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request, and saw one of their snake-eggs, gives us the like account of the origin of them, as our common people do of their Glain Neidr."*
Sometimes it would appear that these glass annulets were struck through a larger ring of iron, and that again through a much larger of copper. One of this kind was found in the river Cherwell, near Hampton Gay, in Oxfordshire, as we find it figured and described in Dr. Plott's Natural History of that county. He maintains however that they were not British, but either Saxon or Danish, the British rings being of iron, as the Roman were of gold or silver.t
The only remaining feast of this month of any note in the calendar, is the Eve of St. Peter and St. Paul, i.e. the 28th, on which occasion many of the rites peculiar to St. John the Baptist are repeated.
aforesaid. The priests of France, called Druidæ, are of opinion, and so they deliver it, that these serpents when they have thus engendered this egg, doe cast it up on high into the aire, by the force of their hissing, which being observed there must be one ready to catch and receive it in the fall againe (before it touch the ground) within the lappet of a coat of arms or soldiour's cassocke. They affirme also that the partie, who carrieth this egg away, had need to be well mounted on a good horse and to ride away upon the spur, for that the foresaid serpents will pursue him still, and never give over untill they meet with some great river between him and them that may cut off and intercept their chase. They add moreover and say that the onely marke to knowe this egg, whether it be right or no, is this, that it will swim aloft above the water even against the streame, yea though it were bound and enchased with a plate of gold.”—Holland's Pliny, p. 353, b. 29, chap. iii.
Camden affirms that this ovum anguinum is nothing more than a shell, either marine or fossil, of the kind called Echinus Marinus, "whereof one sort, though not the same that he, (Pliny) describes, is called at this day in most parts of Wales, where they are found, WYEUR MOR, i.e. Sea Eggs."—See his account of the Ordovices, p. 64. * CAMDEN'S BRITANNIA.-Ordovices-vol. ii. p. 64. fol. 1772. +Plott's History of Oxfordshire, chap. x. pars 107 and 108, p. 353, folio. Oxford, 1705.
ROSICRUCIANISM AND FREE
BELIEF upon any topic, no matter what it may be, appears to have such charms for the mass of mankind, and to be altogether such a pleasant kind of indulgence, that a writer seldom gets thanks for attempting to disturb an established creed. The reluctance of the old monks to exchange their blundering mumpsimus for the correcter sumpsimus has often been quoted in illustration of this disposition; abuse was the only coin in which they paid their monitors, and better than this I can hardly expect from the Freemasons for showing that they are either deceived or deceivers, and that in fact their society sprang out of decayed Rosicrucianism just as the beetle is engendered from a muck-heap. The doctrine, however, is not new; it has been broached before both here and upon the continent, but always as if the writers were half afraid lest in pulling down the masonic temple the rubbish might fall about their ears, and do them a mischief. In consequence, there is not, as far as I know, any thing like a full and clear exposition of this wide-spread juggle, and if a patient investigation of the subject may entitle
me to say so much, my object is to supply that deficiency. To the best of my own judgment and conviction I have adopted a correct theory on a subject not generally understood, and when there are so many apparent motives for giving it utterance it will be hard indeed if the reader can not hit upon one suited to his own peculiar tastes and habits. If he be sour and bigotted, he will attribute this attempt to vanity; if of a better nature, he may perhaps, set it down to a scholarly ambition; if he be really wise, he will see that something more is intended than lies upon the surface, and that one great object is to stimulate the credulous to think for themselves, instead of believing blindly upon any topic.
The world having arrived at the mature age of 1847, it might fairly enough be expected to have come to years of discretion. In the above space it has played many wild pranks-such as roasting men and oxen whole at Smithfield, stretching limbs upon the rack, and putting to death any one, who would fain have taught it to be better. No doubt, times have much mended of late, but still not a few of the old nursery tales maintain their ground amongst us; and of these Freemasonry is the most widely disseminated and the most ridiculous. course such an opinion will shock many gentlemen, who wear aprons, leather or silk as the case may be, and who amuse themselves with talking of "light from the east" and the building of Solomon's Temple, and with many other childish pranks, which if played off in the broad daylight would be ridiculous.
To persuade men to use their reason is always a difficult task, and the time has been when the effort to do so was rewarded with a stake or a dungeon. Indeed if we listen to the outcry, which is raised even now against the exercise of that faculty, one might suppose that reason was given to us for no other purpose than not to
be used, and that a blind belief was the greatest of human merits.
Strange as my doctrine may seem in regard to the origin of Masonry, it has not been lightly taken up nor in support of any preconceived system. As Falstaff says of Worcester's rebellion, "it lay in my way, and I found it." In wading through a mass of alchemical trash for very different purposes, I was struck by the great similarity both of doctrine and symbols existing between the Rosicrucians and Freemasons. With more haste than judgment I at first imagined that the brethren of the Rosy Cross were only imitators of the Freemasons, but after a long and patient enquiry, pursued through more volumes than I should like to venture upon again for such an object, I was forced to abandon my position. The Freemasons did indeed, like the Rosicrucians, lay claim to great antiquity, but while some of them modestly dated the origin of their order from Adam,* I could by no
*The Rev. George Oliver in his Star in the East, says (p. 2,) "Freemasonry was revealed by God himself to the first man;" and that there may be no mistake as to his real meaning, he subjoins in a note, "this may appear a bold assertion, but I am persuaded it is nevertheless true. Placed in the Garden of Eden, Adam would certainly be made acquainted with the nature of his tenure, and taught, with the worship of his Maker, that simple science of morals, which is now termed Freemasonry. This constituted his chief employment in Paradise, and his only consolation after his unhappy Fall; for Speculative Masonry is nothing else but the philosophy of mind and morals, founded on the belief of a God the Creator, Preserver, and Redeemer; which instructs mankind in the sublimities of science; inculcates a strict observance of the duties of social life; inspires in the soul a veneration for the author of its being; and incites to the pure worship of the Great Architect of the Universe."
Of all the enthusiasts for Freemasonry this writer is the most puerile as well as the most daring in his assertions. Whatever in any way seem to make for his system, he immediately takes for granted without farther enquiry; it suits his purpose, or he fancies it does,
means trace it back farther than the first half of the seventeenth century. Their historical assertions, when fairly tested and examined, crumbled into dust; the negative proofs were as strong against them, as they well could be; and at length the conclusion was to my mind inevitable. At the same time it should be borne in mind that the Freemasons are much changed from what they were originally. The alchemical jargon of their founders, the gold-making and the spirit of prophecy, had become too ridiculous in the advancing spirit of the age to be prudently avowed any longer; had they persisted in them their whole system must have sunk into contempt; these therefore they have quietly dropt, retaining only their pretensions to a clearer knowledge of the Deity and an intelligence of divine truths beyond that of other men. This of course tends in some measure to throw out the enquirer, and his difficulty is increased by finding that, if Masons and Freemasons were at any time the same thing, they are so no longer; the Mason knows nothing whatever of the mysticism, and the Freemason is just as little acquainted with the craft of the workman; he could not square a block of stone though his life depended upon it. Whatever therefore . the Freemason retains of the workman's occupation is a mere myth, and for any useful or intelligible purpose he might as well wear the apron of a blacksmith, and typify his morals by a horse-shoe. True it is that he carries the plummet, the level, and the other implements of the
and that is quite enough for him. Thus he is pleased to tell us the word, Masonry is a mere corruption of Meospavɛw-sum in medio cæli-but that a yet older name for it was lux, or light; upon this wild assumption he then builds up as wild a theory, interpreting light, wherever the phrase is used by Christ or his Apostles, to signify Masonry. See his Antiquities of Masonry, p. 4.