The doctrine of a resurrection to a future and eternal life constitutes an indispensable portion of the religious faith of Freemasonry. It is not authoritatively inculcated as a point of dogmatic creed, but is impressively taught by the symbolism of the Third Degree. This dogma has existed among almost all nations from a very early period. The Egyptians, in their mysteries, taught a final resurrection of the soul. Although the Jews, in escaping from their Egyptian thraldom, did not carry this doctrine with them into the desert--for it formed no part of the Mosaic theology--yet they subsequently, after the captivity, borrowed it from the Zoroastrians.
The Brahmans and Buddhists of the East, the Etruseans of the South, and the Druids and the Scandinavian Skalds of the West, nursed the faith of a resurrection to future life. The Greeks and the Romans subscribed to it; and it was one of the great objects of their mysteries to teach it. It is, as we all know, an essential part of the Christian faith, and was exemplified, in His own resurrection, by Christ to His followers. In Freemasonry, a particular Degree, the Master's, has been appropriated to teach it by an impressive symbolism. "Thus, " says Hutchinson (Spirit of Masonry, page 164), "our Order is a positive contradiction to Judaic blindness and infidelity, and testifies our faith concerning the resurrection of the body."
We may deny that there has been a regular descent of Freemasonry, as a secret organization, from the mystical association of the Eleusinians, the Samothracians, or the Dionysians. No one, however, who carefully examines the mode in which the resurrection or restoration to life was taught by a symbol and a ceremony in the Ancient Mysteries, and how the same dogma is now taught in the Masonic initiation, can, without absolutely rejecting the evident concatenation of circumstances which lies patent before him, refuse his assent to the proposition that the latter was derived from the former.
The resemblance between the Dionysiac Legend, for instance, and the Hiramic cannot have been purely accidental. The chain that connects them is easily found in the fact that the Pagan Mysteries lasted until the fourth century of the Christian era, and, as the Fathers of the Church lamented, exercised an influence over the secret societies of the Middle Ages.
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