The urge toward art of constructing dwellings, as a shelter from the heat of summer and the cold of winter, must have been resorted to from the very first moment in which man became subjected to the power of the elements. Architecture is, therefore, not only one of the most important, but one of the most ancient of sciences. Rude and imperfect must, however, have been the first efforts of the human race, resulting in the erection of huts clumsy in their appearance, and ages must have elapsed ere wisdom of design combined strength of material with beauty of execution.
As Geometry is the science on which Freemasonry is founded, Architecture is the art from which it borrows the language of its symbolic instruction. In the earlier ages of the Order every Freemason was either an operative mechanic or a superintending architect.
Therefore something more than a superficial knowledge of the principles of architecture is absolutely essential to the Freemason who would either understand the former history of the Institution or appreciate its present objects.
There are five orders of architecture: the Doric, the Ionic, the Corinthian, the Tuscan, and the Composite. The first three are the original orders, and were invented in Greece; the last two are of later formation, and owe their existence to Italy. Each of these orders, as well as the other terms of architecture, so far as they are connected with Freemasonry, will be found under its appropriate head throughout this work.
The Books of Constitutions, commenced by Anderson and continued by Entick and Noorthouck, contain, under the title of a History of Freemasonry, in reality a history of the progress of architecture from the earliest ages. In the older manuscript, Constitutions, the science of Geometry, as well as Architecture, is made identical with Freemasonry; so that he who would rightly understand the true history of Freemasonry must ever bear in mind the distinction between Geometry, Architecture, and Freemasonry, which is constantly. lost sight of in these old records.
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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Larkspur CO 80118
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