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Rosicrucians

The voice of public opinion at length compelled pope Clement XIV to publish his famous bull, Dominas redemptor, of July 21, 1773, by which the Society of Jesus was totally abolished in all the states of Christendom. Following the suppression of the Jesuits in 1773, members of that order in considerable numbers, attracted by the rapid growth and the pretentious occultism of the Rosicrucians, had united with the latter system. The result was the infusion of a definite strain of clericalism into the order of the Rosicrucians. The Rosicrucians, almost extinguished before the abolition os the Jesuits, were revived under the mask of free-masonry, suspected to be guided by the secret influence of the Jesuits.

The Rosicrucians were a branch of Freemasonry notorious for the absurdity of its pretensions and its shameless pandering to the popular desire for occultism. All Rosicrucians may be Masons, in fact, are Masons, but not all Masons can become Rosicrucians. In the new Rosicrucian order, there was little resemblance to the pretended old one ; but the greatest to the Jesuits. In both orders, blind subjection to superiors reigns ; and those of the lower classes were mere machines in the hands of their invisible superiors, to carry on their mysterious designs. Both orders aim to promote and avail themselves of the superstition, credulity and folly of men, for subjecting them to a priestly yoke.

The origin and interpretation of the symbol have been variously given. Some have supposed that it was derived from the Christian symbolism of the rose and the cross. This is the interpretation that has been assumed by the Rose Croix Order of the Masonic system; but it does not thence follow that the same interpretation was adopted by the Rosicrucians. Another derivation may be suggested, namely: That, the rose being a symbol of secrecy, and the cross of light, the rose and cross were intended to symbolize the secret of the true light, or the true knowledge, which the Rosicrucian brotherhood were to give to the world. The rose has also been used as a sign of silence and secrecy. The word sub rosa "under the rose" referring to the demand for discretion whenever a rose was hung from the ceiling at a meeting. The Skull and Cross-bones are Rosicrucian symbols and the Degree is therefore purely Rosicrucian, although the degree has been changed a great deal and only the symbols of the original Rose Croix degree remain.

The first that we hear in history of a Rosicrucian Freemasonry, under that name, is about the middle of the 18th century. The society to which we refer was known as the "Gulden-undRosen Kreutzer," or the "Golden Rosicrucians." We find this title in a book published at Berlin, in 1714, by Sigmund Richter, under the assumed name of Sincerus Renatus, and with the title of A True and Complete Preparation of the Philosopher's Stone by the Order of the Golden Rosicrucians. This book contains the laws of the brotherhood, which Findel thinks bear plain proof of Jesuitical tinkering. Richter describes a society which, if founded on the old Rosicrucians, differed from them in its principles. Findel speaks of these "Golden Rosicrucians" as if originally formed on this work of Richter, and in the spirit of the Jesuits, to repress liberty of thought and the healthy growth of intellect.

A reorganization of the Rosicrucian system had taken place in 1767, which stressed the antiquity, sanctity, and superior character of the order in its relations to the rest of the Masonic fraternity. According to their claims, the Rosicrucians alone were able to explain the hieroglyphics, symbols, and allegories of Freemasonry. The structure of the order was greatly elaborated at the time indicated, and thus supplementing its traditional appeal to the thirst for alchemy and magic, the order grew rapidly. Baron Westerode, who wrote in 1784, in the Acta Latomorum gives the earliest origin of any Masonic writer to the degree of Rose Croix. He supposes that it was instituted among the Knights Templars in Palestine, in the year 1188, and he adds that Prince Edward, the son of Henry III. of England, was admitted into the Order by Raymond Lully in 1196. Westerode names Ormesius, an Egyptian priest, who had been converted to Christianity, as its founder.

The first work or pamphlet written on the Rosicrucians was in either 1614 or 1615, and was what is known as the now famous Fama Fraternitatis by "Christian Rosencreutz". Johann Valentin Andreas, then a scholar of Mysticism, sought a nom-de-plume; and as the Rose and the Cross were the most powerful and universally known symbols of that or any other time; furthermore, as both of them are symbols of esoteric Christianity, he took the name - the "Christian Rose and Cross," and in order to make an individual name out of it, he changed it to Christian Rosencreutz, and under that name as a nom-de-plume, he wrote the now famous "Fama Fraternitatis." But the Rose Croix of Masonry and the hermetic Rosicrucian.ism of Andrea were two entirely different things; and it would be difficult to trace any connection between them, at least any such connection as would make one the legitimate successor of the other.

During the latter part of the Seventeenth Century, Masonry became somewhat degenerated, and those who were not true Initiates or members of the Rosicrucian Fraternity* were allowed to enter the Masonic Lodges, claiming that they were such. These things became known and opened the doors to a great many strolling adventurers, charlatans, pretenders, Jesuits and others who were not slow to see their advantages, and to gain admission to the lodges under the guise of being Rosicrucians. As there were no longer any true Rosicrucians in the Masonic Lodges to test them, this could be easily accomplished by these pretenders and the only thing for the Lodges to do, was to close the doors to all those who had not been regularly initiated into the Masonic Body.

In the year 1747, the Pretender, Prince Charles Edward, established a Chapter in the town of Arras, in France, with the title of the "Chapitre Primordial de Rose Croix." The Charter of this body is now extant in an authenticated copy deposited in the departmental archives of Arras. In it the Pretender styles himself "King of England, France, Scotland, and Ireland, and, by virtue of this, Sovereign Grand Master of the Chapter of H. known under the title of the Eagle and Pelican and, since our sorrows and misfortunes, under that of Rose Croix." Hence it is probable that the Rose Croix degree has been borrowed from the Rosy Cross of the Scottish Royal Order of Heredom, but in passing from Scotland to France it greatly changed its form and organization, as it resembles in no respect its archetype, except that both are eminently Christian in their design.

About the middle of the eighteenth century, a period fertile in the invention of high degrees, a Masonic Rite was established which assumed the name of Rose Croix Masonry, and adopted the symbol of the Rose and Cross. But this was a coincidence, and not a consequence. There was nothing in common between them and the Rosicrucians, except the name, the symbol, and the Christian character. Doubtless the symbol was suggested to the Masonic Order from the use of it by the philosophic sect; but the Masons modified the interpretation, and the symbol, of course, gave rise to the name. But here the connection ends. A Rose Croix Mason and a Rosicrucian are two entirely different persons.

The Degree in Masonry known as Prince of the Rose Croix was not known until somewhere between the years of 1756 and 1768. It is not known positively in what year as the old records - some of them - have been either lost or destroyed. This 18th Degree of Masonry is the most ancient, interesting, and most generally practiced of the philosophical degrees of high Masonry.

The greatest enemies of the so-called "Rosicrucians" were the Illuminati, a secret organization, radiating throughout the whole of Germany. When the Rosicrucian mania broke out, and when the most exaggerated accounts about the great powers of that order were fully believed, that the Masons opened their ranks to anyone who was supposed to be a Rosicrucian, and that if the latter succeeded in making the brothers believe that he was actually such a favoured person, he would at once gain a great deal of influence in the lodge. These circumstances opened the doors of the masonic lodges to a great many strolling adventurers, vagabonds, charlatans, and mountebanks; and especially the Catholic Jesuits were not slow to see their advantage, and to gain admission to the lodges under the disguise of Rosicrucians.

The jewel of the Rose Croix is a golden compass, extended on an arc to the sixteenth part of a circle, or twenty-two and a half degrees. The head of the compass is surmounted by a triple crown, consisting of three series of points arranged by three, five, and seven. Between the legs of the compass is a cross resting on the arc; its centre is occupied by a full-blown rose, whose stem twines around the lower limb of the cross; at the foot of the cross, on the same side on which the rose is exhibited, is the figure of a pelican wounding its breast to feed its young which are in a nest surrounding it, while on the other side of the jewel is the figure of an eagle with wings displayed. On the arc of the circle, the P.. W'. of the degree is engraved in the cipher of the Order.





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