Q. Is it to be understood, from the foregoing pages, that Freemasonry is nothing more than a fragment of an idolatrous form of sun-worship?
A. Such is far from being the case, nor has anything been advanced in the foregoing pages which, unless wholly misunderstood, gives any countenance to such an idea. In the intro ductory chapter it was fully shown that the Mysteries themselves, in their primitive and uncorrupted form, taught the unity of God and the immortality of man as their cardinal doctrines, and that the sun was but a symbol of him whom "the sun, moon, and stars obey, and beneath whose all-seeing eye even comets perform their stupendous revolutions" (Masonic Lecture).
Though in all parts of our ritual, from the threshold to the altar, and from the altar to the penetralia (as in the ancient Mysteries, from which Freemasonry has descended) the pro-foundest truths of science and true religion are taught and illustrated by astronomical allegories, yet nowhere do we find, even in its most ancient portions, any prayers, invocations, or adoration, addressed to the heavenly bodies themselves. The sun and the hosts of heaven are only used as emblems of the Deity—a sacred symbolism, with which the Bible itself abounds.
In more ancient times, when false and idolatrous forms of religion ruled all the civilized nations, masonry protected the worshippers of the true God. This was not only true in Rome and in Greece, where Socrates and Pythagoras fell martyrs to truth, but also in Palestine. When we call to mind the long succession of Hebrew kings "who did evil in the sight of the Lord," and sacrificed to Baal "upon the high places and in the grove," a crime of which even Solomon was guilty in his old age, we can easily see that, except at certain favorable epochs, it was not safe, "no, not even in Judea," to deny the actual divinity of the sun, moon, and stars. The Jews stoned the prophets just as the Greeks persecuted the philosophers. The great debt that not only religion but science owes to masonry can hardly be estimated.
In its ritual, as we have seen, most of the truths of astronomy and geometry are illustrated and perpetuated. And it would be no stretch of the imagination to say that, if all, whether of books or manuscripts, were swept out of exist ence, the ritual of our Order, as orally communicated, would alone be sufficient to transmit to future generations a knowledge of the true God and a correct code of morals, as well as the leading principles of science, whereon to build anew the great temple of knowledge.
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