A secret society which existed in England about the year 1783, and of whose ceremony of initiation the following account is contained in the British Magazine of that date. The presiding officer, who was styled the Original, thus addressed the candidate:
Original. Have you faith enough to be made an Original?
Candidate. I have.
Original. Will you be conformable to all honest rules which may support steadily the honor, reputation, welfare, and dignity of our ancient undertaking?
Candidate. I will.
Original. Then, friend, promise me that you will never stray from the paths of Honor, Freedom, Honesty, Sincerity, Prudence, Modesty, Reputation, Sobriety, and 'True Friendship.
Candidate. I do.
Which done, the Crier of the Court commanded silence, and the new member, being uncovered, and dropping on his right knee, had the following oath administered to him by the Servant, the new member laying his right hand on the Cap of Honor, and Nimrod holding a staff over his head:
"You swear by the Cap of Honor, by the Collar of Freedom, by the Coat of Honesty, by the Jacket of Sincerity, by the Shirt of Prudence, by the Breeches of Modesty, by the Garters of Reputation, by the Stockings of Sobriety, and by the Steps of True Friendship, never to depart from these laws."
Then rising, with the staff resting on his head he received a copy of the laws from the hands of the Grand Original, with these words, "Enjoy the benefits hereof."
He then delivered the copy of the laws to the care of the servant, after which the word was given by the secretary to the new member, namely: Eden, signifying the garden where ADAM, the great aboriginal, was formed.
Then the secretary invested him with the sign, namely: resting his right hand on his left side, signifying the first conjunction of harmony.
This organization had no connection with Freemasonry, but was simply one of those numerous imitative societies to which that Institution has given rise.
The Encyclopedia Masonica exists to preserve the wealth of information that has been generated over the centuries by numerous Masonic authors. As Freemasonry is now Speculative and not Operative, the work of a Mason is now conducted in the quarries of symbolism, literature, history and scholasticism. Freemasonry encourages intellectual exploration and academic achievement in its members and many Masons over the years have taken up this calling. The result has been that an incredible amount of philosophy, symbolic speculation and academic insights have been created. However, as Freemasonry teaches, human knowledge is frail and fragile. It is easily lost in the turnings of the ages and unforeseen catastrophes can result in great setbacks to human knowledge.
For too long these great works have sat on forgotten shelves, gathering dust and concealing the light that could be shed on the darkness of our ignorance. The Encyclopedia Masonica has been created to act as an ark, sailing through time, to ensure that future generations of Freemasons have access to the same knowledge that inspired the Brethren that came before them. It will contain the works of such Masonic Luminaries as Albert G. Mackey, Manly Palmer Hall, G.S.M. Ward, Albert Pike and many others. The Encyclopedia Masonica is a living work and the volunteers of Universal Co-Masonry will continue to labor until the most comprehensive Masonic reference work the world has ever seen has been created. The Encyclopedia Masonica is open to any who wish to use it and will remain open so that the treasures contained within may increase the wealth of all those who seek its wisdom.
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