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since then has been repeatedly reprinted. The last of the three documents is the ancient mode of admitting Masons, as it is still exercised by all the Masons of the ancient English system. It contains some customs of the Roman colleges, and of the most ancient Christian monks and ascetics.
From this period Freemasonry rapidly regained its ancient dominion, and exercised a new and most powerful influence on the whole moral and intellectual life of Europe. It first gave the world the true import of the words Fraternity, Liberty, Equality. Long before the first French Revolution, its presence, though invisible, was felt throughout Europe. Essentially republican in its nature, and aiming to establish political and social equality and
picture of a new social order, nowhere found on earth—the ideal of a society opposed to, and at the same time far more perfect than any existing civil organization. Consequently it became odious to tyrants. “It was anathematized,” says an eminent writer,* “at Rome, by Clement VII., pursued in Spain by the Inquisition, and persecuted at Naples.”
So, in France, the Sorbonne declared its members worthy of eternal punishment! And yet Frecmasonry found protectors among princes and nobles. Many of them disdained not to take the trowel and gird themselves with the apron.
* Louis Blanc.
For the few years preceding the French Revolution, Freemasonry was very active and vigorous through all of Europe. Working in secret, like the Cyclops in the forges of Vulcan, it fashioned those thunderous bolts which sent despotism howl. ing to its den of darkness. It contributed largely to the social improvement of our race, and to the establishment of civil liberty, besides making men more social, more humane, more benevolent, and more fraternal.*
* Vide brief account of Judico-Politico Secret Societies in Appendix.