The Gnostics and Their Remains, by Charles William King, , at sacred-texts.com
The foregoing considerations seem to furnish a reasonable solution of the problem set to the archæologist in the continued existence of genuine Gnostic symbols (whether in their pristine significancy or as mere dead forms, is for the Masons themselves to judge) still paraded before us as things holy and full of meaning. Treasured up amongst the Sufis of Persia, and the dark sectaries of the Lebanon, thence transmitted to the Templars, and handed over by them to their legitimate heirs the Brethren of the Rosy Cross, these signs maintain a perpetual vitality. The famous Pentacle (Solomon's seal) of the Templars was, thinks Nicolai with good reason, the powerful symbol, prescribed in the Diagramma of the Ophites to be offered by the ascending soul to the Genius of each sphere, to extort from them free passage to the supernal Light: "O First and Seventh One (Ildabaoth, æon of Saturn), born to rule with power, chief Word of the pure Intelligence! Perfect Work in the sight of the Father and the Son; by presenting unto thee in this seal the sign of life, I open the gate which thy power hath closed to
the world, and freely traverse thy domains." A sufficient reason this for the constant appearance of this particular sigil upon tombstones of every date. The reverence with which the Hindoos still regard the same figure has been already noticed. In its five points lies concealed the same expression of the virtues of that numeral as was conveyed to the Grecian philosopher by the Delphic e; interpreted in the same sense as by Plutarch, in the Middle Ages the Pentacle was held a sure protection against all danger of fire--though found unavailing, alas! for its knightly wearers; Béranger's dictum being too well verified,
and was therefore regularly painted up in buildings that from their destination were particularly liable to such risk, brew-houses amongst the rest. This last custom explains how the pentacle came at last to indicate the places where fermented liquors were on sale.