} Archon, or Angelic-prince presided. They taught that Simon of Cyrene took the place of Jesus at the Crucifixion. Basilides was succeeded by his son Isidorus, and they say that Matthias communicated to them secret discourse, which being specially instructed, he heard from the Saviour.14

"Ophites." The Ophites were an organised fraternity early in the 2nd century as it is said to have numbered Valentinian amongst its supporters, but Clemens attributes its foundation to Eucrates at the beginning of our era. It was very Osirian or Serapian, with Semitic names for the Coptic ones. In the "Ritual of the Dead," which is of incalculable antiquity, there are certain chapters which refer to secrets of Initiation, which the translators have not mastered, and which have reference to the passwords required by the Guards of the heavenly temple or Amenti, from the aspiring soul, these are illustrated in the Ophite Ritual. To some extent the doctrine corresponds with that of the Mendaens, or followers of John the Baptist. Symbols to represent purity, life, spirit, fire have to be shewn to the Guards. We may imagine such to be the cube, tau-cross, pentagon, or other symbols. "The soul greets the first power saying: 'I come from thence pure, a portion of the light of the son and father.' To prove this, the sign must be shewn, as well to every Archon, that the soul passes. To the principal Archon, Ildabaoth, is said, 'Greatest and seventh Archon of the Logos, sub-Archon of the Spirit, the through-father-and son, I offer to thee perfect work in this figure, the sign of life.' The address to Jao is, -- 'To thee I now offer just the same sign figured in the spirit.' Then going to the Sabaoth, 'Archon of the fifth permission, Lord Sabaoth, proclaimer of the law of the creation, perfected by thy kindness, by the power of the most mighty fifth number, let me pass. See here the crime-clear sign of thy art, which has been passed by all the previous Archons, in the form of this sign, a body absolved by fire.' After the soul has {169} shewn this figure thrice it needs no further sign for the succeeding Archon, Aristophanes, but addresses him confidently, 'Let me pass, thou seest one Initiated.'"15 These Seven Archons were represented in this System by animals -- Michael by a lion; Suriel by a bull; Raphael by a serpent; Gabriel by an eagle; Thoutabaoth by a bear; Eratsaoth by a dog; Ouriel by an ass; these names being Cabalistic equivalents of the Archons, Origen names the rulers thus: Adonai (sun); Jao (moon); Eloi; (Jupiter); Sabao (Mars); Orai (Venus); Astapohi (Mercury); Ildabaoth (Saturn). Ophite, or serpent symbolism, is ancient as the world, and one of the sacred alphabets represented the writhing curves of serpents.

"Naasene." The Naasene were a branch of the Ophites, the name being derived from the Hebrew Naas, a serpent, and we have quoted the words of one of the sect in the last chapter.16

"Valentinians." The five Gnostic words ΖΑΜΑ Ω ΖΖΑΡΑΧ ΑΜΑΩ ΖΑΙ, are translated: "The robe, the glorious robe of my strength," and are said to have been on the shining garment of Jesus at his glorification; they are said to represent the five mystic powers of the reborn which become seven upon bodily death. Heraclian was a follower of this school, and wrote about 170 A.D. a Commentary upon the gospel of St. John's opening words.

"Bardisanians." The founder of this sect was Bardaisan, a man of noble descent born at Edessa 155 A.D., and died 233 A.D. He was author of an Armenian history; a book on the Indian religions; a book of Hymns; another on the Marcionites; Book of laws of the Countries, concerning fate, freewill, and nature. A most beautiful hymn of his symbolises the Gnostic Initiation. Professor A. Bevan terms it a "Hymn of the Soul," but the "Theosophical Review," to which we are indebted for many hints on Gnosticism, terms it the "Hymn of the Robe of Glory." His antagonists brought these charges against him: -- (1) he denied the resurrection of the body; (2) he {170} held the theory of a "divine Mother," and a "Father of life," as the origin of the "Son of the living"; in other words the Gnostic doctrine of the concealed Logoi; (4) he believed in a number of lesser gods, such as the seven who are said to surround the throne. The subjects appear in the poem mentioned as the "King of Kings," the "Queen of the East," and the "Brother next in rank"; finally the lesser gods are the "Kings who obey the King of Kings."

"Manicheans." The most noted of the Gnostic sects was the Manichees, whom Herder ranks as a sect of the Persian Magi. The founder is said to have been a pupil of Scythianus, an Arab of the purest morality, who was contemporary with the Christian Apostles; he studied the Egyptian Philosophy and composed four books designated Chapters, Mysteries, Treasures, and Gospel. A disciple of this man, named Ferbulio, assumed the name of Buddha, it may be to imply reincarnation, and dying by accident, a widow with whom Ferbulio lodged, had a slave of the name of Cubricus educated, and gave him the four books, which he took into Persia, where he asumed the name of Mani, which means conversation; it is said that the King of Persia had him flayed alive with reeds.17 The entire tale looks like a fable of the enemies of the sect.

In addition to the class of Disciples, the sect had that of Auditors, who were permitted to hear the writings of Mani read and interpreted in a mystical form; a custom we saw followed by the Brahmins in dealing with the Warriors. The third grade was the Perfect, or Elect, who were the priestly order of the sect. From these last were chosen the Magistri, or Council, who were 12 in number, as in the Culdee system, with a 13th as President. When a Manichee passed over to orthodoxy in Rome, he was required to curse his late associates in the following terms, which implies a reference to the Sun-god of the Mysteries: "I curse those persons who say that Zarades, and Budas, {171} and Christ, and Manichaes, and the Sun are all one and the same." The Sun, Urim, and Mani, being the saviour symbol, and the old Mystery-god, under various names, a Sunday festival was observed in March, when funereal rites were celebrated. On this occasion the altar was adorned with great magnificence, and a splendidly decorated pulpit, ascended by five steps, was erected, before which all prostrated themselves.

This sect, in common with all the other Gnostics, had secret forms of recognition; Augustin says: "signa, oris, manum et finus," which Barruel translates: "three, that of the word, the gripe, and of the breast." Epiphanius, who had been a member, professes to give the mode by which they tested strangers -- tickling the palm of the hand with the finger. Augustine was at one time of his life a Manichee, but failing, for some reason, to obtain advancement, withdrew from the sect.

Synesius, Bishop of Cyrene, and a pupil and life-long friend of the unfortunate Hypatia, who was torn to pieces by a Christian mob before the very altar, continued a Platonist to the last; and he bitterly reproaches one of his friends for having lightly betrayed to uninitiated Auditors a part of the Secret doctrines of the Philosophers. The contest between the Roman Church and the Gnostics, broadly speaking, resolves itself into this: first, the historical Jesus, the Christ of the Church; and second, the ancient Crestos of the Serapian Culte, the good god, with a Spiritual Cristos to be developed within each Perfected Gnostic. The former view was that of Peter and the Judaising Christians; the latter that of Paul, Origen, and the British Culdees. The Arcane Discipline was the union of the two, in which the literal history was taught Exoterically, and the spiritual version Esoterically; in the end the Church sought to teach both Exoterically.

"Arcane Symbols." A number of the peculiar symbols of the various sects have come down to us, but have not yet been properly classified by any writer. 1. Those with {172} a cock's head upon the top, and the name Abraxas upon some of them: these may be Mythraic and Basilidean, as the cock was a Mythraic symbol; Abraxas is Basilidean. 2. Those with the head, or body of a lion, commonly inscribed "Mythras." 3. Those with the figure or name of the Egyptian "Serapis." 4. Those which have figures of sphynx, ape, scarib, asp, ibis, goat, crocodile, vulture, etc., all Egyptian symbols. 5. Those which have human figures and the names Jao, Sabaoth, Adonai, Eloi, Basilidean, Ophite, and Jewish sects. 6. Those with a costly monument, and the word "Abraxas," Basilidean and perhaps Manichean. 7. One represented in the work of Chiffalet, which has upon it 7 stars, and a larger one above them, together with a pair of compasses, a square, and other geometrical emblems, perhaps Cabiric. 8. One in the British Museum engraved by Brother Wm. Hutchinson in his "Spirit of Masonry;" it is in the shape of an egg; on one side is a head which he interprets as the Ancient of Days or Great-workman; on the other side, sun, moon, five-pointed star, and a serpent; it has an inscription which he interprets: "The earth shall praise Thee, 1305." 9. Representations of the eternal Father, with arms crossed on breast. 10. To these may be added numerous emblems from ancient gems, chiefly of Greek workmanship, some of which embrace Masonic signs, some with Pelicans, crosses of all shapes, squares, triangles, circles, point within a circle, etc. The Gnostics had great respect for the number seven {symbol, upright equilateral triangle floating above square} because it results from adding the side view of a square to those of a triangle, or the three principles and four elements, applied spiritually. In regard to the number seven we may quote Mr. T. Subba Row,18 who says: -- "Algebraically the number of entities evolved from three primary causes is 2 cubed -1 is 8-1=7. Thus the seven rays are evolved out of three primary coloured rays, and the three primary colours exist with the four secondary colours. Similarly the three primary entities, which brought man into existence, {173} exist in him with the four secondary arising from different combinations of the three primary entities."

The real cause of the veneration of the Manichees for the reed, upon mats of which they affected to lie, is not very apparent, but it was everywhere a sacred symbol. In the ancient Finnish poem of the "Kalevala" the "virgin Mother of the north-land" conceives a heavenly child who is "hidden in the reeds and rushes." The Hindu goddess Kartikeya was nourished amid reeds. Moses was saved in an ark of bulrushes; and a reed was put into the hand of Jesus, as a sceptre. As the plant grows upright out of water it may symbolise truth springing from sacred doctrine; but as the virgin mother is primal matter, that requires another key of interpretation.

The Gnostics adopted the Apostle John as their Patron; his symbol was the Eagle, or bird of the sun, which was the Sectarians' sacred emblem; it is found in Egypt at the foot of the tau cross, and now on the jewel of a Rosy-cross Mason. The Gnostic tokens were a sectarian version of the older pagan "Tesserae hospitalis," on which was the head of Zeus, and under the Roman Empire there was the "tesserae frumentaria," which entitled to a public distribution of grain.19 There was the white stone presented on Mythraic Initiation; and Clemens in his "Hortatory Address to the Heathen," appears to allude to both sign and pass, and material token -- "nam equidem nullo unquam periculo compellar, "quae reticenda accepi hac ad profanos enuntiare." Again, "Vel unius Liberi patris symmystae qui adestis, "scitis quid dani conditum celetis et . . ." tacite veneramini." There can be no doubt that the Arcane Discipline had them as tokens of preparation for the Supper of the Lord; many, if not all, the Catholic confraternities present a token which is generally worn under the clothes from a ribbon. Some of the tokens yet preserved belonged to the Templars, and there are a quantity of Abbey tokens, which are struck in lead or {174} pewter with the cross on one side, and on the obverse a variety of designs.

"Esoteric Budhism." This living system has every appearance of great antiquity; its symbols are ideographs, interpretable in any language, and touch the Mysteries. It has two divisions, theory and practice, or the active and contemplative of the Essenes. The doctrine of the "heart," as opposed to the "eye"; the secret path as opposed to the "open," and is the seal of truth," which leads to the growth of "the tree of knowledge," or the "dragon tree," which is the development of the "higher self." The "Secret heart" has three halls, from which lead two Paths for the "Listener" and the "Exerciser." The first is the four-fold Dhyana; the second is the seven noble gates of virtue opened by the "golden keys" of charity, harmony, patience, worldly indifference, persistence, until finally the initiate arrives at the attainment of supreme wisdom, by travelling the paths of hearing and seeing. These paths may be compared with the seven Halls and Staircases of the Egyptian "Ritual of the Dead." Similarly we have the "seven stepped Ladder" of the "Golden Precepts," each step being an advance towards union with the divine, its rungs are of suffering and pain, its sides of love. To hear and see reaches the second stage of ascent, when the four senses blend, and pass into the inner sense; the fifth and sixth carry perfect renunciation and concentration of the "higher self"; on the seventh, "thyself and mind are like twins upon a line," the "star" which is thy goal burns over head.20 Thibet like Thebes denotes Sacred Ark, and points to the high table-land of Thibet as a centre of the Mysteries.

"Arcane Schools." The Gnostic Sects, Neo-Platonists, and the Mysteries, descended down the stream of time, with mutual forbearance and goodwill, until late on in the fourth century, when evil times come upon them. The Church was becoming powerful and intolerant, and there was no room left for the Mysteries of Mythras, {175} Serapis, Bacchus, the Cabirs, Hirtha, Druids, or Gnostics; and the Church considered itself capable to absorb their teachings. The Emperors Valentinian, 372; Theodosius, 381; Theodosius II., 450, all forbade the assemblies of Gnostics, Platonists, and all other religious Mysteries, but this but led to greater secrecy and disguise, for Psellus tells us that the Eleusinian Mysteries continued to be practised at Athens in the 8th century, and were never entirely suppressed.

In the sixth century the Gnostics were put to the sword in Persia, but some embraced Islam, and transmitted their system amongst the Dervish sects. In 657 the Manichees had assumed the name of "Paulicians," and it is said that in the course of three centuries one hundred thousand were put to death by the Romish Church, or at its instigation.

The name of "Cathari" succeeded and implies, as in the Discipline, purity. Some took the name of "Euckites," others "Bogomiles," "Albigensis," and later "Lollards," travelled over Europe, seeking proselytes, and continuing, either openly or secretly, until modern times. There was nothing offensive in the word Gnostic, it means knowing as opposed to believing. Clemens, in his "Stromata," uses the word in orthdoxy thus: "Happy are they who have entered into Gnostic holiness." Heckethorn says that in 1022 the Canons of Orleans were burnt for Manichaeism by King Robert; as Cathari they were persecuted in Italy 1150-1224, and were compelled to perform their Rites in woods and forests, like the Carbonari, and it is not improbable that the latter whose Mysteries represent the passion of Christ, is one of their branches.

"A further impregnable evidence of the derivation of Catharism from Manichaeism is furnished by the sacred thread and the garment which was worn by all the "Perfect" among the Cathari. This custom is too peculiar to have had an independent origin, and is manifestly the "Kosti" and "Saddarah," the sacred thread and shirt the wearing of which was essential to all believers, and the use of which by both Zends and Brahmins shows that its origin is to {176} be traced to the prehistoric period, anterior to the separation of those branches of the Aryan family. Among Cathari the wearing of the thread and vestment, was what was known amongst the Inquisitors as the "haereticus indutus" or "vestitus," initiated into all the mysteries of the heresy."21 This may be the origin of that consecrated Girdle, which was one of the charges brought against the Templars during their trials, 1311-13.

"Metempsychosis, and the pre-existence of the Soul was an integral part of the system."22 This statement is confirmed in numerous ways, and is even mystically stated in the Graal Poem of Wolfram von Eisenbach. The French writer Aroux quotes Pierre Cardinal the Troubadour, as to the veiled language of the Graal legend, which was of a nature of the Culdee secret symbolism. He says: "The ungent which heals all kinds of wounds, even the bites of the "venemous reptiles," is in fact none other but the word of the gospel, so also the "golden vessel" in which it (the graal) is contained, adorned with most precious stones, is none other than the holy grail itself, or the book of the Gospels, as the Albigensis had adopted and translated it; the Golden book, the vessel containing the true light, visible only to the Initiated, to the Professors of the Gay Science." We shall add later some account of these sects.

Early in the 12th century the celebrated St. Bernard, Abbot of Clairvaux says of the Gnostics: "If you ask them of their faith nothing can be more Christian like; if you observe their conversation nothing can be more blameless, and what they speak they make good by their actions. . . . . As to life and manners, he circumvents no man, overreaches no man, does violence to no man, he fasts much, eats not the bread of idleness, but works with his hands." Another Roman writer says that the "Perfected" were divided into Bishops, Major, and Minor brothers, and Deacons, and that these abstained from {177} animal food, and from women. It is related of the Waldenses, who were a branch of the Albigensis who may have preserved the Arcane Mysteries from their first reception of Christianity, that the Initiated assumed new names, and that when the Believer was on the point of death he was perfected thus: "They assembled in a dark room, closed on all sides, but illuminated by a great number of lights affixed to the walls; then the new Candidate was placed in the centre, when the presiding officer of the sect laid a book (probably St. John's Gospel) on his head, and gave him the imposition of hands, at the same time reciting the Lord's prayer; saying also: 'Have pity on this imprisoned spirit.'" The last a very Platonic formula. Saccho says, in speaking of the 13th century: "In many of the sects their secrets are by no means revealed." Limborchi says: "They had also a peculiar manner of saluting each other, by embracing, putting their hands to both sides, and turning their heads three times to each shoulder, saying every time, 'Praise the Lord.'" Of the Waldenses, who followed Peter Waldo, who was probably a Waldense, it is said that "those who are Perfect put in the upper part of the shoe, a Zabbata, a sort of escutcheon, as a sign, from which they are called Inzabbata." This statement, referring as it does to the 13th century, seems to amount only to this, that they wore sandals or wooden shoes. The Rev. Henry Stebbing (1834) says that in the 14th century Pope Honorius III. "condemned to perpetual infamy the Cathari, Patarines, the Leonists, the Speronists, and the Arnoldists."

VEHM GERICHTE. According to Abbe Trithemius, who wrote his "Polagraphia" about the year 1500, the Emperor Charlemagne instituted in 770 for Saxons of Westphalia, or the red earth, a Secret Tribunal, for the suppression of paganism and bad morals, "with secret laws, private signs, and a form of oath. . . . . using amongst themselves certain cyphers and alphabets which are now lost." The original society was no doubt attached to the old pagan worship. A society very similar to the Holy Vehme was {178} established at Castile and Leon, in Spain, in the year 1245, and designated the HERMANDAD. In the 1906 volume of Ars Quat. Cor. (page 31) I printed a paper on the Ritual of the Vehm Court of the year 1490. In this Ritual the Free Count is supposed to occupy the throne of Charlemagne, in the same way that the Master Mason is supposed to occupy the throne of Solomon, but the curious point is that, with a quite different object in view, it has all the formula of Guild Masonry. Bro. F. F. Schnitger informs me that the three sides of his father's house overlooked five of the old Friestules, or places of judgment, and that he has known people who participated in some of the last meetings of the Vehm; and his opinion is that Charlemagne, of whom hereafter we will say something as a builder, adapted the existing tribal jurisdiction to his ends, and that the Secret Tribunal is the jurisdiction of the ancient priests. The Association possesed two Courts -- an open one (offenes ding) and a secret one (Geheines Gerichte), and to the latter the Free or Initiated were only admitted. Their laws and signs are partially known, their words absolutely, and their Oath exists in a dozen documents.

ALCHEMISTS. The Alchemical Art is doubtless as old as other branches of science and is traceable in Egypt, China, and India, in the earliest times. Modern writers on Chemistry assert that it was practised by the Essenes and Cabalistic Jews. When it was suppressed in Egypt it still lived on in China, where the terms used correspond with those of the European Alchemists. In all countries it had three interpretations and three objects: the "Alkahest" or universal solvent; the "Lapis," or stone or powder of transmutation; and the "Elixir," or universal medicine. As a secret Mystery in which art and religion are combined it no doubt originated amongst a metallurgic people. Thus it is "physical," as we have said; and "psychological" in its interpretation and as such allied to Gnosticism; and it is "moral" in its relation to humanity. It aimed, in this sense, at converting the "lead" of the body, and the "silver" {179} of the soul, into the "gold" of the spirit, and it is this meaning that Aristotle employs it when he says that all men have the Stone within them, and that its conversion is the labour of wise men. The Mystic Marriage of the Sun and Moon, in its spiritual and inoperative sense, is the Union of Soul and Spirit to form the Gnostic Crestos. The Hermetic system united all nature inasmuch as "that which is above is the same as that which is below." When it descends to the mineral kingdom, and the vegetable, it finds in these the same three principles as in man, namely a visible body, a virtue or soul, and a spark of the spirit, termed salt, sulphur, and mercury, a divine triad {Symbol: Fire}; whilst the four lower principles are earth, air, fire, water, {symbol: a square}, but which in another phase represents the physical, psychic, mental, and spiritual plains of existence; which are again the fixed, unstable, and volatile. Professor Roberts Austin, C.B., F.R.S., in a Lecture on Metals, says that the Alchemists "recognised in metals the possession of attributes which closely resemble those of organisms . . ." and that, "the first Alchemists were Gnostics, and the old beliefs of Egypt are blended with those of Chaldea in the second and third centuries." Alchemy and Masonry were early subsidiary schools of the Mysteries.

In its operations the Society held that as "all things proceed from the Will of one," so all were again resolveable to first principles, and that metals might be separated, refined, and reunited; and they claimed that Moses was an Adept because he possessed the difficult process of reducing the golden calf to a powder. The "Aurea," attributed to Hermes Trismegistus, is one of the oldest Arcane works on the subject, and couched in Egyptian Symbolism. The writings of Athenagoras have tracers of Alchemy and the Emperor Caligula is said to have experimented with red arsenick. Thoelden says: "Our ancestors united themselves again in the time of Valerius Diocletian in the year 284 A.D." However that may be, this worthy in the year 296 was engaged in burning Christians, {180} Gnostics and Alchemists with zealous indiscrimination, and equally all works on Alchemy and the Secret Sciences on which he could lay his vile hands. Colin MacKenzie23 says that, we find Alchemists amongst the Essenes, Cabalists, Manichaeans, the Hermits of Thebes, and the Gymnosophists of India. The Emperor Julian, who, though termed the apostate, was one of the purest Emperors Rome ever had, and apostate from the vices of men like Constantine, restored these Sciences. Zosimus the Panopolite has an express treatise on the "divine art of making gold and silver." Cedrinus, 491, gives an example of a Magician who professed Alchemy. Morienus, who was a Hermit at Rome, learned the art of Transmutation and the Elixir, from Adsar, who was an Alexandrian and a Christian, and afterwards taught it to Calid, the son of Gezid the Second, who was Sultan of Egypt about the year 725 A.D.; the works of Morienus were translated from Arabic into Latin in 1182 A.D. Successors continued the Science; Geber, whose real name was Abou Moussa Djafar qualified as "al Sofi" the Wise, devoted his life, about 730 to Alchemy; he was born at Houran in Mesopotamia; and we owe to him the first mention of corrosive sublimate, red-oxide of mercury, nitric acid, and nitrate of silver. A Marcus Graecus is mentioned in the 13th century, nothing is known of him, though erroneously asserted, he is mentioned by the Arabian physician Mesue, and his M.S. contains the secret of gunpowder.24 Alfarabi flourished later, at the beginning of the tenth century, and was considered the most learned man of the age. Avicenna, whose real name was Abu Cenna, another great Alchemist, was born at Bokara in 984 and died in 1036. After this time but few philosophers of note are mentioned by name in Arabia, and it now began to attract attention in Spain, into which country the Moors and Jews had introduced it. Schools of the Arts, Sciences, and Magic were established at Toledo, Salamanca, Barcelona, and elsewhere, and to these drew Gerhard of {181} Cremona, circa 1130; Arnold de Villanova, 1243; Roger Bacon, 1215; Albertus Magnus, 1270; Raymond Lulli, 1320, etc.25 We will divide this notice for convenience, and continue it under the head of "Rosicrucianism," it is an appropriate division because we have better and fuller evidence of its symbolism, much of it being identical with Masonry and Gnosticism, and doubtless derived, through Spain, from the House of Wisdom at Cairo. During the dominion of the Moors in Spain, the Jews enjoyed consideration, and numbered many of the most learned men of the time amongst their race; and proportionately held in estimation. After the fall of the Moorish power the Jews were persecuted, and in the 14th and 15th centuries under the name of "Maranos," they met in great secrecy at Inns, disguised, using grips, signs, and passwords; the temple of Solomon was bound to have its prominent place, but it is unlikely unless in the Arch ritual that the Society could have any connection with Masonry whose broad and liberal platform is opposed to the exclusive nature of Judaism.26

ISLAMITE MYSTICS. We have mentioned that Islamite Gnostics arose in Persia at an early period; and they claim to be as old as the time of the Prophet. It is said that their origin is the "Alli Allahis," a continuation of the old sect of Medo-Persian Magi. The Sects are termed "Tariks" or Paths, for they are Pilgrims or travellers on the "urug" Or ascent, in which there are three "ourouens" -- the road, the stages, the goal.

At this time we have numerous sects of these Mystics, and it is claimed that Ali, who according to the Persian sect was the lawful successor of Mohamed, founded them by bestowing some article of his clothing when he established their orders; thus one sect claims to have received his "Tailji" or cap; another his "Khirka" or Mantle; another his "Kemei" or girdle; thus fixing a succession.

"Benai Ibraham." Every reading Mason is aware that {182} from the time of the original of the "Cooke" MS. Constitutions, say A.D. 1400, it has been handed down that the hunter King, Nimrod, was a Grand Master, and that Abraham, who is said to have fled from him, taught the Egyptians geometry. It is not worth while to attempt to refute the latter statement, as according to Biblical chronology Abraham was not in Egypt until about 1925 B.C., but it would be worth while to ascertain, if we could, what ancient writer, probably Oriental, is responsible for the Abrahamic origin of geometry in Egypt. I am aware, of what I have never yet seen mentioned by any Masonic writer, that amongst the Moslems, throughout the world, there is a very ancient Secret Society which claims to derive from the Koreish, or Guardians of the Kaaba, who were a superior Arab race and the descendants of Ishmael, and of which Mohammed was a scion. In the 1st and 2nd degrees of this system precisely the same assertions are made as in the MS. Constitutions of Masonry, whilst the 3rd degree is devoted to the erection of the Kaaba by Ibraham, Ismael, and Isaque, as the three presiding G.M.M. Sale, in his "Preliminary Observations" to his translation of "Al Koran" gives a full account of the legend as to Abraham's erection of a square temple similar to one destroyed in the deluge, the plans of which were etherially let down from Heaven on the prayer of Adam. I am inclined to give credit to the alleged great antiquity of these three degrees of the Sons of Ibraham, for two reasons, or rather three. In the first place Mohammed himself confirms the basis of the legend in treating of Abraham; in the second place the thirteenth century account of the erection on "Salvation Mount" of the square temple of San Graal, the plans being similarly heaven designed, is admittedly, by the writer himself, taken from Moslem sources; and, in the third place, I believe, with Ashmole, that the present system of Masonry was a thirteenth century reform of an older system. In 1872 the late Bro. Mackenzie organised the "Order of Ishmael," of 36th Degree, the basis of which, he informed me, {183} he had from an Arab in Paris, and in 1884 I was myself in relation with Prince Moustafa ben Ismael, ex-Prime Minister of Tunis, then in Paris. But Mackenzie's idea seems to have been that our Biblical legends were the transmission of the "Order of Ishmael," of which the "Sons of Ibraham" were a very ancient branch, or, as he terms it, the oldest secret society in the world.

M. Edmond Demoulins in his work "Anglo-Saxon Superiority," which has created an immense sensation in France, says that in all the Oases, or Deserts, under Moslem rule Secret Brotherhoods (Zalouahs) exist, and he quotes, in confirmation, M. L. Ponsard on ancient Egypt and Chaldea in prehistoric times. He says: "They have their passwords, their signs of recognition, and are ruled by an official hierarchy which starts from the Grand Master, or Khalif, and ends with such subaltern agents as the messengers, banner-bearers, guards, etc. There are general assemblies for the purpose of receiving instructions from the Khalif, or for the initiation of fresh members, or again to promote the rising of the population against some interior, or exterior foe. This variety of patriotism inspired the societies which formerly occupied the two large Oases of Assyria and Egypt, at least, during the first part of their history, which extends over the time when, recently issued from the Desert, they still were under the more or less domination of the Brotherhoods and priests of Ammon. Mahomet and his votaries also partook of this species of patriotism, and so did all the Societies started under the inspiration of Islam, whether in the Arabian Desert and the Sahara, or at their two extremities from Asia Minor to Spain."

"Brothers of Purity." This was an association of Arab philosophers seated at Bosra in the 10th century. They had forms of Initiation, and they wrote many works, which were afterwards much studied by the Spanish Jews.27

"House of Wisdom." The Tarik of the House of Wisdom was founded at Cairo and had seven Initiatory {184} degrees. According to von Hammer, who gives his Arabian authorities, Abdallah a Persian, living in the 9th century of the Christian era, accepted, what was the Gnostic doctrine, of the Aeons, or Sephiroths, or emanations of divinity, and applied the system to the successors of the Prophet of Arabia, upholding Ismael as the founder of his "Path," and one of his descendants as the Seventh Imaum. This man created "Dais," or Missionaries, for the propagation of the system, and was succeeded by his son and grandson. One of the name of Karmath brought the "Path" into repute. The Secret Institution was now seated at Cairo and termed the "Dar-al-hicmet," translated Tent of Skill, or House of Wisdom, and Assemblies were held twice a week, when all the members appeared clothed in white. The members were advanced gradually through a series of Seven degrees, over which presided a "Dai-al-doat," or Missionary of Missionaries. Their then Chief, Hakem-bi-emir-Illah increased these degrees to nine and erected, in 1004 A.D., a stately building which he abundantly furnished with mathematical instruments. In 1123 the Vizier Afdhal destroyed this building, but meetings continued elsewhere. Corresponding with the seven (or nine) grades of the Society was a seven-fold gradation of officers: -- Sheik, or Grand Master; Dai-el-Keber, or Deputy; Dai, or Master; Refik, or Fellow; Fedavie, or Agent; Lassik, or Aspirant; Muemini, or Believer. The Initiate was successively taught that there had been 7 holy Imaums; that God had sent 7 Lawgivers, who in the interval of their appearance had each 7 Helpers, and that each of these had 12 Apostles. It would appear that in 1150 the Sultan of Egypt recognised the grades of the Society, for when a special rank was created for the learned Jewish physician Maimonides, it is added that "the enlightened men of the kingdom were divided into seven grades, each occupying a corresponding position near the throne";28 it is also a slight confirmation of what we have said respecting the Spanish affinity with the Egyptian. {185} Sir John Maundeville, of St. Albans, served with the Sultan about 1320 and would seem to have been half converted to Islam; he relates that they denied the crucifixion of Jesus, and asserted that Judas was substituted in his place.

"Assassins." Before the year 1090, one of the Dais of the House of Wisdom admitted an Aspirant of the name of Hassan Sabah, who thus details his conversion: "I had been reared, like my fathers, in the doctrine of the 12 Imaums, but I made the acquaintance of an Ishmaelite Rafeek named Emir Dhareb, with whom I knit fast the bonds of friendship. My opinion was that the tenets of the Ishmaelites resembled those of the Philosophers and that the Ruler of Egypt was a man who had been initiated into them." Hassan goes on to relate that he finally gave his fealty to a Dai named Moomen, set out for Egypt, and was met on the frontier by the Dai-al-Doat. Hassan saw that the failure of the "House" as a political Society arose from the lack of a fortress, and set about to remedy this defect. He obtained by a cunning strategical purchase in the year 1090 the Castle of Alamoot. Here he founded the Society of "Assassins" in seven degrees, the Class of Fedavees being those devoted to the main object, the killing of the enemies of the order. At a later period the Society was dispersed, but yet exists in its seven degrees in India and other countries, under its old designation of "Ishmaelites."

DRUZES. About the same period as the foundation of the "Assassins" a Dai of the name of Hamsa prevailed upon the Druzes of Lebanon to accept the Initiatory System of the House of Wisdom. These Syrian Mountaineers are a peculiar race who are probably of Phoenician descent; it is known that before the time of Hamsa they possessed secret Rites, Degrees, and modes of recognition.29 It was probably a phase of the Assyrian culte, such as is possessed by the Yezids, who worship sun, moon, and bull, and have signs of recognition.30 From the time of {186} Hamsa they have remained faithful conservators of the organisation received from him. The Sect recognises six degrees of which the three first are typified by the "three feet of the candlestick of the Inner Sanctuary which holds the five elements," and these "three feet" are "the holy application, the opening, the phantom," referring to man's inner and outer soul, and the body of matter. The Ignorant are presided over by the Akkals or wise, and these are of three higher grades, which represent more advanced principles and developments. The members are sworn to absolute secrecy, and strictly observe their oath. They are known to have signs of recognition which are common to Freemasonry.31 They also profess to have some tradition relative to assistance rendered at the building of Solomon's temple, but this may only be one of their modes of hoodwinking the Cowan. Blavatsky, who was an Initiate of the Sect, informs us that the fundamental principles of Hamsa are chastity, honesty, meekness, and mercy; and that its basis is the old Ophite Gnosticism, which, in the most ancient times, claimed immense antiquity as the builders of the Draconian stone enclosures, scattered over the old world, and even America. The Society admits, like other Ishmaelite Mystics, an affinity with the Platonic philosophy, and festivals are held at which raisins and figs are eaten; which it is thought is one of the tests of membership; it reminds us that priest Cyril of Jerusalem32 speaks of the "detestable ceremony of the fig." The Aspirant before admission has to undergo a long fast, which is entire on the last day, and a species of trance vision is induced before the ceremony closes.

"Ainsarii." The Ishmaelite Sect continued to exist after the destruction of the stronghold of the Old Man of the Mountain, as the Chief of the Assassins was termed. The most prominent of these is named the Ainsarii; they hold secret meetings for receptions and have signs, words, and a Catechism. Lyde, who has investigated this Sect, {187} classes them with ancient Templars, and Modern Freemasons.33

"Dervishes." The various "Paths" of the Dervishes are very ancient and spread from branches in Persia and Egypt. Though their rites and doctrines vary from one another, the object of all is similar to each other and to Magian and Indian Yogism, namely, Union with the Deity. We will take the "Bektash" as typical of the others. In the 15th century, Bektash of Bokhara, received his "Mantle" from Ahmed Yesevee, who claimed descent from the father-in-law of Mohamed. On this he proceeded to establish a "Path," consisting of seven nominal, but four essential degrees. These are magical in their nature, inasmuch as they aim at establishing an affinity between the Aspirant and the Sheik, from whom he is led, through the founder, and the Prophet, to Allah. Their Initiatory ceremony is shortly as follows. After a year's probation, during which the Aspirant is tested with false secrets a lamb is killed from which a cord is made for his neck, and a girdle of Initiation for his loins; he is led into a square chamber, and between two armed attendants, who present him as a slave who desires to know truth. He is led by the cord round his neck, and one of the axes used, or carried by these godfathers is in the writer's possession, bearing on one side the name of Ali and the other that of Mohamed. He is then placed before a stone altar on which are twelve escallops. The Sheik, who is attended by eleven others, grips the hand of the Aspirant in a peculiar way, and administers the oath of the order, which is equivalent to the Monkish vow of poverty, chastity, and obedience. He is then informed that death awaits him if he betrays his order; and he makes his profession in.the following formula: "Mohamed is my Rheper (guide); Ali is my Murchid (director)." The Sheik then asks: "Do you accept me as your Murchid?" and upon an affirmative reply adds: "Then I accept you as my son." {188} He is invested with a girdle, on which are three knots, and receives an alabaster stone as token. The sign of recognition is that of the first degree in Masonry. Their grace is called the "Gulbend," or "rose of fraternal love." Amongst their important symbols are the double triangles {Symbol: Hexagram} and two triangles joined at the apex {symbol, like an "X" but with the top and bottom chevrons closed to equilateral triangles}. One of their maxims is, "the man must die that the saint may be born."34 As a Jewel they make use of a small marble cube with red spots to typify the blood of the martyred Ali. The Sects are not popular with the orthodox Turkish Mussulmans, but all branches swear to devote themselves to the interests of their order or Path with body and soul. The Jewel of another branch, in possession of the writer, has at the top a small green stone, and suspended from this by three silver chains, is a large sized bloodstone, oval; and from this again is suspended three other chains: the first three chains has two small silver discs, the second three has each a silver disc and two are double, in all making seven. The Mantle of the order has on each shoulder a representation of the Sword of Ali.

Amongst the immense number of operative Masons employed by the Saracens, there must have been a large number of such Initiates, but it is not intended by these details to absolutely identify Freemasonry with the Societies using the formula; but to shew the existence of certain ancient features in common with the Arcane Schools in various channels. Yet it is quite possible that the original Roman ritual of the Guild may have been modified by the addition of Solomonic legends preserved in the East, or on the other hand taken "en bloc" from the Jewish Guilds of Syria and Egypt, and the probability is that the Jews of Spain were in a position to hand on the Guild system, but we shall enter into this later.

TEMPLARS. The rule of the Templars resembled that of the Benedictines and Cistercians, and was drawn up by {189} Bernard, Abbot of Clairvaux, some short time after their establishment in 1118. In it the prelate terms them "Valiant Maccabees"; they were to wear on their clothing and horses neither gold nor silver; not to have more than three horses each, because, as he says, they could not rival "the world renowned temple of Solomon," on the site of which they had acquired a residence. The reception was a strictly secret one, which gave rise in 1310 to a shameful persecution. Before admission to the Chapter the Aspirant was thrice cautioned as to the rigorous trials that he would have in becoming a member, and asked if he firmly persisted in his demands to proceed, and if he responded in the affirmative he was admitted to the Reception.

In an old number of "Blackwood's Magazine" appears what professes to be the burial service of a Templar, no authority is given, but we know no reasons to deny its authenticity. It is a highly symbolical ceremony, at which the classes of Preceptors, Knights, and Servitors were present; and the Grand Master presided with an iron hammer in his hand, with which three knocks were struck upon an iron cross. The three classes had each an active part in the ceremony; and in answer to a question of the Grand Master: "Know ye for a truth that our brother is dead, and ripe for the long sleep of the grave?" A Serving-brother takes the hand of the corpse and answers: "The flesh cleaves not to the bone, nor the skin unto the flesh, he is dead." After other questions seven knights advance to the corpse, and place their hands upon the head, eyes, face, mouth, heart, hand, and feet with a fervent blessing, and the corpse is then lowered into the grave.35

It has been maintained by von Hammer, that the members of the Order were Initiates of the Cairo House of Wisdom, and the resemblance is peculiar, both had {190} secret receptions, a similar government, and both used white and red in their clothing. That they had a secret reception is beyond doubt, and one of their maxims was that "secrecy is the soul of the order." Authorities differ very much as to this secret reception; those who believe in the Gnostic heresy of the order, assert that such Initiation was adopted from the Saracens about years 1250-70, and which added to their old Reception, a degree of Professed wherein the cross was trodden underfoot; a girdle was given to the Initiated; he was taught an Enlightened Deism, and made a disciple of John the Baptist. If there was such a ceremony as indicated it would be as a test of obedience. The third grade, it is said, was for high Officers; a symbolic Gnostic cord was consecrated by the head of Baphometis, and presented to be worn under the clothes. Blavatsky says that the Nazarians of Persia have a tradition that they initiated the Templars.36 The head here mentioned may allude to two words -- Baphe metios, or Baptism of Wisdom, and represent the head of John the Baptist; but de Quincey suggests that it is cabalistically composed in substituting B for P to refer to the Pope and Mahomet, whose tenets the later Rosicrucians designated "blasphemies of the East and West." On the other hand the Secret Mysteries of the Templars are said to have been the Arcane Discipline, and to have referred to the faith of Christ. Philip le Bel, King of France, and Pope Clement V. combined in 1309 to suppress them, and in 1313 the latter dissolved them on the plea of Gnosticism, which would apply to any of these suppositions.

There was in the time of the plenitude of the Templars a peculiar Culdee legend travelling around termed the "Quest of the Sangrael;" it was supposed that there was a lost cup, which had contained the blood of the Saviour, that could only be found by a chaste Knight who journeyed in search of it. It had, if found, various magical properties, oracular answers to enquiries could be {191} read thereon. Von Hammer professes to read the "Graal" upon certain old offertory dishes which he considers to have been Templar property, but his views have not been generally credited. There are yet certain ceremonies practised alluding to Joseph, Jesus, and Mary, said to have been of Culdee origin, that have a sober resemblance to the Quest. The Mystic tradition may hide the old blood baptism of the Mysteries. Eugene Aroux speaks very positively of an Albigensian and Templar connection with the legend, which is supposed to have some basis in the Gospel of Nicodemus. San Marte takes the same view and lays stress upon the use by the Templars, at the Lord's Supper of the opening words of St. John's Gospel. The Rev. Baring Gould gives credit to a Templar connection with the Mythos. Von Hammer says the poem of Titurel is nothing but an allegory of the Society of Templars and its doctrine and one with the Gnostic and Ophite symbols. This legend is a lengthy subject to write upon, but it is necessary to say something upon it.

The origin of the Graal legend is curious, romantic, and ancient. The Persians have a legend of a golden cup discovered in making the foundations of Persepolis which they named the "Goblet of the Sun"; we have also the Hermesian cup in the Poemander. There is also the Welsh legend of Peridur, which means "Companion of the Bowl." Peridur enters a castle, and two young men enter a room, where he is seated, with a lance from which falls three gouts of blood, which the company seeing set up a lamentation; then enter two damsels, with a charger in which is a head swimming in blood, and the company utter a piercing wail. The bowl here is the Cauldron of Ceridwen, and the blood is the three drops of her brew that conferred intuition. In Hanover there is some Templar connection with a charger and the head of John the Baptist, to be mentioned later. Taliesen's poem of Bran the blessed mentions the bowl of Pheredur, which could restore the dead to life, "but those who were restored to life by it were not to speak lest they should {192} divulge the mysteries of the vessel." Bran sails to the "Island of Joy," with 39 Companions.

M. Pauline de Paris mentions the "Liber Gradalis" of a British priest about 30 years after the death of Cadwallader. About the year 717 the priest had a vision of Christ, and of Joseph of Arimethea, who brought the cup to this country, with the blood of Christ.

These legends admit their indebtedness to the Moslem legends, and there can be no doubt as to what that legend is; it refers to the erection by Abraham of the Temple of Seth, which we refer to elsewhere, in which on the petition of Adam an etherial temple was let down in appearance to which Adam could direct his prayers.

The more modern version of the legend was compiled about 1189, under the title of "Sir Coules del Grail," by Chretien de Troies. Saniber, prince of Cappadocia in the days of Vespasian, had three sons, who went eventually to Rome; and his great-great grandson Titur-el was the Graal King, and the pure and noble Knight. When dying the Graal King instructed his children in the mystery, and the Knights had explained to them the symbols, ceremonies, and the powers of the 12 precious stones. Shortly after we have the version of Guyot de Provens, who had been a monk with Bernard of Clairvaux, and visited Jerusalem about the year 1170; it was an elaborated version of the preceding, which the author as well as Guy de Provens attributed to the Arabian astrologer and philosopher Flegantan. This was translated into German about the year 1207 by Wolfram von Eschenbach, and would be known in 1248 when Conrad von Hochstetten laid the foundation stone of Cologne Cathedral. Later on another version was completed by Alfred von Scharfenberg. In the oldest account Titurel builds the Graal temple, but in this last version it is Parsifal, grandson of Titurel, who is selected to build a magnificent temple upon a design miraculously shown on curtains of light, and upon a mount called "Saviour's Mount" placed in the midst of a "square" wood, the temple {193} itself was to be "round," as are the Templar churches. The plan appears miraculously upon a stone, and indicated an inner Sanctuary to hold the Graal, which was to be guarded by chaste Temple, or Templar Knights, for both these forms are used in different MSS. The groining of the roof was to shew a lamb holding a red cross banner in its claws (a Templar standard). The Lecterns were to have carved Apostles, Martyrs, Prophets, and their "wise saws"; and in one of these MSS. England is named in connection with four crowns, four virgin martyrs, and their legends.37 Besides the Glastonbury legend of this cup and the account of the Romances of King Arthur, another claim is made for a Sapphire cup in the monastery of Richeneau, Lake Constance, founded by Charles Martel in 725; there is also a third claim for a cup said to have been brought from the East by the Crusaders, and lodged at Genoa; it is now believed to be made of green glass.

A Benedictine Monk of St. Werburgh in Chester, where the Polychronicon was compiled, often quoted in Guild MSS., Hy. Bradshaw, who died in 1513, has some very similar ideas wherein he is describing the feast of King Ulpha given at the Abbey of Ely, when his daughter Werburge took the veil. The tale also runs on the line of the old Masonic Constitutions. The tapestry of cloth of gold and arras. The story of Adam, of his wife Eve, and how they were deceived was "goodly wrought." Cain and Abel making their offering. Tubal and Tubal Cain were pourtrayed, "the inventours of Musike and Crafte."

"Noe and his shyppe was made there curyously,

Sendying forthe a raven which never came again,

And how the dove returned with a branch hastily."

Abraham was there on a mount to offer up Isaac. The 12 Sons of Jacob; Joseph sold into Egypt. Moses "wyse and bolde." Our Lorde appearing in a bush on fire. The 10 plagues of Egypt embossed. The two tables given to Moses. Dathan and Abyrom "full youre." Duke Josue leading the Israelites to the land of promise. {194} Pharaoh and the Red Sea. King Saul and David and prudent Solomon. Rehobom, Hezekiah, and his generacion. "And so to the Machabees and dyvers other nacyons." But over the highest dais, where three kings sat crowned, was represented the IX Angelical orders divided into III hierarchies. Holy! Holy! Lord God of Sabaoth. Three persons in one deity.

Then followed representatives of the Virgin, the 12 Apostles, and the 4 Evangelists teaching and preaching "the faythe of holy chyrche." Martyrs followed, the Innocents, St. Stephen, St. Laurence, St. Vincent.

Virgins crowned, some with the lily, others with roses for their great victory. On the other side of the Hall were noble, ancient stories, Sampson, Hector of Troy, Noble Anthony, with many others. At the feast which followed each spake freely: --

"Knyghtes of theyr chivalry, of Crafts the common."

The evidence of Titurel speaks well for the Templars, yet it is possible that some of the Preceptories may have introduced Oriental Rites and Symbols. Von Hammer, confirmed by Hallam and other writers, states that in various Preceptories their most secret place (crypt) contains indecent emblems sculptured, without particularly describing these. It may be said that one of these is a female figure holding in each hand a staff, at the head of one of which is the sun, and on the other the moon, whilst at her feet is the five-pointed star and other symbols. This is Basilidean in its character and there are references to the Templars confirming a statement "by Sun and Moon." Addison mentions a copper medallion, intended to be worn around the neck by a chain, and which was found in France; it consists of the double equilateral triangles interlaced, and enclosed within two circles, and in the centre is the lamb and banner of the Temple. Clavel, quoted by Oliver,38 says that in the 17th century there was discovered in the grave of a Templar in Germany, who died before the dissolution of the order, {195} "a stone cube inscribed with the square and compasses, the pentalpha, the celestial sphere, a star of five points, and several other stars." Eliphas Levi says that, "a box was found in the ruins of an old Commandery in which was a Baphometic figure. It had a bearded face with a woman's body. In one hand it held the sun, in the other the moon, by chains." (Gould's N. & Q. xi. p. 188.) Von Hammer mentions Templar churches at Erfurt, Schoengraben, and Prague, as containing such emblems -- the square, level, triangle, compasses, compasses with quadrant, interlaced triangles, the flaming star, the Tau cross of Egypt. All such matter confirms the charge of Gnosticism, but such decoration may be due to the Masons who erected the Churches; and the symbolism equally with the Reception of a Templar have points of affinity. The Templars were large builders, and Jacques de Molay alleged the zeal of his order in decorating churches on the process against him, 1310, hence the alleged connection of Templary and Freemasonry is bound to have a substratum of truth. A French version of the Compagnnonage asserts that, during a dispute, a section placed themselves under the patronage of Jacques de Molay, the Master who was roasted to death on an island in the Seine in 1314 by the vicious scoundrel Philip le Bel. Nicolai, quoted in "Acta Latamorum," asserts that in Italy are several churches formerly belonging to the Templars, which have preserved the name "l'eglise de la Mason," as derived from the table Masa, a club, that is tyled by a Mace or club; but Paciandi considers the derivation to be from Magione, as the places were used for residences; there are some such in France as well as Italy. Besides the symbols already mentioned an old writer of the name of Assemani mentions a shield, on which is the lamb, the cup, and two crossed torches. The last was a Mythraic symbol, and the chalice or cup was a common symbol of the order. They used the cross patee, the equilimbed cross, the Latin cross, the patriarchal cross; in later times they adopted the Eagle as a symbol. Recently a Lecture by Brother F. F. Schnitger has shown that most {196} of the Charges of 1310 are explicable, by an evil construction being placed on ceremonies in use by the Masonic branch of the order last century. There is a body in France of which Philip of Orleans was the Grand Master in 1705, which claims to have continued the order;39 in Portugal it changed its name to Knights of Christ; in Scotland it preserved its name, owing to the wars that Bruce was conducting against England, and in Hungary it continued to exist in name.

Frater Ladislas de Malczovich, of Budapesth, has made a study of Templar history, tracing them in their Standards, Badges, and Seals, and divides these into three periods: --

1. The "Beauseant," of black and white, was the standard of the Hospitallers of St. John before the institution of the Temple Order, and are moreover their colours. But on the grant of a Red Cross they assumed the "Vexillum Belli," a white standard charged with a red cross; and they then attached a secret Mystery to the old black and white standard, with a plain cross. In the third period they used the cross "patee," in place of the plain cross.

There were also three periods in the Seals. The first was two Knights on one horse. This is superseded by the head of Christ crowned with thorns, and it has three stars placed triangularwise. The last Seal is found near the Order's dissolution, and is a single-headed eagle with wings expanded, upon a high rock, and looking heaven-wards; at the top is a small cross "patee" and two stars.

Of their crosses we find the following in use: -- the "patee;" the elongated cross; the patriarchal cross; also a plain equal-limbed cross with a lamb in the centre holding the red cross banner.

Armorially, they used the crossed torches, a chalice, and the Agnus Dei upon a shield. There are various instances in Sculpture which prove the importance of the Chalice symbol; in some cases Knights are represented as holding it aloft, and there is also a representation of two serving {197} brethren with one arm round each other, whilst the right hand, in one figure, holds the chalice, and the other has a book under the arm, which is considered to allude to it, and to be one with the Chalice of the Graal.

1st Period: "Beauseant," Black and White. "Seal": Two Knights on one horse. Implying, death to infidels, friendship to Christians.

2nd Period: "Vexillum Belli," White with plain red cross. "Seal": Head of Christ. Implying, Soldiers of Christ fighting for the cross.

3rd Period: Standard, White with red cross patee. "Seal": An Eagle. The independent and high flying policy of the Order.

The French Templars adopted a Gospel called the "Leviticon," which they alleged was discovered in the Temple at Paris, with other things; and Heckethorn states that it was composed in the 15th century by a Greek Monk Nicephorus, who sought to combine Moslem tenets with Christianity.

POETICAL GNOSTICISM, TROUBADOURS, GAY SCIENCE.

The persecution of the enlightened by the Church of Rome necessitated various disguises by the Sectarians -- Poetical, Artistic, Theosophic and Hermetic --and it could not be otherwise; humanity, in the abstract, seldom abandons that which it "knows" to be true and takes steps to transmit it through the centuries: truth never dies. One of the modes employed was to speak, or write, in a language that will bear a double interpretation, the one intended for the ordinary hearer, and the other for the Initiate who had the Key of interpretation. Masonic MSS. term it the arts of Logic and Rhetoric. This custom was undoubtedly prevalent in the most ancient times and Mythology, Cabalism, etc., are examples of it. Heckethorn mentions certain "Knights of the Swan," who sang in this speech in the early part of the 12th century, and the same writer observes that the Minstrels and Troubadours of France were divided into four degrees. It is {198} very probable that many of our own northern minstrels transmitted from the time of the Culdees, who existed until the Templar persecutions, an anti-papal programme, and were in the secrets of the Continental Minstrels in the time of Wycliffe, and later. The artistic participation in this propaganda is shewn in the way that the vices of clerics and monks are satirised by stone and wood carvers; as in the representation of an ape carrying the Host; a nun in the lewd embrace of a monk; or a pope amongst the damned.40

Gabriel Rossetti41 shews that the species of writing which we have named was introduced from the East by the Manichees, who passed it on to the Cathari, Albigensis, Ghibellines, and Templars, through whom it spread over Europe. Logic was considered by them the science of expressing thought in a subtle manner. Many persecutions arose from this species of writing, but the Papal Conclave at length determined to close its eyes, rather than make the allegory apparent to all the world. The reformation liberated to the world various Mystic Societies. With the object of proving his views he quotes largely from Dante, Petrarch, Boccacio, and other poets and writers of the middle ages, and arrives at the conclusion that there existed three principle branches of Sectaries, which indoctrinated their Disciples by a secret Initiation of seven or nine degrees, according to the Rite or Sect. The allegory used was often that of a journey, and to go on a Pilgrimage to the temple of St. John signified to become a proselyte of the Templars; to go to St. James in Galicia was to be of the Albigensis; and St. Peter's at Rome of the Ghibellines; the Albigensis, in alluding to the first named, expressed Faith; to the second Hope, and to the last Charity. We have an Oriental pilgrimage in Boccacio's "Filocopo," which means a young workman; seven Companions figure in this account; the names of four are already known to the Pilgrim and represent the Cardinal {199} virtues; the other three are unknown until he has accomplished his journey, or initiation, upon which it appears that they are Faith, Hope, and Charity; in allusion thus to the ancient ladder of the Mysteries of 3, 7, or 12 steps. The object was to found a Christian Jerusalem to rival Rome; and the allegory frequently alludes to the rebuilding of Jerusalem and the return of its people; the later Reformers drew upon the same idea as we will show. The writer has, however, gone over this more at length in an earlier book, and space does not admit of it here.42 An acute and learned historian43 takes a similar view, on the spirit of the age, and has the following, in which he is alluding to Freemasonry: "As to the origin of this esoteric influence, the impartial historical enquirer cannot doubt, whatever motives or views some may have to deny the fact, or throw doubt on its authenticity, that the Order of Templars was the channel by which this society, in its ancient and long preserved form, was introduced into the West. The religious Masonic symbols may be accounted for by the Solomonian traditions connected with the very foundation of the Templars, and indeed the occasion of these symbols may be traced in other passages of holy writ, and in other parts of sacred history, and they may very well admit of a Christian interpretation. Traces of these symbols may be found in the monuments of the old German architecture of the middle ages."44

Rossetti holds also that Barbarossa, Henry VII. and Frederick II., are the leading characters referred to in the double language of Dante's works. The latter was the grandson of Frederick Barbarosso (Red Beard) who died in Syria at the head of 150,000 Crusaders. The Popes thrice excommunicated the grandson, whom Matthew Paris terms the "wonder of the world" ("Stupor Mundi et immutator Mirabalis"), and truly he was -- he was suspected as a heretic even a Moslem, hereditary King of Sicily, he was the last Christian King of Jerusalem, the last who ruled {200} the holy land, or wore a crown in the holy city; the most successful of the Crusaders since Godfrey de Bouillon, and gained Jerusalem by policy; was excommunicated for going there; excommunicated for coming back; excommunicated as a Sectarian, of which the Pope distinctly accuses him, and there is a fable of 1378 by John of Florence, in which he is named as a man "fond of the 'gentle language.'" There is no doubt it is this man whom in 1767 Morin mistook for Frederick II. of Prussia in the Rite of Heredom, which see later.

We have said that the art of expressing things to bear a double meaning was taught as part of the "Trivium," and Dante, who is thought to have been a lay Brother of the Templars himself tells Con Grande that the "Divine Comedy" admits of four keys of interpretation -- literal, allegorical, moral, and mystical. He speaks of Christ as "Him our Pelican," an Egyptian Symbol of the Sothic cycle, the bird being mystically said to fly every 1260 years to the altar of the Sun at Heliopolis, where it was consumed by fire, and out of its own ashes restored to life. Ozanam, a Roman Catholic, considers the "Divine Comedy" to follow the same lines as an Initiation into the Mysteries of Egypt. Vecchioni, president of the Supreme Court at Naples, took the same view, and sought unsuccessfully, to print a book thereon, to prove that such Initiation had been handed down by philosophers and poets, and that the "Divine Comedy" was arranged after the plan of a "Teletes," ending in an "Eposis," or divine vision. Loiseleur, a French writer, considers the teachings of the Sects as closely connected with the Euchites, and both Cathari and Templars girdled themselves with a white thread like the Hindu and Persian Mystics. They made use also of Symbolic ages, as is done to define degrees. Reghellini of Scio treats Dante as a Cabalist and Rosicrucian. King45 quotes the 18th canto of the "Purgatory" as "replete with the profoundest symbolism which the Freemasons claim for their own," to wit, the imperial {201} eagle; the mystic ladder; the rose and cross; pelican; supper of the lamb; pillars of Faith, Hope, and Charity; symbolic colours; letters and geometric figures, as point, circle, triangle, square; the trampling of crown and mitre under foot; the "Vito Nuovo," and the "Convito" or Banquet being equally mystical. To these may be added the Invocation of Divine vengeance upon the destroyers of the Templars, and the choice of St. Bernard as the High priest.46 It is not, however, the Masonry of the Guild, but that which has been added thereto.

Mrs. Cooper-Oakley has some pregnant remarks upon the TROUBADOURS, who were the undoubted poets of the Albigensian heresy; and quotes Baret's Paris work of 1867 as to the following Schools, all of which were again subdivided into groups: -- That of Aquitaine; of Auvergne; of Rodez; of Languedoc; of Provence. Again classified as: -- The Gallant; the Historical; the Didactic; the Satirical; and the purely Theological. Again of the Mystical; the Hermetic. Aroux demonstrates that their "Celestial Chivalry" was derived from the "Albigensian Gospel," whose Evangel was again derived from the Manichaean-Marcion tradition. These Albigensis were identical with the Cathari, and the Troubadours were the links bearing the secret teaching from one body to another. "Thus one sees them taking every form by turns, artizans, colporteurs, pilgrims, weavers, colliers . . . . deprived of the right to speak they took to singing."

Amongst the most illustrious of the Troubadours was Alphonso the Second, King of Arragon, 1162-96. Peter the Second of Arragon was the principal ally of the Albigensis and Troubadours, and in 1213 perished nobly in their cause at the Battle of Muret. Escaping from their burnt and bloody homes, not a few of them hastened to the Court of Arragon, where they were sure of protection. Says Ticknor, in his "Hist. Spanish Literature," London, 1849: "Religious romances were written....in the {202} form of Allegories, like the 'Celestial Chivalry,' the 'Christian Chivalry,' the 'Knight of the Bright Star'; and the 'Celestial Chivalry,' of Hieronimo de San Pedro (Valencia, 1554) uses such titles as (1) 'The Root of the fragrant Rose,' and (2) 'The Leaves of the Rose.'" In the paths of the Dervishes the candidate is said to "take the rose" of the path.

The basis of the Christian legend of the Graal is said to be found in apocryphal gospel of Nicodemus, which was translated into Provencal verse, "a Mystical Gospel" in every sense, says Paulin Paris, who in referring to the MS. in the Vatican (of the Graal), further writes: "This latter text was of great antiquity and evidently mystical, showing a profound knowledge of the Apocryphal Gospel concerning the secret teachings of the Eucharist."

Eugene Aroux thus speaks of the grades of the Troubadours: "Like the other Aspirants to the Sectarian priesthood they went into seminaries or lodges to receive instruction; then having become deacons or squires, having undergone tests and given required pledges, they were admitted to the rank of Perfect Knights, or Perfect Troubadours. Having thus graduated they started in the character of Missionaries or of Pilgrims of Love, as Dante says, sometimes undertaking long and dangerous journeys " -- "i.e.," as Wild or Errant Knights. (Aroux).

ROSICRUCIANISM. In the 13th century we have traces of an organised body of men professedly Christian, who had organised themselves after the manner of the Oriental Societies. The name with which we head this article had not then become prominent, but at a later period it became the generic title by which everything of the nature of Cabalism, Theosophy, Alchemy, Astrology, and Mysticism was designated.

It is stated in a Rosicrucian MS., lying at Cologne under the nom-de-plume of Omnis Moriar, that a Society termed the Magical Union was established at this city in the year 1115. F. C. E. Weise mentions it47 and gives {203} the conditions for entering this body of "Wise Men," the last and youngest possessors of the secrets of the ancients; the Initiates wore a triangle as symbolising power, wisdom, and love. They had secret sciences, known only to the highest among them, called Μαγοσ, Mage, or Wise Masters, able to do things that seemed supernatural. Traces of an organised body are to be found in the "Rosary" of Arnold de Villanova, "circa" 1230, inasmuch as the Cabalistic term of "Sons of the Order" is used. In the "Theoria" of Raymond Lulli "circa" 1322 there is a passage in which mention is made of a "Societas Physicorum," and also of a "Rex Physicorum." Also in the "Theatrum Chemicum Argentoratum," 1628, a Count von Falkenstein, Prince Bishop of Treves in the 14th century, is termed "Most Illustrious and Serene Prince and father of Philosophers." Hence it would seem that besides the Moorish Schools which existed in Spain, there were similar associations amongst Christians. It is not difficult to account for the transmission of such Brotherhoods from ancient times, since the Cabalists and Gnostics studied the secret arts, and it is quite probable that the persecutions to which these were subjected were prompted rather by alarm than any real abhorrence of their pretended heretical doctrine. A few of the more curious and important works may be mentioned here.

The "Romance of the Rose" is an Initiative system in the Allegory of the Gay Science, in which the term Love is used Theosophically. Eliphas Levi says: "It is the most curious literary and scientific work of the middle ages, it carries on the chain of the tradition of Initiation." Heckethorn holds that, "it divides the degrees into four and three, producing again the Mystic number seven . . . . it describes a castle surrounded by a sevenfold wall, which is covered with emblematical figures, and no one was admitted into the castle who could not explain their mysterious meaning." Amant is admitted into this beautiful garden, which is surrounded by walls on which is painted figures of 9 vices, such as hatred, envy, avarice, {204} etc. Discourses take place between the ladies and gentles assembled, and at the close Amant appears as an armed Pilgrim, wearing a scarf and bearing on his shoulders the usual burthen, with description of how he succeeded in introducing it through the wicket of the Tower, and "gathers the roses," upon which he returns thanks to Venus, her son, and the nobles assembled. The work was begun by William de Lorris, about 1282, as the Templars and other Orders are mentioned, and the early use of the word Macon appears in it. It was completed by Jean de Meung, and Geoffrey Chaucer translated it. Meung wrote also, "The Treasure" or seven articles of the faith, "The Testament, the Codical," on life and Morals, also two poems, entitled, "The Remonstrance of Nature to the wandering Alchemist," and "The Reply of the Alchemist to Nature."

Other Societies would seem to have abandoned art, and confined themselves, like the Dervish sects, to a Mysticism which aimed at "uniting its members to God." Brother R. F. Gould relates that the famous Dominican John Tauler, who was born in 1290 and died in 1361, established a Fraternity the members of which concealed their place of burial and recognised each other by secret signs. He was followed by Nicholas of Basle, who had four companions, styling themselves "Friends of God," in whom they sought to be "wrapped up"; these also had secret signs of recognition.

The most noted Alchemist of this century was Nicholas Flamel, a poor scrivener of Paris, who, by the art, became enormously rich. He purchased for 2 florins in 1357 an ancient book bound in brass, which appeared to be written on leaves made from the bark of trees, perhaps the papyrus; it was subscribed by "Abraham the Jew, Prince, Priest, Levite, Astrologer, and Philosopher." It had thrice 7 leaves, and every seventh leaf was a picture, symbolising the Great Work. Flamel travelled about in search of some one who could aid him in interpreting the contents, and after much loss of time, trouble, and {205} experiments, he succeeded in making gold. According to his own account he bestowed the riches thus acquired in erecting and endowing 10 churches, 3 chapels, and 14 hospitals in Paris alone, and others in two other cities, besides aiding indigent families. He relates how in the Church of the Innocents, Rue St. Denis, Paris, he caused to be erected "Hieroglyphical Couvertures," of the art of transmutation, under veils of the "Mysteries of our Salvation." We learn from a recent reprint that the Count de Cabrines told Borel, that the actual book of Abraham the Jew passed into the possession of the celebrated Cardinal Richelieu.48

In the possession of a German gentleman, to whom we will refer later, there is a copy of an old MS. which claims to be of the year 1374, that mentions the "Fraternitas Rosae Crucis," and it was in the year 1378 that the beginning of the Fraternity was attributed to Christian Rosenkreutz. Up to this period there is a lack of the nature of Alchemical Symbolism, but the following is beyond doubt. Borel describes the house erected at Montpelier, about the year 1450 by the celebrated French traveller and financier Jacques Cuer or Coeur. It was named "La Loge," and Coeur is represented on the frieze with a "trowel in his hand." "Three porches may there be seen in the form of a furnace; similar to those of Nicholas Flamel. On one there is, on one side, a "sun" all over fleur-de-lis, and on the other a full "moon" also covered with fleur-de-lis, and surrounded by a hedge or crown as it were of thorns, which seem to denote the solar and lunar stone arrived at perfection. On another portal is seen, on one side, a fruit-tree with branches of roses at its foot, and on the tree the arms of Jacques Coeur. On the other is an escutcheon, and within it what would appear to represent the chemic character of the sun. On the third portal, which is in the midst, there is on one side a stag bearing a banner, and having a collar of fleur-de-lis environed with a branch of a tree, to represent Mercury, {206} or the philosophical matter, which at the commencement is volatile and light as in the stag; on the other side is a shield of France supported by two griffins."

This symbolism has nothing in common with that of Flamel, who does not profess to have been an Initiate, but one who having acquired some oral information of the first agent of the work, acquired the art by experiments conducted by himself with the aid of his wife; but on the other hand it is much in keeping with that of Abraham the Jew, and therefore argues a great antiquity. The whole symbolism is so equally Masonic and Alchemical that it would be difficult to say definitely to which Society it belongs; both Societies seem to have a common transmission, the one as a building, the other as a Mystic Fraternity; the natural inference here, on this evidence, is that Coeur was a member of both Societies, and that he combined the symbols. Alchemically the Sun and Moon signify gold and silver; the chemic character of the sun is a point within a circle; the branch of a tree, said to represent Mercury, has nothing to define the species. It may be mentioned here that the Syrian Mysteries of Adonis represented the slain God as changed by Venus into a red rose; and Theodoratus, Bishop of Cyrus in Syria, asserts that the Gnostics deemed "Ros" to be a symbol of the Saviour; the Egyptians considered the rose as a symbol of regeneration and love, and as the Latin word Rosa is derived from Ros, the dew, it has a relation with baptism; hence the rose-tree in Christian symbolism is the image of the regenerated, whilst dew is the symbol of regeneration. In the Crypt of St. Sibald's in Nuremberg, is a double triangle, interlaced with a circle, within which is a rose.

Basil Valentine, who flourished at the same time as Jacques Coeur, in his "Azoth Philosophorum," has a figure which is thus described: it represents a winged-globe on which is a triangle inside a square, upon which reposes a dragon; on the latter stands a human figure with two heads, and two hands; surrounding the heads, one of {207} which is male and the other female, are the sun, moon; and five stars; the hand on the male side holds a compass, that on the other a square. The symbolism here clearly alludes to the dual sexual nature of all metals. In "The Triumphant Chariot of Antimony" it is asserted that the Adept should be capable of building his own furnaces.

The most noted of the Alchemists after this date was Philippus Aureolus Theophrastus Bombast of Hohenheim, who was born in 1493, and died in 1541, and there is a strong suspicion that it was from injuries inflicted by his enemies. Whilst travelling in the East he was taken prisoner by the Tartars, who treated him kindly, and the Khan sent him with his son to Constantinople; it is probable that he studied Magic in these regions. He had studied Magnetism and initiated medical treatment by mercury and opium. Franz Hartman, M.D., has shewn the identity of his teaching with the Eastern Adepts of the Secret Doctrine. His philosophy divides man into seven principles of the outer and inner body; (1) the visible body; (2) the mumia, archaeus, or vital force; (3) the sideral body, which gradually dissolves; (4) the animal soul, common to all things; (5) the rational soul; (6) the aluech, or spiritual soul; (7) new olympus, or divine spirit, which must be caught and bound to the other principles if man is to become immortal. He fills the elements with spirits of many kinds, and mentions the Flagae, who act as our guides and familiars, and instruct us in the sciences. He designates himself "Monarch of Philosophers," and the "Comte de Gabalis," a work of 1675-80 definitely states that he was elected "Monarch" of the Rosicrucian Society.

We will now refer to a few Societies which seem to have been Cabalistic or Speculative rather than Alchemical, but with a tinge of the Sciences. Between the years 1400 to "circa" 1790 there existed at Lubeck a Guild called the "Compass Brothers" which met twice a year; their badge was a compass and sector suspended from a crowned letter "C," over which was a radiated triangular plate; in {208} 1485 they adopted chains composed of these emblems united by eagles' tails.49 About the year 1480 a Society was established at Rome under the name of the "Platonic Academy;" it was a revival of the School of Plato, and the Hall in which they met is said to contain Masonic emblems. Another Society, which may have sprung out of it, was the "Brotherhood of the Trowel," at Florence. It was composed of eminent architects, sculptors, and painters, and continued until last century. There are some old drawings in Paris which represent its members as Labourers, Assistants, and Masters; the latter appear with a trowel in their hands and a hammer in their girdle; to the Labourers are assigned pails, hods of mortar, the windlass, mallet, chisel, and rough ashlar. Their patron was St. Andrew, whose festival was commemorated annually by peculiar ceremonies allied to the old Mysteries, such as the descent into Hades through the jaws of a serpent.50 The celebrated Inigo Jones, to whom Anderson attributes quarterly meetings on the model of the Italian Schools, may possibly have known something of this Society. Pico de Mirandola and Reuchlin gave themselves to the study of Cabalism and Theurgy, as did the Abbe Trithemius who was the friend, instructor, and co-labourer of Cornelius Agrippa. Use was made at this period of a form of the Masonic cypher in 9 chambers, with a Key which being dissected and triply dotted gave 27 letters. Trithemius attributes this to the ancients, and he gives numerous cyphers.51 Agrippa established in Paris and elsewhere a secret "Theosophical Society" with peculiar Rites of admission, and signs of recognition, and when he was in London in 1510 as the guest of Dean Collet he established a branch in that city. There is a letter of Landulph's to Agrippa introducing a native of Nuremberg who was dwelling at Lyons, and whom he "hopes may be found worthy to become one of the Brotherhood." Agrippa says, as to Alchemy, that he {209} could tell many things were he not "as one Initiated sworn to secrecy." Eirenaes Philalethes, whose real name is not certainly known, and who was author of several Rosicrucian works, 1667-78, terms Agrippa "Imperator" of the Order. Agrippa distinctly states that outside operative Alchemy, which is vain and fictitious when practised literally, there is another to be sought within man's own self in the operation of the internal spirit.52 There is a possibility that the well-known "Charter of Cologne" may have reference to these Brotherhoods; it professes to be signed in 1535, by the representatives of 19 lodges, assembled at Cologne on the Rhine, and amongst these signatories are those of Coligny and Melancthon; these somewhat doubtful Lodges do not profess in the document to be operative, but to have sprung out of the Masonry dedicated to John, about the year 1440. An American writer attributes to John Bunyan the allegory of Initiation in his "Pilgrim's Progress;"53 it is not very satisfactory but Bunyan's "Solomon's Temple Spiritualised" was probably used in the 18th century, for Craft and Arch Lectures.

"Rosy Cross." There are traces in 1484 of a Rosicrucian Order at Sleswick, in Denmark: "Fraternitatus Rosarii Sleswicii condito, anno, 1484."54 Early in the 17th century there are traces that the King was head of such an order.55 Again, last century, such an order unconnected with Freemasonry was patronised by the King and seems to have consisted of seven degrees, according to the statement of an aged Danish physician to Colonel W. J. B. M'Leod Moore, who connects it with the Arcane Discipline; though its immediate source will be the Order of Rosy Cross; and it will be sometime found that the peculiar aspect of Swedish Masonry is due to this old Danish System.

A Society termed "Militia Crucifera Evangelica" held a meeting at Lunenberg in 1571; and one Simon Studion {210} wrote a book in 1604 entitled "Naometria," or Temple Measuring, or the Temple opened by the key of David, referring mystically to the inner and outer man carried to the temple of the New Jerusalem; the MS. refers to the Rose and Cross, and to the "Militia Crucifera." A Society called the "Friends of the Cross," existing in Holland, is said to have joined an operative Lodge of Freemasons before the year 1726, when Count Spork, who had been initiated therein, according to Brother Malczovich, established a Lodge in Austria in that year, and a medal was struck, of which one side represents the New Jerusalem.56

In the year 1614 appeared anonymously a work entitled the "Fame and Confession of the Rosy Cross." It relates the Eastern travels of a certain Christian Rosenkreutz, at the end of the 14th century, who was Initiated at Damascus into the Secret Wisdom of the Arabians, Chaldeans, and Gymnosophists; then after visiting Egypt and Morocco, he returned to Germany, where he established a small fraternity, which was to be continued secretly for 120 years, each brother, before he died, to appoint his successor. At the close of 120 years, that is about 1604, some alterations were made in their temple of the Holy Spirit, when his remains were found intact with the book T in his hand. All the paraphernalia and instruments were there necessary to constitute the Order. The work informs us that they had received the Order "from the Arabians. . . . The Eastern countries have been always famous for Magical and Secret Societies." Here the founder translated the book M (Marginal, "Liber Mundi") into good Latin. The "Fame" was to be translated into five languages, that even the unlearned might hope to belong to the Fraternity, "the which should be divided and parted into certain degrees." They exacted "vows of silence and secrecy," and "though they held out the Rose as a remote prize, they imposed the Cross on those who are entering." The mention of a book which contains all that has yet been written in other books is supposed {211} by some writers (perhaps unnecessarily) to refer to the Tarot.

Another work, entitled, "The Echo of the Divinely Illuminated Fraternity of the R.C.," 1615, asks the question whether the Gospel put an end to the secret tradition and answers it thus: "By no means; Christ established a new College of Magic amongst his disciples, and the Greater Mysteries were revealed to St. John and St. Paul." This, Brother Findel points out, was a claim of the Carpocratian Gnostics. There exists in the library of the University of Leyden a MS. by Michael Maier which sets forth that in 1570 the Society of the old Magical brethren or Wise Men was revived under the name of the Brethren of the Golden Rosy Cross. The "Fame and Confession" is usually attributed to J. V. Andrea, but Brother Dr. W. Wynn Westcott points out that though the two tracts may have been edited by this author they are apparently of different eras. The "Fame" shews no evidence of a divided Christianity, but ranks only against Mohammedanism, whilst the "Confession" is Lutheran, and implies a post-reformation date.

Andrea is admittedly author of "Christian Mythology," Strasburg, 1619; and "Ehrenreich Hohenfelder von Aister Haimb," 1623, in which are the following lines, translated by Brother F. F. Schnitger: --

"And if we here below would learn,

By compass, needle, square, and plumb.

We never must o'erlook the meet,

Wherewith our God has measured us."

Andrea employed himself in spreading a Society called the "Christian Fraternity," no doubt a branch of the older Societies of the Cross, and lists of members are preserved beyond the date of his death in 1654.57 The Universities had their Scholastic oaths, Luther and Fludd mentions them, and they would seem to have had formal Rites, for the latter in his "Mosaicall Philosophy," 1659 (p. 31) {212} repudiates "any allegiance which I have by a ceremonial rite vowed unto Aristotle in my youth." Michael Maier, who published his "Silentia post Clamores," 1617, says, "Like the Pythagoreans and Egyptians the Rosicrucians exact vows of silence and secrecy. Ignorant men have treated the whole as a fiction; but this has arisen from the five years' probation to which they subject even well qualified Novices before they are admitted to the higher Mysteries; within this period they are to learn how to govern their tongues." Maier published in the same year as this the "de Vita Morte et Resurectione" of his friend Robert Fludd.

There existed at the Hague in 1622 a Rosicrucian Society with branches in Amsterdam, Nuremberg, Hamburg, Danzig, Mantua, Venice, and Erfurt. "The Brothers wore a black silk cord in the top button hole; a MS. of last century says that this cord was given to them after they had promised, under oath, to be strangled with such a cord rather than break the silence imposed upon them. Their other sign is, that when they go into company they all wear a blue ribbon, to which is attached a golden cross with a rose on it, and this they are given on being received into the Society. This they wear round their necks under their coats, so that not much of it is visible; the golden cross hangs down on the left side. The third sign is that on the top of the head they have a shaven place, about the size of a louis d'or, as you may see on myself; hence most of them wear a wig in order not to be recognised; they are moreover very devout and live very quietly. The fourth sign is that on all high festivals, very early at sunrise, they leave their residence by the same door ("i.e.," the East), and wave a small green flag. When another of them appears at a place where one lives, he goes to this same place, and there they enter into conversation, in order to recognise one another; for at the beginning they do not trust one another. Thus they have a certain "Greeting," among themselves, which is as follows. The Stranger says to the man he is visiting, {213} 'Ave frater'! to which the other answers, 'Rosae et Aureae'! Then the first says, 'Crucis'! They then, both together, say 'Benedictus Deus Dominus Noster, qui Nobis dedit signum.' Then they have a large document to which the Imperator has affixed the secret seal." The M.S. from which this is taken is a part of the documents in possession of Mr. Karl "Kisewetter," who is a grandson of the last Imperator and who says that the seal which the last Imperator used in office between 1764-1802 is of brass about the size of a mark. It consisted of a shield within a circle, on which was a cross, at the base of which was a conventional rose with five petals; at the top, bottom, and sides was the letter "C" signifying, Crux Christi Corona Christianorum (the cross of Christ is the Christian's Crown).58

The English leader of the Rosicrucians was Dr. Robert Fludd, a deep student of the Cabala, Astrology, Alchemy, and Magic. He published at Leyden, in 1616, his Rosicrucian "Apologia," after a visit that Maier paid to England. In 1629 appeared his "Summum Bonum," and "Sophia Cum Moria Certamen," in which, in answer to Father Mersenne as to where the Rosicrucians resided, he replies, -- "In the house of God, where Christ is the Corner stone," a spiritual work, in which men are the "living stones." He speaks in 1633 "of the formerly so-called Rosicrucians who are now known as Sapientes, Sophoi, or Wise men," and impresses on the reader that it is "under the type of an Architect they erect their House of Wisdom." There was a Mr. Flood who presented a copy of the Masonic MS. Charges to the Masons' Company of London, and as Robert Fludd died 8th September, 1637, and resided for a long time near Masons' Hall he was probably a Mason59 Maier (as quoted in Initiation) says that numerous societies of Rosicrucians had arisen by the various interpretations placed upon their ancient symbols, and that the Society consisted of an outer and inner circle to which last the most {214} esoteric part was confined, and there is much which would cause us to think that Fludd's Society of the name was the Masonic Masters' Fraternity, known as the Harodim, and all Continental tradition of the High-grades, or Masters' grades, support this.

Dr. John Dee, John Booker, William Lilly, and Father Backhouse are well known Occultists, but as Masons we are more interested in two men who were not only given to those pursuits, but were also well known Masons, Sir Robert Moray, who was made a Mason at Newcastle-on-Tyne in 1641; and Elias Ashmole, who was made at Warrington in 1646. It is conjectured that Thomas Vaughan, the author of many Rosicrucian works under the assumed name of Eugenius Philalethes, may have been accepted in 1641, or thereabouts; he was a friend of Ashmole, and the language of some parts of his works corresponds with our Ritual; Moray also patronised him.

Elias Ashmole in his Diary makes several mentions of the "Feasts of the Mathematicians and Astrologers," and under 1653 says that Father Backhouse, when at the point of death, "instructed him in syllables of the matter of the Philosopher's Stone." In "Theatrum Chemicum Britannicum," 1652, he gives from the "Breviary of Philosophy," the Oath of the Alchemists, which Society he says was divided into Sons, and Fathers:

"Will you with me to-morrow be content,

Faithfully to receive the Blessed Sacrament,

Upon the Oath that I ball heere you give,

For ne gold, ne silver, so long as you live;

Neither for love you beare towards your kinne,

Nor yet to no great man, preferment to wynne,

That you disclose the seacret I shall you teach,

Neither by writing, nor by swift speech,

But only to him, which you be sure,

Hath ever searched after the seacrets of nature,

To him you may reveal the seacrets of this art,

Under the cover of Philosophie, before the world you depart."

The symbolic tracing of the Rosicrucians was a Square {215} Temple approached by seven steps, of which the four first represented the four elements, and the remaining three salt, sulphur, and mercury, the three great principles; here also we find the two Pillars of Hermes, the five-pointed star, sun and moon, compasses, square, and triangle.

ILLUMINATI. This Society was founded 1st May, 1776, by Professor Weishaupt, of Ingoldstadt with the object of arriving at political power, and revolutionise religion and governments. It is only related to other Societies in so far as this that Weishaupt, Knigge, and Bode drew upon ancient mysticism for their Ritual, and induced their own members to spread themselves into the Masonic Lodges to influence the Society. Its grades were: -- 1st Degree Novice; 2nd Degree, Minerval; 3rd Degree, Minor Illuminee; 4th Degree, Major Illuminee; 5th Degree, Directing Illuminee -- Scottish Knight; 6th Degree, Epopt, or Priest. These were entitled the Lesser Mysteries, and had their "Insinuators," and "Scrutators," whose duties were to collect information from the members. 7th Degree, Regent; 8th Degree, Mage, or Philosopher; 9th Degree, King Man. These were the Greater Mysteries. The order used the Persian era of 620 A.D. Each Initiate had a characteristic name assigned, usually taken from classical literature; and very much of their Ritual appears in the Abbe Barruel's "Memoirs of Jacobinism." Some of their Chapters studied Alchemy, and the Masonic Lodges equally dabbled in this Art, but we shall allude to it in our Chapter on the High Grades.

Innumerable Societies of Mystics exist in America, but we have no space even for their names, and must therefore refer the reader to Vol. II. of "The Rosicrucian," 1908, by S. C. Gould, Manchester, N.H., U.S.A., under the head of "Arcane Societies."

SOCIETIES OF CHINA. There exists amongst the Chinese certain Secret Societies which profess, in some measure, to continue a system of Brotherhood derived from ancient customs, and which may have arisen out of their ancient Guild life. The members are sworn to support {216} each other; to be of good morals, and they have secret signs of recognition. The Initiation is couched in Symbolic Mystery and divided into degrees; its aim corresponds with other Societies of which we have already given particulars.

"The Thian-ti-Hwii," or Heaven-earth-league is ancient, and said to be traceable in 1674. The Candidate before reception has to answer 333 questions.

"The Triad Society." The Candidate, scantily clothed, is introduced into a darkened room, between two members, who lead him to the President, before whom he kneels. A knife is placed in his right hand, and a living cock in his left. In this position he takes a very lengthy oath to aid his brethren even at the risk of his life; he is then directed to cut off the head of the cock; the blood being collected in a bowl, by a slight puncture it is mingled with his own blood, and that of the three chiefs who officiate at the ceremony. He is then warned that death will be his own fate if he should betray the Order. After this he is intrusted with the signs and tokens of recognition, which run in threes; as, to take up anything with three fingers. Generally speaking these Societies aim to continue an ancient Symbolical System, but have added political aims, and are therefore discouraged.

Scattered over the world are numerous societies which are believed to continue the Mysteries of the Ancients, but we need not burthen our pages further with them. Heckethorne's "Secret Societies of all Ages and Countries" may be consulted; and the subject will be partially referred to in our later chapters.

"Conclusion." In closing this chapter we may point out that there was an undoubted connection between the Hermetic Societies and Freemasonry, apart from the similarity of the symbols employed by both. Basil Valentine is quoted as saying that a man cannot be called an Adept unless he can build his own reverberatory furnaces, in which is required the skill of a Mason and {217} an expert geometrician.60 Thomas Norton, 1477, states that Masons were students of the Hermetic art; Paracelsus terms himself a Grand Master of Mechanical Secrets; "The Wise Man's Crown," of 1664, equally asserts that the Masons were students of the Secret Sciences, but we shall have to allude to these again.

On the whole it would rather seem that Masons who desired to extend their learning sought Hermetic Initiations, but at a later period these latter made use of the Guild system of the former, as a convenient basis for their own views, and wants. But the main issue of this chapter is that whilst Masonry is a synonym of the Art branch of the Mysteries, the Arcane, Mystic, and Hermetic Schools transmitted the rites and doctrines of the Greater Mysteries though shorn of old splendour, until such times as Freemasonry reunited the two divisions, in what was technically termed Ancient Masonry though itself of modern organisation.

{218}

1 Erest de Bunsen.

2 "Vita Saturnine."

3 "Herodian's History" (J. Hart, 1749). p. 184.

4 "Esdras ii," c. xiv, 8

5 "The Kneph" (Mackenzie), i, p. 28.

6 Jones' "Ecc. History."

7 "Morals and Dogma" (Pike), p. 547.

8 "Mac. Adoniramite," i, p. 69.

9 "Contra Celsus," B. i, ch. 7.

10 Ibid. B. viii, c. 8.

11 Ibid, B. iii, c. 60.

12 Pref. Gos. John.

13 "Britannia," iii, p. 641.

14 Hippolytus, Refutation of all Heresies."

15 "Originis Opera" -- de la Rue, i, p. 54.

16 Vide "A.Q.C.," iii, p. 60.

17 Vide "Memoirs of Jacobinism" -- Barruel.

18 "Five Years of Theosophy."

19 "Notes and Queries" (London, 14 Mch., 1874).

20 "Voice of the Silence," transl. by H. P. Blavatsky.

21 H. C. Lea, "Hist. of Inquisition of the Middle Ages" (i, p. 92). London, 1888.

22 J. H. Blunt, "Dict. of Sects and Heresies," London, 1891.

23 "Processes in Manufactures," London, 1825.

24 "Eph. Chambers' Enc."

25 "Aureus," preface (Fryar, Bath).

26 Vide "Freem. Mag.", 1860, iii, p. 416.

27 "Royal Mas. Cyclo.," K. R. H. Mackenzie.

28 "The Talmud," Polani, p. 226.

29 "Vide Ars Quat. Cor.," iv, Smith.

30 Ibid, iv, Yarker.

31 Ibid, iii.

32 "Catech. Lec.," vi, 23.

33 "The Asian Mystery," Rev. C. L. Lyde.

34 "The Dervishes," J. P. Brown.

35 "Vide Fre. Mag.," 1864 p. 205; "Rosicrucian," 1876. p. 75; A. Q. C., vi. The late Bro. Albert Pike revised the ceremony for the Kadosh burial service of the A. & A. Rite.

36 "Isis Unveiled," p. 232.

37 "Freem. Quart. Mag.," 1853; also "Canadian Craftsman," 1892.

38 "Hist. Land.," ii, p. 355.

39 Vide Ars Quat. Cor., iv, Yarker.

40 Findel, "Hist. Freem."

41 "Disq. on the anti-papal spirit which produced the Reformation."

42 "Notes on Sc. and Relg. Mysteries," 1872.

43 "Philosophy of History," Fredk. von Schlegel, p. 456

44 "Philosophy of History," Fredk. von Schlegel, p. 456

45 "The Gnostics and their Remains."

46 Vide "Theos. Rev.," viii, Cath. Hillard.

47 "Rosenkreutzer in seiner Blosse," -- Amdsterdam, 1786.

48 "Nic. Flamel," Pref. Dr. W. W. Westcott (Fryar, Bath).

49 "Ars Quat. Cor., iii, p. 120.

50 "Freem. Mag.," 1868, xvii, p. 131.

51 Vide Barrett's "Magus."

52 Vide Barrett's "Magus," p. 179.

53 "American Freemn.," 1865.

54 "A.Q.C.," v, p. 67.

55 Private Letter.

56 Vide "A.Q.C."

57 de Quincey.

58 "The Sphynx," Leipzig.

59 Vide "Ars Quat. Cor.," viii, p. 40-43.

60 "Briscoe's Constitution," 1715.

 

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 | …