Bible Presentation to a
My Brother, through the
courtesy of the Worshipful Master and on behalf of your Lodge, it is my privilege to
present you with the Holy Bible upon which you took your obligation in this and the
preceding degrees and as you were instructed in the "Great Light" in Masonry.
We are accustomed to think of
the Holy Bible as one book because it is bound between two covers, but it is not one book
but a vast Library, sometimes called the Divine Library, and rightfully so. It is composed
of sixty-six books, thirty-nine in the Old Testament and twenty-seven in the New
Testament. It was over fifteen hundred years in the making. A period of four hundred years
passed between the history of the last book of the Old Testament and the first book of the
New Testament. Another four hundred years passed before they were translated into a common
language and assembled into one book by St. Gerome. It was known as the Latin Vulgate.
Then ten centuries passed before we received the first crude and partial English
translation which resulted in the authorized King James Version in 1611 A.D.
The Holy Bible contains ethics, history, law,
letters, medicine, morals, philosophy, prophecy, and a revelation of divine light and
Its authorship is no less varied. Its contributors
were collectors of internal revenues, fishermen, historians, kings, lawgivers, mystics,
poets, preachers, prophets and tentmakers.
Diverse are its subject matter and authorship, remote
are its allegories, figures, legends, myths, types, and unique styles of expression. The
intelligent reader discerns running through it an increasing purpose, a progressive
revelation of truth. As a silver thread runs through a darker fabric appearing here and
there prominently on the surface, so flashes of light arise from its pages revealing the
mind and character of God and his unfailing love toward mankind.
Everything that could be done through
the ages of intolerance to destroy it, was done. Men were imprisoned, tortured and burned
at the stake for confessing and defending its teaching. When Latimer and Ridley were
burned at the stake in front of Old Balliol College in Oxford for what they believed to be
its teachings, Latimer cried as the flames licked his feet, "Fear not Ridley, our
blood will this day light a torch that will never go out." And so it was, in that
unyielding principle of survival, not of man but of God.
Through these hundreds of
years, its pages have been moistened with tears of joy and tears of sorrow. They have been
thumbed through and soiled by Kings in their palaces and penitent prisoners in their
cells. Monarchs and peasants alike, strong men and sinners have found it a source of
courage, consolation, hope and strength.
Sir Walter Scott on his deathbed called to
Lockhart, "Bring me the Book," Lockhart inquired, "Which book?" Scott
replied, "There is but one BOOK," and the great bard passed away with one hand
on the Holy Bible.
In presenting this to you, your Lodge bids you read
it frequently not with your eyes but with your heart, devotionally. It will be an
increasing source of guidance and "Light" in your efforts to become a better man
and a better Mason. Other
lights might fail, and as you increase your knowledge of it, it will become a lamp unto
your feet and a light unto your path.
Another Masonic Bible Presentation
In all the rich symbolism of Ancient Craft Masonry two symbols, or
symbolic themes predominate. One is the search for light, the other is the labor
of building. The source of light is the Holy Bible, the grand representation of
the builders art is King Solomon’s Temple.
Searching persistently and building carefully, the candidate travels
slowly toward the East. As he pursues his quest for light and more light and
still further light in Masonry, he learns by the way to use the working tools of
the stone craftsman, until, at last, he finds himself portraying the Character
of the greatest of all legendary builders, the Master Architect of King
Solomon’s Temple. Searching and Building, Light and the Temple, -- the two
dominant Masonic themes are distinct but not separate, complimentary rather than
The Temple in the Masonic ritual is almost, but not quite completed;
the allegory rises from a physical to a spiritual Temple: “A house, not made
with hands, eternal in the heavens.”
But the search and the labor for complete illumination are not
completed by the candidate within the Lodge. Light is revealed, and the sacred
source of all light is clearly indicated, but regardless of any spiritual
symbolism that may be hidden in our Masonic Ceremonies, the unending search, and
the labor toward perfection, once begun in the Lodge, must continue with the
initiated Mason, not only within the sanctuary of the Masonic Temple, but also
among the larger world, and for all the days of his life.
Philosophers tell us that time is a river, and that books are boats.
Many volumes start down that stream, only to be wrecked and lost beyond recall
in its sands. Only a few, a very few, endure the testing of time and survive to
bless the ages that follow.
As Masons, we pay homage to the greatest of all books -- the one
enduring book which has travelled down that river from the begining of time, and
which is freighted with the richest treasures that any book has ever presented
My Brethren here is a Book whose scene is the sky and the dirt and all
that lies between. A Book that has in it the arch of the heavens, the curve
of the earth, the ebb and flow of the sea, sunrise and sunset, the peaks of
mountains and the glint of sunlight on flowing waters, the shadow of forests on
the hills, the song of birds and the color of flowers.
But its two great characters are God and the Soul, and the story of
their eternal life together is its one, everlasting, romance.
It is the most human of books, telling the old forgotten secrets of the
heart. its bitter pessimism its death defying hope, its pain, its passion, its
sin, its sob of grief and its shout of joy... telling all, without malice,
in its Grand Style which can do no wrong, while echoing the sweet-toned pathos
of the pity and mercy of God.
No other book is so honest with us, so mercilessly merciful, so austere
yet so tender, piercing the heart, yet healing the deep wounds of sin and
My Brother, take this great and simple Book, white with age yet new
with the dew of each new morn, tested by the sorrowful and victorious
experiences of centuries, rich in memories and wet with the tears of multitudes
who walked this way before us... Lay it to heart, love it, read it, learn
what life is, what it means to be a man; aye, learn that God hath made us for
himself, and unquiet are our hearts till they rest in Him. Make it your friend
and your teacher and you will know what Sir Walter Scott meant, when, as he lay
dying, he asked Lockhart to read to him... “From what book?’ asked Lockhart,
“...and Scott replied: There is but one Book!’