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is true that many eminent men professing the science of Lux, which includes a knowledge of all other sciences, applied it to an operative purpose, and united in the construction of magnificent edifices; but as they chiefly sought their own private interest or emolument, it is no wonder that the true principles of Lux were sacrificed, founded as they are on the belief and acknowledgment of one only Supreme Being, the Creator and Governor of the world, when these edifices were dedicated to deceased mortals, or the host of heaven.
After the flood the true professors of Lux were termed NOACHIDÆ; but the science itself retained its primitive name for many centuries afterwards. At the building of the temple by King Solomon, it was known under this appellation, which certainly remained for a considerable time subsequent to that event; for our science is recognized by Christ and his apostles under this denomination, and it even retains the name of Lux in our Latin records to the present day. St. John, speaking in high commendation of Jesus Christ, says, “He was the true LIGHT," 16 " and the Light shineth in darkness, and the darkness comprehendeth it not.” 17 This evangelist, as the grand patron of Masonry, inculcates the doctrines of our craft throughout the whole of his writings; and on every important appeal fails not to use such expressions and phrases as apply equally and jointly to Christianity and Masonry. He considered them in the light of two twin sisters, which would grow up together and moralize the world. His First General Epistle contains all the sublime and spiritual part of our ordinary illustrations. And our Saviour says of himself, “I am the Light of the world.”18 And again more explicitly, “ Yet a little while is the Light with you ; walk while ye have the light, lest darkness come upon you; for he that walketh in darkness knoweth not whither he goeth. While ye have Light, believe in the light, that ye may be the CHILDREN OF LIGHT.” 19
16 John i. 9.
17 Ibid. 5.
At the building of Solomon's Temple the sons of light associated together, under an exalted professor of Lux, to devote themselves to the service of the true and living God; but it does not hence follow that the science was designated from the operative pursuits embraced on that memorable occasion, for the appellation of a science is seldom extracted from any of its inferior branches. Its name was more probably changed by some distinguished founder of a sect of philosophy amongst idolaters ; because, as I have already observed, it was acknowledged by Christ and his apostles under its primitive designation.
The word Masonry, when first adopted, was merely a corruption of Merepavew, sum in medio cæli; which name was applied to the science about A.M. 3490; when Pythagoras, after travelling over the whole world, made many additions to the mysteries of his native country, which he purified from their gross abominations by the use
John viii. 12.
John xii. 35, 36.
of Lux, which he had learned in Judea ;20 and in Greece instituted a lodge of geometricians, on a new principle, compounded from all the existing systems of other nations. The aspirants were enjoined a SILENCE of five years previously to initiation; and they who could not endure this rigid probation were publicly dismissed ; a tomb was erected for them, and they were ever after considered as dead men.
This new institution in Greece would naturally produce a Grecian appellation, as the inhabitants were in the constant practice of naming, according to the idiom of their own language, not only other countries, but the sciences, and also eminent men; that the honour of each might be attributed to their own nation. From this time, also, a more intimate union took place between the speculative and operative professors; and the beautiful columns, known amongst us by the names of WISDOM, STRENGTH, and BEAUTY, were brought to perfection amongst that people. Pythagoras also invented an invaluable proposition, which he called the Eupyxa, because it forms a grand basis for all the laborious calculations of operative architecture. This indefatigable Mason carried his astronomical studies to such perfection as absolutely to discover the true system of the universe, by placing the sun in the
20 Aristobulus the Jew informs us (Clem. Alex. Strom. 1), that Pythagoras transferred the Jewish doctrines and ceremonies into his own system; and this is confirmed by others. (Hermipp. in Jos. con. Ap. lib. 1; Orig. con. Cels. lib. 1.)
21 Jambl. Vit. Pyth., c. 17.
centre, round which the planets made their various revolutions. From this system originated the name of our science, Merepavew; and the representation of the great luminary which invigorates all nature with its beams, was placed in the centre of his lodge, as an emblem of the union of speculative with operative Masonry; which had been before practised by King Solomon in the middle chamber of his temple.22
As the Grecian arts, manners, and language became propagated throughout the world, their system of Masonry, together with the name, accompanied them. The Druidical memoranda were made in the Greek character, for the Druids had been taught Masonry by Pythagoras himself,23 who had communicated its arcana to them, under the name he had assigned to it in his own country. This distinguished appellation (Merspavew), in the
“Greece now abounded with the best architects, sculptors, statuaries, painters, and other fine designers, most of them educated at the academies of Athens and Sicyon, who instructed many artists and fellow-crafts to be the best operators upon earth; so that the nations of Asia and Africa, who had taught the Greeks, were now taught by them. No country but Greece could now boast of such men as Mycon, Phidias, Demon, Androcides, Meton, Anaxagoras, Dipenus and Scyllis, Glycon, Alcamenes, Praxiteles, Polycletus, Lysippus, Peneus, Euphronor, Perseus, Philostratus, Zeuxis, Apollodorus, Parbasius, Timanthes, Eupompus, Pamphilus, Apelles, Artemones, Socrates, Eudoxus, Metrodorus, who wrote of Masonry, and the excellent Theodorus Cyrenæus, who amplified geometry, and published the art analytic, the master of the divine Plato, from whose school came Zenocrates, and Aristotle, the preceptor of Alexander the Great. (North. Const., chap. 5, part 1.) 23 Amm. Marcell.
subsequent declension and oblivion of the science, during the dark ages of barbarity and superstition, might be corrupted into MASONRY, as its remains, being merely operative, were confined to a few hands, and these artificers and working Masons.
Throughout this work I have used the appellation MASONRY as the acknowledged designation of our science in its present form, though it was not known by that name during any of the periods I have attempted to elucidate.
The true definition of Masonry is, a science which includes all others, and teaches mankind their duty to God, their neighbour, and themselves. ** This definition evidently conveys two distinct ideas; the former of which is termed OPERATIVE, and the latter SPECULATIVE MASONRY. Architecture, being a science of the greatest use and benefit to man in his natural state, was principally cultivated by the Masons of that race who had separated from the faithful worshippers of God, and migrated into distant realms, where, for want of an intercommunity with the Sons of Light, the noble science of Masonry would soon be forgotten, and operative architecture might, by their posterity, be mistaken for the science of which it was, in reality, only a constituent part of an inferior division: and this mistake would not be rectified, until a renewed association with the true Masons convinced them practically of their error, which was effected at the building of
24 There are two other legitimate definitions of Masonry. 1. It is a beautiful system of morality, veiled in allegory, and illustrated by symbols. 2. The study of science, and the practice of virtue.