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masonic trade, but not as signs or badges of the mechanic art; he attaches to them a very different signification.
I feel then not the least hesitation in saying that the Freemasons have no secret beyond a few trumpery legends and the attaching of certain religious and moral meanings to a set of emblems, principally borrowed from the mechanic art of the builder. I affirm too that all such symbols, with their interpretations, are of Rosicrucian origin, and that the Freemasons never belonged to the working guilds, their objects being totally different. The proofs are at hand. Let the reader exercise his own unbiassed judgment upon them, taking nothing upon trust from either party, and I have little doubt of his coming to the same conclusion. He must, however, follow me patiently step by step, and begin by thoroughly understanding the origin, tenets, and historical existence of the Rosicrucians.
As, according to the theory that I wish to establish, Freemasonry grew out of Rosicrucianism, it is essential that we should in the first instance thoroughly understand the origin and nature of the latter. Without this previous knowledge on the part of my readers, I could hardly hope to make myself intelligible to them.
It would be difficult, if not impossible, to fix the precise time when alchemy, which is said to have emanated from the Arabs,* first found its way into Europe; but we do know that the writings of Paracelsus spread the so-called science far and wide, and gave to it a consideration, which it had not possessed before. Like all re
I put this matter doubtfully, being myself far from satisfied of the truth of the assertion. That Europe received alchemy from the Arabs I do not for a moment question; but this proves nothing; and we know enough of the Egyptian character to make it extremely probable that both astrology and alchemy had their birth in the land of the Pharoahs.
formers, if Paracelsus had bitter enemies he had also warm adherents, and while the .one denied his very truths, the others were no less infatuated with his errors. His influence in consequence over his own age, and for at least a hundred years afterwards, was unbounded. Nor shall we wonder at this when we call to mind how much his creed was in harmony with the general and passionate belief in the marvellous and supernatural. The soundest philosophers of the day were in this respect no wiser than the common herd, and we find that even such a man as Leibnitz could join at Nurenberg a society of sages whose professed object was the search after the philosopher's stone.* With the multitude of course belief assumed a yet blinder and grosser form, till mankind had almost lost their free agency in the host of spirits that beset them, headed by no less a personage than the devil himself, who bodily as well as visibly interfered in all their concerns. At such a time alchemy could not fail to be peculiarly acceptable to the minds of men, and the rather, as it was not to be acquired like any profane science by the dry way of study, but must be got by inspiration, the art being a divine one, handed down in secret from Solomon, or as some would have it from Moses. In fact it was one of the mysteries taught by the Cabala, or inspired wisdom, the possessors of which comprehended the operations of nature at a glance; but this Cabala,† or Light from the
* See Buhle, p. 236.
+ Amongst all the explanations given by Rosicrucians of the Cabala, the following is by far the most intelligible.-" Daher ist auch dieselbe Kunst der Himlischen Weisheit von Etlichen in der Hebraischen Sprache Cabala, oder zu Latein Receptio, genennt worden, welches zu Deutsch so viel heisst als eine solche Kund, die man durch Offenbarung von Gott erlanget. Die Wissenschaft aber so dissfals ein Mensch von dem andern erlangen kann, bestehet fürnemblich in dem Weye und Process, dadurch zu solcher hohen Kunst der Gött
East, which was communicated by the Deity to Adam, and from him passed to Moses and the Prophets, was confined to the few elect. It was the great secret of
Weissheit zu kommen, wie nemblich ein Mensch sich prepäriren und vorbereiten, und wie er seine Seele reinigen und bekehren solle, das sie zu empfähung solcher allerhöchster Gabe Gottes geschickt und bequem sey."-Echo der von Gott hocherleuchten Fraternitet, &c., p. 110, Danzig, 1617, 12mo.-" Hence this art of heavenly wisdom is by some called in the Hebrew tongue, Cabala; or in Latin, Receptio; which in German is as much as to say an art obtained by revelation from God. But the knowledge, which in this respect one man can obtain from another, consists chiefly in the way and process of arriving at such a high art of godly wisdom-how, namely, a man may prepare and dispose himself, and how he may cleanse and convert his mind, that he may be fit and proper for the reception of this highest heavenly gift."
But it should appear that there were various sorts of Cabalas; Flood, who had as much useless learning as most men, gives a very full account of them. "Ex veterum philosophorum scriptis colligimus Cabalam illam esse scientiæ speciem, quæ originem suam ab Antistite Moyse duxit. Nam Judæi volunt hanc cognitionem Moysi divino numine fuisse traditam, ac deinceps citra literarum monumenta, gradu successionis, posteris usque ad Esdræ tempus sola viva voce continuatam; unde Cabala ab Hebræis, quasi solo auditu unius ab altero, receptio nuncupata est. Hujus duo recensentur genera, quorum unum Cosmologia dicitur, videlicet rerum creatarum naturalium, tam sublunarium quàm cælestium, vires explicans, et legis bibliique arcana philosophicis rationibus exponens, quæ a magia illa naturali aliquo modo differre non videtur, in qua Salomonem regem superius excelluisse diximus, nam disputavit à cedro Libani usque ad Hyssopum ; item jumentorum, volucrum, reptilium, et piscium, immò et omnium rerum naturalium proprietates inspexit, optimèque divini numinis assistentia percalluit; nam magicas naturalium vires in centro delitescentes, virtute hujus speciei Cabala ad actum producere non dubitavit. Alia Cabalæ differentia nuncupatur Mercava, quæ est de sublimioribus divinarum Angelicarumque virtutum, sacrorum nominum, et signaculorum contemplationibus; atque hæc ejus species dividitur in Notariacon, quæ universaliter circa angelorum virtutes, nomina, et signacula, ad Dæmonum et animarum conditiones versatur. Vel in Theomanti
Paracelsus, as it was of his followers, and still is of the Freemasons; but with this difference; the Light from the East no longer supplies the key of knowledge to art or science, but is presumed to illuminate the adept in the way of morals and religion,-in fact to be that higher species of truth which the Jewish priests kept among themselves, and pretended were not revealed in the Bible.
Here then we have all the admitted tenets of the Rosicrucians, and we see a sect, though not a brotherhood. The next question therefore is, when did such a brotherhood first arise? The Cabalists will at least reply, it dates from the building of Solomon's temple, that being a favourite epoch with all Christian mystics, though it involves their creed in many difficulties and contradictions. In spite, however, of such high authorities, even the name of Rosicrucian does not seem to have been known till the commencement of the seventeenth century. There is no mention of such a thing in the works of Albertus Magnus, Friar Bacon, Cornelius Agrippa, nor even of Paracelsus; yet surely had it existed, it must have been known to one, if not to all of them, and as surely we should have found some traces of it in their writings. The total absence of any thing of the kind is as conclusive as a negative proof can be.*
cam, quæ divinæ Majestatis mysteria, sacraque nomina, et pentacula, scrutatur, quam qui novit, hunc aiunt admirandis pollere virtutibus, ita ut cum velit, futura omnia presciat, totique naturæ imperet. Hac arte putant Moysen tot signa et miracula edidisse et Josuen stare solem præcipisse."- Apologia Compendiaria, &c., Auctore R. de Fluctibus (Flood) Leydæ, 1616, p. 27.
* There was indeed a Militia Crucifera Evangelica, established in Nuremberg, A.D. 1586; but this was only a fanatic Protestant society. See Buhle; p. 119.
In 1614 appeared a pamphlet with the title of, Allgemeine und General Reformation der ganzen weiten Welt, beneben der Fama Fraternitatis, oder Entstehung der Brüderschaft des löblichen Ordens des Rosenkreutzes, &c. Cassel, 1614, 8vo. The author's name was not given, but the work was said to be published without his consent, and to be the production of John Valentine Andreä,* an assertion, the truth of which however has been questioned. A second edition, and it is to that my references are made, appeared at Frankfort in 1617, under the title of Fama Fraternitatis, oder Entdeckung der Bruderschafft dess löblichen
* John Valentine Andreä was born in 1586, at Herrenberg in Wurtemberg, and excelled in theology, mathematics, and philosophy. He is spoken of very highly by the poet, Herder, and seems to have entered earnestly into the religious disputes of his time. Many have doubted his being the author of the Fama, but it would be difficult to say on what reasonable grounds. It was generally so believed in his own day, and Arnold bears the most decisive testimony to the same effect in his Kirchen und Ketzer-Historie, (p. 899). He there says, "Man hat in M. Christoph Hirschen's, (predigers zu Eissleben) hinterlasseuen Schriften gefunden, dass Joh. Arnd an ihn als seinen vertrauten freund und ehemals daselbst gewesenen Collegen in vertrauen berichtet gehabt, wie ihm D. Joh. Valentinus Andreæ auch sub rosâ dieses secretum entdecket hätte, dass er (D. Andreæ) nebst andern 30 personen im Würtembergerland die Famam Fraternitatis zu erst heraus gegeben, dadurch hinter dem Vorhange zu erfahren was vor judicia in Europa darüber ergehen, und was vor verborgene Liebhaber der wahren weissheit hin und wieder stecken, und sich hiebey vorthun würden."-" In the posthumous writings of M. C. Hirschen, pastor at Eissleben, it has been found that John Arnd informed him in confidence, as a near friend and former colleague, how he had been told by John Valentine Andreä,—also sub rosâ—that he, namely Andreä, with thirty others in Wurtemberg, had first sent forth the Fama Fraternitatis, that under this screen they might learn the judgment of Europe thereon, as also what lovers of true wisdom lay concealed here and there, and would then come forward."