Masonic scholar William Wynn Westcott examines the assertion that the ancient religious sect, known as the Essenes, was in many ways a precursor to the Masonic fraternity. In addition to the notable features of brotherly love, relief, truth, morality and universal tolerance, there were much more tangible similarities, such as initiation, oaths, modes of recognition and the reception of an apron upon admittance. Or, at least that's what other Masonic writers would have you believe.
Westcott begins by reminding us that when we first enter into our Masonic initiation, as the candidate, we represent the rough ashlar, the unfinished stone. From there, he proceeds to point out a vast number of Biblical references to stones, while reminding us, that the worship of stones is one of the earliest forms of religious observance. Brother Westcott details at great length, examples of the importance of stones throughout history and across the globe.
Brother Westcott is the perfect man to write on the aims of the Rosicrucians and their relationship to Freemasonry, as he was not only a Mason and a Rosicrucian himself but held the office of supreme magus of the masonic Societas Rosicruciana in Anglia. So, along with a thorough history of how the traditional Rosicrucian Order evolved over hundreds of years, he includes some brief remarks on the much newer S.R.I.A.
William Wynn Westcott was a theosophist, Freemason, and Rosicrucian and one of the cofounders of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn. In his own personal spiritual belief system he subscribed to the concept of successive lives in the form of earthly experiences, as was almost universal in the doctrines of the ancient world. Here he examines the changes that occur to an individual upon death (spiritually speaking, of course) and what that means for how a person should choose to live his or her life.