It was the doctrine of the old philosophers, sustained by the authority of Aristotle that there were four principles of matter--fire, air, earth, and water--which they called elements. Modern science has shown the fallacy of the theory. But it was also taught by the Cabalists, and afterward by the Rosicrucians, who, according to the Abb de Pillars, sometimes known as Le Comte de Gabalis, peopled them with supernatural beings called, in the fire, Salamanders; in the air, Sylphs; in the earth, Gnomes; and in the water, Undines. From the Rosicrucians and the Cabalists, the doctrine passed over into some of the advanced Degrees of Freemasonry, and is especially referred to in the Ecossais or Scottish Knight of Saint Andrew, which has so often been claimed as an invention of the Chevalier Ramsay. In this Degree we find the four angels of the four elements described as Andarel, the angel of fire; Casmaran, of air; Talliad, of water; and Furlac, of earth; and the signs refer to the same elements.
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