This term occurs in the records of the Company of Masons of London in the years 1620 and 1621 aud Brother Hawkins thought it to be the name of the non-operative or speculative body attached to that Company, this being the Lodge that Ashmole visited in 1682. Brother Edward Couder, Jr., says (in his work, The Hole craft and Fellowship of Masons, page 155), "It is evident that these Accepted Masons were on a different footing to those who were admitted to the freedom of the Company by servitude or patrimony. The word Accepted only occurs a few times in the whole of the accounts, and from the inventories of the Company's goods and the other entries concerning these members, proof is obtained that the Accepted Masons who joined this London Masons' Gild, did so not necessarily for the benefit of the freedom of the Company but rather for the privilege of attending the Masons' Hall Lodge at which Ashmole was present." Brother Conder points out that the item of 1631, referring to the Masons that were to be Accepted, together with the entries in the Minute Book of 1620, are the earliest post-reformation notices of speculative Freemasonry yet discovered in England (see Accepted).
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.
- BROTHER ISAAC NEWTON
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