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Mystery

From the Greek compound word meaning an initiate and a secret, something to be concealed. The Gilds or Companies of the Middle Ages, out of which we trace the Masonic organization, were called mystenes, because they had trade-secrets, the preservation of which was a primary ordination of these fraternities. "Mystery" and "Craft" came thus to be synonymous words. In this secondary sense we speak of the "Mystery of the Stone-Masons" as equivalent to the "Craft of the Stone-Masons."

Adam Smith, Wealth of Cations (volume i, page 126), refers to the old stipulation that unless he had served an apprenticeship to it of seven years, "it was enacted, that no person should for the future exercise any trade, craft, or mystery." But the Mystery of Freemasonry refers rather to the primary meaning of the word as immediately derived from the Greek (see Mysteries).

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