The Asylum for Aged and Decayed Freemasons is a magnificent edifice at Croydon in Surrey, England. The charity was established by Doctor Crucefix, after sixteen years of herculean toil, such as few men but himself could have sustained.
He did not live to see it in full operation, but breathed his last at the very time when the capstone was placed on the building (see Annuities). ATELIER. The French thus call the place where the Lodge meets, or the Lodge-room. The word signifies a workshop or place where several workmen are assembled under the same master. The word is applied in French Freemasonry not only to the place of meeting of a Lodge, but also to that of a Chapter, Council, or any other Masonic body. Bazot says in the Manual du Franc-Maçon (page 65) that atelier is more particularly applied to the Table Lodge, or Lodge when at banquet, but that the word is also used to designate any reunion of the Lodge. ATHEIST. One who does not believe in the existence of God. Such a state of mind can only arise from the ignorance of stupidity or a corruption of principle, since the whole universe is filled with the moral and physical proofs of a Creator. He who does not look to a superior and superintending power as his maker and his judge, is without that coercive principle of salutary fear which should prompt him to do good and to eschew evil, and his oath can, of necessity, be no stronger than his word. Freemasons, looking to the dangerous tendency of such a tenet, have wisely discouraged it, by declaring that no atheist can be admitted to participate in their Fraternity; and the better to carry this law into effect, every candidate, before passing through any of the ceremonies of initiation, is required, publicly and solemnly, to declare his trust in God. ATHELSTAN. The grandson of the great Alfred ascended the throne of England in 924, and died in 940. The Old Constitutions describe him as a great patron of Freemasonry. Thus, one of them, the Robera Manuscript, printed in 1722, and claiming to be five hundred years old, says: "He began to build many Abbeys, Monasteries, and other religious houses, as also castles and divers Fortresses for defense of his realm. He loved Masons more than his father; he greatly studied Geometry, and sent into many lands for men expert in the science. He gave them a very large charter to hold a yearly assembly, and power to correct offenders in the said science; and the king himself caused a General Assembly of all Masons in his realm, at York, and there made many Masons, and gave them a deep charge for observation of all such articles as belonged unto Masonry, and delivered them the said Charter to keep.''
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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