ENCYCLOPEDIA OF FREEMASONRY AND ITS KINDRED SCIENCES
by ALBERT C. MACKEY M. D.
In the doctrine of Gnosticism, Divine spirits occupying the intermediate state which was supposed to exist between the Supreme Being and the Jehovah of the Jewish theology, whom the Gnostics called only a secondary deity. These spiritual beings were indeed no more than abstractions, such as Wisdom, Faith, Prudence, etc. They derived their name from the Greek azure, meaning an age, in reference to the long duration of their existence. Valentinius said there were but thirty of them; but Basilides reckons them as three hundred and sixty-five, which certainly has an allusion to the days of the solar year.
In some of the philosophical degrees, references are made to the Eons, whose introduction into them is doubtless to be attributed to the connection of Gnosticism with certain of the advanced degrees.
EONS, RITE OF THE
Ragon (Juilleur General, a handbook of the Degrees, page 186) describes this rite as one full of beautiful and learned instruction, but scarcely known, and practiced only in Asia, being founded on the religious dogmas of Zoroaster. The existence of it as a genuine rite is doubtful, for Ragon’s information is very meager.
Easter, the usual word in French is Pâque, a name given to the day when the resurrection of Christ is celebrated by a festival, in the spring of the year. Sometimes called the Paschal Festival but paschal refers to the Jewish Passover as well as the Christian Easter.
The sacred vestment worn by the high priest of the Jews over the tunic and outer garment. It was without sleeves, and divided below the arm pits into two parts or halves, one falling before and the other behind, and both reaching to the middle of the thighs. They were joined above on the shoulders by buckles and two large precious stones, on which were inscribed the names of the twelve tribes, six on each.
The ephod was a distinctive mark of the priesthood. It was of two kinds, one of plain linen for the priests, and another, richer and embroidered, for the high priest, which was composed of blue, purple, crimson, and fine linen. The robe worn by the High Priest or First Principal in a Royal Arch Chapter is intended to be a representation, but hardly can be called an imitation, of the ephod.
The descendants of Ephraim. They inhabited the center of Judea between the Mediterranean and the river Jordan. The character given to them in a certain degree of being a stiff necked and rebellious people, coincides with history which describes them as haughty, tenacious to a fault of their rights, and ever ready to resist the pretensions of the other tribes, and more especially that of Judah, of which they were peculiarly jealous. The circumstance in their history which has been appropriated for a symbolic purpose in the ceremonies of the Second Degree of Freemasonry, may be briefly related thus. The Ammonites, who were the descendants of the younger son of Lot, and inhabited a tract of country east of the river Jordan, had been always engaged in hostility against the Israelites. On the occasion referred to, they had commenced a war on the pretext that the Israelites had deprived them of a portion of their territory. Jephthah, having been called by the Israelites to the head of their army, defeated the Ammonites, but had not called upon the Ephraimites to assist in the victory.
Hence, that high-spirited people were incensed, and more especially as they had no share in the rich spoils obtained by Jephthah from the Ammonites.
They accordingly gave him battle, but were defeated with great slaughter by the Gileadites, or countrymen of Jephthah, with whom alone he resisted their attack. As the land of Gilead, the residence of Jephthah, was on the west side of the Jordan, and as the Ephraimites lived on the east side, in making their invasion it was necessary that they should cross the river, and after their defeat, in attempting to effect a retreat to their own country, they were compelled to recross the river. But Jephthah, aware of this, had placed forces at the different fords of the river, who intercepted the Ephraimites, and detected their nationality by a peculiar defect in their pronunciation. For although the Ephraimites did not speak a dialect different from that of the other tribes, they had a different pronunciation of some words and an inability to pronounce the letter r or sh, which they pronounced as if it were D or s. Thus, when called upon to say Shibboleth, they pronounced it Sibboleth, “which trifling defect,” as we are told, “proved them to be enemies.” The test to a Hebrew was a palpable one, for the two words have an entirely different signification; shibboleth meaning an ear of corn, and sibboleth, a burden. The biblical relation will be found in the twelfth chapter of the Book of Judges (see Shibboleth).
In chronology, a certain point of time marked by some memorable event at which the calculation of years begins. The various peoples have different epochs or epocha. Thus, the epoch of Christians is the birth of Christ; that of Jews, the creation of the world; and that of Mohammedans, the flight of their prophet from Mecca (see Calendar).
This was the name given to one who had passed through the Great Mysteries, and been permitted to behold what was concealed from the mystoe, who had only been initiated into the Lesser. It signifies an eye-untness, and is derived from the Greek, esoofax, to look over, to behold. The epopts repeated the oath of secrecy which had been administered to them on their initiation into the Lesser Mysteries, and were then conducted into the lighted interior of the sanctuary and permitted to behold what the Greeks emphatically termed the sight, abrofta. The epopts alone were admitted to the sanctuary, for the mystae were confined to the vestibule of the temple. The epopts were, in fact, the Master Masons of the Mysteries, while the mystae were the Apprentices and Fellow Crafts; these words being used, of course, only in a comparative sense.
EPREMENIL, JEAN JACQUES DUVAL D’
Surname sometimes spelled Esprémesnil, also Eprémesnil. French magistrate. Born at Pondicherry, India, December 5, 1745; educated at Paris; member of French Parliament, he vigorously defended its rights against royalty and was imprisoned on the Island of Saint Marguerite for four months. Brother Amiable says he was there a year. He returned to Paris a popular hero but on being chosen first deputy by the nobility he defended monarchy and the rising tide of revolution engulfed him.
Publicly attacked by a mob, wounded seriously, rescued by the National Guard, he escaped to his property near Havre. He was arrested there, condemned to death by the revolutionary tribunal at Paris, and was guillotined on April 22, 1794. He was a member of the Lodge of the Nine Sisters at Paris, his name being on the calendar for 1788 where he ranked as the Deputy of the Lodge (see Une Loge Magonnique d’ AvanX 1789, Louis Amiable, Paris, 1897, page 268).
Among the ancient iconologists, students of likenesses, equality was symbolized by a female figure holding in one hand a pair of scales equipoised and in the other a nest of swallows. The moderns have substituted a level for the scales. And this is the Masonic idea. In Freemasonry, the level is the symbol of that equality which, as Godfrey Higgins (.Anacalypsis i, 790) says, is the very essence of Freemasonry. “All, let their rank in life be what it may, when in the Lodge are brothers-brethren with the Father at their head. No person can read the Evangelists and not see that this is correctly Gospel Christianity.”
An officer in various royal courts who has the charge of horses. For some now unknown reason the title has been introduced into certain of the advanced degrees.
A Latin word signifying knight. Every member of the Rite of Strict Observance, on attaining to the seventh or highest degree, received what has been termed a characteristic name, which was formed in Latin by the addition of a noun in the ablative case, governed by the preposition a or ab, to the word Eques, as Eques à Serpente, or Knight of the Serpent, Eques ab Aquila, or Knight of the Eagle, etc., and by this name he was ever afterward known in the Order.
Thus Bode, one of the founders of the Rite, was recognized as Eques à Lilio Convallium, or Knight of the icily of the Valleys, and the Baron Hund, another founder, as Eques ab Ense, or Knight of the Sword. A similar custom prevailed among the Illuminati and in the Royal Order of Scotland. Eques signified among the Romans a knight, but in the Middle Ages the knight was called miles; although the Latin word mites denoted only a soldier, yet, by the usage of chivalry, it received the nobler signification. Indeed, NIuratori says, on the authority of an old inscription, that Eques was inferior in dignity to Miles (see Miles).
A Latin expression for Professed Rnight. The seventh and last degree of the Rite of Strict Observance. This ceremony was added, it is said, to the original series by Von Hund.
The equipoised balance, an instrument for weighing, is an ancient symbol of equity. On the medals, this virtue is represented by a female holding in the right hand a balance, and in the left a measuring wand, to indicate that she gives to each one his just measure. In the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite, the thirty-first Degree, or Grand Inspector Inquisitor Commander, is illustrative of the virtue of equity; and hence the balance is a prominent symbol of that degree, as it is also of the Sixteenth Degree, or Princes of Jerusalem, because according to the old books, the members were Chiefs in Freemasonry, and administered justice to the inferior degrees.
Derived from two Latin words meaning equal and voice, and indicating doubtful interpretation, something most questionable. To equivocate is to say something with the intention to deceive. The words of the covenant of Freemasonry require that it should be made without evasion, equivocation or mental reservation. This is exactly in accordance with the law of ethics in relation to promises made.
And it properly applies in this case, because the covenant, as it is called, is simply a promise, or series of promises, made by the candidate to the Fraternity to the Brotherhood into whose association he is about to be admitted. In making a promise, an evasion is the eluding or avoiding the terms of the promise; and this is done, or attempted to be done, by equivocation, which is by giving to the words used a secret signification, different from that which they were intended to convey by him who imposed the promise, so as to mislead, or by a mental reservation, which is a concealment or withholding in the mind of the promiser of certain conditions under which he makes it, which conditions are not known to the one to whom the promise is made.
All of this is in direct violation of the law of veracity. The doctrine of the Jesuits is very different. Suarez, one of their most distinguished casuists, lays it down as good law, that if any one makes a promise or contract, he may secretly understand that he does not sincerely promise, or that he promises without any intention of fulfilling the promise. This is not the rule of Freemasonry, which requires that the words of the covenant be taken in the patent sense which they were intended by the ordinary use of language to convey. It adheres to the true rule of ethics, which is, as Paley says, that a promise is binding in the sense in which the promiser supposed the promisee to receive it (see Mental Reservation).
Among the ancient Greeks there were friendly societies, whose object was, like the modern Masonic Lodges, to relieve the distresses of their necessitous members. They were permanently organized, and had a common fund by the voluntary contributions of the members. If a member was reduced to poverty, or was in temporary distress for money, he applied to the eranos, and, if worthy, received the necessary assistance, which was, however, advanced rather as a loan than a gift, and the amount was to be returned when the recipient was in better circumstances. In the days of the Roman Empire these friendly societies were frequent among the Greek cities, and were looked on with suspicion by the emperors, as tending to political combinations. Smith says (Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities) that the Anglo-Saxon gilds, or fraternities for mutual aid, resembled the eranoi of the Greeks. In their spirit, these Grecian confraternities partook more of the Masonic character, as charitable associations, than of the modern friendly societies, where relief is based on a system of mutual insurance; for the assistance was given only to cases of actual need, and did not depend on any calculation of natural contingencies.
To erect a Lodge is the authorized and time-honored formula to denote the foundation of a new Lodge of Freemasons. It is so employed in the earliest Lodge Charters, or Warrants, as they are styled nowadays, ever issued by any Grand Lodge. The very first of them opens as follows: whereas our Trusted and Well-Beloved Brothers have besought us that we would be pleased to Erect a Lodge off tree Masons, etc., etc.
This is in the Warrant of Lodge No. 1, Grand Lodge of Ireland, February 1, 1731-2. Thus sanctioned by authority, and approved by usage, the phrase held the field among English-speaking Freemasons at home and abroad during the half century that preceded the Union of 1813, and still remains a constitutional formula among Grand Lodges that derive their powers from the Grand Lodge of Ireland, or from its step-daughter, the Grand Lodge of the Ancient. In view of such unfamiliarity with the documents that embody the history of our organization, it is well to bear in mind that in 1748 there were no Lodge Charters in existence, save those issued under the seal of the Grand Lodge of Ireland. Several years had to elapse before the Irish practice, now so universal, was followed by the Grand Lodge of England.
These comments were made by Brother W. J. Chetwode Crawley, 1901 (Transactions, Quatuor Coronati Lodge, volume xiv, page 15).
ERI, ROYAL ORDER OF
The legendary founder in 1695 B.C. of this organization comprising Freemasons only, was Eremon, King of Ulster, Ireland, and the Order is reputed to have ceased its military activities sometime about 1649 to 1659 A.D.
An ancient book Annals of the Four Masters of Ireland, tells of the Knights of the Collar of Eri as instituted by King Eamhuin and his eight princes, the chiefs of the armies of the four provinces of Ulster, Munster, Leinster, and Connaught. Headquarters were at the city of Armagh, where a palace and royal court existed until destroyed by fire in 332 A.D. The palace of the early kings of Ireland and the Great Hall of the Knights were then located at Tara in the County Meath, with a military hospital, named Bronbheagor or House of the Sorrowful Soldier, and a famous college, a noted seat of Celtic learning.
This ancient Order comprised knights and teachers, the Ollamhs, Brehons or judges, Crimtears or priest-astronomers, and Bards, poets and musicians. The modern ceremonies include the grades in order of Man-at-Arms, Esquire, and Knight, Knights Commanders, who are chosen by the Knights Grand Cross, and the latter selected by the Senior Grand Cross who represents the Sovereign, for whom an empty chair is placed at every Assembly. The latter is called the Faslairt, or Camp, and represents a green field. The General Assembly is termed the Foleith.
The Egyptians selected the erica as a sacred plant.
The origin of the consecration of this plant will be peculiarly interesting to the Masonic student
There was a legend in the mysteries of Osiris, which related that Isis, when in search of the body of her murdered husband, discovered it interred at the brow of a hill near which an erica grew; and hence, after the recovery of the body and the resurrection of the god, when she established the mysteries to commemorate her loss and her recovery, she adopted the erica as a sacred plant, in memory of its having pointed out the spot where the mangled remains of Osiris were concealed. Ragon (Cours des Initiations, page 151) thus alludes to this mystical event:
Isis found the body of Osiris in the neighborhood of Biblos, and near a tall plant called the Erica. Oppressed with grief, she seated herself on the margin of a fountain whose waters issued from a rock.
This rock is the small hit! familiar to Freemasons; the Ertca has been replaced by the Acacza. and the grief of Isis has been changed for that of the Fellow Craits.
The lexicographers define ApeA77 as the heath or heather; but it is really, as Plutarch asserts, the tamarisk tree; and Schwenk tDie Mythologie der Semiten, The Semitic Mythology, relating to the Assyrians, Arameans, Hebraeo-Phenicians, Arabs and Abyssinians, page 248) says that Phyloe, so renowned among the ancients as one of the burial places of Osiris, and among the moderns for its wealth of architectural remains, contains monuments in which the grave of Osiris is overshadowed by the tamarisk.
This country is on the western shores of the Red Sea, and on the northeastern coast of Africa, between Egypt and Abyssinia. The Grand Orient off Italy instituted one Lodge in this country at Asmara.
A name found in one of the sacred sagas of the Scandinavian mythology, entitled Sir Olaf and the Erlking’s Daughter, and applied to the mischievous goblin haunting the black forest of Thuringia.
ERNEST AND FALK
More fully in German, Ernst und Falk, Gesprache .fur Frei1naurer, meaning “Ernest and Falk. Conversations for Freemasons,” is the title of a work written by Gotthold Ephraim Lessing, and first published in 1778. Ernest is an inquirer, and Falk a Freemason, who gives to his interlocutor a very philosophical idea of the character, aims, and objects of the Institution. The work has been faithfully translated by Brother Kenneth R. H. Mackenzie, F.S.A., in the London Freemasons Quarterly Magazine, in 1854, and continued and finished, so far as the author had completed it, in the London Freemason in 1872. Findel says ( History of Freemasonry, page 373) of this work, that it “is one of the best things that has ever been written upon Freemasonry.” A translation of it also appeared in the Builder (1915, volume i, pages 20 and 59), by Brother Louis Block, P. G. M. of Iowa.
ERWIN VON STEINBACH
A distinguished German, who was born, as his name imports, at Steinbach, near Buhl, about the middle of the thirteenth century. He was the master of the works at the Cathedral of Strasburg, the tower of which he commenced in 1275. He finished the tower and doorway before his death, which was in 1318. He was at the head of the German Fraternity of Stonemasons, who were the precursors of the modern Freemasons (see Strasburg).
That secret portion of Freemasonry which is known only to the initiates as distinguished from Esoteric Freemasonry, or monitorial, which is accessible to all who choose to read the manuals and published works of the Order.
The words are from the Greek, bxreptzAs, internal, and rKeptK85, external, and were first used by Pythagoras, whose philosophy was divided into the exoteric, or that taught to all, and the esoteric, or that taught to a select few; and thus his disciples were divided into two classes, according to the Degree of initiation to which they had attained, as being either fully admitted into the society, and invested with all the knowledge that the Master could communicate, or as merely postulants, enjoying only the public instructions of the school, and awaiting the gradual reception of further knowledge. This double mode of instruction was borrowed by Pythagoras from the Egyptian priests, whose theology was of two kinds-the one exoteric, and addressed to the people in general; the other esoteric, and confined to a select number of the priests and to those who possessed, or were to possess, the regal power.
And the mystical nature of this concealed doctrine was expressed in their symbolic language by the images of sphinxes placed at the entrance of their temples. Two centuries later, Aristotle adopted the system of Pythagoras, and, in the Lyceum at Athens, delivered in the morning to his select disciples his subtle and concealed doctrines concerning God, Nature, and Life, and in the evening lectures on more elementary subjects to a promiscuous audience. These different lectures he called his Morning and his Evening Walk.
Under the name of Cheualiers et Dames de l’Esperance, a French expression meaning Knights and Lazifes of Hope, was founded first in France, and subsequently and androgynous, both sexes, order in Germany. It is said to have been instituted by Louis XV, at the request of the Marquis de Chatelet, and was active about 1750. The Lodge Irene, at Hamburg, was founded in 1757.
Lawrie, in his History of Freemasonry, in replying to the objection, that if the Fraternity of Freemasons had flourished during the reign of Solomon, it would have existed in Judea in after ages, attempts to meet the argument by showing that there did exist, after the building of the Temple, an association of men resembling Freemasons in the nature, ceremonies, and object of their institution (see his page 33). The association to which he here alludes is that of the Essenes, whom he subsequently describes as an ancient Fraternity originating from an association of architects who were connected with the building of Solomon’s Temple.
Lawrie evidently seeks to connect historically the Essenes with the Freemasons, and to impress his readers with the identity of the two Institutions. Brother Mackey was not prepared to go so far; but there is such a similarity between the two, and such remarkable coincidences in many of their usages, as to render this Jewish sect an interesting study to every Freemason, to whom therefore some account of the usages and doctrines of this holy brotherhood will not, perhaps, be unacceptable.
At the time of the advent of Jesus Christ, there were three religious sects in Judea-the Pharisees, the Sadducees, and the Essenes; and to one of these seets every Jew was compelled to unite himself. The Savior has been supposed by many writers to have been an Essene, because, while repeatedly denouncing the errors of the two other sects, he has nowhere uttered a word of censure against the Essenes; and because, also, many of the precepts of the New Testament are to be found among the laws of this sect.
In ancient authors, such as Josephus, Philo, Porphyry, Eusebius, and Pliny, who have had occasion to refer to the subject, the notices of this singular sect have been so brief and unsatisfactory, that modern writers have found great difficulty in properly understanding the true character of Essenism. And yet our antiquaries, never weary of the task of investigation, have at length, succeeded in eliciting, from the collation of all that has been previously written on the subject, very correct details of the doctrines and practices of the Essenes. Of these writers none have been more successful than the laborious German cities Frankel and Rappaport. Their investigations have been ably and thoroughly condensed by Dr. Christian D. Ginsburg, whose essay on The Essenes, their History and Doctrines, published at London in 1864, has supplied the most material facts contained in the present article.
It is impossible to ascertain the precise date of the development of Essenism as a distinct organization. The old writers are so exaggerated in their statements, that they are worth nothing as historical authorities. Philo says, for instance, that Moses himself instituted the order, and Josephus that it existed ever since the ancient time of the Fathers; while Pliny asserts, with mythical liberality, that it has continued for thousands of ages. Doctor Ginsburg thinks that Essenism was a gradual development of the prevalent religious notions out of Judaism, a theory which Doctor Döllinger repudiates.
But Rappaport, who was a learned Jew, thoroughly conversant with the Talmud and other Hebrew writings, and who is hence called by Ginsburg the Corypheus (meaning Leader or Chief, from the Latin and Greek) of Jewish critics, asserts that the Essenes were not a distinct sect, in the strict sense of the word, but simply an order of Judaism, and that there never was a rupture between them and the rest of the Jewish community. This theory is sustained by Frankel, a scholarly German, who maintains that the Essenes were simply an intensification of the Pharisaic sect, and that they were the same as the Chasidim, whom Lawrie calls the Rasstdeans, and of whom he speaks as the guardians of King Solomon’s Temple.
If this view be the correct one, and there is no good reason to doubt it, then there will be another feature of resemblance and coincidence between the Freemasons and the Essenes; for, as the latter was not a religious sect, but merely a development of Judaism, an order of Jews entertaining no heterodox opinions, but simply carrying out the religious dogmas of their faith with an unusual strictness of observance, so are the Freemasons not a religious sect, but simply a development of the religious idea of the age.
The difference, however, in Brother Mackey’s opinion, between Freemasonry and Essenism lies in the spirit of universal tolerance prominent in the one and absent in the other. Freemasonry is Christian as to its membership in general, but recognizing and tolerating in its bosom all other religions: Essenism, on the contrary, was exclusively and intensely Jewish in its membership, its usages, and its doctrines. The Essenes are first mentioned by Josephus as existing in the days of Jonathan the Maccabean, one hundred and sixty-six years before Christ. The Jewish historian repeatedly speaks of them at subsequent periods; and there is no doubt that they constituted one of the three sects which divided the Jewish religious world at the advent of our Savior, and of this sect he is supposed, as has been already said, to have been a member.
On this subject, Ginsburg says: “Jesus, who in all things conformed to the Jewish law, and who was holy, harmless, undefiled, and separate from sinners, would, therefore, naturally associate himself with that order of Judaism which was most congenial to his holy nature. Moreover, the fact that Christ, with the exception of once, was not heard of in public till his thirtieth year, implying that he lived in seclusion with this Fraternity, and that, though he frequently rebuked the Scribes, Pharisees, and Sadducees, he never denounced the Essenes, strongly confirms this decision.” But he admits that Christ neither adopted nor preached their extreme doctrines of asceticism. After the establishment of Christianity, the Essenes fade out of notice, and it has been supposed that they were among the earliest converts to the new faith. Indeed, De Quincey rather paradoxically asserts that they were a disguised portion of the early Christians.
The etymology of the word has not been settled. E et, among the contending opinions, the preferable one seems to be that it is derived from the Hebrew Chasid meaning holy out which connects the Essenes with the Chasidim, a sect which preceded them, and of whom Lawrie says, quoting from Scaliger, that they were “an order of the Knights of the Temple of Jerusalem, who bound themselves to adorn the porches of that magnificent structure, and to preserve it from injury and decay” (see LanTie’s History of Freemasonry, page 38).
The Essenes were so strict in the observance of the Mosaic laws of purity, that they were compelled for the purpose of avoiding contamination, to withdraw altogether from the rest of the Jewish nation and to form a separate community, which thus became a brotherhood. The same scruples which led them to withdraw from their less strict Jewish Brethren induced most of them to abstain from marriage, and hence the unavoidable depletion of their membership by death could only be repaired by the initiation of converts.
They had a common treasury, in which was deposited whatever anyone of them possessed, and from this the wants of the whole community were supplied by stewards appointed by the brotherhood, so that they had everything in common. Hence there was no distinction among them of rich and poor, or masters and servants; but the only gradation of rank which they recognized was derived from the Degrees or orders into which the members were divided, and which depended on holiness alone. They lived peaceably with all men, reprobated slavery and war, and would not even manufacture any warlike instruments. They were governed by a president, who was elected by the whole community; and members who had violated their rules were, after due trial, excommunicated or expelled.
As they held no communication outside of their own fraternity, they had to raise their own supplies, and some were engaged in tilling, some in tending flocks, others in making clothing, and others in preparing food They got up before sunrise, and, after singing a hymn of praise for the return of light, which they did with their faces turned to the East, each one repaired to his appropriate task. At the fifth hour, or eleven in the forenoon, the morning labor terminated. The Brethren then again assembled, and after a lustration in cold water, they put on white garments and proceeded to the refectory, where they partook of the common meal, which was always of the most frugal character. A mysterious silence was observed during this meal, which, to Some extent, had the character of a sacrament. The feast being ended, and the priest having returned thanks, the Brethren withdrew and put off their white garments, resumed their working-clothes and their several employments until evening, when they again assembled as before, to partake of a common meal.
They observed the Sabbath with more than Judaic strictness, regarding even the removal of a vessel as a desecration of the holy day. On that day, each took his seat in the synagogue in becoming attire; and, as they had no ordained ministers, any one that liked read out of the Scriptures, and another, experienced in spiritual matters, expounded the passages that had been read. The distinctive ordinances of the brotherhood and the mysteries connected with the Tetragrammaton and the angelic worlds were the prominent topics of Sabbatical instruction. In particular, did they pay attention to the mysteries connected with the Tetragrammaton, or the Shem hamphorash, the Expository Name, and the other names of God which plays so important a part in the mystical theosophy of the Jewish Cabalists, a great deal of which has descended to the Freemasonry of our own age.
Josephus describes them as being distinguished for their brotherly love, and for their charity in helping the needy, and showing mercy. He says that they are just dispensers of their anger, curbers of their passions, representatives of fidelity, ministers of peace, and every word with them is of more force than an oath.
They avoid taking an oath, and regard it as worse than perjury; for they say that he who is not believed without calling on God to witness, is already condemned of perjury. Josephus also states that they studied with great assiduity the writings of the ancients on distempers and their remedies, alluding, as it is supposed, to the magical works imputed by the Talmudists to Solomon.
It has already been observed that, in consequence of the celibacy of the Essenes, it was found necessary to recruit their ranks by the introduction of converts, who were admitted by a solemn of initiation. The candidate, or aspirant, was required to pass through a novitiate of two stages, which extended over three years, before he was admitted to a full participation in the privileges of the Order. Upon entering the first stage, which lasted for twelve months, the novice cast all his possessions into the common treasury. He then received a copy of the regulations of the brotherhood, and was presented with a spade, and apron, and a white robe. The spade was employed to bury excrement, the apron was used at the daily illustrations, and the white robe was worn as a symbol of purity.
During all this period the aspirant was considered as being outside the Order, and, although required to observe some of the ascetic rules of the society, he was not admitted to the common meal. At the end of the probationary year, the aspirant, if approved, was advanced to the second stage, which lasted two years, and was then called an Approacher. During this period he was permitted to unite with the Brethren in their illustrations, but was not admitted to the common meal, nor to hold any office. Should this second stage of probation be passed with approval, the approacher became an Associate, and was admitted into full membership, and at length allowed to partake of the common meal.
There was a third rank or Degree called the Disciple or Companion, in which there was a still closer union. Upon admission to this highest grade, the candidate was bound by a solemn oath to love God, to be just to all men, to practice charity, maintain truth, and to conceal the secrets of the society and the mysteries connected with the Tetragrammaton and the other names of God. These three sections of Degrees, of Aspirant, Associate and Companion, were subdivided into four orders or ranks, distinguished from each other by different Degrees of holiness; and so marked were these distinctions, that if one belonging to a higher Degree of purity touched one of a lower order, he immediately became impure, and could only regain his purity by a series of illustrations.
The earnestness and determination of these Essenes says Ginsburg, to advance to the highest state of holiness, were seen in their self-denying and godly life; and it may fairly be questioned whether any religious system has ever produced such a community of saints. Their absolute confidence in God and resignation to the dealings of Providence; their uniformly holy and unselfish life; their unbounded love of virtue and utter contempt for worldly fame, riches, and pleasures; their industry, temperance, modesty, and simplicity of life; their contentment of mind and cheerfulness of temper; their love of order, and abhorrence of even the semblance of falsehood; their benevolence and philanthropy; their love for the Brethren, and their following peace with all men; their hatred of slavery and war; their tender regard for children, and reverence and anxious care for the aged; their attendance on the sick, and readiness to relieve the distressed; their humility and magnanirnity; their firmness of character and power to subdue their passions; their heroic endurance under the most agonizing sufferings for righteousness’ sake; and their cheerfully looking forward to death, as releasing their immortal souls from the bonds of the body, to be forever in a state of bliss with their Creator,-have hardly found a parallel in the history of mankind.
Lawrie, in his History of Freemasonry, gives (see pages 34 and 35) on the authority of Pictet, of Basnage, and of Philo, the following condensed recapitulation of what has been said in the preceding pages of the usages of the Essences:
When a candidate was proposed for admission the strictest scrutiny nas made into his character. If his life had hitherto been exemplary and if he appeared capable of curbing his passions, arid regulating his conduct. according to the virtuous, though austere maxims of their Order, he was presented at the expiration of his novitiate, with a white garment as an emblem of the regularity of his conduct and the purity of his heart.
A solemn oath was then administered to him, that he would never divulge the mysteries of the Order: that he would make no innovations on the doctrines of the society and that he would continue in that honorable course of piety and virtue which he had begun to pursue. Like Frees masons they instructed the young member in the knowledge which they derived from their ancestors They admitted no women into their order. They had particular signs for recognizing each other, which have a strong resemblance to those of Freemasons. They had colleges or places of retirement, where they resorted to practice their rites and settle the affairs of the society and, after the performance of these duties, they assembled in a large hall, where an entertainment was provided for them by the president, or master of the college who allotted a certain quantity of provisions to every individual. They abolished all distinctions of rank and if preference was ever given, it was given to piety, liberality, and virtue. Treasurers were appointed in every town, to supply the wants of indigent strangers.
Dr. W. Wynn Westcott (page 72, volume xxviu, 1915, Transactions, Quatuor Coronati Lodge) takes exception to Brother Lawrie’s claim that the Essences “had particular signs for recognizing each other, which have a strong resemblance to those of Freemasons.” Brother Westcott could find no such statement made either by Philo, Josephus, or Pliny.
Lawrie thinks that this remarkable coincidence between the chief features of the Masonic and Essenian fraternities can be accounted for only by referring them to the same origin; and, to sustain this view, he attempts to trace them to the Rasideans, or Assideans, more properly the Chassidim, “an association of architects who were connected with the building of Solomon’s Temple ” But, aside from the consideration that there is no evidence that the Chassidirn were a Body of architects for they were really a sect of Jewish puritans, who held the Temple in especial honor-we cannot conclude, from a mere coincidence of doctrines and usages, that the origin of the Essenes and the Freemasons is identical. Such a course of reasoning would place the Pythagoreans in the same category: a theory that has been rejected by the best modern critics.`
The truth appears to be that the Essenes, the School of Pythagoras, and the Freemasons, derive their similarity from the spirit of brotherhood which has prevailed in all ages of the civilized world, the inherent principles of which, as the results of any fraternity all the members of which are engaged in the same pursuit and assenting to the same religious creed are brotherly love, charity, and that secrecy which gives them their exclusiveness. And hence, between all fraternities, ancient and modern, these remarkable coincidences will be found. The intricate and most interesting aspect of the Essences as a monastic sort of order within the pale of Judaism is examined in Hasting’s Dictionary of the Bible. Brother Dudley Wright considers this difficult angle of the subject in his book Was Jesus an Esserze?
ES SELAMU ALEIKUM
See SeZamu Aleikum, Es: also Salaam
The Third Degree of the American Adoptive Rite of the Eastern Star. It is also called the Wife’s Degree, and in its ceremonies comprises the history of Esther the wife and queen of Ahasuerus, fling of Persia, as related in the Book of Esther.
The doctrine of eternal life is taught in the Master’s Degree, as it was in the Ancient Mysteries of all nations (see Immortality of the Soul).
The ancient symbol of eternity was a serpent in the form of a circle, the tail being placed in the mouth. The simple circle, the figure which has neither beginning nor end, but returns continually into itself, was also a symbol of eternity.
ETHANIM OR TISHRI
The seventh sacred month, or the first month of the Hebrew civil year, commencing with the new moon in September.
ETHICS OF FREEMASONRY
There is a Greek word, Sos, ethos, which signifies custom, from which Aristotle derives another word Pros, ethos, which means ethics; because, as he says, from the custom of doing good acts arises the habit of moral virtue. Ethics, then, is the science of morals teaching the theory and practice of all that is good in relation to God and to man, to the state and the individual; it is, in short, to use the emphatic expression of a German writer, “the science of the good.” Ethics being thus engaged in the inculcation of moral duties, there must be a standard of these duties, an authoritative ground-principle on which they depend, a doctrine that requires their performance, making certain acts just those that ought to be done, and which, therefore, are duties, and that forbid the performance of others which are therefore, offenses.
Ethics, therefore, as a science, is divisible into several species, varying in name and character, according to the foundation on which it is built.
Thus we have the Ethics of Theology, which is founded on that science which teaches the nature and attributes of God; and, as this forms a part of all religious systems, every religion whether it be Christianity or Judaism, Brahmanism or Buddhism, or any other form of recognized worship, has within its bosom a science of theological ethics which teaches, according to the lights of that religion, the duties which are incumbent on man from his relations to a Supreme Being. And then we have the Ethics of Christianity, which being founded on the Scriptures, recognized by Christians as the revealed will of God, is nothing other than theological ethics applied to and limited by Christianity.
Then, again, we have the Ethics of Philosophy, which is altogether speculative, and derived from and founded on man’s speculations concerning God and himself. There might be a sect of philosophers who denied the existence of a Superintending Providence; but it would still have a science of ethics referring to the relations of man to man, although that system would be without strength, because it would have no Divine sanction for its enforcement.
Lastly, we have the Ethics of Freemasonry, whose character combines those of the three others. The first and second systems in the series above enumerated are founded on religious dogmas; the third on philosophical speculations. Now, as Freemasonry claims to be a religion, in so far as it is founded on a recognition of the relations of man and God, and a philosophy in so far as it is engaged in speculations on the nature of man, as an immortal, social, and responsible being, the ethics of Freemasonry will be both religious and philosophical.
The symbolism of Freemasonry, which is its peculiar mode of instruction, inculcates all the duties which we owe to God as being his children, and to men as being their Brethren. “There is,” says Doctor Oliver, “scarcely a point of duty or morality which man has been presumed to owe to God, his neighbor, or himself, under the Patriarchal, the Mosaic, or the Christian dispensation, which, in the construction of our symbolical system, has been left untouched.” Hence, he says, that these symbols all unite to form “a code of moral and theological philosophy” the term of which expression would have been better if he had called it a “code of philosophical and theological ethics.” At a very early period of his initiation, the Freemason is instructed that he owes a threefold duty to God, his neighbor, and himself-and the inculcation of these duties constitutes the ethics of Freemasonry.
Now, the Tetragrammaton, the letter G. and many other symbols of a like character, impressively inculcate the lesson that there is a God in whom “we live, and move, and have our being,” and of whom the apostle, quoting from the Greek poet, tells us that “we are His offspring.” To Him, then, as the Universal Father, does the ethics of Freemasonry teach us that we owe the duty of loving and obedient children.
And, then, the vast extent of the Lodge, making the whole world the common home of all Freemasons, and the temple, in which we all labor for the building up of our bodies as a spiritual house, are significant symbols, which teach us that we are not only the children of the Father, but fellow-workers, laboring together in the same task and owing a common servitude to God as the Grand Architect of the universe -the Algabil or Master Builder of the world and all that is therein; and thus these symbols of a joint labor, for a joint purpose, tell us that there is a brotherhood of man: to that brotherhood does the ethics of Freemasonry teach us that we owe the duty of fraternal kindness in all its manifold phases.
And so we find that the ethics of Freemasonry is really founded on the two great ideas of the universal fatherhood of God and the universal brotherhood of man.
A tract of country to the south of Egypt, and watered by the upper Nile. The reference to Ethiopia, familiar to Freemasons, as a place of attempted escape for certain criminals, is not to be found in the English or French accounts, and Brother Mackey was inclined to think that this addition to the Hiramic legend is an American interpolation. The selection of Ethiopia, by the old authorities, as a place of refuge, seems to be rather inappropriate when we consider what must have been the character of that country in the age of Solomon.
For the etymology of the word Masons see MaOcon, Derivation of the Word.