is said, II Kings xxiii, 5, "And [King Josiah] put down all the
idolatrous priests . . . that burned incense unto . . . the sun, the
moon, the planets, and all the host of heaven." And it is said at
the eleventh verse: "And he took away the horses that the kings of
Judah had given to the sun, at the entering in of the house of the
Lord . . . and burned the chariot of the sun with fire"; verse 13,
"And the high places that were before Jerusalem, which were on the
right hand of the mount of corruption, which Solomon the King of
Israel had builded for Ashtoreth, the abomination of the Zidonians"
(the very people that built the temple) "did the king defile."
Besides these things, the description that
Josephus gives of the decorations of this temple, resembles on a
large scale those of a Mason's lodge. He says that the distribution
of the several parts of the Temple of the Jews represented all
nature, particularly the parts most apparent of it, as the sun,
moon, the planets, the zodiac, the earth, the elements; and that the
system of the world was retraced there by numerous ingenious
These, in all probability, are, what Josiah, in
his ignorance, calls the abominations of the Zidonians.*
Everything, however, drawn from this temple,H and applied
to Masonry, still refers to the worship of the sun, however
corrupted or misunderstood by the Jews, and consequently to the
religion of the Druids.
Another circumstance, which shows that Masonry is
derived from some ancient system, prior to and unconnected with the
Christian religion, is the chronology, or method of counting time,
used by the Masons in the records of their lodges. They make no use
of what is called the Christian era; and they reckon their months
numerically, as the ancient Egyptians did, and as the Quakers do
I have by me, a record of a French lodge, at the
time the late Duke of Orleans, then Duke de Chartres, was Grand
Master of Masonry in France. It begins as follows: "the thirteenth
day of the sixth month of the year of the Venerable Lodge, 5773.
By what I observe in English books of Masonry,
the English Masons use the initials A. L. and not V. L. By A. L.
they mean in the year of Light, as the Christians by A.D.
mean in the year of our Lord. But A. L. like V. L. refers to the
same chronological era, that is, to the supposed time of the
In the chapter on the Christian religion, I have
shown that the cosmogony, that is the account of the Creation with
which the book of Genesis opens, has been taken and mutilated from
the Zend-Avesta of Zoroaster, and was fixed as a preface to the
Bible after the Jews returned from captivity in Babylon, and that
the rabbins of the Jews do not hold their account in Genesis to be a
fact, but mere allegory. The six thousand years in the Zend-Avesta,
is changed or interpolated into six days in the account of Genesis.
The Masons appear to have chosen the same period,
and perhaps to avoid the suspicion and persecution of the Church,
have adopted the era of the world, as the era of Masonry. The V. L.
of the French, and the A. L. of the English Mason, answer to the A.
M. Anno Mundi, or year of the world.
Though the Masons have taken many of their
ceremonies and hieroglyphics from the ancient Egyptians, it is
certain they have not taken their chronology from thence. If they
had, the Church would soon have sent them to the stake; as the
chronology of the Egyptians, like that of the Chinese, goes many
thousand years beyond the Bible chronology.
The religion of the Druids, as before said, was
the same as the religion of the ancient Egyptians. The priests of
Egypt were the professors and teachers of science, and were styled
priests of Heliopolis, that is, of the City of the Sun.
The Druids in Europe, who were the same order of
men, have their name from the Teutonic or ancient German language;
the Germans being anciently called Teutons. The word Druid signifies
a wise man. In Persia they were called magi, which signifies
the same thing.
"Egypt, says Smith, "from whence we derive many
of our mysteries, has always borne a distinguished rank in history,
and was once celebrated above all others for its antiquities,
learning, opulence, and fertility. In their system, their principal
hero-gods, Osiris and Isis, theologically represented the Supreme
Being and universal nature; and physically the two great celestial
luminaries, the sun and the moon, by whose influence all nature was