In the eighteenth century the Jesuits were charged with having an intimate connection with Freemasonry, and the invention of the Degree of Kadosh was even attributed to those members of the Society who constituted the College of Clermont. This theory of a Jesuitical Freemasonry seems to have originated with the Illuminati, who were probably governed in its promulgation by a desire to depreciate the character of all other Masonic systems in comparison with their own, where no such priestly interference was permitted. Barruel scoffs at the idea of such a connection, and cans it (Histoire de Jacobinisme iv, page 287) "la fable de la Franc-Maonnerie Jsuitique" meaning an invention of false or Jesuitical Freemasonry. For once he is right. Like oil and water the tolerance of Freemasonry and the intolerance of the "Society of Jesus" cannot commingle. Yet it cannot be denied that, while the Jesuits have had no part in the construction of pure Freemasonry, there are reasons for believing that they took an interest in the invention of some Degrees and systems which were intended to advance their own interests. But wherever they touched the Institution they left the trail of the serpent.
They sought to convert its pure philanthropy and toleration into political intrigue and religious bigotry. Hence it is believed that they had something to do with the invention of those Degrees, which were intended to aid the exiled house of Stuart in its efforts to regain the English throne, because they believed that would secure the restoration in England of the Roman Catholic religion. Almost a library of books has been written on both sides of this subject in Germany and in France.
Jesus in Latin comes from the Greek word Iesous, pronounced ee-ay-soos, and this in turn is from the Hebrew Joshua or Jeshua or perhaps more properly Yeshua, meaning "Jehovah is salvation" or "He will save." These latter Hebrew words are shortened forms of Jehoshua, pronounced as yeh-ho-shoo-ah, "Jehovah saves." Christos, the Greek word for the anointed or consecrated is equivalent to Messiah and Messias from the Hebrew word Mashach, meaning to anoint with oil. The word Christos suggested in sound the somewhat similar term Chrestos, signifying benign qualities as in First Epistle of Peter (ii, 3), "If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is (chrestos) gracious." This expression was applied by their enemies to Christians as being followers of Chrestos. An early Latin writer on the Church, Tertullian, 193 to 217 A.D., pointed out that this word given ignorantly in enmity was actually expressive of benevolence.
Jesus Christ, whose life and teachings form the foundation and structure of Christianity, was born at Bethlehem, about five miles south of Jerusalem, the chief city of Palestine. His birth chronologically is now generally assigned to a few years prior to the beginning of the modern era, or about 4-5 B.C., later estimates placing the time of the event differently to what was formerly accepted.
From the Bible we learn that Jesus was the son of Mary, a virgin of Nazareth, in the ancient province of Galilee. She was betrothed to Joseph, a carpenter, and during a visit made by them to Bethlehem for enrollment, Jesus was born in a stable and cradled in a manger because of the over-crowded condition of the local inn. Here came shepherds and the Magi, wise men from the East, and their publicly proclaimed reverence for the babe as the King of the Jews endangered the family with the reigning monarch and they fled to Egypt after the circumcision of the child. King Herod died and Joseph and Mary with Jesus returned to the home at Nazareth. From the record of the Scriptures we note that the boy listened to instruction at the Temple and that he "advanced in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men." That the trade of Joseph was adopted in due course is suggested by the visit to Nazareth during the public ministry of Jesus when the gossiping spectators said "Is not this the carpenter?"
From the year 4 B.C. to 30 A.D. is estimated in the Stevens-Burton Harmony of tile Gospels Charles Scribner's Sons, New York, 1912) as the period from birth to crucifixion with the actual ministry between three and four years. However, the length of ministry has also had other estimates based on the probable number of passovers in that period and accordingly as these were three or four the results figure out respectively as two and a half or three and a half years of public life. Baptized by John, as Luke tells us (iii, 23), "And Jesus himself began to be about thirty years of age." Then followed forty days in the wilderness and later the public preaching to the people with the private instruction of the disciples, urging repentance and faith upon all. In public as well as religious affairs the new teaching was not acceptable to the officials, civil and ecclesiastic.
The leaders, the priests and the Roman Governor, prepared to put Jesus on trial. Betrayed by Judas, taken before the high priest for examination and then to the Roman Governor, condemnation was speedy and crucifixion promptly followed. Resurrection after burial with appearances to the disciples and the ascension to heaven are told by the biblical narrative. A popular Life of Christ, written by Dean F. NV. Farrarg London, 1874, many following editions, is b admirable for study, and there are excellent discussions upon allied topics in James Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible (Charles Scribner's Sons, New York, 1914), and in similar works. Ernest Renan's Life of Jesus, an English translation from the twenty-third edition (Little, Brown and Company, Boston, 1917), less orthodox than the work of Farrar, is scholarly and independent, while H. G. Enclow's Jeurish View of Jesus, Macmillan, New York, 1920, presents a viewpoint of decided interest and importance.
The existence of the Essenes, a Jewish brotherhood of the time of Christ, not mentioned in the Bible but recorded by other authorities and having suggestive resemblance to features of Christianity, in fact the latter has been described as a popularized Essenism, brings up the often debated question of Jesus being an Essene. Brother Dudley Wright's book Was Jesus an Essene (Power-Book Company, London, 1908) submits concisely considerable information though many authors reject claims made for the membership of Jesus in the organization which came to an end in the second century. Essenes were tillers of the soil, esteemed ceremonial purity--bathing and white garments were featured, special food was prepared by priests and eaten solemnly together, marriage was forbidden and every sensual enjoyment deemed sinful, all property was held in common, and three years' preparation or probation was necessary before full initiation into this monastic order (see Essenes).
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