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mony. When holding a public procession, they carried a small green flag. This Montanus, who wrote a book entitled “ Introduction to the Hermetic Science," says, that he spent his patrimony and his wife's fortune, of eleven thousand dollars, for the benefit of the society, and that when he was totally impoverished he was expelled, being, however, bound over to keep their secrets, “which latter, indeed, I kept, as women do not reveal anything where there is nothing to reveal.” These pretended secrets are supposed to be contained in a book entitled “Sinceri Renati Theophilosophia Theoretico-practica,” but I have not been able to obtain or see a copy of this work. The society is supposed to have become extinct at the beginning of the eighteenth century.
278. A Rosicrucian MS.- According to a statement made by Dr. von Harless in his “Jacob Böhme and the Alchymists” (2nd ed., Leipzic, 1882), a society Rosic ucians must have existed in Germany in the year 1641. Dr. von Harless says, “I have recently had an opportunity of inspecting a Rosicrucian MS. hitherto unknown. It was probably written about 1765, and contains the statutes of an order of Rosicrucians, with the title Testamentum. The original must date from the middle of the seventeenth century, as is proved by a special warning given to members to observe secrecy, especially towards Roman Catholic ecclesiastics, two members having, from not attending to this caution, been great sufferers in 1641. The MS., besides the statutes, also contains instructions for alchymistic operations. The Order, according to the MS., had one chief, called imperator ; its chief seats were Ancona, Nuremberg, Hamburg, and Amsterdam. The members were to change their residence every ten years, and maintain the greatest secrecy as to their existence. The apprenticeship lasted seven years.
Their mode of addressing one another was: ave frater ; the answer : roseæ et aured. The first: crucis ; then both together: Benedictus Deus qui dedit nobis signum.' Then the mutual production of the signum, consisting of an engraved seal, a specimen of which was also shown to Dr. von Harless."
On taking steps to obtain further particulars from Dr. von Harless himself, I learnt to my regret that he had died in 1878; and as he had given no intimation in the above-named works where the MS. is deposited, I am unable to report further thereon. But it would seem that the society referred to in the MS. was the same as the one spoken of in the “Thesaurinella," mentioned towards the end of sect. 244.
279. New Rosicrucian Constitution.—In 1714, or
hundred years after Andrea's writings, there appeared a new Rosicrucian constitution, entitled, “The True and Perfect Preparation of the Philosopher's Stone of the Brotherhood of the Golden and Rosy Cross. Published for the benefit Filiorum Doctrinæ by Sincero Renato, Breslau.” The preface stated that the treatise was not the writer's work, but intrusted to him by a professor of the art, whom he was not allowed to name.
The author divides the work into practica ordinis minoris and practica ordinis majoris, indicating the division of the Order into two distinct fraternities, the superior one being known as the "Brethren of the Golden Cross,” their symbol being a red cross, and the inferior one as the “ Brethren of the Rosy Cross,” their symbol being a green cross, from which it is evident that the real work of the Order was alchymy. Each brother, on being initiated, dropped his real name, and assumed a fictitious one, as we have seen that Ludwig Conrad was known in the Order as Montanus (277), and as hereafter we find the Illuminati assume all kinds of fancy names. Renato's book further states that the Order possessed large seminaries, as the abovenamed Montanus had asserted. Article 42 of the statutes prohibited the reception of married men into the Order; in Article 17 members who wished to marry were allowed to take wives, but were to live with them philosophice, whatever that may have meant. Article 44 enjoined that if a brother should, by misfortune or want of caution, be discovered by any potentate, he was rather to die than reveal the secrets of the Order.
280. The Duke of Saxe-Weimar and other Rosicrucians.The first modern writer who openly professed himself a Rosicrucian was Duke Ernest Augustus of Saxe-Weimar, who in 1742 published his “Theosophic Devotions” in a small edition, copies of which are easily recognised by their red morocco binding and the ducal crown and cipher on the cover. In it he refers to the “last great union of brethren,” and, according to the vignette at the end of the book, he must mean Rosicrucians.
We hear of a society of Rosicrucians founded by Freemasons, whose “General Constitutions” were settled in 1763; they were based on the “ Themis Aurea” of Michael Maier, who had been physician-in-ordinary and alchymist to the Emperor Rudolph (1576- 1612).
This revived taste taken advantage of by many adventurers. John George Schroepfer, who kept a coffee-house at Nuremberg in 1777, established at his house a lodge, and
made so much pretence to secret and exclusive knowledge, that the Duke Ferdinand of Brunswick and the Duke of Courland-by whose order Schroepfer had once been flogged -invited him to Dresden, where they openly patronised him, while he deluded them with the apparitions of ghosts and magical phantasma-really produced by magic-lanterns and concave mirrors. But his conduct eventually so disgusted his patrons that they refused him further supplies of money, whereupon he shot himself in a wood near Leipzic.
But this vulgar cheat left credulous disciples behind. John Rudolph Bischofswerder (1741–1803), a major, and afterwards Prussian Minister of War, who had almost been a witness of Schroepfer's death, and John Christopher Wöllner (17321800), a clergyman, and afterwards Prussian Minister of Public Cult, continued what Schroepfer had started. Under the patronage of the Crown Prince, Frederick William of Prussia, the nephew of Frederick the Great, whom he succeeded in 1786 as King Frederick William II., established at Berlin a Rosicrucian lodge, and the enlightened views which had been introduced by, and had prevailed during the reign of, old Fritz were quickly suppressed by religious persecution. At that time Bahrdt had considerable success with his resuscitated order of Illuminati. The two highly-placed rogues saw in this plebeian a man who might some day compete with them for the king's favour; so whilst they, in league with his mistress, the Countess Lichtenau, more than ever amused their silly royal patron with the calling up of ghosts and drunken orgies, they induced him to put forth the notorious Religious Edict of 1788, which was to stem the ungodly advances of the Illuminati, and which also restored the censorship of the Press. The book (in German), entitled “The Rosicrucian in his Nakedness," published by Master "Pianco," an ex-member of the society, in 1782, was a violent attack and exposé of the Rosicrucians; but the delusion continued to flourish.
281. Origin of the Order.—This Order originated probably about the year 1780, though its chiefs were not known in 1788; it was, however, suspected that Baron Ecker and Eckhofen was one of them. He resided at first at Vienna, but afterwards settled at Sleswick; he distinguished himself by his writings, but the superstitious proclaimed him a terrible Cacumugus. The order spread from Italy to Russia. Its basis was Rosicrucian, its meetings were called Melchisedeck lodges, and Jews, Turks, Persians, and Armenians might be received as members. The masters were called the Worshipful Chiefs of the Seven Churches of Asia. The full title of the Order was, “ Order of the Knights and Brethren of St. John the Evangelist from Asia in Europe.” The teaching of the Order was partly moral, that is to say, it instructed how to rule spirits, by breakivg the seven seals; and partly physical, by showing how to prepare miraculous medicines and to make gold. It inculcated cabalistic nonsense, and was greatly detested by Rosicrucians and Freemasons—two of a trade cannot agree. The names of the degrees were taken from the Hebrew, and were symbolical of their characteristics. The Order did not profess Rosicrucianism, yet in the Third Chief Degree the members were styled “ True Rosicrucians.” The results of the scientific researches of the masters were not communicated to aspirants; these had to discover them as they could. The fact seemed to be that the masters had nothing to communicate, but this admission would have been fatal to the Order; its secrets appearing to exist in the credulity of outsiders only.
282. Division of this Order.—The Order was divided into five degrees. viz., two probationary and three chief degrees. The first probationary degree, that of the “Seekers,” never consisted of more than ten members. The period of probation was fourteen months. They had lectures delivered to them every fortnight, and the costume they wore at their
meetings consisted of a round black hat with black feathers, a black cloak, a black sash with three buttons in the shape of roses, white gloves, and sword with a black tassel, a black ribbon, from which was suspended a double triangle, which symbol was also embroidered on the left side of the cloak.
The second probationary degree, consisting of ten members, was called that of the " Sufferers." Its duration was seven months. Whilst the “ Seekers were theorists only, the “Sufferers” were supposed to make practical researches in physical science. They wore round black bats with black and white feathers, black cloaks with white linings and collars, on which double triangles were embroidered in gold, black sashes with white edging and three rosettes, white gloves, and swords with black and white tassels.
The First Chief Degree styled its members “Knights and Brother-Initiates from Asia in Europe.” They wore round black hats with white, black, yellow, and red feathers, black cloaks with white linings and collars and gold lace; on the left breast of the cloak there was a red cross with four green roses, having in their centre a green shield with the monogram M and A. The same cross, of gold, and enamelled, was worn on a red ribbon; the member further wore a pink sash round the body edged with green and with three red roses, white gloves with a red cross and four green roses ; the tassels of the swords displayed the four colours of the feathers.
283. Initiation into this Degree. ---On the reception of a “Sufferer” into this degree he was led into a room hung with black; the floor and furniture were covered with black cloth. The room was lit up with seven golden candlesticks, six of which had five branches each, whilst the seventh, standing in the centre, represented a human figure in a white dress and golden girdle. The chair of the master stood in the centre of the room on a daïs of three steps, under a square black canopy; the back wall was partly open, but held back with seven tassels, and behind it was the Holiest of Holies, consisting of a balustrade of ten columns, on the basement of which was a picture of the sun in a triangle, surrounded by the divine fire. Under the centre 'candlestick was the carpet of the three masonic degrees, surrounded by nine lights, a tenth light standing a little further off at the foot of the throne. There stood, on the right, a small table, on which were placed a flaming sword, with the number 56 engraved thereon, and a green rod, with two red ends; to the left lay the Book of the Law.