The Swedish Rite of Freemasonry 2
By Bro BURTON E. BENNETT, Sc. D.
The Master Mason - January 1926 1.
From: Ron Blaisdell [firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Saturday, June 26, 1999 10:16 AM
That there is one God in whom there is a divine trinity; and that he is the Lord Jesus Christ. 2. That a saving faith is to believe in, him. 3. That evils are to be shunned because they are of the devil and from the devil. 4. That good actions are to be done because they are from God. 5. That these are to be done by man as from himself; but that it ought to be believed that they are done from the Lord with him and by him. SWEDENBORG was not a Mason, never spoke of Masonry, never mentioned Masonry in any of his writings. Yet some "high" Masons took much of the material for some of their degrees from Swedenborg, and particularly from the following vision: I accordingly entered the Temple, which was magnificent, and in the midst of which a woman was represented clothed in purple, holding in her right hand a golden crown piece and in her left a chain of pearls. The statue and the representation were only FANTASTIC REPRESENTATIONS; for these INFERNAL SPIRITS, by closing the interior degree, and opening the exterior one, are able at the pleasure of their imagination to represent magnificent objects. Perceiving that they were illusions, I prayed to the Lord. Immediately the interior of my spirit was opened, and I saw, instead of the superb Temple, a tottering house, open to the weather from the top to the bottom. In the place of the woman- statue an image was suspended, having the head of a dragon, the body of a leopard, the feet of a bear, and the mouth of a lion; in short, it was the beast rising out of the sea, as described in the Apocalypse XIII, 2. In the place of a park, THERE WAS A MARSH FULL OF FROGS, and I was informed that under this marsh there was a GREAT HEWN STONE, beneath which the WORD was entirely hidden. Afterwards I said to the prelate, who was the fabricator of these illusions, "Is that your Temple?" "Yes," replied he, "it is." Immediately his interior sight was opened like mine, and he saw what I did. "How now what do I see?" cried he. I told him that it was the effect of the celestial light, which discovers the interior quality of everything, and that which taught him at that very moment what faith separated from good works was. While I was speaking, a wind blowing from the EAST destroyed the Temple and the image dried up the marsh, and DISCOVERED THE STONE UNDER WHICH THE SACRED WORD WAS CONCEALED. A genial warmth, like that of the spring, descended from heaven; and in the place of the Temple we saw a tent, the exterior of which was very plain. I looked into the interior of it, and there I saw THE FOUNDATION STONE BENEATH WHICH THE SACRED WORD WAS CONCEALED, ornamented with precious stones, the splendor of which, diffusing itself over the walls of the Temple, diversified the colors of the paintings, which represented cherubim. The angels, perceiving me to be filled with admiration, told me that I should see still greater wonders than these. They were then permitted to open the THIRD HEAVEN, inhabited by the celestial angels, who dwelt in LOVE. All of a sudden the splendor of a LIGHT OF FIRE caused the Temple to disappear, and left nothing to be seen but the Lord himself, standing upon the FOUNDATION STONE - the Lord, who was the WORD, such as He showed Himself. (Apocal., 1, 13- 16.) Holiness immediately filled all the interior of the spirit of the angels, upon which they MADE AN EFFORT to prostrate themselves, but the Lord SHUT THE PASSAGE TO THE LIGHT from the THIRD heaven, OPENING the passage to the light of the SECOND, which caused the Temple to reappear, with the tent in the midst. IT IS said that Count Wrende Sparre, who had been admitted to Freemasonry in both England and France, established a Lodge of Masons in Stockholm in 1731. If so it was short lived, for Masonry was prohibited in Sweden in 1738. However, it was soon readmitted. In 1746, what is known as the Mother Lodge of Sweden, "St. John Auxiliary," existed in Stockholm, but it was not regularly constituted till 1752. This was done by Count Porse. It is thus seen that by 1746, at least, Masonry became firmly established in Sweden. On December 25, 1759, the Grand Lodge of Sweden was formed by Count Eckleff. He was, probably, elected its first Grand Master. The only addition to true Freemasonry appears at this time to have been one Scots Lodge. While the "high" degrees made their appearance the next year, they made no great impression for several years. By 1766, however, they had grown into the Swedish system so far that the Rite was remodeled into its present form. But it, probably, consisted of only eight degrees, the last one containing the Templar legend. In 1780 the Rite was rearranged and remodeled, divided into different classes, and, with the exception of the last class, which was created in 1811, assumed the form that it has since maintained. The Rite consists of five classes, to wit: (1) St. John's Lodges (Craft degrees), (2) St. Andrew's Lodges (Scots degrees), (3) Chapter degrees, (4) Chapter Dignitaries of the Red Cross (Knights and Commanders), and (5) Order of Charles III. This last class, however, does not apply to Norway, Denmark, and the greater part of northern Germany, governed by the Grand Lodge of Germany, where the Swedish Rite is also worked. Neither does the Swedish governmental system apply, the really working part of the Rite being of only nine degrees. Probably about 100,000 persons practice the Swedish Rite. THE FIRST class consists of three degrees: (1) Entered Apprentice, (2) Fellow Craft, and (3) Master Mason. The second also consists of three degrees: (4) Scottish Apprentice, (5) Scottish Fellow, and (6) Scottish Master. The third class, as well, consists of three degrees: (7) Knight of the East or Prince of Jerusalem. The Knight of the East is found in nearly all Rites. It is the fifteenth degree of the Ancient and Accepted Rite, the sixth degree of the French Rite, the forty-first degree of the Rite of Misraim, and the tenth degree (Knight of the Red Cross) of the American Rite. The Knight of the Red Cross really belongs to the Royal Arch degree. It depicts incidents in the story of the building of the Second Temple at Jerusalem. The Prince of Jerusalem, on the other hand, is the sixteenth degree of the Ancient and Accepted Rite, and the forty-first degree of the Misraim Rite. This is a continuation of the story of incidents in the building of the Second Temple. The second one is (8) Confident of Solomon or Knight of the West. This degree is said to unfold the Templar legend. The Knight of the West is also the name of the forty-second degree of the Rite of Misraim. The third class, again, consists of three degrees. Instead of degrees, however, they are really titles of honor. They are as follows: (10) Confident of St. Andrew or Perfect Templar, (11) Knight Companion of the Red Cross, and (12) Vicar of Solomon. This is the governing class of the Order and the Vicar of Solomon, who is always the King of Sweden, is the head of it. The Vicar has charge of the ritualistic work, while the Grand Master has charge of all business affairs. These two offices may, or may not be, centered in one and the same person. Generally the heir apparent is the Grand Master. It is asserted that all princes are born Freemasons. The King, as Vicar of Solomon, is really a Protestant pope, and it was so intended. THE VICARIUS SALOMONIS (Vicar of Solomon) dates from about 1780. The Duke of Sundermania became Grand Master in 1773. In 1775 King Gustavus III became a Grand Lodge member, and under the name of "Protector" assumed control of Masonry. This Protectorship grew into Vicarius Salomonis. The fifth class is the Order of Charles XIII, created May 27, 1811. This is an Order of Knighthood. It is composed, besides the sovereign and princes of the blood, of three of the great church dignitaries of the realm, and twenty-seven Masons who have reached the tenth degree. This Order greatly resembles the Supreme Councils and Grand Orients of the thirty-third degree, as its members are chosen to a great extent in the same manner as are honorary thirty-thirds. It also may be compared to the official governing degrees of the Rite of Memphis, which are all above the ninetieth degree, and the Vicar of Solomon is about the same as the Grand Hierophant, who holds his position for life, and is the only member taking the ninety-seventh degree. Sweden has five Orders of Knighthood, to wit: (1) Order of the Seraphim (the "Blue Ribbon"), the creation of which is attributed to Magnus I in 1280. The Order is limited, exclusive of the king and princes of the blood, to eight foreign and twenty-seven Swedish members. The collar of the Order is formed of alternate gold seraphim and blue enameled patriarchal crosses. (2) The Order of the Sword (the "Yellow Ribbon"), which is the principal military order. It was created by Gustavus I (Vasa) in 1522. There are five classes with subdivisions. The badge is a white cross in the angles of which are gold crowns. The points of the cross are joined by gold swords entwined with gold and blue belts. In the blue center is an upright sword with three gold crowns. The whole is surrounded by the royal crown. The ribbon is yellow with blue edging. (4) Order of Vasa (the "Green Ribbon"). This Order was created by Gustavus III in 1772. It consists of three classes with subdivisions. It is given for services rendered to industries and manufactures. The white cross bears on a blue center the charge of the house of Vasa, a gold sheaf shaped like a vase with two handles. (5) Order of Charles XIII (the "Red Ribbon"). The insignia are a red enameled cross, bound in gold surmounted by a regal crown, worn on a red ribbon as a collar round the neck, and a smaller, but similar cross, minus the crown, on the left breast.