THE  manuscript begins with an invocation to the  Trinity.   This

invocation  is  almost  identical with that  which  prefaces  the

Harleian, the Sloane, the Landsdowne, and, indeed, all the  other

manuscripts, except the Halliwell and the Cooke.  From this  fact

we  may justly infer that there was a common exemplar, an "editio

princeps," whence each of these manuscripts was copied.  The very

slight  verbal  variations, such as  "Father  of  Kings"  in  the

Dowland,  which  is "Father of Heaven" in the  others,  will  not

affect this conclusion, for they may be fairly attributed to  the

carelessness  of copyists. The reference to the  Trinity  in  all

these  invocations is also a conclusive proof  of  the  Christian

character  of the building corporations of the Middle  Ages  -  a

proof  that is corroborated by historical evidences.  As  I  have

already  shown, in the German Constitutions of the  Stone-masons,

the  invocation  is  "In the name of the Father,  Son,  and  Holy

Ghost, in the name of the blessed Virgin Mary, and also in  honor

of  the  Four  Crowned Martyrs " - an invocation that  shows  the

Roman  Catholic  spirit  of  the German  Regulations;  while  the

omission of all reference to the Virgin and the Martyrs  gives  a

Protestant character to the English manuscripts.


Next  follows  a descant on the seven liberal arts and  sciences,

the  nature  and intention of each of which is briefly described.

In all of the manuscripts, even in the earliest - the Halliwell -

will  we  find the same reference to them, and, almost literally,

the  same  description.  It is not surprising that these sciences

should  occupy so prominent a place in the Old Constitutions,  as

making  the very foundation of Masonry, when we reflect  that  an

equal  prominence  was  given  to them  in  the  Middle  Ages  as

comprehending  the whole body of human knowledge.   Thus  Mosheim

(1) tells us that in the 11th century they


(1) "Ecclesiast. Hist. XI. Cent.," part ii., chap. i.



were  taught in the greatest part of the schools; and  Holinshed,

who wrote in the 16th century, says that they composed a part  of

the  curriculum that was taught in the universities.  Speculative

Masonry  continues to this day to pay an homage  to  these  seven

sciences, and has adopted them among its important symbols in the

second degree. The connection sought to be established in the old

manuscripts between them and Masonry, would seem to indicate  the

existence  of a laudable ambition among the Operative  Masons  of

the Middle Ages to elevate the character of their Craft above the

ordinary standard of workmen - an elevation that, history informs

us,  was  actually effected, the Freemasons of the Guild  holding

themselves and being held by others as of higher rank and greater

acquirements than were the rough Masons who did not belong to the

corporation of builders.


The  manuscript  continues  by a declaration  that  Geometry  and

Masonry are idendcal. Thus, in enumerating and defining the seven

liberal arts and sciences, Geometry is placed as the fifth,  "the

which science," says the Legend, "is called Masonrys." (1)


Now,  this  doctrine  that  Geometry and  Masonry  are  identical

sciences, has been held from the time of the earliest records  to

the present day by all the Operative Masons who preceded the 18th

century, as well as by the Speculative Masons after that period.


In  the  ritual of the Fellow Craft's degree used ever since,  at

least  from  the  middle of the last century,  the  candidate  is

informed  that "Masonry and Geometry are synonymous  terms."  The

Lodge-room, wherever Speculative Masonry has extended, shows,  by

the  presence  of the hieroglyphic letter in the East,  that  the

doctrine is still maintained.


Gadicke,  the  author of a German Lexicon of  Freemasonry,  says,

that as Geometry is among the mathematical sciences the one which

has   the  most  especial  reference  to  architecture,  we  can,

therefore, under the name of Geometry, understand the  whole  art

of Freemasonry.


Hutchinson,  speaking  of  the letter G,  says  that  it  denotes

Geometry,  and declares that as a symbol it has always been  used

by artificers - that is, architects - and by Masons. (2)


(1)  Dowland  MS. The Halliwell poem expresses the same  idea  in

different words:


"At these lordys prayers they counterfetyd gemetry,

And gaf hyt the name of Masonry." (Lines 23, 24.)


(2) "Spirit of Freemasonry," lect.  Viii., P. 92, 2d edit.



The  modern  ritual maintains this legendary idea  of  the  close

connection that exists between Geometry and Masonry, and tells us

that  the  former  is  the  basis  on  which  the  latter,  as  a

superstructure,  is  erected.  Hence we  find  that  Masonry  has

adopted mathematical figures, such as angles, squares, triangles,

circles,  and  especially  the 47th  proposition  of  Euclid,  as

prominent symbols.


And  this  idea  of the infusion of Geometry into  Masonry  as  a

prevailing element - the idea that is suggested in the  Legend  -

was  so  thoroughly  recognized,  that  in  the  18th  century  a

Speculative Mason was designated as a "Geometrical Mason."


We have found this idea of Geometry as the fundamental science of

Masonry, set forth in the Legend of the Craft.  It will  be  well

to  see how it was developed in the Middle Ages, in the authentic

history of the Craft. Thus we shall have discovered another  link

in  the chain which unites the myths of the Legend with the  true

history of the Institution.


The  Operative Masons of the Middle Ages, who are  said  to  have

derived  the knowledge of their art as well as their organization

as  a Guild of Builders from the Architects of Lombardy, who were

the  first  to  assume  the title of "Freemasons,"  were  in  the

possession of secrets which enabled them everywhere to  construct

the  edifices on which they were engaged according  to  the  same

principles, and to keep up, even in the most distant countries, a

correspondence, so that every member was made acquainted with the

most  minute improvement in the art which had been discovered  by

any  other.  (1)  One of these secrets was the knowledge  of  the

science  of  symbolism, (2) and the other was the application  of

the principles of Geometry to the art of building.


"It  is certain," says Mr. Paley, (3) "that Geometry lent its aid

in  the  planning and designing of buildings"; and he  adds  that

"probably  the  equilateral  triangle  was  the  basis  of   most



The geometrical symbols found in the ritual of modern Freemasonry

may be considered as the debris of the geometrical secrets of the

Mediaeval Masons, which are now admitted to be lost. (4) As


(1) Hope, " Historical Essay on Architecture."

(2)  M.  Maury  ("Essai sur les Legendes Pieures  du  Moyen-Aye")

gives  many  instances of the application of symbolism  by  these

builders to the construction of churches.

(3) "Manual of Gothic Architecture," P. 78.

(4)  Lord  Lindsay, "Sketches of the History of  Christian  Art,"

ii., 14.



these  founded their operative art on the knowledge of  Geometry,

and  as the secrets of which they boasted as distinguishing  them

from  the  "rough  Masons" of the same  period  consisted  in  an

application of the principles of that science to the construction

of  edifices,  it  is  not surprising that in  their  traditional

history   they  should  have  so  identified  architecture   with

Geometry, and that with their own art of building, as to speak of

Geometry  and  Masonry as synonymous terms. "The fifth  science,"

says  the  Dowland MS., is "called Geometry,  .  .  .  the  which

science is called Masonrye." Remembering the tendency of all  men

to  aggrandize their own pursuits, it is not surprising that  the

Mediaeval Masons should have believed and said that "there is  no

handycraft  that is wrought by man's hand but it  is  wrought  by



In  all  this  descant in the old manuscripts on the identity  of

Geometry  and  Masonry,  the Legend  of  the  Craft  expresses  a

sentiment  the  existence of which is supported by the  authentic

evidence of contemporaneous history.


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