From these reports and declarations of Masons
of the highest order in the institution, we see that Masonry,
without publicly declaring so, lays claim to some divine
communications from the Creator, in a manner different from, and
unconnected with, the book which the Christians call the Bible;
and the natural result from this is, that Masonry is derived
from some very ancient religion, wholly independent of and
unconnected with that book.
To come then at once to the point, Masonry
(as I shall show from the customs, ceremonies, hieroglyphics,
and chronology of Masonry) is derived and is the remains of the
religion of the ancient Druids; who, like the magi of Persia and
the priests of Heliopolis in Egypt, were priests of the sun.
They paid worship to this great luminary, as the great visible
agent of a great invisible first cause, whom they styled "Time
The Christian religion and Masonry have one
and the same common origin: both are derived from the worship of
the sun. The difference between their origin is, that the
Christian religion is a parody on the worship of the sun, in
which they put a man whom they call Christ, in the place of the
sun, and pay him the same adoration which was originally paid to
the sun, as I have shown in the chapter on the origin of the
In Masonry many of the ceremonies of the
Druids are preserved in their original state, at least without
any parody. With them the sun is still the sun; and his image in
the form of the sun is the great emblematical ornament of
Masonic lodges and Masonic dresses. It is the central figure on
their aprons, and they wear it also pendant on the breast of
their lodges, and in their processions. It has the figure of a
man, as at the head of the sun, as Christ is always represented.
At what period of antiquity, or in what
nation, this religion was first established, is lost in the
labyrinth of unrecorded time. It is generally ascribed to the
ancient Egyptians, the Babylonians and Chaldeans, and reduced
afterwards to a system regulated by the apparent progress of the
sun through the twelve signs of the zodiac by Zoroaster the
lawgiver of Persia, from whence Pythagoras brought it into
Greece. It is to these matters Dr. Dodd refers in the passage
already quoted from his oration.
The worship of the sun as the great visible
agent of a great invisible first cause, "Time without limits,"
spread itself over a considerable part of Asia and Africa, from
thence to Greece and Rome, through all ancient Gaul, and into
Britain and Ireland.
Smith, in his chapter on the antiquity of
Masonry in Britain, says, that "notwithstanding the obscurity
which envelops Masonic history in that country, various
circumstances contribute to prove that Freemasonry was
introduced into Britain about 1,030 years before Christ."
It cannot be Masonry in its present state
that Smith here alludes to. The Druids flourished in Britain at
the period he speaks of, and it is from them that Masonry is
descended. Smith has put the child in the place of the parent.
It sometimes happens, as well in writing as
in conversation, that a person lets slip an expression that
serves to unravel what he intends to conceal, and this is the
case with Smith, for in the same chapter he says, "The Druids,
when they committed anything to writing, used the Greek
alphabet, and I am bold to assert that the most perfect remains
of the Druids' rites and ceremonies are preserved in the customs
and ceremonies of the Masons that are to be found existing among
mankind. My brethren," says he, "may be able to trace them with
greater exactness than I am at liberty to explain to the
This is a confession from a Master Mason,
without intending it to be so understood by the public, that
Masonry is the remains of the religion of the Druids; the
reasons for the Masons keeping this a secret I shall explain in
the course of this work.
As the study and contemplation of the Creator
is in the works of the creation, the sun, as the great visible
agent of that Being, was the visible object of the adoration of
the Druids; all their religious rites and ceremonies had
reference to the apparent progress of the sun through the twelve
signs of the zodiac, and his influence upon the earth.
The Masons adopt the same practices. The roof
of their temples or lodges is ornamented with a sun, and the
floor is a representation of the variegated face of the earth
either by carpeting or mosaic work.
Freemasons' Hall, in Great Queen Street,
Lincoln's Inn Fields, London, is a magnificent building, and
cost upward of 12,000 pounds sterling. Smith, in speaking of
this building, says (page 152), "The roof of this magnificent
hall is in all probability the highest piece of finished
architecture in Europe. In the center of this roof, a most
resplendent sun is represented in burnished gold, surrounded
with the twelve signs of the zodiac, with their respective
After giving this description, he says, "The
emblematical meaning of the sun is well known to the enlightened
and inquisitive Freemason; and as the real sun is situated in
the center of the universe, so the emblematical sun is the
center of real Masonry. We all know" continues he, "that the sun
is the fountain of light, the source of the seasons, the cause
of the vicissitudes of day and night, the parent of vegetation,
the friend of man; hence the scientific Freemason only knows the
reason why the sun is placed in the center of this beautiful
The Masons, in order to protect themselves
from the persecution of the Christian Church, have always spoken
in a mystical manner of the figure of the sun in their lodges,
or, like the astronomer Lalande, who is a Mason, been silent
upon the subject.
It is their secret, especially in Catholic
countries, because the figure of the sun is the expressive
criterion that denotes they are descended from the Druids, and
that wise, elegant, philosophical religion was the faith
opposite to the faith of the gloomy Christian Church.
The lodges of the Masons, if built for the
purpose, are constructed in a manner to correspond with the
apparent motion of the sun. They are situated East and West. The
master's place is always in the East. In the examination of an
Entered Apprentice, the master, among many other questions, asks
Q. "How is the lodge situated?"
A. "East and West."
Q. "Why so?"
A. "Because all churches and chapels are,
or ought to be so."
This answer, which is mere catechismal form,
is not an answer to the question. It does no more than remove
the question a point further, which is, why ought all churches
and chapels to be so? But as the Entered Apprentice is not
initiated into the druidical mysteries of Masonry, he is not
asked any questions a direct answer to which would lead thereto.
Q. "Where stands your master?"
A. "In the East."
Q. "Why so?"
A. "As the sun rises in the East and
opens the day, so the master stands in the East (with his right
hand upon his left breast, being a sign, and the square about
his neck), to open the lodge, and set his men at work."
Q. "Where stand your wardens?"
A. "In the West."
Q. "What is their business?"
A. "As the sun sets in the West to close
the day, so the wardens stand in the West (with their right
hands upon their left breasts, being a sign, and the level and
plumb rule about their necks), to close the lodge, and dismiss
the men from labor, paying them their wages."
Here the name of the sun is mentioned, but it
is proper to observe that in this place it has reference only to
labor or to the time of labor, and not to any religious
druidical rite or ceremony, as it would have with respect to the
situation of lodges East and West.
I have already observed in the chapter on the
origin of the Christian religion, that the situation of churches
East and West is taken from the worship of the sun, which rises
in the East, and has not the least reference to the person
called Jesus Christ.
The Christians never bury their dead on the
North side of a church; and a Mason's lodge always has, or is
supposed to have, three windows which are called fixed lights,
to distinguish them from the movable lights of the sun and the
moon. The master asks the Entered Apprentice,
Q. "How are they (the fixed lights)
A. "East, West, and South."
Q. "What are their uses?"
A. "To light the men to and from their
Q. "Why are there no lights in the
A. "Because the Sun darts no rays from
This, among numerous other instances, shows
that the Christian religion and Masonry have one and the same
common origin, the ancient worship of the sun.
The high festival of the Masons is on the day
they call St. John's day; but every enlightened Mason must know
that holding their festival on this day has no reference to the
person called St. John, and that it is only to disguise the true
cause of holding it on this day, that they call the day by that
name. As there were Masons, or at least Druids, many centuries
before the time of St. John, if such a person ever existed, the
holding their festival on this day must refer to some cause
totally unconnected with John.
The case is, that the day called St. John's
day, is the twenty-fourth of June, and is what is called
midsummer day. The sun is then arrived at the summer solstice;
and, with respect to his meridianal altitude, or height at high
noon, appears for some days to be of the same height.
The astronomical longest day, like the
shortest day, is not every year, on the same numerical day, and
therefore the twenty-fourth of June is always taken for
midsummer day; and it is in honor of the sun, which has then
arrived at his greatest height in our hemisphere, and not
anything with respect to St. John, that this annual festival of
the Masons, taken from the Druids, is celebrated on midsummer
Customs will often outlive the remembrance of
their origin, and this is the case with respect to a custom
still practiced in Ireland, where the Druids flourished at the
time they flourished in Britain.
On the eve of St. John's day, that is, on the
eve of midsummer day, the Irish light fires on the tops of the
hills. This can have no reference to St. John; but it has
emblematical reference to the sun, which on that day is at his
highest summer elevation, and might in common language be said
to have arrived at the top of the hill.
As to what Masons, and books of Masonry, tell
us of Solomon's Temple at Jerusalem, it is no wise improbable
that some Masonic ceremonies may have been derived from the
building of that temple, for the worship of the sun was in
practice many centuries before the temple existed, or before the
Israelites came out of Egypt. And we learn from the history of
the Jewish kings, II Kings xxiii, that the worship of the sun
was performed by the Jews in that temple.
It is, however, much to be doubted if it was
done with the same scientific purity and religious morality with
which it was performed by the Druids, who, by all accounts that
historically remain of them, were a wise, learned, and moral
class of men. The Jews, on the contrary, were ignorant of
astronomy, and of science in general, and if a religion founded
upon astronomy fell into their hands, it is almost certain it
would be corrupted.
We do not read in the history of the Jews
whether in the Bible or elsewhere, that they were the inventors
or the improvers of any one art or science. Even in the building
of this temple, the Jews did not know how to square and frame
the timber for beginning and carrying on the work, and Solomon
was obliged to send to Hiram, King of Tyre (Zidon), to procure
workmen; "for thou knowest" (says Solomon to Hiram, I Kings v,
6), "that there is not among us any that can skill to hew timber
like unto the Zidonians."
This temple was more properly Hiram's Temple
than Solomon's, and if the Masons derive anything from the
building of it, they owe it to the Zidonians and not to the
Jews. But to return to the worship of the sun in this temple.
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