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.The legend of Osiris is the parent stock from235 Stellar Theology and Masonic Astronomywhich all the others came, but in Greece and Asia Minor thename of Osiris disappeared, and those of Dionysus and Bac-chus were substituted, while in the Hebrew-Tyrian temple leg-end the name of Hiram is found.The claim, however, that thelegend of Hiram is an actual history, descriptive of eventswhich really took place about the time of the building of KingSolomon's temple, must be abandoned by the few who stillblindly cling to it.Masonry can no longer hope to stand without criticism inthis age of inquiry.There is a spirit abroad which does nothesitate to catch Antiquity by its gray beard, state into its wrin-kled face, and demand upon what authority, of right reason,or authentic history, it founds its pretensions.The masonic tra-dition cannot hope to escape examination in its turn; and,when it is examined, it will not stand the test as claiming to behistorically true.If, then, we have no explanation to offer, itmust be discarded, and take its place among many otherexploded legends of the past.By showing, however, that it isnot intended as an actual history, but is really a sublime alle-gory of great antiquity, teaching the profoundest truths ofastronomy, and inculcating, by an ancient system of types,symbols, and emblems, an exalted code of morals, we at oncereply to and disarm all that kind of criticism.The masonicOrder is thus placed on a loftier plane, and assumes a positionwhich challenges the respect and admiration of both thelearned and virtuous; the learned, because they will thus beenabled to recognize it as the depository of an ancient systemof scientific knowledge; the virtuous, because the Order alsostands revealed to them as having been in past ages the pre-server of true worship, and the teacher of morality and broth-erly love.It has been the boast of masonry that its ritualcontained great scientific as well as moral truths.While thiswas plainly the fact as to the moral teachings of our Order, toa large number of our most intelligent brothers the key whichalong could unlock the masonic treasury of scientific truth236 Chapter 9.Conclusionappeared to have been lost.We believe that key is at lengthrestored; for, if the masonic traditions and legends, with theritual illustrating them, are regarded as astronomical allegories,the light of scientific truth is at once seen to illuminate andpermeate every part.If the explanation given in the foregoingpages is correct, any person who fully understands the mean-ing and intention of the legends and ceremonies, symbols, andemblems of our Order, is necessarily well informed as to thesciences of astronomy and geometry, which form the founda-tion of all the others.And why is not the explanation correct? Have you everconsidered the "calculus of probabilities," as applied to a sub-ject like this? That masonry should contain a single allusion tothe sun, might happen, and imply nothing.The same might besaid if it contained but three or four; but when we find that thename of the Order, the form, dimensions, lights, ornaments,and furniture of its lodges, and all the emblems, symbols, cer-emonies, words, and signs, without exception, allude to theannual circuit of the sun that astronomical ideas and solarsymbols are interwoven into the very texture of the wholeinstitution, and, what is still more significant, that there is sucha harmony of relation existing between all these astronomicalallusions as to render the whole ritual capable of a perfect andnatural interpretation as an astronomical allegory, which is alsoone and complete the probability that it was originally sointended is overwhelming, and amounts to a positive demon-stration.There are millions of probabilities to one against thetheory of the allegory being accidental and not designed.Can any reasonable mind suppose that, when Bunyonwrote his "Pilgrim's Progress," the story was an allegory of thetrials and triumphs of a Christian life by an accident only, andthat the author if it never intended or designed the allegory atall? Yet the astronomical allegory of the masonic legend per-vades all parts of it, and is just as complete and perfect whenexamined as the allegory of the travels, combats, adventures,237 Stellar Theology and Masonic Astronomyand temptations of the hero of "Pilgrim's Progress." The prob-ability that Bunyan wrote his book without any intention ofmaking it an allegory, and that it became so by accident, is justabout as reasonable an idea to entertain as that the masoniclegend and the emblems illustrating it were not originallydesigned to be what we have shown that they are a pro-found and beautiful astronomical allegory.As to the antiquity of masonry, that, we have shown, restson the astronomical basis, and enables us to mathematicallydemonstrate its remote origin, independent of the uncertainand dim light of ancient history and tradition.It is true that itsexact date cannot be fixed, but the proof that masonry is ofgreat antiquity, and was founded by men of profound knowl-edge and exalted virtue, is conclusive: men of great learning,because their scientific knowledge lies embalmed in theirwork to this day; men of exalted virtue, because our ritualinculcates a code of morality never equaled or excelled untilthe promulgation in later times of the New Testament [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]