Слике страница
PDF
ePub

prophets exultingly proclaiming that the Grand General Chapter would never meet again. It is sufficient to say in this connection that the subject or dissolving the body was not even mooted, and that it comes out of this triennial convocation stronger and with greater promise of long life than ever before. Among the subjects first disposed of was the proposition to drop the Past Master Degree from the Royal Arch series. The arguments presented to this end do not seem to have been very convincing, for the motion was refused by a vote nearly approaching to unanimity. We apprehend, however, that this refusal came not so much from the suspicion that it was but the entering wedge to a process of disintegration, expected to culminate in the destruction of the body, and hence the unanimous refusal to strike out, was, at the same time and in the same ratio, a determination to maintain and preserve the national front and organization of Royal Arch Masonry, according to the American system. Viewed in this light, we are free to say that we rejoice at the result, because we have felt more solicitous for the National Body than for the success of any particular measure at this time. Nevertheless we do not take back any part of the opinions in relation to the P. M. degree heretofore expressed by us, and believe as heartily now as we did before the meeting that all Chapters and the system in general would largely benefit by the success of the now defeated proposition. It is a work, therefore, that remains to be done, and which will ultimately be accomplished--as other great labors have been brought to a successful termination-by time and the exercise of patience and perseverance. The friends of the measure are not then to lay down their arms and consider themselves as hopelessly beaten, but on the contrary, they should continue to agitate it until the public mind has been so educated that at last the excision will take place with the same unanimity that now marks its refusal. Another topic of legislation was the question of the employment of substitutes. The representatives of several State Grand Chapters called attention to the fact that the law in their jurisdictions forbade the use of substitutes; but, on the other hand, it was demonstrated by the published returns of exaltations, that whatever the law might have been, the practice shows substitutes have been employed. The General Grand Chapter, therefore, declared that henceforth they may be lawfully used. A very learned and interesting discussion took place in regard to a portion of the secret work, and amendments, which will be promulgated in due season to all Royal Arch Masons.

An amendment to the Constitution was adopted which makes Past Grand High Priests of States permanent members of the General Grand Chapter,

even a resume.

The address of the General Grand High Priest, James M. Austin, M. D., of New York, (which will appear in our next issue,) election and installation of officers, and routine business, filled up the remainder of the session, and on Friday, at noon, the General Grand Chapter closed, to meet on the lası Tuesday of November, 1874, at Nashville, Tenn.

In the Grand Encampment of the United States, business commenced in earnest by the presentation of the address of Grand Master Gadner. This is a voluminous document, requiring over three hundred pages of manuscript, and exhaustively treating every possible topic in which Templar Masons are interested. We of course cannot give

The Grand Encampment, by unanimous vote, elected Sir Wm. Stuart, M. E. and Supreme Grand Master of the Grand Conclave of the Religious and Military Order of Knights Templar for Eng. land and Wales, an honorary member ; with the rank and title of Past Grand Master; and a committee, consisting of Wm. Sewall Gardner, of Massachusetts, John W. Simons, of New York, and George S. Blackie, of Tennessee, was appointed to enter into correspondence and negotiate treaties of amity and concord with the authorities of England, Scotland, and Ireland.

The decision of the Grand Master, approving and recognizing Knights of the Red Cross, made under authority of the Provincial Grand Conclave of Canada, in councils of Royal and Select Masters, was agreed to.

The jurisdiction of the Grand Commandery of Virginia over the Commanderies in West Virginia was recognized, so that there are now two Grand Commanderies holding jurisdiction over two States each.

The petition of Virginia to be allowed to withdraw from the jurisdiction of the Grand Encampment, was, after a lengthy and able debate, courteously but firmly refused.

It was decided that a Grand Commander, during the recess of his Grand Commandery, has power to suspend the commanding officer of a subordinate from the functions of his office and to arrest the warrant of a commandery, but in neither case can such action be held to affect the Templar relations or standing of an individual Knight.

This is not specially new, but as there has been some difference of opinion on the effect of such action by a Grand Commander, we regard it as of great importance that the correct law should have been promulgated by the National Body.

It was also decided that a Subordinate Commandery, traveling in a body heyond the State in which it is located, does not by that act escape the fealty and allegiance it owes to its superiors, but is bound to

years and

obey the lawful commands of its Grand Commandery or Grand Commander, abroad as well as home.

Two reports on uniform were presented, but as they involved more or less change and the temper and instructions of the representatives were decidedly averse to any change, the documents were tabled.

The same thing happened to the proposition to adopt and promulgate a system of tactics and drill. We may remark on this subject that as all the systems thus far published have been based upon that of Sir Orrin Welch, of New York, and differ from it only in some minor details, it will be safe to adopt the New York system.

Perhaps the most important act of the Session, and indeed of the Grand Encampment, was the assessment of a per capita tax on the affiliated Templars of the Union, to be collected from the several Grand Commanderies annually. The Revenue of the Grand Encampment has hitherto been derived from dispensations to form new Commanderies in territories where no Grand Commandery is established and from a tax on the Knights created in such subordinates, but the formation of Grand Commanderies has been so rapid of late promises so to continue, that the receipts fall below the current expenditures. It was therefore an absolute necessity that some new source of revenue should be devised, and this was happily met in amendment to the constitution having the effect above stated. The amount of the tax is only five cents annually per man ; but as there are already about thirty thousand Templars, with an annual increase of four thousand, it follows that the triennial receipt will be from four to six thousand dollars, a sum sufficient for all needed expenses, while its payment cannot be considered in any degree onerous. We believe that, on the contrary, this proceeding will do more to consolidate and strengthen the Grand Encampment than any other that could be devised, and that the National Body will stand higher in the future than it has in the past.

Various amendments to the Constitution were discussed and adopted, one of which involves a slight change in the style, not title of Grand officers. A large amount of routine business was transacted, and the Grand Encampment was closed to meet in the city of New Orleans on the first Tuesday of December, 1774.

We repeat here what we said in relation to the General Grand Chapter, that the Grand Encampment comes out of this convocation stronger, more united, and its powers and usefulness better understood than ever before.

We may here be pardoned a word in relation to the festivities which of late years have accompanied the meetings of these organizations. Some are inclined to blame them, others to regard them as having a

VOL. III.-NO. IV.-12.

strong tendency to promote good feeling, and cement the bonds of union between the different parts of the country.

One thing is certain. They are very expensive, and rest heavily, not only on the entertainers, but the guests, some of whom, as in this instance, traveled more than a thousand miles to be present. It seems quite clear that they might be diminished in extent, without affecting the objects sought to be attained, and the heavy burden of expense be thus diminished.

As things are now arranged, it seems certain that the coming meetings will be considerably more quiet than their immediate predecessors. The distance to be traveled, and the less number of commanderies in the Southern States, will make the New Orleans meeting considerably more tranquil than that at Baltimore, while the General Grand Chapter at Nashville will escape the confusion altogether ; but then when the bodies come together again in some Northern or Western city, the smothered enthusiasm of six years will find vent in a jubilee equal to, if not surpassing, anything that has yet been done. Personally, we would be in favor of a much more modest style of welcome and entertainment, but we do not assume to be the custodian of other people's acts, and presume that when the time comes around we shall see what we shall see. -Dispatch.

ANCIENT RUINS.

Ancient Egypt, Palestine, and the East.

BY M. W. ALFRED, A. M., M. D.

CHAPTER VI.

Prior to the conquest of Egypt by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1798, and ere the labors of his commission in the tombs and amid the ruins of ancient cities along the Nile had been consummated, most men supposed the Hebrew historical and religious writings were the most ancient literature extant. Thousands of intelligent men in Europe and America are totally ignorant of the result of the discoveries of this learned commission, and of the contents of the exhumed books of Papyrus and the translations of the mural inscriptions found among these ruins. It was a long time before these translations were made, and found their way into the English language. We are indebted to the labors of E. De Rougé and his coadjutors for much of the knowledge we now possess of these remarkable treasures of ancient history. To every one who seeks a knowledge of the origin of human society, its religious and political character, as far back as it is possible to trace them, the researches of De Rougé, and the testimony of the books of Papyrus, are unspeakably interesting. From all that can be gathered, the ancient Egyptians modeled their religious and social compact after that of the Hindoos. If they were not identical, they were very similar. The immense Hindoo temples, cut out of the hardest rocksexcavated from one vast rockexhibit, perhaps, a higher antiquity than those of Egypt or Syria.

It is equally evident that the Hebrew hierarchy (for such it was) erected by Moses, and Jethro, his father-in-law, was quite similar to both of the establishments just mentioned. Truth, that celestial angel, the representative of God on earth, shunned by superstitious bigots as the messenger of death-Truth smiles approvingly upon our lines when we assert that the Hindoos were the first of mankind, who moulded the wandering tribes of man into a monarchy, founded on religion. Ere Homer or Virgil wrote in ecstatic verse, or Troy, Carthage, Greece or Rome came into being, or Abraham and Lot wandered into Egypt, or Abraham, for fear of assassination, passed off his wife for his sister, (Gen. xii), was Egypt a mighty empire. The system of polity at this time in Egypt, like that of the Hindoos, was a monarchy subject to an omnipotent hierarchy. The people were divided into hereditary castes; the first of which consisted of the priests, who were the officers of state, expounders of the laws, and of the mysteries of religion. Then followed the soldiers and agriculturists. The priests monopolized the learned professions, and were superior to the king until he was initiated into their religious mysteries. They held a portion of the land, and were not subject to taxation. We have already in Chapter V.) given their practices and manners of life. It is remarked by those who have not had the means necessary to the acquirement of the facts, that the Egyptians did not believe in the ** true God," and their priests were not, therefore, the true priests of religion, nor were there any true priests before the giving of the law of Moses. The writings of our Holy Scriptures dissipate this conceit. We shall show that the Hebrew priests were in the priesthood before the law, and that the law never changed their religious supremacy over the people.

Abraham lived four hundred years before the law of Sinai ; and when he returned from a victorious campaign, (Gen. xiv. 18), “Melchizedek, king of Salem, brought forth bread and wine, and he was the priest of the Most High God; and he blessed him and said,

« ПретходнаНастави »