There are over six thousand Masonic Lodges under the jurisdiction of English Grand Lodge, and on an average nearly a hundred new Lodges are consecrated each year. As Freemasons are drawn almost exclusively from the economic middle and upper classes it will be readily appreciated that they represent a very powerful and well-organized influence.
The scope of these chapters is not to analyze that influence on the political and social life of the nation, still less to discuss the influence on the craft of Templarism or Rosicrucianism, or to attempt a history of Freemasonry in its development from the Catholic guilds or lodges of operative stone-masons in the Middle Ages, through the speculative and Deistic seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, to the pan-religious non-Christian universalism, which the Craft upholds today. As Freemasonry very considerably overlaps with the non-Roman Churches, Particularly with the Church of England, my concern is rather to examine the extent to which this overlap is morally and theologically justified. (W. Hannah)