By Ill. Bro. Rev. E. C. KING, 30°

The main purpose of the study is to discover the meaning and significance of the passage of Scripture, which is read during the 1st. Point, Isaiah Chapter 53, and its relevance to Rose Croix Masonry. But we must first take a look at the origins of the Order itself. The degree of Prince of Rose Croix is, of all the high grades the most widely diffused being found in numerous Rites. It is the eighteenth of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite, the seventh of the French or Modern, the eighteenth of the Counci1 of Emperors of the East and West, the third of the Royal Order of Scotland, the twelfth of the Elect of Truth and seventh of the Philalethes, the Seekers of Truth. It was also given, in early times, in some Encampments of Knights Templars, and was the sixth of the degrees conferred by the Encampment of Baldwyn at Bristol, England.

Masonic writers have made many conflicting statements about its origin, some giving it a much higher antiquity than others, but all agree that it is one of the earliest of the higher degrees.

The name has, undoubtedly, been the cause of much confusion in relation to its history, because the Masonic degree of Rose Croix has at times been confused with the kabbalistical and alchemical sect of the “Rosicrucian’s" or "Brothers of the Rosy Cross". In spite of the insidious attempts of several opponents of Masonry to confound the two Orders, there is a great distinction between them. Even their names, a1though somewhat similar in sound are totally different in signification. The Rosicrucian’s, who were alchemists, did not derive their name, like the Rose Croix Masons, from the emblems of the Rose and Cross, but from the Latin “Ros” signifying "dew", which was supposed to be, of all the natural bodies, the most powerful solvent of gold, and "crux", "the cross", a chemical symbol of "Light". Baron Westerode, who wrote in 1784~ suggests that the order was instituted among the Knights Templar in Palestine in the year 1188, and then adds that Prince Edward, the son of Henry III, was admitted into the order in 1196.

The Baron de Gleiche", who was in 1785, the German Secretary of the Philalethan Congress of Paris, says that the Rose Croix and the Masons were united in England under King Arthur. But he has undoubtedly made the fundamental error of messing up Rosicrucianism with the Masonic legends of the Knights of the Round Table, so his assertions are invalid.

Another writer declares that the Rose Croix degree was invented by the Jesuits about the beginning of the 18th. Century to undermine the insidious attacks of the free thinkers on the Roman Catholic religion.




But there is no evidence of this in the history of the Roman Catholic Church. Another writer tells us that there is a tradition among the Masons of Scotland that, after the dissolution of the Templars, many of the knights repaired to Scotland and placed themselves under the protection of Robert Bruce; and that, after the Battle of Bannock burn which took place on St. John the Baptist' s Day ~ June 24th. 1314, the Monarch instituted the Royal Order of Heredom and, knights of the Rosy Cross and established the chief seat at Kilwinning. It seems by no means improbable that the degree of Rose Croix de Heredom may have taken its origin from that Order.

But for all their speculation no one seems able to pinpoint the period when~ and the point where, the Rose Croix degree became a part of Masonry.

One thing we do know for certain. In the year 1747, the Pretender Prince Charles Edward, Bonnie Prince Charlie, established a Chapter in the town of Arras, in France, with the title "Chapitre Primordial de Rose Croix " In the charter of the body the Pretender styles himself "Sovereign Grand Master of the Chapter of Heredom, known under the title of the Eagle and Pelican, and since our sorrows and misfortunes are great, under that of the Rose Croix"

From this we may infer that the title of "Rose Croix" was first known in 1747 and that the degree had been formally known as "Knight of the Eagle and Pelican", a title, which it still retains. But it is doubtful if Prince Charles borrowed any more than just the name from the Rosy Cross of the Royal Order of Scotland, for apart from the fact that it is Christian, the Rose Croix is entirely different in form and organisation.

It would seem that on its inception, the Rose Croix degree was, in fact, an attempt to christianise Freemasonry: To the First Temple of Solomon and the second of Zerubbabel, is added a third, that to which Christ alluded when he said "Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up.” The Pillars of Wisdom, Strength and Beauty, which support the Masonic Temple, are replaced by the Christian pillars of Faith, Hope and Charity. There are thirty-three degrees, which allude to the "Number of years of the Messiah's life on earth.

Fortunately, the Rose Croix degree failed to Christianise Freemasonry, but became the Christian branch of it. So the Principles and Tenets of Craft Masonry, which are based on the Judea-Christian ethic, and are the ultimate foundation and source of Freemasonry, remained intact for brethren of all Faiths to embrace.




In some ways, the 1st. Point of the Rose Croix is a Christian version of the 3rd. Degree. The darkened room and perambulations are there. The glimmering light in the East becomes the Red Cross. The candidate symbolically undergoes dangers, difficulties and afflictions, finding eventual deliverance by the practice of the virtues of Faith, Hope and Charity, and ultimate Perfection through the path originally trodden by Christ the Redeemer. But for the recitation of the sufferings of Hiram Abiff is substituted the reading of Isaiah's beautiful poetic prophesy of .the suffering that one who was to be a Saviour, would have to endure. There are four such prophecies, called the "Suffering Servant" prophecies orpoems.

And, although the Book of Isaiah is not a unity and was written by various writers at different times in the history of the Jewish people, over a period before, during and after the Exile, these prophesies were obviously all written by the same writer.

This prophet had an unshakeable belief in Jehovah as a living God and this belief inspired all his public utterances. It was God who controlled courts and used great world empires for the working out of his plans. And this sure confidence in God, gave Isaiah a profound contempt for the petty deceits and futile conspiracies of the King and his advisors. He believed that God's chosen people must be Holy and Just; and he continuously denounced the social injustice which disfigured the national life, above all the greed and avarice of the great landowners, which, supported as they were by a corrupt administration, denied to the poor and helpless all legal protection, and left them at the mercy of their oppressors.

Since the nation would not accept God's teaching, and remain in quiet and peace, Isaiah foresaw inevitable though not complete disaster. For out of the fire of calamity~ a purified remnant would emerge and the nation would be reborn. A king of David's line would arise - "there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse" - and the nation would find prosperity and usefulness.

The Christian Church has seen ~ in the figure of the Suffering Servant, the first dim groping after the Christ, the Messiah who was to come not just to restore the kingdom of Israel, but to be the Divine Founder of a new Israel, a people of God which would know no limits either of country or races. And Christians may rightly claim that the voluntary suffering of Jesus, his apparently obscure origin in the dry ground of Galilee, his silence before his persecutors, his quasi-judicial condemnation, his death with the wicked and his grave with the rich, his tender solicitude for his persecutors and his vindication by His Resurrection are a fulfilment of the prophetic ideal so complete, both in spirit and in detail, that the Christian Church has accepted him as its fulfilment. We must remember, however, that the Jews have Isaiah's prophecy among their sacred writings and that they are still awaiting its fulfilment and the coming of the Messiah.




In our ceremony, the prophecy as recited is not directed towards the candidate but to the other members of the Chapter. The Candidate, with his conductor, is too busy searching for the Christian principles of Faith, Hope and Charity hidden in the Pillars of Wisdom, Strength and Beauty, to listen to a recital by the Prelate. The recital is devised to infect the listeners with a true attitude of mind and a proper approach to the ceremony as a whole.

The poem falls into two parts. The first part shows the universal astonishment at the Servants humiliation and undeserved fate. Who could possibly believe that anyone could be treated so inhumanely? Despised and rejected, oppressed and afflicted he makes no protest. Then in the last two paragraphs we see the fulfilment of God's purpose and the exaltation and vindication of His Servant. "Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great."

It is not suggested that the prophecy is meant to depict exactly the various incidents in our Lord's life; rather it is a foretelling of the trials and tribulations the Messiah would have to undergo in the attempt to reveal the way of Eternal Life to his chosen people and then to all the world.

Nor is it suggested that the prophet, knew in what manner his prophecy would be fulfilled, or when. Rather, he was moved by the spirit to utter words, the meaning of which he could only partly understand. It was left to subsequent generations to see their fulfilment.

Scholars agree that these words were recorded some four hundred years before the birth of Christ, but it is not surprising that in the early writings of the Christian Church, frequent reference is made to this prophecy. For, in the Suffering Servant, we have the picture of a man who voluntarily set himself to carry out the mission entrusted to him by God even though it could mean misunderstanding, persecution and death. We see a man who is the object of man's aversion and God's wrath and only after his death is vindicated as having borne in loneliness of soul the punishment for sins in which he had no part.

I repeat that though the Jews still await the coming of the Messiah, the Christian Church sees in Jesus a fulfilment of the prophetic ideal so complete, both in spirit and in detail, that it has accepted Him as the Christ, the Messiah.

I conclude by reading the passage so that you can make your own assessment of its meaning, significance and relevance.
Its beauty lies not only in the poetic quality of Isaiah's prophecy, but also in the cadences of the authorised translation which contains all of the lyricism of Shakespearean English.

(Read Isaiah Chapter 53 from the Ritual.)



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