IN several early Masonic manuscripts–for example, the Harleian, Sloane, Lansdowne, and Edinburgh-Kilwinning–it is stated that the craft of initiated builders existed before the Deluge, and that its members were employed in the building of the Tower of Babel. A Masonic Constitution dated 1701 gives the following naive account of the origin of the sciences, arts, and crafts from which the major part of Masonic symbolism is derived:
“How this worthy Science was first begunne, I shall tell. Before Noah’s Flood, there was a man called Lameck as it is written in the 4 Chap. of Gen.: and this Lameck had two Wives. The one was called Adah, and the other Zillah; by the first wife Adah he gott two Sons, the one called Jaball, and the other Juball, and by the other wife Zillah he got a Son and Daughter, and the four children found the beginning of all Crafts in the world. This Jaball was the elder Son, and he found the Craft of Geometric, and he parted flocks, as of Sheep and Lambs in the fields, and first wrought Houses of Stone and Tree, as it is noted in the Chap, aforesaid, and his Brother Juball found the crafte of Musick, of Songs, Organs and Harp. The Third Brother [Tubal-cain] found out Smith’s craft to work Iron and steel, and their sister Naamah found out the art of Weaving. These children did know thatt God would take Vengeance for Sinne, either by fire or water, wherefor they wrote these Sciences which they had found in Two Pillars of stone, thatt they might be found after the Flood. The one stone was called Marbell–cannott burn with Fire, and the other was called Laturus [brass?], thatt cannott drown in the Water.” The author of this Constitution there upon declares that one of these pillars was later discovered by Hermes, who communicated to mankind the secrets thereon inscribed.
In his Antiquities of the Jews, Josephus writes that Adam had forewarned his descendants that sinful humanity would be destroyed by a deluge. In order to preserve their science and philosophy, the children of Seth there fore raised two pillars, one of brick and the other of stone, on which were inscribed the keys to their knowledge. The Patriarch Enoch–whose name means the Initiator–is evidently a personification of the sun, since he lived 365 years. He also constructed an underground temple consisting of nine vaults, one beneath the other, placing in the deepest vault a triangular tablet of gold bearing upon it the absolute and ineffable Name of Deity. According to some accounts, Enoch made two golden deltas. The larger he placed upon the white cubical altar in the lowest vault and the smaller he gave into the keeping of his son, Methuseleh, who did the actual construction work of the brick chambers according to the pattern revealed to his father by the Most High. In the form and arrangement of these vaults Enoch epitomized the nine spheres of the ancient Mysteries and the nine sacred strata of the earth through which the initiate must pass to reach the flaming Spirit dwelling in its central core.
According to Freemasonic symbolism, Enoch, fearing that all knowledge of the sacred Mysteries would be lost at the time of the Deluge, erected the two columns mentioned in the quotation. Upon the metal column in appropriate allegorical symbols he engraved the secret reaching and upon the marble column placed an inscription stating that a short distance away a priceless treasure would be discovered in a subterranean vault. After having thus faithfully completed his labors, Enoch was translated from the brow Of Mount Moriah. In time the location of the secret vaults was lost, but after the lapse of ages there came another builder–an initiate after the order of Enoch–and he, while laying the foundations for another temple to the Great Architect of the Universe, discovered the long-lost vaults and the secrets contained within.
John Leylande was appointed by King Henry VIII to go through the archives of the various religious institutions dissolved by the king and remove for preservation any books or manuscripts of an important character. Among the documents copied by Leylande was a series of questions and answers concerning the mystery of Masonry written by King Henry VI. In answer to the question, “How came Masonry into England?” the document States that Peter Gower, a Grecian, traveled for knowledge in Egypt, Syria, and every land where the Phœnicians had planted Masonry; winning entrance in all lodges of Masons, he learned much, and returning, dwelt in Greater Greece. He became renowned for his wisdom, formed a great lodge at Groton, and made many Masons, some of whom journeyed in France, spreading Masonry there; from France in the course of time the order passed into England.
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