Dispersion of Mankind
The dispersion of mankind at the tower of Babel and on the plain of Shinar, which is recorded in the Book of Genesis, has given rise to a Masonic tradition of the following purport: The knowledge of the great truths of God and immortality were known to Noah, and by him communicated to his immediate descendants, the Noachidae or Noachites, by whom the true worship continued to be cultivated for some time after the subsidence of the deluge; but when the human race were dispersed, a portion lost sight of the Divine truths which had been communicated to them from their common ancestor, and fell into the most grievous theological errors, corrupting the purity of the worship and the orthodoxy of the religious faith which they had primarily received.
These truths were preserved in their integrity by but a very few in the patriarchal line, while still fewer were enabled to retain only dim and glimmering portions of the true light. The first class was confined to the direct descendants of Noah, and the second was to be found among the priests and philosophers, and, perhaps, still later, among the poets of the heathen nations, and among those whom they initiated into the secrets of these truths.
The system of doctrine of the former class has been called by Masonic writers the Pure or Primitive Freemasonry of antiquity, and that of the latter class the Spurious Freemasonry of the same period. These terms were first used by Doctor Oliver, and are intended to refer--the word pure to the doctrines taught by the descendants of Noah in the Jewish line, and the word spurious to those taught by his descendants in the heathen or Gentile line.
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