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Chastanier, Benedict

A French surgeon, who in the year 1767 introduced into England a modification of the Rite of Pernetty, in nine degrees, and established a Lodge in London under the name of the Illuminated Theosophists ; which, however, according to Lenning, soon abandoned the Masonic forms, and was converted into a mere theosophic sect, intended to propagate the religious system of Swedenborg. White, in his Life of Emanuel Swedenborg, published at London in 1868 (page 683), gives an account of "The Theosophical Society', instituted for the purpose of promoting the Heavenly Doctrines of the New Jerusalem by translating, printing, and publishing the theological writings of Emanuel Swedenborg." This society was formed in 1784, and met on Sundays and Thursdays at Chambers in New Court, Middle Temple, for the discussion of Swedenborg's writings. Among the twenty-five persons mentioned by White as having either joined the society or sympathized with its object, we find the name of "Benedict Chastanier, Freach Surgeon, 62 Tottenham Court." The nine degrees of Chastanier's Rite of Illuminated Theosophists are as follows: 1, 2, and 3, Symbolic degrees; 4, 5, 6, Theosophic Apprentice, Fellow Craft, and Master; 7, Sublime Scottish Mason, or Celestial Jerusalem; 8, Blue Brother; and 9, Red Brother.

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