ENCYCLOPEDIA OF FREEMASONRY AND ITS KINDRED SCIENCES
by ALBERT C. MACKEY M. D.
FORT, GEORGE FRANKLIN
Masonic author. Born at Absecon, New Jersey, November 20, 1848, and died at Atlantic City, March 30, 1909. Edited the Keystone, Philadelphia, and wrote Early History and Antiquities of Freemasonry, A Historical Treatise on Early Builders’ Marks, Medieval Builders, and other works of Masonic worth. Initiated in Camden Lodge No. 15, Camden, New Jersey, a founder member and second Master, 1871, of Trumble Lodge No. 117, also of Camden, New Jersey (see Builder, 1918, pages 171 and 210).
An earthwork erected on October 3, 1814, at Fox Point, Rhode Island, by the Grand Lodge, with the members of the subordinate Lodges, about two hundred and thirty in number. The object was to build a fortification for the defense of the harbor of Providence, and the Grand Lodge, of which Thomas Smith Webb was Grand Master, through its Deputy, Senior Grand Warden, and Worshipful Brother Carlisle, were authorized to work on the defenses. They formed a procession, marched in the early morning to the Point, and by sunset had completed their labors, consisting of a breastwork four hundred and thirty feet in length, ten wide, and five high. They then marched and countermarched upon the parapet from one extremity to the other, when the Grand Master gave the work the appellation of Fort Hiram, which was approved and sanctioned by the Governor.
One of the four cardinal virtues, whose excellencies are dilated on in the First Degree. It not only instructs the worthy Freemason to bear the ills of life with becoming resignation, “taking up arms against a sea of trouble,” but, by its intimate connection with a portion of our ceremonies, it teaches him to let no dangers shake, no pains dissolve the inviolable fidelity he owes to the trusts reposed in him. Or, in the words of the old Prestonian lecture, it is “a fence or security against any attack that might be made upon him by force or otherwise, to extort from him any of our Royal Secrets.”
Spence, in his Polymetis (page 139), when describing the moral virtues! says of Fortitude: “She may be easily known by her erect air and military dress, the spear she rests on with one hand, and the sword which she holds in the other. She has a globe under her feet; I suppose to shows that the Romans, by means of this virtue, were to subdue the whole world.”
A redoubt of the fortifications on what was known as the Heights of Brooklyn, located between, what was later, Bond and Nevins Streets, Brooklyn, the south point of the quadrangle resting on State Street and extending north nearly to Schermerhorn Street. This Fort Masonic was built by members of the fourteen Lodges located in New York City, who, agreeable to a resolution of the Grand Lodge, of which Brother De Witt Clinton was Grand Master, adopted August 22, 1814, assembled at sunrise on the morning of Thursday, September.
Accompanied by the officers of the Grand Lodge, they proceeded to Brooklyn where they were joined by the members of Fortitude and Newton Union Lodges, marched to the Height and performed one day’s work on the fortifications.
The redoubt not completed, however, until September 17, when another day’s labor w as performed.
The multiple of two perfect numbers four and ten. This was deemed a sacred number, as commemorating many events of religious signification, some of which are as follows:
The alleged period of probation of our first parents in Eden; the continuous deluge of forty days and nights, and the same number of days in which the maters remained upon the face of the earth; the Lenten season of forty days’ fast observed by Christians with reference to the fast of Jesus in the Wilderness, and by the Hebrews to the earlier desert fast for a similar period; of the forty years spent in the Desert by Moses and Elijah and the Israelites, which succeeded the concealment of Moses the same number of years in the land of Midian. Moses was forty days and nights on the Mount. The days for embalming the dead were forty.
The forty years of the reign of Saul, of David, and of Solomon; the forty days of grace allotted to Nineveh for repentance; the forty days’ fast before Christmas in the Greek Church; as well as its being the number of days of mourning in Assyria, Phenicia, and Egypt, to commemorate the death and burial of their Sun God; and as well the period in the festivals of the resurrection of Adonis and Osiris; the period of forty days thus being a bond by which the whole world, ancient and modern, Pagan, Jewish, and Christian, is united in religious sympathy. Hence, it was determined as the period of mourning by the Supreme Council of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of the Northern Jurisdiction, United States of America.
The forty-seventh problem of Euclid’s first book, which has been adopted as a symbol in the Master’s Degree, is thus enunciated: “In any right-angled triangle, the square which is described upon the side subtending the right angle is equal to the squares described upon the sides which contain the right angle.” Thus, in a triangle whose perpendicular is three feet, the square of which is nine, and whose base is four feet, the square of which is sixteen, the hypothenuse, or subtending side, will be five feet, the square of which will be twenty-five, which is the sum of nine and sixteen. This interesting problem, on account of its great utility in making calculations and drawing plans for buildings, is sometimes called the Carpenter’s Theorem.
For the demonstration of this problem the world is indebted to Pythagoras, who, it is said, was so elated after making the discovery, that he made an offering of a hecatomb, or a sacrifice of a hundred oxen, to the gods. The devotion to learning which this religious act indicated in the mind of the ancient philosopher has induced Freemasons to adopt the problem as a memento, instructing them to be lovers of the arts and sciences.
The triangle, whose base is four parts, whose perpendicular is three, and whose hypothenuse is five, and which would exactly serve for a demonstration of this problem, was, according to Plutarch, a symbol frequently employed by the Egyptian priests, and hence it is called by M. Jomard, in his Exposition du Systeme Métrique des Amperes Egyptians, Exposition of the Ancient Egyptians System of Measurements, the Egyptian triangle. It was, with the Egyptians, the symbol of universal nature, the base representing Osiris, or the male principle; the perpendicular, Isis, or the female principle; and the hypothenuse, Horus, their son, or the produce of the two principles. They added that three was the first perfect odd number, that four was the square of two, the first even number, and that five was the result of three and two. But the Egyptians made a still more important use of this triangle. It was the standard of all their measures of extent, and was applied by them to the building of the pyramids. The researches of M. Jomard, on the Egyptian system of measures, published in the magnificent work of the French savants on Egypt, has placed us completely in possession of the uses made by the Egyptians of this forty-seventh problem of Euclid, and of the triangle which formed the diagram by which it was demonstrated.
If we inscribe within a circle a triangle, whose perpendicular shall be 300 parts, whose base shall be 400 parts, and whose hypotenuse shall be 500 parts, which, of course, bear the same proportion to each other as three, four, and five; then if we let a perpendicular fall from the angle of the perpendicular and base to the hypothenuse, and extend it through the hypothenuse to the circumference of the circle, this chord or lane will be equal to 480 parts, and the two segments of the hypothenuse, on each side of it, will be found equal, respectively, to 180 and 320. From the point where this chord intersects the hypothenuse let another lane fall perpendicularly to the shortest side of the triangle, and this line will be equal to 144 parts, while the shorter segment, formed by its junction with the perpendicular side of the triangle, will be equal to 108 parts. Hence, we may derive the following measures from the diagram: 500, 480, 400, 320, 180, 144, and 108, and all these without the slightest fraction. Supposing, then, the 500 to be cubits, we have the measure of the base of the great pyramid of Memphis. In the 400 cubits of the base of the triangle we have the exact length of the Egyptian stadium.
The 320 gives us the exact number of Egyptian cubits contained in the Hcbrew and Babylonian stadium. The stadium of Ptolemy is represented by the 480 cubits, or length of the line falling from the right angle to the circumference of the circle, through the hypothenuse. The number 180, which expresses the smaller segment of the hypothenuse being doubled, will give 360 cubits, which will be the stadum of Cleomedes. By doubling the 144, the result will be 288 cubits, or the length of the stadium of Archamedes; and by doublang the 108, we produce 216 cubits, or the precise value of the lesser Egyptian stadium.
Thus we get all the length measures used by the Egyptians; and since this triangle, whose sides are equal to three, four, and five, was the very one that most naturally would be used in demonstrating the forty-seventh problem of Euclid; and since by these three sides the Egyptians symbolized Osiris, Isis, and Horus, or the two producers and the product, the very principle, expressed in symbolic language, which constitutes the terms of the problem as enunciated by Pythagoras, that the sum of the squares of the two sides will produce the square of the third, we have no reason to doubt that the forty-seventh problem was well known to the Egyptian Priests, and by them communicated to Pythagoras.
Doctor Lardner, in his edition of Euclid, says:
Whether we consider the forty-seventh proposition with reference to the peculiar and beautiful relation established in it, or to its innumerable uses in every department of mathematical science, or to its fertility in the consequences derivable from it, it must certainly be esteemed the most celebrated and important in the whole of the elements, if not in the whole range, of mathematical science. It is by the influence of this proposition, and that which establishes the similitude of equiangular triangles, in the sixth book, that geometry has been brought under the dominion of algebra, and it is upon the same principles that the whole science of trigonometry is founded. The thirty-second and forty-seventh propositions are said to have been discovered by Pythagoras, and extraordinary accounts are given of his exultation upon his first perception of their truth. It is however, supposed by some that Pythagoras acquired a knowledge of them in Egypt, and was the first to make them known in Greece.
The number of judges required to sit by the body of the Egyptian dead pending the examination and without which the deceased had no portion in Amenti (see Truth).
FORTY TWO LETTERED NAME
See Twelve Lettered Name
The ballot-box is said to he foul when, in the ballot for the initiation or advancement of a candidate, one or more black balls are found in it.
This term has been repeatedly used by Doctor Oliver, and after him by some other writers, to designate the chief stone or corner-stone of the Temple or any other building. Thus, Oliver says, “the Masonic days proper for laying the Foundation-stone of a Mason’s Lodge are from the 15th of April to the 15th of May”; evidently meaning the corner-stone. The usage is an incorrect one. The foundation-stone, more properly the stone of foundations, is very different from the corner-stone (see Corner-stone).
FOUNDATION, STONE OF
See Stone of Foundation
In some of the advanced Degrees a fountain constitutes a part of the furniture of the initiation. In the science of symbology, the fountain, as representing a stream of continually flowing water, is a symbol of refreshment to the weary; and so it might be applied in the Degrees in which it is found, although there is no explicit interpretation of it in the Masonic instructions, where it seems to have been introduced rather as an exponent of the dampness and darkness of the place which was a refuge for criminals and a spot fit for crime.
Brother Albert Pike refers to the fountain as “tradition, a slender stream flowing from the Past into the Present, which, even in the thickest darkness of barbarism, keeps alive some memory of the Old Truth in the human heart.” But this beautiful idea is not found in the symbolism as interpreted in the old ceremonies.
Four is the tetrad or Quaternary of the Pythagoreans! and it is a sacred number in the advanced Degrees. The Pythagoreans called it a perfect number, and hence it has been adopted as a sacred number in the Degree of Perfect Master. In many nations of antiquity the name of God consists of four letters, as the Adad, of the Syrians, the Amum of the Egyptians, the efos of the Greeks, the Deus of the Romans, and pre-eminently the Tetragrammaton or four-lettered name of the Jews. But in Symbolic Freemasonry this number has no special significance.
FOUR CROWNED MARTYRS
The legend of the Four Crowned Martyrs should be interesting to k Masonic scholars, because it is one of the few instances, perhaps the only one, in which the church has been willing to do honor to those old workers in stone, whose services it readily secured in the Medieval ages, but with whom, as with their successors the modern Freemasons, it has always appeared to be in a greater or less degree of antagonism. Besides, these humble but true-hearted confessors of the faith of Christianity were adopted by the Stonemasons of Germany as the patron saints of Operative Masonry, just as the two Saints John have been since selected as the patrons of the Speculative branch of the Institution. Dr. Christian Ehrmann, of Strasbourg who for thirty years had devoted his attention to this and to kindred subjects of Masonic archeology, has supplied us with the most interesting details of the life and death of the Four Crowned Martyrs. The Roman Church has consecrated November 8 to the commemoration of these martyrs, and yearly, on that day, offers up the prayer: “Grant, we beseech thee, O Almighty God, that as we have been informed of the constancy of the glorious martyrs in the profession of Thy faith, BO we may experience their kindness in recommending us to Thy mercy-.” The Roman Breviary of 1474 is more-explicit, and mentions them particularly by name. It is, therefore, somewhat remarkable, that, although thus careful in their commemoration, the Missals of the Roman Church give us no information of the deeds of these holy men. It is only from the Breviaries that we can learn anything of the act on which the commemoration in the calendar was founded. Of these Breviaries, Ehrmann has given full citations from two: the Breviary of Rome, published in 1474, and the Breviary of Spire, published in 1478. These, with some few extracts from other books on the subject, have been made accessible to us by George Kloss, in his interesting work entitled, Freimaurerei in ihrer wahren Bedeutung, or Freemasonry in its true significance. The Breviarium Romanum is much more complete in its details than the Breviarium Spirense; and yet the latter contains a fen incidents that are not related in the former. Both agree in applying to the Four Crowned Martyrs the title of quadratarii. Now quadratarius, in the Latin of the lower age, signified a Stone-squarer or a Mason. This will remind us of the passage in the Book of Rings, thus translated in the authorized version: “And Solomon’s builders and Hiram’s builders did hew them, and the stonesquarers. ” It is evident from the use of this word quadratarii in the ecclesiastical legends as well as from the incidents of the martyrdom itself, that the four martyrs were not simply sculptors, but stone-cutters and builders of temples: in other words, Operative Masons. Nor can we deny the probability of the supposition, that they were members of one of those colleges of architects, which afterward gave birth to the gilds of the Middle Ages, the corporations of builders, and through these to the modern Lodges of Freemasons. Supposing the legend to be true, or even admitting that it is only symbolical, we must acknowledge that there has been good reason why the Operative Masons should have selected these martyrs as the patron saints of their profession. Now let us apply ourselves to the legend. Taking the Roman Breviary as the groundwork, and only interpolating it at the proper points with the additional incidents related in the Breviary of Spire, we have the following result as the story of the Four Crowned Martyrs. In the last quarter of the third century Diocletian was Emperor of the Roman Empire. In his reign commenced that series of persecutions of the Christian church, which threatened at one time to annihilate the new religion, and gave to the period among Christian writers the name of the Era of Martyrs. Thousands of Christians, who refused to violate their consciences by sacrificing to the heathen gods, became the victims of the bigotry and intolerance, the hatred and the cruelty, of the Pagan priests and the Platonic philosophers; and the scourge, the cross, or the watery grave daily testified to the constancy and firmness of the disciples of the prophet of Nazareth. Diocletian had gone to the Province of Pannonia, that he might by his own presence superintend the bringing of metals and stones from the neighboring mines of Noricum, wherewith to construct a temple consecrated to the sun-god, Apollo. Among the six hundred and twenty-two artisans whom he had collected together for this purpose were four-by name Claudius, Castorius, Symphorianus, and Nichostratus -said to have been distinguished for their skill as Stonemasons. They had abandoned the old heathen faith and were in secret Christians, doing all their work as Masons in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. The Breviary of Spires relates here an additional occurrence, which is not contained in the Breviary of Rome, and which, as giving a miraculous aspect to the legend, must have made it doubly acceptable to the pious Christians of the fifteenth century, upon whose religious credulity one could safely draw without danger of a protest. It seems that, in company with our four blessed martyrs, there worked one Simplicius, who was also a mason, but a heathen. While he was employed in labor near them he wondered to see how much they surpassed in skill and cunning all the other artisans. They succeeded in all that they attempted, while he was unfortunate, and always breaking his working tools. At last he approached Claudius, and said to him: “Strengthen, I beseech thee, my tools, that they may no longer break.” Claudius took them in his hands, and said: “In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ be these tools henceforth strong and faithful to their work.” From this time, Simplicius did his work well, and succeeded in all that he attempted to do. Amazed at the change, Simplicius was continually asking his fellowworkmen how it was that the tools had been so strengthened that now they never broke. At length Claudius replied: “God, who is our Creator, and the Lord of all things, has made His creatures strong.” Then Simplicius inquired Was not this done by the God Zeus?” To this Claudius replied: “Repent, O my brother, of what thou hast said. for thou hast blasphemed God, our Creator, whom alone we worship, that which our own hands have made we do not recognize as a God.” With these and such sentences they converted Simplicius to the Christian faith, who, being baptized by Cyrillus, bishop of Antioch, soon afterward suffered martyrdom for his refusal to sacrifice to the Pagan gods. One day Diocletian issued an order, that out of a piece of marble should be constructed 3 noble statue of Apollo sitting in his chariot. And now all the workmen and the philosophers began to consult on the subject. and each one had arrived at a different opinion. And when at length they had found a huge block of stone, which had been brought from the Island of Thasos, it proved that the marble was not fit for the statue which Diocletian had commanded, and non began 3 great war of Lords between the masters of the work and the philosophers. glut one day the whole of the artisans, six hundred and twenty-two in number, with five philosophers, came together, that they might examine the defects and the veins of the stone, and there arose a still more wonderful contest between the workmen and the philosophers. Then began the philosophers to rail against Claudius, Symphorianus, Nichostratus, and Simplicius, and said: ” Why do ye not hearken to the commands of our devout Emperor, Diocletian, and obey his will?” Claudius answered and said: ” Because we cannot offend our Creator and commit a sin, whereof we should be found guilty in His sight ” Then said the philosophers: ” From this it appears that you are Christians.” Claudius replied: “Truly we are Christians.” thereupon the philosophers chose other masons, and caused them to make a statue of Esculapius out of the stone which had been rejected, which, after thirty-one days, they finished and presented to the philosophers, These then informed the Emperor that the statue of Esculapius was finished, when he ordered it to be brought before him for inspection. But as soon as he saw it he was greatly astonished, and said: ‘This is a proof of the skill of these men, who receive my approval as sculptors.” It is very apparent that this, like all other legends of the church, is insufficient in its details, and that it leaves many links in the chain of the narrative to be supplied by the fancy or the judgment of the readers. It is equally evident from what has already been said, in connection with what is subsequently told, that the writer of the legend desired to make the impression that it was through the influence of Claudius and the other Christian Masons that the rest of the workmen were persuaded that the Thasian stone w as defective and unfit for the use of a sculptor; that this was done by them because they were unwilling to engage in the construction of the statue of a Pagan god; that this was the cause of the controversy between the workmen and the philosophers; that the Latter denied the defectiveness of the stone; and, lastly, that they sought to prove its fitness by causing other masons, who were not Christians, to make out of it a statue of Esculapius. These explanations are necessary to an understanding of the legend, which proceeds as follows: As soon as Diocletian had expressed his admiration of the statue of Esculapius, the philosopher said: ” Most mighty Caesar, know that these men whom your majesty has praised for their skill in Masonry, namely, Claudius, Symphorianus, Nichostratus, and Castorius, are Christians, and by magic spells or incantations make men obedient to their will.” Then said Diocletian: “If they have violated the lawns and if your accusations he true, let them suffer the punishment of sacrilege.” But Diocletian, in consideration of their skill, sent for the Tribune Lampadius, and said to him: ” If they refuse to offer sacrifice to the sun-god Apollo, then let them be scourged with scorpions. But if they are willing to do so, then treat them with kindness.” For five days sat Lampadius in the same place, before the temple of the sun-god, and called on them by the proclamation of the herald, and showed them many dreadful things, and all sorts of instruments for the punishment of martyrs, and then tie said to them: ” Hearken to me and avoid the doom of martyrs, and be obedient to the mighty prince, and offer a sacrifice to the sun-god, for no longer can I speak to you in gentle words.” But Claudius replied for himself and for his companions with great boldness: “This let the Emperor Diocletian know: that we truly are Christians, and never can depart from the worship of our God.” Thereupon the Tribune Lampadius, becoming enraged. caused them to be stripped and to be scourged with scorpions, while a herald, by proclamation, announced that this was done because they had disobeyed the commands of the emperor. In the same hour Lampadius, being seized by an evil spirit, died on his seat of judgment. As soon as the wife and the domestics of Lampadius heard of his death, their ran with great outcries to the palace. Diocletian, when he had learned what had happened, ordered four leaden coffins to be made, and that- Claudius and his three companions being placed therein alive-they should be thrown into the river Danube. This order Nicetius, the assistant of Lampadius, caused to be obeyed, and thus the faithful masons suffered the penalty and gained the crown of martyrdom. There are some books of legends which give the names of the Four Crowned Martyrs as Severus, Severzanus, Carpophorus, and Vidorinus, and others again which speak of five confessors who, a few years afterward, suffered martyrdom for refusing to sacrifice to the Pagan gods, and whose names being at the time unknown, Pope Melehiades caused them to be distinguished in the church calendar as the Four Crowned Martyrs: an error, says Jacob de Voragine, which, although subsequently discovered, was never corrected. But the true legend of the Four Crowned Martyrs is that which has been given above from the best authority, the Roman Breviary of 1474. “On the other side of the Esquiline,” says Mrs. Jameson in her Sacred and Legendary Art (volume ii, page 0324), “and on the road leading from the Coliseum to the Lateran, surmounting a heap of sand and ruins, we come to the church of the ‘Quattro Coronati,’ the Four Crowned Brothers. On this spot, some time in the fourth century, were found the bodies of four men who had suffered decapitation, whose names being then unknown, they were merely distinguished as Coronati, crowned-that is, with the crown of martyrdom.” There is great obscurity and confusion in the history of these men. Their church, Mrs. Jameson goes on to say, is held in particular respect by the builders and stone-cutters of Rome. She has found allusion to these martyr masons not only in Roman art, but in the old sculpture and stained glass of Germany. Their effigies she tells us, are easily distinguished by the fact that they stand in a row, bearing palms, with crowns upon their heads and various Masonic implements at their feet- such as the rule, the square, the mallet, and the chisel. They suffered death on the 8th of November, 987, and hence in the Roman Catholic Missal that day is dedicated to their commemoration. From their profession as Stonemasons and from the pious firmness with which they refused, at the cost of their lives, to consecrate their skill in their art to the construction of Pagan temples, they have been adopted by the Stonemasons of Germany as the Patron Saints of Operative Masonry. Thus the oldest Regulation of the Stonemasons of Strasbourg, which has the date of the year 1459, commences with the following invocation: “In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, and of our gracious Mother Mary, and also of her Blessed Servants, the Four Crowned Martyrs of everlasting memory.” Such allusions are common in the German Masonic documents of the Middle ages. It is true, however that the English Freemasons ceased at a later period to refer in their Constitutions to those martyrs, although they undoubtedly borrowed many of their usage’s from Germany. Yet the Regius .Manuscript of the Constitutions of Freemasonry, the oldest of the English records, which is supposed to have been written about the year 1390, under the title of Ars Quatuor Coronatorum gives a rather copious detail of the legend (lines 497 to 534), which is here inserted with only those slight alterations of its antiquated phraseology which are necessary to render it intelligible to modern readers, although in doing so the rhyme of the original is somewhat destroyed: Pray we now to God Almighty And to His .Mother, Mary bright That we may keep these articles here And these points well altogether, As did those holy martyrs four That in this Craft were of great honor. They were as good Mason as on earth shall go Gravers and image makers they were also, For they were workmen of the best, The emperor had them in great liking He willed of them an image to make, That might be worshiped tor his sake; Such idols he had in his day To turn the people from Christ’s law, But they were steadfast in Christ’s law And to their Craft, without denial; They loved well God and all his lore, And were in his service evermore. True men they were, in that day, And lived well in God s law They thought no idols for to make, For no good that they might take; To believe on that idol for their god They would not do so, though he were mad, For they would not forsake their true faith, And believe on his false lan. The emperor caused to take them at once And put them in a deep prison. The sorer he punished then in that place, The more joy was to them of Christ’s grace. Then whet e saw no other one To death he let them then go. Who so will of their life more know, By the book he may it show, In the legends of the saints The names of the four crowned ones. Their feast will be without denial, After All Hallows, the eighth day. The devotion of these saints, which led to the introduction of their legend into an ancient Constitution of Freemasonry, shows how much they were reverenced by the Craft. In fact, the Four Crowned Martyrs were to the Stone-cutters of Germany and to the earlier Operative Masons of England what Saint John the Baptist and Saint John the Evangelist became to their successors, the Speculative Freemasons of the eighteenth century. From them the famous literary Lodge-the Quatuor Coronati, of London, England-has been so named.
In the instructions of the Past Master’s Degree in America we find the following expression: “A twofold cord is strong, a threefold cord is stronger, but a fourfold cord is not easily broken.” The expression is taken from a Hebrew proverb which is to be found in the Book of Ecclesiastes (iv, 12): “And if one prevail against him, two shall withstand him; and a threefold cord is not quickly broken.” The form of the Hebrew proverb was changed to suit the symbolism of the Degree.
FOUR NEW YEARS
According to the Talmud there were four New Years. The first of Nisan was the new year for kings and festivals; the reign of a king was calculated from this date. The first of Elul was a new year for the tithing of cattle. The first of Tishri was a new year for civil years, for years of release, jubilees, and planting. The first of Shebat was a new year for the tithing of trees.
FOUR OLD LODGES
Of the four old Lodges which constituted the Grand Lodge of England, on Saint John the Baptist’s day, 1717, the Lodge of Antiquity, No. 2, London, was the first. The Lodge meets by “Time Immemorial Constitution,” having no Warrant and, until the “Union,” was first on the roll; a decision, however, by ballot. lost it its numerical priority. As Lodges were known by the house in which they met, Antiquity Lodge was designated The West India and American. The Royal Somerset House and Inverness, No. 4, London, is the junior of the four Lodges which constituted the Grand Lodge. At that time it met at the Rummer and Grapes Tavern, Westminster, and subsequently at the Horn, which latter gave the Lodge a name for many years. This Lodge now represents three united Lodges, the names of two of which are to be found in its present designation. Of the four original Lodges, two only have been on the roll from 1740 as of “Time Immemorial Constitution.” The original No. 2 ceased working about 1736 and was erased in 1740, and No. 3 accepted a “New Constitution,” now No. 12, and is known as Fortitude and Cumberland. The four original Lodges, after the issue of the Regulations of 1723, simply enjoyed the advantage of being ahead of all the Warrant Lodges, the privilege of assembling by “Time Immemorial Constitution,” and the honor of having established the first Grand Lodge in the universe (see Freemasonry, Early British).
It is only necessary to remind the well-informed Freemason of the fourteen days of burial mentioned in the legend of the Third Degree. Now, this period of fourteen was not in the opinion of Masonic symbolists, an arbitrary selection, but was intended to refer to or symbolize the fourteen days of lunary darkness, or decreasing light, which intervene between the full moon and its continued decrease until the end of the lunar month. In the Egyptian mysteries, the body of Osiris is said to have been cut into fourteen pieces by Typhon, and thrown into the Nile. Plutarch, speaking of this in his treatise on Isis and Osiris, thus explains the symbolism of the number fourteen, which comprises the Masonic idea: The body of Osiris was cut into fourteen pieces; that is, into as many parts as there are days between the full moon. The moon, at the end of fourteen days, enters Taurus, and becomes united to the sun, from whom she collects fire upon her disk during the fourteen days which follow. She is then found every month in conjunction with him in the superior parts of the signs. The equinoctial year finishes at the moment when the sun and moon are found united with Orion, or the star of Orus a constellation placed under Taurus, which unites itself to the Neomenia of spring. The moon renews herself in Taurus. and a few days afterward is seen, in the form of a crescent in the following sign. that is, Gemini, the home of Mercury. Then Orion. united to the sun in the attitude of a formidable warrior, precipitates Scorpio. His rival, into the shades of night, for he sets every time Orion appears above the horizon. The day becomes lengthened, and the germs of evil are by degrees destroyed. It is thus that the poet Nonnus pictures to us Typhon conquered at the end of winter, wizen the sun arrives in Taurus, and when Orion mounts into the heavens with him. The first few lines of this article. Fourteen, prompted a discussion in the Builder of November, 1927 (page 35 ), and in the Sandusky Masonic Bulletin, December 1927 (page 149), relative to fourteen or fifteen days of burial. The former quotes Prichard of 1730 in favor of fifteen; that several Masonic Jurisdictions in the United States prefer fifteen as the number; that Webb and Cross so taught; that England has no definite period but mentions a considerate time; that Doctor Mackey was probably right in assuming an astronomical significance-the lunar period between the full and the new moon-but the fifteenth day is nevertheless the first day of the new moon. Doctor Merz in she Bulletin, however, quotes Fellows in favor of fourteen days, mentions the Great Pyramid and its latitude as providing that fourteen days before the Vernal Equinox, the sun would cease to east a shadow at noon and would not again cast it for fourteen days after the autumnal Equinox, and that the significant conformity of the legends of Osiris and of Hiram deserves favor. The Builder suggests further that altogether too many alterations in the ritual have been made in the interests of schemes of interpretation and of superficial consistency, that the thing to do is to discover the oldest available wording and then try to assign a meaning to it, the first duty being to preserve the tradition, a conclusion in which Doctor Merz and the rest of us will join cordially with Brother Meekren (see Fifteen).