The Builder Magazine
December 1915 - Volume I - Number
OF THE TEMPLE
BY THE EDITOR
WITH ceremonies solemn and impressive, yet simple in spirit and
eloquent in form, the new House of the Temple was
Washington city, October 18th, the home of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish
Rite in its Southern Jurisdiction. It was a lovely day, and more than five
thousand people, including distinguished Masons from all over the country,
witnessed the consecration of one of the most unique and imposing build ings
on this continent - at once a monument to the founders of the Order and an
emblem of the influence and power of the Rite. As the Grand Prior sprinkled
the oil, consecrating the Temple to "Mutual Concession, Charitable Judgment,
and Toleration," a White Dove flew from across the street, entered the
building, then returned to the bright sunlight amid the acclaim of the
assembly who interpreted it as a token in accord with the Spirit of Masonry
and the eternal fitness of things.
Our Frontispiece shows the House of the Temple
from the outside, and the accompanying illustrations disclose two of its
stately chambers; but to describe such a building in a few words is too daring
a thing to attempt. Truly, it is Freemasonry carved in stone; a great Symbol
in itself, epitomizing by virtue of its Simplicity in Magnificence, its
Grandeur and Beauty of conception, the Faith, the Philosophy, the Genius and
the Prophecy of the Order - cemented here, once for all, in a noble emblem
destined to withstand the storms of time and the mutations of human tortune.
In design it is a Square crowned by a Triangle, approached by Three, Five,
Seven and Nine steps, its gate guarded by a Sphinx on either side, bespeaking
the Wisdom and Power of God; and so it will stand as one generation cometh and
another generation goeth, a mute but eloquent witness of the truth that, if
Man would build for Eternity, he must imitate on earth the House not made with
hands. With right was it dedicated -
"To Purity, Innocence of Act, Word, and Thought;
to Mutual Concession, Charitable Judgment, and Toleration; to Charity,
Compassion, and Sympathy; to Justice, Night, and Truth; to Universal
Benevolence and Good Will Towards Men; to Wise Legislation, Good Faith,
Stainless Loyalty, and Honor; a Symbol of Gratitude, Veneration, and Love of
God, and a pledge of Future Fidelity and Performance of Duty.
Masons of every land, of every Rite, will join in
the words of the Sovereign Grand Commander - grave words fitly spoken - in
which Prayer is blended with Prophecy, and Aspiration with Resolution, when he
"May guile and deceit, false pretense and
hypocrisy never intrude within these doors; but let there always stand as
vigilent tilers, sincerity and frankness, plaindealing and earnestness to
forbid the approach of any unclean visitor. For the increase of loving
kindness, which is the soul of all religion, to be the shrine of honor and
duty, inseparable as the Dioscuri; for the glorifying and magnifying of truth,
which, sown in whatever barren and rocky soil, springs up and yields a
hundredfold for use and blessing; for the conquest everywhere of the hydra of
tolerance, hatred and persecution; for toleration to which Masonry erects its
altars, garlanded with flowers; and to aid in establishing everywhere the
dominion of God and faith in human nature, of hope, the chief blessing
bestowed by Providence on man, and of charity, divinest of all the virtues,
this House of the Temple has been consecrated."
THE HIRAMIC LEGEND, AND THE MASTER'S WORD
BY BRO. J. OTIS BALL,
It sometimes seems that the
foundation of all that has been written on any subject may be found in Plato.
The careful Emerson says, "Plato only, is entitled to Omar's fanatical remark,
'Burn the libraries; for their value is in this book.'" In Plato's Phaedrus,
we find the fundamental principles of public address, and one of the first
principles given, is for the speaker to clearly define his terms in order that
there be no misunderstanding or disagreement at the start.
I was very much impressed
with Brother Gage's definition of Symbolism at the beginning of his talk on
Symbolism of the First Degree, and it will probably be well for us to briefly
review his definition. We may be able to make it clearer in our minds, or
perhaps add some thought of value. Brother Gage dwelt upon the derivation and
meaning of the word symbol. He found that the word came from the Greek,
meaning to compare. A symbol is an expression of an idea by comparison.
Abstract ideas are often best conveyed by comparison with concrete objects.
A symbol is also a sign, and
the words sign and symbol are especially synonymous in their Masonic
connection. The symbols of Masonry are the signs which guide the traveler
along his journey through life and point to his destination. In olden times,
when the weary pilgrims journeyed to the city of their desire--whether it was
Mecca where the Mohammedans went to greet the rising sun, or Jerusalem where
the Christians journeyed that they might walk upon the ground made holy by the
foot-falls of the man of Nazareth--the signs along the way meant much to them.
It is the same in Masonry. It is with a certain satisfaction and joy that we
find these signs or symbols which point out the right road to travel and mark
our moral and spiritual progress--much the-same as the signs along the way,
marked the pilgrim's progress in former times.
The study of these signs or
symbols is called Symbolism, and the man who endeavors to find these signs in
Masonry and to read them aright, is called a Symbolist. A Symbolist, in trying
to understand the symbols of Masonry, not only benefits himself but he may
also aid some other tired and weary pilgrim in his journey through life. Let
us therefore, approach this subject of Symbolism in a thoughtful way; for if
the symbols of Masonry are guide posts that will assist us in our earthly
pilgrimage, then indeed, the effort is worth while.
In addition to defining
Symbolism as the study of these signs in Masonry, let us also attempt to
define Masonry. If each of us were handed a piece of paper and wrote a
definition of Masonry, we would probably be surprised at the various ideas.
Let us then, as Plato suggests, agree upon a definition. It has been said that
one of the best ways to clearly fix in the mind what anything is, is to find
out some of the things which it is not. We should have no difficulty in
agreeing that Masonry is not politics, although some of the recent activities
in our fraternity make us feel that there are those among our number who are
attempting to make a political organization of the fraternity. While might
makes right, we will hear brethren boast of the political achievements of the
Masonic Fraternity and encourage hatred and prejudice, but politics is not
There is a very great
difference between Masonry and the Masonic Fraternity. The Masonic Fraternity
is made up of men who follow, or who are supposed to follow, the teachings of
Masonry; but men are prone to err. The fraternity is apt to wander from the
fundamental principles of Masonry, and the mistakes are due to the frailty of
man and the errors of his judgment, rather than to the principles of Masonry.
In speaking of Masonry therefore, both of its history and characteristics, I
do not refer to the Masonic fraternity.
If Masonry then, is not the
fraternity, what is it? In referring to our Illinois monitor, we find the
following sentence in the Secretary's lecture, given in the ante-room before
the candidate is admitted to the lodge: "Masonry consists of a course of
ancient, hieroglyphic, moral instruction, taught agreeably to ancient customs
by types, emblems, and allegorical figures." This is beautiful English, but is
its full import immediately clear ?
The peculiar characters cut
upon the rocks in the tombs of the ancient Egyptians are hieroglyphics. For
many centuries they stood as the mute unknown secrets of ages past and gone.
Modern researchers, however, successfully patched together and deciphered
them, and the hieroglyphics and signs were finally read and understood. They
were found to be clear pictorial representations of events and ideas, full of
meaning-- but only to those who understood them. Masonry, being hieroglyphic,
is taught by a system of signs or symbols which mean something to those who
have studied them, but to others they mean nothing.
Why is Masonry hieroglyphic?
Perhaps it is because of that old principle that something which we get for
very little effort, is usually very little valued; but something for which we
are required to expend more effort, we believe to be of more value. Just as
the etymologist discovers the meaning of an old Egyptian hieroglyphic, after
months of careful study and search; so do we find truth after careful thought.
As our Ancient brother Pythagoras is said to have discovered the forty-seventh
problem of Euclid, only after weary and tedious toil; so will we discover the
secrets of Masonry only after we seek for them. Masonry, therefore, is
hieroglyphic for the good reason founded upon a fundamental truth, that
something which we get for nothing is worth nothing.
Masonry is moral, because it
is in perfect accord with the established principles of truth--and that is
real morality. We learn that this hieroglyphic, moral system is taught by
types, emblems and allegorical figures. We speak of a man of a certain type,
meaning that he has certain characteristics in common with men of the same
class or type. Types are expressions of classification, by which we are able
to fix general truths or characteristics in our minds and draw conclusions
from them. Emblems are signs or symbols visible to the eye, which stand for
something in addition to themselves, and they create in the mind a flow of
thought. The square, for instance, in all ages has been an emblem of Masonry,
but its use has become so common that "to be on the square" has a meaning to
others than Masons.
Allegories are parables. In
seeking why Masonry is taught in allegories instead of by logical statements
of truth in direct form, we may answer that in many ages truth has been taught
by allegories and parables, in order that the mind may conceive great and
fundamental truths by comparison with simple things. Some think that Masonry
is taught by types, emblems, and allegorical figures in order to conceal the
thought, but it seems to me that they reveal the truth and make it clear and
understandable. In the wonderful parable of the Sower, we learn of the seed
that fell on fertile ground, the seed that fell among thistles, and the seed
that fell on the rocks and stony places. Does the parable conceal the thought
? On the contrary, the parable or allegory makes the thought clear to the
thinking mind, but only after a certain effort in thinking the thing through.
Call Masonry, then, a
philosophy, a science, an art, or even a religion if you please, but retain
the idea of a system of hieroglyphic moral instruction taught by types,
emblems, and allegorical figures. In this sense Masonry is indeed ancient, and
we may trace four ideas in this peculiar system through many ages. These four
principle ideas might even be called Land-marks. They are: a belief in one
God, a teaching of Immortality, a symbolic idea of building, and a seeking
after something which was lost.
We find these characteristics
in Masonry from the time of the Ancient Egyptians in the mysteries of Osiris,
where it is said Moses was initiated into the solemn rites which antedated the
return of the chosen people of God; in the old Persian Mysteries of Mithras,
where we find traces of an unusually clear conception of a life after death;
and in Syria where we find the Dionysian Mysteries which came from Greece and
were probably carried by the workmen of Tyre into Jerusalem when Solomon's
temple was built on Mount Moriah. We also find these four characteristics in
the mysteries of Bacchus in early Rome; later in the Roman Collegia of
Builders; and in the teachings of the peaceful Essenes along the Jordan, where
some authorities conjecture that Jesus was initiated before the beginning of
his ministry. In the middle ages we find this hieroglyphic moral system taught
by types, emblems and allegories, among the Cathedral Builders; in the dark
ages, we find it among the Comacine Masters on the little island in Lake Como;
and we may trace it through the guilds of travelling Masons, to the
Speculative Masonry of 1717, which we substantially teach today.
Our Iconoclastic friends, who
are interested in the history of the fraternity, may smile at the dream of a
symbolist, but bear in mind that we are not speaking of the fraternity when we
use the word Masonry; we are speaking of that hieroglyphic, moral system
taught agreeably to ancient customs by types, emblems and allegorical figures;
and having four principal ideas: a belief in one God, a life after death, a
symbolical idea of building, and the seeking after something which was lost.
It is true that the careful student finds clouds of darkness occasionally
hiding these real intents and purposes. At times we read of the ceremonies
degenerating into the common and vulgar, as in the case of the mysteries of
Bacchus at Rome. But like the hidden river which disappears under ground, only
to flow out fresh and pure farther on; so we find these fundamental
characteristics of Masonry occasionally hidden, but later coming to light.
Considerable has been written
on all of these four characteristics, especially on the belief in one God and
on the idea of building. Let us also look into the subjects of immortality and
the seeking after something which was lost. These two subjects are so closely
akin to the legends of Hiram and of the Master's Word in our Masonry of today,
that it may be well for us to see what meaning these two symbols had in the
Masonry of Antiquity.
In the ancient Egyptian
Mysteries, Osiris represented the spirit of the Sun, the principle of light
and life. He was assailed by the powers of evil and was killed, and apparently
the forces of darkness ruled. Isis went out to seek for him, and Osiris was
later resurrected and brought to life. This story was portrayed in dramatic
form in the Egyptian mysteries. The facts are verified by Plutarch, Plato,
Epictetus, and others. Substantially the same story was told by Mithras in the
old Persian Mysteries, of Dionysus in the Grecian and Syrian Mysteries, and of
Bacchus in the early Roman rites. All were slain and then sought for, and
finally raised or brought to life. A death and a life after death has been one
of the fundamental teachings of Masonry in all ages. These old mysterious
ceremonies have been an expression of that idea of immortality which seems to
be ever present in the heart of man from remotest antiquity.
The ancient sun-worshipers
saw the sun retire in the Fall and reach the Winter solstice. If, as some
antiquarians think, the sun worship had its beginning in the far north, the
old Norseman on the shores of the Arctic seas experienced a long period of
night during the Winter. In the Spring, they saw the sun's resplendant rays
again light and warm the earth. The old legend was that the sun was slain and
that during the period of darkness, the sun was dead; and that later the sun,
as in the case of Osiris, Mithras, and Dionysus, was brought to life again and
there was light and life. Ceremonies were instituted and the lesson of a life
after death, was taught by a dramatic portrayal very similar in character to
that of the legend of Hiram today.
In the legend of Hiram we may
find the lesson of immortality, and we may also find one of the greatest
tragedies ever conceived by man. Edwin Booth, the famous Shakespearian actor,
referred to the legend of Hiram as the most sublime tragedy; and said that in
its portrayal in a Masonic lodge, he would rather play that part without
applause, than to play the greatest tragedy Shakespeare ever wrote. We may
find in the journey of Hiram the symbol of Man's journey through life. In this
journey, man encounters many obstacles which may be symbolically referred to
as enemies. They may be considered as accosting him from the three aspects of
his being--the mental, spiritual and physical. Three of these enemies are
Ignorance, Doubt, and Prejudice.
The encounter with ignorance
may be considered as symbolical of the first effort made by man in his
progress. Perhaps the twenty-four inch gauge, as the weapon used by ignorance,
is symbolical of the mental and the idea that the knowledge which man already
has, is sufficient. As he presses on in his journey for further light, Doubt
is encountered. The little knowledge which man has, may be confined to
material things, and there is doubt about those things which are not material.
Perhaps the square, symbolical of the earth, may be used by Doubt and a
correct understanding of great, eternal and spiritual truths prevented by
confusion with earthly things. If man still presses onward, he may encounter a
third and more deadly enemy--Prejudice--which often slays him and stops his
progress. The word prejudice comes from the Latin, Prae meaning before, and
Judicium meaning judgment. Prejudice is a previous judgment, clung to even
after contrary facts are disclosed. Our prejudices, or previous judgments,
often come from the passions. Fear, hatred, jealousy, and love of the
passionate sort, all engender prejudice. These passions have their abiding
place in the physical.
In addition to the
universally taught lesson of immortality, we find in the lodge a continued
admonition to seek for the Master's Word. But even after we have completed the
several degrees, we do not find the Master's Word. In the last degree of the
Blue Lodge, we find that as Master Masons, we will have to be content with a
substitute. All through the degrees of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite,
we find further indications of this continued seeking. At last, when a brother
is made Sublime Prince of The Royal Secret, he still receives an admonition to
advance, to progress, and to seek. "He is to advance and conquer in his heart
those old enemies, Ignorance, Doubt, and Prejudice, and to seek the Master's
Word." That is the Royal Secret. In the degree of the Royal Arch, we are told
that in a book there is a key to the Master's Word. The Master's Word is not a
few meaningless syllables whispered in the ear, neither is it a few arbitrary
characters. Neither is it the name of the Great Jehovah, unless it is
considered in a symbolical sense, as representing Truth and Perfection. The
key to the Master's Word is in the book, which to us is the Holy Bible, the
Great Light in Masonry. There, we will find the key to the Master's Word, but
not the Master's Word itself.
What is this Master's Word,
and why this continual search? We find in the Masonic funeral service an
allusion to a certain "pass" whereby we may obtain entrance into the Grand
Lodge above. What higher conception could we have of the Master's Word, than
the pass whereby we can find immortality and entrance into the Grand Lodge on
High? We are told that this pass is, "the pass of a pure and blameless life."
The symbolism is perfect. Now we know why we will have to be content with a
substitute, because on earth we will not attain the Master's Word, "the pure
and blameless life." We learn that Moses had this Master's Word; his
inspiration came direct from God himself. Solomon had the Master's Word, until
he did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord, then he lost the Master's
Word. It was buried amid the rubbish of his physical temple.
But since we cannot attain
this Master's Word, "the pure and blameless life," why are we so continually
admonished to seek for it ? Why seek for that which we cannot find ? Why this
ceaseless, endless search for perfection and truth, only to receive a
substitute ? Because in the very seeking for the Master's Word, "a pure and
blameless life," we come nearer to it. Like the Cathedral Spires of Gothic
Architecture, which point upward, although they never reach heaven; we find
that in our seeking after perfection, we come nearer and nearer to it.
The seeking for the Master's
Word, therefore, is the real purpose of Masonry--that hieroglyphic moral
system of types, emblems and allegories. It should be the purpose and the
object of every true and worthy brother to find this Master's Word. With the
thought of the unity of God, the hope of immortality, and the seeking after
the perfect life, we will build a temple that will be eternal. We will also
exercise that charity toward the weaknesses and failings of others, which is
incumbent on all Masons; and as taught in the Council Degrees of Royal and
Select Masters, we will deposit in the secret vault true copies or
counterparts of those sacred treasures of Mercy, Justice, and Love, which are
in the Sanctum Sanctorum above. Then, after the destruction of this temple,
the treasures or their counterparts will be found at the building of a second
temple not made with hands but eternal in the heavens, and there we will find
the true Master's Word, "the pure and blameless life"--not here, but
BY BRO. ASAHEL W. GAGE,
(If our readers are familiar
with "Peer Gynt," by Ibsen, they will recall that the lovable scapegrace who
is the hero of that drama is a man without a will, though kind of heart and
full of dreams, and let his life go to waste, as the old Button-Maker said,
for lack of a design in his living. Having no set purpose, no definite program
of living, he followed the behest of whim, fancy and passion, which led him
into far-wanderings and many sorrows and sins. Masonry, as Brother Gage points
out, offers a man a life plan or design, whereby he may organize his powers
and build them into that greatest thing in the world--a noble, strong, refined
character; and more men fail for lack of character than for lack of ability.--
The designs in which all are
most interested are those for that spiritual building, that house not made
with hands, eternal in the heavens. What that house is, St. Paul clearly
indicated when he said: "Know ye not that ye are the Temple of God ?"
How to plan the erection of
this temple, the Bible teaches in its historical account of the erection of
the material temple. Life is grouped into three general divisions: youth,
manhood, and old age. The development of humanity may also be divided into
symbolic epochs. These divisions are typified by the three groups of laborers
employed in the building of Solomon's Temple.
The apprentices, or bearers
of burdens, correspond to youth, and symbolize man before he became the
predominant creature. His whole existence was a struggle against the
inclemency of the elements, and the ferocity of the wild beasts; when he
worked with and developed strength, symbolized by Thor's hammer. His mind was
not the highly developed, complex intelligence that it now is. He knew only
simple and direct effort, symbolized by the straight line of the twenty four
inch gauge. The working tools of the apprentice teach the necessity of
directness of thought and strength of character.
The fellowcrafts, or hewers,
correspond to manhood, and symbolize man in the second stage of development
when he notes the orderly or geometric processes of nature. He uses the plumb,
square, and level, as working tools. He experiments, tests, and tries, and by
the aid of his working tools, symbols of his faculties, he learns to use the
materials and forces he finds about him. The ability to work with the
fellowcraft tools makes life easier and more secure and gives opportunity for
the development of the higher faculties.
The masters, or chiefs over
the work, correspond to old age, to man developed until he becomes a builder,
a designer, a creator, he molds all nature in forms of his own design. He
grows corn of the quality he wants, the orange without seed, and the rose of a
color to suit his fancy. His working tools are all implements, but more
especially the trowel, the symbol of cementing, of uniting, of building.
The stones of which the
temple is composed are thoughts, words, and deeds. The master with the trowel
of constructive thought unites these symbolic stones into a temple of
character. The Bible teaches that these stones must be perfected in the
quarries where they are wrought. There will be no tools to alter them later
for neither hammer, nor ax, nor any tool of iron, is heard in the house while
it is in building. The necessity for perfection of each thought, word, and act
is therefore apparent.
The Biblical account of the
building of Solomon's Temple is most perfect symbolism. Being Truth, its
application is universal and the lessons to be learned from it are limited
only by the ability to understand its teachings. The benefits we receive are
limited only by the ability to apply the teachings to the problems of life.
BY BRO. WM. F. KUHN P. G. M.,
"Thus he shewed me: and,
behold, the Lord stood upon a wall made by a plumb line, with a plumb-line in
his hand. And the Lord said unto me, Amos, what seest thou? And I said, a
plumb-line. Then said the Lord, behold, I will set a plumb-line in the midst
of my people Israel; I will not again pass by them any more." (Amos, VII:
The Degree of Fellow Craft
deals with material interests of life and man's intellectual nature. Its
object is to stimulate every incentive to pursue and attain those things that
go to make up man's welfare and comfort in material things and in his mental
development and satisfaction. The Degree addresses itself to the workman in
the clay grounds, to the man who is engaged in the realms of the intricate
sciences, to the liberal arts, and to the practical application of all
scientific knowledge to a useful end.
The Scriptural Reading to
this Degree is, often, an enigma; and the only relation that this Reading
bears to the Degree to the average Mason, is the occurrence of the word
"Plumb-Line" which somehow has something to do with the erection of walls and
buildings. To understand this Scriptural Reading and its relations to the
Degree of Fellow Craft, it is necessary to know the history and the
application of this vision of Amos.
Amos lived and taught in the
year 787 B. C. during the reign of Jereboam II of the Kingdom of Israel. The
reign of Jereboam was chiefly characterized by mere formal religion, the
arrogant assumption of power, cruel oppression for the accumulation of wealth
for himself and Nobles. The poor could not attain justice in the Courts, and
justice became rank injustice. It was a reign of a typical, practical
politician who feasted and fattened off the poor and oppressed. In this reign
of wealth, and degradation of the poor, Amos, the Reformer, arose and with
fiery eloquence denounced the social conditions existing. He speaks of himself
as, "I was no prophet, nor the son of a prophet, but I was a shepherd and
dresser of sycamore." One of the ablest Commentators speaks of him as
follows:-- "Amos was the first great social reformer in history; he was the
tribune of the poor and oppressed. The rich and the rulers and those in
authority were the special objects of his attacks. By them he was silenced as
a dangerous agitator and banished from the Kingdom."
It was to correct the abuses
of the very things inculcated in the Degree of Fellow Craft, that he laid
aside his shepherd's crook to preach righteousness and justice. He might be
called the prophet of the plumbline. Listen to his denunciations as he applies
the plumb-line to the rulers.
Alas, for those who turn
judgment to wormwood,
And cast righteousness to the
Who hate him that reproves in
And who abhor one who speaks
Therefore, because ye trample
upon the weak
And take from him exactions
Houses of hewn stone have ye
But ye shall not dwell
Charming vineyards have you
But ye shall not drink the
They who lie on ivory
And sprawl upon divans,
And eat lambs from the flocks
And calves from the stalls,
They drawl to the sound of
Like David, they devise for
themselves instruments of song,
And drink bowls full of wine,
And anoint themselves with
the finest oil,
But they do not grieve over
the ruin of Joseph.
It is not surprising that he
was banished from the country; truth hurt just as much in the centuries of the
past, as now. In his final effort to arouse the people, he made use of
intensely graphic word pictures in the form of visions. In the Metric form
they are as follows:--
Thus the Lord showed me,
And, behold, he was forming
When the late spring grass
began to come up.
And when they were making an
Of devouring the vegetation
of the land,
I said, O Lord, Jehovah,
forgive, I pray;
How can Jacob stand, for he
is small ?
Jehovah repented concerning
It shall not be, said
Thus the Lord showed me,
And, behold, he was giving
commands to execute judgment
By fire--the Lord Jehovah.
And it devoured the great
And had begun to devour the
Then I said, O Lord, Jehovah,
cease I pray;
How can Jacob stand, for he
is small ?
Jehovah repented concerning
Neither shall this be, said
Thus the Lord showed me,
And, behold, the Lord was
Beside a wall, with a
plumb-line in his hand.
And Jehovah said to me,
What dost thou see, Amos?
And I answered, a plumb-line;
Then the Lord said, behold, I
am setting a plumbline
In the midst of my people
I will not again pass by them
In placing the visions of the
plague of locusts, of the drought, and of the plumb-line in their sequence,
the meaning of the last line, "I will not again pass by them any more," is
readily understood. The Lord's hand was stayed in the first and second vision
by the prayerful and faithful Amos, and the vengeance of the Lord "Passed by,"
but in the vision of the plumb-line, He set a standard of measurement that can
never be changed. The plumb-line, the symbol of national and individual
rectitude and justice, will stand forever. "He will not again pass by any
more." It will endure and can not be stayed.
The third vision contains the
very essence of true worth and greatness. The plumb-line is the test of
values. Twenty-four centuries before Speculative Freemasonry was born, this
simple shepherd held aloft the plumb-line whose symbolic meaning was the same
then, as it is today--the standard of rectitude, justice, uprightness, and
true manhood. As such it is one of the most impressive symbols in Freemasonry.
As such it stands preeminent in the Degree of Fellow Craft; the symbol by
which the value of the material interests of life must be gauged and by which
the use of man's intelligence must be tried. The symbolism is so plain, that
it does not need any profound philosophy to unfold it, neither is it necessary
to search for it along "geometrical lines." It stands clear, simple, and
It matters not whether the
Freemason toils, as a day laborer, in the clay grounds between Succoth and
Zaredetha, or stands as the exponent of the liberal arts and sciences. There
is but one standard for King or subject, rich or poor, educated or ignorant.
The plumbline of moral rectitude must be applied to every walk in life.
A SONG IN THE HEART
Thou dost hear the ocean's
In the moonlight, very pale,
Since thy chamber opens wide
One great casement toward the
But another window looks
Over marshes and their
And thy garden paths between
Brooks and window intervene:
When the evening breezes
Hear we in these paths below!
Lest the great, insistent sea
Day and night adjuring thee-
By the secret word it sings,
Take too far from human
For a little space apart
Hear the singing in my heart!
Or if things eternal make
So much music for thy sake,
Hearken, from they seat
The still vaster deep of love
- Arthur E. Waite
PRAYER FOR PEACE
I prayed for peace: God,
answering my prayer,
Spake very softly of
Spake very softly old
Sweet as young starlight.
Rose to heaven again
The mystic challenge of the
The deathless affirmation:
Man in God,
And God in Man willing the
God to be!
And there was war and peace,
and peace and war,
Full year and lean, joy,
anguish, life and death,
Doing their work on the
evolving soul -
The far fruition of our
'Thy will be done !' There is
no other peace !
- W.S. Johnson.
"True Masonry is true Charity, not only in giving
alms but in giving love in every day life. When Masons live up to their ideals
we shall better know who are most benefited by Masonry."
"Habit is a cable - we weave a thread each day, and it becomes
so strong we cannot break it; but this is also true of good habits. The law is
the same, and wise is he who applies it to fortify his soul against evil
There's no such thing as duty
When motive prompts the act.
'Tis privilege, maid of
Made so by love's sweet tact.
There's no such thing as duty
Of soul unto its God,
For privilege, maid of beauty
Goes where love first has
There's no such thing as duty
In the race the heart is in.
But privilege, maid of beauty
With love's fleet wings, will
There's no such thing as
'Tis but an empty name.
But privilege, maid of beauty
Is slave to love's sweet
There's no such thing as
And there can never be
While privilege, maid of
Is love's sweet alchemy.
* * * * * * *
The thing the world calls
Can no true Mason make,
For privilege, maid of beauty
Does it for love's sweet
- L. B. Mitchell, Michigan.
THE HISTORY OF THE RITUAL
(The history of the Ritual is
most interesting, and should be written in more detail, so far as that is
possible and proper for publication. Steinbrenner has a brief chapter on The
Ritual in his History of Masonry, and Dr. Mackey published a lecture on "The
Lectures of Freemasonry," in the old Quarterly Review of Freemasonry. (Vol.
II, p. 297). The following article giving a brief story of the Ritual,
appeared first in the Masonic Monthly, of Boston, in 1863, and has been
several times reprinted--once in the New England Craftsman (Vol. VII) and in
the Bulletin of the Iowa Masonic Library, (Vol. XV). It is of unusual value
not only for its compactness, but for its revelation of the growth of the
Ritual--as much by subtraction as by addition--and especially as showing the
introduction of Christian imagery and interpretation, first by Martin Clare in
1732, and by Dunckerly and Hutchinson later. One need only turn to "The Spirit
of Masonry," by Hutchinson--deservedly one of the most popular Masonic books
ever written--to see how far this tendency had gone when it was checked in
1813. At the time of the Union a committee made a careful comparative study of
all rituals in use among Masons, and the ultimate result was the Preston-Webb
lectures now generally in use in this country.--The Editor.)
Of the thousands upon
thousands of candidates who annually pass through the ceremonies of the
several degrees conferred in Masonic Lodges, but very few know anything of the
history of the ritual of the order. This is especially to be regretted, for
the reason that there is, among the members of the craft generally, a strong
aversion to any change, however slight, in anything connected with the Ritual,
for fear that some of these ancient way-marks may be infringed upon or
This veneration for the
ancient usages and customs is highly commendable, and care should ever be
taken that it be not weakened, as the stability, universality, and usefulness
of the Order are, to a very considerable extent, dependant upon it. Rude hands
must not be allowed to tamper with our ceremonies, our language or our usages.
But it is of the greatest importance that there should be an intelligent
appreciation of what really are "ancient" usages, and what actually constitute
"landmarks" of the Order, as it is these alone that should be carefully
preserved, and from which we should never suffer the slightest deviation. In
the minds of many, every word of the Ritual, as it has come to their
individual ears, is invested with all the sanctity of a landmark, to deviate
from which, even in the slightest degree, would be a fatal stab at the heart
of the venerated institution, and shake the foundation of the very temple
In order that this fidelity
to obligations, and to convictions, may be intelligently directed, so far at
least as what are technically called Lectures of the Lodge are concerned, the
following brief history has been prepared for these columns. The uninformed
brother may safely rely upon the truthfulness of the narrative:
Previous to the revival of
Masonry, in 1717, and the organization of our present system of Grand Lodges,
and Chartered Lodges, the secrets of the Order were undoubtedly communicated
and the instructions and explanations given, to candidates, in such form of
language as the presiding master or warden could command at the time. If he
were a person gifted in language, and his mind well stored with the facts and
lessons of scriptural Masonic history, his explanations would be full and
interesting, and his instructions clear and explicit. If, on the other hand,
the presiding officer were less fortunate in these respects, the traditions
and moral instruction would be set forth in style and language corresponding,
even to a meagre and barren explanation of the vital points. It is very
probable, but not certain, that these explanations and instructions--or
"lectures," as they were technically called--by long usage and frequent
repetition, gradually assumed very nearly a set form of words, which form was
transmitted orally from one generation to another.
Soon after the reorganization
of the Order, in 1717, the Grand Lodge of England ordered the ancient
constitution and charges of the Order to be compiled and printed, which was
done by Dr. James Anderson, a distinguished scholar, and Freemason. This
volume, known as "Anderson's Constitution," was published in 1723, and was the
first printed book upon Freemasonry ever issued. (Since this article was
written others have been found of earlier date.)
Simultaneously with the
compilation of this book of constitutions, Dr. Anderson, assisted by Dr.
Desaguliers, arranged the "lectures," for the first time, into the. form of
question and answer. Dr. Oliver informs us that "the first lecture extended to
the greatest length, but the replies were circumscribed within a very narrow
compass. The second was shorter, and the third, called the Master's part,
contained only seven questions and examinations." So favorably were these
improved "lectures" received that the Grand Lodge of England (then the only
Grand Lodge in existence, except the old Grand Lodge, or Assembly, at York,
which soon afterwards expired) adopted the form, and ordered them to be given
in all the Lodges. Thus was compiled and disseminated the first regular form,
or system, of Masonic "lectures."
The progress of the Order,
subsequent to the date above mentioned, was unprecedented in all its previous
history, and in a few years the imperfections of Dr. Anderson's lectures
loudly called for a revision. This was finally accomplished in 1732, by Martin
Clare, an eminent Mason, and who was afterwards Deputy Grand Master. Clare's
amendments consisted of but little more than the addition of a few moral and
scriptural admonitions, and the insertion of a simple allusion to the human
senses, and to the theological ladder.
A few years later, Thomas
Dunckerly, an accomplished scholar, and who was considered the most
intelligent Freemason of his day, considerably extended and improved the
lectures. Among other things, he first gave to the theological ladder its
three most important rounds.
According to Dr. Oliver,
Dunckerly "added many types of Christ." This, be it remembered, was only one
hundred years ago, and is an explicit statement of the addition of the first
Christian allusions to be found in the ritual of Freemasonry.
The lectures of Dunckerly
continued to be the standard in England until 1763, when Rev. William
Hutchinson revised and improved them. Hutchinson boldly claimed the third
degree to be exclusively Christian. He considered the three degrees to refer
to the three great Dispensations, viz: The Patriarchal, the Mosaic, and the
Christian. He even argued that the name "Mason" signifies or implies "a member
of a religious sect, and a professed devotee of the Deity." He regarded the
degrees as progressive steps, or schools in religion. He believed that the
knowledge of the God of Nature formed the first estate of our profession; that
the worship of the Deity, under the Jewish law, is described in the second
stage of Freemasonry; and that "the Christian dispensation is distinguished in
the last and highest order." In the lectures of Hutchinson are first
introduced the three great pillars, Wisdom, Strength and Beauty, as supports
of a lodge. He also appears to have introduced, for the first time, the
cardinal virtues of Prudence, Fortitude, Temperance and Justice. He also gave
to the Star its Christian significance. In fine, he appears to have exerted
his utmost in genuity to render the degrees emphatically Christian in their
allusions and teachings.
Hutchinson's system continued
in force but a few years. His lectures gave place, in 1772, to the revision of
William Preston. The latter not only revised, but greatly extended, the
lectures, and his system continued to be the standard in England until the
"Union" of the two Grand Lodges of that Kingdom, in 1813, when a committee, of
which Dr. Hemming was the chairman and leading mind, compiled the form now
generally used in the English Lodges, and known as the Hemming Lectures.
During the unhappy division
of the craft in England, between 1739 and 1813, differences had also crept
into the lectures, and at the Union above mentioned, the committee endeavored
to compile a system which, while it should be in conformity to the spirit of
Freemasonry, and in harmony with the ancient landmarks, should be a sort of
compromise between the forms in previous use by the two rival organizations.
The Hemming lectures differ
widely from those of Preston, or from any others previously introduced. A few
of these differences may properly be mentioned. English Lodges are now
dedicated to Moses and Solomon, instead of to the two Sts. John, as before,
and their Masonic festival falls on the Wednesday following St. George's Day,
April 23--that Saint being the patron of England. The symbolical working tools
of an E. A. are "a 24-inch rule, a gavel and a chisel." Those of a M.M. are "a
pair of compasses, a skirret and a pencil." The ornaments of a M. M.'s Lodge
are "a porch, a dormer, and a stone pavement." Instead of following the
example of his predecessors, in introducing new Christian allusions, Dr.
Hemming expunged several in use previously. The system, however, never met the
cordial approval even of English brethren, and though "beautifully elaborate,"
contains so many incongruities and departures from the more simple lectures of
Preston that it can never he recognized as a universal system. The verbal
ritual of Preston was introduced into this country by two English brethren, --
who had been members of one of the principal lodges of Instruction in London,
and was by them communicated to Thomas Smith Webb, an accomplished and
distinguished Mason of New England. According to the testimony of Webb
himself, he made but little change in the system of Preston. In the first
edition of his Freemason's Monitor, published in 1797, he says:
"The observations on the
first three degrees are principally taken from 'Preston's Illustrations of
Masonry,' with some necessary alterations. Mr. Preston's distribution of the
first lecture into six, the second into four, and the third into twelve
sections, not being agreeable to the present mode of working, they are
arranged in this work according to the general practice." It appears plain
that Webb followed Preston quite closely, and one who will take the trouble to
compare, will find that Cross, and after him all the rest, have copied nearly
verbatim from Webb, so that the exoteric portions of the ritual, as contained
in our Monitors, Charts, Manuals and Trestle Boards, are but little more than
reprints of Preston's Illustrations of Masonry. In 1801-02 Benjamin Gleason,
an intelligent and zealous brother, then a student in Brown University, at
Providence, Rhode Island, received the lectures of Preston--as modified by
Webb--directly from Webb himself. Gleason by his zeal and other excellent
qualities, became a great favorite of Webb, through whose influence he was
induced to become a Masonic lecturer. July 2nd, 1804, Isaiah Thomas, then
Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts, commissioned Brother Gleason
as Grand Lecturer to the lodges under his jurisdiction, the Grand Lodge having
left the subject of uniformity of work to his discretion, as Grand Master.
Early in the year 1806 the Grand Master of New Hampshire, Thomas Thompson,
wrote to the Grand Master of Massachusetts, requesting that committees might
be chosen by the two Grand Lodges, to meet and confer upon Masonic subjects,
and especially upon the subject of a uniformity of work and lectures. The
proposition was favorably received, and such a committee was appointed. Rev.
George Richards (editor of Richards' Preston's Illustrations of Masonry),
Lyman Spaulding (Grand Secretary) and John Harris represented New Hampshire;
and Henry Fowle, Benjamin Gleason and Stephen Bean represented Massachusetts.
The committee met at Newburyport in this state, and before rising adopted a
report, signed by each member of the committee, from which we make the
following extract: "The respective committees of Massachusetts and New
Hampshire are also fully agreed, perfectly decided, and positively unanimous
in their opinion, that the mode of work as exemplified by Brothers Gleason,
Fowle and Bean, as practiced in Massachusetts, and adopted in New Hampshire,
according to the acknowledgment of Brother Harris, Richards and Spaulding, is
as correct as can possibly be expected under existing circumstances; and they
deem it expedient that in the three degrees, every master of a Lodge should be
indulged with the liberty of adopting historical details, and the
personification of the passing scene, as most agreeable to himself, his
supporting officers, and assisting Lodge."
The report was approved by
the respective Grand Lodges, and the Preston-Webb ritual continued to be
taught by Brother Gleason. This is the committee from whom Rev. Jeremy L.
Cross--long and well known as a Masonic lecturer, and as the author of the
Masonic Chart, and other works-- claimed to have received the work and
lectures, and to have been formally commissioned as lecturer. He also affirms
that he never afterwards changed a word or a letter of the ritual as it was
communicated to him by them. There are, however, some differences between the
lectures as taught by Cross, and as taught by Gleason, though they are
principally such as may be called non-essential.
In 1810, the Grand Lodge of
Massachusetts formally adopted the Preston-Webb ritual, and voted to employ
Brother Gleason to communicate it to the Lodges under its jurisdiction. In the
performance of this duty, he was employed most of the time for several years;
and he continued to impart his instruction, at intervals, until his death, in
1847, visiting for that purpose various sections of the country.
This old earth is a Great
School of the Soul, in which are a multitude of shining symbols training us to
discover the beauty about us and the wonder within. Nothing is valueless for
our teaching, unless we are willing to close our eyes and ears to its
testimony; nothing is merely what it seems. We meet a new friend, we hear a
beatific song, we listen to a bird at dawn, we read a noble book, we look upon
a lovely scene of land or sea or sky, and forthwith we are in the presence of
the Eternal. Whenever we are thus summoned, if we answer with our hearts, the
veil becomes thinner, the symbol more transparent. Often life is terrible and
tragic, but let not its dark days deceive you; there would be no shadow
without Light. If you want to find God in its shadows, God will find you. Life
is a symbol, and its mystery hath in it the secret of unknown revelations.
Joseph Fort Newton.
I HAVE LOOKED
I have looked into all men's
hearts. Like houses at night unshuttered they stand, And I walk in the street,
in the dark, and on either hand There are hollow houses, men's hearts.
They think that the curtains
are drawn. Yet I see their shadows suddenly kneel To pray, or laughing and
reckless as drunkards reel Into dead sleep till dawn.
And I see an immortal child
With its quaint high dreams and wondering eyes Sleeping beneath the hard-worn
body that lies Like a mummy-case defiled.
I have looked into all men's
hearts. Oh, secret terrible houses of beauty and pain! And I cannot be gay,
but I cannot be bitter again, Since I looked into all men's hearts. --Fannie
S. Davis. The Crack of Dawn.
WHAT IS MASONRY?
BRO. GEORGE THORNBURGH EDITOR
THE MASONIC TROWEL, ARKANSAS
SPECULATIVE or Symbolic
Freemasonry has been appropriately defined as "a beautiful system of morality,
veiled in allegory and illustrated by symbols." By Symbolic Masonry we mean
the performance of the work of an Operative Mason emblematically. We take
tools of an Operative and use them as symbols to impress lessons of morality
and virtue. For instance, the Operative Mason wears his apron to protect his
clothing. The Speculative Mason is taught to wear his to remind him of a
safe-guard or protection against the vices and superfluities of life. He
should no more allow his moral character to be stained than the Operative his
clothing. The Operative works according to design laid down for him by the
architect of the building. The Speculative Mason takes the revealed will of
God, the great Architect of heaven and earth, as his guide, and should
endeavor to erect his spiritual building in conformity thereto. The Operative
Mason uses the 24 inch gauge or measure to lay out his work. Speculative
Masons use it to divide their time, that every moment may be profitably
employed. Man is not placed upon earth to be indolent or inactive. He has a
destiny to fill in the drama of life. The mind of man is so constituted that
it must be employed. Inactivity is not compatible with its nature, and if not
employed for good it will be for evil. Industry is the command of Masonry.
Laziness is rebuked by the lesson of the bee-hive and the necessity of
improving every opportunity is taught us by the hour glass, which shows how
rapidly we are passing away.
Masons are taught to so
divide their time as to have a part for the Worship of God, and the relief of
distress; a part for refreshment and sleep, and a part for the business of
life. To worship is the natural disposition of man; to worship God his highest
duty. The only religious requirement for admission to the Masonic brotherhood
is a belief in God and the immortality of the soul. This is a cardinal faith,
the unity of the Fraternity, and the bond of fidelity among them. The man who
holds that there was no Creating Spirit, that moved upon the wide empire of
night and chaos, and no voice that said, "Let there be light," is not to be
trusted with the mysteries of Masonry. The law of the land alone prevents such
a one from immorality. He has no monitor within to hold him to a performance
of his vows, or to restrain him from a violation of his pledges. But that man
who believes in God has a rudder and an anchor. He may wander in darkness
temporarily, the allurements of vice may lead him astray, but his conscience
follows him through it all, and in the darkest gloom an all-seeing eye is upon
him and a star lights him back to the path of rectitude and duty. It is well
that no one can pass the center of an Entered Apprentice Lodge who does not
willingly and fully declare his trust to be in God.
The gavel is an instrument
made use of by Operative Masons for dressing rough stones and preparing them
for the builder's use. Symbolic Masonry uses it to teach the importance and
necessity of divesting the mind and the conscience of the vices of life and of
cultivating the higher and nobler qualities of our being. The rough corners of
vice, intemperance and profanity must be knocked off to "fit us as living
stones for that house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens."
The Operative Mason makes an
important use of the plumb, square, and level. He uses the plumb to keep his
work perpendicular, the level to keep it horizontal, and the square to keep it
Speculative Masons teach
impressive lessons by the use of these tools as emblems. The plumb admonishes
.us to walk uprightly. To walk uprightly before God and man is one of the
highest duties of a Mason, and he who does so will neither be a bigot nor a
persecutor, but will act justly and love mercy.
By the square we are taught
to square our actions and our dealings by the square of virtue and morality.
By a faithful adherence to its moral precepts our actions and doings will be
honorable whether we engage in high or low pursuits.
The level teaches us the
great lesson of our natural equality. Man should not pride himself upon his
birth or his worldly wealth. It is of but little consideration whether we were
born high or low, if we are true to God, to our fellow-men and to ourselves.
The day will come when we
must stand in the presence of our Maker stripped of everything save that which
will entitle us to pass the judgment bar of an omniscent God.
Perhaps the most important
symbol used by the Craft is the trowel. It is used by Operative Masons to
spread the cement which unites the building into one common mass. We use it
emblematically to spread the cement of brotherly love. The Order is composed
of every class and condition in life, the high, the low, the rich, the poor,
from Washington, the leader of the American army, to the private soldier; from
Andrew Jackson, the President of a great republic, to the humblest citizen;
each taking into the Order his individuality, but all cemented by the Masons'
trowel into one spirit. Every nationality comes, with its peculiar brogue, but
all are taught by Masonry to speak the same language by signs and symbols.
Religionists come to us with their widely differing doctrines, and are taught
by Masonry to worship together one true and living God.
The Masonic trowel cemented
the broken elements of a once divided people in the United States. Scarcely
had the last sound of the deadly conflict of 1861-65 been hushed in the sweet
embrace of peace, than the fraternal voice of Masonry was heard through the
land calling the brothers from the South to join the brothers of the North,
appealing in the tender language of brotherly love for the Masons of the ice
fields of Maine and those of the orange groves of Florida to greet each other
as companions in the General Grand Chapter Royal Arch Masons. The first
reunion of any kind between the men of the two sections after the conflict was
in this body; California, Maine and Louisiana formed a triangle of peaceful
hands, raised a living arch and whispered the old love in the souls of these
men who had for four dreadful years been engaged in fratricide. Be it said to
the Honor of Masonry that the General Grand Chapter was never divided, nor did
any part of it secede. While churches, societies, and families were being rent
in twain, and the angry passion of war covered the land as a cloud of
destruction, Masons of the South were hidden from those of the North but not
lost. War could stand between but could not separate them. The great Masonic
heart of the two sections beat in unison, as was shown upon the battle field,
in the hospital and the prison. And when the angry cloud disappeared and the
sunshine of peace darted its gladdening rays over the continent, the first
words of reconciliation that crossed Mason and Dixon's line were the
resolutions of the General Grand Chapter inviting its long-separated children
to meet around the old family altar. It, with one voice, and that the voice of
a fond mother, said "Resolved, that all the Grand Chapters which have failed
to meet in consequence of the recent war are declared to be in good standing
in this body, and entitled to continue their relations with it. And they are
most cordially and fraternally invited to unite with us, without reference to
the past differences, and are most sincerely assured that they shall receive a
fraternal, hearty and Royal Arch welcome."
That was the work of the
Masonic trowel, and the fruit of the teachings of the Fatherhood of God, and
the brotherhood of man. And yet Masonry is not a church. The church and
Masonry have their blessed spheres, and between the two there is no conflict
and should be no prejudice.
Masonry does not usurp the
office of the church, and the church-- the Protestant Church--is not jealous
of Masonry. Among the best and most loyal Masons are the thousands of leading
ministers of the gospel who have assumed the vows of Masonry and indorse its
LET ME LIVE IN THE HEARTS OF
There are selfish souls who
Live ever themselves within.
There are those who stay in
their pleasure haunts
From the best things of life
And there are souls who are
slaves to gain
And paying the price of the
But let me live in the hearts
And never without a home.
Let me live in the hearts of
my fellow men, -
The shelter I cannot buy,
The home that is real and of
And that God makes his
My shelter may be within
Or 'neath a glittering dome,
But let me live in the hearts
The only home that's home.
Let me live in the hearts of
my fellow men
For I am as human as they,
And because I am proud to
stand side by side
With them in the strenuous
It may be that my treasures
may take to wings
And naught left but myself
that I own,
So let me live in the hearts
And that makes the world a
Let me live in the hearts of
my fellow men
Though the circle be ever so
It may be 'tis the littles
that will make me great
With the few who may quite
know it all.
'Tis a tonic to jostle with
the crowd to and fro
Or trudge to the shut-in
So let me live in the hearts
And always "at home" at home.
Let me live in the hearts of
my fellow men,
Elsewhere would be just
The life that is real is the
life with my own
And the plan that's forever
'Tis the true home instinct
of "home sweet home"
Earth's only protecting dome,
So let me live in the hearts
At home on the journey home.
* * *
Let me live in the hearts of
my fellow men
Though the token may not
always be there,
But 'tis never withheld by
the brother of mine
On whose breast gleams the
compass and square.
Unmeasured the joy is this
living that's real,
Unmeasured the wealth that I
‘Tis a balm and a cure for
the ills of the soul,
The home in the home that is
- L. B. Mitchell, Hart, Mich.
"Freemasonry is a moral order
instituted by virtuous men, with the praiseworthy design of recalling to our
remembrance the most sublime truths in the midst of the most innocent and
social pleasures, founded on liberality, brotherly love, and charity." - From
an old Dutch Dictionary.
SYMBOLISM IN MYTHOLOGY
BY BRO. C. T. SEGO, GEORGIA
MOST boys at some time come
to the age when nothing pleases them so much as do stories of the exaggerated
deeds of some far off hero. As William Tell they shoot arrows from their
imaginary sons' heads; as Jack-the-Giant-Killer they wage their mimic warfare
on grosser foes; as Princes Charming they break into enchanted castles and
kiss away the dreams from the eyes of Sleeping Beauty. But real as these
heroes are to boyish minds, the student learns that maturer years render still
more real the characters of his childhood stories. William Tell still has an
unerring aim with his arrows; Jack-the-Giant-Killer still defeats his foes;
and the Sleeping Beauty of flower and field wakes to new life each year under
the ardent vernal kiss of the personified prince who shines as one of the
lesser lights of Freemasonry. Many fairy tales are the folklore of yesterday,
and this folklore was the highly symbolic philosophy and religion of the
ancients. The minds of men in general do not readily grasp an abstraction.
That is one of the reasons why we use symbols. We do not cheer firesides, and
homes, and fields; nor thoughts, and hopes, and aspirations; we cheer the flag
which symbolizes all those things. When only the ruins of a one time
civilization mark the sites of New York and San Francisco, the eager
archaeologist from Asia will discover pictures and statues of Uncle Sam and
will believe that we present day Americans worshipped Uncle Sam as our
tutelary god, our patron saint, and that we prayed to him for help in times of
There is a psychological need
for symbols, a real demand for stories, which man has ever supplied. By
descent through the ages these stories became legends and fairy tales. When
they are employed for pastime purposes only, these stories become corrupted by
recital and changed so as to be almost unrecognizable. The story of Sleeping
Beauty illustrates this. Not at first does one recognize in the sleeping
princess the glory of the springtime flower and the promise of autumn fruit.
Equally changed is the prince, really the sun, who breaks through the
confining walls of winter's cold earth and claims his promised bride.
But when these legends are
told not for amusement only but in order to secure a definite result, then
their teachings never change. The effect must be always procured, and it can
be procured only by following the prescribed formula. So the legend of the
third degree, introduced into our body I do not know when, is the same today
as it was when we first learned it. The Ancient Mysteries had many things
similar to our teachings and classical mythology personified thoughts that are
The Sleeping Beauty falls
into slumber after having received a prick from a distaff. In Grecian
mythology the distaff is a boar's tooth. The legend tells us that Adonis while
hunting was killed by a savage boar. After the death of Adonis his soul went
to Hades, which is here merely an underworld, a place of gloom and not a place
of torment. But the goddess of love descended into Hades and prevailed upon
Proserpine, its mistress, to allow Adonis to return to the earth for a certain
time each year. This story is more readily understood than is the Sleeping
Beauty fairy tale. The youthful Adonis is the vegetative spirit of nature. The
boar is winter, harsh, rough, and bristly. The goddess of love is the warmth
of springtime which coaxes the vegetation to leave Hades.
These annual returns of
Adonis were made the occasions of much symbolic ceremony. The god was mourned
as dead; women went wailing through the streets in utter disregard of their
usual care for their attire. The ordinary social conventions were broken down
and unrestrained sex license prevailed among the celebrants. In later days the
celebration was given over chiefly to courtesans. For into this celebration,
as in many others, in time there came more or less phallic worship. The
pomegranate was worshiped as a symbol of plenty, and so was corn. Enormous
images of the male generative organs were carried in public processions and
set up and worshiped as superhuman. Our maypole is a survival of those days,
and our architecture is filled with many similar reminders.
Adonis is the Grecian form of
the Hebrew word, Adonai, signifying Lord. In Babylonia, Phoenicia, and Canaan,
Adonis was known as Tammuz. Ezekiel, the prophet, reproaches the Hebrew women
for indulging in the celebration I have just spoken of. The name of the god is
fixed today in the Jewish month Tammuz. Tammuz or Adonis afterwards became
identified with the Egyptian Osiris of whom I shall speak later.
The worship of Dionysus, or
Bacchus, or Orpheus, was of a nature like to that of Adonis with the
difference that it is Orpheus' wife, Eurydice, who dies and Orpheus who
descends into Hades in search for her. By the magic of his music Orpheus
induces Hades to consent that Eurydice may return to earth if Orpheus does not
look back. But the eagerness of Orpheus to see his wife causes him to break
his promise and he looks back only to see Eurydice return to Hades just as she
had arrived at its exit. The same teaching is given here. Eurydice is flowers
and vegetation; Hades is the death of winter; and Orpheus' lute is the magic
music of the springtime sun whose appeal nothing can resist. The story is a
look beyond death to the resurrection and eternal life.
Likewise the Greek Persephone
playing in the flowers is surprised by Pluto and carried to the infernal
regions. Ceres, the mother of Persephone, seeks her until she finds her by the
aid of the all seeing Helios (sun). Ceres asks the aid of the other gods, and
after all their persuasion Pluto consents that Persephone shall stay on earth
a part of the year, and with him in Hades for the remainder. Here again we
have the death, the search, and the resurrection annually recurring.
These myths were not confined
to Asia and southern Europe. In one form or another they have been found all
over the world. One illustration suffices. In Scandinavian mythology Balder
the Beautiful is the god of spring, light, gladness. Blind Hoder, his very
opposite, is the god of the dark and gloomy winter. Loki, the mischief maker,
inspires Hoder to cast at Balder a dart of mistletoe, a winter plant. Balder
falls dead, but the promise is given that he shall return and bring with him
To the Mason, however, the
most interesting mythological tales come from ancient Egypt. There Osiris, son
of the earth and sky, brother and husband of Isis, was early identified with
the setting sun and became the god of the dead. Osiris traveled in many
foreign countries spreading the light of civilization. His wicked brother,
Set, god of the desert, evil, and darkness, planned to take the life of Osiris.
So Set made a chest the exact size of Osiris and offered to give the chest to
whomever it would fit. When Osiris entered the chest, Set and his confederates
closed the lid and cast the chest into the Nile, on whose water it was borne
to the sea. The chest drifted ashore near the Phoenician coast and became
imbedded in the trunk of a great tree which finally enclosed it. The king of
the country, ignorant of this fact, caused the tree to be cut down and made
into pillars for his house. But after long search Isis found the chest in the
pillar, obtained permission from the king to remove it, and carried the body
to Egypt. After burying the body she went to visit her son Horus, the rising
sun, the resurrected Osiris. While she was away Set found the body, tore it
into fragments, and scattered them abroad. Isis again searched for the body,
and found and buried its scattered parts. Horus, however, did not mourn, but
rose and took vengeance on his father's murderers.
In this legend we find Osiris
doing good in the world. He is murdered and his body concealed. There is
mourning and a search for his corpse. The body is found, raised, and carried
to Egypt for more decent interment; and the murderers apprehended and punished
by Horus, the god who rises in the east to open and govern the day. Every
evening the murder is committed; every night the body of Osiris, the setting
sun, is cut into fragments, or stars, and these stars or fragments of Osiris,
scattered to the four quarters of heaven. Every morning Isis collects the
fragments and they rise as Horus, the morning sun, or the resurrection of
There are those who pretend
to see all this in our mighty drama. The twelve fellowcrafts are the twelve
signs of the zodiac which the sun occupies during the twelve parts of the
year. The three fellowcrafts are the three winter months. Fell and cruel they
raise their impious hands to destroy all the beauty of spring, the promise of
summer, and the fruit of autumn. Then all the constructive work of creation is
stopped; for there is no agency active that knows the designs of nature. The
vegetative principles of nature cannot be lifted to life by the chilly snow or
the steely stare of the stars; their grip is too insecure. No movement on the
dead earth answers the like efforts of the pale moon; its forces are too
feeble. It is only when the lord of the day comes in the vernal warmth of his
love that the mysteries of life overcome the thralls of death, and foliage and
flower and fruit are lifted into life by the strong grip of the mightiest
force of nature.
This fancy may please those
who like it. There is no harm gotten by believing it. But I am thinking that
something is hidden here, even as there was something hidden in the Ancient
Mysteries. The uninformed and thoughtless and careless found and still find
ample satisfaction in the apparent, external teaching of these schools. They
little thought and little think that these teachings are carefully arranged
systems of morality veiled in allegory, and that the purpose of it all is to
enable those who are duly and truly prepared, worthy and well qualified, to
advance, of their own volition, of their own free will and accord, without
either passive submission on one part or repressing dominance on the other,
into a state of real mastery, a state of conscious unity with the mighty
constructive forces of the Grand Architect of the Universe. And when this
state is attained, then all things shall be seen in true perspective; many
things now thought of first shall be thought of last; the small shall be
magnified and the great reduced; and this life shall not seem an end in itself
but merely a part of the life of the immortal soul of man.
Remember thy Creator
While the pulse of youth
While the evil days come not,
Nor the weary years draw
When man can find no pleasure
In the hollow things of
And the heart turns sick and
From the jarring sound of
Ere the light of stars is
Ere the glorious sun grows
And the bitter sup of sorrow
Is filling to the brim;
When the grinder's song is
And the wailing mourners come
Marching in the
As man goeth to his home.
Ere the golden bowl be
Or the silver cord unwound,
The pitcher shattered at the
The broken wheel be found.
In the days when keepers
And the strong men bow the
Then shall dust to dust
And to God the spirit flee.
--Bro. O. B. Slane
A MASONIC MEDIATION
BY THE EDITOR
John Fort Newton
WHAT is the greatest thing in
the world ? Surely the most important day in the life of a man is when he
makes answer to that question, for it decides his beau ideal of excellence, of
possession, of attainment. What he admires, he imitates. What he exalts in his
dream, draws him upward toward itself, and subtly fashions him after its
design. Always the idols of men are their ideals, and an ideal, a supreme end,
desirable above all else, each man must have, and does have. Reason and action
alike demand an ultimate purpose, as a condition of thought and a goal of
endeavor. Shadows we are, hastening from night to night, through a gleam of
day, whither are we tending and what is the prize of the race we run? What we
live for determines what we are, what we are worth to ourselves, to our
fellows, and to the world.
All men are in search of the
greatest thing in the world, but few there be that find it, albeit the deepest
secret is the most open. In the providence of God, things most needful to all
men are common to all men. Though mysterious, they are universal. When we are
young the Ideal seems far off, hidden in the dreamy splendor of distance; but
when we grow older we come to realize that what we most need is not in the
heavens or beyond the seas, but very nigh unto us even in our hearts. Lowell
taught us this truth in his exquisite parable of the pilgrim in his long quest
of God. At the end of a long journey he came to the holy mountain, and prayed
that a sign might be given him that God was there and that he was accepted.
Suddenly a rock broke open at his feet, and a lovely flower appeared and
filled the air with fragrance; and as he plucked it he remembered that this
same flower, so wearily sought and found, his little girl had brought to him
when he started. plucked from his own doorway.
One thing is clear; the
supreme good must be an indispensable good; without which no good thing is
good; that which gives meaning and value to life. It must be such that we
would choose it rather than anything else, if we must choose. It must retain
its value in the retrospect, leaving no regret in the heart of him who vowed
loyalty to it, even to the last full measure of devotion. It must be great
enough to give free scope and play to all the manifold powers of man. It must
be a sovereign good, a focalizing aim, which causes all the activities of life
to cohere and converge toward a single point, harmonizing effort while it
reveals the truth of what life is and what it means. It must account for the
greatness we ascribe to every human being. What is it that can answer to this
description? It is, certainly, not a palpable thing at all, nothing that we
can touch with our fingers, like gold. Nor can it be a mere set of sensations,
like health. It must be something as rich and deep as life itself, giving us a
key to its rhythm, a glint of its radiance, a hint of its reason for being.
Reasoning backward from the
deed to the desire, let us enquire of the men of action, the men of power, the
masters of opportunity, with teeming brain and iron will and unwearied
persistence, if they have found the great Ideal. A French writer of tales has
told us of a Magic Skin, whose possessor might enjoy every wish, but the
talisman shrank and grew smaller as each wish was granted. Life is such a
talisman. All around us we see men sacrificing ease, rest and life itself,
paying out days and years of their shrinking capital of time, for-what? Is it
for real enrichment, for eternal value? Is it that their souls should be of
finer grain, their minds trained and rich in thought, that they should
understand somewhat of the world before they leave it ? Is all this tense
unending struggle to make them masters of themselves, servants of men, the
soul enriched by its poverty, and made sovereign by service? No! It is for
dross, for the glory of self, for the trumpet of panegyric, for wealth, power
and quickly fading fame, to be able to stand an inch above the Lilliputians
round about them and command. These are the ideals of the market-place and the
Must we then agree that men
who follow such ideals are practical ? Manifestly not. They are drunken with
desire, hypnotized by glittering baubles, somnambulists in a waking dream.
Practical men seek for things worth while, refusing to barter the sands in the
hour-glass for mere tinsel that withers with the getting; they do not give
everything for nothing. He only is practical who seeks that which abides, upon
which he can rely, and which brings some satisfaction of soul. Now and then
into the market-place there comes a man pale with anguish, crying aloud,
"Awake, ye sleepers!" They do-not awake, and they know in the deep heart of
them the truth of the message, even when they deride the messenger. They may
kill him with a hemlock, with fire, with a cross, but the word lives, and the
messenger they at last honor. Out of this uneasiness, this startled sense of
emptiness and error, this flashing vision of the better and the best, there
come gleams of the greatest thing in life, of the casket containing the crown
jewels of the moral sovereignty of man.
If we turn to the mighty
thinkers we find Socrates saying that the highest good is knowledge; not mere
facts, much less theories, but the living knowledge which lights the way to
virtue. How noble he was, going about Athens urging upon young and old alike
the greatest improvement of soul as the only endeavor worthy of man. Across
the years we listen to his grand argument for the immortality of the soul, and
hear him saying that such a discussion ought to close with prayer. Whereupon
he uttered that brief and wise prayer, putting into a few words the sum of his
"Mighty God, grant me to
become beautiful in the inner man, and that whatever outward things I have may
be at peace with those within. May I deem the wise man rich, and may I have
such a portion of gold as none but a just man can either bear or employ. Do we
need anything else, Phaedrus? For myself I have prayed enough."
"Yes, make the same prayer
for me too," said Phaedrus, "for the possession of friends should be share and
How beautiful it is,
reminding us of the prayer of the two boys in the Hindu poem, who asked that
God might protect and enjoy them both and that their wisdom might grow bright
together. Socrates thought it incredible that any man who had once seen the
beauty of virtue and the horror of evil, could choose the evil way. Yet the
men who do as well as they know are very few, as each of us can testify. Plato
saw this fact, and he deemed the greatest thing in the world to be the
purification of the mind of the lusts and passions of the flesh. He saw that
humanity has only begun to emerge out of the mire and the clay. Some have
risen head-high, others breast high, the eyes are clear, the lips are pure,
and heart is free. Foot-loose none of us are. Every muddy, illogical thought
is so much clay in the brain. Every malicious word is so much clay on the
lips. Every impure glance is so much clay in the eyes. That we may wholly
rise, that the lofty form of man may tower above our animal ancestry, that our
spirits may stand erect as our bodies already do--this, as Plato saw it, is
the great aim and end of life.
Aristotle, keenly searching
for the purpose of purposes, the end of ends, found it in happiness--not
pleasure, but the happiness of perfect, rational activity. Effort and activity
are necessary, but activity implies an aim. Without it we drift; with it we
steer. To be conscious of putting forth activity, involving all our powers, in
behalf of the happiness that belongs to righteousness; to be a
forward-working, effective agent --that seemed to Aristotle the supreme good
for man. It meets all the tests. It is indispensable. It is lasting. It gives
concentration and direction to life, yet saves us from becoming narrow. It
rescues us from depression, which is intense, passive suffering. If now we put
the three together, we have knowledge that lights the way to virtue, and
effort to clear the clay out of our nature, the better to realize the
happiness of right action and right being. Such is the answer of philosophy to
the quest after the highest good, the net results of the toil of the finest
minds, all summed up by Kant when he said that we should so live that, if our
life were made a universal law, or standard, it would make for the good of
Philosophy is ice; religion
is fire. What we miss in philosophy is the power to move us to do what we
know--knowledge aglow with emotion, made luminous by hope, the dream of the
heart which rebukes the laggard? inspires the earnest, lends wings to the
weary, and makes self-forgetting effort the cheap price of victory and
attainment. However the great religions may differ as to the method of
attainment, all of them give us something not found in philosophy--a power to
change the heart until man feels the meaning of renunciation, of humility, of
union with the spirit of holiness. With Buddha the way of life was by
repression of desire, and an all-embracing pity, awaiting absorption into the
Divine. With Moses the sacramental word was Duty. Above all else, above faith,
above asceticism, above love, above worship, even, is the august and awful
call of duty. It is not simply the whisper of nature, a social custom, a mere
inheritance. It is the deed. It is the motive. It is the life of God drawing
man toward Himself and His will. Amid all uncertainties, this is the great
open secret of life, the essence of religion, ethics, and all spiritual
nobleness. It is not forbidding, but an obedience, glad, eager and grateful,
to the high will of God in which there is peace.
Clearly, if we are to find
the greatest thing in the world, it must be something wide and deep and rich
enough to include the knowledge of Socrates, the purity of Plato, the
happiness of Aristotle, the pity of Buddha, and the grand moral idealism of
Moses. What is it? What ideal is equal to this demand in height, depth, and
comprehensiveness? When St. Paul would tell us of the ultimate good and glory
of life he does not define it, which shows not only his wisdom but his sense
of its greatness. There is a truth which begins where definitions end. It is
not indefinite, but indefinable; not the vagueness of a confused mind, but the
breathless wonder of a listening heart. Also, the Apostle uses a word not
found in classic lore, rendered Love, Charity, Courtesy, but which no one may
ever hope to translate. It includes all these, and transcends them. It is
something which all words and phrases together cannot express--a mystery, a
wonder, a depth no plummet can fathom. It is the center of union, the cement
of society, the fragrance and splendor of life. It is the essence of law, the
inspiration of effort, the goal of endeavor, the measure of all excellence. It
is the life of God in the soul of man.
First the Apostle shows how,
without this one thing needful, life is empty, vain, and futile. Eloquence, no
matter how angelic, is only sound and fury signifying nothing, "if I have not
love." Knowledge, though it go down to the root of all mysteries, brings up no
real reward unless it toils in a spirit of love. Prodigal philanthropy, and
even the heroism of martyrdom --were they possible without it - lose their
splendor. It is the secret of character, of the patience which suffers long
and is kind, of the joy in goodness on which no shade of envy falls, of the
humility that forgets self, of the dignity that never behaves unseemly, of the
self-sacrifice that seeks not its own, aye, and of the white purity that
thinketh no evil. It is the secret, also, of an incredible and all-conquering
confidence, able to endure all things because it sees where others are blind,
and hopes where others despair - sees the beauty hidden and forgotten in the
most sin-bespattered life, and, seeing, dares to believe in the unknown
goodness of bad men, and in the Divinity that haunts our mortal dust. Hence
its masterful defiances of pain and wrong, its sweet and unwearied
conciliations, and its unshakable hold upon a handful of deathless hopes.
Then a ray of white eternal
light, falling from some far off pilot star, shone for an instant upon the
page, and in its radiance the Apostle wrote three words which in this sad,
cynical, disillusioned world seem too good to be true: "Love never faileth."
How can it be true in a world where "life is a count of losses every year,"
where so many fair things lose their beauty, and where in the muck and ruck of
things so much that is pure and holy is defiled? Evermore the knowledge of one
age becomes the foolishness of the next. Prophecies fail either by falsity or
fulfillment, and poor stammering tongues are hushed in the great silence. But
the greatest thing in the world remains, new every morning and unwearied at
eventide, the cup of enchantment, the crown of triumph, the sovereign beauty
which time nor chance can dim or defile. Yea, it lifts us out of the welter of
sin and sorrow and immemorial misunderstanding, out of the shadow into that
nameless, ineffable mystery in which faith is lost in vision, and hope is
fulfilled in fruition, and where, at last, we "shall know even as also we are
AFTER DEATH SHALL WE LIVE
BY BRO. R. I. CLEGG,
SAYS Brother Fennell, in the
July issue, "My greatest interest has centered around the problem of
demonstrating the future life. . ." How can it be demonstrated? Not wholly by
the monitorial evergreen. That is obviously misnamed. Neither by the acacia.
These are but transitory symbols. Reminders rather are they than irrefragible
and conclusive evidences. Contributory and maybe presumptive testimony it is
true but mainly suggestive, not absolutely convincing to the antagonistic
among the sceptical, not altogether satisfying to the friendly critic. For the
evergreen shrivels at the approach of heat, and disintegrates into elemental
dust at the touch of a mere ignited match. How illusory is it at a superficial
glance if we so measure it as a firm foundation for our faith !
How then shall we Freemasons
answer for our reliance on the life eternal? We may look to the Great Light.
Is there anything further? Humbly I offer a few crude comments in reply.
First, Faith: Nature tells us
of symmetry and order, even as we are taught as Fellowcrafts. Order is
indicative of purpose. In that we perceive design. Beyond the art of the
Builder, we recognize and reverence the Architect Sublime of the Universe.
Incomplete are our lives.
Rewards and punishments are various and mysterious and to our defective sight
they are ill-assorted and unequally applied.
Seeing here so much of the
unfulfilled we must contritely, prayerfully and expectantly hold with humility
as little children the hand of Him our Father when hence we go into the dark.
Second, the Hope Universal:
How beautiful Robert Ingersoll voiced with eloquence the unquenchable ardor of
men, even of the agnostic, for comfort in this problem. He the fighter most
brilliant against faith religious could not but doubt his own conclusions when
contemplating the mystery of the grave. Death, said he, may be but the closing
forever of a door or the unfolding of pinions for flight, and dire was
Ingersoll's dilemma when without the chart of religion or the beacon light of
While throughout the world
men of all tongues in all the ages, wise and simple alike, have deemed-this
belief in immortality to be at the very least a probability, and most men have
admitted it to be a certainty, we may well ask ourselves why so fundamental
and generally accepted conviction is indeed not to be classed with the axioms
of the geometers. Assuredly more than hopeful is the lesson of this world-wide
and world old acceptance.
Third, by Analogy: Force is
eternal so far as investigation reaches. The conservation of energy is a
principle accepted both by atheists and the faithful everywhere. Matter to the
physicist disappears not but has protean forms. Nature's changes and phenomena
are ebbing and flowing constantly as a restless sea. Outward goes the tide, to
be again driven back upon the shore. Upward to heaven rises the evaporated
waters from the ocean to fall once more as rain upon the land, or as the
shimmering pearly dew upon the flowers of the earth; or perhaps the drops
unitedly tumble joyously adown the mountain side and the slender brook rushes
boisterously or flows quietly along gentle slopes or leaps o'er Niagara's
brink back to the bosom of the deep waters whence it first emerged.
Into the earth's waiting
soil-drops the seed. A tiny plant is given birth. It grows and blossoms. Anon
the seed reappears. Scattered by the vagrant winds or the industrious hand of
man the seed is once more entrusted to the fruitful earth. Again and again it
lives the unceasing succession of cycles.
So goes everywhere the busy
round of Nature. As of the body so is reasonably the evolution of the soul.
Can we not as a consequence, fairly by analogy alone, believe that the greater
plants and twigs and trees of humanity, youths and maidens, men and women, may
anticipate that in due course there will come just such renewed opportunities
for the service of our God ?
And lastly, by our ripening
knowledge: As children our facts are few. They are unrelated. We see them not
at all in precise and accurate comparison with other truths that widening
experience alone unfolds to us. When older we note a coherence where formerly
was naught but scattered and broken links. The universe then becomes the more
vividly to us a true unity.
Is there an apparently
irregular motion of a star ? Science welcomes secrets but abhors mysteries. An
astrophysicist in due season dares probe with mental means into the darkness.
He places and appraises the source of commotion though he sees not neither
does he feel save with the eye and hand of faith founded in the assurance that
everywhere is operative law. Later when the mechanic improves his practice in
optics the astronomer sees further than before into the heavens and announces
the disturbing element as a hither to undiscovered star. Thus also in
chemistry did Mendelief reason out his law of the periodicity of the elements.
So likewise did Helmholtz see the relation of tone and overtone.
Therefore this coherent
relationship of Nature, this suggestion on all hands that the present is but a
promise, that the bud is only the unopened flower, gives a deepening knowledge
that an intelligent and altogether justifiable belief is that of immortality.
Or surely we be less than the beasts and the herbs of the field in the economy
and the systematization and the intention of the world.
From isolated facts the
scientists unearth and grasp the general law. Is a measure of oxygen of a
specific atomic weight? On trial he finds accordingly and says, Yes. He
repeats the experiment. Again he secures the same evidence. The particular
fact becomes with every repetition the emphasized proof of a universal law.
All truth is but these related uniformities. From them we look further and
trustingly into the future. Immortality is the fact that scientifically
Here be briefly and in part
the restful rocks on which at least one Mason builds his expectancy of meeting
those he loved that have gone before.
WHAT is a MASTER
BY BRO. S. W. WILLIAMS G. H.
WHAT is a MASTER--and what
does it mean ? A MASTER, in the highest and truest sense, is one who has
climbed the rugged Path of Life; who has, by casting off the dross, so
lightened his load that he can rise into the true and pure Light that emanates
from the presence of GOD.
One who has conquered
SELF--and devotes his life to the aiding and uplifting of his fellows; who has
purified his heart, and mind, and Soul by overcoming the baser parts of his
nature, and dedicated his Passions to be used solely for God's glory and
honor; one who is ever ready and willing, at all times and under all
conditions to sacrifice his own hopes, wishes and desires, if thereby he may
be of service to a distressed Brother.
One who, not withstanding the
jibes and jeers of the populace, will, like the Eagle fix his eye on the Sun,
and rise higher and higher through the maze of difficulties that will beset
him, till he falls prostrate at the feet of the Father, only to be "Raised"
into an ecstacy of Light.
To be a MASTER, one must
"Pass" through "the valley of the Shadow" and be able to soar through the
Stars--ever ready and willing to go back into the sickening, scalding slime of
Death itself to lend a Helping Hand.
To be a MASTER one must steel
his heart and mind against the temptations and follies of this life and TRUST
IN GOD--even as a Child clutches and clings to its mother--he must have "Faith
in God, Hope in a blessed Immortality, and Charity for all mankind"- - he must
"Love those that hate, and pray for those who despitefully use him."
He may be scoffed and jeered
at--abused, slandered and reviled-- but God will give unto him a Halo-- an
AURA, if you will--and countless thousands will rise to "touch the hem of his
garment" that they may be healed by his great strength, which is only that
which the Father has given him.
The poor, the sick and the
suffering will love him-- aye, they will cherish him, for he has been very
good unto them; he has sympathized with them in their sorrows and rejoiced
with them in their joys; he has whispered words of encouragement to them that
has made it easier to climb the rugged Path of Life; he has brought sunshine,
and cheer and happiness where before all was darkness, discouragement and
SUCH AN ONE IS A MASTER--and
has FOUND THE TRUE WORD--the WORD THAT WAS LOST.
"Be ye faithful unto death,
and I will give you a Crown of Life."
MASONRY IN "THE TEMPLE OF
BY BRO. CHARLES S. LOBINGIER,
(By the kindness of Brother
Lobingier we present herewith a part of a report made by him to the Supreme
Council of the Scottish Rite, in its Southern Jurisdiction, reciting how, on
May 13th, 1915, he communicated the degrees of the Rite, from the 4th to the
32nd, to the following candidates from the Shanghai bodies:--Chow Tze Chi, of
Federal Lodge No. 1, Washington, D. C. Pacnan Mienseng Whang, of Washington
Lodge No. 21, New York; and Walter Alexander Adams, of Recovery Lodge No. 33,
Greenville, S. C. This ceremony took place in the famous Temple of Heaven,
Peking, China--described below--for the reason that Brother Chow, being a
member of President Yuan's cabinet, and unusually occupied with the trying
diplomatic experiences with Japan, could not leave the capital for any
purpose, nor, of course, could his secretary, Brother Whang. Yet they were
extremely anxious to receive the degrees, and it seemed highly important to
the Rite that their wishes be gratified. Hence the communication of the
degrees in Peking, of which a very interesting account follows.--The Editor.)
AT my request, communicated
through Bro. Chow, the Chinese government placed at our disposal for the
ceremonies of the day, one of the buildings in the extensive enclosure in the
south city known as the "Temple of Heaven." You will be the better enabled to
appreciate just what this concession meant from the Chinese viewpoint from
some descriptions of these famous buildings by leading writers on China:
"Within the gates of the
southern division (Chinese City) of the capital," says Dr. Martin, (1) "and
surrounded by the sacred grove so extensive that the silence of its deep shade
is never broken by the noises of the busy world, stands the Temple of Heaven.
It consists of a single tower, whose tiling, of resplendent azure, is intended
to represent the form and color of the aerial vault. It contains no image and
the solemn rites are not performed within the tower but on a marble altar
which stands before it."
S. Wells Williams (2) thus
"Separated from the Altar of
Heaven by a low wall, is a smaller, though more conspicuous construction
called Kihuh Tan or 'Altar of Prayer for Grain.' * * Upon its upper terrace
rises a magnificent triple-roofed, circular building known to foreigners as
the 'Temple of Heaven.' It is no exaggeration to call this temple the most
remarkable edifice in the capital or indeed in the empire. The native name is
Ki-Pien Tien or Temple of Prayer for the Year."
The building set apart for
our use was one almost as sacred, known as the "Emperor's Robing Temple," "of
exquisite form and color, the same wondrous blue tiles being used. It is from
this temple that he comes to the great open-air sacrificial altar." (3)
This building was almost as
well adapted to our purposes as if built expressly for a lodge room. It was
already provided with an altar and the elevated throne in the rear opposite
the entrance afforded a "gorgeous East." The light was not especially good but
our Chinese candidates brought silver candelabras which afforded illumination
quite sufficient. It was thoroughly in accord with the international character
and spirit of the occasion that the doors and steps of the temple were draped
with both American and Chinese flags. The five hued flag of China, though in
use as such only since the inauguration of the republic, is really the
embodiment of a bit of Chinese symbolry in which the number five, like the
number three, figures prominently.
The Robing Temple is a most
interesting structure in itself but its peculiar sacredness derives from its
proximity to and connection with, the famous Altar of Heaven, opposite which
it stands. Of this Mr. Williams (4) observes:
"The great South Altar, the
most important of Chinese religious structures, is a beautiful triple circular
terrace of white marble whose base is 210, middle stage 150, and top 90 feet
in width, each terrace encompassed by a richly carved balustrade."
Liddell (5) calls it "* * *
the most beautiful and impressive example of architecture in existence."
But the most appreciative
description is from the pen of Dr. Martin, the veteran missionary:
"This is the high place of
Chinese devotion," he says, (6) "and the thoughtful visitor feels that he
ought to tread its courts with unsandalled feet." * * * "Dr. Legge, the
distinguished translator of the Chinese classics, visiting Peking, actually
put his shoes from of his feet before ascending the steps of the great altar.
* * *"
"For no vulgar idolatry is
here; this mountain top still stands above the waves of corruption and on this
solitary altar there rests a faint ray of the primeval faith. * * *
"The tablet, which represents
the invisible Deity, is inscribed with the name of Shang Ti, the Supreme
Ruler, and as we contemplate the majesty of the empire prostrate before it,
while the smoke ascends from his burning sacrifice, our thoughts are
irresistibly carried back to the time when the King of Salem officiated as
'Priest of the most High God.' "
It was amid such
surroundings, hoary with antiquity and redolent with the piety of unnumbered
generations, that the Chinese in Peking were first introduced to the
philosophy of the Scottish Rite.
I recall that in 1899 the
General Grand Council of Royal and Select Masters met in Colorado and while
there improved their opportunities and startled the Masonic world by
conferring a portion of their degrees on the summit of Pike's Peak and the
remainder in the famous Cave of the Winds near Manitou. These wonders of
Nature certainly afforded an imposing background for their ceremonies but I
believe you will agree with me that they were not more so than the environment
with which we were so fortunately provided.
It was of course
impracticable to confer the degrees in full form with only two assistants, one
of whom stopped at the 18d. We, therefore, by way of introduction, conferred
the 4d in short form, Dr. Anhaeusser acting as master of ceremonies. Then by
way of preparation for the remainder, I read the candidates a composite
lecture consisting of those passages in Morals and Dogmas, Ritual and Liturgy
which deal with the sages and philosophy of China. It is really surprising to
one who has not tested it, to learn how considerable these passages are and
how accurately they reflect the thought of this ancient land--another proof of
the broad scholarship and profound learning of their distinguished author!
When St. Paul delivered- on
the Acropolis his famous discourse (7) by which he introduced amongst the
cultured Athenians the strange faith from Palestine, he wisely sought to
interest his hearers by quoting from "certain also of your own poets." So it
seemed fitting, in introducing this new philosophy of the west in the capital
of the oldest sovereignty on the globe, to lay special stress upon the extent
to which that philosophy had drawn from the sages and thinkers of China.
The ceremonies of the 32d
were not concluded until late in the evening and there was hardly time to
return to the hotel and dress for the dinner which Minister Chow was giving at
his home in honor of the event and to which not only the participants but
other Masonic friends, Chinese and foreign, were invited. This was a most
enjoyable and memorable affair. Your letter of May 13 was read and received
with hearty applause and the unanimous feeling of the company was that the
Masons of Peking, of whom there are many, must proceed to organize forthwith.
A petition for a dispensation to open International Lodge in that city is
already before the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts (of which China is a Masonic
district) and the sentiment was that the next step should be the organization
of a Lodge of Perfection. I believe that the field there is ready for our Rite
and that the possibilities are almost unlimited. New China has entered the
family of nations; her leaders need our principles and are naturally attracted
to them. May we not fail to meet so great an opportunity.
(1) Lore of Cathay.
(2) The Middle Kingdom, 77.
(3) Liddell, China its Marvel
and Mystery. (1909) 141.
(4) The Middle Kingdom, 76.
(5) China, Its Marvel and
(6) Lore of Cathay.
(7) Acts XVII, 22-31.
AN UNUSED TOOL
Today Freemasonry lies in the
hand of the modern man largely an unused tool, capable of great achievements
for God, for country, for mankind, but doing very little. For one, I believe
that circumstances may easily arise, when the highest and most sacred of all
freedoms being threatened in this land, Freemasonry may be its most powerful
defender, unifying all minds and commanding our best citizenship.
(The Builder is an open forum
for free and fraternal discussion. Each of its contributors writes under his
own name, and is responsible for his own opinions. Believing that a unity of
spirit is better than a uniformity of opinion, the Research Society, as such,
does not champion any one school of Masonic thought as over against another;
but offers to all alike a medium for fellowship and instruction, leaving each
to stand or fall by its own merits.)
We mix from many lands, we
march for very far
In hearts and lips and hands
our staffs and weapons are;
The light we walk in darkens
sun and moon and star.
It doth not flame and wane
with years and spheres that roll
Storms cannot shake nor stain
the strength that makes it whole,
The fire that moulds and
moves it of the sovereign soul
TRULY, in Fellowship Masonry has its founts, and
it is one of the aims of this Society, set forth from the beginning, "to
enable Brethren in one section of the country to come in touch with Brethren
similarly interested elsewhere." In this behalf, we are now ready to organize
a Correspondence Circle among our Members, in which all are invited to join,
and we have reason to believe, from inquiries broaching this matter, that a
great many will take advantage of such an opportunity for closer fellowship.
Indeed, the advantages are almost unlimited, not only for mutual inspiration
and instruction, but also for the cultivation of warm and enduring friendships
- than which, outside the home and the house of God, there is nothing fairer
or finer on this old earth.
Therefore, in our last issue we asked our Members
to tell us, in few words or many, in which aspect of our many-sided Masonry
they are most interested. Every Mason loves Masonry - it is so noble, so
beautiful, so benign, and it holds before us an Ideal of freedom, friendship
and gracious living - but most of us will confess that some one aspect of it
appeals to us more deeply than others; some one Rite, perhaps, or some one
Degree which came to us in a dross-drained hour and helped us to find
ourselves. One man loves Masonry for its religious tolerance, another for its
large and wise philosophy, another for its simple and eloquent symbolism, and
still another because it offers him a field in which to serve his fellow men
in practical ways. Such choices, made almost unconsciously, are largely
matters of taste, temperament, and habits of mind, and the glory of Masonry is
that it is rich enough, deep enough, broad enough to unite and exalt many men
of many minds.
Now it occurs to us that, by knowing the chief
points of interest in Masonry on the part of our Members, we can arrange them
into four or five groups - perhaps more - according to their interest and
inclination; and that the members of each group would be glad to have a list
of Brethren both in their own Jurisdiction and elsewhere who are similarly
interested. In this way, although widely scattered, we can meet about the
great fireplace in the House of Light and thrash things out, stimulating frank
and fraternal discussion, the while we promote good-fellowship, deeper
sympathy and mutual understanding. When the discussion is of sufficient
interest and value to warrant its publication, the pages of The Builder are
always at our command, and ye editor will welcome it most heartily. Any of our
Members who are willing to permit their names to be given to other Brethren
making inquiries, or who have any suggestions to offer as to this plan of
Getting Together, will confer a favor by letting the Secretary know at an
Brethren, we live in wild and desperate days when
many ties are being broken or cut, and the world seems going to pieces amid
the crash and tragedy of universal war. It behooves us to come closer
together, and where better can we do this than in the House of Light at the
Sign of the Square and Compasses ! Comrades in a great Cause, we must pass
from the outer courts into the secret place of Fellowship, seeking every man
"What is this - the vague
In my soul towards unknown
For no selfish end desiring
Blessings dimly understood?
'Tis the World-Prayer drawing
Claiming universal good,
Its first faint words
* * *
GEORGE FRANKLIN FORT -
It is a great pleasure to announce a forthcoming
biography of the late Brother George Franklin Fort, one of the most brilliant
of Masonic historians, whose work, "Early History and Antiquities of
Freemasonry," has become a classic among us, alike for its scholarship and its
literary quality. The book will be written by Mr. A. E. Bear, and will
contain, besides the biographical material not hitherto published, a number of
articles by Brother Fort on Masonic subjects published locally or in fugitive
form. Such a book should command a wide reading among Masons, not only because
little or nothing has been written about Brother Fort, but because, as the
late Brother Gould said in his History of Masonry, he was one of the finest
scholars American Masonry has known.
Ye editor confesses to a double interest in this
forthcoming biography, being a member of the Fort family - as his middle name
betrays - as well as an ardent admirer of Fort as a Masonic historian. In
order to spread news of this book we have secured for The Builder a personal
sketch of Brother Fort, written by his brother, John H. Fort, accompanied by a
very fine picture, to which will be added a critical study and estimate of G.
F. Fort as a Masonic scholar and historian by Brother O. D. Street, of
Alabama. The sketch and the appreciation, taken together, will serve to
introduce to the Masons of this generation a man well worth knowing both for
his character and his genius, and whose work is so worthy of study.
* * *
SANTA CLAUS A MASON?
My Brother, do not be too terribly wise about that
Santa Claus business, for we are often most foolish when we fancy that we are
wise, and most truly wise when we fear that we are foolish. If there is a Lost
Boy back down the years - buried, it may be, under the litter of your labor or
the dust of grinding toil - go find him on Christmas Day, if so you may learn
to trust the great Father, for one day, as you did in the times when the heart
was pure and life was new, before knowledge had troubled the waters of faith
and our days were sicklied over with the pale cast of thought.
Look now at that Picture - a little Child and his
Mother bending near, a stable his shelter, a manger his Cradle; the shepherds
in their rough garb, the Magi with their rich perfumes; and over all the
eternal mystery of love new-born, of truth announced by simple rustic
sentiments and commanding the homage of hoary wisdom - and a Light linking a
Babe with the far off, wandering Stars. Art will always love that scene, and
music will celebrate it in everlasting song. It is easy to brush all this
aside as the work of poetic fancy - too easy, indeed, since its mark on
history remains, and the influence of that Child, on any theory of His origin,
is the noblest force that has yet touched the life of our poor sad humanity.
Since that day Christmas has journeyed far,
gathering many beauties in its train, until today it is a vast symposium of
hope and joy and forward-looking thoughts. Puck, Cupid, Ariel and Santa Claus,
airy spirits from elfland, have joined its choir, with Tiny Tim and his band
of Arabs, each bringing some note of quaint and curious glee. Together they
hold concert on that day, translating the dim, gray hieroglyphs of life into a
symphony of hope, with many an odd and eerie variation borrowed front the
pipes of Pan and the lyre of the reeds swaying in the glen. No wonder
Shakespeare portrays it as a time when evil spirits dare not stir abroad, and
the bird of dawn sings all night long, so hallowed and so gracious is that
For Christmas is a prophecy, a stray note of
harmony in this discordant world, inducing a finer quality in our thoughts and
a sweeter flow of our feelings toward one another. No one need sign a creed,
or profess a dogma, to be happy on Christmas day, for then it is that we have
one Universal Fellowship in which there are no sects, no parties, no saints,
no sinners, and its altar is a Cradle. On that Day, the son of toil who on
other days may have regretted that tiny lips ever named him "father," sits
happy by his fireside. On that Day the weary mother forgets her care, and is
lifted, for a brief time, into something resembling joy. Wherefore this oasis
in a desert of days that are but a muddled memory of what they ought to be ?
Is there any explanation of this riddle? To our thought, yes. It lies in the
fact that Christmas is a prophecy, looking not so much backward as forward to
a coming, but perhaps distant, time, when men will learn to live by the Law of
Love which on other days they deny - God knoweth why.
Despite a world at war, despite class hatreds,
race rancors, and the riot of greed and strife and the struggle for place and
power and pelf - aye, despite the weariness of our own hearts waiting for the
dawn - let us have hope born of faith in the might of love, the valor of
forgiveness, and the final advent of that Christmas Day when
"Brotherhood of good,
Equal rights and laws,
Freedom, whose sweet food
Feeds the multitude
All their days and nights."
* * *
MASONRY IN THE HOME -
As Christmas is the great Home Day - the festival
of Mother and Child, and all the sweet, ineffable associations which cluster
about the oldest and most hallowed of our human fellowships - we beg to call
attention to a wise address on "Masonry and the Home," by Brother T. Newburgh,
delivered at the last quarterly meeting of the Grand Lodge of New Zealand.
Seldom have we seen so much deep truth so fitly spoken as in this brief
address which brings the point of the whole matter right home to each of us,
editor and reader alike, and we feel that it is needed. Listen:
We must remember, Brethren, that as Freemasons we
have our direct responsibilities. We are taught to practice every domestic as
well as public virtue, and this cannot be done under our present system of
confining all knowledge of the working of Masonry to the Lodge room. In my
opinion, if the Freemason's domestic circle was given a little more
intelligent enlightenment as to the aspirations and tenets of Masonry it would
certainly lead to a greater tolerance of our Order than it generally receives.
The Masonic world we live in is seldom introduced into the home, with the
result that a great many people form a most distorted and grotesque idea of
its aims, objects and ideals. In this direction, I believe, we make a very
Our Order imposes - or seems to impose - by
unwritten law or ancient custom, a foolish secrecy, which is not only
injurious to the harmony of the home, but derogatory to the best interests of
the Order. Brethren, I know of nothing in our Masonry of today which should
not have its place, and a very decided place in the average home. . . There
are a few, a very few, who take pride in introducing Masonry into their homes,
but these are exceptions to the rule. It is highly necessary for the well
being of the home that the utmost sympathy must always prevail and if we were
to bring our Masonrv more closelv into touch with our homes and home-life, it
would be better for all concerned. Our Order is judged not by our ideas of it,
but by the ideas we convey to others. . . Is it not true, Brethren, that the
Masonry of to-morrow can only be maintained by the children of today? And such
being the case, we should see to it that they are well prepared for such an
honorable position by laying the foundations of a genuine, sympathetic harmony
between the home and the Craft, and thus bring the two into closer union than
they are at present.
Now, in my humble opinion the great mistake the
average Freemason makes is in reference to the secrecy of our Order. Surely
our beautiful charges and teachings are worthy to be scattered to the four
cardinal winds of heaven. Alas, we seem to labor under the delusion that our
obligations bind us to secrecy on all points. Needless to say, Brethren, our
real secrets should always be guarded, but should we not bring ourselves down
to actual facts, and ask ourselves, "What are the secrets of the Graft?" and
in the analysis I venture to assert that the greater part of our ritual will
find no place among those secrets. Brethren, let us abandon once and for all
the foolish and ignorant attitude of regarding the moral and intellectual
atmosphere of Masonry as a close corporation, to be spoken of only in whispers
or within the secret precincts of our Lodge rooms.
* * *
PRACTICAL MASONRY -
There are signs to show that Masonry is becoming
more effectively practical in the way of social service, doing many things
which even the church cannot do. Here lies a rich field of labor, only it must
be entered wisely and with care, so as not to involve our Lodges in such
efforts in behalf of social betterment as require political agitation and
action. But a large area of opportunity for social service remains open and
free from such danger, and many of our Lodges are becoming active in good
causes, applying the spirit of Masonry to the service of the common good. For
instance, the Masons of Duluth won the thanks of that city for reducing the
death-rate of the community, by their concern and service in the matter of
infant mortality. A Lodge in Washington conducts a Bible-class in a moving
picture show. In Kentucky a Lodge is reported to have given one thousand
dollars to a community school. Meanwhile, the same spirit is assuming new and
tangible shape in new forms of service among Masons themselves, as witness the
number of employment bureaus in our cities conducted by Lodges. Up in
Minnesota not long ago a Brother had his barn burned down, and a band of
Masons appeared upon the scene and rebuilt it while he lay ill - "operative"
Masons in very truth. These are a few examples out of many, showing in how
many ways Masonry may render useful service to mankind and how well fitted it
is for such labors.
* * *
IMPRESSIONS OF THE FIRST
That which determines on which degree a Lodge is
working is well known to every Master Mason and what we see and hear while not
for the profane, is nevertheless exoteric and passes for the Ritual to those
who do not understand its deeper or hidden meaning.
The square is a symbol of the material
manifestation, the triangle is a symbol of the three aspects of God. When
these are placed in proper relation to each other a result is accomplished
Three or more persons make a company and under
certain conditions are empowered to work and to work for good. Let us for the
purpose of argument transpose good and its opposite evil; the result requires
no stretch of the imagination to see the chaos conjured up to despoil that
which is sublime.
Be it said to the shame of the few who have
exhibited emblems for mercenary purposes that through their act something
wrong has been started, and evil is the progeny.
In the first degree the Square dominates
everything, indicating that the work is for the material presence. It is true
that Lodge business was conducted on the first degree, and if I mistake not,
still is in England: however this fact should not be set up as a precedent to
conclude that it is because the first is the most important, but as business
is material, it does properly belong within the confines of a Lodge while at
labor where things of material nature may be dealt with.
In like manner the two remaining degrees have
their distinct functions and meanings which ring out clear as bells and are
far, very far, from being elaborations.
One must not forget, however, that the E. A. degree is to deal
with the material side only, so far as it may be refined, to be more fully
developed and spiritually perfected in the
The thinker is brought to light. Let no one assume
that "The Masonic lessons" are practical lessons (materialistic), that they
have a dollar and cents value, that the wage is a nonetary consideration and
excuse himself, or hide behind the exoteric or literal ritualistic expression
of the one who says "for the better support of himself and family."
Were the wage merely monetary, ther Masonry is
unworthy the name and would long since have ceased and been forgotten. From
any Masonic manual we learn that metal is a dense substance, in other words it
belongs to this planet or sphere.
Man is a many sided creation. and while possessing
a carnal body has his real being in the higher self. It is therefore fitting
that in the beginning of his Masonic career that which is worldly, that which
is of the Earth earthy, should be senarated from him that the person, the I,
may be free.
When one reflects that the paper money in one's
pocket is a certificate (a check if you please) which is a demand for metal
which our Government recognizes as the real money, this becomes clear. It is
not within the pale of possibilities to imagine that the higher self can be
paid a wage which is of the Earth earthy. Wage there is and the student of
Masonry must find it. He and he alone, when he finds himself (his higher self)
is on the road and from that time shall he receive wages and the more he
labors the higher will be the wage, and the better support of himself and
The beginner soon finds that the step he is taking
does not concern his worship of Deity, his political affiliations, his
standing in the community nor indeed himself (he of the carnal mind), and the
experiences through which he passes are not for others than those of the
craft, yet to the well-informed members he may talk without restraint since by
so doing the sooner will come the light of understanding.
The course of the candidate seeking knowledge
cannot be likened to anything alternating darting from darkness to light, from
light to darkness without end; as a matter of faet the direction is from East
to West and from West to East and once he sees the light it is never lost. It
is the light seen without eyes a luminary which is nearer, even dimmed, but
leads the thinker on, and on, ever seeking more and more and more light.
All the written words of God are before him and by
their power his promises become Holy resolutions, and the student of Masonry
finds himself paroled in the custody of his own honor. Not, as some suppose,
"bound whether we will or not." The inner meaning is exactly the reverse of
bound it is liberated. It is the freeing from all that enslaves, the
unshackling of the higher self: and, armed with knowledge, man goes forth; he
finds himself and is able to work and receive wages.
Masonry provides the beginner with the wherewithal
and sees that he is properly fitted out to labor; and instructs him in the use
of implements. All know the symbolism. Then he is assigned a place. He finds
his responsibilities among his fellows, and that he is the living word of God.
- J. Oscar Bruce, New York.
* * *
A UNIVERSAL RITUAL
Dear Brother Editor: - In the September member of
The Builder I notice an article under the subject of "What shall we do with
the Ritual" and in reading this article over I am led to make the following
remarks. In the first place, I would say leave it alone, at this time at
least. "Why?" Because the time, energy and money, that would be required to
bring about a so-called Universal Ritual could be put to a better advantage
for the Fraternity.
In the next place, what particular benefit will the Fraternity
derive from a Universal Ritual? I have never in my Masonic experience known of
a case where a brother was refused any help, aid, or assistance on account of
difference in Ritual, but I have known of cases where they were refused simply
because they were not familiar enough with their own Ritual to prove
themselves worthy of any aid or assistance. Now this was not the fault of the
Ritual being different from some other Ritual, but the fault was in the
Brother himself because he did not familiarize himself with his own Ritual.
And in fact I am led to believe that we often get a good many ideas by coming
in contact with the different Rituals while on the other hand I would like to
ask if there wouldn't be a certain degree of danger with a Universal Ritual,
of becoming just a little bit careless or rather a handicap when it comes to
admitting strangers within our lodge rooms. I am of the opinion that if we
will only study our Rituals more it will be a good deal like rubbing up
against a newly painted building, the more we rub against it the more
the world will be
convinced of its good effect. I am also convinced that we should watch our
Petitions closer and see that we are getting nothing but the kind of material
that is willing to spend time and energy to study the Ritual that we already
have; then and then only will we have workers, and a difference in the Ritual
will be a secondary consideration. How many of us have watched or even helped
to bring young men to Further light in Masonry and that is about the last we
see of them, except occasionally when there are Eats. There was something
overlooked in the petition of that young man, and in fact I believe we as
Masons should, when a friend asks us to sign his petition, stop the man right
there and ask him if he knows what it means to be a Mason and if he will put
forth every effort to live up to its teachings, and if these questions are
answered in the affirmative and the man does really put forth such an effort,
my guess is that we will have a member that will be of some service to the
Fraternity. But I imagine in a good many cases the answer to the question
would be something like this, "Well, there is so and so, I don't see that he
pays much attention to the teachings of Masonry." This is only more evidence
that some petitions have gone through that should not. A Brother said to me
some time ago, "That the lodge had better quit taking in members and make
Masons out of some that they now have." I am very much impressed with the plan
that is adopted by Arcana Lodge No. 87 of Seattle, Washington, as outlined in
the April number of The Builder; in fact I hope to see the time in the near
future when our Grand Lodge will adopt something of the kind.
C. L. Hargrave. Iowa.
* * *
GENERAL GRANT A MASON?
Dear Sir and Brother: - On page 247, of the
October Builder, under the heading, "Questions," I note what P. G. M. Baird of
the District of Columbia, says, ending, "Grant was reported as a Fellow Craft,
but I have been unable to verify it."
In the Templar Correspondence of Illinois, 1902,
(pages 131-139,) under the review of Oregon, by R. E. Sir John Corson Smith,
Correspondent, will be found the story of the reports regarding General Grant
having received some Masonic Degrees, etc., and on pages 137-8, is a copy of a
letter Sir Smith wrote about 1892 to the Rough Ashlar, Richmond, Virginia,
telling all about his (Sir Smith's) effort to give President Grant the Degrees
" at Sight," and how he was prevented. (we might say providentially.) We say
this, because we have yet to know of a "Mason made at sight" who was of any
benefit to the Craft as a Mason, and President Grant was not called upon to
say, as President Taft is reported in the daily Press, a short time since,
"that he had cause to regret that he had not taken the Degrees in the regular
way, he would then have known more about it."
J. C. Kidd, Texas.
* * *
WAS MILLARD FILLMORE A MASON?
On the tradition relating to Millard Fillmore as a Mason who
recanted during the Morgan excitement these words from a recent biography
written by Dr. William E. Griffis are interesting: "Out of this anti-Masonic
agitation in New York State, a brilliant group of young politicians arose and
appeared first in politics as anti-Masonic leaders. Three of them were William
Seward, Thurlow Weed and Millard Fillmore. With the last-named, anti-secrecy
became an article of faith and an active principle throughout life. Opposed to
any form of occultism and loving the daylight, Fillmore maintained
consistently his moral convictions. Despite his connection in later life with
the "NativeAmerican" party. this is true, for though nominated by the "Know
Nothings," the burden of his speeches is loyalty to the Union, as the dominant
passion of his life." (Griffis: "Millard Fillmore," p. 10).
Francis W. Shepardson,
* * *
FAVORING GENERAL GRAND LODGE
Silas H. Shepherd, Wisconsin,
My dear Brother: - It seems to me to be an odd
Masonic fact, that there seems to be no way for me to know that any body
exists outside of our Grand Jurisdiction. Especially is it odd that as willing
as I believe that I am to become acquainted with men of your manifest
capacity, there seems to be no practical Masonic reason for my ever knowing
that you exist at all.
Your study on the subject of "The Landmarks of
Masonry" cannot be overestimated by any one who has any practical, in exchange
for theoretical, purpose in Masonry.
I wish that I were worth while so that you could be more
definite than to say that
you are from
You demonstrate the State of Chaos as to
Landmarks. The practical question is, "What are you going to DO about it? How
will you cure it? I think that you disclose a fundamental reason for action.
The elder Parvin had an article on this subject in
which he said that, "We have not yet defined what a landmark is."
I presume that you meant by your caption, "The
Landmarks of Regular Masonry " We obliterate all other forms of Masonry by
When I was installed as Grand Master in 1908, the
following words were read to me in a most serious voice as if I were being
handed something of profound significance and of superlative importance:
"The Ancient Landmarks of the Order BY WHICH WE
ARE DISTINGUISHED FROM THE REST OF MANKIND are particularly intrusted to your
care. It therefore becomes your most sacred duty to see that during your
incumbency, not the least of them be removed."
I called around me some of our Past Grands and
said, I will bet $10.00 to 1c that these words are plain bunk because you
cannot hand me a list of Landmarks to protect. The Grand Lodge of Indiana
cannot settle bv herself what they are. The Landmarks are fundamental to
Regular Masonry and regular Masonry must get together and settle what they are
and enforce loyalty to them.
At that session, our Grand Lodge declared for an
organization which could have settled this question. Wisconsin among others
laughed at the idea so our Grand Lodge tucked its tail between its legs and
ran away from a practical attempt at settling this and other questions which
are common to Regular Masonry
There hasn't been enough headwork expended on
Masonry in its 200 years of so called "Speculative" existence to even settle
so fundamental a question as "What distinguishes us from the rest of mankind."
Your study is valuable if you follow it up,
otherwise what was the use. I am a pragmatist practically.
The point I want to make is that you give us
through The Builder, the enormity of the situation which you have brought to
light and suggest an adequate cure. That is practical sense, isn't it ?
Within the United States we are 48 different,
regular, unarticulated Masonic Orders, Fraternities, sects cults, something I
don't know what. We have no brain center Nationally or internationally. Our
Grand Lodge system means that we have 48 different ganglionic centers which
attend to mere existence. You ought to be a part of a brain center for the
benefit of Masonry. You at least, would succeed in showing us where "rubbish"
is. Your next step will be to show us how to get rid of the rubbish.
Personally I would have no controversy as to what
a Landmark is or what they are. My stunt in life pertains to organization. Let
the different jurisdictions organize to decide and enforce any list that they
There is a logical next sten for you to take. I
wonder if you take it. The officiary of Wisconsin has refused to participate
with us in the "get together" movement which has been going on in the last six
years and which is the real cause of your study, whether you know it or not.
If you have any time, shoot some ideas straight
across, into my head. I would like to see whether I would permit one to get
Thanks for your articles. I value them.
Very truly yours
Chas. N. Mikels, P.G.M. Ind.
* * *
OPPOSING GENERAL GRAND LODGE
Hartland, Wis., Oct. 2, 1915.
Dear Brother Mikels:
Your most interesting and valuable letter has my
earnest attention. I feel that the article, which was an humble effort of a
young student, has served its purpose. It was written to awaken thought and
eventually to correct errors.
It would be presumption on my part to assume the
office of Dr. of Masonic Law and offer a cure-all for the inconsistencies and
errors that exist; but I did believe that by making some of those
inconsistencies self evident it would awaken in the ripe scholarship of the
craft an earnest effort to correct them.
You say that "there seems no practical Masonic
reason for ever knowing that you exist at all." I see it in a far different
light. The very knowledge that we have of each other and that each is an
earnest seeker for that great light Truth is the very best Masonic reason for
our knowing each other.
The term "Regular Masonry" is one on which I have
ofter pondered. May the harpy day arrive when the spirit of brotherly love;
the feeling of reverence for a common Father; and a bright hope of future life
be the only test of regularity.
You compliment me with the idea that I olght to be a part of
the brain center for the benefit of Masonry.
that as far as ability will permit, I am.
I am aware that many of our most earnest and able
brethren are of the same opinion as yourself; that there should be an
International or National organization. If either it would appear to me that
an International would be the only rational one. A National Grand Lodge would
be on the same principle as at present only on a larger scale.
The most pronounced harm was done when our
American Masonic jurists formulated a system of Jurisprudence which was not
only to govern themselves but others who were not consulted or recognized as
having rights we were bound by the spirit of Masonry to respect.
When a sufficient number of our brethren become
educated in the spirit as well as in the ritual, and I hold that a correct
rendition of the ritual is a "thing of beauty," we shall have an adjustment of
I am of the opinion that our Research Society will
prove a most valuable factor in the Education of Masons and that the light in
the east is already driving away the clouds of chaos which have enveloped our
If Masonry in the past 200 years had done nothing
more than to give us Albert Pike the effort would have been nobly repaid.
It has given much to all of us who allow it to
serve us. It has given me a greater faith not only in the future life but in
this one as well. This makes it quite clear to me "what distinguishes us from
the rest of mankind."
Is not a unity of spirit of greater value than any
mere formal organization ?
Some of these things are too deep for us younger
students and it will probably be well for me to listen and learn rather than
attempt to expound, and if my future leisure will permit it is more congenial
to me to gather the gems from the rubbish than to polish them.
I greatly appreciate your kind letter.
Fraternally and cordially
Silas H. Shepherd.
* * *
THE BODY OF MASONRY
Dear Brother Newton: - In the Installation Service
for the subordinate Lodges, as used in Wisconsin, occurs the following:-
Question: "You admit that it is not in the power of any man or body of men, to
make innovations in the body of Masonry ?" Answer: "I do." Now the phrase
"body of Masonry" is one the content of which is very uncertain to the average
Mason. There are those who construe it as referring particularly to the
ritual, its language, its sequence of degrees, methods of recognition, and the
like. Again, there are those to whom the teachings of the Fraternity as
embodied in the words "Brotherly Love, Relief Truth, Temperance, Justice," and
so forth, are the "ne plus ultra"; and they contend that such make up the
"body" of Masonry. If you were installed in this Jurisdiction what would be in
your mind when you answered, "I do ?" Fraternally yours,
W. G. Coapman, Wisconsin.
(Here is a question which we would very much like
to have discussed, as the point raised by the letter has to do not simply with
the installation service, but with other matters as well. Before giving our
notion or interpretation, we should be glad to hear from a great many of our
Brethren. The substance of the question as asked in the Grand Jurisdiction of
Wisconsin, if not the same words, is asked in every Jurisdiction. We believe
that a discussion of this question will be more interesting and valuable than
any answer we might give to it. Let us hear from you, Brethren. - The Editor.)
* * *
THE MEN'S HOUSE
Dear Sir and Brother: - While serving in the
United States Army in the Philippine Islands I ran across a pamphlet giving a
description of a secret society among the natives there, called "The
Katapunans." Not being a Mason at the time, I did not pay much attention to
it, but since becoming a Mason I have thought about it and I see some
similarity in some things to Masonry. I know that one of our men, when
captured by the natives, was treated royally when they learned that he was a
Mason. Could you find out anything about this order and publish it in The
Yours very truly,
W. A. Harper, Iowa.
(Nearly all primitive peoples, as far back as we
can go, had their secret societies - indeed, the tribal life of olden time, so
far as the men were concerned, was altogether a Secret Society called the
Men's House - a scientific discussion of which may be found in "Primitive
Secret Societies," by Prof. Hutton Webster. Macmillan Co., New York. The
Society to which Brother Harper refers is of this kind and perhaps sortie of
our Members in the Philippine Islands will tell us what is known about it.
Meanwhile, if Brother Harper can find a copy of Mid-Pacific Magazine for April
1913 he may read an interesting article entitled "Among the Meianesian
'Masons,"' by H. F. Alexander, describing a similar secret order in New
Hebrides. Details differ, but all such societies have a fundamental likeness
in purpose and method - they initiate young men into manhood, obligate them to
obedience to tribal law and train them in right doing, according to the
standards of tie tribe, having first tested their courage and their physical
and moral worth. Masonry has its roots in that ancient Man's House of
primitive society, and perpetuates its tradition and service. - The Editor.)
"IN A NOOK WITH A BOOK"
MASONRY, WHEN, WHERE, HOW?
MANUALS of Masonry multiply, and one of the best
we have seen is a little volume by Brother George Thornburgh, Past Grand
Master of Arkansas, and editor of the Masonic Trowel, entitled "Masonry, When,
Where, How?" As he tells us in the preface, it is not a picture book, nor a
biography, but a history, and only incidentally are men mentioned in it -
Washington and Pike excepted, and rightly so. The author holds that the reason
why Masons as a rule know so little of the story of Masonry, is not because of
a lack of interest in the subject, but for want of opportunity to inform
themselves - few having the time or means to devote to large and expensive
kooks which, in the end, do not make clear the truth. To meet the need of busy
men, Brother Thornburgh has written a story of Masonry in plain language,
boiled down and stripped of speculation, with a hope that it will be studied
and appreciated by the Craft.
The result is a very interesting and valuable
little book, beginning with the rites, rituals, oaths and degrees of old
Operative Masonry, passing thence to the traditional history, and then to the
growth and development of Speculative Masonry and its extension over the
world. No doubt there will be differences of opinion as to many questions
raised in this record, as when the author tells us that "Dr. Anderson, not
knowing the ceremony of the Operative Master's Degree, invented the legend of
the Speculative third degree," taking it, doubtless, from the ancient Egyptian
Mysteries. For our part, we question this statement in view of the facts, and
we would be.glad to have Brother Thornburgh give his reasons for it in the
pages of The Builder. Whatever view the author may hold as to the origin of
Masonry, when he comes to tell us what Masonry is, what it teaches and how,
and what it is doing for mankind, he is above reply.
Indeed, the little volume is packed full of useful
information, not only as to the origin and degrees of Blue Masonry, but also
as to the Capitular and Cryptic degrees, Templarism, the Scottish Rite, the
Order of the Eastern Star, and the Mystic Shrine. Negro Masonry is touched
upon, and the Morgan raid is handled very briefly and wisely; and the volume
closes with a sketch of Masonry in Arkansas. There are biographies of
Washington and Pike, also mention of the Poets Laureate of Masonry, Burns,
Morris, and Hempstead, and a poem by each one of them. The spirit of the book
is admirable, and its style is a model of simplicity and lucid statement of
facts. Such books are needed in every Grand Jurisdiction, and we trust that
the present volume will find many readers not only in Arkansas, but in the
great company of the Craft of Builders everywhere.
* * *
THE PHILOSOPHY OF GOETHE
Brother Paul Carus, editor of The Open Court and
The Monist, is a prodigious worker. Hardly a year passes that does not bring
two or more books from his pen, works of scholarly research in widely
differing fields. The last to reach us is a study of "Goethe, With Special
Consideration to his Philosophy," as beautifully printed as it is nobly
written; and we are glad to note that it gives due place to the influence of
Masonry in the life of that "myriad-minded man." Other biographers overlook
this aspect of his life, when they do not actually belittle it. Brother Carus
delineates to us Goethe the man, the poet, the thinker; and the man is almost
a more attractive figure than the poet or the thinker. He was so sanely, so
richly human; liberal but not skeptical; religious but not dogmatic; he
worshiped God in Nature, and might be called either a pantheist or a
monist-albeit, as the author tells us, he was more of a follower of Christ
than is usually thought.
As has been said, the Masonic fellowship of Goethe
meant more to him than some of his students have been willing to allow. He
belonged to the Amalia Lodge, of Weimar, for which he wrote more than one
Masonic poem, afterwards printed in his posthumous works in 1833. Wernekke, in
his volume on "Goethe and the Royal Art," also makes note of his Masonic
poems, some of which were set to music and sung in the Lodge. In speaking of
the poem called "The Bequest," and in particular of the lines,
"No being into naught can fall;
The eternal liveth in them all,"
Brother Carus points out that "the Wise One" who
indwells man is "the Omniscient Architect of the world - a Masonic idea"; and
the meaning is that truth by which we live comes from God who marks the orbits
of the stars and guides their courses. Lovers of Goethe will find this book a
delight, and those not familiar with him could hardly ask for a more inspiring
introduction to one of the great minds of the world.
* * *
MATHEMATICS AND THEOLOGY
Readers of The Builder will remember a little book
on "Religion and Science," by Prof. Keyser, noted in our first issue; and if
they read it they will be eager to see his new essay on "The New Infinite and
the Old Theology." Here is the same breadth of outlook, the same firm grasp of
great ideas, the same magic of style. What strikes one in this little book,
however, is its revelation of the service of the science of mathematics to
religious faith and the higher life of man. In this respect the essay is
luminous, and might have been named, as the author once intended, the message
of modern mathematics to theology. For the author is not of those shortsighted
ones who think that, because so much has been made obsolete of late, theology
is a defunct science. Not so. Nor will it ever be so while man has to face the
dark mystery of the world, and the questions which attend the pensive mood or
the tragic hour. As we may read:
"I do not believe that the declined estate of Theology is
destined to be permanent. The present is but an interregnum in her reign, and
her fallen days will have an end. She has
been deposed mainly because she has
not seen fit to avail herself promptly and fully of the dispensations of
advancing knowledge. When she shall have made good her present lack of modern
learned to extend a generous and eager hospitality to modern light, she will
reascend and will occupy with dignity, as of yore, an exalted place in the
ascending scale of human interests and the esteem of enlightened men."
* * *
"THE SPIRIT OF CHRISTMAS"
From a tiny, tender little book by Arthur H.
Gleason, whose lines are perfumed with the spirit of the gentle festival of
which they speak, we venture to read a page, the while we wish our Brethren as
merry a Christmas as any one may hope to have in a world so full of the woe of
war. Listen, and meditate:
"Each year, for a handful of days, so brief, so swift to go,
Lord Christ assumes the leadership. Each year we give Him Christmas week,
permitting His will to prevail, His brooding spirit to rest upon us. Toward
that gentle interlude - the
days of the Truce of God - men
longingly look through the tale of weary months. And when the brief term is
ended, yearningly our thoughts turn back to that time when we were good
together. His spirit breathes through the season, like faint music in the
night. Strife, anger, and the hurry of little days are banished. To His
lovingkindness we yield ourselves, as tired children lay down to rest. A while
we dwell in His peace. Touched with mortality, as is all earthly beauty, the
glide by, and we have lost them while the welcome is still on our lips. If His
dominion over the hearts of men were more than a lovely episode, if He might
abide, it would be well with us.”
* * *
QUESTIONS AND DISCUSSIONS
We are informed that the Sts. John were eminent
patrons of Masonry and that our Order is dedicated to them. How is the above
fact known to be absolutely true? And since what time has Masonry been
dedicated to them?
Also, how do we know that Pythagoras was an
eminent patron of Masonry, and when and where was he raised to the sublime
degree of a Master Mason? - H.A.H.
(1) The two Saints John were patrons of the Order
in the sense that they taught Righteousness and Love, which are the
foundations of Masonic character. Historically, their names no doubt became
linked with Masonry soon after the advent of Christianity, when Christian
builders put aside pagan deities as patrons and adopted the saints of the new
faith. This came about gradually, and no date can be fixed. The Old Charges of
Masonry make note of St. John's Day as an ancient festival of the Order -
which shows that it was older than the Old Charges. The Grand Lodge of England
was organized, "according to ancient usage," on St. John's Day.
(2) Pythagoras was not a Mason as we know Masonry
today, nor was he ever raised to the sublime degree. Nevertheless, he was
initiated into more than one of the great secret orders of antiquity, and
founded one of his own, using numbers as symbols of moral truth and spiritual
faith. He was thus a prophet of Masonry, a shining figure in that tradition of
secret initiation and noble truth in which our Order stands, and which it
perpetuates in the modern world.
* * *
Tell me, please, in what part of the world tides
ebb and flow twice in twenty-four hours. My geography must be bum. I would
also thank you to tell me what is an oblong square. These things make me
And no wonder, for, as the old farmer said when he
saw a giraff for the first time, "There ain't no sich animals." Such errors no
doubt crept in by virtue of the law of exaggeration for the sake of emphasis,
and may easily be corrected - like the height of the Two Pillars which tower
so high in some of our jurisdictions.
* * *
Is it not about time to stop tracing Masonry back
to the beginning of time, as Oliver and others used to do ? Surely the actual
facts, as we are able to establish them, are a better basis on which to build.
Yes, and No. Despite his extravagant and often
absurd claims for Masonry, much may be said in behalf of the theory of Oliver.
In his "History of Initiation" he took us all over the world, showing us the
rites used in many lands, and his book is often unreliable and always
unscientific. Yet a man of science like Prof. Webster, in his "Primitive
Secret Societies," confirms the main contention of Oliver, and traces the
history of initiation still further back - to the Men's House in early tribal
life. Oliver erred in identifying those primitive initiations with Masonry as
we know it, whereas they were only shadows of it. Secret lodges for the
training of men in righteousness, honor, courage, and goodwill may be traced
back even into prehistoric times, and this was what Oliver tried to tell us,
albeit he got things mixed at times. Our point is that the Lodge, in one form
or another, is one of the oldest, as it is one of the greatest, institutions
of humanity; and Masonry continues its ministry today, as no other order may
ever hope to do.
* * *
Replying to a Brother who asks about the degree of Past Master,
we may say that, according to the early Atholl Regulations - that is, the body
in England calling themselves the Ancients before the union of Grand Lodges in
1813 - only Masters and Past Masters were eligible for exaltation to the Royal
This led to the invention of the "Degree of Past Master," which was conferred
on Brethren who had never actually held a Chair in a Lodge in order to qualify
them for the Arch Degree. ( See Hughan's "History of the English Rite," Ed.
1909). The Degree of Installed Master was known at an earlier time, but that
of Past Master, or as it is sometimes called in old minutes "Passed Master,"
came about as above stated.
* * *
I have seen repeated references in my Masonic
reading to what is called "the Prestonian Lecture," but I have never been able
to make out what it was. Perhaps you can tell me. - J.G.M.
William Preston, who died in 1818, left a sum of
three hundred pounds as an endowment for the annual delivery of a lecture. The
lecture was to be on the First, Second, or Third Degrees of Masonry according
to the system practiced in the Lodge of Antiquity during his term as Master.
(Gould's History of Masonry, Vol. 3, p. 11). But whether it was a set lecture
to be merely read or recited by the lecturer, or one to be prepared by him, is
not clear from any record at hand. Some say one, some say the other. Several
lecturers were appointed in various years, Brother Henry G. Warren being the
last to receive payment in 1862. By the way this is not a bad idea to revive
in our time. Suppose a wealthy Mason, or a Grand Lodge, should endow such a
lectureship, and each year have some able man deliver a lecture on one of the
three degrees - would it not mean a great deal?
Several questions have been received touching
Negro Masonry, both as to its status and the best books dealing with it. The
Grand Lodge of New Jersey has one Negro Lodge - or rather a mixed Lodge -
under its obedience, the Alpha Lodge of Newark. When this became known, the
Grand Lodge of Mississippi severed fraternal relations with New Jersey in
1909. Oklahoma followed the example of Mississippi, but in February, 1914,
rescinded its action. With this exception Negro Masonry is a separate
organization in this country. The American Freemason gives the following list
of books dealing with Negro Masonry, the first named being the standard work:
"Negro Masonry," by Wm. H. Upton, obtained from H.
F. Belt, 15 Court Square, Boston, Mass., price $1.50.
"History of Freemasonry Among the Negroes of North
America," by Wm. H. Grimshaw. For sale by the author, care of Congressional
Library, Washington, D. C.
"Prince Hall and his Followers," by G. W.
Crawford. The Crisis, 70 Fifth Ave., New York, price $1.05.
"Negro Mason in Equity," by S. W. Clark. Obtained
from J. J. Lee, Grand Secretary of the Prince Hall Masons, 1403 Granville
Ave.. Columbus, Ohio.
* * *
Certainly the symbols of building and of geometry
are among the oldest forms of human thought. They seem to be inwrought in
Nature also. May it not be that they are the thought-forms of the Supreme
Architect? - J.K.L.
Manifestly. Numbers, triangles, circles, squares,
pentagons, hexagons are revealed in Nature round about us, from the dewdrop to
the sun in his glory, from the frolic architecture of a snowflake to the
orbits of the stars. They are in the structure of the universe, and must be
the thought-forms of the Eternal, else they would not be the natural,
self-sought forms of matter. "All things are in numbers," said Pythagoras;
"the world is a living arithmetic in its development - a realized geometry in
its repose." Nature is a realm of numbers; crystals are solid geometry. Music
uses geometrical figures, and cannot free itself from numbers without dying
away into discord. As Plato said, "God is always geometrizing," and elsewhere
he remarked that "Geometry rightly treated is a knowledge of the Eternal."
When we use these great and simple symbols we do but think the thoughts of God
after Him, as Kepler said when he looked through his telescope into the
midnight sky. By the same token, when we live our lives on the Level, by the
Square, testing them by the Plumb, and keeping our passions circumscribed by
the Circle, we are in harmony with the moral order of the world.
* * *
Several Brethren have asked us to return to the TK
discussion long enough to define what we mean by mysticism. Perhaps it may be
briefly stated after this manner: The Mystic - and all of us are mystics if we
were wise enough to know it - is led by one insight, makes one passionate
affirmation - that Unity underlies all diversity; a sense of the oneness of
things, of the kinship of all life, never better stated than by Krishna in the
"There is true knowledge. It
To see one changeless life in
In the separate, One
Naturally, if this is really a universe, if unity
underlies all things, then man must have some share of the nature of God; and
upon this fact of the kinship of all men with God all our thinking rests,
whether in science, philosophy, or religion. And since man is akin to God, he
is capable of knowing God through what is godlike in himself - that is,
through his soul. Such is the insight of all mystical thinkers, from Plato to
Emerson, and it is unshakable.
Howbeit, spiritual knowledge is different from
mere intellectual information; not only different, but deeper. We know a thing
mentally by looking at it from the outside, by comparing it with other things,
by analyzing and defining it. Whereas we know a thing spiritually only by
becoming like it. One may know the theory of music and yet not be a musician.
One must love in order to know love, as it is written, "he who loveth is born
of God and knoweth God, for God is love." Like is known to like, and the one
condition of the highest knowledge is likeness to, and union with, the object
of knowledge. As Eckhart said, God and the soul are one in the act of knowing.
Therefore, the quest of the mystic - and of every
man in so far as he is a mystic - is for union with God; the knowledge that
comes of character; for harmony. Here lies the meaning of our Masonic search
for the Lost Word, which we can never really find until the Word is made flesh
in our lives, until it is translated into our character. What though we knew
the ultimate, ineffable Name and shouted it from the house-top, it would be
only an empty sound, unless we had incarnated it in our lives. Of this process
of spiritual refinement whereby, slowly and by struggle, the Eternal Word
becomes first a whisper and then a melody within us, the Masonic Degrees are
an allegory - only a symbol, and foolish is he who mistakes the symbol for the
At the close of the year, when thoughtful men are
wont to look before and after, and take stock of things done or left undone,
and wish for light to lead them along the old, winding human way, we beg to
transcribe the tribute of Heine to the Great Light in Masonry; one of the
noblest tributes for that it comes from a man who was called a sceptic, and
whose poetry was a blend of a smile, a tear, and a sneer:
"What a Book! Stranger still than its contents is
for me its style, in which every word is, so to speak, a product of nature,
like a tree, a flower, like the sea, the stars, like man himself. One does not
know how, one does not know why, one finds it altogether quite natural. In
Homer, the other great book, the style is a product of art, and the materials
always, as in the Bible, are taken from reality, yet it shapes itself into
poetic form as though recast in the melting pot of the human spirit. In the
Bible there is not the slightest trace of art; it is the style of a memorandum
book in which the Absolute Spirit entered the daily incident with the same
actual truthfulness with which we write our washing list. A Book! Yes, it is
an old honest book, modest as Nature, modest as the sun which warms us, as the
bread which nourishes us; a book full of love and blessing as the old mother
who reads it with her dear, trembling lips. With right it is named the Holy
Scriptures. He who has lost his God can find Him again in this book; and he
who has never known Him is here struck by the breath of the Divine Word."
* * *
ARTICLES OF INTEREST
A War-time Initiation, by A.
S. Mackinzie. Southwestern Freemason.
Masonic Research, by Geo. E.
Frazer. Illinois Masonic Review.
The First Degree A. W. Witt.
Kansas City Freemason.
Lecture on the First Degree,
D. S. Wagstaff. The TrestleBoard.
Masonry in a Snowflake, Frank
C. Higgins. Masonic Standard.
The House of the Temple. The
First Impressions of Masonry,
R. E. Tipton. Bulletin Iowa Masonic Library.
* * *
Masonry, When, Where, How, by
George Thornburgh, Little Rock, Ark.
Henry Codman Potter, by
George Hodges. Macmillan Co., New York.
The American Indian as a
Slaveholder, by A. H. Able. A. H. Clarke Co., Cleveland.
Myths and Legends of Ancient
Egypt, by Lewis Spence. F. A. Stokes Co., New York.
Lake Mohonk Conference on
International Arbitration, 1915.
The Spirit of Christmas, by
A. H. Gleason. F. A. Stokes Co., New York.
Aristocracy and Justice, by
P. E. More. Houghton Mifflin Co., Boston.
CONTINUATION OF QUESTIONS ON
Compiled by "The Cincinnati
Masonic Study School"
338. What object of Masonic interest was uncovered
at the excavation of Pompeii in 1878? Page 83.
339. What of the pillars of Jobal and Jubal ? Page
340. What is said of the Freemasons of Rome and
for what purpose is it said Pope Gregory used Masons in connection with St.
Augustine? Page 113.
341. What did Popes up to Benedict XII think of
Masonry ? Page 122.
342. In what year did Pope Clement XII publish his
Bull against the Masons and why ? With what result? Page 211.
342a. What is the Masonic position toward
Politics? Page 248.
343. What is the mission of philosophy? Page 60,
344. What is stated of the alternative to the
philosophy taught by Masonry? Page 266.
345. Of what has Masonry ever been the prophet?
346. What parable was translated by Max MulIer?
Page 292. What parable regarding the Divinity in man comes to us from the
Orient? Page 293.
347. What is Masonry's age-long quest? Page 262.
347a. How did Plotinus view philosophy? Page 269
348. What is the thesis of Ruskin as set forth in
his Seven Lamps of Architecture, relative to the two sets of realities -
material and spiritual? Page 7.
349. Describe the old light religion of humanity.
350. What fact lies at the root of every religion
and is the basis of each ? Page 25.
351. What is said of the few who have been able to
grasp the inner and deeper doctrine of the various religions accented by the
masses of every land ? Page 58.
351a. What admonition is given to youth relative
to the Soul? Page 279-291 to 296.
352. Can all the people of any religion grasp al
the inside doctrine ? Page 58.
353. Where were all the religions born and what do
they owe to the ancient mysteries? Page 53.
354. What is said of the religion of a Freemason
in 1723 ? Page 177.
355. How does it come that Freemasonry can embrace
all religions and accept men of all faiths? Page 177, 209.
356. When did Religion take its outward shape?
357. What is the reason that we are on the eve if
not in the midst of a most stupendous and bewildering revolution of social and
industrial life? How can we solve this great problem? Page 248, 249.
357a. What caused the creation of the Bible and
the Church? Page 252 see note.
358. What is the basis of the one religion ? Page
358a. What were some of the blackest pages of
history; against whom and how did Masonry protest? Page 254.
359. What is the Masonic position toward the
religious world? Page 178-255-262-263.
359a. How did Ruskin use the word Church? Page
360. What will be the simple words of the one
eternal religion extending high above all dogmas that divide, and all
bigotries that blind and all bitterness that now beclouds us? Page 255, 256.
361. What does Freemasonry demand of all
governments and religions? Page 178-231-237-273-274.
361a. Why do men leave the church? Page 250
361b. Is Freemasonry a religion ? Page 250.
362. What is the religion of a man, or what does a
truly religious man do ? Page 294.
363. What is religion? Page 252 note, 293, 294.
364. What value was placed on the various legends
woven about the temple of Solomon? Page 74.
365. By whom were the temple and the palaces of
Solomon built ? Page 75, 76.
366. By whom was the Temple of Solomon designed
and erected? Page 76.
367. What is said of the home of the soul ? Page
368. How did it come that the influence of
Solomon's temple to a certain degree gave the forms of the Christian Churches
during the Middle Ages? Page 191.
369. What is the cause of the ceremonials of
speculative or symbolical Masonry being more elaborate and imposing? Page 143.
370. What was the progress made by speculative
Masonry at the start? Page 203.
370a. What is said of the Supreme Mind and the
righteous Will? Page 266.
371. What is the present need of human Society?
371a. What attributes of the Soul lift man above
the brute and bespeak his divinity? Page 270.
372. How do the teachings of Socialism compare
with those of Masonry and the so-called City of God? Page 287.
373. What effect do Symbols have upon the life of
man ? Page 4.
374. What are the emblems of truth, justice and
righteousness? Page 10.
375. How were the shrines ot the old solar
religion of Egypt oriented? Page 11.
376. What are the oldest emblems of Solar Faith ?
377. How is Symbol related to speech ? Page 19.
378. What is said of symbolism relative to man ?
379. Of what do the ancient symbols bear witness ?
380. What is the symbol of Buddha? Page 28.
381. What symbolic reference have the serpents ?
382. What is the good the simple symbols of
Masonry may do to establish the Brotherhood of man? Page 53.
383. What is said of the circle ? Page 24, 25, 33.
384. What lofty interpretation does Masonry accept
in regard to the point in the circle ? Page 26.
385. What is said of the triangle, square, cross
and circle? Page 25, 33.
386. How old is the idea of the Trinity ? Page 23
387. Of what is the triangle a symbol in India?
Page 23, 79.
388. How is the Triangle compared to the Trinity
of life ? Page 22.
389. What is Solomon's Seal? Page 79. What is the
Triangles of Vishin and Siva? Page 23-79.
389a. What is said of the lesser and the greater
Tetractys? Page 143.
390. What is the Seal of Solomon in Syria, Persia
and India? Page 79, 23.
391. How many hundreds of years before the
socalled Christian era were allusions made to the compasses ? Page 30.
392. What is said of the crown, and what is said
of its symbolism ages before our era? Page 24.
393. What is said of the cube? Page 10, 27, 23.
394. What is said of the discovery of the Square
and of what did it become an emblem? What does it still teach ? Page 10, 30,
395. What is said of the Swastika? Page 23.
395a. What is said of "Gloves" as a symbol? Page
396. Why should we study the symbolism of
Freemasonry and why did symbolism become a language for the thoughts of the
thinker? Page 153.
396a. What is meant by Tiler? Page 138.
397. What is said of symbolism during the "Middle
Ages?" Page 156.
398. Have Masons always appreciated and loved the
symbols of their degrees? Page 157.
399. What sort of people became Masons after
Masonry ceased to be operative and what was the Symbolism retained by
Speculative Masonry? Page 201.
399a. For what purpose did Stuckley the
antiquarian enter the order of Freemasonry in 1721 ? Page 203.
400. What is said of the secret sermon on the
mountain coming to us from Egypt through Greece? Page 47.
Like some lone mountain in the starry night,
lifting its head snowcapped, severely white, into the silence of the upper
air, serene, remote, and always changeless there! Firm as that mountain in the
day of dread, when Freedom wept and pointed to her dead; grim as that mountain
to the ruthless foe, wasting the land that wearied of its woe; strong as that
mountain, heath its. load of care, when brave men faltered in a sick despair.
So does his fame, like that lone mountain, rise, cleaving the mists and
reaching to the skies; bright as the hems that on its summit glow, firm as its
rocks and stainless as its snow.
I AM WAR
I am a pestilence
Sweeping the world.
Hate is the root of me,
Death is the fruit of me,
Swift is my stroke;
Blood is the sign of me,
Steel is the twine of me,
Thus shall ye know me:
I am the'death of Life,
I am the life of Death,
I am War !
- Alter Brody, in the London