The Builder Magazine
January 1916 - Volume II - Number
THE RELIGION OF ROBERT BURNS
BRO. GILBERT PATTEN BROWN, MASS.
men possess some real worth. Creed is an invention of man. Genius is a gift of
God to man. The very name "genius" signifieth original, unacquired gifts, born
gifts: from the Latin of Gignor, to be born; or, older still, from the Greek
of Gennao, to generate, to produce. A man may be a good historian, a
grammarian, or a commentator: only a man of genius can be a painter, a
statuary, or a poet. The poet is an original thinker. Whenever we find a man
of rare intellect working out his own destiny, and showing himself mighty
among his contemporaries, we are benefited by having come in contact with such
a person. In one of that type is a fineness of nature. He is usually a seer.
They have lived in all ages and have been found among all races of men. They
belong to no particular class or creed and are usually deeply religious in
their own way of reasoning. The gentleman of this monograph is without
question Scotland's greatest son. He taught the world through his poems the
difference between religion and creed.
rank is but the guinea's stamp
man's the gowd for a' that."
Possibly no poet ever lived who possessed that original style and uniqueness
of composition as Robert Burns, whose eyes first saw the light of this world
on the twenty-fifth day of the rough old warrior January, 1759, in the quaint
little village of Alloway. The cottage, under whose historic roof he was born,
is still standing. The old parish books of records, dimmed with age, show his
ancestry to have been of the best blood of Ayr and Alloway. The following is a
brief account of this old (Celt) family: "Lawful son of William Burns of
Alloway and Agnes Brown, his spouse," and "baptized by Mr. William Dalrymple:
witnesses, John Tement and James Young."
youthful days of Burns were spent amid rural surroundings, thus giving his
young brain an opportunity to read of the philosophy of life from the open
pages of the book of nature. His playmate in school was his modest brother
Gilbert. The poet's maternal grandfather, Gilbert Brown, was a farmer, and
known for his upright living, also his deep religious convictions. He differed
from the creed of his forefathers as did the poet. Before arriving at manhood
Burns became firmly grounded in the faith of "the fatherhood of God and the
brotherhood of man." While a youth he had witnessed a funeral as conducted by
the institution of Masonry. That sight he had never forgot. In beauteous
Tarbolton, Ayrshire, was St. David's Lodge, No. 174, whose membership
consisted of the "substantial, upright, and honest gentlemen" of the
neighborhood. An extract from the pages of records of that historic body,
under the date of July 4, 1784, reads,-
"Robert Burns in Lockly was entered an apprentice." Signed, "R. Norman." And,
under the date of October 1, the record reads, "Robert Burns in Lockly was
passed and raised, Henry Cowan being Worshipful Master, James Humphrey being
Senior Warden, and Alex Smith, Junior; Robert Wadrown, Secretary, and John
Manson, Treasurer; John Tammock, Tyler, and others of the brethren being
LIGHT IN MASONRY
Burns became extremely interested in his new and most fraternal home. The
lessons he had learned therein had a very welcome place in his heart, and in a
short time he wished for "more light in Freemasonry," by being made a regular
"Royal Arch Mason." In due season he made application for further advancement
in the ancient mysteries of the Institution. It is by the aid of the minutes
of the old "record book" of "St. Abb's Lodge" of Leymouth, and under the date
of May 19, 1787, that the author is able to give the following to his
general encampment of St. Abb's Lodge, the following brethren were made Royal
Arch Masons: Robert Burns, from the Lodge of St. James, Tarbolton, Ayrshire;
and Robert Ainslie, from the Lodge of St. Luke, Edinburgh. Robert Ainslie
paid one guinea admission dues; but, on account of Robert Burns' remarkable
poetical genius the encampment agreed to admit him gratis, and considered
themselves honored by having a man of such shining abilities for one of their
Previous to Robert Burns being made a Master Mason, St. David's Lodge, No.
174, and St. James' Lodge were consolidated under the name, "St. David's
Lodge, No. 174, Ancient Freemasons," and later separated, each Lodge claiming
their pride, "Bobbie" Burns, to hold membership therein.
Throughout Scotland the 24th of June is generally observed by the Masonic
fraternity. In 1786 and in the early part of June, Brother Burns, being
somewhat anxious to have a large attendance on the 24th (St John's Day), sent
to his brother Mason, the Dr. John Mackenzie, a beautiful notice in poem form.
It pleased its readers.
attendance on that "St. John's Day" was large at renowned St. David's Lodge,
and a more proud Freemason never stood in Masonic cloth than Robert Burns as
he extended the warm hand of friendship and brotherhood upon that occasion. He
was a frequent and most welcome visitor to Masonic meetings in many places of
"Bonnie" Scotland. The following is from his talented pen:-
"There's many a badge that's unco braw
ribbons, lace, and tape on:
Kings and Princes wear them a'
the Master's apron
honest craftsman's apron
jolly Freemason's apron,
he at hame, or roam afar
his touch fa's bolt an' bar,
gates of fortune fly ajar,
he wears the apron.
w'alth and honor, pride and power
crumbling stanes to base on:
Fraternity should rule the hour
ilka worthy Mason,
free accepted Mason
ancient crafted Mason.
brithers, let a halesome sang
your friendly ranks alang.
Wives and bairnes blithely sing
the ancient badge wi' the apron string
is worn by the Maste Mason."
own William Cullen Bryant in his address at the Burns birthday centennial
festival, Astor House, Nevi York, Jan. 25, 1859, spoke at length on Burns. The
following is but a brief extract from his well-timed remarks:-
has our great poet deserved this universal commemoration, for whohas written
like him ? What poem descriptive of rural manners and virtues, rural life in
its simplicity and dignity,--yet without single false outline or touch of
false coloring,--clings to our memories and lives in our bosoms like his
'Cotter's Saturday Night'? What humorous narrative in verse can be compared
with his 'Tam O'Shanter'? From the fall of Adam to his time, I believe, there
was nothing written in the vein of his 'Mountain Daisy': others have caught
his spirit from that poem, but who among then, all excelled him? Of all the
convivial songs I have ever seen in any language there is none so overflowing
with the spirit of conviviality, so joyous, so contagious as his song of
'Willie brewed a Peck o' Maut.' What love songs are sweeter and tenderer than
those of Burns? What song addresses itself so movingly to our love of old
friends and our pleasant recollection of old days as his 'Auld Lang Syne,' or
to the domestic affections so powerfully as his 'John Anderson'"?
religion of Burns was truly the religion of a poet. "An irreligious poet is a
monster," he said. "I despise the religion of a fanatic, but I love the
religion of a man." So advanced has become the age of reason that these words
alone make Burns mighty among the world's greatest philosophers. A true poet
is a religious man. He sees goodness in all things: the works of Deity are to
him ever visible.
ago Scotland alone celebrated the birthday of Burns; but to-day people of many
races, creeds, and tongues hold services commemorating that eventful day. We
find many preachers of to-day laying their sacrifice of praise on the sacred
altar of his cherished memory. Even the creed egoist or the race despot cares
not to make war upon the name of Robert Burns. Form to him was nothing, sect
had no welcome in his heart. The peddling politicians of sectarianism played
upon his tender feelings, and, while he was yet young, forced him into
arguments upon theological lines. In later years he frequently declared to the
effect that the theological brawlings of his early life were not to be counted
against him as hostile to religion. For true religion his respect was marked.
See his philosophy in these lines,--
ploughman phrase, God send you speed,
daily to grow wiser;
may ye better reck the rede
ever did th' adviser."
wore no commercial smile, nor did he frown upon the riches of others. He was
never known to speak disrespectfully of Jesus of Nazareth.
following four lines are but a fragment of his poem as paralleled by him to
the eighth chapter of John:-
gently scan your brother man,
gentler sister woman;
they may gang a kennin' wrang,
step aside is human."
the sake of the songs of Burns the rational world has forgiven his sins.
Burns died July 21, 1796, and was buried five days later at Alloway Kirk, Ayr.
No grave in all Scotland is more cherished by the visitor than that of Robert
Burns, who had many faults and who like all men made many mistakes in life,
but whose tender heart gave to humanity some of the sweetest messages since
the Sermon on the Mount, and whose name will live as long as biography has a
charm for the children of men.
do we find Robert Burns to have been a very religious man. Many of his poems
are sermons worthy to be cherished by all lovers of literary worth. He frowned
upon no man for his form of worship of the Deity. He despised the selfishness
of man in commercial life:--
poor, oppressed, honest man
never sure been born
there not been some recompense
comfort those that mourn."
Nature spoke, with benign
on, ye human race
lower world I you resign
faithful and increase.' "
memory of his daughter who died in 1795 he wrote two verses, one of which is
those who for her loss are grieved,
from a world of woe relieved
blooms a rose in heaven."
his truest friends was John Bushby, who was known for his faith in God and his
honesty of purpose in worldly affairs. At his grave Burns wrote:--
lies John Bushby, honest man!
him, Devil, if you can."
"Burns' Day," January 25th, is becoming a popular day of celebration, when, by
those who love the tender side of humanity, race and creed are forgotten.
THYSELF IN CONTROL
the Self to be sitting in the chariot, the body to be the chariot, the
intellect the charioteer, and the mind the reins.
senses they call the horses, the objects of the senses their roads. When he
(the Highest Self) is in mlion with the body, the senses, and the mind, then
wise people call him the Enjoyer.
has no understanding and whose mind (the reins) is never firmly held, his
senses (horses) are unmanageable, like vicious horses of a charioteer.
who has understanding and whose mind is always firmly held, his senses are
under control, like good horses of a charioteer.
has no understanding, who is unmindful and always impure, never reaches that
place, but enters into the round of births. But he who has understanding, who
is mindful and always pure, reaches indeed that place whence he is not born
who has understanding for his charioteer, and who holds the reins of the mind,
he reaches the end of his journey, and that is the highest place.
of the first lessons taught a Mason is prayer, and what a mockery it is for a
man to pray to the great God whose name he profanes. One reason why Masons
lose interest is that they were not first made Masons in their hearts."
BRO. J.L. CARSON, VIRGINIA
Although Ireland cannot boast of having had a Mason's Guild of its own, many
of the cathedrals, churches and monasteries established up and down through
the country were built by bands or companies of skilled workmen belonging to
such guilds who came into "The Kingdom of Ireland" from across "The Channel."
Cathedral of The Holy Trinity (now Christ's Church), Dublin, was built
1157-1230 by a company of such workmen from Somersetshire; Grey Abbey in the
County Down was erected by a body of the brotherhood of operative builders
from Whitby 1190 to 1200; builders from Southwark erected St. Patrick's
Cathedral, Dublin, about 1210; and Saint Mary's Church, Youghal; Saint
Nicholas' Church, Carrickfergus; The Abbey Church, Bangor; County Down, and
many others were "fitly framed together" by members of some of the skilled
brotherhoods of operative Masons from across the Irish Sea, whose camps or
lodges scattered over the face of the land, account for the large number of
St. John's Lodges pre-existing the establishment of the Grand Lodge of
Speculative Masonry existed in Ireland previous to the Grand Lodge era we have
ample proof. Of course, the early St. John's Lodges were purely operative,
gradually becoming speculative, but at what date this change occurred, or of
the circumstances leading up to the change, we have no intimation or
knowledge. This we do know: that as early as 1688 Speculative Masonry was
known and understood in Ireland. In that year John Jones in his tripos
delivered at the commencement exercises of The University of Dublin, delivered
before a mixed assembly of University men and prominent Dublin citizens,
referred to Free Masonry in such terms as to leave no doubt that a general and
wide-spread knowledge of the principles of the speculative element of our
society were fully understood.
1712 at Doneraile House County Cork, where a Speculative Lodge was being held
in the Mansion of Lord Doneraile, The Right Honourable Betty St. Ledger,
afterwards Mrs. Aldworth (sister of his Lordship), was admitted a Freemason,
(she being the only Lady Freemason ever regularly initiated into our society,
her initiation is one of the romances of Freemasonry.)
1717 at least four of these St. Johns or "Time Immemorial Lodges" met in the
City of London with Antony Sawyer as Grand Master and inaugurated the first
Speculative Grand Lodge of the World, The Grand Lodge of England. So in the
year 1725 (or earlier) The St. Johns Lodges of Ireland united to form The
Grand Lodge of Ireland, the oldest daughter of the Mother Grand Lodge.
Dublin papers of 1725 inform us, that on the 26th day of June, that year, the
Grand Lodge of Ireland attended a public ceremony, parading the Streets of
Dublin "on a most magnificent scale," from the same source we also learn that
on the 28th of June "the Master and Wardens of the Ancient and Honourable
Society of Freemasons were chosen, and the Right Honourable Richard Earl of
Ross was elected Grand Master," after the installation "there was a splendid
dinner consisting of one hundred and fifty dishes," "after dinner and music
they went to the play where Mr. Griffith," (the Comedian, who was also the
Grand Secretary) "and the Honourable Society sung a song in praise of
Freemasonry." All this does not look as if it was "the first day out" for our
ancient Irish Brethren, but as all the old records of the Grand Lodge have
been "lost, strayed, or stolen," the exact date of the origin of this Grand
Lodge cannot be definitely fixed, nor the number of Lodges assisting thereat.
The "Munster Records," however, are the first authentic records of any Grand
Lodge in Ireland, informing us that a Grand Lodge met at Cork on the 27th of
December, 1726, The Honourable James O'Brien, third son of William 3rd Earl of
Inchquin, being elected (3rand Master, and Springett Penn, Great Grandson of
Admiral Penn and Grandson of the famous Pennsylvania Quaker, Deputy Grand
Master. On August 9th, 1731, Lord Kingston, who had been elected Grand Master
of England 1728 was elected Grand Master of the Grand Lodge in Dublin. He had
also been elected in 1729 Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Munster; his
acceptance of both important Irish offices served to fuse together the two
bodies in 1731, into the Grand Lodge of Ireland as it stands to this day,
proving the connection and good feeling then existing between the Premier
Grand Lodge of England and the Grand Lodges of Ireland.
1730 John Pennell transcribed and rearranged Anderson's Constitutions for the
Grand Lodge of Ireland, making them the first Irish Constitutions, thus
showing the identity of the systems of the Mother Grand Lodge of the World,
and her eldest daughter the Grand Lodge of Ireland, previous to the
establishment of the Grand Lodge of the Ancients, which deriving its
ceremonial work, and methods of organization from the Grand Lodge of Ireland,
was rather an offshoot of that Grand Lodge than a seceder from the Premier
Grand Lodge of England.
1740 Laurence Dermott was initiated in Lodge No. 26, Dublin, and in 1746 was
its Worshipful Master; he afterwards migrated to London and was practically
the organizer of the Grand Lodge of the "Ancients." He was early appointed
Grand Secretary and afterwards Deputy Grand Master, introducing the Irish
working and all its methods of procedure, dubbing the followers of the premier
Grand Lodge of England as "Moderns."
Irish Craft and the Grand Lodge of the "Ancients" therefore worked pure
ancient Masonry, holding fast to the "original intention" and the Ancient
Landmarks, while the Modern Grand Lodge by its innovations, its errors of
omission and commission, ran the risk of covering the landmarks with so much
quasi-Masonic rubbish as almost to obliterate them altogether.
1766 Grand Secretary Crocker when changing his residence in Dublin lost a
"small hair trunk" full of Grand Lodge records, and in 1801 Alexander Seton
the newly appointed Grand Secretary, took the full of a "Hackney Coach" of
manuscripts, books, and records from the home of Brother Crocker, which have
never since been traced or recovered. Any student of the history of Grand
Bodies can realize this loss; all the history of the Grand Lodge of Ireland
previous to this late has been laboriously gathered together from outside
sources. Alexander Seton (a Dublin Barrister) who captured the old records,
left himself by this and his many irregularities as Grand Secretary open to a
Chancery Suit, that ever famous Irish Orator and Brother Mason, Dan O'Connell
(The Liberator) being Junior Council for the Grand Lodge. The suit went
against Seton who immediately set about fomenting trouble for the Grand Lodge
this period all known and many now unknown degrees were being worked in the
Irish Lodges under no other authority than the Blue Lodge warrants. In fact,
the power to grant the higher degrees was only governed by the ability to
Grand Lodge of Ireland therefore set about cutting all the "frills and
feathers" from the Blue Lodges confining them to the first three degrees.
Seton seized this as a pretext to agitate the provincial Lodges,
misrepresenting the attempts of the Grand Lodge to bring the High Grades under
a central control, set about the establishment of a rival Grand Lodge in
Dublin known variously as "The Grand East of Ireland," "The Grand Lodge of
Ulster," and "The Grand East of Ulster." The central and main plank in their
platform being "that it appears to us that the innovations lately proposed to
be placed on the High Masonic orders are unnecessary, inasmuch as these orders
have hitherto enjoyed uninterrupted tranquillity without any ostensible head
or controlling power." In 1805 about 200 Lodges revolted following Seton into
the "Grand East of Ulster." Things for a time looked serious, but the Grand
Lodge after a five years' struggle came out on top. By wise and liberal
legislation speaking volumes for the good sense of the rulers of the Craft the
effect of the schism died out with astonishing rapidity, and its very memory
was speedily forgotten by all but the few students of Irish Masonic history.
The History of the Grand Lodge of Ireland since this date has been the history
of most other Grand Lodges. It had its ups and downs, its days of prosperity
and adversity, but its Traditions, History and Ritual have been handed down
pure and undefiled, and the glorious banner of the Craft still flies over a
contented and prosperous jurisdiction.
present Ritual was first adopted by the Grand Lodge in 1814. John Fowler "who
had a master mind for ritual" exemplified the working before the Grand Lodge,
and it was then and there decreed that "the work of John Fowler and no other"
be the fixed standard for all future time. Fowler's exemplification introduced
no novelties, omitted no essentials, simply put into concrete form the then
existing but somewhat mixed ceremonies as they had been handed down from the
beginning. Edward Thorp, a pupil of Fowler's, carried on the good work for
many years. The late Judge Townsend and Harry Hodges, as well as our good
Brother W. J. Chetwode Crawley, received their Masonic ritual from Brother
Thorp, without "evasion or equivocation." R.W. Brothers Townsend, Hodges and
Crawley have given of their best to the Grand Lodge of Instruction, so that
the claim of the Grand Lodge of Ireland for the accuracy of its pure ancient
Freemasonry is no vain boast. "Strict verbal accuracy" is demanded where there
is neither a printed or written, recognized or unrecognized monitor or
textbook, and this is the system by which this demand is attained.
Brother in a Subordinate Lodge who shows ability and inclination to master the
ceremonies, is nominated by his Lodge to attend the Grand Lodge of Instruction
in Dublin. If he obtains a certificate of proficiency he becomes instructor to
his Lodge. Two of the ablest of these ritualists in each province are annually
elected Provincial Grand Instructors, who make regular visits to the Grand
Lodge of Instruction, also visiting the Lodges in their province where no
brother holds an instructor's certificate, or to any Lodge as instructed by
the Provincial Grand Lodge or requested by the Subordinate Lodge. If "strict
verbal accuracy" is demanded, so also is "strict uniformity of Masonic
Clothing," no apron, jewel, or decoration other than those appertaining to the
first three and Past Master's degree being allowed to be worn in a Blue Lodge.
This rule is insisted upon in the case of visiting Brethren as well as members
of the Lodge. The Grand Lodge meets in Dublin annually, the Grand Master being
a life appointment and the Grand Officers the appointment of the Grand Lodge
and the Board of General Purposes.
Board of General Purposes arranges and decides almost all business details for
the Grand Lodge, so that its decisions are usually a cut and dry ratification
of the rulings of the Board of General Purposes. Provincial Grand Lodges meet
quarterly, the Provincial Grand Master, usually a life appointment, is the
nomination of the Grand Master. The Provincial Deputy Grand Master being the
nomination of the Provincial Grand Master, it thus transpires, that the office
of Provincial Senior Grand Warden is the highest elective position in the gift
of the Irish Brethren.
Jewels" of Irish Masonry are the Masonic Orphan Boys School, the Masonic
Female Orphan School, and the Victoria Jubilee Masonic Fund, all of which are
supported with the generosity and good will characteristic of the Irish
Freemason at home or abroad, for "Charity suffereth long and is kind."
first Military Warrant (No. 11) ever issued by any Constitution was granted on
the 7th of November, 1732, to the First Battalion of the Royal Scots Regiment
by the Grand Lodge of Ireland. Through the medium of these Military,
Travelling, or Army Lodges, of which the Grand Lodge of Ireland and her Sistel
Grand Lodge the "Ancients" issued many hundreds, Freemasonry reached the
limits of every British possession, and claim may be laid for the lion's share
in the spread of Freemasonry through the length and breadth of the English
Ireland the Royal Arch was known as early as 1743, and the degree of Knight
Templar in 1758. Tradition and generally accepted Lodge gossip leads us to
believe both these degrees were worked in connection with Blue Lodges or as
distinct organizations long previous to these dates. Many, if not all the
Regiments stationed in Ireland having Military Warrants, adopted these degrees
and worked them without let or hindrance under their ordinary Blue Lodge
Warrants, thus s creating what were called "Black Warrants;" hence we account
for the spread of the Royal Arch and Templa; degrees as well as those of Blue
Masonry, whereve these regiments were drafted.
Grand Lodge of Ireland issued the first Grand Lodge Certificate ever handed a
Mason by his Gran Lodge. The first of these certificates that ever crossed the
sea was carried by Laurence Dermott and exhibited with pride by him in the
Grand Lodge in London, thus proving his identity, and his ability to perform
all the Masonic Ceremonies as worked in Ireland at that date. Warrant No. 1 of
the Lodge meeting at Mitchellstown, Co. Cork, is the oldest existing document
of its kind ever issued by any Grand Jurisdiction. Mitchellstown was on the
estate of and near the Mansion of Lord Kingston, Grand Master; thus we account
for its being warranted to that village. It is quite possible it first met in
the Mansion itself. This Lodge claimed to have worked as a regularly
constituted St. John's Lodge for fifty years previous to the issue of its
Grand Lodge warrant. For many years these St. John Lodges held aloof from the
Grand Lodge and did not apply for regular warrants of Constitution. In 1840 we
find the following advertisement in the public newspapers: "Such Lodges as
have not already taken out warrants, are ordered to apply for them to John
Baldwin, Esq., Grand Secretary to the Grand Lodge, or they will be proceeded
against as rebels." Indeed it was a frequent cause of riot and disorder when
the "Regulars" or members of Lodges having received Grand Lodge Warrants, and
the "Bush," "Rebel" or "Hedge" Masons, as those belonging to unwarranted
Lodges were called, met at fairs, markets and funerals, trailing their coats
down the center of the street, each claiming their regularity and yelling "If
you want to raise a row or a ruction just tread on the tail of me coat." And I
say to the readers of "The Builder," if you want to raise either of the
aforesaid ancient ceremonies, just say a bad word about the Grand Lodge of
Ireland, and I'm with you.
went into the market-place of the world on a great fair-day.
the stalls were kept by priests, who kept crying - the crowd:
god will you buy ?"
is the only true god."
to the god of youl ancesters."
god compromises with sin and sells you indugences."
god is easy-going."
god is profitable."
god is fashionable."
buy with gold."
buy with observances."
buy with trumpetings."
God turned wearily away and said to the stars: "How long it
mankind to grow up."
--Elizabeth Gibson Cheyne.
REFLECTIONS ON THE PHILOSOPHY OF ALBERT PIKE
BRO. FRANK W. ELLIS, IOWA
FREEMASONRY has been defined as a science which includes all other sciences.
The study of Morals and Dogma will lead to a keen appreciation of such a
definition and that it is not only the most concise but one of the most
comprehensive and furnishes an illustration of the immense scope of Morals and
according to Pike himself, is to be construed as doctrine or teaching, and so
we have in Morals and Dogma a book which comprehends Masonic morality and
teachings; usually expressed in a more scholarly and dignified way as Pike's
Philosophy of Masonry.
Philosophy of Masonry, or any particular Masonic writer's philosophy, means
the unfolding of the wisdom of Masonry. That is, we as Masons use the terrn
philosophy as a science which treats of our particular system of teaching. We
gather this knowledge or wisdom as a science or a philosophy from numerous
sources; one can safely say it flows from innumerable fountains. Symbols,
allegories, legends, occurrences from the Bible and many dramas, dress this
wisdom attractively. The meaning of the symbols, the pictures produced by its
allegories and legends and Bible occurences make clear the lessons of Masonry
which are called Masonic Philosophy. Why, certain symbols and allegories and
occurences teach these lessons, carries us into a broader and more diversified
domain of philosophy, yea, even into the storehouses of knowledge of all time,
which means a research that only the sage or profound scholar can ordinarily
undertake. It might be well to remark, however, in this connection, that,
given a fairly calm judgment and good mind, such a research will produce a
scholarly result in one not blessed with book knowledge attained in colleges
or schools. If the ordinary mind of the ordinary Mason is not roused or
stimulated to activity for deep learning, he can nevertheless acquire and
absorb the Masonic meaning and come to a Masonic understanding of the all
instructive, all fruitful and all entrancing beauties of the symbols, the
pictures made by the allegories and occurences depicted in Masonry. And when
he gazes into the limpid depths of the streams that flow from these fountains
and interprets and construes their songs and harmonies, the note that strikes
his responsive chord is not difficult of comprehension.
PURPOSE OF MASONRY
not the purpose of Masonry to supplant or supersede religion. Masonry is only
a help to religion. It is to teach us to have a firm belief in God and the
immortality of the soul. Masonic philosophy has this end in view, and works
for that consummation. Belief in the unity of God and immortality of the Soul
is its basic, fundamental law, its eternal lesson and foundation. Its morals
follow necessarily as a postulate, inevitably as a sequence. It is not the
purpose of this paper to endeavor to strike the keys in perfect harmony with
all the conceptions of Pike, borrowed or original, in his moral teachings or
his philosophy, but rather to find some of them as one would hold to his ear
the shell listening for the faint refrain of the cadences of the sounding
deep. It is an effort to pluck and inhale the perfume and observe the beauty
of some only of the flowers which grow in the garden of the Philosophy of
Morals and Dogma.
Undoubtedly, as learned scholars have declared, the philosophy taught in
Morals and Dogma is the reduction of all forces or impulses, spiritual and
material, to dependency for their existence upon the Absolute. The Being who
is Being, always was Being and always will be Being. The universe with all its
ramifications, including life and inanimate matter, came from or emanated from
God, the Absolute. Interpret our individual tenets as we may, nevertheless
they lead to the final Unity, which is the Absolute. That as a necessary
deduction from this doctrine of all springing from or owing existence to the
Absolute or God, there is a doctrine of harmony arising from the action of
contrary forces in everything, whether spiritual or material.
DOCTRINE OF EMANATION
doctrine of the Absolute was taught by nearly all sages, philosophers,
savants, oracles and learned men of all time. It was the doctrine of nearly
all the esoteric institutions of all ages. And Pike skillfully deduces from
the writings of nearly all learned men the theory of the operation of contrary
forces producing harmony. Most commentators on Pike are content to state his
philosophy in the most meager way or as a key to understand his Morals and
Dogma and refer you to a study of his work, which is complimentary not only to
his philosophy but also to the wealth of learning with which his pages
or unadorned statement of the Doctrine of Emanation of everything from God, or
the Absolute, and that such emanations or manifestations operated by the
combined action of contraries, is an arid and barren harvest of the poetry and
beauty and wisdom of Pike's philosophy. Such is the doctrine of the philosophy
of Pike, and bare mention of it may be a sufficient clew or hint or incentive
for the learned and the scholarly or the philosopher. It does not suffice,
however, if we are to stimulate the ordinary Mason to a study of Pike's
philosophy of Masonry. His philosophy is set in many constellations each
composed of many different stars, many of the first magnitude.
doctrine of the Absolute, if it may be called such for brevity, is not a new
philosophy. It is older than written language and stretches away back to the
first method of teaching by symbols and yet further into the dim recesses of
remote and unknown antiquity when mortal thought first took form; if indeed it
was not a part of the first mortal thought and there had its origin. Belief in
God has been intuitive always. It is instinctive, a part and parcel of
humanity, if perchance it is not more and came from communion with God by the
Harmony as a product of spiritual action must be the law of creation of all
things because it could not be otherwise. That sacred subject cannot be solved
by the human mind for the reason that it deals with the infinite which is
above and beyond the human mind. Just so, the blue sky is a name only because
it is not there. We look into infinity which the human eye cannot see. Neither
can the human mind comprehend the operations of the Infinite. The grace and
loveliness of Infinite Creation producing exquisite harmony in every form and
shape and mould stimulates the human mind to endeavor to penetrate its
mysteries, and every force of the human brain is strained to comprehend. It is
the far and futile hope of science. It has agitated the highest and best and
brightest and most profound intellects of all time who have endeavored to
explain it by every symbol that the ingenuity of man could invent. Language,
which is itself a symbol of thought, has been exhausted and tortured, to give
clearness to an explanation. But all in vain. Human reason has its limit in
human understanding. Pristine Truth is not within the purview of man's
the ordinary man the philosophy of Masonry as taught by Pike can bring him
belief in the Unity of God and Immortality of the Soul resting upon human
reason and human faith. This Pike's philosophy teaches its student on nearly
every page. One can read and. study Morals and Dogma and discard the
particular doctrine of every philosopher mentioned therein or to whom
reference is made, and even the philosophy of the Book itself, and still its
pages fairly teem with and pour forth a radiance of morality, founded upon the
logic of immutable laws, which light the way to the goal of human perfection,
or the Utopia of human excellence, because they are based or founded upon our
law;--the Unity of God and Immortality of the Soul.
the morality of mankind, whether in an individual or nation, is founded upon
these immutable principles is our philosophy. Pike warns us again and again
that nature does not explain, that simple things only are explained. The
revelation itself, while revealing, conceals because it cannot be otherwise. A
real mystery is not a mystery because it is understood by only a few, the
select. It is a mystery for the reason that it cannot be explained by
language, for if it could be made plain or evidenced by words it never would
have been a mystery, and would have been exposed when born. Hence, symbols
convey a meaning which can exist only in the thought and in the mind or in the
judgment of the intellect. Multiplying words does not reveal them. That
process only covers or conceals them. For instance, in nature we know only the
effect of fire, we do not know the cause. We know the effect of lightning or
electricity, but not its cause. We may be able in such phenomena to discover
the combination of the elements which compose them, but what acts upon these
elements to produce the effects is a mystery yet unsolved. Likewise, another
mystery, it does not seem that our comprehension, our wisdom, is intended to
solve them. The more we use words to explain the insolvable, the unknown and
the inscrutable the more we re-cover them with an opaque cloak or veil.
and the Immortality of the Soul are far more hidden and impenetrakle to the
human mind than movement of matter. Fire and electricity are matter because it
takes time for them to act. The marvelous force of electricity which comes and
goes, with its terrifying effects, almost instantaneously, a cataract of fire
from the sky, nevertheless is visible and takes time. The shrouded and obscure
ether which we call void or space, by its friction, or for some other cause,
retards light because though light travels with inconceivable rapidity time is
consumed before it reaches the earth from the distant stars.
human reason is perhaps partially defined as meaning proof. Proof appeals to
the judgment, to the intellect, in such manner as to be convincing. In other
words, reason is, in our mind, the certainty of some existence or phenomena we
can appreciate and understand. We all know there are such material things as
dew, light, earth, plants, moon, stars, sun and buildings, trees or objects of
any kind, or rainbows, or clouds or colors because we see them. Science
explains many things indisputably. Many other effects we feel. We are certain
that such things are true and that they exist. Our reason makes them known to
reason ceases we must rely on faith, whether faith precedes or follows reason
or operates with it simultaneously. A faith that is blind, that is covered or
a matter of habit or an inheritance, is not a real faith. We should have a
faith founded upon reason, that is, the certainty of conviction that never
fears or trembles at the approach of doubt. Otherwise we are groping in the
dark or walking in the shadows or in a perennial mist or fog.
in God and the immortality of the Soul is one of the stars of first magnitude
in the constellations which form the entire Philosophy of the Morals and
Dogma, as it is in any philosophy of Masonry. Can we acquire by any philosophy
a real conviction based upon never yielding faith ? Or must we abjure wisdom
and always falter through the darkness? Or can we find a reason for the faith
within us ? Pike says, yes ! Many other learned men say the same. Why? The
Bible is a reason for faith and is entirely sufficient for many thousands.
There can, however, be no harm in cumulating reasons for faith, if there can
be any such piling up of proof outside the Bible. Likely, to all the proof for
faith is there, if we would but find it.
most appealing foundation for a faith founded upon reason is nature. Nature
teaches by symbols; it does not explain. By analogy, if not otherwise, the
lessons of Nature will produce an unyielding and inevitable faith. Nature, the
Universe, is the work of the Absolute, the evidence of the thought of the
Cause of Causes, God. Matter is never destroyed. The soul or spirit of man is
from the Supreme Light and is indestructible by every demonstration of the
philosophy of Pike, aside from certain profound conclusions, aside from its
beautiful lessons of morality, and aside from its innumberable excursions into
the theory of every effort at government and social problems and their effect,
and aside from the worked over and quoted philosophy of the sages and
scholars, reveals a lesson to the ordinary mind of the ordinary Mason so
bright, so resplendent and so lovely as to be fascinating, even though he does
not pretend to be metaphysical. And this is so whether or not Pike uses that
lesson as an illustration or argument for his final consummation and whether
original or borrowed or moulded in the crucible of his astounding mind.
standing parallel with reason are certainly two of the great columns which
Pike's philosophy constructs. Exercise your reason or judgment to make your
faith strong. If your faith in God and immortality is proved to you, it is
immutable and unchangeable ! The strongest winter winds of doubt will never
make it cold or frosty, the hottest tropic blasts of vacillation will never
make it shrivel or shrink, and no atmosphere of hesitation can ever warp or
change its melodious cogency. The fixed certainty of faith must be acquired by
yourself. It is yours instinctively and it needs only its refinement and
education to make it manifest to you. All the accumulated knowledge of all the
libraries of the world are powerless to transfer faith from their pages to
your mind, but only one book may create in you that inestimable human gift;
but without even one book you may gather the harvest of faith from one seed of
wisdom planted by nature.
great, so called, concealed mystery of Masonic philosophy is revealed by
faith. The meanings of its symbols are made obvious by faith. When once
acquired the conqueror may see the seven steps of the ladder, and as he
climbs, looking upward, the clouds break, the horizon broadens and the light
shines more and more clearly until it becomes the refulgence of certain
immortality. Such a faith will reconcile existing evil with God's absolute
wisdom and goodness. Faith with reason are not alone for the profound scholar
sitting perched upon a pinnacle of inaccessible seclusion, but they are also
for him who toils in the valley or works upon the mountainside, if his
thoughts scale the heights along the way that nature has blazed with perpetual
tokens. So reads the philosophy of Pike. Read, and reflect. Stimulate your
mind by reading and exercise it by reflection.
SPAN OF LIFE
span of life is so brief, that the wonderful mechanism of man seems hardly
worth while, but when we come to consider the wonders of nature; that the most
minute forms of life like the infusoria or the animalcula, some of which live
for an hour or a day only, and on the other hand the unspeakable and
stupendous duration of the solar systems, we can gather some idea or
conception by comparison of the microscopical and infinitesimal importance of
man. It is largely this appreciation of the insignificance of self that leads
to a real appreciation of the marvelous magnitude and prodigious phenomena of
nature. Time blots out material life as we crush an ant with our heel or as a
blotter takes up the ink. The brevity of life has been the theme of the bard
and the inspiration of the philosopher. Every lesson of morality and truth and
the virtues have been painted and sung and prosed from the inspiration of the
shortness of life and the insignificance of man. However, because life is
short and self is nothing is not a reason to decline to make the most of life.
To improve our moral nature and find the means of multiplying our beneficence
and to use our best effort for the improvement of our spiritual nature by the
worship of the Grand Architect of the Universe, the interpretation of God's
writing on the great pages of the Book of Nature and the amelioration of the
evils of mankind are the great work of Masonry through its Philosophy. The
pages of Pike shine with this philosophy and faith and reason, and apparently
contraries working co-ordinately, are its beacon light. True there are many
coruscations rising and falling, from and to the great central radiance or
light of faith in God and the immortal Soul founded upon reason. For
illustration let us take two quotations from Pike.
MIRACLE OF LIFE
are two minute seeds, not much unlike in appearance, and two of larger size.
Hand them to the learned Pundit, Chemistry, who tells us how combustion goes
on in the lungs, and plants are fed with phosphorus and carbon, and the
alkalies and silex. Let her decompose them, analyze them, torture them in all
the ways she knows. The net result of each is a little sugar, a little fibrin,
a little water--carbon, potassium, sodium, and the likc one cares not to know
hide them in the ground; and the slight rains moisten them, and the Sun shines
upon them, and little slender shoots spring up and grow;--and what a miracle
is the mere growth !--the force, the power, the capacity by which the little
feeble shoot, that a small worm can nip off with a single snap of its
mandibles, extracts from the earth and air and water the different elements,
so learnedly catalogued, with which it increases in stature, and rises
imperceptibly toward the sky.
grows to be a slender, fragile, feeble stalk, soft of texture, like an
ordinary weed; another a strong bush, of woody fibre armed with thorns, and
sturdy enough to bid defiance to the winds; the third a tender tree, subject
to be blighted by the frost, and looked down upon by all the forest; while
another spreads its rugged arms abroad, and cares for neither frost nor ice,
nor the snows that for months lie around its roots.
lo ! out of the brown foul earth, and colorless invisible air, and limpid
rain-water, the chemistry of the seeds has extracted colors--four different
shades of green, that paint the leaves which put forth in the spring upon our
plants, our shrubs and our trees. Later still come the flowers--the vivid
colors of the rose, the beautiful brilliance of the carnation, the modest
blush of the apple, and the splendid white of the orange. Whence come the
colors of the leaves and flowers ? By what process of chemistry are they
extracted from the carbon, the phosphorus, and the lime? Is it any greater
miracle to make something out of nothing?
the flowers. Inhale the delicious perfumes; each perfect, and all delicious.
Whence have they come? By what combination of acids and alkalies could the
chemist's laboratory produce them ?
now on two comes the fruit--the ruddy apple and the golden orange. Pluck
them--open them ! The texture and fabric how totally different! The taste how
entirely dissimilar--the perfume of each distinct from its flower and from the
other. Whence the taste and this new perfume? The same earth and air and water
have been made to furnish a different taste to each fruit, a different perfume
not only to each fruit, but to each fruit and its own flower."
are all naturally seekers of wonders. We travel far to see the majesty of old
ruins, the venerable forms of the hoary mountains, great water-falls, and
galleries of art. And yet the world-wonder is all around us; the wonder of
setting suns, and evening stars, of the magic springtime, the blossoming of
the trees, the strange transformations of the moth; the wonder of the Infinite
Divinity and of His boundless revelation. There is no splendor beyond that
which sets its morning throne in the golden East; no dome sublime as that of
Heaven; no beauty so fair as that of the verdant, blossoming earth."
these paints with language colored as highly as the foliage and flowers and
with an aroma as beguiling as the perfume of his flowers, the force of
material agencies like air, earth, water and light. Another comprehends the
wonders of the sky, like the countless lamps of heaven hung out at night, or
the wondrous beauty of the chromatic sunset which could only be painted with
colorings from the angels' studio.
fact that the earth is spherical, which we should never forget, and therefore
has no beginning and no end in our minds, is symbolical of its Author;
furthermore, its most material part, its dirt, is part even of the great
celestial plan of the Universe and in combination with other agencies is
obeying the same law of harmony as the solar systems or the same impulse or
cause which agitates the human mind to think or the muscles to move or the
worm to live.
again the lesson, the same eternal immutable law governs the growth of the
blade of grass or the trembling leaf as it does the overarching heavens in
which is displayed the refulgence of the midday sun or the calm glow of the
moon or the patient reflections from the planets or the peaceful
scintillations from the distant stars.
is founded upon the sphere which our reason tells us has no end and no
beginning; the highest and most perfect symbol and expression of harmony. The
Soul, a manifestation of the infinite, indefinable, insolvable, the great
mysterious gift from God--we cannot understand without solving the impossible
and drawing aside the dark veil which covers immortality. If we cannot have
demonstrated to us by indubitable proof one manifestation of the Infinite, the
absurdity of any finite comprehension of the Infinite or Absolute is apparent.
Faith is a human necessity, without it there is only a combination of
fortuitous circumstances which we blindly call chance. Faith is the result of
the reason and works with it hand in hand, as "light and darkness are the
eternal ways of the Universe," now unfolding the morning dawn, or the
brilliant day, now painting the heavens with beautiful colors and now
shrouding the earth like the realms of Erebus, as a never ending panorama of
eternal harmony. Faith is the companion and friend of reason and each are
different but dependable one upon the other as the hemispheres of the brain.
The arc of one is the arc of the other. They are both a part of the same
circle which comprehends everything. The blade of grass is a part of the
circle and so is the milky way, vast in extent and distance, yet only a
pathway in the heavens. Space above is equal to space below. Space is balanced
whether you stand upon the earth or upon the sphere so far away that its light
has not yet reached us. The zenith and the nadir, the most remote points in
the imagination, are also centers of circles so far away that space or
distance become immeasurable as the immeasurable becomes the illimitable. The
same unchangeable laws govern and control the throb of your heart as guide the
destinies of the heavenly bodies whirling along on their voyage through space.
Appreciate this and faith springs spontaneously from the reason! Science has
demonstrated the unchangeableness of these laws. Nature reiterates again and
again in the noiseless revolutions of the spheres or in the silent continuous
growth of trees the immutability of these laws in thousands of years of never
changing perfection. Faith is born from the reason that sees and appreciates
the logical never ending panorama of nature's calm and peaceful and serene
operation through the law of harmony in all cycles of infinite time.
not consider the principle business of the Lodge to procure fun and
entertainment for its members; but to neglect to provide for entertainment at
all is still worse."
“FATHER” TAYLOR: MAN AND MASON
(In its issue of last
April the New England Craftsman published an interesting sketch of "Father"
Taylor, one of the
Chaplains of the
Grand Lodge of Massachusetts in the last generation. Taylor was early
interested in Freemasonry, having joined the Corner Stone Lodge at Duxbury,
as the records reveal, March 6th, 1820, and he loved the Order to the day of
his death. In the days of the anti-Masonic fanaticism, when many withdrew from
the Fraternity, and its members sometimes slunk into meeting hastily, with
caps pulled down over their faces, Taylor used to strut into the entrance with
his hat tilted back on what he called his "organ of obstinancy." Good Bishop
Heddin - under whose obedience, as a Methodist, he labored - tried to stop
Taylor from marching in Masonic processions, to avoid occasion for stumbling,
but to noavail. Taylor marched all the more boldly, and the Bishop said,
"Well, Eddy will wear his apron in spite of us." Taylor was afterwards a
member of the Columbian Lodge, Boston, constant in his attendance, and his
prayer at the opening of the Lodge when the anti-Masonic excitement was at its
height, was never forgotten: "Bless this glorious Order; bless its friends;
yes, bless its enemies, and make their hearts as soft as their heads." He was
also a Knight Templar of the Boston Commandery. We believe the Brethren will
enjoy a further account of Father Taylor, who was not only a great Mason, but
one of the most remarkable men of his day - perhaps the greatest natural
orator America has known. - The Editor)
ROBERT Collyer tells of
attending a prayer meeting one bright May morning in the old Hollis Street
church, Boston. Cyrus Bartol - author of that remarkable book called "Radical
Problems" - was the leader, and after a brief pause in the meeting he spoke to
a man well on in years who was sitting on a front seat who rose to his feet.
There was a rustle in the meeting, and a light of expectation in all faces,
like the breath which touches the leaves in a garden. Collyer bent forward and
heard a strangely sweet voice speaking about Doves. He had seen them that
morning on his way to the meeting, crowding to a window to be fed by some
friendly hand, and the sight reminded him of the words of the prophet: "Who
are these that fly as doves to the window?"
As the speaker warmed
to his theme, the old church seemed to be full of doves - one could hear the
soft whirr of their wings. They came crowding in from the New England woods
and the dove cotes at the North End - doves of the prophet's time, white and
purple, out of the heavens and into the heavens. Then somehow those who
listened were doves, come at the Father's call that morning to be fed from his
hand, or longing to plume their wings and fly away and be at rest. It was the
enchantment of pure genius - a pentecost of flying doves - and Collyer wist
not who had wrought the wonder. So he asked a man who sat near him who it was,
and the man answered, astonished that any one in Boston should ask such a
question, "Why, that is Father Taylor!"
Collyer was a young
man, and after the meeting Bartol introduced him to Father Taylor. The lad
held out his hand shyly, and the old man did not offer his in return. Instead,
he opened his great arms, caught the boy in a warm embrace, and kissed him.
Thereafter they were friends to the end. That was Father Taylor - "Jeremy
Talyor in butternut," as Harriet Marteneau called him - and the only man on
this side of the sea Charles Dickens went to hear on his first visit; the man
who charmed Jenny Lind, the elder Booth, Webster, Emerson, Everett, and all
who heard him; and whose smile was so bright that his little daughter made up
her mind that this was what made the flowers open in their living room.
Taylor was born on Christmas day in
Richmond, Virginia, 1793 - into a forlorn world, because his mother, a Scotch
governess, passed out of life as he came in. The little "bundle of a baby"
fell into the care of a black mammy, whose love and gentleness ever after
haunted his heart. Like Moses, drawn out of the bulrush ark, he was a
foundling of providence, dowered with the mysterious power we call genius. He
was a ruddy child, as of red earth the first Adam was made - a sort of lion,
if one looked at him through the glasses of Darwin, but a lamb also, having
the subtility of the serpent in his intellect and the sweet foolishness of the
dove in his heart. Like the elder Booth who wanted prayers over some dead
pigeons, so Taylor held funeral services over chickens and kittens who
departed this life, and used not only persuasion, but a whip to gather his
audience of pickinninies and put them in proper frame of mind - though the
lash was doubtless as gentle as the oratory was wonderful. When he was seven
he was one day picking up chips for the good woman to whom the charge of him
had fallen, when a sea-captain passing by asked him if he did not want to be a
sailor. Instantly he left the chips, ran to the house and shouted, "Good-bye
mother," and was off sea as cabin boy.
In the biography of
Taylor - by Gilbert Haven and Thomas Russell - the next ten years are called
“a blank," and they were no doubt a hard experience, to which he rarely
referred. Years later when he was taken by a friend to visit Dr. W. E.
Channing, on leaving the house he observed to the friend, "Channing has
splendid talents; what a pity he has not been educated!" By which he meant, no
doubt, that there is a kind of education not to be obtained from books - such
as he had acquired in the university of winds and waves, through whose long
and trying curriculum, with many sharp examinations, he had passed. For ten
years he endured hardness as a good sailor, and we next see him wandering on a
Sunday morning into the Park street church, Boston, and leaving it with a
hunger in his heart to be able some day to appeal to men like the great
preacher he heard there.
STRANGE WARMING OF HEART
Another Sabbath found
him in a Methodist chapel, and his heart was strangely moved by one who probed
to the depths of that latent conscience and remorse which probably lie
somewhere in the background of every soul. As he was going out a good man
grasped his hand - as Methodists have a way of doing - and asked him about his
soul. This was a double surprise, for the boy wanted human sympathy and here
it was, and he was not aware until then that he had such a thing as a soul.
And the upshot of it was that he was converted in the good old Methodist way -
that is, converted all over, set on fire, all icicles melted and all sins
burned up. It was the memory of this high and sunny hour that led him to tell
his Unitarian friends that they were trying to raise wheat in the Arctic
Circle, and that they might as well try to heat a furnace with snow balls as
to save souls in their way.
In the war of 1812
Taylor went to sea on the Black Hawk, a privateer. She was soon captured by
our friends the enemy, and her crew were sent as prisoners to Halifax, Nova
Scotia. There was a rebellion among the boys when the chaplain read the
prayers to them for King George, so they would not hear him. Taylor was known
to be "a praying man" and he was asked to take the chaplain's place. He was
quick and ready to do this, and after a time it dawned upon the boys that one
who could pray so well might also preach, because, as they argued, it was only
the difference between talking on your knees and on your feet. But Taylor
could not read and he was puzzled about finding a text. The problem was easily
solved. They found a Bible and one of the boys would read at haphazard until
some text struck fire. So, reading one day, they came upon the words, "A good
child is better than a foolish old king," and Taylor said, "That will do for a
text," and he launched out into a story of our glorious Revolution, set them
all afire, and came down heavily on foolish old King George to the vast
delight of his audience. From that time he was chaplain on a prisoner's ration
while the other man drew the pay.
Released from prison,
the young apostle could not hide his light under a bushel - for that would
have burnt the bushel, so he became an exhorter at the meetings on Methodist
Alley. And the good Methodists - wise in this as in many things - were for
giving him a license as a local preacher, despite the fact that he could not
read; and two church officers were sent to hear him. Taylor was not supposed
to know of their presence, but a kind friend told him, and he took for his
text, "By the life of Pharoh ye are spies." All the same he was licensed to
preach on a salary of nothing a year and board himself - the conditions on
which I preached the first year of my ministry, and I am sure now that I got
the best of the bargain ! To make his board Taylor hired out to a peddler in
Ann street, who sent him down the coast with a load of tin notions. He came to
Saugus in his journey, disposed of his wares, and then was moved to preach -
sold his tins first, mark you, and preached afterward, not before - and won
the heart of a dear old lady, who took him to her home, taught him how to
read, and gave him the love of a mother. Later Amos Binney tried to send him
to a theological school, but he stayed only six weeks and could stand it no
So a full license was
given him, and he was sent to Marblehead to take charge of an infant church
there. And there he met Deborah, a maid to win the love of any man, and soon
the young prophet was vastly in love. Shortly after he was moved to Hingham -
four miles away - and one day he went up on the hill to gaze toward
Marblehead, with a telescope to assist his heart, when in a flash the thought
struck him and he leaped to his feet with the cry, "Bless my heart, this is
our wedding day and I forgot all about it!" It was long after the hour set,
but Deborah knew that if Edward ran he would run only one way. Still, one
wishes that we had a report of their meeting next morning, to see how genius
rose to the high demand when he told her how it was. They were married, and
there was no need for the minister to say tor better or worse," for there was
no worse - it was all and always for the better.
At Duxbury, where he
and Deborah lived, he disturbed the long-enduring slumber of that fine old
town, and some of the ministers were jealous of him. One of the ministers -
the Unitarian pastor, meeting Taylor on the street, said, "So young man, ye
have come to preach in Duxbury, have ye?" "Yes," replied the young man, "the
Lord bid us preach the gospel to every creature." "To be sure," snorted the
old man, "but he never said every critter should preach the gospel, sir," and
went away in wrath. And next Sunday Taylor prayed that every white hair on
that old man's head might be hung with
a jewel of the Lord. He also prayed,
specifically, that the Lord might "bless meek Burr, and proud Pratt, and save
wicked old Alden, if you can !"
About this time, 1828,
the good Methodists began to feel concern for those "who go down to the sea in
ships," and it was surely the good God who guided them in selecting Edward
Taylor for this ministry. He began in a dingy chapel on Methodist Alley, but
the room was soon too small - many people from fashionable churches going to
hear a man with a golden voice and a heart of fire. Nathaniel Barret; a
Unitarian layman, wrote notes to a hundred of his friends, mainly of that
faith, calling them together. He laid the matter before them, and it was
decided to build a new meeting house for Taylor. So the Unitarians built a
chapel for the Methodist evangelist, and that was in accord with the eternal
fitness of things. They asked Taylor what he wanted, and he said they might
leave out the Corinthian columns and give him the shavings. But they gave him,
instead, of their best, and that was none too flood..
The chapel was built in
the shape of a ship, in dark finish, with low ceiling, ample and inviting.
Behind the pulpit an artist hung a painting of a ship in distress, stormed
tossed and driven. Taylor called this temple "Bethel," remembering the ladder
of Jacob whereon angels ascended and descended in a dream that was also a
prayer. And Edward Everett called Taylor himself "a walking Bethel." Two
sailor boys stood in front of the chapel one day, and one who could spell
proceeded to make out the name over the door: "B-e-t, that's beat; H-e-l,
that's hell, here's where the old man beats hell, let's go in." And they came
in numbers, a wilderness of wild human souls, and the genius of Taylor shone
like a beacon in the night. But so many others came that he had to make a rule
that the sailor boys should be seated first, and if they filled the seats the
rest must stand. Sailor Jack saw the point, and sat on his dignity.
To the sailor boys he
was a friend and father, and so it came about that he was called "Father"
Taylor - and a higher tribute was never paid to a Christian minister. Taylor
had the freedom of the city. He knocked at every door, Orthodox, Episcopal,
Catholic or Radical, and everywhere he was welcome, and everywhere he was at
home, being large enough, and wise enough, to see the good in every faith. By
the same token, he would have no doors to his pulpit, and one day when a
minister refused to enter because Henry Ware, a Unitarian, was to sit there -
a way some men had in those days of proving that they were Christians, by
failing to be gentlemen - Taylor prayed fervently: "Lord, there are two things
we need to be delivered from in Boston - bad rum and bigotry. Which is the
worst Thou knowest, I don't, Amen." When some one said in his hearing that
Emerson would surely go to hell, he cried out: "Go there ! Why, if he went
there he would change the climate and the tide of emigration would set in that
Of all American orators
he was the most original and inimitable in his genius and style. If you would
know by what spell he swayed men, the cultured equally with the unlearned,
read the little essay on Father Taylor by Walt Whitman, in "November Boughs."
There you will see, as far as such things can be put into words, why it was
that great actors when they came to see "how he did it," forgot what they came
for and retreated behind their pocket-handkerchiefs to hide their sobs. There
were great orators in Boston - Everett with his studious grace, Webster with
his majesty, and Choate with his oriental fancy - but no one carried men away
in a chariot of fire as Taylor did; and this power in him surprised no one
more than it did himself. He was a possessed man, and in his rapt moods he
became a live transparency in which men saw those things of which it is not
lawful to speak. And, joined with this, was that winged wit, that fine and
sure sanity, that common sense which his heavenly genius glorified. Here are
some of his sayings:
"A man should not
preach like he had killed somebody," he said when a brother was too solemn.
He compared getting
ready to preach to fermentation: "When the liquor begins to swell and strain
and hum and fizz; then pull the bung !"
"When a man is
preaching at me I want him to take something hot out of his own heart, and
shove it into mine - that is what I call preaching."
One day, preaching on
amusements, he paid eulogy to Jenny Lind as "the sweetest song-bird that ever
alighted on our shores." A man sitting on the pulpit steps asked if a person
dying at one of her concerts would go to heaven. Taylor's eyes became two
points of green fire, and he said: "A good man will go to heaven, sir, die
where he may, and a fool will be a fool wherever he lives, though he sits on
my pulpit stairs."
A man caught in the
Millerite craze insisted on telling the sailor boys to get their ascension
robes ready, as the world was coming to an end, and Taylor cried out, "Cut his
boot-straps and let him go up, so the meeting can go on !"
"Emerson, I think, is
the sweetest soul God ever made, but he knows no more about theology than
Balaam's ass knew about Hebrew grammar. There seems to be a screw loose in him
somewhere, but I never could find it, and listen as I may, I can find no jar
in the machinery."
To a minister who had
taught the dogma of infant damnation, he said: "It's no use, brother,
preaching sermons like that, because if what you say could be true, your God
would be my devil."
"Webster is too bad to
trust with anything good now, and too good to throw away; he is the best bad
man I ever knew."
"Niagara is like the
love of God; it never freezes up in winter, never dries up in dog days, and
you never come to it for water and go away with an empty bucket."
And so, like a Niagara,
the stream of his wit and wisdom flowed on, leaping, sparkling, and seemingly
inexhaustible, until it emptied into the great sea. In April, 1871, he passed
on - or over, as the French say - going out with the ebbing tide, as "an old
salt" should. Just before he died some one said: "There is rest in heaven, and
you will soon be there."
"Go there yourself," he
said, "I want to stay here."
"But think of the
angels, all waiting to welcome you," he was told.
"I don't want angels, I
want folks." And then in an instant the old radiance returned and he said:
"Angels are folks, too, and ours are among them."
So passed the waif,
sailor, privateersman, prisoner, and preacher - a big, fiery, fatherly, joyous
man whose heart God had touched - and Boston paid honor to one of her first
citizens, if not to the greatest natural orator that ever lived. And there was
sorrow on the sea, for many a sailor boy felt a lump climb into his throat and
a strange tightening about the heart, when he learned that Father Taylor was
MASONRY AND RACE PATRIOTISM
One of the lessons of
the past year is the inadequacy of nationalism as a humanizing and civilizing
force. Men are killing each other in Europe for no other reason than that they
are living under flags of different colors and on opposite sides of imaginary
boundary lines. There is no ground in nature or reason for their flying at
each others' throats. Patriotism is no virtue when it dwarfs the sympathies
and narrows the soul's horizon; it is simply bigotry and selfishness, and
becomes a menace to the world. John Paul Jones, America's first naval hero,
called himself a citizen of the world, and though a Scotchman by birth fought
for the Colonies because he thought they stood for a wider patriotism than had
obtained before. He stood for America because he regarded America as standing
for man as man. His enthusiasm was for the human race rather than for a
nation. Love of country is a noble passion, but not as noble as the love of
man. The Christ looked beyond the boundaries of land and race and threw the
cords of his sympathy and affection around the world.
Masonry has a distinct
interest in this, and has played a big part in its promotion in the past. It
has an opportunity for the assertion of world-patriotism so unique and
inviting that it amounts to a mission. Brotherhood is among our fundamentals;
the ties that bind us are fraternal and natural and are embarrassed by no
consideration of flag or clime. There is no such thing as an alien Mason; we
are all brethren wherever we live and by whatever national name we may call
ourselves. We can put fresh emphasis on this in these days of strife and hate.
The American Mason has the opportunity of a millenium to teach and live the
brotherhood the order stands for. Whatever barriers may separate Masons of the
countries at war the American is on terms of fraternity with them all and can
help them back to the same fellowship with each other.
Brother John A. Marquis, President of Coe College
"The world judges
Masonry by the public walk of those who compose its membership. If that walk
is crooked, the institution is not held blameless."
BUILDING AND BUILT UPON
"I am afraid you may
not consider it an altogether substantial concern. It has to be seen in a
certain way, under certain conditions. Some people never see it at all. You
must understand, this is no dead pile of stones and unmeaning timber. It is a
living thing. When you enter it you hear a sound - a sound as of some mighty
poem chanted. Listen long enough, and you will learn that it is made up of the
beating of human hearts, of the nameless music of men's souls - that is, if
you have ears to hear. If you have eyes, you will presently see the church
itself - a looming mystery of many shapes and shadows, leaping sheer from
floor to dome. The work of no ordinary builder !
"The pillars of it go
up like the brawny trunks of heroes; the sweet flesh of men and women is
moulded about its bulwarks, strong, impregnable; the faces of little children
laugh out from every corner stone; the terrible spans and arches of it are the
joined hands of comrades; and up in the heights and spaces are inscribed the
numberless musings of all the dreamers of the world. It is yet building -
building and built upon. Sometimes the work goes on in deep darkness;
sometimes in blinding light; now under the burden of unutterable anguish; now
to the tune of great laughter and heroic shoutings like the cry of thunder.
Sometimes, in the silence of the night-time, one may hear the tiny hammerings
of the comrades at work up in the dome - the comrades that have climbed
Charles Rann Kennedy.
FREEDOM'S GOD'S DESTINY FOR MAN
If there did not exist
a God, the protector of innocence and liberty, I would prefer the condition of
the lion, ranging uncontrolled the desert and the forest, to that of a captive
at the mercy of a mean tyrant, who, an accomplice of his crimes, will provoke
the anger of Heaven: but no; God has destined man for freedom. He protects
him, that he may exercise the heavenly gift of free will. - Simon Bolivar
BRO. GEO. W. WARVELLE, ILL.
action of last year, confirming the decision of the year preceding relative to
the eligibility of maimed candidates, has attracted much attention and
produced widely varying opinions. In the main, however, the opinions are
favorable and it is certain that the precedent we have set will be followed in
many jurisdictions. I use the word "precedent" advisedly, for no jurisdiction
had before then taken so radical a position with respect to physical
requirements. Rut, all that was needed was a leader. Illinois, to its honor,
assumed the office, and many will follow.
Pennsylvania candidates must be physically faultless. In Washington, it would
seem, much the san1e rule prevails, but in most of the jurisdictions an
imperfection of the body or loss of a member will not debar a candidate if by
artificial aid he is able to "conform to the requirements of the ritual." Last
year the Grand Chapter of Washington approved a decision to the effect that "a
brother with one foot off at the ankle, otherwise a sound man, although he has
an artificial foot" is not eligible for the Chapter degrees.
this rigid rule of exclusion prevails the palpably unfraternal character
thereof is usually defended by a recourse to the "ancient landmarks." It seems
almost unnecessary to say that there are no ancient landmarks of Royal Arch
Masonry and about the only ancient requirement for exaltation is, that the
candidate must "have regularly passed the chair." In fact, the present rule of
physical perfection, as applied in the Lodge, is mainly due to the strict
interpretation by American ritualists of the old laws of the operative
society. In England physical defects or deformities create no bar to the
admission of candidates whose moral character is sound. And this is in
consonance not only with fraternal spirit but with reason. To deny admission
to a maimed candidate, however worthy he may otherwise be, is an act utterly
at variance with the principles of Freemasonry as a speculative institution.
AGE, NEW TESTS
Commenting upon this subject, Comp. J. L. Seward, of New Hampshire, makes the
following pertinent remarks:
Masonry has no landmark aside from its dependence upon symbolic Masonry. It
simply requires that an applicant shall be a Master Mason. It leaves the
requirements for symbolic Masonry in the hands of that branch of Freemasonry.
the same time, we believe that the landmarks with respect to physical
qualifications in symbolic Masonry should be interpreted with regard to the
age in which they were originated, and with respect to the original purpose.
The purpose was to initiate men who were most fit for the work in hand. At
that time it was operative stone work, requiring strength, muscle and
excellent bodily development. How is it today? What do we require of a modern
Mason ? We should still require that he be qualified for our work. But what is
our work ? It is wholly of a moral, charitable and intellectual character.
Physical perfection, as it is called, develops good athletes, pugilists, ball
players and circus performers. Even our modern colleges and universities are
greatly overvaluing men of this stamp. Do Freemasons wish to be understood as
placing the emphasis of the qualifications upon a standard so low and so
grossly coarse? Doubtless a certain regard should be had for the physical
condition of an applicant, but that should be minimized in comparison with the
emphasis which we ought to place upon the moral and intellectual
the best argument for the abolition of this useless and unfraternal
requirement, that has come to my notice, is made by Comp. Arthur E. Stevens,
G. H. P. of Michigan. Commenting thereon he says:
is this law of physical perfection and from whence did it derive its origin ?
law of the old charges which declares that a candidate must be a perfect
youth, 'having no maim or defect in his body,' was a practical rule adopted by
operative Masons, not for any symbolic reason, I take it, but merely for
medieval guild of Catholic builders for whom the old charges were made was a
body of superior workmen jealous of its position. It considered itself better
than any local guild or ordinary masons, as it was, for its members
constructed works of stone which the average mason of this day could not
undertake. It did not want any apprentice who, when he had learned his trade
and arrived at manhood, was not the equal in skill and physical ability of his
fellows. From their viewpoint physical perfection was as important or more so
than moral perfection. This was practical and operative, not symbolical or
working tools of the operative mason have become to us symbolic of spiritual
truths and the physical perfection required of the ancient apprentice should
become to us but a symbol of that moral and spiritual perfection which we
demand in our candidates, with due allowance for the essential imperfection of
human nature. But even this view need not be considered in Royal Arch Masonry.
Those who apply to us for further light are of necessity Master Masons, and if
they have proven themselves to be morally such as we are authorized to receive
what right have we to debar them from Capitular Masonry?
argument has often been made that a man should be able to prove himself a
Mason in all the ways provided.
"Presuming a brother maimed has become a Royal Arch Masonr and granting that
he could not in all the ways provided prove himself one, does Capitular
Masonry suffer. Is the brother forced from the companionship of his own
Chapter, where he undoubtedly will find the most pleasure to be derived from
his membership ? Or will he not be incited by the fact of his physical
disability to so perfect himself in Masonic knowledge that if necessary he can
make himself known as a Royal Arch Mason to the satisfaction of the most
critical examiners? Or if he can not, will not the loss be his and his alone ?
"Companions, can we think that we are bound to deprive our unfortunate brother
of the privilege of such additional light in Masonry as we are able to
furnish, because in ancient times operative masons chose only those who were
sound and capable of handling and setting stones? Or even, if in our
conscience we believe that Master Mason Lodges are bound to take physical
disability into consideration, are we also bound to believe that Chapters
should do the same ? I do not believe that you so think and I therefore
recommend that Article 10 of the Constitution be amended by striking out
Section 4, and that Sections 5, 6, 7 and 8 be renumbered as 4, 5, 6 and 7
pleased to report that Grand Chapter rose to the occasion and effected the
reform the G. H. P. recommended.
foundation for the modern theory of faultless physical condition of
candidates, is based on that part of Anderson's compilation of the Ancient
Charges which reads as follows:
Master should take an Apprentice unless he be a perfect youth, having no maim
or defect in his body, that may render him incapable of learning the art, of
serving his Master's lord and of being a brother."
development of the theory into what we may call the "American rule," is
largely due to the comments and interpretations of the late Cornelius Moore.
His edition of the Old Charges was for years received by American Lodges with
the reverence paid to Holy Writings and his commentary was regarded as almost
consistent, however, the advocates of th perfect youth doctrine should exclude
from the congregation of the faithful all old, infirm and maimed Craftsmen.
That is, the same rule that debars the admission of the "imperfect" youth,
should work the exclusion of the worn-out, disabled or maimed within the fold.
The reasons which apply in the former case are equally cogent in the latter.
There are many aged brethren who, by reason of physical infirmity, are utterly
unable to give the signs, or even to see them, or, perhaps, to hear the word.
They are quite as incapable of "proving themselves" as the candidate without
hands or feet or who has lost "the end of the little finger of the left hand."
How can they practice the "art" or "serve their Master's lord." Out upon them
for a parcel of imposters.
GIFTS OF GOD
God at first made Man,
a glass of blessings standing by;
(said he) pour on him all we can.
the world's riches, which dispersed lie,
Contract into a span.
Strength first made a way;
Beauty flow'd, then Wisdom, honour, pleasure
almost all was out, God made a stay
Perceiving that alone, of all his treasure, Rest in the bottom lay.
I should (said he)
this jewel also on my creature,
would adore my gifts instead of me,
rest in Nature, not the God of Nature,
both should losers be.
let him keep the Rest,
keep them with repining restlessness;
him be rich and weary, that at least,
goodness lead him not, yet weariness
toss him to my breast.
The-one great lesson taught in Masonry is to do something, and in doing that
something, bless somebody else.
MASONRY AND THE MYSTERIES
BRO. GEO. F. GREENE, MICHIGAN
seem strange to many Freemasons, and some may ask Why ? the operative masons,
architects, and builders, should have ever been considered as special
guardians of the Mysteries of Freemasonry, as it is claimed they were during
the middle ages.
understand this clearly, it must be remembered that the ancient mysteries were
generally celebrated in peculiarly constructed Temples, or else in artificial
caverns constructed for the purpose; consequently, in order to present the
drama of initiation impressively, many secret chambers, passages, doors and
other secret devices, had to be constructed within the interiors, in order
that the impressive ana spectacular effect desired in the initiation might be
an absolute necessity that the priests should employ skilled labor for this
purpose, and, it was also an ahsolute necessity that it should be that of the
initiated, in order that the secret preparatory work should not be revealed,
and for this work only cunning workmen were chosen.
said that in Pompeii there is a rediscovered Temple of Isis, showing a secret
stairway by which the priests could climb unseen, to an opening inside of the
"veiled statue of the goddess," and there talk through her marble lips to her
followers, giving them warnings, and uttering oracles of wisdom. The
researchers also came to a place where the floor, or ground, had been made in
such a manner that it would rise up and down like a wave, caused by some
mechanical device, that had been contrived by the skill of the ancient and
trusted initiated workmen.
was known as the "Cave of Trophonius," was noted for its interior mechanism,
resembling the female generative organs as the womb of Mother Earth. Those who
came to consult the oracle, placed themselves before a small aperture, which
was made in such a manner that it symbolized their being "born again ;" as
soon as they were seated, the aperture opened noiselessly, and their whole
body was drawn inward by some invisible power, to what was supposed to
represent another world.
after learning certain lessons in the new life, they were supposed to die, and
to be returned to the place from whence they came. What actually transpired
inside was never revealed by the person on his return, but he was pale and
exhausted, as though some great and severe ordeal had been passed through.
architect of this wonderful cave, who was Trophonius, after whom the cave was
named, was, with his brother Agemides, the architect of the Temple of Apollo
Together they designed all the mechanism, and the secret arts, parts, and
points, which related to the Material Mysteries that were intended to be
practiced within its walls. Secrecy was imperative, therefore the priests,
fearing that the secret construction might be revealed, and their duplicity
discovered, told them to wait eight days for their money. During that time
they were poisoned, and were found dead in their beds.
the Mysteries were discontinued by the religion of the Roman Empire, and the
priests were no longer allowed to practice their arts, it was these skilled
operative builders alone, that were still held together by their initiation,
and were not bothered, because they never practiced priestcraft.
Finding that Temples, and other structures, still had to be built and
repaired, they naturally kept up their associations, and their secret arts
among themselves, and, as they had a monopoly of Temple building, they assumed
an independence and consequence, upon which followed the favor of princes, and
others high in authority, who desired their expert services to build
complicated structures. Thus, having use for their secret organization, they
naturally kept up and preserved the occult ties which united them formerly so
closely in the Mysteries, and whose emblems, signs, and legends they became
the last custodians of, after they had ceased to be celebrated by the priests;
and, never having had the higher secrets communicated to them, it becomes
doubtful if the real meaning of the secrets are known today even by the
priests of the Orthodox Church; or, are claimed by anyone, in their entirety,
outside of the Adepts of India.
originated, without doubt, the traveling free masons of the middle ages, who
have left so many traces of their wonderful skill in the building art.
surely had, and used, in their initiation, the rudiments of the ancient
Eleusinian Mysteries after they were abolished by Valentinian.
doubt they became corrupt, and the secret meaning of the symbols was lost;
but, that the present initiation of Free Masonry is derived from this source
is almost certain, because none of the Pass Words are in French, English, or
German, or any other modern language, as would have been the case had they
been originated in modern times; instead they are all Egyptian, Chaldean,
Hebrew, or Hindoo.
their wording they prove that they were used when the Sign Leo was in the
Summer Solstice, and that was 4500 years ago. But the Verbal Form of our
Ritual is another matter; there is no question but what that is a modern
would learn to view modern Freemasonry from a rational standpoint, and study
to understand its mystic legends and allegories in their substance, without
any regard to the modern language in which they are clothed, and investigate
the meaning of its ancient ceremonies, its signs, symbols, and emblems, paying
no regard to the erroneous modern explanation, we might be able to learn
something to our advantage.
doubt the bases of all the ancient mysteries were identical, and had a common
origin; which was known as the "Secret Doctrine," and which is still claimed
to exist in India among the Hindoo Adepts.
claim that this religious base is from the actual history of events, as they
really took place in the world, must, and will be abandoned by the few really
intelligent people who still cling to it.
Masonry especially, cannot afford to be placed in a false light by religious
fanatics, or longer allow them to foister upon its members, false doctrines,
or creeds of any kind. Our Light added to the coming Light will make the way
plain. So plain in fact "that he who runs may read."
Contemplating the internal situation as well as the external relations of the
United States, we discover equal cause for contentment and satisfaction. While
many of the nations of Europe . . . have been involved in a contest unusually
bloody, exhausting, and calamitous, . .; in which many of the arts most useful
to society have been exposed to discouragement and decay; in which scarcity of
subsistence has embittered other sufferings; while even the anticipations of a
return of the blessings of peace and repose are alloyed by the sense of heavy
and accumulating burdens, which press upon all the departments of industry,
and threaten to clog the future springs of government, our favored country,
happy in a striking contrast, has enjoyed general tranquillity - a
tranquillity the more satisfactory because maintained at the expense of no
duty. Faithful to ourselves, we have violated no obligation to others. -
President Washington, in his Address to Congress, December 8,1795.
OF OUR FATHERS
of our fathers, out of our heritage woven,
for a city of hope, forever young,
to the winds of earth our ageless challenge,
Skyward in you man's faith once more is flung -
may the ships come riding home, thronged with alien faces
yearn with light disguised, that glow with unsuspected powers;
our fortunate eyes, grown old, look up and see you waving
Welcome to younger days and newer dreams than ours.
the calmly gathered thought,
innermost of life is taught;
mystery dimly understood,
love of God is love of good;
to be saved is only this -
Salvation from our selfishness.”
little day is fading fast; upon the mountain's brow the sinking sun is
gleaming red; the shadows lengthen now; the twilight hush comes on apace, and
soon the evening star will light us to those chambers dim where dreamless
sleepers are. And when the curfew bell is rung, that calls us all to rest, and
we have left all worldly things, at Azrael's behest, O may some truthful
mourner rise, and say of you or me: “Gee whizz ! I'm sorry that he's dead ! He
was a honey bee ! Whate'er his job he did his best; he put on all his steam,
in every stunt he had to do he was a four-horse team. He thought that man was
placed on earth to help his fellow guys; he never wore a frosty face, and
balked at weeping eyes; the hard luck pilgrim always got a handout at his
door, and any friend could help himself to all he had in store; he tried to
make his humble home the gayest sort of camp, till Death, the king of bogies,
came and slugged him in the lamp. I don't believe a squarer guy existed in the
land, and Death was surely o ff his base when this galoot was canned !” -
times are gone when only few were fit
view with open vision the sublime,
for the rest an altar-rail sufficed
obscure the democratic Christ. * * *
Perceiving now his gift, demanding it,
benison of common benefit,
Interpreters of time,
found that lordly Christ apocryphal,
Christ the comrade comes again - no wraith
virtue in a far-off faith
companion hearty, natural,
sorrows with indomitable eyes
his mistreated plan
share with all men the upspringing sod,
unfolding skies -
God who made Himself the Man,
man who proved man's unused worth -
made himself the God.
MEMORIALS TO GREAT MEN WHO WERE MASONS
BRO. GEO. W. BAIRD, P.G.M., DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
beautiful group is situated at the northwest corner of LaFayette Square, in
Washington. It was modeled by the famous sculptor Albert Jaegers, at a cost of
$50,000, which Congress appropriated in 1903. It was unveiled in 1910 with
official ceremonies, on which occasion the President of the United States
(Brother W. H. Taft) and the German Ambassador made the principal addresses.
General Von Steuben was held in high esteem by Washington, the whole Army, and
by Patriots generally. He so endeared himself to the people, as well as the
Army, that he was almost worshiped. He gave up his German title of Nobility,
to become an American citizen and was of us as well as with us, which
distinguishes him from the hyphenated class, or from the adventurers.
pronounced this group of statuary as the finest in the Capital City; it shows
the General heavily cloaked, as at Valley Forge, where he drilled and whipped
raw troops of the Continental Army into shape. The sash thrown over his
shoulder is reminiscent of his service on the staff of Frederick the Great:
his hand rests lightly on the hilt of his sword: he is shown as if following
the unfolding movements of the troops.
base in high relief is a group called “Military Instruction,” which represents
Von Steuben's life work; the work for which the American Nation remembers and
honors him, drilling the Continental Army. An experienced soldier is
instructing a Youth in the use of the sword.
second group - also in high relief - is “Commemoration” in which “America is
teaching Youth to honor the memories of her heroes: a foreign branch is
grafted onto the tree of her National Life: She welds to her heart the
foreigner who has cast his life into the weal and the woe of her people,
employing the idea of unity and fraternity of all Nationalities under the
guidance of the Great Republic.”
Steuben was picked out by the French Minister of War (St. Germain) as the man
best suited to introduce into the untrained American Army the discipline and
training so much needed: For this purpose he was introduced to Dr. Franklin in
1777, and he consented to come to America and aid in the American Cause. To
Von Steuben is due the credit of training the Continental Army.
Steuben remained in the United States and became a citizen in good faith;
relinquishing his German rank and title to Nobility. He brought with him his
Masonic Affiliation, with the rank of Past Master, to Holland Lodge in New
York City, and attended the communications frequently, entering into the joys
of the lodge. He became a member of a church, in New York City and identified
himself with the people, in a democratic way.
Members: Announcements regarding the Society's activities will usually be
found on the inside back cover of The Builder. Old members will please note
that those who desire to bind their volumes may have title pages on
application. Apply to Secretary.
course, if you ask and insist, in the words of Hiawatha, “I will answer, I
will tell you”; but perhaps the lines explain themselves -
few lines, which look so solemn,
just put in to fill the column.”
following bit of reminiscence, taken from an article entitled “The Mason as a
Citizen,” by Brother Silas W. Power, of Kansas, in the London Freemason,
illustrates those truly Masonic virtues, Silence and Circumspection.)
was another religious sect at Wheaton, a village in northern Illinois, which
conducted a college, and taught that Masonry and all secret societies emanated
directly from Satan himself. They differed from the other church people in
this respect, that they worked at the anti-Masonic idea all the time. About
thirty-five years ago they called an anti-Masonic convention in the town where
I lived. Several hundred delegates attended, arid the citizens were asked to
provide accommodation in their homes for the delegates. My parents were asked
and consented to entertain a couple of the delegates, and for a week we had
with us a minister and a farmer, and we gave them the best we had in the
house. My father never wore any Masonic charms or emblems; there were no
charts or diagrams hanging on the walls giving his Masonic history, or
anything to indicate that the family believed in Masonry. The delegates,
especially the minister, were filled with the spirit, and at every meal the
minister turned the conversation to a discussion of the evils and sinfulness
of Masonry. It vexed and worried my mother that she could not induce my father
to reply to their denunciations of Masons, or to say anything on the subject.
Every night he accompanied his guests to the meetings in the public hall and
listened to the speeches and addresses. In one of them President Blanchard, of
Wheaton College, declared with great emphasis that it was impossible for a
Christian and a Mason to exist in the same skin. Although my father was an
elder in the Presbyterian church, this did not seem to ruffle him in the
last day that the delegates were there the minister remarked to my father at
the table that, as the latter was somewhat prominent as a lawyer, and had
served on the bench and in public life, it was odd that he had never been
approached and asked to join some secret society. My father turned to him and
said: “My dear Sir, I have been an Odd-Fellow for thirty-five years and a
Mason almost as long.” The farmer dropped his knife and fork with a scared
look, as if it had just occurred to him that he had been in great danger of
his life during the past week. The minister, though somewhat disconcerted, was
able to “come back” with a profuse apology for having discussed the subject
during his entertainment, but was told that he need not apologize, because
nothing he had said had given offense. The minister then inquired why my
father had never controverted his arguments or stood up for Masonry. The reply
gave great satisfaction to the members of the family, if not to the guests. It
was this: “My dear Sir, I paid not the slightest attention to anything you
said on the subject for the simple reason that I knew you were talking about
something concerning which you were as ignorant as an unborn babe.”
knew the cares and trials,
the efforts all in vain,
the bitter disappointment,
Understood the loss and gain -
the grim, eternal roughness
I wonder - just the same?
we help where now we hinder ?
we pity where we blame ?
judge each other harshly,
Knowing not Life's hidden force -
Knowing not the fount of action
less turbid at its source !
not amid the evil
the golden grains of good;
we'd love each other better
we judge all deeds by motives
surround each other's lives,
the naked heart and spirit,
what spur the action gives -
we would find it better
to judge all actions good;
should love each other better
are built as temples are;
deep, unseen, unknown,
the sure foundation stone.
the courses framed to bear,
the cloistered pillars fair,
of all the airy spire,
Soaring heavenward higher and higher.
are built as temples are,
carving rich and quaint,
the image of a saint;
deep hued pane to tell,
touch or miracle,
careful, careless touch,
to the little, mars the much.
are built as temples are,
by inch in gradual rise,
the layered masonry;
Warring questions have their day,
arise and pass away
the temple is undone,
completion seems afar.
are built as temples are,
on truth's eternal law;
and steadfast, without flaw,
Through the sunshine, through the snows,
on the temple goes,
fair thing finds a place,
hard thing lends a grace,
hand can make or mar,
souls are built as temples are.”
BIRD OF TIME
is more familiar than Time, and yet what is more elusive and obscure? Who
knows what it is, save as we may say that it is a measured portion of that
Eternity in which we live now and always ? It ticks in the clock, it shrieks
in the factory whistle. Busy men tell us it is money, and lazy men try to kill
it. Poets picture it as a tyrant, a robber, an old man with a scythe, who,
were we never so fast, will overtake us and finish us. And yet, if Time
catches us, we never catch it. So fleeting it is that we neither see it nor
hear it, and while one writes and another reads it is gone into that
unreturning past, leaving no echo of its footstep.
rate, the Bird of Time is ever on the wing, and its flight, always noiseless,
has brought us once more to a New Year, with its anniversary of the Beginning
and the End. Few of us are willing to have the past back and live life over
again, unless, indeed, we could start wiser than we were and so avoid the old
mistakes. No, ours is the glory of going on and still to be, leaving the
low-vaulted past for wider and sunnier mansions of the soul. Evermore our
faces are set toward the future, with its wonder and surprise, or, perhaps,
its sorrow and defeat. Yet we well may pause betimes, as one year goes and
another year comes, while Father Time changes the reel in the greatest of all
moving picture shows.
so, looking back down the Road to Yesterday, we hope that in the New Year no
one of our Brethren will suffer any ill that money cannot heal. For the rest,
the law and the prophets contain no word of better rule for the health of the
inner life than the famous adjuration: “Hope thou a little; fear not at all,
and love as much as you can.” After all, it is a wise wish, when you think of
it, since the things which money cannot cure are the ills of the spirit, the
sickness of the heart, and the dreary, dull pain of waiting for those who
return no more. Men do their work, act out their little parts in the great
drama, and vanish. Only the eternal things remain, like the earth beneath and
the sky above, and God lives and reigns, albeit His Providence leaves room for
human improvidence, else we were not men but puppets in a phantom farce. He
only is wise who lives for the things that abide, seeking the truth in love,
serving his fellow men.
stand in the Great Forever
Thee as Eternities roll;
Spirit forsakes me never,
Love is the Home of my Soul.
* * *
Year is a time not only to make resolutions, but also to lay plans with hope
and forward-looking thoughts, and in this spirit The Builder would lay before
the Members of the Society a few of its plans for the year. Only two of its
plans for the old year went awry: the article on German Masonry by Brother
Carus, owing to his severe illness; and the most recent researches of Brother
Ravenscroft in the history of the Comacines, due to the distractions of war,
taking so many of his business associates away to the army. His article will,
however, appear during the New Year, and will be of unusual value and
importantance in making clear the descent of modern Masonry from the greatest
order of builders the world has ever known.
the studies planned for the incoming year, is a series of papers by Brother
John Pickard, of the University of Missouri, tracing the evolution of
architecture, showing, by the mute witness of buildings from earliest time,
and the signs and tokens which they reveal, the fact of an order of builders
through the ages. These papers will be illustrated, and will give our Members
a vivid picture of the origin and growth of the great art of building, as well
as a story of the builders. Also, Prof. Hiram Bingham, director of the
Peruvian expedition of 1914-15 under the auspices of Yale University and the
National Geographic Society, will tell our Members what he found in Peru of
interest to the Craft. Thus we break ground in new fields of original
research, and the findings of two of our Members will be eagerly awaited.
Furthermore, we are to have three lectures on the symbolism of the first three
degrees of Masonry, by Prof. Roscoe Pound, of Harvard University, whose
lectures on the Philosophy of Masonry so delighted our Members in the early
months of last year. Our Members know what to expect from Prof. Pound, and we
predict that his lectures will do much to redeem the field of Masonic
symbolism from the confusion which has so long hovered over it. Along with
these lectures, Brother C.C. Hunt, one of the finest students of Masonry in
Iowa, will begin at the beginning, take the novice from the time he enters the
Lodge, and lead him through the first three degrees, pointing out and
explaining the things he meets - so far as this may be done in print -
preparing our younger Members for the great lecture by Brother Arthur Edward
Waite, which will be one of the treasures of the year.
will be a discussion of the question of Physical Qualifications of candidates
by Grand Master Johnson, of Massachusetts, who is an authority on Masonic
Jurisprudence, and whose forthright way of writing has such a wide appeal.
Brother O.D. Street, of Alabama, will give a critical study and appreciation
of George F. Fort as a Masonic historian, accompanying the sketch of Brother
Fort by his brother. Brother Shepherd, of Wisconsin, has made a study of
Masonic Homes in the United States, after the manner of his study of the
Landmarks, which will bring together information and suggestion of great
practical value.to the Craft everywhere. Ye editor hopes to begin his essays
in study of Albert Pike betimes, and also a little series of studies of the
deeper meaning of Masonry both in its symbolism and its service to men in the
culture of character and gracious living.
Finally, to name no other features, the Society proposes to issue during the
year a photographic reproduction of the rarest and most unique Masonic book in
the world, the only copy of which known to be in existence being in the
Library of the Grand Lodge of Iowa, entitled, “The Old Constitutions Belonging
to the Ancient and Honorable Society of Free and Accepted Masons, Taken from a
Manuscript Wrote about Five Hundred Years Since; Printed in London, and Sold
by J. Roberts, in Warwick Lane, 1722.” This document antedates, as will be
seen, the Constitutions of 1723, and its reproduction will be a work of art
prized by all who love and value the old title deeds of the Order.
* * *
memory of Burns!” cried Emerson, “I am afraid heaven and earth have taken too
good care of it to leave anything to say. The west winds are murmuring it.
Open the windows behind you, and harken to the incoming tide, what the waves
say of it. His songs are the property and the solace of mankind.” It is given
to but few men thus to live in the hearts of their fellows; but today, from
Ayr to Sidney, from Chicago to Calcutta, the memory of Burns is a sweet
perfume. It is more than a fragrance; it is a living force, uniting men, by a
kind of Freemasonry, into a league of liberty, justice, and pity. His feet may
have walked in a furrow, but the nobility of manhood was in his heart, the
genius of melody in his voice, and on his face the light of the morning star.
ever of any one, it can be said ot Robert Burns, that his soul of sweet song
goes marching on, striding over continents and years, trampling kingdoms down.
He was the harbinger of the nineteenth century, the poet of the rights and
reign of the common people. The earth was fresh upon the tomb of Washington
when that century was born; it discovered Lincoln and buried him with infinite
regret. But its victorious melody first found voice in the songs of a Scotch
peasant. It is by all agreed that Burns was a lyric poet of the first order,
if not the greatest song-writer of the world. Draw a line from Shakespeare to
Browning, and he is one of the few tall enough to touch it. His qualities were
fire; tenderness, vividness, rollicking humor, sweet-toned pathos, simplicity,
naturalness - qualities rare enough and still more rarely blended. But he was
first a man - often sinful, but always utterly honest - whom we love as much
for his weakness as for his strength, for that he was such an unveneered human
being; and his fame rests upon verses written swiftly, as men write letters;
songs as spontaneous, as artless. and as lovely as the songs of birds. He
touched with delicate and joyous hand the deep and noble feelings of old
Scotland, and somewhere upon the variegated robe of his song will be found
embroidered the life, the faith. the genius and the hope of his native land.
than all, his passion for liberty, his affirmation of the nobility of man, his
sense of the dignity of labor, his pictures of the beauties of nature, of the
pathos of the hard lot of the lowly, of the joys and woes and pieties of his
people, find response in every breast where beats the heart of a man. It is
thus that all men love Robert Burns, for he it was who taught us, as no one
has taught since Jesus walked in Galilee, the brotherhood of man and the
kinship of all breathing things. That which lives in his songs, and always
will live while human nature is the same, is the touch of pity, of pathos, of
melting sympathy, of love of liberty, of justice, of faith in man, in nature,
and in GodCall uttered with simple speech and a golden voice of music. His
poems were little jets of love and pity finding their way up and out through
fissures in the granite-like theology of his day and land.
are songs that came fresh from the heart of a man whom the death of a little
bird set dreaming of the meaning of a world wherein life is woven of beauty,
mystery and sorrow; a man who had the strength of a man and more than the
mercy of woman. A flower crushed in the budding, a field-mouse turned out of
its home by a ploughshare, a wounded hare limping along the road to dusty
death, or the memory of a tiny bird that sang for him in days agone, touched
him to tears. His poems did not grow; they awoke complete. He saw nature with
the swift glances of a child - saw beauty in the fold of hills, in the slant
of trees, in the lilt and glint of flowing waters, in the faces of wayside
flowers, and in the mists trailing over the heather. The sigh of the wind
filled him with a wild, sad joy, and the lovely grace of a daisy moved him
like the memory of one much loved and long dead. So the throb of his heart is
warm in his words, and it was a heart that carried in it an alabaster box of
was Robert Burns - a man passionate and piteous, compact of light and flame
and beauty, and his song flows out on this crusty old world with the joy and
wonder of springtime. Long live the Spirit of Burns ! If it could have its way
with us, every injustice, every cruelty, every despotism would fall, and every
man would have room to stretch his arms and his soul. Would God that by some
art we could carry his song of pity and of liberty into all the dark places of
the world, till life is holy everywhere, and pity and laughter return to the
common ways of man. Dark as the world is, hideous with the woe of war, black
with injustice and greed and lust, we yet have hope of the fulfillment of the
prophetic vision of Robert Burns - the Poet Laureate of Masonry:
let us pray, that come what may -
come it will, for a' that -
man to man, the world o'er
brothers be, for a' that.
* * *
PHILOSOPHY OF MASONRY
Society has a right to be proud of its first published book, “Lectures on the
Philosophy of Masonry,” by Brother Roscoe Pound, Carter Professor of
Jurisprudence in Harvard University, and Deputy Grand Master of Masons in
Massachusetts. These lectures, which appeared in the first five issues of The
Builder, are now gathered into a volume neatly printed and bound, with
pictures of the men studied, to which the author has added a preface, a
bibliography, and an index. Prof. Pound dedicates his little book, which will
be a classic among Masons, to Brother Henry H. Wilson, Past Grand Master of
Masons in Nebraska, with these lines from Manu:- ”Let not the student who
knows his duty aright give anything to his teacher before he return home; but
when he is about to perform the sacrifice on his return, let him give to the
venerable man according to his ability.” Just so many a young Mason in times
to come will feel with regard to Prof. Pound himself, offering a sacrifice of
gratitude for a great Masonic teacher. The lectures will be reviewed for our
pages by Brother Francis W. Shepardson, of the University of Chicago, after
which ye editor will have his say in appreciation of both the book and its
author. Alike in matter and form this volume is worthy of any University, and
the Society reckons it a great honor to issue it as the first of its published
* * *
rejoice to report a great response to the idea of a Correspondence Circle
among our Members, as revealed by piles of letters full of enthusiasm and
suggestion. There is manifest a disposition of the Brethren to take up and
thrash out some very vital practical problems now before the Fraternity and
the age; such as sectarian influences in the public schools, the question of a
national Grand Lodge, the need of uniform legislation as to the qualification
of candidates, Masonry and occult philosophy, comparative Masonic
jurisprudence, and the like; and we believe that in such a circle we can
discuss these questions and really get someway toward a solution of them.
* * *
next issue of The Builder will be a Washington number, devoted, in large part,
to the life and Masonic character and service of our first President, with
special reference to the proposed Washington Masonic Memorial Temple to be
erected at Alexandria, Virginia. It will carry a magnificent picture of
Washington, in four colors, being a reproduction of the William Williams
painting which hangs in the halls of the Alexandria-Washington Lodge.
* * *
Answering many inquiries, we are glad to be able to say that Edwin Markham,
the great poet of Brotherhood in America, is a Mason, and will be one of our
contributors in the near future. He was our guest only the other day, and is
deeply interested in the spirit and purpose and aspiration of this Society. Ye
editor will soon present a little study and appreciation of Brother Markham,
the better to tempt our Members make friends with the man who has set the
goodly, gracious gospel of Brotherly Love to music as no other has done in our
CONTINUATION OF QUESTIONS ON “THE BUILDERS”
Compiled by “The Cincinnati Masonic Study School
Why is it that everything must not be told to everybody and why and how did
Jesus practice this? Page 57.
Why does God and Nature hold back secrets while it is so easy to receive them
if one in truth investigates? Page 57.
When does nature reveal her secrets to man? Why? Page 57.
Why should the highest truth be withheld from the multitude ? Page 57.
What method did Jesus pursue in transmitting his knowledge ? How did he
explain his methods? Page 57.
What does tradition affirm throughout the ages, relative to secret teaching?
What is the Secret Doctrine or the Hidden Wisdom ? Page 58.
Does the objection to secrecy in regard to spiritual truths hold good? Why?
What was “the right to admission” to the Secret Teachings in the ancient times
? Page 59.
How reconcile “the kinship of mankind and the unity of mind” as the clue to
understanding the resemblances between the teachings of widely separated
peoples and the secret teaching of Jesus ? Page 21, 58.
If, “Without development, the teachings of the sages are enigmas that seem
unintelligible, if not contradictory, requiring insight and fineness of mind
to appreciate and assimilate them,” (63) would it not be plausible to infer,
that, the hidden fraternity of initiates, withhold the teaching of the higher
truths which they possess, from those only who are not duly and truly prepared
? Page 59.
Did the high moral secret teachings of the Secret Doctrine belong to those
“duly and truly prepared” or were they the property of the public at large?
If the hidden teaching is an open secret to the world, why call it a hidden
teaching? Page 61, 63.
Why was a Secret Teaching necessary in ancient times? Page 62.
What is the Secret Doctrine as taught by the ancient mysteries or by modern
Masonry ? Page 63.
How may the hidden teaching be described? Why? For what reason is it kept
hidden even to this day ? Page 63.
When does man know the Secret Doctrine? Page 69.
Which secrets were known only to the few in ancient times ? Page 73.
What is said of secret orders, existing in Constantinople, Greece and Rome
similar to modern Freemasonry centuries prior to Christ? Page 79.
Why did they have different secrets for each degree in the days of operative
Masonry ? Page 145.
What do the signs and grips of Freemasonry serve ? Page 244.
Is Freemasonry a secret order? Page 243, 244.
What is the Oath of Secrecy in the Harleain mss? Page 126.
When will the innocent secrets of Freemasonry be laid bare, its missions
accomplished and its labor done ? Page 244.
What is the great and what the real Masonic secret? Page 293, 298.
What Discoveries did Socrates make, relative to human nature and the unity of
mind? Is this confirmed and to what conclusions does it lead? Page 20, 21.
What is the Spirit of Masonry? Page 283.
What will be the result when the Spirit of Masonry has its way on earth? Page
What is said of man's thoughts as compared to flowers and fruits? Page 19.
What became of Typhon, slayer of Osiris? Page 45.
How have the greatest teachers of the race regarded the highest truth? Why?
What makes one ready to receive the truth ? Page 57.
The pupil being ready and the teacher found waiting, what will result ? Page
Can fitness for the finer truths be conferred ? Why not ? Page 63.
On what does all our human thinking rest? Page 70, 269, 270.
In the beginning why was it that all the arts had their home in the Temple?
What did the simple tools of the “Builders” teach in regard to life and hope
in death ? Page 83.
What opportunities contributed to the Masons becoming more tolerant than other
people ? Page 100.
Who did Sir Albert Pike ascribe the authorship of the Third Degree in
Freemasonry? Page 193.
What grounds have we to believe that truth will triumph, Justice will reign
and Love will rule the race ? Page 234.
When Masonry is victorious upon earth what will become of every tyrant and
bastile ? Page 290.
Why is it that man really is what he thinketh ? Page 294.
As a man thinketh so is he? Page 295.
How long have the working tools of a Mason been used as emblems of truths?
When, where and how were the working tools of the Mason used, prior to our
era? Page 29.
In the pursuit of wisdom what must one make use of ? Page 30.
What kind of an army invaded England in the year 1066 and what did they do?
Name some of the Generals of the Revolutionary War who with Washington were
Freemasons. Page 225.
Who swore in Geo. Washington as President of the United States and on what
Bible did he take the oath ? Page 226.
What was the loyalty of Masons, North and South, to the cause of Masonry
during the Civil War? Page 229.
Why is Freemasonry worth more than our combined army and navy for protection
of the United States of America? Page 230.
What has time proved that “The House of Wisdom” must be founded upon? Page
What is the real cause of War? Page 287, 288.
What strange contradiction does history show as to the meaning and purpose of
war and strife ? Page 287.
What will become of women and the children when the Masonic teaching is
understood and lived up to by all? Page 290, 291.
What is the status of Freemasonry in the United States today? Page 230.
What dangers threaten the United States today ? Page 231.
What part did Masonry have in establishing the greatest of all republics, the
United States? Page 208, 222 to 226.
Who was the first to utter the name “The United States” and what is said of
him? Page 225 note.
How were the United States conceived and dedicated ? Page 224.
Why do we speak of the United States as “the last great hope of man?” Page
What is the status of Freemasonry in the world today? Page 231‑232.
THE BATTLE'S FRONT
Francis, Buddha, Tolstoi, and St. John -
Friends, if you four, as pilgrims, hand in hand,
Returned, the hate of earth once more to dare,
walked upon the water and the land.
you, with words celestial, stopped these kings
sober conclave, ere their battle great,
they for one deep instant then discern
crime, their heart-rot, and their fiend's estate ?
should float above the battle's front,
Pillars of cloud, of fire that does not slay,
Bearing a fifth within your regal train,
Son of David in his strange array -
his majesty, he towered toward Heaven,
they have hearts to see or understand?
Nay, for he hovers there tonight we know,
Thorn-crowned above the water and the land.
(George Eliot said that with a New Year, as with a new friend, one can begin
new things; and that is true even in The Library. Hereafter, in response to a
multitude of requests, the prices of books received or reviewed will be noted,
along with the names of the publishers. By this means we wish to save our
members the double labor of writing to ask us the prices of books, and
ourselves the labor of furnishing information that may as well be furnished
once for all. We take occasion to say once more, for the benefit of new
Members, that the Torch Press Book Shop, Cedar Rapids, Iowa, will secure any
book mentioned in our pages, especially old Masonic books, and those published
abroad - such as the first book reviewed in this issue. As said before, our
only interest in the Torch Press Book Shop, is to bring good men and good
books together, and that is not always easy to do, because so many of our
Masonic classics are out of print. At the request of the Society, the Torch
Press is making search for the
best Masonic works, old and new, and will assist our Members in securing them
as fast as they can be found. Happily, the Society will soon be in a position
to handle this part of the work itself, not for profit, but for the benefit of
its members, as will shortly be announced).
HERE is a Masonic book
of the right sort, one of the best we have met in many a long day, entitled
“Speculative Masonry: its Evolution, and its Landmarks,” by Brother A. S.
Macbride; being a series of lectures delivered at the Lodge of Instruction in
connection with Progress Lodge, Glasgow, Scotland, revised and condensed by a
Committee appointed by the Lodge. Think of having a Lodge of Instruction to
inquire what Masonry is, whence it came, and how it may be used for the
culture of character and the service of humanity! Fortunate the Lodge which
listened to lectures so scholarly yet so simple, so accurate in their digest
of the best Panasonic research, and, better still, so aglow with that noble
and clear-seeing idealism without which Masonry is nil and life itself is as
bare as a winter landscape. Alike in matter and form the lectures are an
inspiration and a delight, and we do not hesitate to recommend them most
earnestly, and without qualification, to the Members of this Society.
occultism, is the great note of these lectures, and the author makes clear how
world-far those two things are apart both in spirit and method. Masonry, as
the author interprets it, has its roots, spiritually, in the ancient, high,
heroic Quest of the Ideal, which is the chief fact with regard to man, at once
the wonder and the glory of his life upon earth. That quest, as persistent as
it is revealing, has always taken the form of searching for that which is
lost, as Isis searched for the body of Osiris, as Venus cried for her slain
Adonis on Mount Libanus, as the Knights of the Round Table went in quest of
the Holy Grail. Thus, in every age and land, the pursuit of the Moral Ideal
has called into existence innumerable societies, and of these the Fraternity
of Free and Accepted Masons is one of the greatest, if not the greatest, the
World has seen. Therefore age cannot wither it, nor custom make stale its
infinite variety of suggestion, inspiration, and appeal, while human nature is
yet haunted by lovely shapes of what it ought to be.
“Masonry does not exist to combat any particular evil, to solve any special
problem, to advance any particular cult, or to propagate any precise dogma in
the outer world. It does not claim to possess any patent pill for the evils of
humanity nor does it propose to build an Utopian State of political freedom
and economic happiness. It is not for social fellowship, although that forms,
and in many quarters forms too prominent, a part of it. It is not constituted
for the exercise of benevolence only, although that occupies no insignificant
place, both in its precepts and its practice. It teaches no science, yet
science holds an important position in it. It favors no philosophic school,
yet a profound philosophy permeates its system of symbolism. It instructs in
no special art, yet in it all arts are honored. It has no religious creed, yet
religion forms its foundation and crowns its pinnacles. It is not the product
of any age, nor the work of any nation. It is the evolution and growth of
centuries and has received contributions from many diverse races and peoples.
Mission of a gunshot is death and destruction; of a rocket-line, life and
preservation, of the University, knowledge; of the Church, salvation; of
Masonry, the building of the Ideal Temple. The Quest of the Ideal we find in
Masonry at every turn. The travel from West to East, like the Earth to receive
the life-giving light of the Sun; the working of the rough Ashlar, into the
form of the perfect Ashlar, the mystic Ladder, reaching up to the cloudy
Canopy; the sacred Stair, leading to the mysteries of the Middle Chamber; the
lost key-stone perfecting the secret Arch; the lost Word, that will make a
true Master; the destroyed temple, that is to be restored; all symbolize the
throbbing, yearning, seeking of the human heart for something better and
happier than the actual world around us. But the grand ideal in Masonry, to
which all the rest is subsidiary and contributory, is that which represents
the soul of man as a Holy Temple and dwelling place of the Most High. This
ideal has, no doubt, been expressed by poets, prophets and philosophers, but
in Masonry alone has it been made the basis of an organization, having a
system of instruction, as unique in form as it is rare in history.”
Such a book tempts to
quotation, as much for the beauty of its phrase as for its deep-seeing
insight; and if we emphasize its radiant idealism it is because, as
we have said, the quest of the Moral
Ideal is the great secret of Masonry, its sovereign mission, and the soul of
its symbolism. Is Masonry today true to its ideal? The author answers with a
sad No, because so many Masons, while glorifying their order in terms
bordering on the bombastic, do not enough consider that Masonry is a life to
be lived, an opportunity to serve, an instrument for the culture of faith and
fineness of soul; and because too many mistake the quest for office for the
quest for the ideal. What is the remedy? It lies in the ballot box, by which
we ought to keep out of the Fraternity men who regard it as a kind of secret
club, a game of horse-play, who care nothing for its higher aims and ideals,
and who have no time to study its meaning and give themselves to the service
of its purpose.
As has been said,
these lectures give a lucid and simple digest of the conclusions of the best
Masonic scholars as to the origin and evolution of the Order, following
closely the findings of the great Research Lodges of England. They are very
fruitful, also, in studies of symbolism, the best chapter, perhaps, being that
discussing the Law of the Square, a synopsis of
one section of which will appear in these
pages, the better to tempt our
Members to read further. Very interesting, too, is the essay on the Landmarks
of Masonry, which the author defines as “certain established usages and
customs that mark out the boundary lines of the Masonic world, in its internal
divisions and in its relation to the external world.” Respect for usages which
give form to our Fraternity is vitally important, and so must move midway
between a radicalism which invites destructive innovation, and a superstitious
worship which prevents progress. So our author argues in his essay on
Landmarks and Progress, the while he reminds us that the Temple of brotherhood
and peace is the great landmark of Masonry, to build which we must use every
art at our command and all the powers with which we have been endowed. In one
of the poems added to the volume, we read these lines:
is a Mason ? It is he
builds upon the Square,
heart beats true to God and you
all that's good and fair,
builds, as can, to Heaven's plan
Temple of Humanity.
that's the heart of his great Art,
this alone, we proudly own
the noblest Masonry.
* * *
biography of Bishop Henry Codman Potter, by George Hodges, shows us the
growth, maturity and ripe fruitfulness of a really great American, who was
also a noble Freemason. He united sturdiness of nature with fineness of
spirit, practical capacity with deep religious passion, and the fullness of
his activity in many fields is an inspiring record. Bishop Potter was made a
Mason while in Troy, in 1866, joining Mt. Zion Lodge, No. 311. He was a
Chapter Mason and a Knight Templar, as well as a member of all the Scottish
Rite bodies of New York. He served as Grand Chaplain of the Grand Lodge of New
York in 1895,1896, and 1897, and in the last named year was crowned an
honorary 33rd degree Mason in Boston. He held that Masonry has a much greater
mission than even its most devoted adherents dream of today. Looking back into
the past, he saw how much has been accomplished by Masonry; but he foresaw the
development of a still greater Masonry in the future, more useful to man,
wider in its scope, and more fruitful in its good to society.
bound to own,” he said, “that if originally I had not been attracted to
Masonry by its value as what may be called a universal social solvent, I might
never have sought its fellowship. I was, at an early period, about to travel
in foreign countries, and I was assured that as a Freemason, I should be
recognized and considered, when otherwise I might not be. Well, I found, by
happy experience, that that assurance was true. Once, and again, when the
emergency seemed to disclose no other way out of a dilemma, I have solved it
by revealing myself as a Mason: and it is a noteworthy fact that never
anywhere did I make that disclosure without finding other Masons to recognize
and respond to it “
* * *
doubt many of our members have read the story called “The Research
Magnificent,” by Herbert Wells, a story typical of our time and of the
sparkling brilliancy of the man who wrote it. It reveals a young man starting
out in quest of the kingly life, and if his quest often leads him into
situations that border on the fantastic, it comes near making him sublime.
Despite his aurora of invisible visions, the hero meets with dragons in the
way - three ruffians, we might call them - the first of which is Fear, which
he conquers, not without difficulty, by facing it at any cost. After fear came
Passion, and he did not come off well in his encounter with it, making a mess
of his marriage and concluding that the kingly life is incompatible with
domestic ties. Fleeing from one ruffian, he meets another - Jealousy - which
gives him the fight of his life. The story is rich in ideas, vivid, varied,
depictive, running the whole gamut of thought and suggestive wonder, but
somehow it is all very sad; for a research which begins without God must needs
end in futility. Indeed, the man goes all over the world, from China to
Russia, but never finds himself, and having no faith in an Infinite Idealist
his idealism seems the vainest of all vain things.
* * *
WORLD AND HIS WIFE
the most unforgetable plays of recent times - recent, at least, in its
translation into English - is “The Great Galeoto,” by Jose Echegaray; a
tragedy of idle, unmalicious gossip, perhaps the only one of its kind ever
written. There are three characters in the drama, a husband, his wife, and one
of their friends, a young man to whom both are sincerely attached. Outsiders,
looking on, make remarks, not intended to be evil, but evil in their
suggestion. After a little one can see the serpents crawling into that garden
of friendship, and hear them hiss. At the end the husband lies mortally
wounded in a duel, while his wife and friend are driven to evil by the clatter
of idle tongues. The villian of the play is that many-headed monster, “They
say,” everybody, and so subtle is the power of mind over mind that the
infection spreads, and all are stained. William Winter, in writing of the
play, recalled the rhyme which Edwin Booth made a law of his life:
tranquil mind you seek,
things observe with care:
whom, and to whom, you speak,
how, and when, and where.
man's life is laid in the loom of time to a pattern which he does not see, but
God does; and his heart is the shuttle.”
must be a sovereign over yourself, king over your own passions, a to ue Mason,
neither intoxicated by success nor depressed bv defeat.”
Brother Newton: - I am much interested in Masonry and in the work of the
Research Society, and wish I could do more to help, but my religious work
interferes. . Be assured that you have my goodwill and God's speed.
which many thanks. By all means be loyal to your church and its labors, but
have a care lest you take too narrow a view of what religious work is. It is
wonderful what vitality there is in old errors, and in what forms they
reassert themselves from age to age. Any work done in the right spirit is
religious work, whether it be ploughing corn or preaching a sermon. Never
forget the great passage in “The Cloister and the Hearth,” in which Margaret
tells Gerard of the atheism of regarding one part of life as sacred and
another as secular. Remember, also, these words from our noble Masonic poet,
each true deed is worship; it is a prayer,
carries its own answer unaware.
they whose feet upon good errands run
friends of God, with Michael of the sun;
more pleased by some sweet human use
by the learned book of the recluse;
than white incense circling to the dome
field well furrowed or a nail sent home.
than the hallelujahs of the choirs
hushed adorings at the altar fires
loaf well kneaded, or a room swept clean
light-heart love that finds no labor mean.
* * *
Brother Editor: - Having told us what the greatest thing in the world is,
perhaps you will also tell us what is the worst thing in the world. Let us
have it. - O.J.S.
unnecessary. Whoso has not read “The Four Men: A Farrago,” by Hilaire Belloc,
has missed one of the most delightful books of its kind ever written, full of
wit, humor, vagarious fancy and far-flung philosophy. It tells of the travel
in Sussex of a Poet, a Sailor, a Grizzlebeard, and the Author, from Oct. 29th
to Nov. 2nd, 1902. These travelers talk, and one of the themes they discuss is
the question as to “The Worst Thing in the World.” They decide that the death
of love, the fading of friendship, the breaking of the ties that bind human
hearts, is the worst thing in the world. With this our Brother may not agree;
but if we were right in our analysis of the greatest thing in the world, then
its opposite, its negation, is the worst of all
* * *
Brother: - In the July issue of The Builder you mentioned, among Articles of
Interest, an article regarding Col. John A. Joyce, a Poet and Freemason, which
appeared in the London Freemason. I am interested and would like to see what
it had to say. Col. Joyce was a personal friend of mine, and resided in my
father's family for about two years before he passed away. He was a devoted
Mason, raised a Roman Catholic, a cousin of Cardinal Gibbons, and the first of
his family to leave the church for generations. He was a Mason some forty odd
years. You can see my interest in the matter. - F.E.H.
article appeared in the London Freemason, April 17th, 1915, unsigned, and is
very brief. It confirms what Brother Hodge says about Col. Joyce having been
raised in the Roman church, stating that he was born in Shraugh, Ireland, in
1842, but was raised in Kentucky; that he was trained for the priesthood, but
abandoned it for the army. One of his best known poems was, “There Is No
Pocket in a Shroud,” suggested by the funeral procession of Commodore
Vanderbilt. The article makes no mention of his long discussion with Mrs. Ella
Wheeler Wilcox as to which one wrote the famous lines, “Laugh and the world
laughs with you”, but he had the opening words of the poem carved on his
tombstone as his own. As Brother Hodge lives in Washington, he might refer to
the files of the London Freemason in the library of the House of the Temple.
* * *
IN TWENTY-FOUR HOURS
Brother Newton: - In the December Builder I notice that some Brother wants to
know “in what part of the world tides ebb and flow twice in twenty-four
hours.” If the Brother is really in earnest, you may assure him that right
here in Washington, D.C., the tide ebbs and flows practically twice in
twenty-four hours. In the Tide Table published by the United States for
December 2nd, 1915, I find the following record: - A.M. tides, High water
3:25, Low water 9:38; P.M. tides, High water 4:00 Low water, 10:49. There are
a few places on the earth where, owing to local conditions, such as strong
prevailing winds and peculiar coast configuration, the tides do not ebb and
flow twice in twenty-four hours; for instance, in the Mediterranean, there are
no perceptible tides; and in the Gulf of Mexico, there is but one perceptible
tide in twenty-four hours. But in nearly every other place on earth, the tides
do ebb and flow twice in twenty-four hours. - H.P.M., Washington, D. C.
* * *
I am a
minister and have preached several sermons to Masons, and I would appreciate
your suggestion as to the best books to help me in the preparation of such
sermons. It may be that you know of some especially good books that are in
point. - J.H.H.
are many such books; such as The Spirit of Masonry, by Hutchinson; The Masonic
Sermons of Dr. Oliver; The Religion of Freemasonry, by H. J. Whymper, with an
introduction by W. J. Hughan; Speculative Masonry, by A.
S. Macbride; The Church and the Lodge, by Brother Coil, Marietta, Ohio, The
Mission of Masonry, by Madison C. Peters, and so forth. Subscribe for the
Monday edition of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle, and you will find, occasionally, a
magnificent Masonic sermon from Brother S. Parkes Cadman, one of the Grand
Chaplains of the Grand Lodge of New York.
* * *
Brother: - In my humble opinion the great danger menacing symbolic Masonry in
our country is the growing desire to Christianize it, in order to accommodate
it to our religious desires. Symbolic Masonry must preserve its universality
to survive. We have our Chl istian orders appended to Masonry, in which we may
enjoy to the fullest extent our religious opinions; but any attempt to graft
Christianity upon Lodges destroys an important Landmark and breaks a link in
the fraternal chain encircling the world and embracing every creed. - A.H.G.,
Hardwicke, New York.
this we fully agree, albeit we doubt if there is any strong tendency in the
direction indicated by Brother Hardwicke; at least, we have not observed it.
That question was settled at the time of the union of Grand Lodges, in 1813.
Up to that time there had been a decided tendency to graft Christianity upon
Masonry. Nevertheless, if a Brother wishes to interpret Masonry, and
particularly the Third Degree, in Christian terms, that is his right; as it is
the right of another to interpret it differently. Only, he should not insist
that his interpretation is the standard of Masonic fellowship.
* * *
Brother: - In your September issue you make reference to the Lost Word. May I
add that Prof. Y.G. Warren, a teacher of the Hebrew language, says: - The
first spoken word means, “Who causest the son to live.” I also add this little
poem on the Lost Word. Scottish Rite Masons cannot fail to read between the
is a word unknown to lost tradition,
sacred word Freemasonry reveres;
is a word whose syllables are spoken
in bated breath to list'ning ears.
a word awakening true devotion,
shadowed by the mystery of years;
whose unutterable translation
hidden till the Cubic Stone appears.
* * *
would like that Brother Silas Shepherd, of Wisconsin, would answer the
following question: - Has the soul anything to do with the improper action of
living bodies ? Fraternally, S. Simone California.
Brother Newton: - I do not know that I comprehend fully the question which
Brother Simone asks, but venture the answer that a lack of development of the
Soul, or spirituality, is responsible for most, if not all, of our improper
actions as living bodies. With best wishes and fraternal greetings. Silas H.
* * *
Brother Editor: - In the correspondence column of The Builder appears another
reference to Thomas Paine. Perhaps Brother G. P. Brown can give his authority
for the statement he makes that Thomas Paine was entered, passed, and raised
in St John's Regimental Lodge, the first Masonic body to be constituted among
the revolutionary troops. He made the statement in the Masonic Observer, Jan.
31st, 1914, in an article entitled “The Patriotism of Thomas Paine.” I have
often wondered if Brother Brown had authority for many of his statements.
Cordially and fraternally, Silas H. Shepherd, Wis.
* * *
MOTHER GRAND LODGE
Referring to the article by Past Grand Master J. W. Eggleston on the grand
Lodge of Virginia, published in the June issue of The Builder, and the reply
thereto by Grand Master Johnson, of Massachusetts, Brother J. G. Hankins,
editor of the Virginia Masonic Journal, says in a letter:
Grand Master Eggleston has never said that Virginia had the first Grand Lodge,
nor does he claim that we are 'The Mother Grand Lodge.' - this being my own
doing in writing the title of the article. He only says that we are the
oldest, and by reference to Dove's History of the Grand Lodge of Virginia
given by Brother Johnson as an authority, it appears that “the St. John's
Grand Lodge remonstrated against the encroachments of its rival, the
'Massachusetts Grand Lodge,' and both these against the Ancient York Lodge. It
was not until the 5th of March, 1792, that these difficulties were settled,
when the two Grand Lodges met for the last time, and formed a union,” etc.:
and so it appears clearly to me, at least, that this latter date is the
beginning of the present Grand Lodge of Massachusetts; though we have to admit
that it may have had a Sovereign Grand Lodge earlier - March 8th, 1777 - as
stated by Brother Johnson and published in Dr. Dove's History of Grand
* * *
dear Brother: - I was much interested in the note in the October issue of The
Builder from a Brother who stated that he believed he had found in Leviticus a
reason why Masonry has for so long refused to admit men who were physically
imperfect; as well as in your reply thereto. May I say that the Grand Lodge of
Michigan, some three years ago, gave the subordinate Lodges in its
jurisdiction authority to accept such men if they so desired, and that to my
knowledge our Blue Lodges have exercised that privilege - some of the men so
admitted being among our most able and useful Masons. Undoubtedly the Lodge
which believes that the internal and not the external qualifications are what
recommend a man for Masonry, finds that a man with a wooden leg is of
infinitely more value to the Fraternity than a man with a wooden head. Yours
fraternally, C. O. Fords Michigan.
* * *
RITE OF MEMPHIS
is the legal standing in this country of the Rite of Memphis ? If it is of
good standing in this country, from where does it derive its authority ?
Rite of Memphis - Consisting, at first, of ninety-one degrees to which one
other was subsequently added, and claiming to be the sole depository of pure
and primitive Masonry - has no legal standing at all in this country, if by
that is meant the recognition of American Grand Lodges. There is no specific
legislation on the subject, so far as we are aware; the Rite is simply
ignored. It is, however, recognized by the Grand Orient of France, as one of
the eight systems of Rites working under the obedience of that body; but it is
not allowed to confer any degrees beyond the first three.
* * *
JACQUES DE MOLAI
l am a
member of DeMolai Commandery and have carried on a search for several years
trying to find a record of DeMolai's coat of arms. One source of information
says that he belonged to a noble family, while another gives him from common
birth. Can you help me in the matter? - O.F.S.
authorities in the Library of the Grand Lodge of Iowa seem to agree that
DeMolai was of noble birth, of the family of the lords of Longvic and Raon, in
Burgundy, born in 1237. However, strict search in and about the several
appartments of the Houses of Longvic and Raon has revealed no facts about
their coat of arms perhaps because very little was written about heraldry
prior to 1400. If the fact of the noble birth of DeMolai, and the family with
which he was connected, put our Brother on the track of discovery, we shall be
glad - and perhaps he will give us the result of his further research.
* * *
ORDER OF SCOTLAND
understand that the Royal Order of Scotland is a legitimate branch of Masonry
in the British Islands. Is there any body of this Order working in this
country which derives its authoritv from the British body? - O.F.S.
there is a Provincial Grand Lodge of the Royal Order of Scotland working in
this country, of which the late Brother James D. Richardson was commander,
succeeded, we believe, by Brother Leon Abbott. Brethren admitted to this Order
have their patents signed by the Earl of Kintore, Edinburgh. It is affiliated,
not with the Scottish Rite, but with what is popularly called the “York” Rite,
and only Royal Arch Masons are eligible to its fellowship.
* * *
What is the meaning of the word “free” in Freemasonry? (2) What is the
significance of the word “Worshipful” as applied to the Master of the Lodge?
(3) Why does the Master wear a hat ? ( 4 ) Is a man a Mason who has taken only
the Entered Apprentice degree? (5) Why was the Blue Lodge dedicated to the
holy Saints John? - J.H.H.
Freemasons in the olden time were free to go to and fro where their work
called them, instead of being bound by law to live and work in one town, as
Guild Masons were. They were also free from any obligations of taxation, and
other restrictions, because of the importance of their art.
It ought to mean for us, many things much deeper. (2) Merely a title of
respect and in nowise implying the object reverence which some silly critics
of the order want to imagine. The French Lodges use the word “venerable”
instead. (3) As a symbol of the authority granted him by his Brethren. (See
The Builder, Vol. 1, p.
120.) (4) A man is not really a
Mason, qualified to work as such, until he has received the third degree. ( 5
) Perhaps because they were two mighty teachers of Righteousness and Love
which are the foundations of the Lodge. (The Builder, Vol. i, pp. 166, 309.)
* * *
is the symbolism of the grips of our three degrees? It has seemed to me that
this is a matter passed over with little thought. - J.L.B.
Certainly the raising of a man was not intended merely to inform him that
Masonry cherishes a belief in immortality. No man needs to be briefly told
that by anybody what he wants is to learn how he may become assured that
his soul is not an evanescent breath. Perhaps the symbolism of the
grips may be stated in this manner:
Science, assuming that the seat of the soul is the brain proceeds to lay bare
the brain, dissects its hemispheres, traces its convolutions and nerves. Then
it subjects the brain of a dog to the same tests, and finds that it and the
brain of man are alike. Chemistry takes up the task, dissolves analyzes, and
by all means at its command reduces both brains to their essential elements.
From both it obtains the same elements, found everywhere else. Science, so far
from proving the immortality of the soul, lays down its instruments, its
acids, confessing that it cannot even prove that there is a soul. Not by that
grip can man be raised from a dead level to a living perpendicular. Logic then
tries to demonstrate that the soul, in its nature is indivisible, and
indestructible, and so must be immortal. Piato, Cicero and the rest formulated
this argument but if they convinced others, they did not convince themselves.
Doubts returned. Always, at the most critical point upon which the conclusion
depended, there was a juggling of words. Not by that grip can man be raised to
walk an newness of life. There is left the mighty grasp of faith - the
profound, fixed, ineffaceable conviction of the
soul itself; the very voice of God speaking within; the Divine Word
abiding in the heart. How else has God ever revealed truth to man ? How else
could he ? Since we know that there is a God, we as surely know that we are
not the butts of a cynical and sarcastic omnipotence, but akin to Him - the
soul a little brother to Him whom it seeks; and that our convictions, coming
from Him, are true and trustworthy. And by this reach and grasp and power of
faith we are quickened into eternal life.
HISTORY AND CHARITY
said by some that our Free Masonry came from the Mason's Guilds of London. For
the benefit of the young Mason, I will give a few of the earliest records of
Speculative Masonry and a glimpse of Masonic Charity.
believe that Masonry, from what I have read of it, has existed from time
immemorial, and that some of the most intelligent men of all ages have been
associated with it. The true Masonry of our ancient brethren was the knowledge
of the worship of the true God. This piety was the cause of so many churches
and monasteries being erected for the worship of God. Gould says the time that
church building was at its zenith, was during the first part of the Fourteenth
Century, when in England alone twelve great buildings were under construction.
that Free Masons were at one time all of the mason's trade is a gross error,
because it is said that all of the Kings of Scotland, and most of the
Noblemen, were Free Masons. In our present system of Speculative Masonry, the
earliest authentic record of a non-operative being a member of a Masonic
lodge, occurs in a minute of the Lodge of Edinburgh, under the date of June 8,
1600. John Boswell, the Laird of Auchindeck, was present and attested the
minute by his mark. Of 49 members in the Lodge at Aberdeen, date 1670, less
than one-fourth were of the mason's trade. The members were clergymen,
surgeons, merchants, and three were noblemen. In the records of a Presbyterian
Synod, in 1652, it is declared that ministers of that church had been Free
Masons in the purest times of the Kirke.
Scotland is the honor due for our present system of degrees in Freemasonry.
The legend of the Third Degree was not known in England, until it was given to
the Masons of London by Anderson, a Scotch Presbyterian minister, who also
compiled the first constitution for the Grand Lodge of England. The Scotch
system was known in Ireland before the landing of William of Orange, at
Carrickfergus, in 1690. William said he liked the Freemasons because their aim
was always to build up, never to tear down. For that reason he ordered that
their aprons be bordered with blue, in imitation of the blue sky of Heaven.
This is said to be the origin of the blue border often seen on Mason's aprons.
own beloved land, where there are more Freemasons than in any other country in
the world, some of the best men in days gone by, as well as now, have been
members of our fraternity, viz: Gen. Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Gen.
Warren, Andrew Jackson and Henry Clay. The last three named were all Grand
proud of the record of Masonry handed down to us. It comes without a stain on
its fair name. We are making Masonic History; let us see to it that the record
that we make will stand the test of the Overseer's Square, so that those that
come after us, may read of the good deeds that we performed and be thus
encouraged to better things, so that the good name of Masonry may be known in
every household throughout the civilized world, and the spirit of Masonic
Charity be imbued in the hearts of the people.
Hutchinson, in his “Spirit of Freemasonry,” published in 1814, has this to say
of Masonic Charity: “In order to exercise this virtue, both in the character
of Masons and in common life, with propriety, and agreeable to good principle,
we must forget every obligation but affection, for otherwise it were to
confound charity with duty. The feelings of the heart ought to direct the hand
of charity. To this purpose we should be divested of every idea of superiority
and estimate ourselves as being of equality; the same rank and race of men. In
this disposition of mind, we may be susceptible of those sentiments which
Charity delighteth in; to feel the woes and miseries of others with a genuine
and true sympathy of soul. Compassion is of heavenly birth; it is one of the
first characteristics of humanity. He whose bosom is locked up against
compassion, is a barbarian; his manners are brutal; his passions as savage as
the beasts of the forest. If we give only to receive, we lose the fairest
objects for our charity; the sick, the captive and the needy. The rule is, we
are to give as we would receive; cheerfully, quickly and without hesitation;
for there is no grace in a benefit that sticks to the fingers. The objects of
true charity are merit and virtue in distress; persons who are incapable of
extricating themselves from misfortunes which have overtaken them in old age;
industrious men, from inevitable accidents, rushed into ruin; widows left in
distress, and orphans in tender years left naked to the world. There is
another kind of charity, which we as Masons should practice. We should shroud
the imperfections of our brothers; even the truth should not be told at all
times, for where we can not approve we should pity in silence. What pleasure
or profit can there arise by exposing a brother's weakness ? To exhort him, is
virtuous! To revile him is inhuman!! To set him out as an object of ridicule,
Charity is the Key-stone of Speculative Masonry. We should be charitable to
all men, whether Masons or not. The whole world has a claim upon our kind
offices. Every Mason should be a good man, and practice the divine precepts of
Truth and Justice. It should never be possible for it to be truthfully said by
any one, that they had been defrauded or wronged by a Free Mason.
all remember, and at all times, that each one of us is a pillar of this great
institution, and that when we allow ourselves to go into a state of moral
decay, we are damaging the Structure, and thus weakening its usefulness.
C. Willox, Washington.
* * *
BODY OF MASONRY
Brother Newton: - As you invite opinion on the question asked by Bro. W.G.
Coapman in the December Builder as to the meaning of an affirmative answer to
the question, “You admit that it is not in the power of any man, or body of
men, to make innovations in the Body of Masonry?” I submit my opinion that it
means the Spirit of Masonry, so well illustrated in the article on Symbolism
by Bro. J. Otis Ball in the same issue. As far as I have been able to learn,
the first printed regulation to this effect appears in Preston's
“Illustrations of Masonry,” a copy of which (14th Edition, 1829) lies before
me; and the wording is the same as in the Code of Wisconsin with the exception
of the word innovation used by Preston which is used in the plural -
innovations - in the Wisconsin Code. “Innovations in Masonry” can hardly mean
its forms, ceremonies of the wording of its ritual, because all these have
been changed to a greater or less extent in the period of which we have
definite knowledge. The “revival of 1717” was a change in one sense. Wm.
Preston, if the author of the phrase in question, was in this and also in
other ways changing the lectures and work. To be consistent, he could not have
regarded them “innovations in Masonry.” Thomas Smith Webb, who is generally
considered the founder of the American Rite and a teacher of the Preston
“work,” abridged and “changed the arrangement of the lectures,” and has the
plaudits of thousands of Masons who are opposed to “innovations in Masonry.”
Jeremy Cross even went so far as to call a beautiful word-picture of his own,
“Masonic tradition,” and a recent revision of the ritual in one of our sister
Jurisdictions gives changes made in a ceremony the antiquity of tradition,
when we know the year and month the change was made. The word “Power,” if used
in the sense of “ability to do a thing,” would make it certain that the
meaning of the regulation referred to something more vital than words and
forms. If used in the sense of “authority to do a thing,” it also meant
something more than the ritual, because it is generally conceded that the
Grand Lodge is a body of men who have power to say what forms, ceremonies and
ritual shall be used. If changes in form and ritual are innovations, many of
the talented Brethren of the past have been great offenders for many of the
changes since this regulation was adopted.
H. Shepherd, Wisconsin.
* * *
Brother: - The discovery has been recently made by members of Hiram Lodge, No.
1, of this city, that the much cherished original charter of the old Hiram
Lodge issued through Provincial Grand Master Thomas Oxnard in 1750, is perhaps
the oldest extant Masonic Lodge charter in the United States. Hiram Lodge,
although dating back to 1750, is not the oldest Lodge in the country, but
charters antedating it have become lost or destroyed. This charter was issued
at the request of David Wooster, first master of Hiram Lodge, and regarded as
the father of Masonry in Connecticut, and under the charter the old Lodge was
registered under the Grand Lodge of England. The original charter reads as
OXNARD, G. M.
and every the Rt. Worshipful Brothers and Fellows of the Ancient and Honorable
Society of Free and Accepted Masons, now residing at or about New Haven, in
the Colony of Connecticut, in New England, or that may hereafter reside there,
THOMAS OXNARD, Esquire, of Boston, Provincial Grand Master of North America,
Whereas, Application hath been made to us, by our truly worthy and
well-beloved brother, Captain David Wooster, and divers other worthy brothers
now residing in or about the said New Haven, praying that we would empower
them to congregate and form themselves into a regular lodge of Masons:
Know Ye That in consideration thereof, and by virtue of the power committed to
us by the Rt. Honorable and Rt. Worshipful Grand Master of England, we do
hereby appoint and empower our true and faithful brother, Captain David
Wooster to be the first master of the first lodge in New Haven aforesaid, and
do hereby order that he summon (as soon as may be) all the Free and Accepted
Masons in or about said Colony of Connecticut (taking special care that they
have been or shall be all regularly made) to meet, and together make choice of
two wardens, that to them may seem meet; and that the said lodge shall meet in
a convenient place in New Haven aforesaid on such days as shall be most
convenient; and that the said lodge do annually, on the lodge night
immediately preceding the Festival of St. John the Evangelist, choose from
among their members, one master and two wardens, to rule the said lodge, with
other officers necessary to the good order thereof; and further, that they
strictly keep and observe all and every the rules and regulations contained in
the printed Book of Constitutions, (except so far as they may have been
altered by the grand lodge, at their regular communications), with such orders
as they may receive from us, or our deputy, or from the grand master and his
deputy for the time being; and that the master and wardens of said lodge do
transmit to us, in writing, a list of the members of said lodge, with the
places of their abode, and the stated days and place of meeting.
under our hands and seal, at Boston, this 12th day of November. A.D. 1750, A.
L. 5750. By the grand master's command.
M'DANIEL, D. G. M.,
HALLOWELL, S. G. W.,
BOX, J. G. W.,
PELHAM, G. S.
thought that this old charter might be of interest to you, and perhaps worthy
of a place in The Builder. Wishing you every success, I am
Mumford, Brardon, Conn.
* * *
Brother: - Certain allusions in well-known obligations, and particularly in
the penalties thereof, have occasioned me no little thought, and after long
consideration of the matter I have come to this conclusion - that a deeper
reason underlies it. From time immemorial there has been a belief in a life
hereafter and our entry into it through a resurrection. The ancient belief in
resurrection was based on several items essential to it - first and chiefly,
that the body should be kept intact, hence the sorrow of Isis over the
mutilated body of Osiris. Hence the embalming of the body by the Egyptians,
and the use of the coffin and shroud in our day. Any dismemberment of the
body, even after death, would preclude such resurrection, and therefore the
attainment of the life hereafter. Death itself, inevitable to all, was a fate
all had to meet. It would come sooner or later, and to be brave and fearless
was not such a punishment as it was to be excluded from the possibility of
resurrection, and thereby entry into the life beyond. Reminiscences of this
old belief remain to this day. The allusion, that no more remembrance may be
had, is significant of this same feeling or belief. I have been unable to find
anything along this line in any book available, but offer it as my conclusion
Sincerely and fraternally,
H. Weber, California.
* * *
Trowel is mightier than the Sword, for although the sword may be endowed with
all the strength and cruelty of the great god of war, and though it may level
proud cities and lay waste great empires, murdering the fathers, ravishing the
mothers and daughters, and starving the babies, yet its strength is only
temporary; it is an implement of destruction and as such can have no permanent
place in the great scheme of the universe.
the Trowel, the humble tool of the builder, replaces all the material edifices
destroyed by the sword; it rebuilds homes and cities, and spreads prosperity
over the face of the land. But more than this, it carries a message of
Brotherly Love and affection to all peoples, and there will come a time when,
by its influence, all animosity and hate will pass away and wars will be no
more. Love will rule the universe, and liberty and justice will walk hand in
hand with might; tyranny and oppression will disappear from the face of the
earth, and all men will know themselves as Brothers. Then the Mason's Trowel
will have fulfilled its destiny. Almon S. Reed, Iowa.
* * *
ARTICLES OF INTEREST
Physical Qualifications of Candidates, by M. M. Johnson. New England
Freemasonry in the War, by Gustav Diereks. American Freemason.
Grand Orient of France, by G. W. Baird. The New Age.
Origin of Templary. The Freemason, Toronto.
Freemasonry and the War, Albert Churchward. London Freemason.
Relation of the Masonic Orders of Christian Knighthood to Ancient Craft
Masonry, by W. F. Kuhn. American Tyler-Keystone.
England and its Allies as Freemasons, by Fred Armstrong. American Freemason.
* * *
Speculative Masonry, by A. S. Macbride. D. Gilfillan & Co., Glasgow. $1.50.
Philosophy of Masonry, by Roseoe Pound. National Masonic Research Society,
Anamosa, Iowa. 75 cents
First Degree, by A. W. Gage. National Masonic Research Society. 15 cents.
Lord of Misrule, by Alfred Noyes. F. A. Stokes Co., New York. $1.60.
Ancient Mysteries and Modern Masonry, by C. H. Vail. Macoy Co., New York.
Ancient Constitution. Macoy Co., New York. $1.00.
Antiquities of Freemasonry, by George Oliver. Macoy Co., New York. $1.00.
of an Americana Library, by A. E. Bostick. Little, Brown Co., Boston. $1.00.
Browning, How to Know Him, by W. L. Phelps. Bobbs-Merrill, Indianapolis.
Water Pastorals, by Paul Shivell. Houghton Mifflin Co., Boston. 75 cents.
Thee a moment! Then what dreams have play !
Traditions of eternal toil arise,
for the high, austere, and lonely way
Spirit moves in through eternities.
the soul what memories arise !
with what yearning inexpressible,
from long forgetfulness I turn
Thee, invisible, unrumored, still:
for Thy whiteness all desires burn.
with what longing once again I turn !
DEEPER THAN DEATH
has tormented me all my life. He will not let me alone. He is necessary to me,
if only because He is the only Being whom I can love eternally.
Brother, a new man has risen in me. He was hidden in me, but would never have
come to the surface if it had not been for this blow from heaven. I have only
one fear now - that that New Man may leave me.
all responsible for all. I go for all, because some one must go for all. Out
of our great sorrow we shall rise again to joy, without which man cannot live
nor God exist, for God is joy.