The Builder Magazine
April 1915 -
Volume I - Number 4
(Herewith we present the
first installment of a symposium intended to answer the question, so often
asked by young Masons, How should a man begin the study of Masonry, and where?
The contributors to this symposium are competent Masonic students--some of
them teachers of long experience, who bring to our service their training and
leadership--and it is hoped that many young men will take advantage of so rare
an opportunity. Several issues of The Builder will be needed to complete the
symposium, and we propose to follow it up, working out its suggestions
specifically and in detail, the better to show that it is practical and worth
while. Of the various plans of study outlined, any one of them may be adapted
to local conditions or individual taste and habit, and the results obtained
will depend of course, upon the industry of the student and the co-operation f
the group engaged. Digests of particular books will be given --thanks to the
Cincinnati Masonic School--in the form of questions, to provoke interest and
inquiry, and at the close The Builder will sum up the whole matter--and, if
time permits, ye editor hopes to present a syllabus with references and notes
to guide the student and save him a waste of time and energy. Meantime,
elsewhere in this issue, we offer certain suggestions-- speaking from long
experience--as to the economy and right use of time, which is a very important
matter to busy men.)
By Prof. Roscoe Pound,
Masonic knowledge seems to me
to involve five points: (1) Ritual; (2) History; (3) Philosophy; (4)
Symbolism; (5) Jurisprudence. I think we cannot insist too strongly that
knowledge of the Ritual is the Foundation of all Masonic knowledge. The first
thing which the student should do is to learn the work of the Craft degrees
thoroughly. He will then be in a position to appreciate what he reads and to
ask questions as he reads. As to History, I should recommend him to begin with
Gould's Concise History. I know of nothing so good. When he has read this, it
will be time enough for him to begin, if he has time, with the original
sources of our information. If he has more time, Gould's larger History might
be read at the beginning.
As to philosophy it is quite
impossible to refer to any introduction. My suggestion would be that he read
one of the ordinary histories of philosophy, say, for instance, the English
translation of Windelband, and perceive what the problems of philosophy are
with which Masonic philosophers also have been wrestling. He will then be in a
position to read Preston's Illustrations, to re-read the American Fellow-Craft
lecture, to read Oliver, and ultimately to read Pike's Morals and Dogma
understandingly. As to symbolism, I should recommend him to read Hutton
Webster's Primitive Secret Societies, especially those parts dealing with
primitive initiatory rites and primitive symbolic instruction; to follow that
with some good modern textbook on psychology, from which he will perceive the
psychological problems involved, and then to take up Oliver's signs and
Symbols and Pike's Morals and Dogma for the purely Masonic side.
As to Masonic Jurisprudence,
I take it the first thing the student has to do is to perceive the distinction
between that indefinite, unwritten Constitution of Masonry which we call the
Landmarks--an institution very like the British Constitution--on the one hand,
and what may be called the Common Law of Masonry-- an institution very like
our Anglo-American common law--and modern legislation in our several
jurisdictions--an institution very like the legislation of the several States
of the Union, on the other hand. If he gets this notion well in mind, he can
safely begin with Mackey's Jurisprudence, which he should follow with the
well-known report of the New Jersey committee on the subject of Landmarks and
the admirable articles of Brother Moore in the New Age. (Vol. 15, pp 79, 177,
280, 381, 529, 622.)
When our student has gone as
far as this, he will need no one to tell him what more to do. He will have
perceived the line in which he is especially interested, and will be able to
determine for himself what he should do in that line. One bit of advice,
however, may be given him at the outset. He cannot do better than become a
member of the correspondence circle of the Quatuor Coronati Lodge, and in
return he will receive the Ars Quatuor Coronatorum which will keep him in
touch with the best that is doing in Masonic scholarship.
PURPOSE OF STUDY.
By Hon. Louis Block, Past
Grand Master, Iowa.
You are indeed right when you
say that the problem before us is that of the Pedagogy of Masonry. That means
the teaching of the facts about a great historical movement based upon the
theory that man's real happiness can only be secured by his meeting his
fellows upon the great democratic level of human brotherhood--not alone that
each man should be his brother's keeper, but his defender, aider, helper,
encourager, comforter, inspirer and lover as well. All this taught by means of
the imagery and poetry of Masonry, and its mystic symbolism. We must not get
lost in chasing some abstruse, abstract theory away off into the dim vistas of
confusion and hazy nothingness, but must ever cling close to the human
appreciation of it all. Principles must be made to live in the active life of
persons, else they are but "too much of nothing." Our study must keep step
with a practice, a putting to present use, else our efforts are in vain.
Nor must we neglect to show
that it is ideas that count, that control the conduct of men; that if their
ideas are not right their conduct cannot be. What we need is to get the right
ideas clearly formulated, taken to heart, and deeply impressed upon the inner
consciousness, so that they will inevitably find expression in our social
life. That is the mission of Masonry, as I see it,--the building of these
great ideas into the minds of men, by constantly holding them forth and
everlastingly insisting that they must predominate, rule and prevail if men
are ever to live together in peace and harmony, or enjoy real happiness.
How to do this, that is the
great question. How to make the Craft feel that these ideas are no mere empty
abstractions, but real, powerful, living, actual realities, solid facts--that
is the hard thing to do. We need to get together the facts about Masonry--what
it has done in the past that has made it live down to this day on account of
its real worth, the help it has been to man. Then we need to put them together
into a story told in such a way that it will seize the attention and hold the
interest of the student. The ability to make things interesting, to stir up a
hunger for more light, believe me, that is the whole secret of all education.
You cannot force a student to know, but you can win him to want to know for
himself, and when you have done that the victory is won! Just see how Lessing
piques and whets this appetite in his Ernst and Falk dialogues. He knew how.
And right there is the great drawing power of all our secrecy and show of
mystery--it makes the profane want to find out. We must show the initiates how
little they know, how much fascinating mystery remains to be explored,
Ask the Mason why he has kept
his membership. Has it helped him? If so, just how and in what way? Fire a
series of Socratic questions at him; make him think! If he got help in one
thing, in one way, no doubt he can get more. There is more there, if he will
look for it- -"seek and ye shall find." It is hard enough to teach men to see
with the physical eye, let alone teaching them the art of spiritual insight.
But it can be taught, can be developed, can be made to grow. Too much of our
modern pedagogy is nothing more than a dry, mechanical stuffing and cramming
process. Children are made to memorize, to mimic, to imitate, to follow
precedent and rule, and not to think. Whereas a real education is not pouring
water into a cistern, but opening up a spring--educing what is in the mind,
teaching it to test, build, originate, think.
By Prof. F. W. Shepardson,
University of Chicago.
Thinking the matter over, I
believe that what is needed is a Syllabus or outline modeled after the general
style of what is called a University Extension Syllabus. This would include a
division of the subject matter, say, of "The Builders: A Story and Study of
Masonry," into convenient study portions. For each of these divisions there
should be an outline in Syllabus style. Then there should be references to
books or articles bearing on the subjects treated in that portion, and then at
the end there should be perhaps a dozen questions or topics for review and
No doubt you are familiar
with the ordinary University Extension Syllabus. These would not cost much and
might be furnished to a Lodge at a reasonable price, or the Grand Lodge of
Iowa might get them out and have one included in each book sent out-following
its arrangement of presenting a copy of the book to each man made a Mason--or
the Research Society might print the Syllabus and thus meet the desires of
readers at a distance. How does it strike you? I think, carrying this
suggestion a little further, that it might be possible to prepare a leaflet
called "Suggestions to Leaders," designed for the guidance of the Master of a
Lodge, or some individual member selected to lead. If you had these two
leaflets, namely, the Syllabus and the Suggestions, it would save a great
amount of writing and would be quite effective from the educational point of
view. It occurs to me that these two leaflets perhaps might be called Masonic
Study Leaflets No. 1 and No. 2, with the thought that other leaflets in the
same style might be issued later. If this strikes you and I can co-operate
with you in any way in getting them ready, I shall be delighted to do so.
(To be continued.)
AND WELL QUALIFIED"
ARCANA Lodge No. 87, of
Seattle, Washington, has a custom well worth considering by the Craft at
large, its intent being to discover, so far as possible, the internal
qualifications of candidates for the Degrees. Also, it serves to induce in the
mind of an applicant a sense of the seriousness of the step he is about to
take, and to obliterate every vestige of the absurd idea that Masonry is a
"goat-riding fraternity." After a man has petitioned for the Degrees of the
Lodge, the secretary sends him the Preliminary statement reproduced below for
his consideration. His first knowledge of its existence is when he receives it
in the mail, and naturally it arouses some thought. If he applies, as
occasionally one does, for assistance in formulating his reply, he is told
that none can be given; that it is for him to study and make his own reply,
whatever that may be. After the reply is received, the petition is presented
to the Lodge and follows the usual course. In no case is the Statement sent to
any man prior to his petitioning the Lodge, as that would be regarded as an
improper use of it. The statement here follows:
You have expressed a wish to
become a Freemason. Before going further we deem it essential to meet you with
candor and courteously request your careful consideration of this Preliminary
statement and certain questions concerning yourself.
Masonry is a universal system
of morality to which all good men may subscribe. Its teachings are based upon
belief in the existence of God, the immortality of the soul and the
brotherhood of man. While acknowledging with deep reverence the eternal and
all-powerful Creator, it places no restrictions upon a man's religious or
political opinions, striving to unite all men as brothers and to free them
from darkness and error. Indeed, its moral and philosophic instructions are
drawn from Truth itself and harmonize with the highest and best that are to be
found in every religion which makes for the enlightenment of mankind.
The realization of your
desire to become a part of this Fraternity will depend upon the judgment of
the members as to whether you are suitable material for the Order and whether
the Order is suitable for you. It will, therefore, be their duty-- in case
your petition is presented to the Lodge--to institute diligent inquiries about
you; after which a vote by ballot will be taken, wherein a single negative
will preclude your admission. Examine yourself, therefore, and see whether you
can answer the expectations of the Order; and above all, endeavor to settle
clearly and honestly in your own mind the motives which lead you to seek our
society. The following will serve to facilitate this self-examination and to
guard both you and ourselves against mistakes:
1. Do you expect by becoming
a member to obtain any outward advantage relative to your position as a
citizen and as an individual? If so, you will be disappointed.
2. Would your present
convictions prevent you from disregarding distinctions which society has made
between individuals, as to their station, wealth, religious opinions,
politics, etc. ? If so, relinquish the idea of becoming a Freemason, as no
notice is taken of those discriminations in our meetings.
3. If, however, you believe
that we advocate a civil relation that is chimerical or a liberty and equality
neither good nor practical, then you should reconsider your resolution to join
us because with such views you would not suit our Order.
4. Curiosity, ambition for
honors, and desire to enlarge the circle of your social acquaintance, are not
suitable motives for seeking admission into Freemasonry.
5. To those who voluntary
knock at its doors and whose character, motives and daily lives are in harmony
with its high ideals, the Temples of the Order are open. To preserve and
perpetuate its teachings, every initiate is required to make vows of the most
inviolable secrecy as to its rites and ceremonies. These obligations in no
wise conflict with the duties he owes to God, humanity, the country of which
he is a citizen, the community in which he lives, or himself.
6. Since the Masonic Order,
as has already been said, consists of men of all classes and circumstances,
you might perhaps find someone among us with whom you have been or are at
variance. Therefore, determine to your own satisfaction, whether you will be
strong and charitable enough to acknowledge such a man as your brother.
7. Our membership is attended
with some necessary expense, which we require to be promptly and punctually
paid, that our good works may not suffer for want thereof. The amount you can
readily ascertain (by reference to our By-Laws), and you will give this due
We trust you will consider
these statements in the same spirit of honesty and friendship in which they
have been presented. It is of the utmost importance to you as well as to the
Fraternity that the motives and ideals governing your daily life be in
substantial accord therewith. A frank and voluntary expression of your views,
together with any explanations you may wish to make regarding these or other
matters, is desired and will receive careful, sincere and conscientious
Kindly return this paper with
your communication to the Secretary of the Lodge on or
After the petitioner has been
elected, the secretary of the Lodge sends him notice to that effect, in the
following letter, which gives him something further to think about while
It affords me pleasure to
inform you that you have been duly elected to receive the degrees of Masonry
and become a member of this Lodge by Initiation, in accordance with your
petition. As soon as the exact date has been set for conferring the first, or
Entered Apprentice Degree, you will be informed. Meanwhile, you may reflect
with much profit upon the step you are about to take, and the motives which
prompt you to seek admission into an institution inspired by the pure
principles of Truth and Benevolence, the ceremonies and allegories of which
are intended as useful Moral lessons, illustrative of Light and Truth to the
mind of him who seeks to enter--lessons to be cherished among life's fondest
PHILOSOPHY OF MASONRY
Five Lectures Delivered under
the Auspices of the Grand Master of Massachusetts Masonic Temple, Boston
BY BROTHER ROSCOE POUND,
PROFESSOR OF JURISPRUDENCE IN HARVARD UNIVERSITY
WE come now to a radically
different type of Masonic philosophy. To Preston Masonry is a traditional
system of knowledge and its end is to impart knowledge. Hence he thinks of the
relation of Masonry to education. To Krause it is organized morals and its end
is to put organized mankind behind the universal moral ideas of humanity.
Hence he thinks of the relation of Masonry to law and government. To Oliver it
is a mode of approach to God and its end is to bring us to the Absolute by
means of a pure tradition. Hence he thinks of the relation of Masonry to
religion. Pike gives us instead a metaphysic of Masonry. To him Masonry is a
mode of studying first principles and its end is to reveal and to give us
possession of the universal principle by which we may master the universe.
Hence he thinks of the relation of Masonry to the fundamental problems of
existence. In part this view was inevitable in one who thought and wrote in a
country under the influence of the transcendental philosophy. In part also it
was to be expected in a member of a profession whose philosophical ideas, so
far as its leaders held any at all, were thoroughly Hegelian. In part it grew
out of Pike's wide reading in the philosophical writings of antiquity and his
bent for mysticism. Thus his philosophy of Masonry is a product of the man and
of the time and we must look first at each of these in order to treat it
1. The man. Albert Pike was
born in Boston, December 29, 1809. His parents were poor. He was educated in
the public schools in Boston and it is interesting to know as a means of
comparing those days with these that, although he passed the examinations for
admission to Harvard College, he was unable to enter because in those days the
requirement was that two years' tuition be paid in advance or secured by bond.
He became a school teacher and taught in country schools in Massachusetts from
1825 to 1831. In 1831 he went west and joined a trading party from St. Louis
to Santa Fe. Santa Fe was then in Mexico and the journey at that time was a
perilous one through a wilderness inhabited only by Indians. On his, return he
traversed the Staked Plains and the Indian Territory and settled finally at
Van Buren in Arkansas where he opened a school.
At that time political
feeling in Arkansas was very bitter. The territory was divided between the
Conway party who were politically democrats and in truth were a sort of clan
as well, and the Crittenden party who were Whigs politically but were in truth
more a personal faction than a political party. Bloodshed was frequent and in
many respects there was a feud between the factions quite as much as a
political rivalry. The early experience of this era of feud and private war on
the frontier is worth remembering in connection with many things in Pike's
lectures upon Masonry. Pike was a Whig and as such published in the Whig organ
at Little Rock some articles of such force as to attract general attention.
Accordingly Crittend, the Whig leader, sought out Pike in his country
school-room and induced him to go to Little Rock as one of the editors of the
party organ. This was his opportunity and he improved it to the full by
studying law while, also at work upon the paper. In 1834 he was admitted to
the bar and he rose rapidly to the first rank in the profession in Arkansas.
Among his earlier achievements was the preparation of the first revision of
the statutes of that state. The book does not bear his name but contemporary
accounts tell us that he had the chief part in framing it. By general consent
it is a model of what such a work should be.
At the outbreak of the
Mexican war Pike entered the service and was in action at Buena Vista. His
courage, proved already in the political conflicts of territorial days, was
again shown in events that grew out of the campaign in Mexico. Pike felt it
his duty to criticize the military conduct of Governor Roane and as a result
was compelled to fight a duel. The duel took place over the line in the Indian
Territory. Happily it was bloodless and ended in reconciliation. There is good
reason to suspect that some traces of this experience are to be seen in his
From 1853 to 1857 Pike
practiced law in New Orleans. Thus he was led to make a diligent and
characteristically thorough study of Roman law, the basis of the French law
which obtained then, as it does now, in Louisiana. In 1857 he returned to
Arkansas and afterward sat upon the supreme bench of that state. At the
outbreak of the Civil War he cast his lot with the South. As he had great
influence with the Indians he was sent to raise a force in the Indian
Territory. In this work he was vigorous and untiring. But his utmost efforts
could not make obedient or efficient soldiers out of the large force which he
was able to raise. Some of the doings of this force have left a stain upon his
memory, which, according to the best authorities obtainable, seems to be
undeserved. In truth his experience was not very different from that of the
British officers during the Revolution and during the War of 1812 who sought
to make military use of Indian allies. In any event the project failed. This
experience also has left more than one trace in his Masonic lectures. After
the Civil War he practiced law for a time in Memphis. In 1868 he went to
Alexandria, Virginia, and in 1870 moved across the river to Washington where
he practiced law for twenty-one years. He died in 1891.
Albert Pike was a man of the
widest and most varied learning. He was a strong and successful common-law
lawyer. He had studied the Roman law to good purpose and left a manuscript of
a three-volume book upon the principles of the Roman law which is now in the
library of the Supreme Court of the United states. But he had many scholarly
interests outside of his profession. He left among his papers a manuscript
translation of the Zend Avesta and of the Rig Veda in twenty-two large volumes
copiously annotated. Moreover he made some mark as a poet. Some of his poems,
particularly a striking one upon the battle of Buena Vista, are still to be
found in school readers and his verses were formerly much in vogue. Reviewing
his extra-Masonic record for a moment, we see a man born and educated in New
England, a pioneer in the southwest in its frontier period, a soldier in two
wars, a successful lawyer under each of the two great systems of modern law,
for a season judge of a supreme court and withal, though largely
self-educated, a man of learning and culture who, along with a treatise upon
the principles of Roman law which bore immediately upon his profession, could
write verse of some merit and could busy himself in the translation of the
great books of Oriental philosophy and religion.
But the field of Pike's most
fruitful labors was Masonry. His career as a Mason is too recent and his
standing as a Masonic scholar is too well-known to all of you to call for any
statement in this place. But I may remind you that he became Sovereign Grand
Commander of the southern jurisdiction in the Scottish Rite in 1859 and
devoted the remaining thirty-two years of his life in continually increasing
measure to the work of that rite. Excepting Krause no mind of equal caliber
has been employed upon the problems of Masonry. And Krause, great scholar and
philosopher as he was, had lived only in the cultured serenity of German
university towns whereas Pike had lived in staid Boston and turbulent
territorial Arkansas, had been compelled by local public opinion to fight in a
duel, had fought in two wars and had commanded Indians. Moreover, Krause's
Masonic experience was negligible in comparison with that of this veteran of
American Masonry. Accordingly we need not hesitate to pronounce Albert Pike by
far the best qualified by nature, experience of life, Masonic experience and
Masonic learning of those who have thought upon the problems of Masonic
2. Now as to the time.
In the earlier part of his
career, Pike was brought into contact with the eighteenth-century political
philosophy which became classical in American political thought because it was
the philosophy of the framers of our constitutions and bills of rights and
entered into the framework of our institutions in their formative period. Also
in this part of his career, in his study of law, he came in contact with the
eighteenth-century legal philosophy of the American common-law lawyer. In the
latter part of his career, in his wide philosophical studies, he was brought
into contact with the prevailing metaphysical method of the nineteenth
century, with the conception of the Absolute, which governed in English
philosophical writing, and with the method of unifying all things by reference
to some basic absolute principle which prevailed down to the new century. This
same period saw the general rise of materialism in the wake of decay of dogma
and the triumphant advance of the natural sciences, and this movement so far
affected his thought as to turn him, by way of reaction, to mysticism. Indeed
a mystic element is to be found not uncommonly in thorough-going idealists.
For example the leader of the new school that builds on Hegel's philosophy has
been reproved for dragging mysticism into so prosaic a subject as the
philosophy of law. But mystics are made by nature, and nature made Pike one of
the greatest of them. Hence we may be confident that reaction from materialism
merely accentuated an element which in any event would have been prominent in
his thinking and writing. Each of the four points of contact with American
thought in the nineteenth century requires a moment's consideration.
American political philosophy
in the first half of the nineteenth century was a compound of English law and
French speculation. Prior to the Revolution in the Declaration of Rights of
the Continental Congress the colonists had relied upon the common-law rights
of Englishmen as asserted by English lawyers and English judges against the
Stuart kings in the seventeenth century. But the Declaration of Independence
relied instead upon the natural rights of man, a supposed body of universal,
eternal, inalienable rights deduced by reason from the nature of man in the
abstract. Under the influence of English thinkers of the seventeenth century
and of the Continental philosophy of law in the period after Grotius, the
French writers of the eighteenth century had developed this theory of natural
rights to a high degree, and the founders of our government were deeply read
in their writings. But they were also deeply read in Blackstone and in Coke,
the oracle of English law. Naturally they combined the general theory of the
French speculators and the concrete details of the English lawyers and came to
hold that the common-law rights of Englishmen found in their law books were
the natural rights of man found in their French political philosophy. Hence in
our bills of rights they laid down the former section by section and enacted
them in fixed and precise rules on the authority of the latter. This had
important consequences for the American legal philosophy which Pike absorbed
in the formative period of his study for the bar.
In the contests between the
English judges and the Stuart kings the judges had claimed to stand between
the rights and liberties of the individual Englishman and arbitrary oppressive
action on the part of the crown. When we took over the theory of eternal,
inalienable natural rights and combined it with the theory of the English
lawyers, the result was a doctrine that law stands and must stand between the
individual on the one hand and state and society on the other hand and that
its function is to secure the individual in his natural rights against the
aggressions and oppressions of organized society. This idea of the mediating
function of law, as a reconciling of the individual and the whole, which the
lawyer of the last century took for the first article of his creed, is to be
seen throughout Pike's lectures and lent itself readily to his generalization
of equilibrium or balance as the Ultimate Reality. For if law was a mediation,
a harmonizing, a reconciling, and the universe was governed by law, the
fundamental principle of the universe was the mediating or harmonizing which
he called equilibrium.
When, in his later studies,
Pike came upon the metaphysical method of nineteenth-century philosophers, it
was easy to confirm the views to which his acquaintance with the classical
American political and legal philosophy and his reading of French Masonic
writers of the eighteenth century had led him. For the generation that
followed Hegel sought to explain the universe as the realization of an idea.
History was the unfolding of that idea in human experience. Philosophy was a
logical unfolding of the same idea. Hence the quest was for the one
fundamental idea of which the seemingly complex order of the phenomenal world
was but a manifestation. Hence the task of the philosopher was to unite and
reconcile all differences in the Absolute which he reached through this idea.
Traces of the transition from the legal and political analogy to this
metaphysical foundation may be seen here and there in those parts of Morals
and Dogma which, we may suspect, remained in their earlier forms despite his
repeated and thorough-going revisions.
In his later studies Pike was
also compelled to take account of the materialism which held its head so high
and with "a mouth speaking great things" grew so confidently dogmatic during
the last third of his life. If Pike, who was naturally a mystic, seems
sometimes to rely on intuition more than on reason, to put faith, which is
self-justifying, at the bottom of knowledge, to find a reality in the occult,
and to show a conviction of the relation of the symbol to the thing
symbolized, in contrast with the rigorous metaphysic of the lectures where he
argues and demonstrates instead of prophesying, we must consider the
impatience of an idealist and a mystic with the mechanical universe of the
positivists and the economic ethics and belly-philosophy of the materialists
which a new generation was asserting all about him.
3. Let us turn now to Pike's
Masonic philosophy. Pike did not leave us any compendium of his philosophical
views. Hence we cannot, as in the case of Oliver, apprehend them at a glance
from a concise exposition. The student of Pike's Masonic philosophy must read
and study the teeming pages of Morals and Dogma. After reading and reflection
the system of philosophy expounded will make itself felt. But it is quite
impossible for the reader to put his finger upon this sentence or that and say
here is Pike's philosophy in a nut-shell. For the first thing to bear in mind
in reading Morals and Dogma is that we must discriminate closely between what
is really Pike and what is not.
Indeed he has told us this
"In preparing this work, the
Grand Commander has been about equally Author and Compiler; since he has
extracted quite half its contents from the works of the best writers and most
philosophic or eloquent thinkers. Perhaps it would have been better and more
acceptable, if he had extracted more and written less.
"Still, perhaps half of it is
his own; and, in incorporating here the thoughts and words of others, he has
continually changed and added to the language, often intermingling, in the
same sentences, his own words with theirs."
In some measure the author is
unjust to himself in this statement. In a sense the book is all his own. He
read and digested everything. He assimilated it. He made it part of himself
and worked it into his system. But for this very reason texts from Pike and
excepts from Morals and Dogma are more than usually deceptive. We may fasten
almost any philosophical idea upon him if we proceed in this way. We may
refute almost any page by any other page if we look simply at the surface and
do not distinguish matter which he is adapting or is making use of to
illustrate the development of thought upon the subject from dogmatic
statements of his philosophy. Morals and Dogma must be read and interpreted as
a unit. As Immanuel Kant said of his own writings, it is a book to think
through not merely to read through.
Three contributions of the
first moment to Masonic science deserve to be noted before taking up Pike's
philosophy of Masonry in detail. In the first place Pike was the apostle of
liberty of interpretation. He insisted in season and out of season that no
infallible authority speaking ex cathedra could bind the individual Mason to
this or that interpretation of the traditional symbols of the Craft. He taught
that the individual Mason instead of receiving a pre-digested Masonry ladled
out to him by another should make his own Masonry for himself by study and
reflection upon the work and the symbols. Thus he stood for thorough going
individual Masonic development. He stood for a Masonry built up within each
Mason by himself and for himself on the solid foundation of internal
conviction. This Masonic Protestantism, as it might well be called, is
especially interesting in one who was so thoroughly filled with French
writings upon Masonry. Secondly he gave us a genuine interpretation of the
symbols which came into Masonry through the hermetic philosophers. Hutchinson
and Preston and even Oliver in many cases did not understand these symbols at
all. Indeed Preston was much less interested in what they really were than in
how they might be made instruments of education in his time and place.
Accordingly Preston and Oliver gave currency to inadequate and often ignorant
explanations of ancient symbols. Pike studied their history and development.
He mastered their spirit and perceived their place in the evolution of human
thinking. Hence he was able to replace the crude symbolism of the end of the
eighteenth century by a real science of Masonic symbols. In the third place
not only did he interpret our symbols but he enriched the symbolism of the
Craft from a profound acquaintance with the ancient and modern literature of
symbolism and mysticism. Thus he made us aware that the science of Masonic
symbols is but part of a much wider subject, that it is not self-sufficient
and that the serious Masonic Student has much more to study than he can find
within the covers of an exclusively Masonic library.
I can do no more than give
you a key to what I conceive to be Pike's philosophy of Masonry. Perhaps the
first point to make is that in nineteenth-century America philosophy was
regarded, under the influence of Herbert Spencer, as the unification of
knowledge. Moreover the metaphysical method of the first half of the
nineteenth century, when Pike's ideas were formative, was to endeavor to
explain everything in a "speculative, metaphysical way by a spiritual, logical
principle." But it so happened that all antiquity had been making a like
search for the One but for a different sort of One. The earlier Greek
philosophers sought a single element to which the whole universe might be
reduced. The Ionian philosophers sought to find such elements in air or fire
or water or, as one of them put it, "a primordial slime." Oriental thinkers
had usually sought an absolute word which was to be the key of all things.
Others among the ancients had sought an absolute principle. With vast labor
Pike brings together all that ancient and Oriental peoples thought and wrote
and all that mystics have since thought and written with the ideas of the
Orient and of antiquity as a basis and upon this foundation he sets forth to
work out a system of his own.
Pike starts with a triad.
This is suggested by the ancient conception of the number three as the symbol
of completion or perfection. The singular, the dual and the plural, the odd
and even added, was thought of as a complete system of numbers. Hence the
number three was perfection in its simplest form; it was the type or the
symbol of perfection. He finds a triad everywhere in ancient thought and in
every system of the occult and in every mystic philosophy. He finds it also in
all Masonic symbolism and from end to end in our lectures. Accordingly he
seeks to show that in its essentials this triad is at all times and in all its
forms the same triad. Wisdom, strength, beauty; intelligence, force, harmony;
reason, will, action; morals, law, social order; faith, hope, charity;
equality, liberty, fraternity--all these he shows are the same triad in
various forms. There is a fruitful passive principle which is energized and
made productive by an active, creative principle and there is a product. As he
shows, Osiris, Isis and Horus symbolize this with the Egyptians and he traces
the same reduction of the universe to these fundamental through every type of
ancient mystery and all mystic speculation. In Morals and Dogma he makes all
manner of application of this idea to politics, to morals and to religion. He
carries it into every type of human spiritual activity and gives the most
copious and learned illustrations.
But this of itself would be
barren and would end in pluralism. Accordingly he conceives that these three
things are emanations, or better, are manifestations of the Absolute. This
idea again he subjects to the test of application to all that has been thought
and written by mystics down to his time. We find a unity in the Absolute. But
how do we unify the manifold, the infinite manifestations of the Absolute in
our experience ? Is there here some one principle? Pike says there is and that
this unifying principle is equilibrium or balance. The result of the action of
creative, active energy and productive, passive receptivity is in the end a
harmony, a balance, an equilibrium. He then applies this idea of equilibrium
to every field of thought. One example will suffice.
"It is the Secret of the
Universal Equilibrium:-- "Of that Equilibrium in the Deity, between the
Infinite Divine Wisdom and the Infinite Divine Power, from which result the
Stability of the Universe, the unchangeableness of the Divine Law, and the
Principles of Truth, Justice, and Right which are a part of it; . . .
"Of that Equilibrium also,
between the Infinite Divine Justice and the Infinite Divine Mercy, the result
of which is the Infinite Divine Equity, and the M oral Harmony or Beauty of
the Universe. By it the endurance of created and imperfect natures in the
presence of a Perfect Deity is made possible;
"Of that Equilibrium between
Necessity and Liberty, between the action of the Divine Omnipotence and the
Free-will of man, by which vices and base actions, and ungenerous thoughts and
words are crimes and wrongs, justly punished by the law of cause and
consequence, though nothing in the Universe can happen or be done contrary to
the will of God; and without which co-existence of Liberty and Necessity, of
Freewill in the creature and Omnipotence in the Creator, there could be no
religion, nor any law of right and wrong, or merit and demerit, nor any
justice in human punishments or penal laws.
"Of that Equilibrium between
Good and Evil, and Light and Darkness in the world, which assures us that all
is the work of the Infinite Wisdom and of an Infinite Love; and that there is
no rebellious demon of Evil, or Principle of Darkness co-existent and in
eternal controversy with God, or the Principle of Light and of Good: by
attaining to the knowledge of which equilibrium we can, through Faith, see
that the existence of Evil, sin, Suffering, and Sorrow in the world, is
consistent with the Infinite Goodness as well as with the Infinite Wisdom of
"Sympathy and Antipathy,
Attraction and Repulsion, each a Force of nature, are contraries, in the souls
of men and in the universe of spheres and worlds; and from the action and
opposition of each against the other, result Harmony, and that movement which
is the Life of the Universe and the Soul alike...
"Of that Equilibrium between
Authority and Individual Action which constitutes Free Government, by settling
on immutable foundations Liberty with Obedience to Law, Equality with
Subjection to Authority, and Fraternity with Subordination to the wisest and
the Best: and of that Equilibrium between the Active Energy of the Will of the
Present, expressed by the Vote of the People, and the Passive Stability and
Permanence of the Will of the Past, expressed in constitutions of government,
written or unwritten, and in the laws and customs, gray with age and
sanctified by time, as precedents and authority;
"And, finally, of that
Equilibrium, possible in ourselves, and which Masonry incessantly labors to
accomplish in its Initiates, and demands of its Adepts and Princes (else
unworthy of their titles), between the Spiritual and Divine and the Material
and Human in man; between the Intellect, Reason, and Moral Sense on one side,
and the Appetites and Passions on the other, from which result the Harmony and
Beauty of a well-regulated life."
Well, we have got our idea of
equilibrium and the profane will say: What of it ? Pike would answer that this
universal unifying principle is the light of which all men in all ages have
been in search, the light which we seek as Masons. Hence we get our answers to
the fundamental problems of Masonic philosophy.
1. What is the end of
Masonry? What is the purpose for which it exists? Pike would answer: the
immediate end is the pursuit of light. But light means here attainment of the
fundamental principle of the universe and bringing of ourselves into the
harmony, the ultimate unity which alone is real. Hence the ultimate end is to
lead us to the Absolute--interpreted by our individual creed if we like but
recognized as the final unity into which all things merge and with which in
the end all things must accord. You will see here at once a purely
philosophical version of what, with Oliver, was purely religious.
2. What is the relation of
Masonry to other human institutions and particularly to the state and to
religion? He would answer it seeks to interpret them to us, to make them more
vital for us, to make them more efficacious for their purposes by showing the
ultimate reality of which they are manifestations. It teaches us that there is
but one Absolute and that everything short of that Absolute is relative; is
but a manifestation, so that creeds and dogmas, political or religious, are
but interpretations. It teaches us to make our own interpretation for
ourselves. It teaches us to save ourselves by finding for ourselves the
ultimate principle by which we shall come to the real. In other words, it is
the universal institution of which other spiritual, moral and social
institutions are local and temporary phases.
3. How does Masonry seek to
reach these ends? He would say by a system of allegories and of symbols handed
down from antiquity which we are to study and upon which we are to reflect
until they reveal the light to each of us individually. Masonry preserves
these symbols and acts out these allegories for us. But the responsibility of
reaching the real through them is upon each of us. Each of us has the duty of
using this wonderful heritage from antiquity for himself. Masonry in Pike's
view does not offer us predigested food. It offers us a wholesome fare which
we must digest for ourselves. But what a feast ! It is nothing less than the
whole history of human search for reality. And through it he conceives,
through mastery of it, we shall master the universe.
GIVEN TO THE CANDIDATE BY HIS FATHER.
After the Candidate Had
Received the "Third Degree."
MY SON--Tonight you become a
member of an order--not only of friends but of brothers. In your after-life as
you master its teachings, and experience its good influences, you will have a
great mental growth.
Masonry fosters only the
right doers; its principles, its teachings, its mysteries--all tend to the
elevation of man.
Masonry gives maturity to the
good character, and character may be likened to a universal bank; The deposits
that are made in the bank of character bear an eternal interest; no thief can
steal them, no panic can dissipate them.
The life of him who is pure,
just, honorable and noble, finds within the tenets of Masonry loyal protection
"from the evil intentions of our enemies."
We believe that you will be
true and faithful to the teachings of Masonry, and we trust that you will so
live that your words and your actions will be such as to brighten the memory
of all the good men who have stood where you and I now stand--amid friends and
You are the son of a Mason
who reveres Masonry's teachings and stands uncovered in the presence of its
If you will have your conduct
in harmony with the principles of Masonry, you will aid my remaining years, to
pass in peaceful satisfaction.
You are not only my SON but
you are also my BROTHER; and believing that you will always prove yourself as
being worthy of having been this evening, "raised to the sublime degree of a
Master Mason," I hope to be steadied by your arm as my SON and as my BROTHER
when I depart on the journey whose goal is the realm of silence.
Lyons Lodge, Number
Ninety-Three, Lyons, Iowa
BY LILIAN PIKE ROOME
(The following extracts from
the unpublished writings of Albert Pike, made by his daughter, are doubly
timely in view of the growing agitation in behalf of a more adequate national
defense. It is one thing to prepare for war, and another and wiser thing to
prepare for peace, and it was the latter which Pike had in mind. His words
reveal a noble patriotic faith in the future of the Republic, with which was
united a like vivid faith in the world-conquering spirit of Masonry.)
THE question whether we have
an adequate national defense has been answered in the negative by those best
qualified to speak with authority, the highest officers of the army and navy;
and their dictum has not been disputed by any military expert. When they
assert that we have no adequate defense, they mean, not only great lack of
soldiers, but of nearly all munitions such as are in use now by other nations,
and more especially of war craft, whether sea craft or airships.
If the allies all combined
are scarcely able to withstand the impact of the Germans and their allies, how
could we cope with even one of those nations? Yet we, who are said to be the
richest nation in the world, are haggling over appropriations for a much
smaller force and very much fewer supplies of armaments and munitions than
even one of the smaller countries of Europe.
Another thing I cannot
understand is, how an American can say that all wars are wicked, since we
exist as a free nation only by virtue of the War of the Revolution: nor
indeed, how he can condemn any war that ever has been waged by the United
As my greatest inspiration
was derived from my father, I bring to my support some utterances which I have
culled from his writings, which show very plainly what his views would be in
this present crisis, if he were alive today. His words would appeal to all
patriots, therefore they ought to appeal to all true Masons.
"As the United states has by
express grant the power to declare and wage war and to make peace, I find no
difficulty in holding that it may by treaty of peace extend its frontier by
the acquisition of new territory, in order to protect itself by a line more
easily defended; or may acquire islands in the ocean to serve it as outposts
and fortresses. If, in doing so, it finds within its territorial limits large
masses of people unfit for self-government, I think it perfectly competent for
it to govern them and legislate for them as provincials. I should have thought
that nothing could be more clearly within its powers than the acquisition of
Louisiana and of the mouth of the Mississippi, or the purchase of California
and the Pacific Coast. I see no objection to the purchase of the Isthmus
between the two continents, and of any or all of the West India islands, and
no reason why it may not have colonies as well as any other nation. All such
powers were certainly possessed by each state, and as certainly they do not
possess them now, and they are not reserved to the people.
"So, again, I think that it
has the power to impose a tariff on particular articles of manufacture or
production, when a permanent home supply of those articles is necessary to our
safety and success in case of war; and that it may do this in peace, in order
to provide for a state of war, just as it may raise, equip, arm, and keep on
foot an army and navy in time of peace, in order to be at all times prepared
"By way of provision for the
national defense in case of war, I do not doubt it may in time of peace build
military roads for the conveyance of troops and munitions of war, as well
across as outside of the states, and even beyond its own territory, nor that
it may, to secure greater speed of movement, and facility and cheapness of
transportation, lay down rails of iron upon the road so constructed. I do not
see why it may not as well do that as build a frigate in advance.
"When it was reported that
British vessels had fired upon and insulted our flag in the Gulf of Mexico, it
was seen how completely the nation had but one heart and one soul,
notwithstanding its petty domestic heart-burnings and squabbles. None anywhere
paused to ask from what ports, north or south, the vessels sailed, but one
outcry of indignation was heard, from the Aroostook to the Sabine, at the
insult and indignity offered our flag, * * * but whenever a hostile hand
approaches that flag to desecrate it, every heart in the Union will rally to
it, and every hand be raised to defend it."
"If the Fathers did not mean
that we should be one nation, they should never have adopted a national flag,
for, I think, none ever served under that flag in the sunny land of Mexico, or
on the ocean, who did not feel with a conviction more potent than all the
arguments and logic of statesmen could produce, that we are one nation, in
name, fame and destiny; who did not feel that our national motto: 'E Pluribus
Unum'--ONE, made up of many--was a true definition of the nature of our
government: the manifold welded into one-- Oneness grown out of the manifold:
who did not proudly exult at the greatness and glory of that one country, and
answer cheerily to the name of Yankee, in whatever corner of the Republic he
had chanced to be born. No American, I think, ever saw that glorious flag in a
foreign port, fluttering at the masthead of even the most insignificant
vessel, without a thrill of excitement and exultation and gladness at the
sight--without stepping a little more haughtily and firmly at the thought of
his country across the ocean. One flag makes us one nation. No matter whether
it was so intended or not; inevitably it is felt to be so, and every war we
pass through renders that feeling more irresistible. * * *
"Our Republic is fast
arriving at colossal greatness, and the shadow of her power already reaches
the shores of Europe, of which steam and the Telegraph are fast making her a
part. We are beginning to assert our right, while denying our inclination, to
interfere in the affairs of that Continent: and there are many possible
contingencies in which we might be compelled to do so. In a long continued
conflict among the great Powers of Europe, such as seems now approaching, we
shall find it difficult to maintain our neutrality. * * * The United States
considers as settled, so far as it is concerned, certain principles as to
neutrality, claimed by it to form a part of the international law, which the
greatest Maritime Powers of Europe deny: this, of itself, would soon push us
into a war, perhaps with two or three nations at once.
"For we should not recede
from the positions we have deliberately assumed in the face of the world.
Having announced those contested principles as, in our judgment, settled, we
should not yield them up to force. On that there would not be a dissenting
vote in America. To recede is to be dishonored, and to invite new aggression.
And, if these principles can in no other way be written on the pages of the
great book of the law of Nations, they must be written there in blood, amid
the thunder of Republican guns. * * *
"The phrase sounds strangely
now, I know; but once it was held to be the noblest fortune that could befall
a man, to die for his country; and then were men capable of great and lofty
deeds. Once the sentiment, 'Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori,' was not
bombast, but the expression of a living truth.
"To toil, to incur hazard, to
die, for one's country, without hope of pay or reward, is the noblest
aspiration and ambition of a freeman. * * * The Republic grateful to those who
have served it, ought to see it to that they or their widows and children do
not languish and suffer in penury and destitution."
"So may our beloved Order
grow and expand, till many a nation stands within the great circle of its
shade. * * *
"Long after we are gathered
to our fathers, and our names have ceased to be remembered on this earth and
our bones have mouldered to a little dust, and the flowers have bloomed and
faded upon our graves for a thousand years, will come the noonday of our
"Then, the Union of these
states still unbroken, and as dear to our descendants as it now is to us--no
column of the great Temple of Liberty fallen to decay or shattered by the rude
hand of violence or time, the flag of the Union, 'one and indivisible,'
floating over a nation mightier than Imperial Rome--then will our Order have
made the circle of the Globe and planted her Colonies in every country and on
all the islands of the sea; then will her tents whiten ten thousand plains,
gleam on the green shoulders of the hills, and cast down their peaceful
shadows upon the clear running waters; and then will millions of Brothers,
speaking many a tongue, meet and commune in peace and harmony, and the Destiny
of the Order be fulfilled: and then, when the people of the Great Republic
have added many a new star to the proudest flag that ever flew with or against
the wind, and the millions of its freemen are counted not by scores, but by
hundreds, then shall our remote descendants, gazing back through the long
aisles of the receding years, thank us, their forefathers, first and chiefly
of all, that when the storm roared and the winds blew, and the temple of our
freedom and our Union quivered to its deep foundations, we shrank not from the
bitter anger of the elements, but preserved for them, and handed down
unimpaired, the blessings of that freedom and that Union, God's inestimable
gift to our forefathers: and next, that we were instrumental in enlarging the
bonds and perpetuating the existence of an Order which, gaining strength by
time, will have proved a blessing to the world, second only to the truths of
religion and the rich inheritance of Liberty."
BY BRO. WM. F. KUHN, P. G. H.
THERE is a certain mental
condition, as set forth frequently in our Masonic literature, especially in
that great forum, the Masonic press, that gives strong evidence of what may be
termed Hysteria. It has not attained to that solidarity that we can
characterize it as hysterical Freemasonry; it has such a spasmodic, fantastic
and grotesque manifestation, that the term hysteria in Freemasonry is more
suggestive, and at the same time relieves the fraternity of the onus of the
disease and places it on the individual.
Freemasonry must not be held
responsible for it, either by heredity or by environment; it is purely an
exotic growth. Hysteria has been defined as, "Repressed Desire"; hence it is
purely a mental state. We find hysteria in medicine, in religion, in law, in
Pedagogics, in philosophy, in fact it abounds in all systems of thought. It
should not, therefore, be thought strange that this mental quirk, this
cerebration cut on the bias, should manifest itself in Freemasonry. The
disease is not contagious in the accepted sense of the word, but it is
transmitted by mimicry. If a circus comes to town and the boys succeed in
attending it, the barns and woodsheds are filled for months, thereafter, by
embryo rope walkers, contortionists and bare back riders. A transmission by
imitation. It is equally true in Freemasonry; let some one expound something
that looks, tastes, smells and sounds profound, imitators will spring up from
all quarters. The more incomprehensible the seeming profundity, the greater
the number of gymnasts in the Masonic barns and woodsheds. I have always
believed that Freemasonry was a very practical thing; a something that
manifests itself, chiefly, in a man's life; that it is a life and not a
theory; practical living and doing, not dreaming and philosophizing. That it
was a beautiful, everyday, practical system of morality veiled in allegory,
and illustrated by symbols; not veiled to confuse or hide, but to make plain;
not buried in symbols to obscure, but to fix indelibly some plain, possibly
homely, truth. I have believed that the allegory and the symbol in Freemasonry
stood in the same relation to the candidate that the parables of the "Great
Teacher" stood in relation to the multitudes who heard Him. The allegory, the
symbol and the parable are but different modes of expression to make clear the
thought. But now comes the Masonic Philosopher and the Masonic Symbologist
with eyes in fiery frenzy rolling, actuated and influenced by this "Repressed
desire" and says: "It is all a mistake, Freemasonry is not such a simple
thing, as everyday living and doing; no it is a sublime, profound system of
metaphysics, that only the Ancient wise men understood and could explain; a
philosophy so obstruse that the average Mason, and, possible, a Past Grand
Master, is a mere babe and suckling in the comprehension of it. I once met a
man in a lunatic asylum, who came to me with crude geometrical figures of a
sphere, a cube, an equilateral triangle, and a right angle triangle, drawn on
the bottom of a paste board box. He explained to me that the three sides of
the equilateral triangle represented the three great forces of Nature, namely,
the upsideness, the downsideness and the downupsideness or the upsidedownness;
as long as the upsideness and downsideness maintain their proper relation and
were greater in power than the third side represented by the downupsideness or
the upsidedownness, everything would be harmonious; but should these three
great forces ever become projected, so as to form a right angle triangle, so
that the square of the downsideupness or the upsidedownness becomes equal to
the sum of the squares of the upsideness and downsideness, then chaos and evil
would reign, and as the cube, representing the universe, consists of many
right angle triangles, there would be an endless disturbance in the cosmogony
of the world. I admired his vast learning and profundity, and I was mere
suckling to his theme and theory. I advised him to write it out in full and
that I would give him the names of several Masonic papers which would be more
than delighted to publish it. This man had been judged insane, he was not a
A Masonic hysteric is a man
with a wild imagination plus a symbol. The beauty about a symbol, is its
flexibility; you can see more things in it and through it than were ever
dreamed of by mortal man, and no man can say to you, nay. It is said that a
Masonic hysteric one day saw some rabbit tracks in the snow and he immediately
began to demonstrate the fact that the rabbit had a working knowledge of the
Omniscience, Omnipresence and Omnipitence of Diety, because the tracks were
triangular in outline.
What I may have said may
sound jestingly, but we need not go far to see the convulsions of these
hysterics. I quote one from a leading Masonic Journal; listen to its
profoundity:--"Therefore when we consider the profound truths, marvelous
philosophy, and exact sciences upon which Freemasonry is founded, and which
bear the ear marks of centuries of scientific research, such as the careful
observer must admit is contained in the work, we must banish for all time the
thought that the Craft was founded by any others than Masters of the Great
School of Natural Science and Philosophy who permitted it to be known to the
profane that the Guild or Craft was one of operative Masons, for the purpose
only to hide the real truths and its true object from those hostile to the
institution. This object was and has been for centuries to give to the human
race TRUTH concerning the creation of the universe and the continuity of life
after death, the immortality of the soul, and the relation which exists
between this planet and the inhabitants of the whole universe. These truths
are founded upon exact science, demonstrable by the Master in the possession
of the knowledge, the whole being figured out on geometrical lines. Naturally
this truth would come in conflict with orthodox and dogmatic religion."
His first claim is, that
Freemasonry did not spring from the operative Mason and the history of such an
ancestry was used merely as a blind behind which the Masters of the Great
School of Natural Science and Philosophy hid themselves from hostile foes. No
one will deny that the so called philosophy was engrafted into Masonry with
the evolution of the Royal Arch. Many of the symbols and emblems in the Lodge
Ritual were added during the period of Ritualistic development by Clare,
Dunkerly, Hutchinson and Preston, but to claim that the Great Masters stole
the livery of the Operative Craft as a mask through fear of hostility is
absurd and unworthy of consideration, and it is to be regretted that the
simple philosophy of right living should be perverted into an occult science
and paraded as Masonic.
But the sum and substance of
this "Repressed desire" is, that Freemasonry is a science plus a philosophy,
which, when applied along "Geometrical lines," we may know the truth that will
reveal to us immortality, the continuity of life after death, and the relation
that exists between us and the inhabitants of Mars, Venus and Saturn and we
may even greet the Jupterites. But he confesses that this wonderful science
along geometrical lines, "Would come in conflict with orthodox and dogmatic
religion." It is painful to think how many of us have been groping blindly and
in darkness for many years under the delusion that the "Great Light" on our
Altar reveal to us a merciful Father, the hope of immortal life and our duty
to God and our neighbor, and have overlooked the great source of Truth
revealed along Geometrical lines. Possibly we ought to replace the Holy Bible
on our Altar with a copy of Euclid. But the author leaves a loop hole for our
escape by saying farther along in his article:--"This is plain enough to one
who is sufficiently interested and intelligent." I plead guilty to the last
charge. These citations are given merely as an illustration of the kind of
hysterical literature that is being written under the guise of Freemasonry.
But Hysteria is protean in
its nature; it appears suddenly in unexpected quarters and under various
disguises. Several years ago it broke out in the etymological field when a new
prophet arose who contented that the words "Free Mason" are derived from the
Egypto-Coptic language, and mean "Children of Light." This was a brand new
discovery and from an unlooked-for source. Immediately the Masonic barns and
woodsheds were filled with etymological gymnasts but they have merely
rehearsed the old stunt without any additional thrills. Listen: "If we are to
believe that our words, 'Free Mason' are derived from the ancient Egypto-Coptic
language in which 'Phree' means light, knowledge, wisdom, or intelligence,
while 'Messem' was the plural of 'Mes,' signifying children; hence we were
originally known as children or son of light, wisdom and intelligence. Then,
considering this, the true conception of the word 'Free Mason,' it will be
seen that everything else is consistent, placing in evidence not only the
spiritual and philosophical teachings of the Craft, but also showing the
oriental origin and great antiquity of our beloved Order."
This is indeed a beautiful
conception and we can only wish that Masons were children of the light, even
if the etymology is very wabbly. The assertion that the words, Free Mason, are
derived from the Egyto-Coptic language is another figment of fancy thrown out
by "Repressed desire;" an effort to bolster up the flimsy claim that
Freemasonry is founded upon the Egyptian mysteries. The facts are, there never
was an Egypto-Coptic language. The Coptic language was spoken by the people of
the Nile, until the Saracen conquest; it lives to-day only in Biblical
literature, enriched with Greek and Hebrew words and embellished with a Greek
culture of the Alexandrian School. The Egyptian language for the last twelve
hundred years has been Arabic, and if there is or ever was a language known as
Egypto-Coptic, it is a mongrel and not recognized by the best authorities.
The English language is made
up of words derived from the divisions and subdivisions of the great Aryan
Race whose root language is the Sanskrit. Upon this derivation, the etymology
of the English language is based. The word "Free" can be traced back through
the six or seven different languages to the Sanskrit root word, "Priya," the
original meaning being beloved or dear. Through the different languages in
which it can be traced it has its present meaning, "Free."
The word, "Light," comes from
the Sanskrit word, "Ruch," meaning brightness. The root of this word is found
in the language of all Nations, and means brightness or to shine. In the
derivation of these two words can any one discover any relation whatever
between the root "Priya" and the word "Ruch?" The wildest stretch of the
imagination can not make them synonymous.
The claim that "Messem" is
the plural of "Mes" will not bear investigation because in the Coptic Language
the plural of a word ending in a consonant was formed by adding the letter
"I," hence if the derivation were true it should be "Mesi," not "Messem."
Judging from the spelling of the word Mason in the several centuries, the
Egypto-Coptic word "Mes" had a difficult course to travel to find its
imaginary plural. In the 16th Century the word was spelled "Maisson," "Masones"
and "Maison." In 1611 we find the expression "Frie men of Maissones;" in 1634
it appears as "Frie Masones;" in 1636 it was written "Frie Mason." But not
until 1725 was the Fraternity known as a "Society of Freemasons."
If the word Mason and the
word Children, were ever synonymous we ought to be able to trace the root of
these words. The word Child comes from the Sanskrit word Ga or Gan meaning "to
beget." From this root word up through all the languages the word means child.
The word Mason can be traced
back through all the prominent languages to the Sanscrit root, "Mit," which
means to cut. Can any one find even a possible relation between the words
meaning to be born, and to cut? Will any one claim that they are synonymous?
Unfortunately for this fancy of "Repressed Desire," the lexicographers and
etymologists are all on the other side of the question.
If "The spiritual and
philosophical teachings of the Craft and the oriental origin and great
antiquity of our beloved Order" depend on such flimsy and untenable arguments
or hypotheses, then the Craft is in danger, both as to its teachings and its
If any Mason wishes to draw
geometrical figures and lines, and evolve from them that life continues beyond
the grave, and to demonstrate the relation between the planets and the
inhabitants thereof, no one will deprive him of the pleasure; but the Book on
our Altar declared many Centuries ago that: "The Heavens declare the glory of
God and the firmament showeth His handiwork. Day unto day uttereth speech and
night unto night showeth knowledge." If any Mason wishes to amuse himself
with the sacred triangles of Pythagoras, to demonstrate the unity of the world
and the existence of Deity, well and good; but Freemasonry postulates the
existence of God.
If any Mason enjoys himself
by delving into the mysteries of Egypt and the Kabalah, no one will gainsay
his zeal in his efforts to prove immortal life, the evidence of the spiritual
world and the perfection of the Divine nature. It is well; but, Freemasonry
accepts all this as axiomatic and concerning which there can be no denial.
Freemasonry is not a science
of mental gyrations and abstractions, but it is the science of utilitarian
thinking; it is not a philosophy of speculation, but it is the philosophy of
doing; it is not a symbolism of Occult Sciences, but it is the mystery of the
unfolding of a larger life; it is not so much as to origin, as it is to
destiny; it is not so much as to the certainty of the past, as it is to the
certainty and permanency in the future.
The liberal arts and sciences
are worthy of every Mason's time and zeal, but these do not constitute
Freemasonry. The ancestry of Freemasonry through the operative Craft is noble,
the teachings of Freemasonry are sublime. Strained symbolism, abstract
philosophy and etymological hypotheses add nothing to its luster, but rather
dim its radiance in the broad field of practical morality.
Sentiment is the greatest
thing in the world. Freemasonry is sentiment in action.
On his last bed, when unable
any longer to speak, Albert Pike beckoned for a pencil and paper, with which
he wrote his last words. Pencil and paper are framed and preserved in the
House of the Temple at Washington. What he wrote was as follows:
"Shalom: Peace--that comes
with blessing to carefretted, weary men when death's dreamless sleep ends all
suffering and sorrow."
Life is neither a Tempest nor
a Midsummer Night's Dream. More often it is a Comedy of Errors. You may take
it As You Like It, or make Much Ado About Nothing, and declare that Love's
Labor's Lost. Rut the years will teach you, if you be wise, that All's Well
that Ends Well, and that in the end every man receives Measure for Measure.
IN MASONIC CHARITY
BY BRO. GEO. E. FRAZER. GRAND
PRESIDENT ACACIA FRATERNITY
YOU will agree with me that
Freemasonry is not, in itself, a charitable organization. That is to say, the
primary purpose of the order is not charitable relief to its members. The
fundamental creed of Masonry is, and must ever be, the study of Masonic
philosophy. As Masons come together in the lodge room and outside of it for
the discussion of Masonic truth, a strong feeling of companionship and
brotherhood naturally results. The friendships formed in Masonic work and
study carry in themselves a desire to relieve the necessities of unfortunate
brothers. Masonic charity is a great fact; it is an inherent part of the
Masonic system; but it is not, of course, in itself, the purpose nor function
The real Masonic assistance
that is afforded by one Brother to another is assistance in the learning and
understanding of Masonic truth. American Freemasonry is very careful strictly
to limit its field to this ideal of brotherly assistance. Our order does not
teach us, it does not expect of us, that we shall afford one another political
assistance. I am under no obligation whatsoever to vote or to exercise my
influence in favor of a candidate because he is a member of the Masonic order.
Likewise, I am under no obligation to favor Masonic brethren in any of my
business relations. Nothing in the philosophy, or ritual, or practices of
Masonry obligates me to assist a Masonic brother in his endeavors towards
social distinction. The lodges of Freemasonry are not political organizations;
they are not business syndicates; they are not social cliques. There is
something in the essential equality of Masons among their fellows that is, in
itself, an effective barrier towards the use of Masonry by politicians, by
captains of finance, and by social leaders. It is perhaps safe to say that the
average Mason looks askance at the brother who seems to seek assistance of
this sort, and is inclined to afford such a self-seeking brother much less
than the usual amount of sympathy and co-operation that he would give if
Masonic influence had been attempted. It is, of course, not to be denied that
the strong and enduring friendships formed in the Masonic lodge are a real
assistance to a man in all of his legitimate endeavors. But we must not forget
that if we assist a brother Mason in his endeavors, we assist him as a friend
and not because there is anything in Masonry that teaches us to discriminate
in favor of Masons in the ordinary relationships of life. True Masonic charity
comes naturally from a study of Masonic fundamentals. For the great lesson of
Masonry is human welfare, than which there is no truer form of charity.
Masonry fights for freedom, for free speech, for free schools, for freedom in
religious belief, for law and order, such as will protect the laborer in his
Assistance to the individual
member is but an incident in the great work of Freemasonry. That great work is
to stand for the fundamental rights of free men. These rights are only partly
won; they are always in jeopardy. Unceasing must be the vigil of the master
workman who seeks that real democracy that was forever lost, and that is
forever to be won. Speech, we say, is free in America, and yet our brothers
are constantly losing place and position because of their courage in speaking
freely against religious domination. Schools are free, we say, yet a powerful
enemy insidiously and unceasingly attacks the public schools of America. The
right to work is established, we say, and yet tyrannical labor organizations
and grasping capitalists vie with each other in restricting the laborer in his
hire. I need not go on. It is enough if you understand that the larger ideals
of Masonry mean freedom, and therefore, average prosperity of soul, and mind,
and body to its members, We must not forget that the fundamentals of Masonry,
the simple and accepted things, are the makers of welfare--the truest and
surest expression of Masonic charity. These simple things were fought for by
our fathers in Masonry through all the centuries; these things we must fight
for if we would have perfect charity among men; these things our children's
children must fight for.
The first great problem in
Masonic charity is, then, this: Shall we throw all of our resources into the
ceaseless struggle which makes for general welfare? As an organization, can we
afford to set aside the smallest fraction of our funds for the aid of
individuals, when so great is the need for resources in the fight for great
principles that mean general welfare? We have answered that problem, it seems
to me, to some extent in the affirmative. Every lodge building, every lodge
meeting and ceremony, every lodge club room even, is an expression of Masonic
principles. As an order, we have given the greater part of our strength
everywhere to the expression of great principles, rather than to the temporary
assistance of individuals. A fraction of our resources, we have given to
charity in the restricted sense of that term. This fraction annually amounts
in volume to many hundreds of thousands of dollars. Our practical charity is
administered in many different ways, under many different methods, to many
different ends. Here, in America, we have administered Masonic charity for
many decades. What does our experience show?
What methods have proven
unfortunate in their results? What methods have succeeded in distributing
charitable funds to the greatest possible advantage? It seems to me that the
practical men in our fraternity, who have with such splendid self-sacrifice
ably administered Masonic charity, should give us from the wisdom of their
experience. Of late, I have been thinking about Masonic charity, and many
questions have presented themselves to me. As a young man, and especially as a
young man who now represents a considerable number of other young Masons, I
want to present these questions to the men of experience in Masonry. Let us
suppose, in the first place, that a lodge finds itself able to spend one
thousand dollars each year in charitable relief in the town in which it is
located. Shall the lodge contribute this sum to the Associated Charities, or
to the Salvation Army, or to some other organized body for the administration
of charities? Shall the lodge administer its own funds, and make its own
distribution of relief?
If a lodge decides to give
its charity funds over to, let us say, the Associated Charities of the town in
which it is located, shall the lodge rely entirely upon the efficiency of the
organization to which the funds are contributed; or shall the lodge demand and
secure representation among the officers of the charitable organization, or on
its executive committee? If the lodge decides to administer its own relief
fund, shall it entrust the money to the master of the lodge; or shall it set
up a standing relief committee? Shall the master, or the relief committee,
give direct aid to unfortunate Masons and their families in the name of the
lodge and on the behalf of the lodge? Or, shall the officers of the lodge aid
their unfortunate brethren through indirect channels, so that relief may be
given, but so, also, that the left hand shall not know what the right hand is
How shall the lodge care for
the aged Mason who is without material resources? How shall the lodge care for
widows and orphans of members? Shall the Grand Lodge of the State or Province
erect a Masonic home for the care of these dependents; or, shall such
dependents be aided with money and other resources, so that they may continue
to live in their own homes and among their own friends and associates? If the
"home" plan is followed, shall the home be supported in the name of some
particular order of Masonry, such as the Grand Chapter, or the Scottish Rite,
or the Shrine; or, shall the home be supported by all of the Masonic orders
located within the territory served by the home? How shall the home be
governed? Shall the home be supported by voluntary contributions, or by an
enforced per capita tax? Shall each lodge contributing to the support of the
home have the right to send such dependents to the home as the lodge sees fit
to send; or, shall the officers of the home receive or reject applicants for
If it is best to have homes
for the care of dependents, shall we have a Masonic home in each state and
Province; or, shall we have a number of national homes set up for the special
care of particular classes of dependents, such as, for example, a national
home for the care of tuberculosis patients ? If it is best to care for
dependents in their own homes, or at least in private homes in their own
localities, shall the care afforded by the lodge take the form of a monthly
payment, or pension system ? Or, shall the relief extended by the lodge be
such as necessity may occasion from week to week and from month to month? If
it is desirable to have a pension system for the care of dependents, shall
each Grand Lodge create a pension fund, to which contributions shall be made
for subordinate lodges on a per capita basis; or, shall we expect each lodge
to meet its own pensions from its own current revenue ?
If dependents are to be cared
for in their own homes, or at least in their own localities, shall the lodge
become legally responsible for them, and thereby secure legal control over
them, as, for example, in the case of an infant orphan, or aged insane
brother? Or, shall we leave legal control in the hands of relatives, who may,
or may not be, in sympathy with Masonry and Masonic influences? What shall be
the limits of practical Masonic charity? Shall it be permissible for the lodge
at Jonesville to give pensions to its dependent aged brethren, while the lodge
at Smithtown, twelve miles away, refuses to aid its members under any
circumstances? What attitude are we to take as Masons towards insurance
companies bearing Masonic names, and limiting their clientele to members of
Masonic orders? What attitude, as Masons, are we to take to mutual accident
and sickness societies organized under Masonic titles and restricted to
membership on the Masonic basis? What attitude are we to take towards Masonic
clubs organized for the mutual relief and support of their members? Shall we
have laws as to these things; or, shall we regard them as accessories to the
great fight that we are waging for fundamental principles and leave them, as
accessories, to stand or fall on their own merits ?
I have named but a few of the
problems of Masonic charity. Problems I have touched upon are problems of
today that have come to us from yesterday. The solution of these problems that
we are working out today will more or less determine the status of the Masonry
of the future. Our order, with its great membership and great age, has great
experience in the handling of these matters. The administration of Masonic
charity is a great field of Masonic research, a field of tremendous importance
about which little has been written. What is your experience in these matters,
my brother in Oregon? You have served for many years on the relief committee
of your lodge. What principles has your experience formulated for you? What is
your experience in these matters, my brother in New York? You were on the
building committee of your Masonic home. To what decisions have you arrived as
to any or all of the questions about Masonic charity that the young men in
Masonry are asking? Your opinions, my brothers in Honolulu and in London, will
be most valuable if you will support them in these pages with facts and
figures, and evidence of specific character. Perhaps this is all old ground to
you, but to many thousands of young Masons the administration of Masonic
charity is a fruitful field for research.
The ploughing of the Lord is
On ocean and on land;
His furrows cross the
They cross the sea-washed
Wise men and prophets know
But do their Master's will;
The kings and nations drag
His purpose to fulfill.
They work His will because
On hillside or on plain;
The clods are broken into
And ready for the grain.
Then comes the planting of
His kingdom cometh now;
The ocean's deepest depths
And all their secrets show.
Where prophets trod His
Where monarchs dragged the
Behold the seedtime of His
The Sower comes to sow.
- E. E. Hale.
We falter on
Through storm and mire:
Above, beside, around us,
there is One
Will never tire.
What though we fall and
bruised and wounded lies
Our lips in dust !
God's arm shall lift us up to
In Him we trust.
For neither life, nor death,
nor things below,
Nor things above,
Can ever sever us, that we
From His great love
Man is accountable for the uprightness of his
doctrine, not for the rightness of it.
Influence of man over man is a law of nature, and
the conquest of mind over mind is the only conquest worth while.
The free country in which intellect and genius rule, will
endure. Where they serve, and other influences
govern, the national life is short.
Select thinkers for legislators; avoid gabblers.
Wisdom is rarely loquacious.
Deeds are greater than words. They have a life,
mute, but undeniable; and they grow. They people the vacuity of Time, and make
Nothing is really small. Every bird that flies
carries a thread of the infinite in its claws.
Life has its ills, but is not all evil. If life is
worthless, so is immortality.
- Morals and Dogma.
Few things are harder to put up with than the
annoyance of a good example.
Man is the only animal that blushes - or needs to.
April 1st - this is the day upon which we are
reminded of of what we are on the other three hundred and sixty-four days.
One of the most striking
differences between a cat and a lie is that a cat has only nine lives.
Training is everything. A
cauliflower is nothing but a cabbage with a college education.
When in doubt, tell the
truth. Tell the truth or trump - but get the trick.
- Pudd'nhead Wilson's
NO UNBELIEF PEACE
This noble poem has been
ascribed to Bulwer - "Owen Meredith" - but that is to err - the error being
due to an oversight of Burton Stevenson, as he has confessed. It was written
by Mrs. Lizzie Y. Case, and has the following history. In answer to the
question of a young clergyman as to her religious belief, the author told him
that she was of the faith of her fathers - the Friends. "Then," said the young
zealot, "you are an unbeliever, and will be damned." She answered: "Never ! If
there were no true God to trust in, I should still believe in the gods of the
woods and the streams. In fact, I believe in everything - in God, man, nature
- there is no unbelief." Hence the lines:
There is no unbelief !
Whoever plants a seed beneath
And waits to see it push away
Trusts he in God.
There is no unbelief !
Whoever says, when clouds are
in the sky,
Be patient, heart, light
breaketh by and by,
Trusts the most High.
There is no unbelief !
Whoever sees heath winter's
field of snow
The silent harvest of the
God's power must know.
There is no unbelief !
Whoever lies down on his
couch to sleep
Content to lock his sense in
Knows God will keep.
There is no unbelief !
Whoever says tomorrow, the
The future, trusts that power
alone, Nor dares disown.
There is no unbelief !
The heart that looks on when
dear eyelids close
And dares to live when life
has only woes,
God's comfort knows.
There is no unbelief !
For thus by day and night,
The heart lives by that faith
the lips deny,
God knoweth why.
Were half the power that
fills the world with terror,
Were half the wealth bestowed
on camps and courts
Given to redeem the human
mind from error,
There were no need of
arsenals nor forts.
"Some of your grief's you
And the sharpest you still
But what torments of pain you
From evils that never
Peace on earth good will
I wish the Lord would tell us
For all the records of our
Only tell of constant strife.
Perhaps great hope may lie in
That those who have attained
Have found inside the life
A subtle, mystic paradox.
The Lord gives light, but
light makes shade;
By this great law all worlds
The Lord sends peace, but
peace makes strife;
This is the paradox of life.
If all our light be darkness
How great that darkness seems
Give us "more light," then we
And all our darkness
If all the shadows are from
Of course there, really, is
If strife is swallowed up in
Then all our conflict can but
When by the light of peace
No longer is the struggle
The laws of being understood
Turns all our evil into good.
No power of evil will we
Except that given by the
Let's strive for peace within
And know One's Self to be the
- Arthur B. Rugg,
The world may rail at
And scoff at Square and Line,
We'll follow with complacency
The Master's great Design.
A King can make a gartered
And breathe away another;
But he, with all his skill
Can never make a Brother.
This power alone, thou Mystic
Freemasonry, is thine:
The power to tame the savage
With brother-love divine !
With reverent feet the earth
Nor banished Nature from his
But studied still with deep
To build a universal church,
Lofty as the love of God,
And ample as the wants of
ONCE again, borne on that tide of Eternity which
men call Time, we have come to the great day of Memory and Hope. That a day in
Spring should be set apart to commemorate the ever-renewed evidence of the
Life Everlasting is in accord with the fitness of things, as if the seasons of
the soul were attuned to the seasons of the year. It is more than beautiful;
it unites faith with life, linking the fresh buds of returning spring with the
ancient poetries and pieties of the human heart. It finds in Nature, with her
woven hymns of night and day, of winter and summer, a ritual of prophecy and
A breath we are, servile to all skyey influences,
said the prince of poets; and something in the stir of life in the reviving
earth, in the springtime overflowing the world like a heavenly Nile, in the
resurrection of the tender race of flowers, begets an unconscious, involuntary
renewal of the faith of man, refreshing his hope and quickening his passion
for life. So we look into the face of the new spring and our hearts are
strangely glad, and strangely sad also - touched by dim, wistful memories of
springs agone when life was new and we were young; melted by "the song of
those who answer not, however we may call." So run the records of all the
times, since ever Time began, and so it will be until the last man lifts his
trembling hands in prayer on this dying earth. Nor is it a mere fancy that has
thus prompted our humanity to greet the coming of spring with feast and
festival, as symbolizing the victory of life over the white winter of death -
for in Nature there is no death, but only living and living again.
Admit that Easter is an old sun-feast, a spring
frolic, or whatever else wise men may dig up from the folklore of olden time,
it is for us the Feast of Christ none the less, and there is in it that touch
of melancholy in joy which all lovers of the Christ feel is the note of His
life as it sounds in the story of pilgrimage, in the tone of His words, and in
the pathos of His passion. Think as we may of that tragic and heroic Figure,
this is the day of Jesus, whose Life of Love is the one everlasting romance in
this prosaic old world, and whose ineffable tenderness seems to blend
naturally with the thrill of springtime when the finger of God is pointing the
new birth of the earth. Our little passions are as naught in face of that
mighty Passion; our small trials fade before that solemn trial of Love and
Death; and we are subdued with a sense of something as far beyond our useful
tasks or transient joys, as the awakening of Nature is beyond our waking from
No other day touches us more deeply, more
tenderly, more joyously, and none so stirs the spirit of hope and courage in
the heart of man. Hope and courage we have for the affairs of daily life -
albeit a courage that is often faint, and a hope that is not hopeless, but
unhopeful; but here is a Hope that leaps beyond the borders of the world, and
a Courage that faces Eternity ! For that Easter stands; in its history, its
music, its springing earth, its prophecy of renewal for the putting off of the
tyranny of Time, the terror of the Grave, and the triumph of the Flesh, and
the putting on of Immortality. It is thus that Easter gives us the hint, if
not the key, to a higher heroism and cheer - that which Tennyson meant when he
wrote that rather than the glory of warrior, the glory of orator, the glory of
song, "give me the glory of going on and still to be" - a glory which puts a
new meaning and value on life with its efforts, so sadly baffled; its
acquirements, so incomplete; its achievements, so transient and so quickly
forgotten. For we can work with brave hearts, and endure with serenity, and
delight without alloy, if the good we aim at here, and never quite attain, is
an earnest of the Good we shall win otherwhere.
It profits us little to argue amid music and
flowers, or at any other time in respect of this high confidence. The faith of
Easter has its home in the deep heart of man - for the Heart hath its reasons
which the Reason knows not of - and it is older than all arguments, which are
only so many efforts of logic to justify to the reason the faith of the soul.
No man was ever argued into this Faith, or out of it. Its roots go deeper than
argument, deeper than dogma, deeper than reason - ay, as deep as the home and
the family, as deep as infancy and old age, as deep as love and death ! As we
do not ask logic to prove the coming of Spring, so there is no need that any
one argue in behalf of the faith - older than history - that the mysterious
Power which weaves in silence robes of white for the lily, of red for the
rose, will the much more clothe our winged spirits with a moral beauty that
shall never fade.
"What to you is Shadow, to Him is Day,
And the end He knoweth;
And not on a blind and aimless way
Thy spirit goeth.
The steps of Faith
Fall on a seeming void, and find
A Rock beneath."
Let those doubt who will, it is still true that
the Spirit of Christ does live in the hearts of a multitude, some of them all
unaware, in deeds of love and pity all the world over. And His great and
simple words, as those of no other, do uplift and fortify the soul against the
fear of that Shadow that waits for every man. The only things worth our while
are the things thought and felt and done in accord with His spirit and
example, in sympathy with His life so serene, so radiant, so triumphant. The
sorrow is that we for whom He lived and died, by our misdeeds, by our falling
away from His ideal, crucify the Man we ought to be many times again. Yet is
there hope, though we have fallen far and fallen low - hope in God whom He
revealed as our Father, whose love hath in it the secret of unknown
redemptions. Sorrows come, and deep grief, and loneliness unutterable, when
those whom we love fall into the great white sleep; but the Easter Lily will
grow in our hearts if we cultivate it, watering it the while with our tears -
and at last it will bloom, and its beauty will be the fairest thing in the
house of our pilgrimage.
"If Jesus Christ is a man -
And only a man - I say
That of all mankind I cleave
And to Him I cleave alway.
If Jesus Christ is a God -
And the only God - I swear
I will follow Him through
heaven and hell,
The earth, the sea, and the
* * *
A Masonic Study and Research Club was organized by
the professors and students of the State University of Oklahoma, Thursday
night, Feb. 25th. It was an enthusiastic gathering, and the Club started with
a membership of sixty. It is the intention of the Club to affiliate with the
Acacia Fraternity. The Builder rejoices in the organization of this Study Club
and invites its co-operation with the National Research Society.
* * *
Essays of great interest to all Masonic students
are constantly appearing in all our Masonic journals - and, just now, in
journals not Masonic - of which The Builder is anxious to make note, if the
editors will be good enough to let us see them. For example, take the
following few among many:
Washington, The Man and Mason, by R. I. Clegg:
Masonic Bulletin, March.
George Washington, the Mason, by J. W. Carter:
Masonic Observer, Feb. 20th.
The Sacred Number Seven, by J. E. Morcombe:
American Freemason, February.
The True Thomas Paine: Texas Freemason, February.
Pre-Grand-Lodge Lodges of Virginia, by J. F.
Carson: Virginia Home Journal.
Masonic Record of Joseph Warren: Christian Science
Monitor, February 26th.
Masonic Record of John Paul Jones: Seattle Times,
* * *
The Society is eager to gather all available
information about financing Masonic projects, especially Masonic Temples; and
if brethren in any city or community where a Temple has been recently built
will tell us what plan they used, and how it worked - giving us the benefit of
their experience - The Builder will be glad to put it in a form that will be
accessible and useful to the Craft at large. Your response to this request,
Brethren, will be a very real service to your fellow-workers everywhere.
Furthermore, we are planning to devote an entire issue of The Builder to
Masonic buildings, their design, arrangement, expense, and decoration,
discussing the while what features should be included in every Lodge where
Masons meet - taking up different styles and types of buildings, all the way
from the village Lodge which meets in an Upper Room to the Grand Lodge Temple
* * *
Brother Wm. P. Freeman, Grand Master of Masons in
Oklahoma, in an address to his Grand Lodge, reviewed the history of the
founding, purpose, and development of this Society, pointing out that it was
authorized by the Grand Lodge of Iowa, its mission being to diffuse the light
of Masonic knowledge and understanding; that it is incorporated under the laws
of Iowa providing that it shall not be operated for the financial advantage of
anyone; and then he added: "Having carefully read the first issue of its
journal, The Builder, I unhesitatingly give it my approval." Such words are
not only gratifying but appropriate, since this Society is really an
invitation from the Grand Lodge of Iowa to her sister Grand Jurisdictions to
join with her in promoting Masonic learning and the education of young Masons.
Dear Sir: - In the February issue of The Builder
is published an article by Brother S. W. Williams, under the title "Two
Paths." The writer uses the very old figure of two highways, one narrow,
difficult, tedious, adverse and forlorn; the other the primrose way, broad,
easy, flower embroidered: the first leading through great tribulation to
ultimate happiness beyond the portals of the grave, the other through pleasure
to the degredation and death of the soul. I have always believed the figure
unfortunate and untrue to the realities of life. In the first place, most men
who are living a sane, rational, normal life are more concerned with this
world than with the next. We best fit ourselves for the life eternal by making
the most of the life temporal. Moreover, the way of clean, honest decent
living is the joyful way. It is the way wherein friends walk by our side.
There are built the happy homes where peace and contentment and love abide.
There grow the flouters of hope. There is to be heard the music of children's
laughter. There material advantages and worldly blessings are to be found, and
glory awaits those who persevere. There are, of course, grave questions to be
faced, difficulties to be overcome, grief and suffering to be borne but in
infinitely less degree than on the other road. It leads away from temptations
and dangers, and those who follow it are strong to resist evil.
"The other way," says Brother Williams, "is a broad highway,
easy to travel, with delightful groves and a plentitude of sunshine, music,
and flowers." Evidently he has not traveled that way, else would he know that
there are hunger, want, and weariness, physical, mental, spiritual; traps and
pitfalls are in the way. The sunshine blinds and blisters; the flowers are
weeds; the music without harmony; the groves full of wild beasts seeking whom
they may devour. Along this way are neither love nor friendship, material
advantage, or worldly honor. It
is the way of
the fool and the harlot. Why will men persist in picturing the way of
righteousness as dark, gloomy, and hedged about with evil ? What a mistaken
idea to implant in the minds of the young. No! The way of Godliness is the way
of happiness, here now, in this mortal life. Go, tell it out among the
Herbert N. Laflin, Milwaukee.
* * *
Dear Brother: - In your editorial comments
touching the war you say: "Indeed, a page from the story of this war reads
like an excerpt from the Chronicles of Hell, as witness these words from a
war-lord to his men: 'Cause the greatest amount of suffering, leave the
non-combatants nothing but their eyes to weep with. The law of Christian
charity has no bearing on the relation of nation to nation.' " Astonishing,
indeed, and terrible, if true. You do not mention which war-lord you mean, but
since the English-made news so generally disseminated in this country knows
but one "war-lord," may I infer that you refer to Emperor William II ? If so,
have you any authentic information as to when and where he made such a
statement ? Or, have you obtained it merely from the day's news ?
If you will refer to the English edition of
Busch's "Bismark," (Vol. I, p 128) you may read Phil Sheridan's advice in 1870
to the Germans (he was our military observer with their forces) as follows:
"The proper strategy consists, in the first place, in inflicting as telling
blows as possible upon the enemy's army, and then in causing the inhabitants
so much suffering that they must long for peace and force their government to
demand it. The people must be left nothing but their eyes to weep with over
You will find a similar quotation from Sheridan in
Charles Francis Adams' "Studies, Military and Diplomatic," 1911, page 287. As
Americans, nay, as Freemasons, we should be careful not to bear witness
against anyone unless we have positive evidence.
J. T. Hosbach, Philadelphia.
* * *
Dear Brother: - Allow me to call your attention to an article
concerning Hiram ("Huram-abi") the Phoenician Craftsman, by Charles C. Torrey,
Professor of Semetic Languages, Yale University, in the "Journal of Biblical
Literature." (Vol. 31, part 4, 1912, pp 151, 152). Although not so fruitful as
its title might indicate, the article is nevertheless of some interest to
Masons. A brief summary of it follows: In I Kings the name of the craftsman
sent by the King of Tyre to King Solomon has the form Hiram, as does also the
name of the Tyrian King, whereas in II Chronicles both names have the form of
Huram. There is certainly no good reason to prefer the latter form, although
it is at present the well nigh universally accepted view that it is the
original. The word "ibi" does not appear in connection with the name given in
I Kings. In II Chronicles the name of the craftsman is thrice mentioned. In
the first instance (II Chron. 2:11) it is Huram-abi, in the second, (II Chron.
4:11) it is merely Huram, while in the third, (II Chron. 4:16) it is
Huram-abiu. The conclusion is that abi is not a part of the proper name, but
is the noun meaning "right-hand-man," or 'trusted counsellor "
Paul R. Rider. New Haven
* * *
TWENTY-FOUR INCH GAUGE
Dear Brother: - Will you not favor us with an
editorial, if possible, relative to the teaching of The Twenty-four Inch
Gauge, and the reason why a more united effort is not made to advance it
practically? I am a member of organized labor, personally favored with an
eight hour work day, although seven days per week, and know we have met
considerable opposition from superior officers in our daily duties to such an
extent as to give the impression that the teachings of the Twenty-four Inch
Gauge are for the Lodge room only. Cannot something be done to encourage the
practical use of these teachings and not leave the impression that when
business and Freemasonry conflict, business must lead? I appreciate the
position of an officer in a corporation, but feel certain they could
materially assist were they properly approached and all sides of the question
Wm. Mason, Stamford, Conn.
* * *
Dear Brother: - I think it may interest you to
know that in England the old Operative Guild of Free Masons still exists, and
meets under the authority of the Athelstan Charter granted to Masons in 926,
and this Society is getting all its old records looked over and put together
ready for the Special Grand Assembly which will be held in York, England, in
1926, when we shall have been working under that Charter for 1000 years. We
have documents that go back for hundreds of years, and there can be no doubt
that Speculative Masonry was in 1717 derived from the Operative.
Clement E. Stretton,
Operative General Secretary.
* * *
Dear Brother: - Any Mason who will take the time to study will
soon find that, instead of labor, he has found a new field of enjoyment from
which he will derive a benefit which will prove a material gain in many
respects. It will expand his God-given reason. The study of Masonry will open
up new vistas of which he has never dreamed, will broaden his horizon, and new
paths will be found which will eventually lead to roads that open up the
beauties of Nature now hidden to his non-observant eyes. Politics and
Religion, History, sacred and profane, will assume new aspects and
him to become a student, and before he knows it, he will possess an education
not to be compared with the broadest of University readings.
A. L. Metz, Tulane
University, New Orleans.
"IN A NOOK
WITH A BOOK"
QUITE a number of Brethren have written to say
that they would be very glad to take up the study of Masonry, but that they
are too busy and have not the time to do it. Perhaps so, but it is open to
question whether any one of them has more to do than the writer of these
lines, who must needs make use of odd hours and the fag ends of days - and,
sometimes, the wee hours of the night - to edit The Builder. Truth to tell,
all of us have all the time there is, but we waste much of it, forgetting the
words of the wise old Bible which tells us to "redeem the time;" that is,
literally, to buy it up, get a corner on it.
There are conditions of life, to be sure, in which
it is not easy to do much in the way of study, but most of us waste enough
time to make us master of any field of research we might elect to conquer.
Without any boast, ye humble scribe believes that he has earned the right to
speak in behalf of the economy and right use of time, and he very earnestly
lays this matter upon the hearts of his readers, especially upon the young
men. Long ago he learned the value of odd moments, and somewhat of the art of
using them to advantage - thanks to the dilatory habits of a dear old teacher.
Nearly always that good man was ten minutes late to his lecture, and two lads
conceived the idea of keeping a book in the desk to read while we waited. If
the actual facts were here set down as to the number and kind of books read in
that way during a series of years in college, using only ten minutes a day,
they would hardly be believed.
What days were those, and how can ye scribe ever
forget the impressions made on his mind by great books in those fugitive
moments stolen from the routine of toil. There was the ode of Keats to a
Grecian Urn - a miracle of art; and bonnie Kilmeny as she went up the glen and
was carried away by angels; and Sir Galahad seeking and finding the Holy
Grail; and Elaine, lying on her bed in the black boat, steered by the dumb old
servitor - so sweet and fresh and lovely that "she did not seem as dead," but
fast asleep, and lay as though she smiled. Ay, then it was that we came to
know the stately, grave and noble genius of George Eliot, and better still,
the serene and radiant spirit of Emerson - a man whose mind was a city of
light set upon a hill. Frankly, if put to it, ye scribe would have to admit
that he got more from those moments of waiting for the lecture than ever he
did from the lectures for which he waited.
What thus began as a device for killing time became an art of
using it and a habit of reading for the joy of it, reading outside the path of
regular work - a habit which Gibbon said he would not exchange for all the
wealth of the Indies. During all the years it has been a way of escape from
the fret and jar of things, a resource in dull and weary hours, a joy in
health a Belief in illness, and a solace in sorrow. Fellowship with brave and
noble souls is an inspiration and a benediction, and they have much to teach
us for our health of heart and fortitude of spirit - for we are helped most in
this world by the example of one who passed before
difficulties like our own. Even the grim old Sphinx is not so enduring as a
great book, written in the heart book of a man or woman who has sounded the
depths of sorrow only to rise up full of courage and faith in God and human
Having for so many years preached the gospel of
good books, and the duty of taking time to know them, ye scribe rejoices to
find his wisdom confirmed by George H. Fitch, who writes so graciously of
"Comfort Found in Good Old Books." (Paul Elder & Co.) Who does not feel
something tighten about his heart as he reads this dedication: "To the memory
of my son Harold, my best critic, my other self, whose death has taken the
light out of my life." In the solitude of a great sorrow the author found help
in his habit of reading, and a refuge in great books - each one giving him a
ray of light wherewith to make a torch to light him along a dark way. If any
one wishes to know what books he read, and how, and why, and what healing they
brought to a heart wounded by the deep stab of death - let him forthwith make
friends with this golden little book, so wisely written and so beautifully
So much of our reading is slovenly, lacking plan,
system and aim, that it comes to nothing, when it is not ill-digested,
bizarre, and utterly misdirected - to say nothing of the time wasted on papers
and magazines. What we need is a habit of reading and a course of study, and
what is more worth while than to look into the depths of Masonry which brings
from afar the high and simple wisdom of humanity - a wisdom tried by time,
tested by experience, and found to be valid for the illumination of life.
There a young man may learn how the wisest thought of the race has solved the
riddle of life, and the old may gather up their deepest thoughts which, in the
busy mid-years of life, are too often left scattered in the disarray of a
temple yet unbuilt, and build a House of Faith - a Home of the Soul. Of a
truth, Masonry has something to tell us for our help in life and our hope in
death, and it is worth hearing.
When a man is young he may think he knows Hamlet.
After twenty years, however, he is not so sure: new doors open; long vistas
unfold; and at length old familiar lines "come home to him, when he has had
experience of life, and pierce him as if he had never known them, with their
sad earnestness and vivid exactness." So it is with Masonry. At first it may
seem simple - as indeed it is, like all things great and enduring - but when
he has looked into it more carefully, in the light of what life has taught him
by its struggle and sorrow, he finds that it is an allegory of the mysterious
life of man, wide and deep and wonderful. If he is a thoughtful man, subdued
by the mystery of "these strange souls that dwell in clay," slowly a sense of
wonder will gather and grow, and he will discover in its simple symbols
meanings hitherto unguessed - hints of truths no words may utter, suggestions
of a beauty so elusive that a glimpse of it makes one wistful, and, by no
means least, a brotherly comradeship in the quest and service of the Moral
Ideal worth more than gold can buy.
Therefore, ye scribe urges his young Brethren to
lay this little homily to heart, and act upon it. Study Masonry. Even if you
are busy, use your odd hours wisely and your research will reward you richly.
If you will do so, content to take first things first, and, above all,
persevere in your study, every year will make you more grateful for the
suggestion. Studying Masonry is like looking at a sunrise; there is a prodigal
wealth of beauty for all, yet the wonder is not diminished.
May I not ask you if the "Crucifixion by an
Eyewitness" is authentic? The story is supposed to be a translation of an
original manuscript which is said to be in the possession of German Masons.
What about it ?
Manifestly the manuscript, if it exists, is a
fiction, and the story is so regarded in the world of scholarship. Like the
"Unknown Life of Jesus," it is one of many efforts to fill out what is lacking
in the Gospel narrative of the life and training and death of the Great
Some accept such records as
authentic, and of course there is no law against doing so - nor is there any
fact in favor of it.
* * *
Can you tell me of a book discussing the relation
of Masonry to Religion, with special reference to the Old Charges? This is a
question in which I am just now much interested.
- H. P. D.
The book you are seeking is "The Religion of
Freemasonry," by H. J. Whymper, with an introduction by W. J. Hughan, edited
by G. W. Speth. (Published by George Kenning, 16 Great Queen St., Lincoln's
Fields, London.) This admirable work has two chapters dealing with the Old
Charges and their religious instructions. For more recent researches, see the
brilliant article in the last number of the Transactions of the Quatuor
Coronati Lodge, by Sir Chetwode Crawley, referred to in the March issue of The
* * *
In your book "The Builders" you make frequent
reference to the Regius Poem as the oldest document of Freemasonry. Where can
I find a fuller account of that Ms. and a more detailed explanation of it?
Also, has the essay of Brother Gould on "The Antiquity of Masonic Symbolism"
ever been printed anywhere else except in the Proceedings of the Quatuor
- D. G. L.
Fortunately, the answer to both of these inquiries
may be found in a recently published volume of "Collected Essays and Papers
Relating to Freemasonry," by R. F. Gould, which contains, among many other
good things, a "Commentary on the Regius Ms.," and the essay on the antiquity
of Masonic symbolism. (Published by Wm. Tait, Inniskeen, Marlborough Park
North, Belfast, Ireland.) The Research Society will be very glad to secure
this book for you, if you so desire.
* * *
In your recent address in our city you spoke of a
book telling of "The Men's House," and the initiatory rites of primitive
tribal society. Will you be kind enough to give in The Builder the name of
that book and its publisher?
- H. H. D.
The book referred to was "Primitive Secret
Societies: A Study in Early Politics and Religion," by Hutton Webster,
professor of Sociology and Anthropology in the University of Nebraska.
Published by the Macmillan Co., New York. It is a brilliant book, and worth
your while - Prof. Pound recommends it elsewhere in this issue.
* * *
Here is a puzzle. In your short history of Masonry
- "The Builders" - you name Millard Fillmore among other Presidents who were
Masons. Whereas I find in the new life of Fillmore, by W. E. Griffin, that he
took part in the anti-Masonic crusade at the time of the Morgan raid. Which is
- J. L. G.
Both are in a sense right, but we are disposed to
think that Dr. Griffin has the best of it - in this way. The fact seems to be
that Fillmore received the degrees of Masonry, but recanted his Masonry at the
time of the Morgan fanaticism. That is to say, like too many others he
received the degrees of Masonry, but was not really a Mason - else he would
not have recanted at the behest of a pack of pusillanimous politicians and
* * *
What do you think of advertising in Masonic
Bulletins ? I am not speaking of papers published by a corporation or
individuals and sold to Masons, but of Lodge organs. There are factions for
and against carrying ads in our little sheet. - J. T.
As The Builder carries no advertising, it may not
be qualified to answer such a question. It is largely a problem of taste.
While there may be good reasons advanced in favor of admitting ads, we would
advise against it as being more in keeping with the wisdom of eliminating the
idea of gain. However, we would not be dogmatic, and with due care as to the
nature and number of ads used, no harm would come of it.
* * *
Ye scribe has been amazed at
the number of letters thanking him for calling attention to "Jean Christophe,"
by Romain Rolland, and a still larger number asking for the name of the
publisher. It is published by the Henry Holt Co., New York.
* * *
Is Death the End? by J. H.
Holmes. Putnam Sons, New York.
Footnotes to Life, by Frank
Crane. John Lane Co., Boston.
Freemasonry, by M. L. Wagner.
F. J. Heer Co., Columbus, Ohio.
A. B. C. of Masonry, by D. D.
Darrah, Bloomington, Ill.
The Voice of Fate, by Henry
De LaVaseur, Waterloo, Iowa.
Christianity as Mystical Fact
and the Mysteries of Antiquity. R. Steiner. Putnam Sons. New York
Sixteen at most was she,
Never were hands so slight,
Never so tender.
I saw in sunset clouds
Robes to beseem her;
She, with a clearer eye,
Saw her Redeemer.
One day she went from me;
Then fell the Shadow,
Mournful the sun appeared,
Dreary the meadow.
Next day the sun came back,
Dearer and clearer;
Since then it seems to me
God has drawn nearer.
- W. J. Dawson.