Monday, September 22, 2008

Masonic Harmony? Has It Ever Existed?

Our Fraternity was founded out of disharmony.
Disharmony created by Kings, Clergy and Potentates of all time.
Inflamed by Edicts and Inquisitions sent out by men, believing they were superior to the commoners, and fervently defended to keep their seats of control and power.
The first hundred years of our Fraternities existence was in disharmony, but the Spirit of Freemasonry continued to grow while Dukes and Lords quarreled over who controlled Freemasonry and it constituents. Here is a little history of Freemasonry during its infancy compiled by Brother Rebold, M.D. from 1860.
Harmony is mentioned by the Senior Warden in regards to the pay to the craft. The idea is equal pay will create harmony, or just rewards for labor procured, in conjunction with the quality of the work. Merit and Equality was what created Harmony, not everyone getting along and everyone avoiding the discussions of politics and religion.
Harmony can be created by the equaling out of opposite forces/opinions, not all conforming and being loyal subjects!
Dukes and Lords and Potentates created the UGLE for control purposes only. Not Harmony amongst the Craft. That will come from equality, not creating Titles of Prince of East and West or Illustrious Potentates. A fraternity professing equality then creates “Higher Degrees” with fancy little Titles, so a commoner can achieve the Title of Prince, Or King, or Potentate. The Fraternity of Nobility that Freemasonry fought, had infiltrated the order, and created Titles for the Commoners to chase, to feel equal to a Duke or some other nobility (Shriners are called Nobles). The Jesuits, Stuarts and Hanovers used Freemasonry as a battle ground for power and control.
True Equality, True Liberty and True Fraternity will equal Harmony.
Equality amongst Grand Lodge’s and their members,
Liberty to Travel and meet with all Freemasons and Freedoms of Speech and Associations.
Fraternity of All Mankind as Equal Laborers of the Ultimate Lodge: Earth.

“The three Grand Lodges of Great Britain, thus constituted, propagated the new Freemasonry (Grand Lodge of London) upon every portion of the globe, so that in 1750, we find it extended into nearly every civilized country; but its humanitarian doctrines, like the dogma of “Liberty, Equality, Fraternity,” which it exhibited, frightened the kings and the clergy, who sought to arrest its progress by issuing decrees and edicts against it. In Russia, 1731, in Holland, in 1735, in Paris, 1737, 1738, 1744, and 1745, the meetings of lodges of Freemasons were interdicted by the government; while at Rome and in Florence its members were arrested and persecuted, and in Sweden, Hamburg, and Geneva they were prohibited from meeting or assembling themselves in the capacity of lodges. The Holy Inquisition threw Freemasons into prison, burnt; by the hand of the public executioner, all books which contained Masonic regulations, history, or doctrines; condemned at Malta to perpetual exile, in 1740, a number of knights who had organized a lodge on that island; in Portugal it exercised against them cruelties of various kinds, and condemned them to the galleys; while in Vienna and Marseilles, as also in Switzerland, and in the canton of Berne, the iron hand of that “Holy” institution was felt in 1743. In 1748, at Constantinople, the sultan endeavored to destroy the Masonic society. In the states of the Church, the King of Naples prohibited Masonry, and Ferdinand VII, King of Spain, issued an edict that prohibited the assembly of Freemasons within his kingdom, under penalty of death. In 1751, Pope Benedict XIV renewed the bull of excommunication promulgated against the Fraternity by Clement XII, while the threat of the death menaced all who should be known to attend Masonic meetings.

But all these exhibitions of the rage of kings, princes and potentates were ineffectual to stop the onward course of Freemasonry, which continued to be propagated upon all the surface of the earth with a rapidity that no power could arrest. Braving the bull of Benedict XIV, Freemasonry is openly practiced in Tuscany, at Naples, and in many other parts of the Italian peninsula. At Rome even the partisans of the Stuarts founded some lodges, which they took but feeble pains to hide from the authorities.

The activity of the Grand Lodges of Great Britain, and above all, of that of London, was not confined to the establishment of lodges in Europe between the years 1727 and 1740; they had already transplanted Masonry to Bengal, to Bombay, the Cape of Good Hope, New South Wales, New Zealand, and Java, and as early 1721, lodges of Masons were established in Canada. Before 1740 Masonry existed in the principal colonies of the now United States of America, such as Massachusetts, Georgia, South Carolina and New York. In those colonies the lodges had created Grand Lodges independent of the Grand Lodges of England, of whom they had in the beginning received their authority.

The Lodge of London, notwithstanding its astonishing prosperity, was not permitted to enjoy that prosperity without great internal struggles, caused first by the Grand Lodge of York, and subsequently by the schism of a great many brethren, who adhering to the claims of the latter, went out from the former and took the name of “Ancient Masons,” in contradistinction to the membership of the Grand Lodge of London, who remained true to their engagements, and whom this schismatic party styled “Modern Masons.” These schismatic lodges, composed in great part of Irish Masons- who accused the Grand Lodge of altering the rituals and introducing innovations- and of Masons who had been expelled, in 1751, constituted a rival power to the Grand Lodge, under the title of “The Grand Lodge of Ancient Masons of England.” Notwithstanding its inferiority, and a few lodges which it represented or was enabled to establish, this schismatic party, in 1772, requested the Duke of Athol, who had already filled that office in the Grand Lodge of Scotland, to become its Grand Master, a request with which he complied.

To give itself importance, and to influence to its ranks the nobility, this schismatic party added to the degrees with which it had started some of the high degrees created in France by the [artisans of the Stuarts, and which they imported into England about the year 1760, and combined them the symbolic degrees into a rite of seven degrees, the highest of which they called the Royal Arch. This Grand Lodge of self-styled Ancient Masons transplanted its rite into the lodges which it constituted in America, and there produced the same disorders and the same schisms among the fraternity that the “high” degrees had already provoked in all the sates of Europe.

This unhappy division in the bosom of English Masonry, commenced in 1736, was continued for a long time, by the Grand Lodges of Ireland and Scotland recognizing the schismatic “Grand Lodge of Ancient Masons,” to which they in this manner gave a character that it did not merit, but which continued until 1813, when at this time it ceased, by the schismatic Grand Lodge, which then had its Grand Master the Duke of Kent, and the Grand Lodge of London, styled by these schismatics “Modern Masons,” and which had as its Grand Master his brother, the Duke of Sussex, uniting under the title of the “United Grand Lodges of England.” In this union the ancient laws, as well as written as traditional, were taken as the basis, and the spirit that influenced the organization of 1717 was recognized, and it was then and there announced and proclaimed that the ancient and true Freemasonry was composed of but three degrees, viz: Apprentice, Fellow-craft, and Master Mason. Unhappily, however, the legitimate Grand Lodge conceded to the party self-styled “Ancient Masons,” who necessarily had to abandon their rite of seven degrees, a division of the degree of Master Mason practiced by this party, and taught as a supplementary portion of this degree, under the name of Royal Arch. This concession, which the schismatic party exacted as a sine qua non of their union with the legitimate Grand Lodge and surrender of their rights to that body, was an act of feebleness, on the part of the Grand Lodge of London, which has destroyed, in a great degree, the unity and the basis of true Masonry, as it had been practiced by that body, up to that time, with a laudable firmness.

In the connection of its moral effects and civilizing influence, English Freemasonry—we say it with sorrow--- has made but slight advances in the last half century; while, as we have seen, it was once the active pioneer everywhere. It exercised by its introduction into France an immense influence upon the principles of 1789, and started the development of liberal ideas throughout the whole of Europe; while in Oceanica, Hindostan and China its principles have modified the religious beliefs of the sectaries of Brahama, of the Persians and the Mussulmans, of whom are composed the majority of the lodges founded in those countries; yet to-day the Grand Lodge of England, like its sisters, those of Scotland and Ireland, seems satisfied to repose under its glories of the past and rest upon its laurels.”

Thanks Brother Rebold for this.....


Freestyle said...

Fascinating stuff indeed!

2 BOWL CAIN said...

The question is:
Does Anglo/British Freemasonry create Loyal Subjects, who will not Rebell ever again, or Free Thinkers and Men of Action?