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Antediluvian Freemasonry

Among the traditions of Freemasonry, which, taken literally, become incredible, but which, considered allegorically, may contain a profound meaning, not the least remarkable are those which relate to the existence of a Masonic system before the Flood, the word antediluvian being from the Latin language and meaning before the deluge. Thus, Anderson (Constitutions, first edition, page 3) says: "Without regarding uncertain accounts, we may safely conclude the Old World, that lasted 1656 years, could not be ignorant of Masonry.''

Doctor Oliver has devoted the twenty-eighth lecture in his Historical Landmarks to an inquiry into "the nature and design of Freemasonry before the Flood" ; but he admits that any evidence of the existence at that time of such an Institution must be based on the identity of Freemasonry and morality. "We may safely assume," he says, "that whatever had for its object and end an inducement to the practice of that morality which is founded on the love of God, may be identified with primitive Freemasonry."

The truth is, that antediluvian Freemasonry is alluded to only in what are called the ineffably degrees; and that its only important tradition is that of Enoch, who is traditionally supposed to be its founder, or, at least, its Great Hierophant, or Chief Priest (see Enoch).

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