Interest in the "wisdom" of antiquity did not flounder after the Renaissance, but was continued by a mysterious order known as the Rosicrucians who claimed descent from the Templars, and who played an important part in the Protestant Reformation. The rose of the Rosicrucians both represented the Kabbalistic rose of the Song of Solomon, with five petals, like a pentagram, referring to Venus, and meant "red cross", in reference to the red cross of the Templars. It was noted that Luther used as his personal seal the symbol of a rose and a cross, and Valentin Andrea, the reputed author of the Rosicrucian Manifestos, which began to appear in 1614, was known to be one of his close friends and supporters.
As detailed by Frances Yates, in the Rosicrucian Enlightenment, the Rosicrucian movement was part of a conspiracy to bolster the emerging Protestant movement against the Catholic Church and its Habsburg supporters. The movement was focused on the important dynastic alliance forged through the marriage of Elizabeth Stuart, daughter of King James of England, and Frederick, Elector of the Palatinate of the Rhine. Interestingly, occult historian Laurence Gardner explains that the Stuart lineage were the representative of the so-called Grail bloodline of the Merovingians, which survived in Scotland, and descended from King Arthur.
In 1619, the Protestants offered the crown of Bohemia to Frederick, arousing the reaction of the Habsburgs that precipitated the Thirty Years War. The Rosicrucian movement was utterly routed, by many of its members managed to flee to Europe, where they were responsible for the early formation of Royal Society. It was from these circles that the Freemasons emerged, and their activity in England contributed to the Cromwell Revolution, which toppled the reign of Charles, who was eventually replaced by Charles II Stuart.
When James II, King Charles II's brother and successor, was also forced to leave the throne, bringing to an end the Stuart succession. Though the throne was then offered jointly to William of Orange and his wife Mary, James' daughter, who were both of Stuart lineage, the Scots were disappointed at the loss of a Stuart monarch. It was these disaffected representatives of the Stuart cause, who sprouted Freemasonry in France, which established itself as a separate Grand Orient Lodge, and continued to support the Stuart cause.
In France, these Masons continued to conspire against the Catholic Church, and to pursue the goal of their predecessors, the Rosicrucians, in the implementation of a "New World Order". Their propagandistic activities took the form of a philosophical movement known as the Enlightenment. The Masons are regarded as the rightful inheritors of the Essenic tradition of Johannite Gnosticism from the Templars, acquired from the Sabians of Harran in Iraq, and the Ismaili Assassins during the Crusades.
Albert Pike, the great Masonic historian, regarded as the "Plato of Freemasonry" or the "Masonic Pope", "...Masonry is identical with the Ancient Mysteries." He believed Freemasonry to represent the ancient doctrines of the Aryan race, and according to Manly P. Hall, in An Encyclopedic Outline of Masonic Philosophy, "Masonry came to Northern Africa and Asia Minor from the lost continent of Atlantis, not under its present name but rather under the general designation Sun and Fire Worship" which they personified, as explained by Pike, "as Brahma, Amun, Osiris, Bel, Adonis, Melkarth, Mithras, and Apollo; and the nations that did so grew old and died." In other words, the secret god of the Masons is the dying-god of antiquity, or the Baphomet of the Templars.
The activities of the Freemasons though were directed by the notorious Illuminati, a secret society founded by Adam Weishaupt in 1776. Ultimately, according to Albert Pike, in Morals and Dogma,the Illuminati, like their predecessors, the Templars, Rosicrucians, and Freemasons, were inheritors of the ancient tradition of the Kabbalah:
The Occult Science of the Ancient Magi was concealed under the shadows of the Ancient Mysteries: it was imperfectly revealed or rather disfigured by the Gnostics: it is guessed at under the obscurities that cover the pretended crimes of the Templars; and it is found enveloped in enigmas that seem impenetrable, in the Rites of the Highest Masonry.
Magism was the Science of Abraham and Orpheus, of Confucius and Zoroaster. It was the dogmas of this Science that were engraven on the tables of stone by Enoch and Trismegistus. Moses purified and re-veiled them, for that is the meaning of the word reveal. He covered them with a new veil, when he made of the Holy Kabbalah the exclusive heritage of the people of Israel, and the inviolable Secret of its priests. The Mysteries of Thebes and Eleusis preserved among the nations some symbols of it, already altered, and the mysterious key whereof was lost among the instruments of an ever-growing superstition. Jerusalem, the murderess of her prophets, and so often prostituted to the false gods of the Syrians and Babylonians, had at length in its turn lost the Holy Word, when a Prophet announced by the Magi by the consecrated Star of Initiation [Sirius], came to rend asunder the worn veil of the old Temple, in order to give the Church a new tissue of legends and symbols, that still and ever conceal from the Profane, and ever preserves to the Elect the same truths.
The plan of the Illuminati, exercised through the mouthpiece of the French "Philosophes", the most prominent of which, Rousseau, Voltaire, Montesqieu, were all Freemasons, was to discredit Christianity, and to call for its replacement with the rule of "Liberty". Originally, the concept of "liberty" was devised by the Illuminati, and based on its Gnostic conception of reality, meant freedom not only from religion, but from God. Essentially, the Gnostics of the Illuminati believed that there is no God, but that, based on a Kabbalistic conception of the universe, it is man who progresses through time to become God, and find reality through his own use of "reason". And therefore, the Enlightenment is also known as the Age of Reason.
Although the influence of the Masons on the French Revolution of 1789 has been denied by mainstream scholars, it is evident that they exercised an influence on its symbolism. In France, the intellectual activities of famous Freemasons such as Volaire, Jean-Jasques Rousseau and Montesqieu, contributed to a philosophical movement, referred to as the Enlightenment, which helped to stir resentments that led to the revolution. The Phrygian cap of the Mithraic mysteries, known as the Bonnet Rouge, became the emblem of the revolutionaries and the Masonic tenets of Equality, Liberty and Fraternity their rallying cry. Mirabeau, one of the founders of the Revolution, allegedly said when the Bastille was stormed, "the idolatry of the monarchy has received a death blow from the sons and daughters of the Order of the Templars."
The American Revolution
The sentiments of the French Revolution also spread to America, where the members of the Boston Tea Party were all Freemasons. Among the fifty-six American rebels who signed the Declaration of Independence, only six were not members of the Masonic Order. Their success lead to the establishment of the first modern secular state. The purpose of removing the role of religion from the sate was ostensibly to limit the sort of persecution that had become habitual in Europe. More correctly, however, the goal of the illuminati was to remove religion, which it referred to euphemistically as "superstition" and "despotism", from the public sphere. It enshrined "Liberty", meaning freedom from the yoke of Christian morality, rules which it attempted to replace with "unalienable rights", a concept originally discussed among the secret meetings of the Illuminati.
George Washington wrote insisted that he did not deny "the Doctrines of the Illuminati, and principles of Jacobinism had not spread in the United States." "On the contrary", he replied "no one is more truly satisfied of this fact than I am." He continues:
The idea that I meant to convey, was, that I did not believe that the Lodges of Free Masons in this Country had, as Societies, endeavored to propagate the diabolical tenets of the first, or pernicious principles of the latter (if they are susceptible of separation). That Individuals of them may have done it, or that the founder, or instrument employed to found, the Democratic Societies in the United States, may have had these objects; and actually had a separation of the People from their Government in view, is too evident to be questioned.
In September 18, 1793, President George Washington dedicated the United States Capitol. Dressed in Masonic apron, the president placed a silver plate on the cornerstone and covered it with the Masonic symbols of corn, oil and wine. The plan of the city of Washington DC itself was designed by Freemason and architect Pierre Charles L'Enfante in the form of a pentagram, or five-pointed star. In 1848, in a Masonic ceremony, the cornerstone was laid of the Washington Monument, an obelisk or pillar, like those formerly dedicated to the dying gods of ancient Middle East. And, every president of the United States since Independence has purportedly been a 33rd degree Freemason.