The Builder Magazine
April 1916 - Volume II - Number 4
SOCIAL SERVICE: AN INVESTMENT IN BABIES
BY BRO. T. W. HUGO, 33d,
(Hear now a story of the
Infant Welfare Work of the Scottish Rite Bodies of Duluth, written at our
request, and telling of the beginnings, the growth, the methods, and
organization of the work, together with something of its results. We present
it as the first of a number of examples of Masonic social service, not only
because the work of the Duluth Masons deserves to be widely known, but also,
and chiefly, that others may go and do likewise--if not in this particular
field, then in some other that lies ready at hand. The following letter from
the Commissioner of Public Safety explains itself:--"Dear Mr. Hugo: I am in
receipt of your report of the Infant Welfare work being done by the Scottish
Rite bodies of this city. They are most certainly to be congratulated on the
excellent showing made, and the City Government, and I believe our citizens
generally, fully appreciate the good work you are doing and the responsibility
you have assumed. Very truly yours, B. Silberstein.")
A YELLOW pup ! But wait a
minute; I am a believer in fairies, and I like to begin a story with "Once
upon a time." Although, to tell the truth, I am scared to death to get down
to my vernacular and such common subjects as I shall have to touch upon in my
story when I think of what the writers on "isms and aints," the fourth
dimension, the occult, and so forth, will think, and the strain the muscles of
their noses will have to stand to pull them down to the normal level again.
But "orders is orders," and Ye Editor gets what he asked for, and I'll bet the
whole bunch will back me up. If I use the personal pronoun it is not
egotistically, but to avoid the feeling of immodesty if I did not, because the
personal element comes into the beginning of the story.
So now, "once upon a time" I
was the presiding officer of the four bodies of the Scottish Rite of the
Valley of Duluth, and had been in that position for twenty-two years. I had
seen the Rite built up from the nine Charter members to about nine hundred; I
realized that our strength did not increase in proportion to our increase in
membership; that our sympathy for one another did not extend any farther than
when we had less than half that number; that if we tried to be brotherly to
more than about so many we were always handicapped by wondering if "that
really was his name, and who is he anyhow"; that our attendance did not
increase in proportion, nor was our ceremonial work done any better; that we
seemed to be about at a standstill in most everything but increase in
membership. We had some money, were never parsimonious, met in a Temple that
was entirely paid for before we held a meeting in it; but there was something
lacking, and I wondered if it might be myself--so i)egan to fuss. Having held
the office so long, I had become the Masonic father confessor, general
consulting Mason, Masonic probate Judge, and Masonic Probation Policeman of
our town. Now we have the background scene set, and in comes a poor mother
late one afternoon about six years ago with a sick child; she had been to see
some doctors, all of whom told her she must place the baby in a hospital right
away; but having no money or friends they might as well have told her she
ought to feed the baby on champagne, but some person sent her to me. The baby
was fixed up for over night and everybody made as comfortable as
possible--except me. I was mad all through, my red hair stood straight up on
end, my nerves stuck out through my skin, and even my funny bone couldn't see
a joke in it.
I played Booth in Macbeth,
fumed and stamped, but the tragedy kept the stage until I made up my mind that
if I wanted to get any sleep I would have to find an antidote, when the
thought struck me that if anything would make a fellow forget his other
troubles it would be a smoke of one of our Brother Buck's cigars, and I made
him a pleasant call, lit one of the stogas, became sick, and was about ready
to go home entirely straightened up when--Bang, Yelp, Whoop! and a youngster
rushed in with a dirty, mongrel, yellow pup in his arms. The pup had been run
over by a motorcycle and the feelings both of the boy and the pup had been
hurt, in addition to the hind leg of the pup; my friend of the medicinal cigar
said, "Well, take that howling brute down to the dog hospital," and the
incident closed and the pup disappears from scene. I soon took my departure,
arrived home, went to bed, and everything seemed settled --until in my sleep
the pup began to eat the baby, and before I could reach for a stick I fell out
of the bed and barked my shins. After that I couldn't go to sleep again for
some time, but dropped off when I had made a combination of nine hundred men,
a baby hospital, a work of interest for these men to be engaged in, and the
bigger idea of trying to give the most helpless portion of animate nature a
better chance for their white alley--together with the development of the
helpful spirit latent in Masonry.
By the next meeting I had
mapped out a fine speech to be delivered to the assembled Brethren, I gathered
up the usual Masonic platitudes, dwelling on "spreading the cement of
brotherly love" over everything, was obliged to deal in generalities because I
did not know exactly what was wanted or what would best suit, as I foolishly
consulted with several Doctors and each one told me a different specific to
use. But I was game, and after the regular business I got up and stated that I
had asked them to be present on this occasion for the purpose of;--and then I
was off, but soon forgot what I had mapped out to paralyze them with, fell
from grace into the yellow pup story, and made the statement in a very
apologetic manner that we ought to undertake such work, and--then one brother
broke up the meeting by growling, "Well, why don't you?" That ended it. There
were no resolutions, no whereases, not a motion that a committee "be appointed
,to look into the matter"; it was taken for granted, and since that time the
funds have been forthcoming without comment. We have given up the idea of the
hospital for the present, that is not the first essential, but it will come in
Although we have settled it,
I believe, that in the future a sick baby shall have as good a show to
treatment as a yellow pup, because we have quarters in St. Luke's Hospital,
the ultimate will be a regular Baby Hospital; because babies are no more
welcome in the ordinary Hospital than they are in some well regulated
families. But we soon learned by experience that there were several features
of the Infant Welfare work which would bring quicker and more valuable results
than the Hospital. Visiting Nursing, for instance, is the first and most
important portion; it is immediate in its effects, is educational, a very
important feature, because you have to gradually bring those who may profit by
the service up to the point where they will be willing first, and then anxious
for it. Our experience leads us to believe that the visiting nurse, a proper
one, not over educated in the theory, but bubbling over with the natural,
womanly, sympathetic enthusiasm and good nature of the strong, healthy, female
crusader who would be a militant Suffragette riding on a horse all straddled
out if her tendencies had not run into more elevating and useful channels, is
indispensible. It is really wonderful what those women can do; I can have
myself placed in the Anannias class at any time by telling the truth and
sticking to the facts concerning what I know about this matter, so I have to
go light in deference to my standing as a Deacon.
After we had tried out many
things, and failed in some, we found that the next step was to provide means
for obtaining medical advice, although it is remarkable how little,
comparatively, the doctor is needed, but he is needed at times; and the next
was to provide Milk Stations where guaranteed clean milk could be obtained at
reasonable prices. These were the next steps, but of course, all based on the
work of the visiting nurse. In our case the milk proposition was comparatively
easy, as there are only three months during which the hot weather demands any
special consideration, but this is a latitudinal detail which each locality
must determine for itself. In our case we paid ten cents a quart for the
inspected milk and sold it for seven cents, the same price as the ordinary
milk dealer's product sold for. About one-fourth we had to give free, but
wherever possible we received some consideration, in order to prevent the
development of the idea of charity and its cold, paralyzing effect on the
moral consciousness. Our Clinics are attended by a practising physician and a
Nurse; one is held each day, except Sundays; and during the middle of the
season we have two physicians employed and three Nurses.
In the working out of our
plans we found that a large amount of our work was undone by the lack of
appreciation of the importance of the job confided to them on the part of the
young children to whose care some infants were entrusted. Then we called them
Little Mothers, and educated them in classes in such matters as they could
bring into use in their work of caring for their little brothers and sisters.
We gave them real grown up receptions, cake and ice cream with three colors in
it, and practical instruction, and took them out for auto rides, as well as
the real Mothers, but at different times; for the Little Mothers make the trip
a picnic which would surely waken the baby, if within a block. We have no
trouble in securing the autos, and each is driven by its owner, no chauffers
permitted in the procession. It is the Society event in Dead Cat Alley and
Shinbone Lane when the shining machine makes its way to the residence of Mrs.
O'Levitsky, and takes the Duchess and her family out for an airing. But I
could use this garrulous typewriter-- it used to belong to a woman--for hours,
and still be on the safe side, but I shall have to complete this story by
enclosing some clippings concerning the same subject and summarize the
Summing up, our experience
has been very satisfactory; we have reduced the indigestion and insomnia
amongst our Brethren, because we have cut out the mankilling late suppers and
spent the money on the babies; we have given our members the idea and the
certain knowledge that they are doing something, that they are helping
somebody; we have placed Masonry much closer to the great majority than it
ever was or would have been in any length of time under the old speculative
regime; it means something to them now besides a selfish, cloistercell
institution, which although possessed of great potential strength was too much
hampered by old traditions, old customs, Grand Master's decisions, Obsolete
Landmarks, and the endeavor to live under ancient, instead of modern,
conditions, and permitted progress and real civilization to drag it along,
instead of being one of the highest powered motors in the van.
Properly organized, such a
work is not an undertaking which should dismay any group of Masons under
ordinary conditions. The overhead expenses are nothing; the only expenses
being for Nurses and physicians, and such other charges as hospital bills, and
attention to the sick. One brother is Director, and the Autocrat of all the
Russias is not in it with his reign; there is no female on the list, except
the nurses, and every dollar is one hundred cents. Few know who the Director
is and no person is strutting around borrowing glory and doing nothing. The
Scottish Rite Bodies furnish the entire funds and are glad to do so.
Our Masonic Institution, not
alone the Scottish Rite, stands in our City of over 95,000 people as one of
its municipal assets and institutions; the letter of the Director of Public
Safety in the Christmas Calendar will indicate his opinion. The City Health
Department still looks after the pre-natal work, a different subject, but we
attend to everything in the shape of infants. If I have not covered your
requirements ask me questions and I will try and make everything plain, or
come up with your skiis and see for yourself.
(From the report of the work,
as submitted to "The American Association for the Study and Prevention of
Infant Mortality," the headquarters are at Baltimore, Md., we learn the
following details of the work at Duluth. The work was organized in 1911 and is
carried on throughout the year. The number of babies cared for during the year
1913, was 200; for the year 1914, 300, for the year 1915, 600; the large
increase for 1915 being due to the fact that the City of Duluth's interest in
this department was assumed by the Scottish Rite Masons. The nationalities
represented in the babies cared for are Swedish Norwegian, Finnish, French,
German, Italian, Austrian, English, Irish, and three colored--which throws
that the work is neutral. The infant death rate in Duluth for the year 1910
was 223; for 1914, 187. Free clinics were held in three districts of the city
during the months of June, July, August, and September, 1915. Total number of
calls made from June 28th to October 15th 1915, 1,334; total number of infants
on record, 926.--The Editor.
WHEN OLD AGE COMES
If God grant me old age,
I would see some things
finished; some outworn;
Some stone prepared for
builders yet unborn.
Nor would I be the sated,
Who sees no strange new
wonder in each morn.
And with me there on what men
call the shelf
Crowd memories from which I
cull the best,--
And live old strifes, old
kisses, some old jest;
For if I be no burden to
I shall be less a burden to
If God grant you old age,
I'll love the record writ in
I'll read each wrinkle
wrought by patient care,
As oft as one would scan a
Knowing by heart each
sentence graven there.
I'd have you know life's evil
and life's good,
And gaze out calmly, sweetly
on it all--
Serene with hope, whatever
As though a love-strong
spirit ever stood
With arm about you, waiting
If God grant us old age,
I'd have us very lenient
toward our kind,
Letting our waning senses
first grow blind
Toward sins that youthful
zealots can engage,
While we hug closer all the
good we find.
I'd have us worldly foolish,
Each lending each frail
succor to withstand,
Ungrudging, ev'ry mortal
While fear-fed lovers gaze in
our old eyes,
And go forth bold and glad
and hand in hand.
--Burges Johnson, in Harper's
BY BRO. ASAHEL W. GAGE,
WE often heal that Masonry
enables those who understand it to travel in foreign countries. It is
certainly true that an intelligent study of Masonry draws the individual out
of his own small sphere and, by giving him a broader view, enables him to
travel in those distance realms of thought, where no discordant voices mar the
harmony of eternal law. In every man's mind there exists a universe so grand
that it is in reality a reflection of the great plans of the Grand Architect
of the Universe. Masonry leads the way and unfolds the wondrous mysteries. It
is in this higher psychological sense that Masonry enables those who follow
its precepts to travel in foreign countries.
We also learn that Masonry
enables the traveler to work and receive master's wages and he thereby the
better enabled to support himself and family and contribute to the relief of
the worthy distressed. By wages, however, is meant not alone returns of a
purely financial nature. By studying the Masonic system of symbolism, the
Mason learns to read the laws of Nature and apply them for his betterment. It
makes him of more value to the world and his fellowmen and being of more
value, he receives more for his services. The unfailing law of compensation,
the All Seeing Eye, prevades the innermost recesses of the human heart and
rewards according to merit. It is in this way that the Master Mason works and
receives Master's wages.
A MASTER MASON?
The teachings of Masonry are
not disclosed, its secrets cannot be extorted, no man can receive them until
he is prepared for them. The taking of the Master Mason's obligations does not
make a Master Mason. Masonry points to the Bible as the Great Light for
guidance and to the Arts and Sciences as of value in themselves and in their
suggestions of the great force that is back of them. A conception of this
force, an ability to study by symbol, to prove the unknown by the known, with
the same exact conclusiveness that the geometrician proves the unknown problem
by the axiom and the proven proposition makes the individual a Master Mason.
The admonition to travel in
foreign countries, work and receive Master's wages is an admonition limited
only by the industry and ability of the individual.
SUPPLEMENTAL WORK AFTER TAKING FIRST DEGREE I. KINGS
2. And Solomon sent to Hiram,
5. And behold, I purpose to
build an house unto the name of the Lord my God, as the Lord spake unto David
my father, saying, Thy son, whom I will set upon thy throne in thy room, he
shall build an house unto my name.
6. Now therefore command thou
that they hew me cedar trees out of Lebanon, and my servants shall be with thy
servants; and unto thee will I give hire for thy servants, according to all
that thou shall appoint for thou knowest that there is not among us any that
can skill to hew timber like unto the Sidonians.
8. And Hiram sent to Solomon,
saying, I have considered the things which thou sentest to me for, and I will
do all thy desire concerning timber of cedar and concerning timber of fir.
9. My servants shall bring
them down from Lebanon unto the sea; and I will convey them by sea in floats
unto the place that thou shall appoint me, and will cause them to be
discharged there, and thou shall receive them, and thou shalt accomplish my
desire in giving good for my household.
15. And Solomon had
threescore and ten thousand that bare burdens, and fourscore thousand hewers
in the mountains.
16. Besides the chief of
Solomon's officers which were over the work, three thousand and three hundred,
which ruled over the people that wrought in the work.
2. And the house which King
Solomon built for the Lord the length thereof was threescore cubits, and the
breadth thereof twenty cubits, and the height thereof thirty cubits.
7. And the house, when it was
in building, was build of stone made ready before it was brought thither: so
that there was neither hammer, nor axe, nor any tool of iron heard in the
house while it was in building.
8. The door for the middle
chamber was in the right side of the house; and they went up with winding
stairs into the middle chamber, and out of the middle into the third.
19. And the oracle he
prepared in the house within, to set there the ark of the covenant of the
20. And within the oracle was
a space of twenty cubits in length, and twenty cubits in breadth, and twenty
cubits in the height; and he overlaid it with pure gold; and so covered the
altar which was of cedar.
38. And in the eleventh year,
in the month Bul, (which is the eighth month) was the house finished
throughout all the parts thereof, and according to all the fashion of it. So
was he seven years in building it.
SUPPLEMENTAL WORK AFTER TAKING SECOND DEGREE
13. And king Solomon sent and
fetched Hiram out of Tyre
14. He was a widow's son of
the tribe of Naphtali and his father was a man of Tyre, a worker in brass, and
he was filled with wisdom and understanding, and cunning to work all works in
brass. And he came to King Solomon, and wrought all his work.
15. For he cast two pillars
of brass, of eighteen cubits high apiece; and a line of twelve cubits did
compass either of them about.
16. And he made two chapiters
of molton brass, to set upon the tops of the pillars; the height of the one
chapiter was five cubits, and the height of the other chapiter was five
17. There were nets of
checker work, and wreaths of chain work, for the chapiters which were upon the
top of the pillars; seven for the one chapiter, and seven for the other
18. So he made the pillars,
and there were two rows round about upon the one net work, to cover the
chapiters that were upon the top of the pillars; and so did he for the other
19. And the chapiters that
were upon the top of the pillars in the porch were of lily work, four cubits
20. And the chapiters upon
the two pillars had pomegranates also above, over against the belly which was
by the net work; and the pomegranates were two hundred in rows round about
upon the other chapiter.
21. And he set up the pillars
in the porch of the temple; and he set up the right pillar, and called the
name thereof Jachin; and he set up the left pillar, and called the name
22. And upon the top of the
pillars was lily work; so was the work of the pillars finished.
46. In the plain of Jordan
did the king cast them, in the clay ground between Succoth and Zarthan.
SUPPLEMENTAL WORK AFTER TAKING THIRD DEGREE
1. And Solomon determined to
build an house for the name of the Lord, and an house for his kingdom.
3. And Solomon sent to Huram,
the King of Tyre, saying, As thou didst deal with David my father, and didst
send him cedars to build him an house to dwell therein, even so deal with me.
4. Behold, I build an house
to the name of the Lord my God, to dedicate it to Him, and to burn before Him
sweet incense, and for the continual shew bread, and for the burnt offerings
morning and evening, on the Sabbaths, and on the new moons, and on the solemn
feasts of the Lord our God. This is an ordinance for ever to Israel.
5. And the house which I
build is great; for great is our God above all gods.
6. But who is able to build
Him an house, seeing the heaven, and heaven of heavens, cannot contain Him ?
who am I then, that should build Him an house, save only to burn sacrifices
7. Send me now therefore a
man cunning to work in gold, and in silver, and in brass, and in iron, and in
purple, and crimson, and blue, and that can skill to grave with the cunning
men that are with me in Judah and in Jerusalem, whom David, my father did
8. Send me also cedar trees,
fir trees, and algum trees, out of Lebanon, (for I know that thy servants can
skill to cut timber in Lebanon) and behold, my servants shall be with thy
10. And behold, I will give
thy servants, the hewers that cut timber, twenty thousand measures of beaten
wheat, and twenty thousand measures of barley, and twenty thousand baths of
wine, and twenty thousand baths of oil.
11. Then Huram, the King of
Tyre, answered in writing, which he sent to Solomon, because the Lord hath
loved his people, he hath made king over them.
12. Huram said moreover,
Bessed be the Lord God of Israel, that made heaven and earth, who hath given
to David the king a wise son, endued with prudence and understanding, that
might build an house for the Lord, and an house for His kingdom.
16. And we will cut wood from
Lebanon, as much as thou shalt need, and we will bring it to thee in floats by
sea to Joppa, and thou shall carry it up to Jerusalem.
1. Then Solomon began to
build the house of the Lord at Jerusalem in Mount Moriah, where the Lord
appeared unto David, his father, in the place that David had prepared in the
threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite.
3. Now these are the things
wherein Solomon was instructed for the building of the house of God: The
length by cubits after the first measure was three score cubits, and the
breadth twenty cubits.
8. And he made the most holy
house, the length whereof was according to the breadth of the house, twenty
cubits, and the breadth thereof twenty cubits, and he overlaid it with fine
gold, amounting to six hundred talents.
15. Also he made before the
house two pillars of thirty and five cubits high, and the chapiter that was on
the top of each of them was five cubits.
16. And he made chains, as in
the oracle, and put them on the heads of the pillars; and he made an hundred
pomegranates, and put them on the chains.
17. And he reared up the
pillars before the temple, one on the right hand, and the other on the left,
and he called the one on the right hand Jachin, and the name of that on the
BEECHER ON BURNS
(An unknown friend who signs
only his initials writes to say that several years ago he read in the Brooklyn
Eagle the report of an address on "Beecher as a Lecturer," by Dr. Hillis, in
which was quoted an extract from a little known, unpublished lecture by Mr.
Beecher on Robert Burns. He is kind enough to send us the excerpt, and we can
only say that if the whole lecture was of a piece with this passage, it is a
great pity that it was never published in full. The passage, which we believe
our readers will very much appreciate, is as follows:)
His one nature carried enough
for twenty common men of force and of feeling. He never trickled drop by drop
prudentially; he gushed. He never ran a slender thread of silver water; he
came down booming like one of his own streams, which, when a shower has
fallen, rushes down the mountain. All parts of his nature were subject to this
same, sudden overflow. He thought as dragons charge, he felt love as prairies
feel autumnal fires. No man can form an estimate either of the good or bad
that was in him who has not studied Burns' heart, whose tides were deep as the
oceans and sometimes as tempestuous. There was more put into the making of
Burns than any man of his age. That which he had given forth by no means
expressed the whole of what he was. A great deal of his nature lay like undug
treasure and like unpolished gold. His letters were as wonderful as his poems,
and his conversation richer than either. While that half idiot Boswell was
picking up every stray acorn that fell from that rough, rugged oak, old Doctor
Johnson, how much better would it have been if some Ariel had hung upon the
lips of Burns, and recorded the flowers of his inspired eloquence! Now his
spirit walks crowned with praises and wreathed with loving sympathies all over
the habitable globe. And if every man within these twenty four hours the world
around, who should speak the word of Burns with fond admiration were ranked as
his subject, no king on earth would have such a realm; and if such an one
should change a feeling into a flower and cast it down to memory, a mountain
would rise, and he should sit upon a throne of blossoms, now at length without
Just to be good: to keep life
pure from degrading elements, to make it constantly helpful in little ways to
those who are touched by it, to keep one's spirit always sweet, and avoid all
manner of petty anger and irritability--that is an ideal as noble as it is
-- Edward Howard Griggs.
QUESTIONS ON “THE STORY OF
BY THE CINCINNATI MASONIC
(In our January issue we
closed the series of questions on “The Builders," compiled by the Cincinnati
Masonic Study School. We shall now present a shorter, but equally
comprehensive list of questions based on "The Story of Freemasonry," by Bro.
W.G Sibley, of Ohio. This little book may be obtained either from The Lion's
Paw Club of Gallipolis, Ohio, or from John H. Cowles Secretary-General of the
A. A. S. Rite, Washington, D. C. Price 50 cents.)
1. When and by whom was Symbolic Masonry
introduced into America? Page 61-62.
2. When and why was allegiance to English
Authority severed? 61-1.
3. What is said of the Military Lodge of
Freemasons in the "Connecticut Line" of the Revolution? What distinguished
Patriot was a member thereof ? 62.
4. How did the great Edwin Booth regard
Freemasonry ? 51-1.
5. What do the charges contain concerning the
management of the craft? 84-1.
6. What were the ordinances adopted by the chief
lodge of Strassburg in 1563? 78-1.
7. What is required of Masters ? For what cause
were fellows of old cast out from the craft forever? 77-1.
8. What statutes of Masonry were re-enacted in
Montpelier, France, in 1586? 78-2.
9. Under what six general heads are the Ancient
Charges to Master Masons arranged? 79-2.
10. What is a Mason to do under the first
specification of the Ancient Charges ? 79-2.
11. What makes a Mason a good citizen of the
Nation in which he resides as defined under the 2d head of the ancient charges
12. What is the status of a Mason who is a Rebel
against the state? 80-1.
13. What is supposed to be the conversation in the
Lodge Room or Ante-Room? Page 84-85.
14. How should Masons conduct themselves during
the session of the Lodge? How at Home? 84-285-1.
15. What do you know of Masonic Charity throughout
the world? Page 112-2.
16. To whom do Masons give Charity? When? 112-1.
17. How do Masons in Sweden, Hungary and America
dispense Charity? 113.
18. Who was John Coustos? 20-1. Where and why was
he tortured ? 20-4.
19. Who secured his release? 22-9.
20. What was the attitude of the French Lodges
toward the higher degrees in August, 1766 ? What caused the Grand Lodge of
France to recognize them? 67-2, 68-1.
21. Under what authority are all the individual
organizations of Free Masons? How are they governed and in what relation do
they work together? Page 67.
22. How many degrees did the original historical
Masonry have and to what purpose did they put them ? Page 56.
23. What is said of the York Rite? 60-2.
24. How many degrees and what are their names in
the Chapter? What are its chief officers and what do they represent? Page 61.
25. How many orders have the Commandery and what
are its principal officers called ? Page 61.
26. Where does the York Rite derive its name and
what does it include ? Page 60.
27. When did the three Degrees seem to come into
existence? Page 57.
28. What are the two separate series of degrees in
Masonry called ? 60.
29. What is Freemasonry? 52-1.
30. What is said of the dignity of the Fraternity
of Freemasons during the latter part of the eighteenth century? 16-1.
31. What is said of the historical record of the
Royal Arch degree? Page 62-63.
32. When and where were the Council Degrees
introduced into America and what is said of them? 63-1.
33. What is said of the origin of the Knights
Templar? What progress had they made by the end of the twelfth century? 64-1.
34. What is the historical record of the York
Rite? 62-6. What is known of the council degrees? 63-3. What origin is given
of Knights Templar? 64-4. Under what authority does each individual
organization of Masons work and with what result? 67-3.
35. What is said of the Esoteric Work of
36. Has any effort been made to exterminate
Freemasonry? Page 13.
37. What century was Freemasonry fought in France?
38. Has Freemasonry ever been attacked ? Where? 13
20. Why? 13 2.
39. What church is said to be the most inveterate
enemy of Freemasonry? Page 14.
40. In what year did Queen Elizabeth of England
order the Grand Lodge to be broken up? 14.
41. Give an account of the various attacks on
Freemasonry from 1429 to the year 1818 inclusive. Page 14-15-16.
42. What was the nature of the attacks upon Freemasonry in the
latter part of the eighteenth century? By whom
made and why? 16-12-17-1
ARTHUR EDWARD WAITE - AN
BY JOSEPH FORT NEWTON
ONE of the greatest masters
of the field of esoteric lore and method of culture, by far the greatest now
living, is Arthur Edward Waite, to whom it is an honor to pay tribute. In
response to a number of requests, and as prelude to a lecture on the deeper
aspects of Masonry, soon to appear in these pages, we offer a brief sketch of
Brother Waite, with a statement of his conception of Masonry and its service
to man in his quest of God. If these lines induce any of our readers to study
his works, they will thank us for having put them in the way of so wise and
skillful a guide, who is at once a poet and a mystic, the sum of whose
insight, set forth on his latest page, is that
"All thoughts, all passions,
all delights, Whatever stirs this mortal frame, Are but the ministers of love,
And feed his sacred flame."
By rare good fortune, as we
think, our friend and teacher was born in America--in Brooklyn, New York --and
on his father's side traces his descent back to the earliest settlers in
Connecticut. His mother was English, belonging to the old family of Lovell.
The family name, originally spelled "Wayte," was attached to the document
authorizing the execution of Charles I., and it was probably the fact that the
family found England a rather uncomfortable place in which to live after the
Restoration that sent his ancestors across the sea. While the poet was still
in his infancy his father died, and he was taken to England at the age of two.
He has never returned to America--a fact to be held against him, but for which
we hope he will atone in a time not far away.
Educated privately, he began
writing while still in his early teens, poetry being his first love. His first
book, a volume of verse, was published in 1886. For ten years or more he
pursued an active business life, as secretary and director of public
companies, at the same time engaging in elaborate researches in the fields of
magic, occultism, and the esoteric side of religion and philosophy. How he
found time to do both is not easy to know. He took the whole realm of
mysticism for his province, for the study of which he was almost ideally
fitted by temperament, training, and genius-- and, we may add, by certain deep
experiences in his own life, of which he rarely speaks, the glow of which one
detects in all his work, and nowhere more vividly than in his latest book on
"The Way of Divine Union." In later years, as the result of long study, he has
come to deal only with the higher mysticism, as totally separated from the
magical, the psychical, and the occult.
Exploring a hidden world, he
has brought to his task a religious nature, the accuracy and skill of a
scholar, a sureness and delicacy of insight at once sympathetic and critical,
the eye of a symbolist and the soul of a poet--qualities rarely found in
union. Brother Waite does not write after our American fashion-- "hot off the
bat," as Casey put it--but in a leisurely manner, seeking not only to state
the results of his research, but to convey somewhat of the atmosphere of the
themes with which he deals. Prolific but seldom prolix, he writes with such
lucidity as his subject admits of, albeit in a style often touched with
strange lights and remote and haunting echoes. Much learning and many kinds of
wisdom are in his pages; and if he is of those who turn down another street
when wonders are wrought in the neighborhood, it is because, having found the
inner truth, he does not ask for a sign.
Always our Brother writes in
the conviction that all great subjects bring us back to the one subject that
is alone great--the attainment of that Living Truth which is about us
everywhere. He conceives of our human life as one eternal Quest of that Living
Truth, taking many forms, yet ever at heart the same aspiration, to trace
which he has made it his labor and reward. Through all his pages he is
following the tradition of this Quest, in its myriad aspects, finding in it
the secret meaning of the life of man from his birth to his union--or
reunion--with God who is his Goal. And the result is a series of volumes noble
in form! united in aim, unique in wealth of revealing beauty, of exquisite
insight, and of unequalled worth.
As far back as 1886, Brother
Waite issued his study of the "Mysteries of Magic," a digest of the writings
of Eliphas Levi, to whom Albert Pike was more indebted than he let us know.
Then followed the "Real History of the Rosicrucians," which traces, as far as
such a thing can be done, the thread of fact in that fascinating romance. Of
the Quest in its distinctively Christian aspect, he has written in "The Hidden
Church of the Holy Graal"; a work of rare beauty, of bewildering richness, its
style partaking of the story told, and not at all after the fashion of these
days. But the Graal Legend is only one aspect of the old-world sacred Quest of
the truth most worth finding, uniting the symbols of chivalry with the forms
of Christian faith.
Masonry is another aspect of
that same age-long Quest; and just as Brother Pound has shown us the place of
Masonry among the institutions of humanity, and its meaning as such, so
Brother Waite shows us the place of Masonry in the mystical tradition and
aspiration of mankind. No one may ever hope to write of "The Secret Tradition
in Masonry" with more insight and charm, or a touch more sure and revealing,
than this gracious scholar to whom Masonry perpetuates the Instituted
Mysteries of antiquity, with much else derived from innumerable store-houses
of treasure. What then are the marks of this eternal Quest, whether its legend
be woven about a Lost Word, a design left unfinished by a Master Builder, or,
in its Christian form, about the Cup of Christ ?
They are as follows: first,
the sense of a great loss which has befallen humanity, making us a race of
pilgrims ever in search of that which is lost; second, the intimation that
what was lost still exists somewhere in time and the world, although deeply
buried; third, the faith that it will ultimately be found and the vanished
glory restored; fourth, the substitution of something temporary and less than
the best, but never in a way to adjourn the quest; and fifth, the felt
presence of that which is lost under veils and symbols close at hand. What
though it take many forms, it is always the same quest, and from this
statement of it surely we ought to see that Masonry has a place in the
greatest quest which man has pursued in the midst of time. Our Order is thus
linked with the shining tradition of the race, having a place and a service in
the culture of the life of the soul, leading men in the search for God, if
haply they might feel after Him, and find Him, though He is not far from any
one of us.
But this is a long and
difficult quest, and we must walk carefully, lest we trip and fall into the
pits that beset the path. Brother Waite warns us against the dark alleys that
lead nowhere, and the false lights that lure to ruin, and he protests against
those who would open the Pandora's Box of the Occult on the altar of Masonry.
After a long study of occultism, magic, omens, talismans, and the like, he has
come to draw a sharp line between the occult and the mystical. and therein he
is wise. From a recent interview with him in regard to these matters in an
English paper, we may read:
"There is nothing more
completely set apart from mysticism than that set of interests and things
called occultism. Occultism is concerned with the idea that there were a
number of secret sciences handed down from the past, and which, roughly
speaking, represented the steps toward the attainment of abnormal power by
man, corresponding to the idea of Magic. Magic, of course, meant many things:
it meant the power obtained by man as a result of dealing with spirits,
raising the spirits of the dead, everything that we understand by the supposed
efficacy of talismans, and all that is comprehended in the word Astrology. My
interest in these things has been purely historical and critical.
Occult and psychical research
does help, of course, to show that the purely materialistic interpretation of
things does not cover the whole field. It shows a residue of experience which
points to the existent of powers beyond the ken of man, some of them
maleficent, others innocent in themselves, of which the student may take
account. Unfortunately, I have known too many who follow these things as the
be-all and end-all of their interests. I know others also, and many, to whom
the exaggerated pursuit has spelt not less than ruin. I mean, morally and
spiritually. I know, for the rest, that they reach no real term; very soon
they come up against a dead wall."
Here are grave and wise
words, spoken out of full knowledge of history and fact, and he is wise who
heeds them. It is no theological bias of any sort, but the profound fallacy of
the occult, and its danger to the highest life and character, that has moved
us more than once in these pages to utter a like warning to those who would
turn aside from the historic highway of the soul to follow a will-of-the-wisp
into the bog. If Masonry forsakes its Great Light to follow these wandering
tapers, it too will fall into the ditch. But to listen to Brother Waite:
"Symbolism is sacramental. To
me all visible things are emblems. When you come to think of it, is it not
true that all the workings of the human mind are in the form of symbols? These
symbols are truly representive and not mere figments of the mind, and to get
at the reality behind the symbol is the aim of the mystic. The theory of
mysticism is that the voice of God is within, and that the soul has to enter
into the realization that God is within. The question is whether that
realization can be fully achieved in this life. All, or nearly all, the great
mystics, held that they only approximated it. The absolute vision and union
lie very far away-- so the quest of the Lost Word goes on, ever on.
Mysticism is not a way of
escape either from one's self or the world. It is by the realization of the
indwelling of God in all around, and within, in things animate and inanimate,
and most of all in the soul of man, that we attain to knowledge of God--in so
far as we attain it in this life. Thus, it is not a path of escape from the
world, as the old ascetics imagine, but by finding God in the world, the ideal
in the real, one with the ideal within ourselves, that we attain to union with
God. We are sacraments to ourselves. A man building a house would perhaps be
surprised if you told him that he is not merely building bricks and stones,
but that he is trying to bring into being something of the idealism in his own
nature, but if he could be brought to understand that, would it not give a new
glory to his work ? "
Thus mysticism, as here
presented, is practical common sense-- bringing to the humblest task the
highest truth to lighten and transfigure our labor. Time does not permit us to
speak of the poetry of Brother Waite, though some think his best work has been
done in that field. He himself thinks of his poetry as "light tongued rumors
and hints alone of the songs I had hoped to sing." We must, however, mention
his drama of "The Morality of the Lost Word," which may be found in his poems,
recently collected in two noble volumes, and we bespeak for it a long study.
At another time we shall speak of the poetry of our friend to whom the world
is ever an infinite parable, giving at present only the following lines as a
hint of his poetic purpose and power:
In the midst of a world full
of omen and sign, impell'd by the seeing gift On auspice and portent
reflecting, in part I conjecture their drift; I catch faint words of the
language which the world speaks far and wide. And the soul withdrawn in the
deeps of man from the birth of each man has cried. I know that a sense is
beyond the sense of the manifest Voice and Word, That the tones in the chant
which we strain to seize are the tones that are scarcely heard; While life
pulsating with secret things has many too deep to speak, And that which
evades, with a quailing heart, we feel is the sense we seek: Scant were the
skill to discern a few where the countless symbols crowd, To render the
easiest reading, catch the cry that is trite and loud.
For the rest, we confess a
great debt to our dear friend and Brother across the great waters, divided by
distance but very near in thought and sympathy and regard; a man of pure and
lofty spirit, tolerant of mind, noble of nature, in all ways a true Master
Mason --and one who does not forget "that best portion of a good man's life,
the little, nameless, unremembered acts of kindness and of love."
THE FOUNDATION STONE
Thus saith the Lord
God:--Behold, I lay in Zion fol a Foundation Stone, a tried stone, a precious
corner stone, a sure foundation; he that believeth shall not make haste.
Judgment also will I lay to the line, and righteousness to the plummet.
SOME DEEPER ASPECTS OF
by Bro. ARTHUR EDWARD WAITE,
The subject which I am about
to approach is one having certain obvious difficulties, because it is outside
the usual horizon of Masonic literature, and requires, therefore, to be put
with considerable care, as well as with reasonable prudence. Moreover, it is
not easy to do it full justice within the limits of a single lecture. I must
ask my Brethren to make allowance beforehand for the fact that I am speaking
in good faith, and where the evidence for what I shall affirm does not appear
in its fullness, and sometimes scarcely at all, they must believe that I can
produce it at need, should the opportunity occur. As a matter of fact, some
part of it has appeared in my published writings.
I will introduce the question
in hand by a citation which is familiar to us all, as it so happens that it
forms a good point of departure:--"But as we are not all operative Masons, but
rather Free and Accepted or speculative, we apply these tools to our morals."
With certain variations, these words occur in each of the Craft Degrees, and
their analogies are to be found in a few subsidiary Degrees which may be said
to arise out of the Craft-- as, for example, the Honorable Degree of Mark
Master Mason. That which is applied more specially to the working implements
of Masonry belongs to our entire building symbolism, whether it is concerned
with the erection by the Candidate in his own personality of an edifice or
"superstructure perfect in its parts and honorable to the builder," or, in the
Mark Degree, with a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens, or
again with Solomon's Temple spiritualized in the Legend of the Master Degree.
A SYSTEM OF MORALITY
It comes about in this manner
that Masonry is described elsewhere as "a peculiar system of morality,
enveiled in allegory and illustrated by symbols." I want to tell you, among
other things which call for consideration, something about the nature of the
building, as this is presented to my mind, and about the way in which
allegory, symbols and drama all hang together and make for one meaning. It is
my design also to show that Craft Masonry- incorporates three less or more
distinct elements which have been curiously interlinked under the device of
symbolical architecture. That interlinking is to some extent artificial, and
yet it arises logically, so far as the relation of ideas is concerned.
There is, firstly, the
Candidate's own work, wherein he is taught how he should build himself. The
method of instruction is practical within its own measures, but as it is so
familiar and open, it is not, properly speaking, the subject-matter of a
Secret Order. There is, secondly, a building myth, and the manner in which it
is put forward involves the Candidate taking part in a dramatic scene, wherein
he represents the master-builder of Masonry. There is, thirdly, a Masonic
quest, connected with the notion of a Secret Word communicated as an essential
part of the Master Degree in building. This is perhaps the most important and
strangest of the three elements; but the quest after the Word is not finished
in the Third Degree.
THE FIRST DEGREE
Let us look for a moment at
the Degree of Entered Apprentice, and how things stand with the Candidate when
he first comes within the precincts of the Lodge. He comes as one who is
"worthy and well recommended," as if he contained within himself certain
elements or materials which are adaptable to a specific purpose. He is
described by his conductor as a person who is "properly prepared." The fitness
implied by the recommendation has reference to something which is within him,
but not of necessity obvious or visible on his surface personality. It is not
that he is merely a deserving member of society at large. He is this, of
course, by the fact that he is admitted; but he is very much more, because
Masonry has an object in view respecting his personality--something that can
be accomplished in him as a result of his fellowship in the Brotherhood, and
by himself. As a matter of truth, it is by both. The "prepared" state is,
however, only external, and all of us know in what precisely it consists.
Now the manner of his
preparation for entrance to the Lodge typifies a state which is peculiar to
his ward position as a person who has not been initiated. There are other
particulars into which I need not enter, but it should be remarked that in
respect of his preparation he learns only the meaning of the state of
darkness, namely, that he has not yet received the light communicated in
Masonry. The significance of those hindrances which place him at a
disadvantage, impede his movements, and render him in fact helpless, is much
deeper than this. They constitute together an image coming out from some old
condition by being unclothed therefrom--partially at least--and thereafter of
entering into a condition that is new and different, in which another kind of
light is communicated, and another vesture is to be assumed, and, ultimately,
another life entered.
THE MEANING OF INITIATION
In the first Degree the
Candidate's eyes are opened into the representation of a new world, for you
must know, of course, that the Lodge itself is a symbol of the world,
extending to the four corners, having the height heaven above and the great
depth beneath. The Candidate may think naturally that light has been taken
away from him for the purpose of his initiation, has been thereafter restored
automatically, when he has gone through a part of the ceremony, and that hence
he is only returned to his previous position. Not so. In reality, the light is
restored to him in another place; he has put aside old things, has come into
things that are new; and he will never pass out of the Lodge as quite the same
man that he entered. There is a very true sense in which the particulars of
his initiation are in analogy with the process of birth into the physical
world. The imputed darkness of his previous existence, amidst the life of the
uninitiated world, and the yoke which is placed about him is unquestionably in
correspondence with the umbilical cord. You will remember the point at which
he is released therefrom--in our English ritual, I mean. I do not wish to
press this view, because it belongs of right, in the main, to another region
of symbolism, and the procedure in the later Degrees confuses an issue which
might be called clear otherwise in the Degree of Entered Apprentice. It is
preferable to say that a new light--being that of Masonry--illuminates the
world of the Lodge in the midst of which the Candidate is placed; he is
penetrated by a fresh experience; and he sees things as they have never been
presented to him before. When he retires subsequently for a period, this is
like his restoration to light; in the literal sense he resumes that which he
set aside, as he is restored to the old light; but in the symbolism it is
another environment, a new body of motive, experience, and sphere of duty
attached thereto. He assumes a new vocation in the world.
The question of certain
things of a metallic kind, the absence of which plays an important part, is a
little difficult from any point of view, though several explanations have been
given. The better way toward their understanding is to put aside what is
conventional and arbitrary--as, for example, the poverty of spirit and the
denuded state of those who have not yet been enriched by the secret knowledge
of the Royal and Holy Art. It goes deeper than this and represents the
ordinary status of the world, when separated from any higher motive--the
world-spirit, the extrinsic titles of recognition, the material standards. The
Candidate is now to learn that there is another standard of values, and when
he comes again into possession of the old tokens, he is to realize that their
most important use is in the cause of others. You know under what striking
circumstances this point is brought home to him.
ENTERED, PASSED, RAISED
The Candidate is, however,
subjected to like personal experience in each of the Craft Degrees, and it
calls to be understood thus. In the Entered Apprentice Degree it is because of
a new life which he is to lead henceforth. In the Fellowcraft, it is as if the
mind were to be renewed, for the prosecution of research into the hidden
mysteries of nature, science, and art. But in the sublime Degree of Master
Mason it is in order that he may enter fully into the mystery of death and of
that which follows thereafter, being the great mystery of the Raising. The
three technical and official words corresponding to the successive experiences
are Entered, Passed, and Raised, their Craft-equivalents being Apprentice,
Craftsman and Master--or he who has undertaken to acquire the symbolical and
spiritualized art of building the house of another life; he who has passed
therein to a certain point of proficiency, and in fine, he who has attained
the whole mystery. If I may use for a moment the imagery of Francis Bacon,
Lord Verulam, he has learned how to effectuate in his own personality "a new
birth in time," to wear a new body of desire, intention and purpose; he has
fitted to that body a new mind, and other objects of research. In fine, he has
been taught how to lay it aside, and yet again he has been taught how to take
it up after a different manner, in the midst of a very strange symbolism.
Now, it may be observed that
in delineating these intimations of our symbolism, I seem already to have
departed from the mystery of building with which I opened the conference; but
I have been actually considering various sidelights thereon. It may be
understood, further, that I am not claiming to deal with a symbolism that is
perfect in all its parts, however honorable it may be otherwise to the
builder. In the course of such researches as I have been enabled to make into
the Instituted Mysteries of different ages and countries, I have never met
with one which was in entire harmony with itself. We must he content with what
we have, just as it is necessary to tolerate the peculiar conventions of
language under which the Craft Degrees have passed into expression, artificial
and sometimes commonplace as they are. Will you observe once again at this
stage how it is only in the first Degree that the Candidate is instructed to
build upon his own part a superstructure which is somehow himself? This
symbolism is lost completely in the ceremony of the Fellowcraft Degree, which,
roughly speaking, is something of a Degree of Life; the symbols being more
especially those of conduct and purpose, while in the Third Degree, they speak
of direct relations between man and his Creator, giving intimation of judgment
THE THIRD DEGREE
I have said, and you know,
that the Master Degree is one of death and resurrection of a certain kind, and
among its remarkable characteristics there is a return to building symbolism,
but this time in the form of a legend. It is no longer an erection of the
Candidate's own house--house of the body, house of the mind, and house of the
moral law. We are taken to the Temple of Solomon and are told how the
Master-Builder suffered martyrdom rather than betray the mysteries which had
been placed in his keeping. Manifestly the lesson which is drawn in the Degree
is a veil of something much deeper, and about which there is no real
intimation. It is assuredly an instruction for the Candidates that they must
keep the secrets of the Masonic Order secretly, but such a covenant has
reference only to the official and external side. The bare recitation of the
legend would have been sufficient to enforce this; but observe that the
Candidate assumes the part of the Master-Builder and suffers within or in
him--as a testimony of personal faith and honor in respect to his engagements.
But thereafter he rises, and it is this which gives a peculiar characteristic
to the descriptive title of the Degree. It is one of raising and of reunion
with companions--almost as if he had been released from earthly life and had
entered into the true Land of the Living. The keynote is therefore not one of
dying but one of resurrection; and yet it is not said in the legend that the
Master rose. The point seems to me one of considerable importance, and yet I
know not of a single place in our literature wherein it has received
consideration. I will leave it, however, for the moment, but with the
intention of returning to it.
SECTARIANISM AND FREEMASONRY
BY BRO. GEO. W. WARVELLE,
BEING myself a Greek pagan of
the New Academy, though not without a strong leaning toward the Stoics, I have
always indulged in the utmost eclecticism in matters of religion. And because
I am unbiased in this respect I have not only been tolerant of all men's
religious opinions, but am enabled to see beauty and truth in many places
where my more circumspect brethren see only idolatry, superstition and
falsehood. In my writings I have always felt free to roam at my own sweet will
through whatever pastures presented themselves and to cull the flowers that
therein grew, without a thought as to their botanical significance. It is
enough for me that they are beautiful. Therefore, whether uttered by Jesus,
Buda or Mohamed, the message of truth is to me the same. But, I am digressing.
However, that is a fault of my composition that, I doubt not, you have long
Now, what is Freemasonry? Is
it something apart from the world, or is it of it? By becoming Freemasons do
we cease to possess individuality? A serious consideration of these cogent
questions may not be unprofitable to us all. Again, is Freemasonry religious
or is it only ethical? If the former, is it cast in any mould or does each one
make his own creed? If the latter, is its morality subjective or objective?
And if objective, then from what sources do we receive our morality ? A few
more questions worthy of a little serious thought.
I have many times heard it
stated, that inasmuch as the legend of the Royal Arch is Semitic, therefore
the Old Testament canon should alone furnish the basis of our religious
thought as Royal Arch Masons. Indeed, this seems to be a generally accepted
principle by Grand High Priests, as is evidenced by the pious hortatorical
introductions and fervent conclusions of their annual addresses in the terms
of Old Testament theology. But, while it is true that the legend is Semitic it
is not true that it is Scriptural. On the contrary, it is distinctly
unscriptural. Not only is there not a line in the Old Testament that supports
the legend, but it is opposed by all the known facts of history. The legend,
then, is only a symbol and as such is compatible with all religions. Hence,
there is, and can be, no sectarianism in Freemasonry, for each may interpret
the symbol for himself and all will be right however much they may seem to
The Masonic fraternity of the
United States is a composite of many races, with their differing views of
morals and religion. It assumes, in theory at least, to reconcile these
diverse and oftentimes antagonistic views by reducing them to a common formula
which the old charges call, "The religion in which all men agree." It assumes
to provide a common meeting ground for men of different races and religions,
and thus to promote the harmony of friendship among those who otherwise "must
have remained at a perpetual distance." But what is the religion "in which all
men agree" ? Does such a thing exist outside of the fertile imaginations of
ritual compilers? Who can define its essence or state its principles? As a
matter of fact is it not a Utopian dream, that never did and never will become
a reality? Notwithstanding that they are all Freemasons the Christian remains
a Christian, the Jew a Jew, the Moslem a Moslem. They each adore an
abstraction which they call God, but each has his own concept, and this
concept utterly excludes that of the others. So has it ever been, so will it
be while frail humanity retains its present mould.
There is, then, no religion
"in which all men agree," but each of us who would truly and reverently
worship the Deity "in spirit and in truth," must be left to form his own
conceptions of that Deity, and of His essence and attributes. This, as I
understand it, is what is meant by the Masonic doctrine of toleration. Not
that we must all reduce ourselves to the dull level of an undefined
If this be true then what
shall be classed as sectarianism in Freemasonry? If the Jew prays to Yahweh
shall he then give offense to the Moslem who says there is no God but Allah,
or if the Christian seeks his God through the mediation of Jesus, or perchance
the intercession of the Saints, will he thereby become a stumbling block to
the Jew? And how about the pagans, like your uncle, who look through nature up
to nature's God? Must not our prayers, if they are sincere, be made through
the channels of our own faith not those of another?
I think it may be safely
asserted that the all-including universal church, without denomination, sect
or cult, will never materialize. Indeed, the tendency of the times is in the
opposite direction. Nor do I know that such a church is a consummation at all
to be wished. In fact, it seems as though the religious nature of man requires
this diversity; that creeds, sects and cults are necessary, and that even
those which appear narrow, bigoted or even fantastic may yet afford outlet for
the spiritual life of undeveloped souls.
And so, "let every man be
persuaded in his own mind," we may still be brothers, or, at all events, we
can be cousins. However much we may disagree in articles of faith we may yet
be in unison respecting the import of the symbols.
* * * * * *
There is an old legend of the
good St. Ambrose, told by Mr. Lowell in his melodious verse but which I in the
ruder dialect of my simple prose. Its application to the matter just discussed
is so apparent that I offer no apology for its introduction.
St. Ambrose, it would seem,
was a most holy man who by castigation of the body, by fasting and by prayer,
had made his heart as soft to God's hand as though it was wax. Ever he sought
to know the true and reject the false; often he wrestled with the blessed
Word, to make it yield the meaning of the Lord; all that he might form a creed
that naught could assail and that would contain the essence of eternal truth.
And finally his work was accomplished; he had built the formula of perfect
faith; and to all around he said "Thus saith the Lord." And he knew, by that
inward but ever sure sign, that his work was a divine inspiration. And then,
so the story runs, Ambrose said, "All those shall die the eternal death who
believe not as I." And so, it came to pass, in his pious zeal, that there were
some who were boiled, and some burned in fire, and others sawn in twain, in
order that his great desire for the good of men's souls might be satisfied.
But one day as Ambrose was taking a lonely walk he espied a youth of most
graceful mien and beaming countenance resting himself under the shade of a
tree. Then Ambrose drew near and inquired of the stranger how it went with his
soul. It required but little time, however, to ascertain that the heart of the
stranger was hardened and that it had not received the stamp of the one true
creed. This is what the young man said:
"As each beholds in cloud and
The shape that answers his
So each in the Law shall
The figure and features of
And to each in his mercy hath
His several pillar of fire
Then the soul of Ambrose
burned with holy wrath, and he said:
"Believest thou then, most
A dividual essence in Truth
I fear me thy heart is too
cramped with sin
To take the Lord in his glory
Now, so the story runs, there
bubbled beside them where they stood a fountain of water, and the youth
advancing to the stream said, "Ambrose, thou maker of creeds, look here." And
then he took six crystal vases and set them along the edge of the brook, after
which he turned to Ambrose saying:
"As into these vessels the
water I pour,
There shall one hold less,
And the water unchanged, in
Shall put on the figure of
O thou, who wouldst unity
make through strife,
Canst thou fit this sign to
the Water of Life ?"
And Ambrose stood abashed,
but when he looked up, lo! he stood alone; the youth, the stream, and the
vases, all were gone; and then he knew, by a sense of humbled grace, that he
had talked with an angel, and he felt his heart change as with meekness and
humility he fell upon his knees and confessed the great sin of his life.
THE TRIAL OF THE KNIGHTS
BY BRO. HENRY D. FUNK,
The trial of the Knights
Templars in the early fourteenth century was one of the most brutal travesties
of justice known to mankind and the dissolution of the order was one of the
saddest tragedies chronicled in the history of civilization. The trial began
suddenly and was conducted with unrelenting animosity until the ruin of the
Templars was achieved. Owing to the real or fancied connection of that
Medieval order with the Knights Templars of today an examination of the
historic trial may be of interest to the readers of "The Builder."
HISTORICAL SKETCH OF THE
TEMPLARS TO 1307
Shortly after the end of the
first crusade, in the year 1119, eight knights under the leadership of Hugo de
Payens assumed the task of forming themselves into guards for the safe-conduct
of pilgrims from Europe traveling between the Eastern Mediterranean sea coast
and Jerusalem. The associates of De Payens were Godfrey de St. Omar, Roval,
Godfrey Bisol, Payens de Montidiel, Archembald de St. Amand, Andrew de
Montbarry, and Gundemar who took the regular monastic vows of obedience,
chastity, and poverty, and lived together according to the rules of the
Augustianian friars said to have been made by Bernard of Clairvaux. So
eminently useful was the service of these eight knights that Baldwin II, king
of Jerusalem, bestowed favors upon them and provided them with headquarters in
a part of his-palace located near the spot where the Temple of Solomon is said
to have stood. The association of the incipient order with this historic site
gave to the knights the name of Knights of the Temple. Their number increased
normally at first, the most illustrious addition being count Hugo of Champagne
who became a Templar in 1125. In 1128 the council of Troyes witnessed the
papal confirmation of these knights as a religious order and then their
numbers increased rapidly. (1)
The insignia of the Templars
were: a white mantle, symbolizing purity, and a red cross signifying their
readiness to endure martyrdom. They ate their meals in common, were permitted
to keep horses, but not more than three for each knight, and were entitled to
have one servant per knight. They were allowed to hunt lions but were
forbidden to go on the chase with falcons. Correspondence with relatives was
prohibited and every form of communication with women, including mothers and
sisters, was denied. Any infraction of the rules was punished by expulsion
from the order.
From its inception the order
proper was composed of knights of noble descent, born in honorable wedlock,
innocent of grave offenses, and sound in body and mind. New members of this
class were admitted without passing through a novitiate; but at an early date
two other classes became identified with this order: the clergy, or priests,
and the servientes, or servants.
Accessions from secular
knights by scions of noble families tended to change the monastic character of
the Templars and make them not only secular but worldly. Then we find at their
head a Grandmaster, ranked as a prince, and other ministeriales such as a
seneschal, a marshall, a president of the war office, a Grand-Preceptor, a
treasurer of the order, a drapier, and a commander of the light cavalry. Their
organization spelled efficiency and won for them the good will of the papacy.
Eugene III in 1148 remitted one-tenth of the pennance to all who made bequests
to this order. Alexander III in 1163 allowed them their own clergy, and
Innocent III in 1209 prohibited the use of the interdict against them except
by papal consent. Such favors implied obligations by the recipients which the
popes were not slow in demanding of their beneficiaries: aid for the papal
agents in breaking down the independence of local churches. This service being
performed the papacy compensated the Templars again in 1266 by decreeing that
gifts to this order entitled the donors to the benefits of indulgences in the
Holy Land. Consequently many gifts were bestowed upon them, such as manors,
villages, and towns, and their possessions were multiplied in Jerusalem,
Tripoli, Antioch, Cyprus, and Morea in the East, while in the West they held
lands in France, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Germany and England. In all these
countries they built their temple courts and engaged in financial enterprises.
They were the leading bankers
of Paris and London; the Templars of Paris acted as bankers for Blanche of
Castile, Alphonso de Poitiers, Robert of Artois, and many other nobles. The
order also furnished ministers of finance to James I of Aragon and Charles I
of Naples. The Templar Thierre of Geleran was the chief adviser of Louis VII
of France, and the order's treasury at Paris was the financial center for the
French kingdom. (2)
But the material prosperity
of the Templars was their undoing. From the days of Phillip Augustus to the
reign of Philip IV princes and prelates as also the Knights of St. John were
jealous of the power wielded by the Templars, and it was to be expected that
at the first opportunity the envious would harm them. Unfortunately the
Templars were not sufficiently alert to maintain the order above reproach.
They committed a grave blunder when they permitted an unreasonable increase in
the lowest ranks, that of the servientes, which had been limited to one for
each knight. By and by so many churls of every degree, mechanics, shepherds,
stablehands, and swineherders joined this class that they eventually
constituted nine-tenths of the entire order. (3) Among these were naturally
enough many of coarse habits and those who had "the vices of monks." The
popular mind did not distinguish between these "heweres of wood and carriers
of water" and the knights proper. In France it became customary to describe an
intemperate man by saying: "boire comme un templier," i.e. he drinks like a
Templar; and in Germany the old word "Tempelhaus" was equivalent to a house of
prostitution. Their immense possessions had made all Templars conscious of
their wealth and power, a fact not especially conducive to the cultivation of
the Christian virtue called humility. Hence it became customary to
characterize a man of great pride by saying: he is as proud as a Templar.
Toward the end of the thirteenth century public opinion held that the Templars
and the Knights of St. John were not needed in the West but that they ought to
sell their possessions in western Europe and after effecting a union of the
two orders locate in the East and direct all their efforts against the enemies
of Christ. Phillip IV of France was especially anxious to eliminate them from
his kingdom in order to carry out his centralizing policy. They had resisted
the same aim on the part of Louis VII in 1149 and blocked Phillip's political
program in 1190. The failure of the crusade led by Louis IX was laid at their
door, and they had opposed Charles of Anjou in the conquest of Naples
sanctioned and invited by the pope; moreover they had taken part in the
Sicilian vespers against the French, and had united in expelling the French
regent and aided in inviting the Aragonese to the throne of Sicily. In 1295
they refused to pay a tenth to Phillip IV, and in 1296 during the bitter
struggle between Boniface VIII and the same king over the right to tax the
clergy they exported the precious metals to the pope in violation of the royal
edict. When Phillip IV demanded their aid against the pope in 1303 they
refused obedience, and in 1306 when the king urged an amalgamation of
Hospitalers and Templars they declined to consider his suggestion. (4) Such
resistance to the royal will on the part of a strong king was more than he
would tolerate. Fortuitous circumstances had arisen to make possible the
destruction of this hated order within his realm, and Phillip was not slow to
see the opportunity.
The year 1305 marks the
beginning of the so-called Babylonian Captivity of the papacy, a phrase which
signifies the residence of the popes at Avignon in France for almost seventy
years, i.e. until 1378. This transfer of the papal See from Rome to French
soil came about as the result of the controversy between Phillip IV and
Boniface VIII. Eleven months after the death of Boniface VIII the cardinals
elected the archbishop of Bordeaux to be head of the church. The new pope took
the name of Clement V and started for Rome; but at Lyons Phillip IV met him
and persuaded him to take up his residence at Avingnon, He created twenty four
new cardinals, mostly Frenchmen and relatives of the pope. During the quarrel
between the French king and Boniface VIII the former had charged the pope with
heresy, sodomy and simony. He had accused him of obtaining the papacy by fraud
and demanded that he should be removed from the Holy See. The reason for this
charge is that the predecessor of Boniface, Celestine V, a former hermit, had
been elected to the papal throne much against his own will July 7, 1294. After
a few months he issued a decree declaring the right of any pope to abdicate.
He was encouraged to issue this decree and to abdicate by Beneditino Gaetani,
one of the leading cardinals, who thereupon was elected his successor and
assumed the papal name of Boniface VIII, December, 1294. Now after the
election of Clement V in 1305 when the king had the new pope living on French
soil he used this threat of calling a council to inquire into the legality of
the election of Boniface VIII and his successor, and the question of the
morals and orthodoxy of Boniface, as the means of compelling Clement V to obey
the wishes of the king.
When Clement received the
papal tiarra at Lyons the king had a conference with him and submitted a plan
for the dissolution of the Templars. Another meeting about the same subject
occurred by these parties in the spring of 1307. Phillip prepared to strike
the fatal blow. On the twelfth of October, 1307, the head of the Templars in
France, Grandmaster Jacques de Molai, was an important functionary at the
burial of the king's sister, Catherine; the next day he was arrested by order
of the inquisitor general of France, William Imbelt, the chaplain to the king,
and thrown into prison.
II THE CHARGES AGAINST THE
The sudden arrest of the
Grandmaster startled all France. In order to appease the enraged public which
felt kindly disposed toward the head of the order, and to secure a favorable
opinion for his action in France and abroad, Phillip issued an explanation
setting forth the reasons for his procedure against the Templars. In short, he
charged them with immorality and heresy, naming five specific offenses:
1. That upon being received
into the order every neophyte must spit on the cross and deny Christ thrice.
2. That the receptor and the
novice exchanged indecent kisses, i.e. on the navel and the posteriors, while
3. That they pledged
themselves to practice sodomy.
4. That the priests of the
order did not pronounce the words of consecration when administering the mass.
5. That the cord which the
Templars wore over their shirt day and night as a symbol of purity had been
consecrated by wrapping it around an idol they worshipped in the chapters. (6)
III THE FORM OF THE TRIAL
After being arrested the
Templars were placed in solitary confinement for periods varying from a few
days to years. One by one they were brought before the inquisition without the
benefit of legal counsellors. The five general accusations were then read to
them and amplified until they covered one hundred and twenty statements or
questions. (7) They were then informed that a frank admission of the points on
which they were accused and a promise to return to the church would secure
pardon and liberty, but refusal to do this would be followed by the death
penalty. The church, it is true, forbade the use of torture to secure
evidence, but in order to obtain the damaging testimony necessary to establish
a list of crimes and errors on which to convict the accused the inquisitor
general resorted to torture. When the desired evidence had been secured by
this procedure the witness was asked to state that his testimony had been
given voluntarily and without constraint. Then it was written down by two
clerks. If he refused to perjure himself by making such false statements as
were demanded he was handed over to the tormentors until he declared no force
had been employed in obtaining his testimony, or he was tortured to death.
Some witnesses were exposed to the sufferings of the rack three and four times
before the inquisition could extract the answer wanted.
When Clement V heard of the
drastic measures taken by Phillip IV he appears to have repented of the
concession he had made to the king and wrote a reproachful letter to him. But
the threat of calling a council to inquire into the legality of the last two
papal elections and to investigate the orthodoxy of Boniface VIII quickly
forced Clement to surrender to Phillip. On August twelfth, 1308, the pope
issued a Bull, "Faciens Miselicoldiam," directing an investigation of the
Templars in all countries where they had chapters by a Commission of Inquiry
composed of the archbishops of Canterbury, Mayence, Cologne and Treves. Before
this Commission Molai was tried November 22, 1309. After stoutly maintaining
the innocence of the order he at last was overcome in his enfeebled and
emaciated condition by the wiles and torture of his foes. Committed to prison
again he was brought forth once more in the spring of 1314 and burned at the
stake. Meanwhile church councils in various countries found verdicts in favor
of the Templars. The archbishop of Magdeburg in May, 1308, arrested a number
of Knights but released them in November of the same year owing to the
protests of the lay and ecclesiastical princes. The king of Portugal boldly
defended the order; Edward I of England proceeded against the Templars in a
half-hearted way; James of Aragon and Ferdinand of Castile imprisoned a few
Knights, but the council of Salamanca pronounced the order innocent, October,
1310. (8) The same judgment was rendered by the council of Ravenna in June,
1310, and at Mayence, July 1, of the same year. The first council of
Canterbury did not convict them, and the second council pronounced them guilty
only after resorting to torture, October, 1310.
If the investigations in the
countries outside of France resulted generally in favor of the Templars, King
Phillip prevented such an issue for the order in France. On August 20, 1308,
he obtained from the pope a second Bull, "Justum et laudabile," which
authorized him to watch over the Templars and to hold them in disposition to
the church. (9) Thus the great pastor at Avignon had appointed a wolf to guard
his sheep. What he would do was a foregone conclusion. In October, 1310, fifty
Knights were burned at the stake in Paris, and the council of Senlis the same
year pronounced the order guilty. The council at Vienne in France was tampered
with by both king and pope to compel them to pronounce against the order,
October, 1311, and March, 1312. Thus in France the Templars experienced
neither mercy nor justice.
IV THE CHARACTER OF THE
The Grandmaster Molai when
first arrested admitted, as well he might, that certain disorders existed in
the chapters. He well knew that the order had drifted away from the lofty
ideals of its founders. But he nowhere incriminated his fellow knights with
the offenses the inquisitors were determined to fasten on the order. To the
very last, even at the stake, he denied the charges. His enemies, however,
seized upon the admissions of his first trial, perverted the testimony to suit
their purpose and then sent this doctored confession to the Templars of
France, representing it as a communication from the head of their order asking
them to join him in admitting guilt. (10) To the evidence obtained by violence
and by fraud we will now direct our attention.
1. As to the accusation that
they had renounced Christ thrice and had spit on the cross. a. Some,
believing that Molai's altered confession and the forged order to admit the
charges were genuine, obediently declared themselves guilty.
b. Others yielded admission
of the charge only after threatenings and false promises.
c. Some confessed these
outrages only when they could endure the torture no longer, while those
refusing D admit the charge were martyred unto death.
d. Almost all who admitted
the accusations belonged to the class of servientes.
e. Their statements were
contradictory; some said that upon entering the order they were commanded to
deny Christ; others declared they were asked to deny God; again some said they
were compelled to renounce the Saints, and still others avowed they had to
blaspheme the Virgin Mary and our Lord.
f. One confessed he had
urinated on the cross.
g. This was done: in full
view of the assembled brethren; in a dark room; in a field; in a grange; in a
coopershop; in a room for the manufacture of shoes. Sometimes the witness
declared he himself had done this, others again asserted they had not been
guilty of such misconduct but had witnessed it in their brethren. Some said
these things were done as a joke; others averred these acts were required as a
test of their obedience, and that they had denied Christ "ore non corde," i.e.
with the mouth but not with the heart. Some said they had spit near the cross,
others that they expectorated over it, and still others declared they adored
the cross on Good Friday. One who had endured the rack and torture declared
that if he would be obliged to undergo the ordeal again he was prepared to
confess that he had "murdered the mother of God." (11)
2. The accusation about the
indecent kisses. Respect for general decency will prevent us from entering
into details; but here again we must note that the witnesses did not agree.
Some professed absolute ignorance of such a practice, others admitted they had
kissed the receptor, while still others asserted such osculation was mutual. A
Templar in England confessed there were two receptors, the one was good but
the other fellow a wicked man. (12)
3. Concerning unnatural lust.
This charge was the subject for a searching examination. Again torture was
used to secure evidence. Some vowed they lad never heard of such a sin; some
admitted they were told it was permissable but they had never indulged in it;
others asserted they had been commanded to practice sodomy but had not obeyed
the order. The stablehand of the Grandmaster Molai accused his master of
practicing this sin with him, but he recanted when freed from the torture and
witnessing before the papal commission, saying he could not remember ever
having made such a statement. (13)
4. As to the omission of the
consecrating words in saying mass. At the trials in Spain and in Cyprus
numerous priests testified that they witnessed many celebrations of the mass
by the order but that they had always been in proper form. Some testified they
had observed a slight deviation from the general practice, but said that when
the Templars received their rules it was not customary to elevate the cup or
the host, this form having been directed as late as the Lateran Council in
1215. (14) In France, however, torture secured the testimony that the mass had
not been celebrated by the order according to the proper ritual.
5. The testimony about the
idol. On this subject all sorts of admissions were obtained. Some declared the
Templars worshipped it and that it was produced whenever a neophyte was
received; others said it was worshipped in secrecy in the chapters. Its form
was of every imaginable character. It was a "quoddam caput," i.e. a sort of
head of reddish color; it resembled a human being; it was black and had a
human form; it had sparkling eyes that lighted up a dark room; it was made of
gold and had a long gray beard; it had a double face; it had three faces; it
looked like a beautiful woman; it was garbed like a Templar in a priestly
robe. An English Minorite described it as a calf; some said it was the statue
of a boy about three feet tall and had two or four legs joined to the face. A
few persisted they had never heard of the idol while some admitted they had
heard about it but had never seen it. Others were positive it looked like a
tom-cat; a raven; a painting; a drawing. The testimony of a few reads that the
idol would answer any questions put to it by the president of the chapter; and
some swore that the devil himself or demons in the form of pretty women came
to them with whom they had sexual intercourse.
In summing up the main points
brought out by the trial we must consider the following facts:
1. That the majority of the
witnesses belonged to the class of servientes whose confessions were obtained
chiefly by torture and that the same witnesses at different times contradicted
their statements. In 1307 there were from fifteen thousand to twenty thousand
Knights Templars in France, and of that number only fourteen knights proper
were tried as compared with one hundred and twenty-four servientes. In 1310
out of five hundred and forty-six called before the inquisition only eighteen
were knights, all the others belonged to the servientes. (16)
2. At Paris, Rheims, and Sens
one hundred and thirty-three died from torture because they would not perjure
themselves and incriminate their order.
3. The eight Grand Preceptors
of Apulia, Provence, Normandy, England, Upper and Lower Germany, Aragon and
Castile, all persisted in maintaining the innocence of the Templars, while
only three preceptors, those of France, Guienne and Cyprus admitted the
charges, and then only after severe torture.
4. A large number of those
who confessed under constraint recanted after they were free again, and others
stated before the tortures began that any confession wrung from them by
violence would be untrue.
5. The nature of the crimes
admitted was conditioned by the severity of the torture.
6. Numerous church councils
declared the order innocent of the charges.
7. Two neophytes in England
refused to leave the 'order despite threats and flattering promises. Would
they have remained loyal to the Templars had they been subjected to
humiliating ordeals upon entrance?
8. The worship of the idol
was said to have been service to a new religion established by the Templars.
And yet no Templar was willing to profess his supposed faith and endure
martyrdom for this cause. Is it likely that thousands who had been unwillingly
forced to abjure the Christian faith and to worship an idol would - have
refused the opportunity to return to mother church when that was possible?
9. In spite of all the
searching investigations made in the different chapters in all the countries
only one image or idol was found, and that was in the fol m of a small locket
which a Templar had obtained in the orient as a trinket.
10. The Bishop of Beirut who
had administered communion to the Templars for forty years had found no fault
with them. And the priests to whom they had gone for confession swore they had
never heard about the errors charged against the order.
11. The crimes of which they
were accused were the same as were laid up against all heretics in the Middle
Ages, such as the Waldenses, the Albigenses, the Knights of St. John, and were
the same as the king of France, Phillip IV, had not hesitated to charge
against Boniface VIII.
12. If we are to believe the
testimony of the Templars with respect to sacrilege and immorality then we
must believe their statements about intercourse with the devil or demons in
the form of voluptuous women. That is utterly absurd.
13. Finally we must not
forget that the prime movers in the process against the Templars were the two
most unscrupulous men in Europe, Phillip IV and --his subservient minister,
There can be no doubt that
the servientes were guilty of certain irregularities, and it is quite possible
that even among the knights proper gross offenses were committed occasionally.
They had become proud, greedy, conscious of their power, and sometimes
arrogant. But what human organization has even had a perfect membership? The
Christian ministry on the whole is composed of men of high ideals and noble
character, and yet, if any man were to make a searching examination of crimes
perpetrated by a small number of professed preachers of the Gospel he could,
without much difficulty, at the beginning of the twentieth century, establish
a catalog of sins which would make the ministry appear one of the most corrupt
organizations in modern society. But no one thinks of blaming on the entire
church the moral errors of a few hypocrites or degenerates.
The fact is that Phillip IV
had determined to destroy the Templars. The trial served only as an excuse for
his action; no testimony favorable to the order was admitted in the evidence
obtained by the persecutors; the procedure was absolutely one-sided, the one
object constantly pursued being conviction. It may be that the Knights
Templars had outlived the time of their usefulness, nevertheless from
beginning to end in France the trial was a farce, nay it was worse than that,
it was a travesty of justice without parallel in history, and the dissolution
of the order was a tragedy.
The following works may be
recommended for further investigation of this subject and have been used in
preparing this paper.
1. Finke, Papsttum und
Untergang des Tempelordens.
2. Gmelin, Die Tempelherren.
3. Lea, H.C., History of the
Middle Ages, Vol. III.
4. Langlois, in Deux Mondes,
5. Langlois, in Revue
Historique, Vol. 40, 177-8.
6. History of Masonry and
Concordant Orders, Henry L. Stillson, Editor-in-chief.
7. Perkins, in English
Historical Review, Vol. 24. 8.
8. Schottmueller, Untergang
9. Le Roulx, J. D., in Revue
des Questions Historique, Vol. 48.
10. Prutz, Tempelherren Orden.
11. Wilcke, Geschichte des
Ordens der Tempelherren.
evidence may be found in Schottmueller, III:
A. Processus Poiteriensis.
B. Excerpta Processus Anglici.
C. Inquesta faca et habita
D. Processus Cypricus.
E. Processus in Patrimonio.
In Finke, Papsttum und
Untergang des Templerordens, Vol. II, are letters, addresses and opinions on
the history of the fall of the Templars, reports of the Aragonese ambassador
relative to the General Council at: Vienne, and the answers of the king.
(1) Langlois, in Deux Mondes,
Vol. 103, p. 384
(2) Langlois, in Deux Mondes,
Vol. 103, p. 386.
(3) Lea, History of the
Middle Ages, Vol. 3, p. 243.
(4) Finke Papsttum and
Untergang des Tempelordens, P. 6.
(5) Schotimueller, Untergang
des Tempelordens, p 132.
(6) Lea, Vol. 3, p. 263.
(7) Finke, p. 330.
(8) Schottmueller, 191.
(9) Le Roulx, Revue Quest.
Historique, Vol. 48, 43-45.
(10) Finke, 341.
(11) Lea, 270-273,
Schottmueller, 141, 200.
(12) Perkins, English
Historical Review, Vol. 24, p. 441.
(13) Schottmueller 630; Fink
(14) Schottmueller, 632.
(15) Schottmueller, 633; Lea,
(16) Finke, 335;
THE KNIGHT TEMPLAR
I made them lay their hands
in mine and swear
To win the heathen and uphold
To ride abroad redlessing
To speak no slander, no, nor
listen to it;
To lead sweet lives in purest
MASONIC HOMES - PART 2
BY BRO. SILAS H. SHEPHERD.
MONTANA has a home eight miles from Helena which
was established in 1909 at a cost of $83,526.45. There is at present an
indebtedness of $15,500, but $5,500 is in sight to pay the first of January,
1916. There is a family of 12. The cost per capita for maintenance the past
year was $353.16. The future of the home is bright.
Nebraska has a home at Plattsmouth which was
established in 1903. It has assets of $211,653.29. This home is controlled by
a stock company of which the Grand Lodge holds 516 shares, the Grand Chapter
R.A.M. 110 shares, the Grand Commandery K.T. 56 shares, the Grand Council R.
and S. M. 16 shares, and the other shares by individuals, subordinate lodges
and other Masonic bodies. The O.E.S. has always assisted in every way
possible. The family consists of 22 men, 20 women, 6 boys and 9 girls. The
cost per capita for maintenance is $229.92.
New Hampshire has a home at Manchester which was
established in 1903 at a cost of $28,000. It is an imposing three story and
basement building with large colonial porch and is surrounded by beautiful
lawns. There is a family of 16 adults although it was originally intended for
orphans, but no application has ever been made for orphans. The cost per
capita for maintenance is $475. It is supported by a 50 cent per capita tax.
New Jersey has a Masonic Home and Orphanage at
Burlington which was established in 1898 at a cost of $125,000, and which has
a present valuation of $140,000. It has other resources of $127,000. There is
a well stocked and prosperous farm in connection with it. The present family
consists of 45 men, 24 women, 8 boys and 10 girls. The cost per capita for
maintenance is $277.76. It is supported by a 30 cent per capita tax and a fee
of $5.50 for each initiate.
New York has a home at Utica which was established
in 1902 at a cost of $638,965.24. Its present membership of 428 consists of
177 men, 125 women and 126 children. The cost per capita for maintenance is
$208. It is supported by a 50 cent per capita tax. A high state of efficiency
is maintained and the children are educated in a most satisfactory manner;
many of them are qualified to occupy important positions as teachers,
musicians, clerks, stenographers and mechanics. Some of the children play as
many as four instruments. At present the Knights.Templar are erecting a
children's building, the lower part of which will be devoted to manual
North Carolina has two homes. The Masonic Orphans'
Home at Oxford is now in the 42nd year of its usefulness and is an example of
Masonic precepts made practical. This home cares for 370 children only a small
percentage of whom are the children of Masons. (In 1914 it was 45). There is a
farm, printing office, manual training school, and the children do many things
to help meet the expenses. The cost per capita for maintenance is $113.98. The
Masonic and Eastern Star Home was completed and opened January 12, 1914. The
building, costing $22,000, is a three-story fire proof structure and will
accommodate 65 guests. It is located just beyond the city limits of Greensboro
on a 30 acre tract. The property is valued at $48,000. There are at present 27
guests. The cost per capita for maintenance is about $218. The secretary of
the Home board says: "We are more than satisfied with our Home. We are caring
for our unfortunate members in a systematic manner and we know that Masonry is
stimulated by our results."
New Mexico has no home but is accumulating a fund
for that purpose.
Ohio has a home near Springfield, on an estate of
150 acres, which was established in 1897. The principal buildings are a main
building, a boys' cottage, a girls' cottage and a hospital; these with the
power plant and farm buildings are estimated at a valuation of $365,000. There
is an endowment fund of $153,964 which with other funds make total assets of
nearly $600,000. The family consists of 89 men, 63 women, 31 boys and 22
girls. The cost per capita for maintenance is $183.84. A per capita tax of 30
cents is levied to support the home.
Oklahoma has a home at Darlington, which was
formerly the Indian School Reservation, and consists of 674 acres of land
valued at $65,700, and buildings valued at $106,000, which with other assets
total $191,049.02. It was opened as a Masonic Home in 1910. The family
consists of 29 adults and 105 children. The cost per capita for maintenance is
$202.56. It is supported by a per capita tax of 75 cents and a fee of $5.00 on
each E.A. initiated. A new boys' dormitory at a cost of $36,000, and several
minor improvements, have been made the past year.
Pennsylvania has three homes. The Broad Street
Home and the William Elkins Orphanage are under the control of a corporation
composed of various Masonic bodies and individual Masons and Lodges, under the
title of The Masonic Home of Pennsylvania. It is now in the 31st year of its
usefulness. The Broad Street Home shelters 88 residents. The cost per capita
for maintenance in 1912 was $171.13. The William Elkins Orphanage has a family
of 41 girls and 47 women. The cost per capita for maintenance in 1912 was
$197.48. These homes have total assets of $981,636.84. The home at
Elizabethtown which was opened in 1913 is the Grand Lodge Home and was built
at a cost of $1,188,023.93. It is really a Masonic city as the many buildings,
streets, etc., defy a brief description. There is an estate of 982 acres and
farm industries are carried on in a manner quite consistent with Pennsylvania
methods in everything Masonic, which means on the most stupendous plan
possible. This home is the largest, costliest and most extensive of any
Masonic Home in the world and will accommodate 700 people. Although the
original investment was large the building goes on and each section of the
state seems to vie with the others in who best can work to improve this
magnificent home. The family November 15, 1914, were 78 men, 79 women and 20
children. The cost per capita for maintenance has not been given as yet.
Rhode Island has no home but has a "Home fund"
which is being enlarged by a 10 cent per capita tax. The start of this fund
was a Grand Lodge appropriation in 1912.
South Carolina decided some years ago to build a
Masonic home and created a fund for that purpose which has now reached
$100,000, which the Grand Lodge decided the minimum for starting a home. They
have, however, decided not to enter at once into an enterprise of which they
do not feel a certainty of success and are at present caring for the needy
with the income or surplus of the fund.
Tennessee has a Masonic Widows' and Orphans' Home
at Nashville which was established in 1892. It has property valued at $50,000.
There are at present t79 residents. The cost per capita for maintenance is
$127.37. The home is supported by a per capita tax of 75 cents. The Old
Masons' Home is now in the course of construction and will be opened in the
Texas has two homes. The home at Fort Worth is
under the control of the Grand Lodge and represents an investment of $226,325
and has an endowment fund and cash on hand of $200,000. The family consists of
36 women, 101 girls and 112 boys. The cost per capita for maintenance last
year was $225.12. The home for Aged Masons at Arlington was established in
1911 at a cost of $78,000. In 1914 there was a family of 62. The cost per
capita for maintenance was $200. It is supported by the Royal Arch Masons.
Virginia has a Home for Orphans two miles from
Richmond which was established in 1890. They have an estate of 63 acres valued
at $100,000, and an endowment fund of $30,000. There are at present 68
children in the home. The cost per capita for maintenance is $223.32. It is
supported by a 75 cent per capita tax. Virginia has not done anything definite
in regard to the home for aged Masons, their wives and widows, which they were
Washington has a Masonic and Eastern Star home at
Puyallup which was completed in January, 1914. It is located on high ground
which commands a beautiful view. In addition to the home property they have
$65,000 in investments. The family in June, 1915, consisted of 37. The cost
per capita for maintenance is $228.95. A bequest of $150,000 has been made to
the home but it is not available for present use.
Wisconsin has a home at Dousman which is under the
management of Wisconsin Consistory, A. A. S. R. The home will, however,
soon.be turned over to the Grand Lodge and a per capita tax of 50 cents levied
for its support. It has a family of 12 adults. When the Grand Lodge assumes
control it will probably be enlarged both in building and in the sphere of its
To recapitulate there are 29 jurisdictions which
have Masonic Homes, seven of which have more than one. They represent an
investment of nearly ten million dollars and provide shelter for 4129 brothers
or those near and dear to them.
We have endeavored to describe the more prominent
statistical features of the Masonic Homes of the United States. Words are
inadequate to describe the good they are doing. None but the active workers in
this field of usefulness comprehend what real homes they are. Bro. Bumpus says
in describing conditions at Nashville: "It is a harmonious family, and we dare
say that nowhere is there a place where love and contentment reign more
supreme than in the Masonic Widows' and Orphans' Home of Tennessee. Lives are
being shaped; character is being moulded; distress is being relieved; hunger
is being appeased; sorrow is being comforted; what higher, what nobler work,
could we do, Brethren, so far as this world is concerned?"
P. G. M. Elrick C. Cole of Kansas, said:
"Personally my pride in these children of the Grand Lodge of Kansas is much
greater at the close of this year than at any other time. Having had occasion
to visit other Grand Jurisdictions where no Home has been provided, either for
the orphans of deceased Masons or for the aged and infirm who are entitled to
our protection, I have found myself expressing the greatest thankfulness to
those who in the years gone by fought the battles which gave to the Grand
Jurisdiction of Kansas this magnificent monument to our thoughtfulness for
those who need our care."
Hundreds of expressions of this kind might be
quoted from those who have had a personal observation of the Homes while the
critic is invariably doing so from a distance. "Figures don't lie," but
Brotherly Love, Relief and Truth contain elements not demonstrable by a
mathematical process. The cost of maintenance may sometimes appear excessive
but the unfortunate dependents require and should receive more than mere
financial aid. The aged require a care and kindness not afforded by simply
supplying their physical necessities, and the orphan should not be intrusted
to any but those in whom we can place implicit trust. A Masonic Home furnishes
RULES OF ACTION
"Love all, trust a few,
Do wrong to none; be able for
Rather in power than use; and
keep thy friend
Under thy own life's key; be
checked for silence,
But never tasked for speech."
- Shakespeare. All's Well
that Ends Well.
EDWIN MARKHAM - POET OF
BY JOSEPH FORT NEWTON
AMONG the poets of America
now living there is none greater, alike in personal character and wealth of
genius, than Edwin Markham, who is the noblest Masonic singer since Robert
Burns. Sweet of heart, with a mind full of benign light, he sings of the old
simplicities and sanctities which must lie at the basis of individual worth
and social welfare, the while he teaches us to see and to follow "that thread
of all-sustaining Beauty that runs through all and doth all unite." He is,
indeed, the supreme poet, since Whitman, of the goodly, gracious gospel of
Brotherly Love so much needed in the world now and always. Here follows a
brief sketch of the man, with an appreciation of his genius as a singer and a
There is nothing for surprise
that such a man descends from a sturdy ancestry, both intellectual and moral.
On his paternal side his lineage runs back to Colonel Markham, the first
cousin and secretary of William Penn, and later acting governor of
Pennsylvania. His maternal line, through the Winchells, runs back into the
best stock of New and Old England and Holland. Our poet was born in Oregon, in
1852, whither his pioneer parents had moved from Michigan. His father dying
when the boy was little more than four years of age, we find him living with
his mother and brother in one of the remote romantic valleys of California.
His mother was a woman of rather silent nature--his brother was deaf and
dumb--and the lad was left much alone with nature and his own inner life.
Years of quiet brooding, while he followed the cattle or folded the sheep,
developed depth and originality of mind, evoking the poet-soul within him.
Memories of those days when he was a shepherd boy find echo in his poems, as,
for example, in "The Heart's Return."
Partly, at least, his gift of
song was an inheritance, for his mother, albeit so quiet and reserved, was a
lover of poetly and a writer of verse on her own account. Some of her lines
were frequently to be found in the papers of the time. The first money that
Edwin earned was twenty-five dollars for ploughing a neighbor's field, which
his mother told him was his, and that he might have whatever he wished to buy
with it. He bought books-- Webster's Unabridged Dictionary, and the poems of
Tennyson, Bryant and Moore. It is not difficult to imagine the use to which he
put those precious volumes in the leisure that was his in the peaceful valley
of Suisun, where he tended the flocks and herds. His chance for early
technical training was slight-- about three months in the year, and not always
that-- but he studied diligently, making the best use of whatever books came
his way. Also, he worked and dreamed and laid plans, in such various ways as
ambitious boys can devise, until at eighteen he entered the State Normal
School at San Jose, and later finished his school work at Christian College,
Santa Rosa. Believing in the value of handicraft, he mastered the secrets of
blacksmithing, and wrought at the forge for a time. But a man of his genius
was not allowed to remain at the forge, and he was soon called to other and
Markham was made a Mason in
Acacia Lodge No. 92, at Coloma, California, in the early eighties, and he has
an abiding interest in the Order. From the first the Spirit of Masonry moved
him deeply, as was natural for a man to whom Brotherhood is not only "the
crest and crowning of all good," but religion in its deeper name, and who sees
"The fine audacities of
The homely old integrities of
must be the foundation alike
of personal character and social beauty. He reckons Masonry among the deep,
quiet, beautiful forces destined to soften the hard winter of the world into a
great summertime of friendship and goodwill. Of one who is so chaste of soul,
so aglow with the joy of life and the wonder of the world, and so brotherly
withal, it may be said that he has found the Master's Word. His friend Joaquin
Miller said of him years ago:
"Markham has always seemed to
me the purest of the pure; the cleanest minded man of all the many great and
good of his high calling I have known, and it has been my high privilege to
know nearly all of the great authors of Saxon lands this last third of a
With Markham poetry is not a
byplay, nor a soft sensuous sentimentality, but a high and heavenly vocation,
the fit vehicle for the expression of the truths that make us men. There is
something of the urge of divine necessity in all his song, and a sense of
consecration. It is the prophetic element that one feels in his music, as of a
man who has heard unutterable things and must speak. One cannot read "The
Whirlwind Road," for instance, without being reminded of St. Paul and the
company of those who live the dedicated life. For him the home of the poet is
on the heights, and his mission is one of leadership--no "idle singer of an
empty day," but a pilot voice foretelling a new day:
"Life is a mission stern as
And song a dread apostolate.
The toils of prophecy are
To hail the coming
To ease the steps and lift
Of souls that falter on the
He presses on before the
And sings out of a silent
And the dim path he breaks
Will sometime be a trodden
Resolutely he has held
himself true to this high ideal of his art, refining his gold and bringing to
it every test, and few men of our day have more to tell us. Back of all the
poetry of Markham lies a grand philosophy which sees that the great Soul of
the World is just, and loving too. For him the import of life is deep, deeper
than time and the grave, and an awful but judicial Spirit moves behind our
human scene, weighing the stars, weighing the deeds of men. He is a hushed
worshipper before that high benignant Spirit that goes untarrying to the
reckoning hour, defeating the injustices of men. As we may read in the poem on
"O men that forge the fetter,
it is vain;
There is a Still Hand
stronger than you chain.
'Tis no avail to bargain,
sneer and nod,
And shrug the shoulder for
reply to God.
From the mighty hand of
God--so still, yet so sure--these is no escape, here or hereafter or anywhere.
How compellingly, yet how compassionately, he teaches this truth in many a
golden song. Since George Eliot there has arisen no more strenuous apostle of
the human deed than Markham. Insistently, consistently, eloquently, he teaches
the absolute justice that lies at the root of things, and the righteousness to
which men must bow at last. Take, for example, his lines to "The Suicide." How
few the words, how vast the significance! It is a whole philosophy with one
dip of the pen:
"Toil-worn, and trusting
Zeno's mad belief,
A soul went wailing from the
world of grief;
A wild hope led the way,
Then suddenly--dismay !
So the old load was there--
The duty, the despair!
Nothing had changed; still
only one escape
From its old self into the
No escape in life or death,
save in obedience to the just and loving will of God. What is the will of God?
What, indeed, as our own hearts tell us, but that we must be pure of heart and
brotherly of spirit, making our daily bread "brother-bread," and living to
serve our fellow souls ? Markham has written of Religion as the Art of Life,
and of poetry as the Soul of Religion---as witness his exquisite study of "The
Poetry of Jesus." But, profoundly religious as he is, religion means for him
personal chastity and human ministry---brotherliness of spirit and deed.
Therefore he bids us pray in words, but also, and still more, in works, for
purity of soul, for loving fidelity to one another, for freedom and fellowship
Like all the wise ones of
old, our poet holds that we know as much as we do. Frair Hilary, in "The
Hindered Quest," inured in his cell, sought peace in vain till, hearing a cry
of human need, he went forth to do a kindly deed; then, as the Master told
"You turned at last your
And left the door ajar for
which states in a thumbnail
space enough for a creed and a dozen commentaries. So also in "The Angelus,"
that collect for any day in the week, and for every month in the year; and
also in "The Father's Business," to name two of many poems. To the old, brutal
question of Cain, Am I my brother's keeper? Markham makes reply that we are
born for the practice of the Golden Rule, and our destiny is to learn to live
and let live, to think and let think, building a social order that is wise and
just and pure.
"There is a destiny that
makes us Brothers;
None goes his way alone;
All we send into the lives of
Comes back into our own."
Indeed, our poet holds that
the need of man may be summed up in Bread, Beauty, and Brotherhood-- Bread,
the symbol of physical necessities which must be met ere man can rise to the
higher human life; Beauty, that manna from heaven to feed the hungry soul on
its pilgrimage; and Brotherhood, the one prophetic word which describes the
translation of the ideal into the real. When we learn to be brotherly, men
will not be used to make money, but money will be used to make men. Aye, when
we have mastered the fine art of freedom, justice and kindly living, the weary
tragedy of human history will become a chant of victory. And until we learn
the brotherly life "we men are slaves and travel downward to the dust of
graves." Here is our material; here our tools and our divine design:
"We men of earth have here
Of Paradise--we have enough!
We need no other thing to
The stairs into the
No other ivory for the
No other marble for the
No other cedar for the beam
And dome of man's immortal
Here on the paths of every
Here on the common human
Is all the busy gods would
To build a heaven, to mould
New Edens. Ours the stuff
To build Eternity in time."
America, in the vision of
Markham, is the last great hope of man, because it offers an opportunity for
the practice of Brotherhood. That is its imperious errand among the nations,
and "The Need of the Hour," and all hours, is for fearless, faithful
leadership of honest and true men "star-led to build the world again"-- such
leadership as we had when Lincoln lived. Surely Markham has written the
noblest of all poems in praise of Lincoln. There is not another like it
anywhere. If he had written nothing else, he would be entitled to our lasting
and grateful remembrance. In a wild and fateful hour, when the nation was in
dire plight, the Norn-Mother bent the heavens and came down to make a man to
match the mortal need:
"She took the tried clay from
the common road--
Clay warm yet with the genial
heat of earth--
Dashed through it all a
strain of prophecy;
Then mixed laughter with the
It was a stuff to wear for
A man that matched the
mountains and compelled
The stars to look our way and
Truly he is a "good gray
poet"--blessings on his head !--so gracious to know, so glorious to hear,
simple, unaffected, kindly, athrob with faith and hope and love. His last
book, "The Shoes of Happiness," is in some ways his best. His message is the
same as of yore, but it becomes richer, deeper and more varied in its
exposition--sun-bright sonnets, deep-hearted lyrics coming to the aid of
stories, parables and quatrains--and Longfellow might envy the exquisite grace
of "The Jugglers of Touraine." The group of songs under "The Hero of the
Cross," notable alike in insight and art, are reverent, austere, beautiful,
and worthy of high rank in the Christian Melody. He is of those who know the
way to Emmaus, and the White Comrade who journeys with us when we walk that
sunset path. The first lines of this last book are familiar to our readers,
but they are too characteristic of the inclusive fellowship of the man and the
wise strategy of his love to omit:
"He drew a circle that shut
Heretic, rebel, a thing to
But love and I had the wit to
We drew a circle that took
Apollo has been kind to our
poet-friend and Brother, granting him in its fullness the prayer of Horace: a
sane and healthy old age consoled by sweet song. His idealism has not waned
with the years. Time has taught him a deeper faith that forereaches the
greater tomorrow that he so surely sees is on the way. It may not come in
perfectness in his day, or in ours, but come it will, as morning follows
"Come, clear the way, then,
clear the way;
Blind creeds and kings have
had their day.
Break the dead branches from
Our hope is in the
Our hope is in heroic men,
Star-led to build the world
To this event the ages ran:
Make way for
Brotherhood--make way for Man !"
"AMERICA FOR ME"
By Henry Van Dyke
June, 1 909
'Tis fine to see the Old
World, and travel up and down
Among the famous palaces and cities of renown,
To admire the crumbly castles and the statues of
the kings -
But now I think I've had enough of antiquated
So it's home again, and home again, America for me
My heart is turning home again, and there I long
In the land of youth and freedom beyond the ocean
Where the air is full of sunlight and the flag is
full of stars.
Oh, London is a man's town, there's power in the
And Paris is a woman's town, with flowers in her
And it's sweet to dream in Venice, and it's great
to study Rome;
But when it comes to living there is no place like
I like the German fir-woods, in green battalions
drilled; I like the gardens of Versailles, with flashing fountains filled;
But, oh, to take your hand, my dear, and ramble
for a day
In the friendly Western woodland, where Nature has
her way !
I know that Europe's wonderful, yet something
seems to lack;
The Past is too much with her, and the people
But the glory of the Present is to make the Future
We love our land for what she is and what she is
Oh, it's home again, and home again, America for
I want a ship that's westward bound to plough the
To the blessed Land of Room Enough beyond the
Where the air is full of sunlight and the flag is
full of stars,
IF A MAN DIE
ONCE again the white death of Winter gives way to
the wonder of Spring, and the heart of man feels the thrill and stir of that
flood of life which returns to renew the world. Soon the bare earth and the
gaunt, gray hills will be clad in the living green of rustling woods and the
glint of laughing waters, as ever it has been in all the ages agone. Time out
of mind man has seen in this ancient ritual of Nature a symbol of the life of
the Soul, of a dim splendor ever on before, of a victory ever about to be
realized - a ray of light piercing "that shadow that keeps the key to all the
If a man die - aye, there is the rub, since no man
knows that any man dies, save only in appearance. Of death as we use the word
and the meaning we give to it, Nature knows nothing: there is simply no such
thing. This is not to minify the grave, to which all things mortal decline, as
if it were a matter of light import. In nowise. There is something appalling
in the masterful negation and collapse of the body, and when Tolstoi describes
it we feel almost as if it had fallen upon us. It is pathetic. It is profound.
Yet we may be too easily overawed by its material aspect, and mistake a
physical fact for a spiritual tragedy. What avails it what any man may have to
say about death ? The real question is, what shall we say to it, or shall we
let it have the last word ?
After all, the chief fact about man is not his
body, but his mind with its thoughts that wander through eternity, his soul
with its many-winged splendor of aspiration and of hope. Reason, Love, and the
Moral Sense - these things are of more than time and sense, for, unless we who
think of time stand in some way above and apart from it, there could be no
such idea. That is to say, if man lives by the law of his higher nature, he
must live for things which have their source and satisfaction beyond the
bourne of Time and Place. In short, man is a being who, if he be not immortal
is called by the law of his being to live and act as if he were immortal - and
he is wise, whatever else may be his folly, in that he dares to trust the
prophetic promptings of his nature against the verdict of the senses and the
shadow of the grave.
But the real proof of faith lies not in logic, nor
in the balancing of probabilities, but in a certain deep and daring kind of
living wherein life reveals its own eternal quality. The real answer to all
our wistful questionings is to be found in the way of Divine union, being a
fact of experience in the inward life, and it were better to be absorbed in
the quest of that union than to be ever canvassing the shadowy field of
conjecture, tormented, uncertain, and weary of heart. As the soul ascends the
Mountain of the Lord its "muddy vesture of decay" becomes less opaque, until
at last, by the witness of those who have made the venture and won the
victory, assurance is made doubly sure in a fellowship ineffable with Him whom
to know aright is Life Eternal. It must be so. Life is unbeginning, and so
unending, because life is from God. Let us be content with what is already our
own, equally by virtue of Divine heredity and the right of spiritual valor and
conquest, "even life forever more" - life rich, abundant, radiant, eternal !
* * *
Three hundred years ago, April 23rd, 1616, the
mighty soul of Shakespeare took its flight from the winding Avon, whose scenes
haunted all his days, to that land where man awakens from his lofty dreams and
finds his dreams still there, "and that nothing has gone save his sleep."
Shakespeare himself reckoned Julius Caesar "the foremost man of all the
world," but Caesar with his legions and his laws did not create an empire as
lasting as that which rises out of the mind of the great dramatist, who was
not of an age, but of all time, until time shall be no more and days and works
Shakespeare ! To read him is like dipping into the
Fountain of Youth and rising new born, with the flutter of happy wings in our
hearts. How rich and spacious he is, how large and free his utterance, how
elemental; yet how elfin withal, the spirit of him. He had such joy of life,
despite its tragedy, such abundance of fancy flowering into poetry and into
deeds heroic even in their folly. What if we cannot tell anything new about
Shakespeare, he is new with a never-aging youth, and in company with him we
can hear the murmur of the sea and learn to look up at the stars.
How well we remember when first we listened to his
lyric, rythmic lines read by a voice now hushed, and what vistas opened before
us! Riper years, bringing a less rosy outlook, have only deepened the miracle
of the crags and valleys, the lights and shadows of that marvelous eloquence.
Today we try to think of Shakespeare, and we can only think of life and death
and the soul. Merely to recite to ourselves the names of his plays, to call
the roll of our favorite characters, to let the music and the picture of the
verse steal over our minds, is like holding up jewel after jewel from an
Oriental casket and watching the flash and sparkle and play of color. It is
like walking in the garden of Alcinous, where apple falls on apple and blossom
and fruit hang together on the tree.
Our thought of Shakespeare is a richly complex
association. As in the great painting of Raphael the cloud in the background,
when we look closely, is seen to be made up of innumerable faces, so about
Shakespeare are gathered a cloud of shining minds. He has, so to speak, robbed
generation after generation of their store to add to his Treasury of Merit,
and yet he gives more than he takes; a star, as Milton said, to whom other
stars repair and fill their golden urns with light. Think of the critics who
have come from the ends of the earth, bearing their gifts of praise to lay at
his feet! Think of the artists whose embodiments of his scenes come to mind at
the mention of his name ! Think of the actors who have made their names
immortal in his roles, whose melody of voice, whose stateliness or charm of
person, are blended with our memory of the poetry itself ! To think of Hamlet
is to see once more the gracious figure of Edwin Booth, hear his rich voice,
and feel his lonely sadness as of a dweller in a world all beautiful even in
its sorrows. What a pageant of beauty, power and genius, all radiant in one
light, passes before us !
All of us, in the days that come not back, passed
up the golden stairway into the great main entrance of the Shakespeare
theatre, led by our honored and dear teachers - some oil whom have fallen
asleep. We were instructed in the principal plays by Charles and Mary Lamb,
those first kind porters of the House Beautiful, who told us the tragic tales
in perfect English. Then we were ready to listen to Jameson, Lady Martin,
Coleridge, and Hazlitt, or to such foreign writers, used in schools, as
Gervinus and Ulrici. Perhaps at twenty we felt that we knew Shakespeare, but
the years have taught us that we do not know him, and may hever live to
measure the height and depth of his vast genius.
One turns it about and turns it about, said sweet
Mary Coleridge, and it is all there; everything in Shakespeare except the
Bible. Of course that is exaggeration, but it is true that he is lord of more
domains than any other poet that ever lived. Supreme religious experience is
almost the only realm where his genius is not assured, and he wanders around
that realm in constant wonder, and almost seems to have entered it in that
miracle of insight and art - the Tempest. No wonder Goethe said of his plays:
"These are no fictions ! You would think, while
reading them, you stood before the unclosed awful Book of Fate. The strength
and tenderness, the power and peacefulness of this man astonishes me. All the
anticipations I have ever had regarding man and his destiny, I find developed
and fulfilled in the writings of Shakespeare. It seems as if he cleared up
every one of our enigmas for me, though we cannot say, Here or There is the
word of the solution. The few glimpses I have cast over his world incite me to
quicken my foot-steps forward into the actual worlds to mingle in the flood of
destinies suspended over it; and at length to draw a few cups from the great
ocean of true nature."
To know Shakespeare, and the dream-men and women
on his stage, and the large simplicity, sanity, and sweetness of his spirit,
is the privilege, and should be the duty of ustall, particularly of the young
who need the touch upon their hearts of great and wise minds. His clear
waters, let us pray, will make us long forget the draughts we have drawn thus
far down the ways of time, from the stream befouled by wallowings of the swine
of unclean art and gross sensuality. For he has the purity of Nature, its
vastness and serenity, and the depth of a sky full of stars.
* * *
THE LONE STAR
The hearty endorsement of the Research Society and
its journal, and of its text-book The Builders, by the Grand Lodge of Texas is
very highly appreciated, the more so because it came entirely unsought and as
a complete surprise, as did a like endorsement by the Grand Lodge of Indiana.
Ye editor must be allowed to express his personal joy at these words of
confidence and sanction from the Grand Lodge of his native state, under whose
flag his mother was born when it was a republic, before it had been annexed to
the Union. Thus the tug of times, the pull of family ties and historic
associations, join with Masonic love and interest, making such an unqualified
endorsement doubly grateful. From the report we read these words:
"A copy of The Builders is presented to every
newly raised Mason in every Lodge in Iowa. We have recently read this little
volume and can commend it, without reserve, to every Mason in Texas. It is
authentic, written in charming style, and the author's references to
authorities comprise the whole range of the standard Masonic books, thus
enabling the reader to extend his course of reading into wider fields.... The
Grand Lodge of Iowa, under the leadership of its able Committee on Masonic
Research, found out what to do and they are doing it. The membership of the
Research Society is increasing rapidly, and The Builder, its monthly magazine,
devoted exclusively to Masonry, is coming up to a high standard, and the work
of the Society as laid out certainly promises to move the boundaries of
Masonic Research in this country up to higher ground. Every Mason, wherever he
resides, is welcome to become a member of the Society at a nominal cost for
annual dues and the magazine is sent free. The Society is also issuing a
number of lectures and papers of great merit and sold at a nominal cost. It is
not operated for profit, but all revenues are used in extending and improving
the work of the Society. It has the full sanction of the Grand Lodge of Iowa,
one of the most conservative and yet one of the most progressive of our
affiliated Grand Bodies. Its great Masonic-Library, at Cedar Rapids, is the
admiration of the whole Country."
* * *
It occurred to us to send a proof of the
appreciation of Edwin Markham, which appears in this issue, to the good gray
poet himself, that he might have due and timely warning and be the better able
to ward of approaching danger. Whereupon we received the following letter
which we venture to reproduce, not so much for its kind words in response, but
to show that we did not misread the spirit and message of our dear poet-friend
and Brother, the very thought of whom is like music.
My Dear Newton:
You quite overpower me with the words in your
finely written article on, "Edwin Markham, Poet of Brotherhood." Your highly
commendatory words will perhaps do no harm to my habits of thought, since
praise only makes me humble.
I observe that you get the spirit of my poems,
look into the heart of my life's purpose. I do believe in Chastity and
Solidarity. I do believe that we must come to look on bridal love with a deep
reverence, and also must begin to labor for the realization of fraternity.
Brotherhood is the hope of the world and it is the business of all earnest men
to endeavor to find a material basis for brotherhood. The State must become
the organ of Fraternity.
I thank you for the brotherly kindness that prompted you to
write the article. It will help to make my truth - your truth - known to
thousands of serious men. Again I wish to tell you of the delight and stimulus
I am finding in your three volumes of "Sermons and Lectures."
Yours in the great hope
EVER so often the question comes up, why is it
that we have so little really great Masonic poetry? Several Brethren have
raised it of late in their letters to us, pointing out that while we have
verse a plenty, and much of it very good indeed, it very rarely rises above
the level of verse until the Brother who wrote it dies - as in the story the
verse of the little girl was called poetry after she had gone away. They are
puzzled to know why this should be so. Masonry is a Chamber of Imagery, rich
in suggestion, many of its Degrees acted poems, and they cannot understand
why, with such a wealth of types, allegories, emblems and sentiment we do not
have more and better Masonic poetry.
The late Robert Morris, so widely known and well
beloved among us, for many years the Poet Laureate of the Order, often
pondered this very same question. In the preface to the last edition of his
volume of "The Poetry of Freemasonry" he returned to it for the last time, not
long before he went away
"To that far land, far beyond
storm and cloud
To that bright land, where
sun doth never set
To that life land which has
nor tomb nor shroud
And Brothers meet again who
oft have met."
But he did not solve the mystery. He names a
number of men who in his day, and earlier, had written distinctively Masonic
poetry, such as Mackay, Percival, George Morris, Yates, Vinton, and he might
have added Pike and Boutelle. He praises their poems, some of which he
reproduces in his volume - none of them, we venture to think, equal to his own
melodious lines. But what puzzles him most is why great poets like Scott,
Lamartine, Moore, Cowper, Hogg, Burns, Prentice and others, all members of the
Order - he might have added Pope, Byron, Lessing - did not write Masonic
poetry. Then he asks the question:
"And why is this? Does not the subiect of
Freemasonry suggest to the noetic mind a flight skyward ? If religion
constitutes so favorable a theme for poets because of its extraordinary array
of imagery, does not Freemasonry abound even more in such things ? The very
nature and purpose of our Order is to teach one thing by means of another - to
suggest an inward truth by an outward emblem. Robert Burns found in the murmur
of a brook and the warbling of a bird the voice of his mistress. Walter Scott
saw through the outlines of a rusty lancehead or a broken pair of sours the
imagery of a well-fought field. Thomas Moore drew from the twang of a ricketty
lute wails of lamentation for the decadence of his green old Ireland. All this
in the nature of suggestion, the very essence of poetry. Yet these men could
look coldly upon the most pregnant images of Freemasonry; they could listen to
a rehearsal of the Masonic covenants without once considering the
inexhaustible mine of poetic thought of which these were only the surface. As
compared with any other theme, I would give the preference to Symbolical
Masonry as the richest in poetic thought, and I can only hope that the day is
not distant when a great poet will arise to be to Freemasonry what Scott was
to chivalry, Moore to patriotism, Burns to rustic love."
Oddly enough he does not name Goethe, who did
write distinctively Masonic poetry - and, of course, Kipling came later - but
Morris himself was the Masonic poet of his own day; not a great poet, perhaps,
but a noble and sweet singer, and one of the best interpreters of Masonry in
any day. Few have ever used our emblems with more insight and skill, as in his
poems on the Square, the Trowel, the Level, the Apron, and many an eloquent
melody. But must we limit Masonic poetry to verse which weaves our symbols and
emblems into its lines? Surely not. That is too narrow a conception of Masonic
poetry, and when we put it aside there is no problem left to solve, no
question to discuss. Usually, if we make a few exceptions - such, for example,
as the Kipling poems on The Palace and the Mother Lodge - the finest Masonic
poetry makes scant use of our familiar emblems. Instead, it sets the soul, the
spirit, the genius, the truth of Masonry to high and haunting song - and that
is real Masonic poetry.
When was Robert Burns most truly a Masonic poet?
When he wrote of the Apron, or when he sang in notes almost divine of the
rights of man, the dignity of the soul, the kinship of all living things, and
the coming of love and pity? Markham seldom, if ever, makes use of Masonic
emblems, but who else in our day has set the soul of Masonry to more authentic
music? Of those who have sung of the deeper meanings of Masonry, and its place
in the mystical quest of the soul for God, there is no one like Edward Waite,
no one near him. Susan Coleridge was not a Mason, but her lines called Soul
Builders are truly Masonic, and so is that unforgetable poem by Margaret Wood,
The Builders - a vision of the grey old Abbey of England, of "ye builders of
old" who lifted it heavenward, and of the mighty dead who sleep there.
Let us always remember that Poetry is as free as a
"sweet bird of dawn singing the long epic of the world," and is not tied to
any one system of symbolism. To its vivid soul all nature is an infinite
parable, and life the very breath of the Eternal. It is a priest to us all of
the strange and solemn wonder of the world, the daughter of the Voice of God
telling us, in tales and golden histories, that the race must become partner
with the mighty Father-Soul in His labors of love and beauty, "if its heart of
rhythm and soul of fire are to stand fully revealed."
* * *
Responding to many requests, we have it in mind to
suggest a series of brief reading courses for both Rites of Masonry and each
of its branches, in the hope that they may serve as guides to Brethren who
wish to undertake the study of Masonry either individually or in groups or
clubs. From the number of such requests that reach us from all over the
country, we believe that the work of this Society is beginning to tell in
behalf of a more systematic study of the history and meaning of Masonry. By
way of introduction, we offer the following suggestions:
First of all, let a man make himself familiar with
the ritual of the Order as exemplified in the Jurisdiction in which he lives -
not necessarily memorizing it, but having it well in mind. If his Grand Lodge
has no authorized Monitor, he may select some Monitor generally accepted as
standard - either by Shaver, Mackey, Sickel, or Simons. As he reads what is
written, or recalls what is unwritten, let him keep always in mind the little
word Why ? - why is the Lodge so arranged ? Why are things done so and so?
Perhaps he will some day ask why a ritual at all? If so, he will enter a most
fascinating field, tracing the idea, the necessity, the use and significance
of ritual, not only in Masonry, but in the church, the state, and in all the
ceremonial of life.
Second, a man ought to know the history of his
Lodge and of the Grand Lodge under whose obedience it is holden, their laws,
constitutions, organization, and genealogy - their place on the great
family-tree of Masonry. This will introduce him to the study of organized
Masonry as in institution, in this country and throughout the world, its
variations, its Rites - including not only the "York" and Scottish Rites, but
other Rites as well, such as the Swedenborgian. From such a study will come a
new conception of the vastness of Masonry as a world-wide fraternity, the
existence of which is profoundly significant.
Third, he will naturally ask whence came this
great Order which seeks to organize Brotherhood and make it operative, and so
he will be led to look into the history of Masonry, following it back through
modern times to the founding of the Grand Lodge of England - the story of
which every Mason should know in detail. Here his study will branch out
fanwise: he will want to know the conditions of the age, the state of the
Craft before and at the time the mother Grand Lodge was formed, the causes
that led to its formation, how far it was a "revival," how much, if anything,
was added to Masonry at that time - added from whence, by whom, and why - how
far the Masonry of today is simply a development from and an elaboration of
old Craft Masonry.
Fourth, and this will bring him to the interesting
study of ancient Craft Masonry, in which every Mason should be well-grounded
by a study of its earliest documents, which were a part of its ritual, known
to us as the Old Charges and Constitutions - the title deeds of our Masonic
inheritance. and estate. Here again a throng of questions come up for study:
what is the place of architecture in human life, and why does it dominate the
other arts, binding them into one, harmonizing, controlling, directing them;
in answer to which he will see why the trade of the architect became
symbolical and took a spiritualized form, while other trades did not. The
study of the Old Charges, in the setting of the times from which they date,
will take him back into the foundations of modern life and thought; and he can
go as deep down and as far back as he pleases.
Fifth, and the further he goes in his study the
more natural, inevitable and eloquent will the symbols of Masonry become, and
he will look upon them with a new veneration the while he seeks to interpret,
(1) what they meant in olden time, (2) the secret tradition which gathered and
grew about them, and (3) what they mean, or should mean, to him now as
teachers of the truth that makes for character, right conduct, and a valid
faith and hope. It is some such scheme as this that we have in mind, and we
propose to suggest books throwing light upon it, giving preference, as far as
possible, to books that are accessible, inexpensive, authentic and simply
written - such as Brethren may wish to own or Lodges place in their libraries.
* * *
"SONGS FOR THE NEW AGE"
Some one has said that if we know the image in the
minds of the poets of today, we know the shape which the future will take. If
that be so, there is no mistaking the prophetic quality of the poems of James
Oppenheim, whose short stories have so stirred and thrilled thousands. They
are songs of high daring and adventure of soul, fulfilled of a beauty of their
own, like psalms of a new faith, like bugle calls to a beautiful conflict,
rousing us against "the armies of the torpidly living and the complacently
dead." One reads the song of "We Unborn" and remembers the Whitman "Song of
Myself," so sure is its insight and accent of power, all aflame with rich
humanity and passionate faith in the things that ought to be true, and are
true if we had eyes to see and ears to hear. Surely a voice so deep and true
and earnest will not go unheeded, even amid the wild welter of war.
ARTICLES OF INTEREST
A Masonic Puzzle, by C. N.
Mikels. Illinois Masonic Review
The Sacred Symbol, by Sir
John Cockburn. American Freemason.
The Cable-Tow, by F. C.
Higgins. Masonic Standard
Angles, by F. C. Higgins.
The Cathedral at Seville, by
G. W. Baird. The New Age.
The Doctrine of the Scottish
Rite, by David Marx. Masonic Monthly.
Dibdin's Masonic Pantomime,
by R. Northcott. Londor Freemason.
* * *
Life of Shakespeare, by Sir
Sidney Lee. Macmillan Co. New York, $2.00.
Bohemia Under Hapsburg
Misrule, by T. Capek. Revell Co. New York, $1.00.
The Man With the Hoe and
Other Poems, by Edwin Mark ham. Doubleday, Page & Co., New York, $1.00.
Lincoln and Other Poems, by
Edwin Markham. Doubleday Page Co., $1.00.
The Shoes of Happiness, by
Edwin Markham. Doubleday Page Co., $1.25.
The Assurance of Immortality,
by H. E. Fostick. Macmillan Co., $1.25.
Masonry and Democracy, by
Governor Arthur Capper, Kansas.
THE QUESTION BOX
SHAKESPEARE A MASON?
In an article in a Masonic journal which I read
recently, the name of Shakespeare appears in a list of men of letters who were
Masons. What proof is there that he was a member of the Order? - F.G.
None at all. Shakespeare, so far as we recall makes no
reference to any secret society, though a few of his lines might be so
interpreted - as, for example, a line in the play-scene in Hamlet, to which a
university student called our attention the other day. He speaks of "the
singing masons building roofs of gold," (Henry V, act 1, scene 2) and compares
them to a swarm of bees - as any poet might have done. It reminds one of a
passage in the "Complete Angler," by Isaak Walton, in which the gentle
fisherman talks of the meaning of pillars in language very like that used in a
Masonic Lodge. But Hawkins, in his edition of the Angler recalls that Walton
was a friend of Elias Ashmole, who was admitted as an Accepted Mason, and he
may have learned of Masonry from him. (Short History of Masonry, by F.
Armitage, vol. II, chap. 3). Shakespeare was indeed many-minded, and had an
insatiable interest in all things human, but there is no proof that he was a
Mason. It has been claimed that one of the pall-bearers at the funeral of
Shakespeare was a Mason, and that he was named Edward Helton. The story
further tells us that Helton came to this country and was buried at
in 1618. But as the town of Fredericksburg was not settled until 1622, and no
trace of him has been found, the story must be regarded as a myth.
(Miscellanea Latomorum, Vol. I, pp. 67, 103. New Series).
* * *
Brother Newton: - I notice in the February issue
of The Builder a statement that the book, "Washington, The Man and the Mason,"
could be had by addressing me and sending me the price. That is an error,
which I wish you would correct. Our Association has nothing whatever to do
with the book. It is the property of the local Association in Alexandria, and
all moneys and letters regarding the book should be addressed to Charles H.
Callahan, Secretary, Alexandria, Virginia. Yours fraternally; John H. Cowles,
Washington, D. C.
* * *
"A TALE OF THE TRAIL"
Brother Editor: - In the September number of The
Builder was published a poem entitled "A Tale of the Trail ," marked
"selected," and the writer has wondered if the authorship of the lines was
unknown to you. The poem was written by Brother James W. Foley, Past Grand
Master of North Dakota, and Poet Laureate of this Jurisdiction. Brother Foley
has written many good poems, one of the best of which I am sending herewith,
hoping to see it published in The Builder sometime. It is entitled "What Did
You Do," and is in tune with the spirit of the Society and its effort to
arouse interest, not only in the history of the Fraternity, but also in true
Masonic living - everyday Masonry, if you please. With best wishes, always, I
Ralph L. Miller, North
* * *
Dear Brother: - I believe that Masonry is more
than "a peculiar system of morality." It is really a part of one's religious
experience. I believe also in militant Masonry. The time is even now at hand
when American Lodges must bestir themselves in order that they may make their
influence felt more widely. By "militant" I do not mean tawdry argument and
dispute, but intelligent effort to spread the universal principles which
Masonry stands for. It seems to me that the Research Society will greatly aid
in this work. There is a spiritual side of Masonry that needs to be
emphasized; and to be emphasized it must be brought to the attention of the
Brethren. If Masonry means anything, it means that Masons must so live that
people will say, "Yes, he is a Mason." That is the ideal I hold before myself,
and when I fail, as I often do, still the fact that I am a Mason nerves me to
new effort. Fraternally and sincerely, J. A. Robertson. Ohio.
* * *
THE GOLDEN FLEECE
What is the Golden Fleece often referred to in
presenting the Apron to an Entered Apprentice ? Does it still exist ? I shall
appreciate your reply.
It was a famous order of knighthood dating from
1430, when Philip, Duke of Burgundy established, on the occasion of his
marriage with the Infanta Isabella of Portugal, what he called the Golden
Fleece. It still exists in several countries of Europe. None but the richest
and purest born - and they only in limited numbers - were admitted to its
honors. The badge of the order was a golden ram, which hung from a jewel of
elaborate design bearing the proud motto in Latin, "Wealth, not servile
labor." (See The Builder. Vol. I. p. 236.)
* * *
"AN UPRIGHT MASON"
I was somewhat disappointed in your reply to J. H.
H., in the January Builder when he asked if an Entered Apprentice is not a
Mason. I think you should have said, "Yes." I have heard it declared on
Masonic authority several times that "you now stand as a just and upright
Mason," and I believe he would be qualified to work as such for a limited time
- T. D. Gayle, Iowa.
An Entered Apprentice is in training to be a
Mason; he has received the first lessons in that fundamental morality which
must lie at the basis of his moral and Masonic edifice. Of course he is, in so
far, a Mason; but by no analogy known to us is he entitled to travel and work
* * *
BUDDHISM AND MASONRY
Will you kindly answer the following: - (1) Could
a Chinaman, who is a follower of Buddha, be classed as a worshiper of the
Deity? (2) Is it necessary for a Buddhist, on joining a Masonic Lodge, to
accept the Christian idea of God? (3) Would the fact that he is a worshiper of
idols interfere with his eligibility? - J.P.M.
(1) Speaking broadly, yes; though there are many
sects in the Buddhist faith, some of which seem to be atheistic - yet this may
be only seeming, and due to the fact that their conception of God is so unlike
our own. Perhaps, in the real sense, there is no such thing as an atheist. (
See Morals and Dogma, by Pike, p. 643.) (2) Certainly not, since that would
violate one of the first principles of the Order. Yet it is a fact that few,
if any, Buddhists have sought Masonic fellowship. (See Sidelights on Masonry,
by Lawrence, Chaps. 8, 10, 12.) (3) What we call idols must be, for thinking
men, only symbols, and as such they are an answer to the craving of the human
mind for a visible emblem of the Great Invisible. No doubt there are millions
who do not see beyond the symbol, but such benighted beings would hardly find
their way to our temple gate.
* * *
MAKING MASONS AT SIGHT
Now that you have gotten your feet wet, perhaps
you will take up the question of the right of a Grand Master to make Masons at
sight. I should like to have you discuss it. - B.R.J.
Of course, we cannot take up the question in
detail here but several things may be said: First, in ancient Craft Masonry
there was obviously no such thing as making a Mason at sight. Each Apprentice
had to serve his term, master his art, and by examination be approved as a
Master - the reward of his masterpiece. Second, when the order began to admit
Accepted Masons - perhaps as early as 1600, if not earlier - the ceremonies of
initiation were not elaborate, and often a man was made a Mason in a single
evening, as seems to have been true in the case of Elias Ashmole. Albeit, that
was a different thing from what is now called making a Mason at sight. Third,
we shall not go into the question of the "right" of a Grand Master to make a
Mason at sight, except to say that it seems to be an American invention, an
American "pretension," Brother Hughan called it which he said has no basis in
the ancient history and usage of the Craft. (Masonic Sketches and Reprints, p.
139.) Several Brethren propose to discuss this question of the prerogative in
these pages, and so we withhold opinion for the time being, not wishing to
anticipate their arguments.
* * *
THE YORK RITE
I have been a Mason for years and yet I do not
understand just what is meant by the York Rite, and I find that there are
others in the same fix. Please put me to rights in this matter. - D.S.C.
The York Rite, as it is popularly called, includes
the Blue Lodge, the Chapter of the Royal Arch, the Council, and the Knight
Templar degrees, as distinguished from the Scottish Rite. Right you are when
you say that many Masons have this matter muddled, and The Builder will soon
publish an article on Masonic Rites, by Brother J. L. Carson, of Virginia,
which will be instructive. But the name "York Rite” is only a popular name,
derived from the old city of York, England, so long a center of Masonry. There
was a Grand Lodge of York, having a Rite of that name, but no one now knows
what that Rite was, and all our investigations have failed to find out. So
that the name York Rite indicates, not the Rite as practiced at York, but
simply the historic city. (See Masonic Sketches, by Hughan, p. 148.)
* * *
THE IOWA PLAN
In the report of the Committee on Proceedings of
the Grand Lodges I learn that Iowa has no Masonic home, and I am anxious to
know what plan or plans the Iowa Masons have for providing for the Widows and
Orphans of their deceased Brothers, that would be cared for in a Home. - J.A.
In general, the Iowa plan is to assist those in
need by keeping them, so far as possible, in their old environment, among
their friends and associates - assisting them secretly, so that no one save
the Brethren having the matter in charge, and a few local Masons, know
anything that is being done. Iowa, however, is a young state, and does not yet
feel the pressure of the problems confronting older Jurisdictions; but it is
beginning to feel them. So far we have cared for those needing a home in
various institutions in the state for that purpose; but it is probably only a
question of time until the Grand Lodge of Iowa will need a home of some kind,
albeit with its present system it will not require as large an institution as
other Jurisdictions maintain.
* * *
THE GREAT INITIATES
I have lately been much absorbed in a book
entitled "The Great Initiates," by M. Schure, and would like to know your
opinion of it. I find it very interesting, but I am often perplexed. - G.W.J.
The book referred to, like his studies of Moses,
Plato, Pythagoras and others, is both fascinating and irritating, as our
Brother has confessed. We have always the feeling that this writer, and others
of his school, have the slightest and most superficial knowledge of the
systems of thought which they so light-heartedly put aside as external, if not
childish. What is more important, the esoteric wisdom which they propose to
substitute for those systems is neither particularly wise nor in any gense
esoteric. When they come to tell us the meat of the matter, there is only a
series of commonplaces presented with breathless awe as new discoveries and
claimed as the specific fruit of the esoteric spirit. When those commonplaces
are admitted - and Noah must have been familiar with them - the body of
"esoteric wisdom" which remains is little more than a cloud of speculation,
interesting, and perhaps valuable, but apparently unsubstantial. Howbeit, this
is only one opinion, for what it is worth, and should be regarded as such.
* * *
THE THIRD DEGREE
I am convinced from my experience in conferring
degrees that few men get from the third Degree of Masonry anything more than a
lesson in fidelity. I have in mind a brief talk on this subject, pointing out
the great truth of immortality therein taught, and wish you would give me your
suggestions. - R.L.H.
Frankly, this letter amazes us. We had never
supposed it possible for any man to receive the degree of Master Mason and
miss the main point of its teaching. Oddly enough we have hail two other
letters of late confirming the observation of Brother Hickman, and increasing
our amazement. And yet, when we come to think of it, the candidate cannot be
altogether to blame. Having witnessed this Degree in several Jurisdictions, we
do not recall that the historical or explanatory lecture even mentions the
sublime truth set forth. It simply reminds the candidate that Masonry
cherishes the glorious hope of a blessed immortality - that is all. But in the
Degree itself immortality is not a vague hope to be cherished here and
realized hereafter. Far from it. It is a present reality into which the
candidate is symbolically initiated; a fact to be realized in experience here
and now. Manifestly, if man is immortal at all, he is immortal now.
Immortality does not concern the future alone, or chiefly, but the life that
now is, where it is needed to give amplitude and liberty and victorious
confidence amid the vicissitudes of time. How many Masons grasp this truth in
the Master Degree ? Once a man has grasped it, his whole outlook upon life is
altered, and he feels not simply the obligation, but the privilege, of living
these fleeting days in a manner befitting an immortal spirit. If our ritual
does not convey this truth, it behooves us to see that it does, first by
laying hold of the truth ourselves the better to make it vivid to others, and
second by so shaping our ceremony, or at least by so explaining it, as to make
the truth unmistakable.
* * *
THE ROYAL ARCH
By the same token, if this reading of the Third
Degree is right, we have the clue to a more practical interpretation of the
meaning of the Chapter degrees, as hinted in the February issue, and which
many Brethren have asked us to expound further. Brother Mackey, as we said,
held that the first three degrees in the Blue Lodge are an allegory of the
present life, and that the degrees leading to and including the Royal Arch
portray the progress of the soul in the life to come. To us that is very
unsatisfactory. No, life is one here and hereafter, now and forever, and our
task is to learn to live the eternal life in time. The discovery of this
truth, as taught in the Third Degree, that the soul is immortal now - that
eternity is here, and we live in it - sets the captives free, and they return
to rebuild the fallen temple. It requires a reconstruction of the whole life.
The old foundations of righteousness remain sure and steadfast, as eternal as
the mountain on which the temple stood; and upon that foundation we must
build. We cannot go further in a brief note; but we believe that if this truth
be kept in mind the Chapter degrees will become not only more eloquent, but
more profoundly practical, as showing the trials, struggles and bafflements
which beset the man who dares to live the eternal life.
Immortality is one thing; eternal life is another. Immortality
we have whether we will or no - doomed to it, unable to escape it, and it may
become a burden, as we see in philosophies of the East. The great experience
is when the fact of immortality is heightened and brightened into the glow and
joy and splendor of the eternal life. Most men do not really live, they only
exist, measuring life by duration, not by depth and beauty What matters most
is not length of days, but depth of life radiance of faith, and the fellowship
of things eternal. Such
a life is
continuous, not something we get when we die, but some thing that never dies.
MAKING MASONS AT SIGHT
Dear Editor: - The paper by Brother Wildey E.
Atchison on "Making Masons at Sight" probably has started something. We hope
to hear more of this subject, and see whether the exception is to be taken for
He can't do it in Nebraska. For instance in
proceedings of Grand Lodge Nebraska, 1897, a Grand Master makes his son a
Mason at sight. The Grand Lodge decides as follows: "Without entering into a
discussion of the question of whether or not the prerogative of making Masons
at sight ever inhered to the office of Grand Master, we are of the opinion
that by reason of our situation and Masonic traditions, such prerogative does
not inhere in the office of Grand Master in Nebraska. The Grand Master is the
creature of the constitution of this Grand Lodge and his prerogatives are
defined and limited thereby."
Again; "Your committee on Jurisprudence beg leave
to report that in their opinion Mr. Blank is an irregularly made Mason, and
recommended that the Grand Master, in person or by proxy, be directed to go to
S___ as soon as convenient and heal said Blank, in due Masonic manner, first
requiring the payment of fees prescribed by the laws of the lodge within whose
jurisdiction said Blank resided for conferring of the three degrees of
Our Grand Master attended the Taft "at sight"
affair, and this is the report of Past Grand Master Warren which was adopted
295 to 144: "That there was no error in the action of this Grand Lodge in the
resolution passed in 1897, that said resolution was carefully considered in
committee, debated at length on the floor of this Grand Lodge and adopted by a
vote of 515 to 27. That such resolution was not wrongful but was right, and
correctly announced the true Masonic law, that the so-called prerogative of
the Grand Master of making Masons at sight does not exist and has not existed
since the year 1717; that it does not exist by virtue of any landmark or
ancient regulation, and is not conferred by the constitution or laws of this
Grand Lodge. We therefore reiterate our former declaration that the office of
Grand Master of Masons in Nebraska is a constitutional one, and that the
prerogatives inherent therein are defined and limited thereby."
Atchison says nothing about the authority of a Grand Master waiving the
ballot, and electing a man to membership without charging the fee.
H. H. Andrews, Nebraska.
* * *
Dear Brother Newton: - I have read, in the
February issue of The Builder, a query by Brother F. S. Dunn as to the
correctness of the accepted history that Frederick the Great ever sent a sword
to Washington, with a message, and, incidentally, discrediting the friendship
of these two great men as a "myth."
The history may be verified by reference to the
American Cyclopedia Vol. VII, pp. 466-7-8, the author giving reference to
Carlyle's History of Frederick the Great (6 vols., London 1864), and to
Friederick der Grosse und Katharina II, by Kurd Von Schlozer, (Berlin 1859)
and to Geschichte Freidrich's des Grossen, by F. Kugler, (7th edition, Leipsic
1870), and to Freidrich der Grosse by Droysen, (1st Vol. 1873). Appleton's
Cyclopedia of American Biography (Vol. II) says Frederick sent a portrait of
himself to Washington with a similar message. The above citations are from
standard authorities, and not from current magazines.
But the query, Mr. Editor, in its origin at least,
appears to me as having the ear-marks of that hierarchy which has ever
attacked the record of Frederick the Great: that combination which protested
against the President of the United States accepting the memorial of Frederick
the Great and which, it is believed, attempted its destruction with dynamite
soon after its dedication.
G. W. Baird, Washington, D.
* * *
THE SIMPLICITY OF MASONRY
Dear Brother Newton: - To me it seems that one of
the strongest evidences of the true greatness of our ancient masters, (whoever
they may have been), lies in their having been able to put into the simple
working tools and the every-day task of an artisan craft such pregnant
meanings. That the lesson was well taught is proved by the survival of the
speculative order which has so far outgrown its operative parent. The greatest
teachers of all ages have used the common things around them as illustrations.
The best example is found in the words of Him whom we all call "The Master."
Would there were more Masters today great enough to point their meanings in
such a way. All too many both in and out of our order, are content to parrot
the parables of the past, thinking little of their meanings, or of the
circumstances under which they were first spoken. There is an old legend of
the East to the effect that King Solomon's seal was formed of a triangle of
brass combined with one of iron, with the Most Great Name in the center,
forming the familiar sixpointed star. Through the iron triangle he governed
the spirits of darkness and evil, and through the brass he commanded the good
spirits. I have alluded to this in personifying those virtues in which love
seems a necessary element.
Sincerely and fraternally
Walter R. Reed, North Dakota.
* * *
THE BROTHERHOOD OF THE WISE
Dear Brother: - About fifteen years ago it was my
pleasure to assist in raising in Sagamore Lodge, New York City, a Brother by
the name of William Churchill. He had been Consul to Samoa under President
Cleveland. He had an affinity for language and dialect, and while in Samoa got
into touch with the native tribes and was initiated into what he translated as
"The Brotherhood of the Wise." Some weeks after his being raised in Masonry he
gave a lecture on the similarity between that Brotherhood and the Masonic
Fraternity which was most remarkable, and furnished the clearest proof I have
ever known of the antiquity of the Craft. Among several things in his lecture
which I remember was this: in their barbaric work of fireworship, in the
fourth degree of their order - which was the final degree - they were taught
to feed the fire from piles of leaves in a manner which left the hands in
precisely the position in which every Mason salutes the East from the altar in
the third degree. Again, the rough clothing tied in different degrees at
different positions marked in different stages of the work with charcoal by
horizontals and perpendiculars, which by the final arrangement of the clothing
for the last degree so brought the horizontals and perpendiculars together as
to form a square. This of course was among people who for centuries had been
divorced, as far as all records go, from the rest of the world. Certainly
their traditions were not received in recent days. They have kept no records,
and as Brother Churchill said, they have no legend of how it originated.
Whether Brother Churchill is still alive I do not
know. He was at that time on the staff of the New York Sun. His wife was the
author of a book called "Samoa Uma," published by the Forest and Stream
Publishing Co., New York. Perhaps it would be worth while for you to try to
locate Brother Churchill and get from him a more detailed account of the
Brotherhood of the Wise.
Cordially and fraternally,
Charles A. Alden, Illinois.
(We have kept this letter for some time, trying to
locate Brother Churchill, but so far have been unable to do so. Perhaps some
member of the Society in New York city can tell us whether he is still alive,
and where he can be reached. If so, we would greatly appreciate the
* * *
THE OBLONG SQUARE
Dear Brother Newton: - In the December Builder, a
brother asks the definition of "an oblong square." In the February issue, Bro.
Wm. A. Montell states that it is the L-shaped square of which one arm is
longer than the other.
I believe this is an error. Bro. Montell quotes
the Standard Dictionary as defining "oblong as something longer than it is
broad. Also a square as an instrument to measure or lay out right angles,
consisting usually of two legs or branches at right angles to each other, in
L-shape." This is true, but when he finds his definition of an oblong square
in the combination of these two, and says "this L-shaped square is the oblong
square of Freemasonry," he is combining two incongruous definitions. Suppose,
in order to get the definition of a "saw-horse" I turn to "saw" and find it is
"a cutting instrument with pointed teeth arranged continuously," and to
"horse" and find it is "a quadruped," and by combining the two definitions say
" a saw-horse is a quadruped having pointed teeth," the fallacy of the
argument becomes apparent.
If we examine the definition of oblong more
closely, we will find that it contains an element which cannot be applied to
the L-shaped instrument. The Standard defines it as "longer than broad:
applied commonly to rectangular objects considerably but not extremely
elongated." There are other definitions given, but all indicate that the word
oblong is only applied to symmetrical figures which are longer one way than
the other. The L-shaped instrument does not form a symmetrical figure. It
lacks two sides. Therefore the word oblong cannot be applied to it.
Bro. Montell's error is a natural one, since, as
the Standard Dictionary states, the L-shaped square is used as a device in
Freemasonry, but it does not say that the L-shaped square is the oblong
Now what are the facts ? The L-shaped square is
the carpenter's square, and its adoption as a Masonic emblem seems to be an
error. It is more commonly used in France than in this country. The proper
instrument used in Freemasonry as an emblem of the order is the try-square of
the stonemasons, having arms of equal length, and is used to test the stone to
see that it is square. Mackey states that in this country we have correctly
retained the equality of the legs, but have fallen into the error of marking
the surface with inches, as though it were an instrument to measure with,
instead of simply for squaring the work. As a Masonic emblem it is rich in
symbolism, but it is not the oblong square and therefore need not be
considered further here.
What, then, is the oblong square of Freemasonry? I
believe it is the survival in our ceremonies of a term once common but now
obsolete. My reading has convinced me that at one time the word "square" meant
right-angled, and the term "a square" referred to a four-sided figure, having
four right angles, without regard to the proportionate length of adjacent
There were thus two classes of squares; those
having all four sides equal, and those having two parallel sides longer than
the other two. The first class were called "perfect squares" and the second
class "oblong squares." In time these terms were shortened to square and
oblong respectively, and that is the sense in which they are used at the
present time, so that when we speak of the oblong square, we are met with the
objectionthat if it is a square it cannot be oblong, and if it is oblong, it
cannot be square. This is true in the present sense of the term, but
Freemasonry still retains the older meaning.
Let me give one illustration of this which any reader can
easily verify. In Ivanhoe, (about the second page of Chapter VII) Sir Walter
Scott describes the ground enclosed for the tournament as "forming a space of
a quarter of a mile in length, and about half as broad. The form of the
enclosure was an oblong square, save that the corners were considerably
rounded off in order to afford more convenience
for the spectators."
Our Monitors state that the form of the lodge is
an oblong, but the older Monitors (at least those I have examined), say "the
form of the lodge is an oblong square." This is substantiated by Mackey, who
defines an oblong square as "A parallelogram, or four-sided figure, all of
whose angles are equal, but two of whose sides are longer than the others."
This is illustrated in our ritual when we speak of
forming "a (not the as some jurisdictions erroneously have it) right-angle of
an oblong square." Each such square has four right-angles and when we form the
L-shaped instrument, we form but one of these angles with two of the sides.
The oblong square itself is not formed thereby, and we should not make the
mistake of identifying the two.
When we look at the symbolism of the oblong
square, we find confirmation for the statement that it does not refer to the
L-shaped square. The latter, by itself not being a Masonic emblem, has no
meaning attached to it in the ritual, but the oblong square as the symbolic
form of the Masonic Lodge, has a deep significance. Mackey says, "It finds its
prototype in many of the structures of our ancient brethren. The ark of Noah,
the camp of the Israelites, the ark of the covenant, the Tabernacle, and the
Temple of Solomon were all oblong squares." This form to the ancient mind
represented the world itself, and this is the meaning which it has for
Freemasons, representing the world in which he is to live and work in the
uprearing of his spiritual temple, of which King Solomon's Temple is a type.
We say that anciently E. A.s met on the ground
floor F. C.s in the Middle Chamber, and M. M.s in the S. S. of King Soiomon's
Temple. The first two were rectangular in form and were represented by the
"oblong square," but the third had all four sides equal and in preparing to
enter this " a right angle of a perfect square" is formed.
Trusting that these suggestions may throw some
light on the subject for other brethren who are struggling for the light, I am
C. C. Hunt, Iowa.
THE REVERENCE OF MASONRY
The substantial attitude of reverence in all the
ritual and teachings of Masonry has deeply impressed me as I have progressed
in the order and have learned more of its precepts. I was startled by the
solemn warning given at the door of the lodge that there would be nothing
light nor trifling in the ceremonies of initiation, but that all would be
profoundly significant and should receive reverent attention. No thoughtful
man can pass through the degrees of Masonry without having his mind at some
time hushed in awe, and being made to feel something as Moses must have felt
when commanded to take his shoes off his feet for the place on which he stood
was holy ground.
Not only is the name of God revered and the Holy
Scriptures held sacred, but human life is reverenced. Man is a Master Builder
erecting a temple for God, the plans for the perfecting of which are drawn in
the holy place where God dwells. The search for light and truth is conducted
as for the most sacred treasure. The attitude of Masonry is fittingly
expressed by Mrs. Browning:
"Earth's crammed with heaven,
And every common bush afire
He who has well learned the teachings and spirit
of Masonry is a reverent man. He does not use carelessly the name of God, nor
treat harshly or lightly aught of His creation.
In this attitude of reverence toward man and his
life task, toward the great mysteries of life and the universe, toward God and
the Holy scriptures, Masonry speaks a message that our American people need to
have emphasized often and forcibly. Irreverence is one of our national sins,
as a people we profane the name of God because we are ignorant of forceful
language to express ourselves. We disregard the Sacred Book that bears to
mankind the revelation of God. We jest over the great mysteries of life and
death. We treat lightly the holy ties of home and parental authority. We amaze
the people of Europe by the lightness with which we break the marriage bond.
May not Masonry render a national service by
carrying the reverence of the lodge room into the daily life so that in all
our language and bearing there may be an atmosphere that will rebuke
irreverence and help make all life and all social relations more sacred.
EDWARD JAMES LOCKWOOD, 32d
I feel the soul of a mighty
As it vibrates through aeons
And it spreads o'er the earth
with a masterful touch
Of peace that is grand and
I feel the life of the
As it throbs in each passing
I hear it and see it
From all the flowers and
I feel this life in my human
Rebound with a joyful love,
As it leaps to the tune of a
From the realms of the Father
I bask in its light as it
wraps me around
With all its shimmer and
And the gracious earth is
With her mantle of yellow and
I hear the sound of the
As it blends with the ocean's
So blends the music of my
With the God that we all
And though I am merely an
atom in space
That swings by the light of
I can but rejoice and be
happy and free,
For the Father and I are one.
- Arthur B. Rugg, Minn.
THY LOYAL GUARD
Guard well the citadel
Of noble thoughts and high
That ne'er a cov'tous foe
lurking in ambuscade
Steal in upon thee.
Keep well the lofty tower
Of friendship, true and
That traitors, aye ! nor
Beguile thee in their wiles.
Protect thy loyal guard
Who watchful and alert
Do trust thy aims, obey thy
In all unquestioning faith.
- Mary G. Gross.