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masonry dissected



Samuel Prichard

The original Institution of Masonry consisteth on the Foundation of the Liberal Arts and Sciences; but more especially on the Fifth, viz, Geometry. For at the Building of the Tower of Babel, the Art and Mystery of Masonry was first introduc'd, and from then cehanded down by Euclid, a worthy and excellent Mathematician of the Egyptians, and he communicated it to Hiram, the Master-Mason concern'd in the Building of Solomon's Temple in Jerusalem, where was an excellent and curious Mason thet was the chief under their Grand-Master Hiram, whose Name was Mannon Grecus, who taught the Art of Masonry to one Carlos Marcil in France, and from thence was brought into England in the Time of King Athelstone, who order'd an Assembly to be held once every Year at York, which was the first Introduction of it into England, and Masons were made in the Manner following.

Tunc unus ex Senioribus teneat Librum, ut illi vel ille ponant vel ponat Manus supra Librum; tum Praecepta debeant legi. i.e. Whilst one of the Seniors holdeth the Book, that he or they put their Hands upon the Book, whilst the Master ought to read the Laws or Charges.

Which Charges were, That they should be true to one another without Exception, and should be obliged to relieve their Brothers and Fellows Necessities, or put them to labour and reward them accordingly.

But in these latter Days Masonry is not composed of Artificers, as it was in its primaeval State, when some few Catechetical Questions were necessary to declare a Man sufficiently qualified for an Operative Mason.

The Terms of Free and Accepted Masonry (as it now is) has not been heard of till within these few Years; no Constitued Lodges or Quarterly Communications were heard of till1691, when Lords and Dukes, Lawyers and Shopkeepers, and the other inferior Tradesmen, Porters not excepted, were admitted into this Mystery or no Mystery; the first sort being introduc'd at very great Expence, the second sort at a moderate Rate, and the latter for the Expence of six or seven Shillings, for which they receive that Badge of Honour, which (as they term it) is more ancient and more honourable than is the Star and Garter, which Antiquity is accounted, according to the Rules of Masonry, as delivered by their Tradition, ever since Adam, which I shall leave the candid Reader to determine.

From the Accepted Masons sprang the Real Masons, from both sprang the Gormogons, whose Grand-Master the Volgi deduces his Original from the Chinese, whose Writings, ifto be credited, maintains the Hypotheses of the Pre-Adamites, and consequently must be more antique than Masonry.

The most free and open society is that of the Grand Kaihebar, which consist of a select Company of Responsible People, whose chief Discourse is concerning Trade and Business, and promoting mutual Friendship without Compulsion or Restriction.

But if after the Admission into the Secrets of Masonry, any new Brother should dislike their Proceedings, and reflect upon himself for being so easily cajoled out of his Money, declines the Fraternity or secludes himself upon the Account of the Quarterly Expences of the Lodge and Quarterly communications, notwithstanding ha has been legally admitted into a Constituted and Regular Lodge, shall be denied the Privilege (as a Visiting Brother) of Knowing the Mystery for which he has already paid, which is a manifest Contradiction according to the Institution of Masonry itself, as will evidently appear by the following Treatise.

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Last modified: March 22, 2014