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that the the masonic Period
chard, Preston, Hutchinson), in France and Germany (Lessing, Baron
Knigge, Bode), the masonic periodicals
Order of Harodim; the Freem. School for Girls; Prince of Wales; Ro.
The Act of Parliament; Mother Kilwinning, etc.. .
The Revolution; the Philalethes; the Anc, and" Acc. Rite; Napoleon,
The eclectic Union; Fessler and the Gr. L. "Royal York" at Berlin;
the 3 Spheres at Berlin; Masonry in Austria; Masonry from 1814 -69. ..
FREEMASONRY AND ITS ORGANISATION. THE MASONIC HISTORIANS. – THE OLD CHARTERS OR CONSTITUTIONS OF
Findel, History of FM.
HISTORY OF FREEMASONRY.
From its very first existence the Society of Free, masons has attracted the observation of the world; it has been very suggestive to, and been thought worthy of, the attention of many of our best and most able men, and has secured to itself the sympathy of well cultivated minds of all ranks and conditions. Without protection either from Church or State, scarcely tolerated in many countries, sometimes even cruelly persecuted and oppressed, it has, notwithstanding, in the course of 100 years, from an inconsiderable number of true and sincere followers, increased to an Association extending over the whole of the civilised world, including within its Fraternity several thousands of men of the most varied shades of opinion and of religion, who in this community, exempt from the restless agitation of active life, have united to exercise a salutary influence over one another, by elevating mind and soul to purer, clearer, and sublimer views of mankind in general, and their own individual existence.
Although much has been done to bring it into disrepute, and to cast unworthy suspicions upon its efficiency and its tendency, yet it not only still exists, but has in the course of years enlarged its sphere and developed its resources, and has in no small degree contributed to raise the tone of social life, and assisted in the moral improvement and general culture of the people. Being based upon eternal truth and the unchangeable requirements of our nature, it has, notwithstanding its manifold errors, faithfully fulfilled its pacific and exalted mission, inclining its members to love and charity, to moral courage and fortitude, to truth and the conscientious discharge of known duties; it has comforted the afflicted, brought back the erring to the path of virtue, dried the tears of widows and orphans, and is the parent of many an Institution for benevolent purposes.
The vast proportions which this Society has assumed, the mystery involving its origin and early development, the different forms it has adopted in different countries, not only with regard to its constitution, but also to thecustomsincorporated with it, the destruction of many manuscripts, together with other circumstances, have rendered an investigation and a reliable delineation of its history exceedingly intricate. Only in modern times the zeal of a few devoted inquirers has shed light upon the chaos of contradictory opinions, elicited facts, and made whole epochs emerge from the obscurity surrounding them. It is upon the authority of some valuable works issued in the course of the present century, that it has been possible to produce a reliable history of Freemasonry. Before proceeding, however, to a more detailed description of it, it is first necessary to say a few words concerning the nature of Freemasonry and the organisation of the Society.
Freemasonry. Freemasonry, which by its followers is most justly described as an art, as the Royal Art, is to the Masonic Brethren what religion is to the Church, what the substance is to the form. The former is everlasting and unchangeable — the latter is dependent upon the variations to which time, place, and persons are exposed.
Up to the commencement of the present century scarcely any but Germans expressed any very clear ideas concerning the nature of this Society; and amongst the first who deserve to be especially mentioned are Lessing in his "Ernst and Falk”, Herder in "Adrastea", J. G. Fichte