MASONIC INITIATION by W.L. Wilmshurst

Chapter I.

FROM DARKNESS TO LIGHT


No more needed and useful work is to be done in the Masonic Order to-day
than the education of its members in the true purpose of rites of
initiation, that they may the better
appreciate the reason, the importance, and the seriousness, of the work the
Order . was designed to achieve.

Hitherto that educative work has been grievously neglected, with
prejudicial results to the Craft through the admission of candidates little
adapted to appreciate its purpose . Some members have no wish to be
masonically educated . They are content to be Masons in name only, and are
satisfied that the monotonous, mechanical repetition of unexplained
ceremonies and side-lectures fulfils every requisite, and conveys all that
is to be known . Yet in every Lodge are to be found brethren who are asking
for something more than this, who know that the Craft was designed for
wider and better ends; who, as earnest seekers after Wisdom and Light,
entered the Order in the hope of finding them, but who too often are
repelled by what they do find there, or lose interest on their needs being
left unprovided for . It is in the special interest of this worthier type
of Mason that this address is given .

We greatly need competent, trained exponents of the meaning and symbolism
of the Craft ; not merely teachers of the letter of its rituals and
lectures . The duty and responsibility of providing this wider instruction
surely lies upon those holding the rank of Installed Master. Is not their
place in that East from which real Light should continually be coming, and
whence they are supposed to employ and instruct in Masonic science those
who sit in less or greater degrees of darkness in other symbolic quarters
of the Lodge ? Are they not the figurative representatives of royal
Solomon, and symbolic mouthpieces of a more than human Wisdom ? Over each
of them has there not been raised a most solemn petition that they may be
endued with wisdom to comprehend, judgment to define, and ability to
enforce obedience to the holy law declaring the conditions upon which real
Initiation depends, so that they may effectively enlighten the minds of
their Brethren ? How many Installed Masters are conscious in their hearts
of possessing, or of even striving to acquire, that wisdom, that
understanding of our science, that power of raising others from darkness to
Light in any real and vital sense ?

Now you have called me to the presidency of this large Association of
Installed Masters, whose function is to farther the best interests of the
Craft in this district. In accepting that position of honour, can I better
use it than by inviting you, my Worshipful Colleagues, to consider with me
some lines upon which true Masonic instruction should be directed, so that
we may combine in raising the general level of Masonic science in our
respective Lodges, and at least try to justify more fully our pretension to
be Masters of it ?

My purpose now, therefore, is, firstly, to give some idea of what real
Initiation involves, and to show how great a difference exists between it
and mere formal passage through the ceremonies of the Craft. Secondly, it
is to explain what Initiation meant and still means in the more secret and
advanced systems out of which modern Masonry has sprung as a comparatively
new branch from a very ancient tree . And lastly, it is to indicate how,
and with what greater efficacy, our Lodge-work might be conducted if we
better realized the true nature and purpose of the Order.

 

 

         

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