The Builder Magazine
November 1917 - Volume III -
IS IN THEM---A FRATERNAL FORUM
Edited by BRO. GEO. E.
FRAZER, President, The Board of Stewards
Henry R. Evans, District of
Harold A. Kingsbury,
Dr. Wm. F. Kuhn, Missouri.
Geo. W. Baird, District of
H.D. Funk, Minnesota
Frederick W. Hamilton,
Dr. John Lewin McLeish, Ohio.
Joseph W. Norwood, Kentucky.
Silas H. Sheperd, Wisconsin.
Jos. W. Eggleston, Virginia
M.M. Johnson, Massachusetts
John Pickard, Missouri
Oliver D. Street, Alabama.
S. W. Williams, Tennessee.
Joe L. Carson, Virginia
T.W. Hugo, Minnesota
F.B. Gault, Washington
C.M. Schenck, Colorado
H.L. Haywood, Iowa
Frank E. Noyes, Wisconsin
Francis W. Shepardson,
H.W. Ticknor, Maryland
Contributions to this Monthly
Department of Personal Opinion are invited from each writer who has
contributed one or more articles to THE BUILDER. Subjects for discussion are
selected as being alive in the administration of Masonry today. Discussions of
politics, religious creeds or personal prejudices are avoided, the purpose of
the Department being to afford a vehicle for comparing the personal opinions
of leading Masonic students. The contributing editors assume responsibility
only for what each writes over his own signature. Comment from our Members on
the subjects discussed here will be welcomed in the Correspondence column.
QUESTION NO. 7-- DEGREE
TEAMS.--Should a lodge organize two or more degree teams among its members and
employ such teams alternately in the conferring of degrees as a means of
offering thorough instruction to all members of the lodge? If so, how should
such teams be chosen and organized? If not, what other means do you favor for
increasing the familiarity of new members with ritual work?
Assign Work to the New Mason.
In my judgment there should
be but one "Degree Team" in the ordinary lodge, and that should be made up of
the officers of the lodge. Every officer should be required to know accurately
and do well the work of his own station, and at least that of the next higher
station. And he should be present at every meeting of the lodge.
One of the Master's most
important and exacting duties should be to see to it that all the active and
interested workers of his lodge are given frequent opportunities to assist in
the conferring of degrees. On the night when a wide awake, alert young Mason
received his third degree he should not be allowed to leave the lodge room
until he has been assigned some small but definite portion of the work to
learn. When he has been properly drilled in this part he should be given all
opportunity to show his proficiency on the floor. Keep your "promising
material" busy and you will keep it interested. A lodge of active workers is a
There are at least two
objections to "two or more Degree Teams." First you segregate a bunch of
workers and practically eliminate the remaining members from the work. Second,
there will soon develop a tendency to substitute "Degree Teams" for the
officers in conferring of degrees.
John Pickard, Missouri.
Spirit of Rivalry Helps. The
organization of two or more Teams for working the Degrees in the Lodge-is a
good one--especially if they are chosen as a result of a sort of examination
as to proficiency, and not through favoritism of the Master of the Lodge. A
spirit of rivalry and an opportunity at some later meeting, when there is no
work, for correction of any errors--encouraging the members of the Lodge not
members of said Teams to make such suggestions or corrections, accompanied by
a full and free discussion on the point or points named for correction, would
undoubtedly produce excellent results. Of course, when it comes down to
actualities, there is nothing that equals putting only men in office who
either know the work or will get it up promptly. Then occasionally, when an
officer is absent, appointing brethren from the rank and file to take the
No brother should be put in
office who will not, to the best of his ability, do the work of the position
into which he is installed. He should consider it a point of Honor to fully
prepare himself, and he who can and don't should be regarded as one who lacks
many of the essential qualifications for becoming a Good Mason. S. W.
* * *
"Lodges of Instruction" a
Better Plan. I do not approve of distinctive degree teams. The officers of a
Lodge should be qualified to exemplify the ritual, or they should not be
elected to office. The tendency of teams is to exalt the rendition of the
ritual above everything else, and while perfection in this detail is most
desirable,. it is only one phase of Lodge activity. The study of the history
and philosophy of the craft, and a proper understanding of its teachings and
tenets is just as important.
Then again by putting the
ritualistic work in the hands of teams you minimize the dignity and importance
of the official positions of the Lodge. The office of Master, for instance, is
one of great honor. It is supposed to be bestowed as a reward of loyal service
and in recognition of superior ability. It is his duty and privilege to
enlighten the Brethren and give instruction to the novitiate. Any plan of
Lodge work that would lower the prestige of this office would be unwise. I
think the end sought by the use of degree teams can be better secured by the
establishment of Lodges of Instruction.
Joseph G. Greenfield,
Georgia. The Prerogative of the Master. The Lodge should not organize Degree
Teams because it is the prerogative of the Master of the Lodge. He is elected
to rule and govern the Lodge; he is chosen with confidence in his ability, and
for the Lodge to organize Degree Teams would be an infringement of his
prerogative and an assumption of responsibility which rightfully belongs to
him. If Degree Teams are chosen, they should be chosen by the Master.
It is desirable that every
Mason should become familiar with the ritual. I believe it is the desire of
every Master, who has a full conception of his duty, to promote its study and
assist the brethren in attaining the "work"; but the various conditions which
obtain in different Lodges make the "Degree Team" desirable in some and
undesirable in others.
Elect as a Master a Mason who
has learned the use of "all the tools and implements of Masonry" and he will
promote zeal and industry and will see that the zealous brother has an
opportunity to work, if qualified to make the required impression on the
candidate. Silas H. Shepherd, Wisconsin.
* * *
No Exhibition Work in the
Lodge. You ask "should a Lodge organize two or more degree teams amongst its
members?" To this I would reply BY ALL MEANS, if there is the talent in the
Lodge to support such teams,--but when you ask "should such teams be employed
in conferring of degrees as a means of offering thorough instruction to all
members of the Lodge?" I would reply decidedly not.
My idea is that all the work
of the Lodge should be performed by the regularly installed officers.
Each individual officer has
his allotted task for which he was duly elected, his proper performance of
these duties is the warrant by which he holds the office, and his proficiency
in these duties is his recommendation for promotion. Some of these duties you
propose taking out of his hands, stultifying his position, and probably lead
him to neglect to perfect himself in that portion of the Ritual the Degree
Team would take over.
If such teams are selected
they should exemplify the work for the benefit of the members of the Lodge in
a Lodge of Instruction such as you find attached to all large and active
English Lodges. The teams could of course be drawn from the best ritualists in
the Lodge, and might meet weekly or monthly under the auspices of the Lodge.
I object to exhibition work
in the Lodge, such work to my mind always creates a feeling amongst those
present that the exemplification of a word-perfect ritual is the object in
view, not the instruction of the candidate, or the benefit of the craft,
besides criticism and correction cannot find voice at such a time and in such
a place, while in a Lodge of Instruction they would be quite in order. Joe L.
Opposes Innovations. The
question, if I understand it correctly, is whether a lodge should have one or
more "degree teams" for conferring the degrees, and, in reply, I beg leave to
say that, in my opinion, it would be better to have the Master and his
officers confer the degrees, as the ritual implies, and that a team
substituted for the Master and elective officers is an innovation. Personally
I am opposed to innovation, for cogent reasons.
In District of Columbia it
was formerly the custom for the Master to permit the Wardens each to confer a
degree, that the lodge might be able to judge of his qualifications, but this
permission has been so amplified that the Master has been able to divide this
degree work between the Wardens and even the Deacons, which I do not think is
so interesting or in the best interest of a lodge. Multiplying innovations
might, in time, lead to the use of a phonograph for delivering the lectures
and the charges. Why not? G. W. Baird, District of Columbia.
"Teams" Detract From Lodge
Responsibility. I do not believe in Degree Teams in Blue Lodges, whether such
Teams are organized in the Lodge for work in the Lodge, or whether they are
organized among Masonic Clubs for work among the Lodges generally. Here in
Massachusetts we have several such Teams connected with railroads and other
organizations employing large numbers of men among whom are many Masons. These
Teams go about working the Degrees or parts of them in Lodges in which their
fellow employees are taking their Degrees. While they have not yet been
forbidden there are grave doubts among many of the most serious minded of our
members as to their desirability.
I believe that the work of a
Masonic Lodge should be maintained on a very high level of seriousness and
responsibility, and that while, of course, a vacant Jewel may be temporarily
filled at the discretion of the Worshipful Master, the work of the Degrees
should be in the hands of the officers of the Lodge who are chosen or
appointed for those responsible duties. The candidate has a right to receive
his obligations and instruction from the officers of his Lodge and not from
substitutes unless such substitution is absolutely necessary.
No Mason should be advanced
in Masonry unless, and until, he has learned the Lectures of the preceding
Degree. If there is danger that he may forget it there is the opportunity for
him to keep his memory refreshed by attending Sodality Meetings, or even by
regular attendance at the Communications of his Lodge. Frederick W. Hamilton,
Experience With Teams. Basing
my answer upon personal experience in my own lodge, Excelsior No. 369, which
is a fair representative of the average prosperous urban lodge of more than
three hundred and fifty brethren--I am inclined to think that one Degree Team
thoroughly trained is ample. For three years we have had in our lodge a team
of fifteen which by occasional rehearsal and almost monthly work in the third
section has acquired an excellent reputation for efficient work. Even so, in
spite of the interest evinced by the members there are evenings when we have
not a sufficient number of the degree team present to utilize the full fifteen
in the work, and rather than use "raw or untried material" we generally put on
the second section with the ruffians, eliminating the others. Such happenings
are the exception, however, and by keeping alive the interest of the trained
team, sending them individual notice of rehearsal, etc., we find one full team
quite sufficient to keep in training.
Up in Columbus, Ohio, there
is a large lodge, "Humboldt," which has acquired the reputation of having the
finest trained degree team in the country. They may be said to have many teams
embodied in one large whole. With them degree work has become a specialty
refined to the nth power. At their inspections and on occasion of the Grand
Lodge meeting in Columbus, Humboldt exemplifies the Master's degree with a
magnificence of realization, and spectacular dramatization rarely if anywhere
equalled in Blue Lodge Work. Masons travel from all over the State to see this
justly famous team on dress parade. More than three score generally
participate, and the E.A.'s, F.C.'s and Masters are all historically costumed
even to the bronzing of the skin and appropriate hirsute adornments. Spot
light, music and solemn processional with trained elocutionary rendering of
the ritual are marked features and you can imagine the painstaking, almost
continuous rehearsal necessary to attain such perfection. It means something
to "make" Humboldt's degree team.
Another of our Cincinnati
Lodges, old Yeatman, has two trained teams which have acquired quite a
reputation, at home and abroad. Yeatman established the custom of exchanging
visits with other lodges and exemplifying the work with an individual
interpretation that offers an inspiration to many of the smaller lodges. At
times the lodge makes a visit to Equity lodge in Chicago or to some
neighboring city in Indiana or Kentucky, thus affording an opportunity for
contrast between the work of different jurisdictions.
Just across the river from
Cincinnati are three Kentucky lodges meeting in the same temple in Covington,
which may be said to make a specialty of dramatic rendition of the ritual. It
is hard to say which one of these--Covington, Colonel Clay or Golden
Rule--does the best work. The Kentucky work lends itself admirably to
specialization on the part of the degree teams. Here in Ohio, each candidate
must be taken through each section alone, and receive the work in full. In
consequence our ritual is perforce shorter than that employed in Kentucky,
where the candidates are taken through in "classes" and the full ritual
utilized only upon one candidate selected for its exemplification. As a
result, in Kentucky there is offered opportunity for many interpolations, such
as a prologue magnificently staged showing the workmen engaged in the erection
of the Temple, and an unfolding of the conspiracy of three which leads up to a
wonderful culmination permitting of many dramatic incidents, and the
interpolation of some soliloquies calling for considerable histrionic ability.
These lodges have several organized degree teams, with frequent rehearsals
which render their work in the ultimate par excellent.
It is largely a matter for
individual lodge determination, however, and to my mind one team of fifteen
men frequently rehearsed is quite ample care for the average lodge. Basing my
opinion upon the average attendance at most lodges, two teams would tend to
make the Secretary's duties too arduous in dragging the component parts to
In increasing the familiarity
of new members with the ritual work, the main incentive is to "get them to
lodge" which can most often be effected by maintaining the esprit d'corps of
officers and team and putting on the work with a degree of excellence that it
may never become monotonous. A Worshipful Master generally sets the pace, and
if a parrot sits in the east, too often his subordinates will follow suit and
slovenly work ensues, which is the death warrant to full attendance. John
Lewin McLeish, M. D., Ohio.
"Mouth to Ear." Lodges should
be left to arrange these and all similar matters as they see fit. Teams, if
organized, should be flexible so as to give all who wish to be active an equal
chance. Classes of instruction are the best means of imparting the ritual, but
perhaps this opinion is due in part to the fact that this writer is so proud
of having been the founder in 1891, and every Saturday evening for eight
years, the teacher, of the Richmond Masonic Class. It flourishes today and has
hundreds of graduates who are perfect ritualists. It has been imitated all
over the State and is a great help to our Grand Lecturer.
The one means we would
condemn without limitation, is that unmasonic cipher and printed rituals. They
violate our obligations and make public to all who want it our ritual.
Virginia has none in Lodge or Chapter and we are proud to be the last of the
ancient "mouth to ear" institutions. Jos. W. Eggleston, P. G. M., Virginia.
Good Officers May Not Be
We ought to get away from the
idea that the officers of a lodge should do the ritualistic work. A man may
make an excellent Master, but be a very poor ritualist. The Master should be
an executive officer. If the conditions are such that the ritualistic work can
be done better and more impressively by a select team, then it is the part of
wisdom to use a team, but in the team work the officer for a particular
station should always fill that station for the year. Good team work can never
be obtained by shifting the officers from one station to another. An officer
should know "How" before he should be permitted to confer or assist in
conferring a degree on a candidate. The only difficulty in the matter is who
shall decide as to competency ? As a rule the Master or any officer thinks he
is a "Whale" at the business. Wm. F. Kuhn, Missouri.
Alternate Teams. The question
of degree teams in the Blue Lodge appeals to me. I have always advocated it in
my own lodge. Two teams should be organized among the lodge members to
alternate with each other in working the Third Degree. This is the great
dramatic degree of symbolic Masonry and should be presented with all the
fervor possible, properly costumed and given with appropriate mise-en scene.
It does not do, especially in large city lodges, to leave the working of this
degree entirely to the line officers. The Master may or may not have any
dramatic talent. Where he possesses no histrionic ability the work suffers,
and the lodge members lose interest and do not attend the meetings Scottish
Rite Masonry rarely if ever turns the degree work over to the officers. Men
are selected who have demonstrated dramatic talent. The rivalry for supremacy
among the many teams enhances the interest of the ritualistic work. The more
men you can get to work in the lodge the better. Teams might be obtained to
work the First and Second Degrees as well as the Third. By releasing the
Master from ritualistic labor, you would give him more time for charity and
other work on the outside of the Lodge. Henry R. Evans, D. C.
THE STONE WHICH THE BUILDERS
The stone which the builders
And out among the rubbish was
Its value not then was
Its mission was wholly
But the work soon came to a
For want of a keystone they
And a search in the ruins
It was found, and its mystery
And have ye not read this
The stone which the builders
Became the head of the
Was the good work and true
So through the journey of
Of the work an imposter
His attempt at your wages to
When the fraud by a sign was
What is this, then, that is
Pray Tell the truth, which is
All who work in the quarries
The worthy are never
The Temple at last is
The craftsmen acquitted with
The scone which the builders
Is become the head of the
--Odillon B. Slane.
By Paul Laurence Dunbar
O Lord, the hard-won miles
Have worn my stumbling feet;
Oh, soothe me with thy
And make my life complete.
The thorns were thick and
Where'er I trembling trod;
The way was long between
My wounded feet and God.
Where healing waters flow
Do thou my footsteps lead.
My heart is aching so,
Thy gracious balm I need.
MASONRY IN PANAMA
BY BRO. MELVIN M. JOHNSON, P.
G. M., MASS.
CENTRAL America has of recent
years been again attracting the attention of the world. This is due in part to
its exports but more especially, of course, to the building and operation of
the Panama Canal. Its history is one of great interest not only because it was
the first home where European civilization was developed and has persisted
upon the American continent, but also because of the adventure and romance of
its history. Panama was discovered by Rodrigo de Bastidas in 1500 while he was
sailing from South America to the West. Its remaining Atlantic coast was first
visited by Columbus in October, 1502, when on his fourth and last voyage he
was sailing from Costa Rica to the East.
In 1513, Balboa crossed the
Isthmus and took possession of the Pacific Ocean in the name of the Crown of
Castile. From then on the Isthmus was constantly ravaged, pillaged and looted
by official, buccaneer, and pirate to gratify the insatiable lust of the white
man for gold, slaves, and other plunder until at last Old Panama itself,
discovered by Captain Alonzo Tello de Guzman in the winter of 1515, was sacked
and utterly destroyed by the buccaneer Morgan in 1671.
Meanwhile, from the day when
a load of Toboga Island pearls first crossed the continental divide, Panama
grew from a small fishing village to a large and prosperous city and the
Isthmus from a dense and trackless jungle to the highway for gold and treasure
on their route from Peru to Spain. Later the gold and tribute from the
Philippines was sent partly through Panama and partly across the Isthmus of
Linked with Peru and Spain in
civil government until early in the nineteenth century, the Isthmus on
November 21, 1821, forever threw off the yoke of Spain and voluntarily annexed
itself to the Republic of Colombia.
After the secession of
Venezuela and Equador from that Republic, what was left organized in 1831 as
the Republic of New Granada. In 1853, by a change in its organic law, this
Republic became a loose confederation with the proviso that any constituent
state might secede at pleasure. This provision is important in considering the
action taken in 1903, although it is true that there was a modification in
1863, when the United states of Colombia came into being with the Isthmus as
one of its federal and sovereign states. All through these years disturbances
and revolutions continued until the final peaceful revolution of November
3,1903, when Panama again declared its independence and Old Tierra Firme
became the present Republic of Panama with its independence guaranteed by the
The Republic of Panama is
32,380 square miles in area with a population of at least half a million
composed of numerous races. The influential and educated classes are mainly of
Spanish blood and speech while the inhabitants of the untamed jungle are
descendants of the original Indians. There is also a numerous sprinkling of
white English speaking people, mostly from the United states and British West
Indies, and considerable numbers of Chinese and of West Indian negroes. There
has been, as always in such cases, considerable intermingling of the various
bloods. The line of demarcation between the Spaniard and negro, however, is as
marked as anywhere in the West Indies or Central America and as definite a
line is drawn between the races in social affairs as in most parts of the
With the independence of the
country and the natural increase in commerce and business due to the building
and operation of the canal, its growth in numbers, in desirable citizens, and
in all departments of government and mercantile and social affairs has been
both rapid and meritorious. Panama, on the Pacific, and Colon, on the
Atlantic, its two most important ports, are among the healthiest and cleanest
cities in the world. Mining, stock-raising, and agriculture have become
extensive industries. Roads, bridges, and wharves are constantly being
constructed. The country's coinage is upon a sound basis. Its development of
educational facilities has been remarkable, particularly under the
administration of the present Minister of Public Instruction, Sr. Don
Guillermo Andreve, who after a bitter struggle, has succeeded in divorcing the
Republic's educational system from religious control and sectarian
BEGINNINGS OF MASONRY IN
Until very recently Masonry
in Central America has had a struggle for existence and in some parts that
struggle still continues for our institution has become firmly established
only close to the coast except in Costa Rica where a very prosperous Grand
Lodge with ten particular Lodges is at work. Persecution as bitter as the
inquisition has followed attempt after attempt to establish Masonic bodies.
The history of many of these attempts will never be known for because of the
bitter opposition of Church and State, meetings had to be held secretly. Even
within very recent years the President of one of the South American republics
was murdered and his body subjected to indignities before the eyes of his wife
and children, one of the reasons being that he was Grand Master of Masons.
It is, therefore, difficult
to write the history of Masonry in these various countries, but, so far as it
can be discovered, it ought to be published not only because of its present
value but as a matter of permanent historical record.
Confining ourselves for the
present to its history in Panama, we shall find as a result that it is now
firmly established. While it has never entered into politics yet practically
all the advance in civil and religious liberty which Panama now enjoys is due
to the efforts of our Brethren acting in their individual capacities in civil
In 1822 there was a petition
filed with the Grand Lodge of New York for the establishment of La Mejor Union
Lodge of Panama, Republic of Colombia. The petitioners came from the Republic
and from Caracas. There is no evidence that a Dispensation was issued and
nothing further is known about the Lodge.
In 1849 and 1850 several
meetings of Brethren from the States were held at Panama for charitable and
social purposes. This was at the time of the California gold fever and the
travel to and from California brought a large number of Masons to the Isthmus
of Panama, many of whom were utterly destitute while there. These meetings
were productive of much charitable relief.
By the autumn of 1850, they
determined that they could achieve better results if they were organized into
a regular Lodge and on September 21, 1850, eleven Brethren held a meeting and
resolved to petition for a Warrant of Dispensation. Three of them hailed from
Texas and were well acquainted with Masonic affairs there. One of them was
Bro. George Fisher who was a Past Grand Secretary of the Grand Lodge of Texas.
The petition to M. W. Thomas
J. Hardeman, Grand Master of Texas, was granted and on October 11, 1850, he
sent a Dispensation to Bro. Fisher who received it November 25, 1850. The
first meeting thereunder was held December 20, 1850, by seven of the
petitioners, four having already left the Isthmus.
As the Grand Lodge of Texas
met in January, 1851, a request was forwarded December 6, 1850, for a year's
extension of the Dispensation. This was recommended by the Finance Committee
of the Grand Lodge, January 22, 1851, and granted by Grand Master W. B.
At a special meeting of Union
Lodge, U. D., January 30, 1851, after elaborate consideration and an
exhaustive report by a committee, it was resolved to petition the Grand Lodge
of Texas to declare Panama a Masonic missionary station and Union Lodge the
agent for the purpose of aiding the poor, distressed worthy Brethren who might
be sojourning there. This petition was received too late for the consideration
of the Grand Lodge in January, but was added in full to the 1851 printed
Contributions for the
assistance of Union Lodge in this worthy cause were requested. There is no
evidence to show how successful the appeal was except that on January 24,
1852, the Grand Lodge of Texas in commendation of the wide and extensive
charity dispensed by the Lodge appropriated $150 for their assistance. On
January 21, 1852, on recommendation of the proper committee, the Grand Lodge
voted a charter to Union Lodge remitting "all dues for the Past Masonic year
and fee for Charter."
With the Proceedings of the
Grand Lodge for 1852 is printed a list of the officers and members of the
Lodge as they existed in 1851. No further reference is made to this Grand
Lodge in the Proceedings of the Grand Lodge of Texas and it probably ceased to
work very shortly. The list shows twenty-three Master Masons, two Fellowcrafts,
and nine Entered Apprentices, with Bro. Fisher as the Worshipful Master.
April 10, 1851, the Lodge was
visited by some Masons from New York who reported that at that time it had ten
members and thirteen Entered Apprentices. The Committee on Correspondence of
the Grand Lodge of New York in their report for 1851 say that "this Lodge by
its benevolent uprightness and regard for our ancient laws has already secured
a world-wide but just and merited fame." It is also reported that they had
recently bought in the City of New York regalia and Lodge room furniture.
When the writer attended a
communication of the new Grand Lodge in Cosmopolita Lodge Eall, Panama,
January 30, 1917, there was upon the altar an English Bible inscribed "To
Panama Lodge, New Granada" and presented by Past Grand Master Babcock of
Connecticut, Grand Secretary Powell of New York and nine other Brethren whose
names are given. As the Bible was published in 1850 and the Brethren whose
names are given were active in the Fraternity at that time, it is evident that
this Bible was presented to Union Lodge. These are all the facts now known
about this Lodge.
In March, 1866, Grand Master
Dame of Massachusetts, granted a dispensation for a Lodge at Panama by the
name of Isthmus Lodge and appointed as its Worshipful Master, Brother William
Little, a native of Boston and the American consul at Panama. He died soon
after and the Lodge surrendered its dispensation, taking a Charter from the
Grand Lodge of Colombia as Isthmus Lodge, No. 36.
This Lodge continued to work
until about 1880 when on account of some regulation of the Grand Lodge which
was antagonized by the members of the Lodge, they preferred to give up their
Charter rather than conform. Since the surrender of the Charter, nearly all of
the members of Isthmus Lodge have either left the country or died. From those
who remain we are unable to glean further vital information except that in
1885, the successor of this Lodge was working as Interoceanic, No. 44
(Colombia) but it died about 1889 because of persecution.
Santa Fe de Bogota was the
first Masonic See of the Grand Neo-Granadine Orient which See was afterwards
removed to Cartegena, capital of the then sovereign state of Bolivar, where
the Masonic Orient of Colombia still resides under a Supreme Council of the
33rd Degree with jurisdiction over the entire Republic of Colombia. From 1866
to 1898 whatever Masonry there was in Panama, from the 1st to the 33rd degrees
inclusive, was under control of this Supreme Council of Colombia which was
founded in 1833. In 1875 it had Lodge "Estrella del Pacificio No. 33 at
Panama." In many other lands where Grand Lodges have not been erected the
Scottish Rite is in control of the Symbolic degrees as well as of those which
it confers in this country.
When Panama, in 1903,
definitely severed itself from Colombia, its territory was regarded as open to
the Masonic World. Consequently the Supreme Councils of Colombia and Venezuela
(the latter founded in 1875) both established Symbolic Lodges within the
Republic. Both of these Supreme Councils are recognized by and in
correspondence with the Supreme Councils of Sovereign Grand Inspectors-General
of the Thirty-Third and Last Degree of the Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite for
the Northern and Southern Jurisdictions of the United States of America.
January 30, 1906, a petition
was addressed to Grand Master Blake of Massachusetts by nine brethren for a
dispensation to form "Isthmus Lodge" at Ancon. It was reported to the Grand
Lodge, March 14, 1906, and a dispensation was granted, but the Lodge never
The Grand Lodge of Scotland
voted a charter for a Lodge at Colon, February 3, 1898, which was consecrated
as Sojourners Lodge, No. 874, on March 10, 1898. The members of this Lodge for
reasons which seemed wise, largely due to the fact that the Masons upon the
Isthmus were nearly all from the United States and thought it better to have
their affiliation with the States rather than with Scotland, petitioned the
Grand Lodge of Massachusetts for a Dispensation which was granted February 7,
1912, and their Scottish Charter was surrendered. The conduct of the Lodge
while under dispensation being satisfactory, a Charter was granted to these
Brethren by the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts as Sojourners Lodge on December
11, 1912, and the Lodge was constituted by Grand Master Everett C. Benton in
person on July 18, 1913. This Lodge is located at Cristobal which is that part
of the City of Colon within the Canal Zone. It has jurisdiction over the
entire Canal Zone.
The Brethren on the Pacific
side of the Canal Zone then petitioned for a Dispensation in September, 1912.
Their petition was granted and a Dispensation issued November 4, 1912, for a
Lodge to be known as Canal Zone Lodge and to be located at Ancon which is that
part of the City of Panama within the Canal Zone. Its Charter was granted by
the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts on December 10, 1913, and the Lodge
constituted in due form on February 21, 1914.
There appearing to be need
for a Lodge among the officers and men of the United States army located upon
the Zone, a petition to the Grand Master of Massachusetts dated May 25, 1915,
was followed by a Dispensation granted June 8, 1915, for a Lodge to be located
at Empire, Canal Zone, to be known as Army Lodge. This Lodge was constituted
in due form May 20, 1916.
In August, 1916, a petition
was forwarded to the Grand Master of Massachusetts for a Lodge to be located
at Paraiso, Canal Zone, to be known as Isthmian Lodge. This was for the
particular benefit of the towns of Piedro Miguel and Paraiso, although like
all other Lodges within the Canal Zone, its jurisdiction is open to
applications from any part of the Zone. A Dispensation upon this petition was
executed in December, 1916, and the Lodge instituted January 31, 1917, by the
writer in person at a Deputy Grand Lodge held by him in the Temple at
A petition for a Lodge at
Balboa, Canal Zone, to be known as Darien Lodge was forwarded April 17, 1917,
and upon it a Dispensation issued May 18, 1917, which was presented June 14,
1917, by Major White, District Grand Master for the Canal Zone.
GRAND LODGE OF PANAMA
On the 16th of April, 1916,
there existed in the Republic of Panama (outside of the Canal Zone) the
following Blue Lodges:--
Rosa de America, formerly No.
65 of Venezuela, constituted January, 1907; now No. 1 of Panama;
Pro Mundi Beneficio, formerly
No. 67 of Venezuela, constituted August, 1911; now No. 2 of Panama;
Orion, formerly No. 68 of
Venezuela, constituted August, 1911; now No. 3 of Panama;
Aurora del Istmo, formerly
No. 69 of Venezuela, constituted November, 1911; now No. 4 of Panama;
Restauracion, formerly No. 70
of Venezuela, constituted November, 1911; now No. 5 of Panama;
Jose Bernito Alvizua,
formerly No. 71 of Venezuela, constituted January, 1912, now No. 6 of Panama.
Unity, constituted December,
1913, by a Grand Lodge of Panama which was under the auspices of the Supreme
Council; now No. 7 of Panama;
Cosmopolita, formerly No. 55
under the jurisdiction of Colombia, constituted 1910; now No. 8 of Panama.
Spanish, the language of the
country, is used by all except Unity Lodge which worked in English and which
has been succeeded by Acacia Lodge.
On the 16th day of April,
1916, these Lodges met in convention and executed a formal declaration of the
establishment of a Grand Lodge of Symbolic Masonry for the Republic of Panama.
At a meeting held August 19th, 1916, they adopted Grand Constitutions by the
unanimous vote of delegates from all of said eight Lodges and elected Grand
The organization of La Gran
Logia de Panama was consummated on October 12, 1916, when the Most Worshipful
Grand Master and other Grand Officers were publicly installed and proclaimed.
The first Grand Master, Sr. Andreve, is Minister of Public Education in the
Cabinet of the Republic. The Deputy Grand Master, Sr. Don Rafael Neira A, now
a business broker, was formerly Governor of Colon and at another time Judge of
the Superior Court. He became Grand Master in 1917.
This organization of a
Sovereign Grand Lodge having exclusive jurisdiction over the three Degrees of
Symbolic Masonry was approved and accorded recognition by the Supreme Councils
of Panama, Venezuela and Colombia, above referred to. The legitimacy of the
constituent bodies and of the Grand Lodge is thus clear.
The Grand Constitutions and
Minutes of this body are found upon careful examination to be in conformity
with the international principles and practices of the Craft.
Article 12 of the
Constitutions reads as follows:--
"The Grand Lodge does not
acknowledge other degrees except those of Apprentice, Fellow-craft, and Master
Mason, known as Symbolic Masonry, does not recognize as regular Masons any
persons whose degrees have not be conferred by regularly constituted Lodges,
subordinate to Grand Lodges regularly constituted and recognized, or to
Supreme Councils of the 33rd Degree of the Ancient Scottish Rite of such
jurisdictions where there are not any Grand Lodges operating."
A very thorough examination
of the situation was made on the spot by R. W. William H. L. Odell, Past
Deputy Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts, and by the writer in
January, 1917. It disclosed that the new Grand Lodge of the Republic of Panama
is composed solely of males of lawful age; is monotheistic in its requirements
and teachings; practices esoteric Masonic rites; assumes sovereign authority
over the Degrees of Entered Apprentice, Fellow-Craft and Master Mason and over
these Degrees alone; is composed of constituent bodies which are legitimate
and regular in their descent, constitution and continuance, the personnel of
which constituent Lodges is worthy of our consideration and fraternal regard;
is non-political except so far as its members as individuals may combat
tyranny over body and conscience; and represents the substantial Masonic unity
of the Republic of Panama.
There are two regular Lodges
within the Republic and outside of the Canal Zone which were not invited to
participate in the formation of this Grand Lodge and have not applied for
affiliation with it. These are Thistle, No. 1013, and St. Andrew, No. 1140,
owing allegiance to the Grand Lodge of Scotland, their members being all or
nearly all negroes. It seems from the Scottish Register that these two last
named Lodges are regular. The attitude of the new Grand Lodge of Panama
towards them is that their existence is an accomplished fact. Article 61 of
the Panamanian Grand Constitutions reads:
"If any of the Lodges that
are at present working within the territory of the Republic of Panama, under
the jurisdiction of a foreign Masonic Body, desire to become subordinate to
the Grand Lodge of Panama, such Lodge must obtain the consent of all the
Subordinate Lodges represented in the Grand Lodge, satisfying themselves that
the Lodge making the request is morally, financially and Masonically fitted
On Tuesday, January 30, 1917,
a Special Communication of the Grand Lodge of Panama was held at Cosmopolita
Lodge Hall in the City of Panama. It was presided over by M. W. Brother
Guillermo Andreve, Grand Master. It was attended by the writer, by Brother
Odell and by Masters, officers and members of the Lodges of the Canal Zone.
With elaborate ceremonial a Treaty and Protocol were thereupon signed, sealed
and delivered between the Grand Lodge of Panama and the Grand Lodge of
Massachusetts by the terms of which the Grand Lodge of Panama was recognized
as a sovereign Grand Lodge of Symbolic Masonry. The Grand Lodge of Panama by
the terms thereof ceded to the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts in perpetuity
exclusive jurisdiction over Symbolic Masonry throughout the Canal Zone. This
treaty was ratified by the Grand Lodge of Panama on February 15 and by the
Grand Lodge of Massachusetts on March 14, 1917, and ratifications were
ceremoniously exchanged on St John the Baptist's day.
In the Republic of Panama
there is a Supreme Council presided over by Guillermo Andreve as Grand
Commander. This Supreme Council has been recognized by its parents, the
Supreme Councils of Colombia and Venezuela, also by a few other Supreme
Councils. It has not yet been recognized by any one of the three great
English-speaking Supreme Councils of America.
In Panama there are also
eight Blue Lodges united under the Grand Lodge of Panama presided over by Sr.
Don Rafael Neira A as Grand Master. There are also in the Republic two negro
Lodges holding Charters from the Grand Lodge of Scotland.
Within the Canal Zone there
are three chartered Blue Lodges and two Lodges under dispensation united in a
District Grand Lodge over which R. W. Herbert A. White is District Grand
Master. He is at present the Judge Advocate of the military forces upon the
Canal Zone and a Major in the regular army of the United States.
The Symbolic Masonry of the
Zone is exclusively under the jurisdiction of the Grand Lodge of
Upon the Canal Zone are the
four bodies of the Scottish Rite which hold Charters from the Supreme Council
for the Southern Jurisdiction of the United States and which work all the
degrees from the Fourth to the Thirty-second inclusive in full form and
regalia upon all candidates.
There are also upon the Zone
four York Rite bodies. Two of them are Chapters, one a Council and one a
Commandery, all chartered by the general grand bodies of the United States. It
will be of interest also to add in this connection that there is a Chapter of
the Eastern Star at each end of the Zone and that this year a Shrine has
received a dispensation.
It will thus be seen that in
this part of the world, Masonry has become firmly established and is in strong
and healthy condition.
AN EVENING PRAYER
Accept the work of this day,
O Lord, as we lay it at thy feet. Thou knowest its imperfections, and we know.
Of the brave purposes of the morning only a few have found their fulfillment.
We bless thee that thou art no hard taskmaster, watching grimly the stint of
work we bring, but the father and teacher of men who rejoices with us as we
learn to work. We have naught to boast before thee, but we do not fear thy
face. Thou knowest all things and thou art love. Accept every right intention,
however brokenly fulfilled, but grant that ere our life is done we may under
thy tuitior. become true master workmen, who know the art of a just and
valiant life. --Walter Rauschenbusch.
FREEMASONRY AND FRATERNALISM
BY BRO. O. G. ELLIS, CHIEF
Overton Gentry Ellis, Chief
Justice of the Supreme Court of the State of Washington, was born in Nodaway
County, Missouri, October 26, 1860; was prepared for the University of
Missouri by his mother; graduated from the University of Missouri in the class
of 1883 with degree of B. Litt.; studied law in the law school of the
University of Virginia, 1884 and 1886; was admitted to the Bar of Missouri in
1886 and practiced law at Maryville, 1886-7; removed to Tacoma, Washington, in
1892; practiced his profession alone until 1901 and was a member of the firm
of Ellis & Fletcher, 1901-1908, and Ellis, Fletcher & Evans, 1908 to 1910; was
appointed by Governor Hay as associate Justice of the Supreme Court of
Washington, May 10, 1910, to fill unexpired term of Frank H. Rudkin, resigned;
was re-elected without opposition November, 1912; term expires January, 1919;
was elected by his associates as Chief Justice for a period of two years,
January, 1917; was member of a committee of fifteen elected to draft new
charter for Tacoma, which reported a commission plan of government adopted by
vote of electors October 16, 1909; served two terms as president Washington
State Society Sons of American Revolution; became a Mason in 1891 by
initiation in Heroine Lodge No. 104, Kansas City, Missouri; on removal to
Washington affiliated with Lebanon Lodge No. 104, Tacoma.
I SHALL not dwell upon the
mere forms of Masonry but shall endeavor to emphasize the deep significance of
the truths which they represent. For let me say to you, my brethren, with all
the earnestness of - a profound personal belief in what I say, that no
organization, whatever its antiquity, whatever its pretentions and ostensible
purposes, whether it be church or state or fraternal order, has any valid
reason for existence, any just claim upon the consideration of any man, unless
it exist not merely as an end in itself, but as a living vital means to some
worthy end. If, therefore, our beloved order has and shall continue to have
any valid reason for existence that reason must be found in the vast
membership of Masonry grasping, practicing and exemplifying in their daily
lives as men and citizens the true spirit of fraternalism which gave birth to
Masonry and which every symbol of Masonry is intended to typify. For after
all, as has been well said, fraternalism is a spirit rather than a method. And
it is not only the peculiar privilege but the glorious duty of Masonry, as the
dean of all fraternal orders, to preserve, develop and exemplify this spirit
of fraternalism as a vital reality in the shaping of the lives of men.
What is this spirit of
fraternalism? It is too big for definition. "You cannot define a spirit."
Every definition implies something of an analysis. But you cannot analyze a
spirit any more than you can paint the sunbeam or mark the limits of infinity.
But we do recognize the glory of the sunbeam when we see it and when we look
forth into limitless space we do recognize the boundless immensity of the
infinite. And so it is with this spirit of fraternalism. While it is so vast
and all pervasive as to defy adequate definition or analysis, we are able
nevertheless to recognize and appreciate its manifold manifestations in every
relation of life. It involves mutual respect and mutual toleration. As has
been well said by another, it "involves mutual respect of class for class,
race for race, church for church, individual for individual." It involves
mutual toleration for each other's views, mutual respect for each other's
feelings, mutual regard for each other's rights, mutual interest in each
other's welfare, mutual desire for each other's prosperity, mutual regret for
each other's misfortune. It involves helping the weak, needy and the
oppressed, counseling, forgiving and redeeming the erring. It is exemplified
in the observance of every commandment of the decalogue amplified by that
broader injunction of the Master "that ye love one another." "Fraternalism is
the parable of the Faithful Steward, the parable of the Good Samaritan, the
parable of the Prodigal Son." It is the golden rule --that we do unto others
as we would that others do unto us. It is to be just, but it is to temper
justice with mercy. It is to be merciful, but it is to supplement mercy with
These are a few of the things
involved in this spirit of fraternalism as it ought to be exemplified in the
simple relations of man to man. But it is not confined to these the simpler
relations of life. It involves also the relations of the individual to the
community, the state and the nation. Just to the extent that the individual
citizen shall come to grasp the true spirit of fraternalism as a guide to his
own personal conduct, just to that extent will he meet the duties and
responsibilities of citizenship in that exalted spirit which recognizes the
common welfare as paramount and superior to his own personal ends. Just to the
extent that a decisive majority of the people of any community shall become
imbued with the true spirit of fraternalism, just to that extent will that
community give evidence of that high civic spirit which unhesitatingly
subordinates the interests or the supposed interests of my particular class to
the promotion of the common good. Just to the extent that the citizenship of
any state shall come to think in terms of fraternalism, just to that extent
will the institutions and laws of that state reflect as a prevailing motive
the greatest good to the greatest number. Just to that extent will its penal
laws and institutions embody the idea of social protection through social
reformation rather than through social vengeance. Just to the extent that the
nations of the earth shall come to recognize this spirit of fraternalism as
the only sure and safe guide, not only in their own internal affairs, but in
their relations to each other, by grasping its basic thought in the common
brotherhood of man through the common fatherhood of God, just to that extent
will international injustice, jealousy, hate and warfare with all of its
bitterness, brutality and blood, want, waste and wrong tend to vanish from the
face of the earth. When we consider the all persuasive force and moment of
this spirit of fraternalism is it any wonder that it defies adequate
definition or analysis and we find ourselves forced back to the simple but all
comprehensive words the Man of Galilee when turning to his followers, simple
fisher folk and others of the lowly to whom no system of ethics, no scheme of
life up to that time promulgated had offered an incentive or unveiled a -
hope--when as I say he turned to these and said, "All ye are brethren."
And now, my brothers, what is
the meaning of this spirit of fraternalism to us as Masons? In pursuing this
inquiry it behooves us ever to bear in mind that not only every symbol of our
order but its very name is derived from a purely constructive science.
Whatever difference of opinion may exist as to how far back into the shadows
of remote antiquity we may be able to trace the beginnings of Masonry, it is
the consensus of all informed opinion that originally Masonry was a fraternal
order of practical builders--architects and officers. Whether we trace this
beginning back to the "Dionysian Architects" when they had been transplanted
from Egypt to the Phoenician cities of Tyre and Sidon some 1500 years before
the Christian era and thence to that body of skilled workmen under Hiram, the
widow's son, sent by Hiram, King of Tyre, to aid King Solomon of Israel in the
construction on Mount Moriah of the first great temple to the one living God,
or whether we trace them, as we certainly can, to the architectural gilds of
the middle ages, makes not the slightest difference. In either event the
original Masons were operative practical builders. That they were also men of
highest type of intelligence is evidenced by their achievements which stand
today in the unrivalled grandeur of St. Peter's Cathedral at Rome, St. Paul's
at London and a thousand other cathedrals and conventicle churches scattered
all over continental Europe and England. That they were self respecting men is
evidenced by the fact that they demanded and received from a bigoted church
and the more bigoted states, which they so ably and faithfully served, the
right to make their own rules and regulations and govern themselves in all of
their relations one with another according to their own laws--so much so that
they came universally to be known as "Freemasons." But as a further evidence
of their enlightenment and nobility of purpose we find that early in the
sixteenth century they began initiating into the mysteries of their order men
eminent in learning and achievement who were not practical builders and such
was the origin of modern "speculative" or institutional Masonry as
distinguished from its prototype of a fraternity of operative builders. But in
this transition Masonry abated not one jot or tittle of its constructive
quality. True its prime purpose is no longer confined to operative buildings
but what was originally its secondary purpose has become its prime aim--the
building of character and self respecting manhood. That is what Masonry means
and has meant for more than two hundred years. That broadly is what the true
spirit of fraternalism ought to mean to every Mason today. Every Mason should
be as distinctively a builder now as he was in the days of the architectural
gilds. He should be a builder of manhood and character, a builder of that self
respecting self-reliant citizenship which is the true foundation of collective
effort without which no nation long can stand. The lodge should be the school
of manhood and citizenship, the school of patriotism. It should be the school
of democracy and equality. For in the lodge room men from every walk of life,
the rich and the poor, the exalted and the lowly, meet on the common "plane
and square of pure democracy." Of the fact that Masonry has been indeed the
school of liberty the history of our own nation. furnishes ample evidence.
George Washington was a Mason, and of the major generals who served under him,
from that battle scarred veteran, Israel Putnam, to that beardless stripling,
LaFayette, all were Masons. Of the signers of the Declaration of Independence,
the most enlightenedly democratic document ever penned by man, many are said
to have been Masons. Every one of these generals and statesmen was a builder.
Not one was a mere iconoclast.
Since the Masons past and
present, by past tradition and present purpose were and are builders, there is
no room in Masonry for pure negation. While one of the great missions of
Masonry is to combat error, that combat should be waged not in any spirit of
wanton iconoclasm. Its aim should be to combat error by constructive process
of building up the truth. Faith, hope and charity should be the cardinal
virtues of every man and especially of every Mason. They are positive virtues.
They contain no element of pure negation. No Mason can be an agnostic or an
atheist. He must have faith. Faith in God, faith in his fellow men, faith in
the boundless possibilities of human development. No Mason can be a pessimist.
He must have hope. Hope for the present; hope for the future; hope for
himself; hope for mankind. No Mason can be a misanthrope. He must have
charity. Charity which covers and excuses the weakness of his fellow men born
of a conscious need of charity for his own shortcomings; charity which covers
a multitude of sins. No man can be a builder and therefore no man can be a
true Mason unless he possess these three cardinal positive virtues. For
without faith he will have no incentive to build either in the field of
material or of ethical things. Without hope he will have no reason to build
either for the present or for the future. Without charity he cannot build for
self, and selfishness furnishes too narrow and mean a foundation to sustain
any lasting superstructure.
So long as the spirit of
fraternalism as exemplified in Masonry shall find its well springs in these
cardinal virtues with their inexhaustible incentive to high achievement
Masonry cannot die. It will live because it ought to live. For whatever may be
said as to the truth or falsity of the postulate of the survival of the
fittest as taught in the doctrine of material evolution, its truth must be
granted as to things ethical, else there is no faith, no hope, no charity.
Unless we can believe in the final survival of truth, justice and
morality--simply because they are the fittest and most enduring of the
incentives to human action, we must abandon our faith in God, our hope for
man, our charity and love for our fellow men.
But if Masonry is to survive
it must live up to its constructive traditions. It must be forward-looking and
progressive. Progressive but not in that radical and iconoclastic spirit which
would break completely with the past. Such a course would be to cancel that
greatest asset of civilization found in the accumulated experience of the
ages. Forward-looking, but measuring every step by the experience of the past.
Civilization may well be
likened unto a vast edifice not yet completed but which has been in process of
construction throughout all the ages since man's creation. It has progressed
thus far through infinite labor. Its component parts have been shaped in the
toil and cemented by the blood and tears of countless generations. Its
foundations lie deep rooted in the experience of the past. Its topmost
pinnacle must pierce the distant future. Every age must contribute to its
construction. No age can ignore this foundation without marring or wrecking
the whole edifice. There can be no constructive progress without co-operation.
There can be no true co-operation without an observance of law and order and a
proper regard for duly constituted authority which is the very corner stone of
the social compact. The spirit of fraternalism in its all pervasive
ramifications is a spirit of co-operation. If, therefore, the Masonic order is
to fulfill its high mission as the great exponent and exemplar of that spirit
every Mason must be taught not only to be a law abiding citizen but that he
should cast his influence on the side of law and order.
No age has ever offered such
vast possibilities for usefulness through the application of the constructive
principles of Masonry as the present. The edifice of civilization is now being
shaken to its very foundations by the most relentless, ruthless and
destructive contest that the world has ever known. If peace, blessed and
lasting peace, is ever to come after that great conflict it must come, under
Almighty God, through a final recognition of the spirit of fraternalism as the
great constructive and cohesive principle which it is the true mission of
Masonry to teach and practice and exemplify.
NIL ERGO OPTABUNT HOMINES
(Juvenal. Satire X: 346, et
Should men not pray? Take my
advice, and let
The gods themselves decide
what's best for you;
Being all-seeing, they can
lead you to.
A better fortune than your
prayers can get.
Genuine good for your
They change, who love you
better than you know;
While led by feelings, and
Of blind desire, you ask--and
But that you still may pray,
and still may find
The peace of soul that faith
alone can give,
Be this thy prayer: "Oh,
grant me while I live
In a sound frame, a sane and
Pray for a soul proof against
threats of death,
That holds life's closing
scene its crowning boon;
That patiently endures the
heats of noon,
And can restrain the lust
That counts the cares and
toils of Hercules
Better than all the feasts
Sardanapalus used. Thou
The things thyself can give
thee; pray for these!
Through decency comes peace.
If we were wise,
O Fortune, we should never
For we ourselves created
thee, and we
Enthroned thee as a goddess
in the skies!
--Edwin M. Robinson
in Cleveland Plain Dealer.
O Master Builder,
Solve thou the riddle of the
Its ceaseless, useless
tossing to and fro,
Its weary, restless surging
here and there;
Why must the tender heart be
Why must The flame of love
grow dim and glow no more ?
Why must ambition soar and
break the peace
O Master Builder, thou
Alone, canst break the
silence of the Sphinx,
And show the mystery of ages
And ages yet unborn; alone
Untie this knotted tangle we
And do thou weave its living
A web more holy; may its new
More clearly show thine
age-old plan for us.
--R. V. Gilbert.
DISCOURSE ON THE FELLOWCRAFT
BY BRO. ARTHUR E. WAITE,
BRETHREN of the Order, and
those among you in particular who have been received recently among us, there
is no period too early to conceive a just and commensurate notion of the great
institution to which we belong, and in which we have been incorporated as a
part of its living body. It is desirable, in the first place, that we should
understand certain intimations which occur in the Grade of Neophyte and in
that of Fellow Craft. They are open on their surface to misconstruction, and
did we afterwards pursue our researches into the history of Emblematic
Freemasonry, it might even be thought that they were untrue unless we carried
them further than is done commonly. Moreover, in the absence of such
researches, they might come to be regarded as so many figures of speech.
The Entered Apprentice is
told at an early stage of his experience that the Order possesses great and
inestimable privileges as well as those secrets and mysteries concerning which
he is sworn to inviolable secrecy. You will observe that the privileges are
enumerated separately from the secrets, though the latter stand also for
privileges. Among these I will particularise the Signs and Words of the
successive Degrees. The privileges imparted by these include the right of
entrance to a Lodge, as a guest or subscribing member. They are the titles of
our initiation and assuredly they are more than valuable after their own kind,
but they do not respond in themselves to the very wide claim which I have
mentioned. I conceive therefore that there are other privileges. These are
not, however, to be identified with the things implied by the great principles
of the Order, precious as are the latter to our hearts, and advantageous as it
must ever be to dwell within a circle of fellowship which recognises the
principles of solidarity and will at need extend them in good will to us. They
are not in the category of those things which we seek to reserve to worthy men
alone. They are rather the marks, seals and characters which it is our sacred
duty to display and by which Masonry is known all over the world in its
practice of beneficence, benevolence and fraternity, by the love of moral
truth and by the truth which abides in honour. I conclude, therefore, that the
reference to inestimable privileges is itself in the nature of a mystery and
covers things which do not exactly appear on the literal side of our rituals.
This is the first point which I am now seeking to commemorate.
The second is concerned more
especially with the obligation of the Neophyte Grade in which the Candidate is
pledged to hele, conceal and never reveal the secret art and hidden mysteries
of Masonry. I believe that after a little reflection I shall carry with me the
concurring voice of every Brother amongst us, if I say that this pledge, with
the penalties attached thereto, must cover more than the simple signs, tokens,
words and procedure which takes place in our Lodges, or too elaborate
machinery may be thought to be put in motion than the-end appears to require.
Hence again it seems certain that the reference to secret arts and hidden
mysteries is itself in the nature of a mystery and covers things which do not
precisely appear on the literal surface of our Rituals. This is the next point
which I am seeking to commemorate here.
For the third, we must pass
from the Grade of Initiate or Neophyte to that of Fellow Craft, in which there
is a brief but singularly pregnant account (1) of that which was attained by
the Candidate when he was made an Entered Apprentice; and (2) of that which he
is expected to perform in his new capacity as a Craftsman. In the one it is
pointed out that he has made himself acquainted with the principles of moral
truth and virtue. Now, this is literally true, subject to a single reserve: as
one newly admitted, he was not intended to be tried beyond his strength: the
principles which he is said to have acquired were in reality communicated to
him without action on his own part, but he was left in the First Degree to
reflect upon them. They are actually the root matter and sum total of moral
truth and all natural virtue. It is otherwise in the Degree of Fellow Craft.
There it is assumed that the Masonic horizon has opened before and about him,
and that he is prepared to enter an almost immeasurable region. He is
accordingly advised (1) that he is expected to make the liberal arts and
sciences his future study, and (2) that he is permitted to extend his
researches into the hidden mysteries of Nature and science. Once again, this
is an intimation which covers much more than appears on the literal surface
and is a mystery which is expressed shortly but not explained in our Rituals.
Here is the third point which I am now seeking to commemorate.
Let us see if there is any
direction in which we can turn for a little light on these problems, and as it
so happens we shall not have to go outside the Lodge itself.
On his first entrance into
Freemasonry the newly received Brother will perceive that he has come into a
world of emblems or symbolism, and that whatsoever takes place therein has a
meaning behind it which is by no means indicated invariably on the surface.
Sometimes, and indeed frequently, there is more than one inward meaning,
depending on the point of view from which it is approached. The Lodge is an
eloquent example of this truth. When its door opens for the Candidate he
enters into an institution which has its branches spread over the four
quarters of the globe. It may be a very small Lodge: it may be a Lodge of poor
Brothers only: but whosoever is received therein is recognised through the
Masonic world, in all countries and among all peoples. But there is more even
than this: however humble in its appointments and proportions, that Lodge is a
Microcosm, a symbol, a speaking likeness of universal Freemasonry. It
represents also and contains the life of Masonry, and the Ceremony of his
initiation integrates the new-made Brother in that peculiar quality of life
which is the principle and essence of the Order. He becomes part of an organic
whole. In the third place, the Lodge is held to represent the three dimensions
of space--that is to say, the universe itself as a cosmos: in length from East
to West, in breadth between North and South, in depth from the surface to the
centre, and even as high as the heavens.
It is therefore as if the
Candidate on his initiation had been born anew into the universe, or that a
door had opened to admit him into another cosmos. He comes with his eyes dim
and with a restraint about him; he is kept for a considerable period in a
state of darkness and bondage: ultimately he is instructed, and that which he
finds about him is truly the symbolic representation of a new world. For him
at that moment all things seem to be renewed, and it is very soon after this
strange and wonderful experience that he is given a key to the meaning. He is
told that he is the corner stone of a new foundation, from which he has to
build up himself after another and higher manner. In other words, he has to
remake his inward nature according to the perfection of the standard which is
prescribed by Masonry. It is a moral standard in respect of his dealings with
his Brethren and with mankind at large. It is a spiritual standard in respect
of his duty towards God, and through obedience thereto it is hoped, held and
known that he will ascend to the home of the spirit in the heavenly kingdom,
by means of the ladder of Jacob, the successive rounds of which are called by
many names, but chief among these are faith, hope and charity. It follows that
he has a two-fold work to perform, but it is all in the training of himself.
If he be successful, the result will be perfect in its parts and honourable to
the builder. From this point of view, the just, perfect and regular Lodge is
also a symbol of the man in that state which he is called to attain.
Now, the word initiate, with
which we are so familiar in Masonry, signifies a person who has made a new
beginning, who has entered a path of experience heretofore untravelled. Its
equivalent in other orders and fraternities is the word Neophyte. The Neophyte
is also one who has made a new beginning and the term, which is Greek in its
origin, signifies him who is reborn, a new plant, one who is remade. In the
old instituted mysteries, like those of Samothrace, of Egypt and of Eleusis,
the Candidate was regenerated or reborn-- he was otherwise transferred or
grafted--at the beginning of his experience, and afterwards he passed through
successive stages of a new life till he attained the culminating Grade. It was
the same experiment as that of Craft Masonry, in which the Candidate-- as an
Entered Apprentice--lays the foundation stone of that new building which is
himself, raises a super structure according to the law and order that Masonry
has imposed upon him, continues the erection as a Craftsman, in which Degree
the mysteries of Nature and science, recommended to his study, are mysteries
of God and the estimation of His wonderful works till at last he puts on the
capstone when the Lodge is open in the Sublime Grade of Master.
Our secret art is therefore
an art of life, an art of perfection, an art of creation according to a
prescribed standard recognised in Masonry: our hidden mysteries are those of
our own relations to God, man and the universe, that we may be enabled to
fulfill by Masonry the higher law of our being. The inestimable privileges of
Masonry include those of its symbolism, the study of which is for our
instruction in this high mode of selfbuilding. The arts and mysteries which we
are pledged to conceal from the profane are also those of the peculiar law of
life in Masonry by which these ends can be reached. Those who are outside the
Lodge must come within it, if they desire to share in that life. It is really
incommunicable beyond the mystic circle, for the simple reason that it is life
itself and not one of its substitutes. While therefore we are properly pledged
concerning it, there is something which we could not impart even if we tried.
In some of the old mysteries, from which we are indirectly descended,
initiation and its sequels meant real instruction in this subject, and several
of our most suggestive intimations are reflections from that remote source.
And seeing that the Grade of
Master Mason is not so much a reflection as the very root, essence and
quintessence, of those mysteries, and may be shortly described as an
experiment in the deep mystery by which the soul passes through mortal life
towards that life in God which is the end of all the mysteries, it comes about
in this manner, my Brethren, that we are incorporated with all the great
orders and sodalities of the far past and are therefore justified when we say
that the meaning of our Masonic Badge is more ancient than the Golden Fleece
and that our honourable institution--though under many transformations--has
subsisted from time immemorial.
"WHO DREAMS SHALL LIVE"
Who dreams shall live! And if
we do not dream
Then we shall build no Temple
Yon dust cloud, whirling slow
against the sun,
Was yesterday's cathedral,
stirred to gold
By heedless footsteps of a
The faiths of stone and steel
are failed of proof,
The King who made religion of
Passes, and is forgotten in a
The crown he wore rots at a
The rose unfurls her banners
o'er his dust.
The dreamer dies, but never
dies the dream,
Though Death shall call the
whirlwind to his aid,
Enlist men's passions, trick
their hearts with hate,
Still shall the Vision live!
That dreams are fragile
things. What else endures
Of all this broken world save
MEMORIALS TO GREAT MEN WHO
BY BRO. GEO. W. BAIRD, P.G.M.,
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
JOHN D. SLOAT
IF an object lesson is needed
to prove the ephemeral existence of that substanceless something called Fame
we have it here. Captain John Drake Sloat, Flag Officer of the Pacific fleet,
placed the American flag on the little custom house at Monterey and took
possession of California on the 7th day of July, 1846.
It was part of Mexico up to
that time, and the kingdom of England had decided to seize the colony for a
debt of 10,000,000 pounds which Mexico owed and was not able or not willing to
Rear Admiral Seymour, of H.M.
Navy, had received his instruction to that effect, and though Captain Sloat
had been sent instruction from Washington, the orders did not reach him, but,
under previous orders, he felt justified in the seizure, and he made it.
He was only a few hours in
advance of the Briton, who, finding the American already in possession,
remarked, "Then by G__ I am too late," which was considered a great joke by
the British officers who laughed over it. It was apparent to us then, and is
now, that California completed the segregated territory the United States
needed, and, we think, our accessions should have stopped there. The
acquisition of the Pacific coast possessions prevented the foot-hold on
adjacent land by any monarchy which might encroach upon our Republic, which
fulfilled the purposes of the famous Monroe doctrine.
John Drake Sloat descended
from the Dutch who had settled New Amsterdam (what is now New York) and
inherited that Dutch peculiarity of reticence; of being a good listener; a man
of few words but prompt and decisive in his acts. He was born on July 26,
1781, at Stratsburg, near Goshen, Rockland County, N.Y., and entered the Navy
as a midshipman at the age of 19; promoted to Master in 1812; and Lieutenant
in 1813. He was commissioned a commander in 1826, and a captain in 1837. He
commanded the Pacific fleet in 1844-5-6, with the rank of "flag-officer,"
equivalent to commodore, during that command. He was retired on Dec. 21, 1861,
and, on the retired list, was commissioned a commodore on July 16, 1862, and a
rear admiral on July 25, 1866. He spent 26 years of his life at sea. He was
with Decatur, in the Frigate United States, and maneuvered the ship (under
sail) in his fight with the Macedonian, for which he received the thanks of
Congress. While in command of the Grampus he suppressed the famous Cofrecinas,
the last of the West India Pirates, in 1825. Rear Admiral Sloat died on the
28th of Nov., 1867, and was buried with Masonic and military honors in
Greenwood cemetery, L.I., by St. Nicholas Lodge No. 321, and Tompkins Lodge,
and the Naval Batallion of Marines and Sailors, Nov. 30, 1867.
The Sloat monument was
erected at Monterey fifty-six years after the occupation of California, and
the same flag was used at the corner stone laying that Sloat had raised on the
little custom house just 56 years before.
The corner stone was laid
Masonically on the 4th of July, 1902, in the presence of a mighty throng of
Californians, including officers of the Army and Navy, the Governor of the
State, Senators, the Sloat monument association, Miners and Railroad
associations, each furnishing and placing a stone in the foundation.
Major Edwin A. Sherman, 32d,
P.G.H.P., etc., was the active agent in the Sloat monument creation, from its
inception to its final dedication.
The monument stands in front
of the old fort Mervine, on the military reservation at Monterey.
The height of the monument is
31 feet, and the base is 24 feet square, emblematic of the 24 hours of the
day; the stones are four feet long, emblematic of the four hours of a sailor's
watch; the height of the base is 6 feet, 10 inches; the three courses of the
stones refer to the three symbolic degrees, the admiral's Masonic rank. The
height of the pedestal is 13 feet, emblematic of the 13 original colonies.
On of the sides of the
pedestal there is a medallion of the fleet surgeon, William Maxwell Wood; of
Commodore Stockton, and of Captain John C. Fremont.
DEVOTED ORGANIZED MASONIC
Edited by Bro. Robert I.
This issue of the
Correspondence Circle Bulletin concludes Section "B" of our Bulletin Course of
Masonic Study. With the December issue we shall commence Section "C" of
Ceremonial Masonry, which we have called "First Steps." We feel certain that
those Lodges and Study Clubs which have followed us thus far through what we
have chosen to present as the fundamental facts concerning "The Work of a
Lodge" and the relations existing between "The Lodge and The Candidate" will
find the successive steps of the remaining study even more interesting than
those which have gone before. Doubtless the interpretation which will be
placed upon our ceremonies by us will not be agreed to by all: but it will
serve to form a basis for discussion, at least. And, as always, we shall
welcome your questions and discussions in The Question Box, which now, more
than ever before, promises to be one of the most illuminating departments of
(Note. The following article
is one of a series prepared by the Editor for reading and discussion in Lodges
and Study Clubs. This series is based upon the Society's "Bulletin Course of
Masonic Study." Each month we present a leading article supplemented by a list
of references on the same subject. In each month's issue, we also append a
column of "Helpful Hints to Study Club Leaders," which we hope will assist
those already doing this work, and inspire others to do likewise. This
development is in line with the Society's policy of stimulating active Masonic
We recommend that Lodges and
Study Clubs use the current paper at their meeting one month after it is
received. This gives time for careful study by the members; it also permits
the preparation of additional papers from the references. In the original
presentation of this paper, if it is read a paragraph at a time, and fully
discussed as you proceed, you will find that each member will get more out of
it. By this plan, the leader can bring out the important points listed under
"Helpful Hints," as you go along, and the discussion will perhaps be more to
the point than otherwise.
The Bulletin Course may be
taken up at this point as profitably as elsewhere. The previous lessons may be
considered review work. Mackey's Encyclopedia and the bound volumes of THE
BUILDER remain the necessary references; others will from time to time be
given; rare references will be reprinted in THE BULLETIN. YOUR LODGE can
undertake systematic Masonic study with small expense in dollars, but large
returns to your membership, if you will let us assist you. Our "STUDY CLUB
DEPARTMENT" is organized for that purpose.
Address Geo. L. Schoonover,
Secretary, Anamosa, Iowa.)
THE LODGE AND THE CANDIDATE
Part III, THE DEGREES
BY BRO. ROBERT I. CLEGG
ENTERED APPRENTICE, FELLOW CRAFT AND MASTER MASON
WE may for our purpose define
the word "degrees" as meaning the steps, stations, stages, or grades of
progress in a movement. The several intervals on the scale of a thermometer
are known as degrees. The poet has pictured the ambitious as climbing a
ladder, and when the topmost round has been reached the climber turns his back
to the ladder, "scorning the base degrees by which he did ascend." In no
spirit of contempt do we Masons mention the degrees. They are the divisions,
distinct and different, by which the candidate measures as by milestones the
most important of the periods of his preparation for the life of a Mason. They
are not to be scorned but treasured, followed and not forgotten.
The degrees of Freemasonry
are many if we include all ceremonials and instruction given exclusively to
Masons. For our present purpose we shall limit our study to the first three
degrees assumed or received by the candidate. These are the Entered
Apprentice, Fellow Craft, and Master Mason.
Of the history of these three
degrees there is much yet to be disclosed by the patient seeker after truth.
We do not possess all the information we desire. So little could be put
lawfully into print or writing that the available facts are few.
Following the organization of
the Grand Lodge in 1717 we can readily understand that a careful survey of the
degrees of the ritual would be made. That much at least we can guess by the
references made in the records. For instance, we note in the Book of
Constitutions issued under date of 1738 a mention of a condition of things
that could with equal truth be used today. The statement is as follows: "a
Prentice when of age and expert, may become an Enter'd Prentice or a
Free-Mason of the lowest degree, and upon his due improvements a Fellow-Craft
and a Master-Mason." Perhaps it is not unfair to assume that here the word
"Prentice" has the same meaning as a duly qualified candidate ready for
complete initiation and record.
During the interval from
1717, when the Grand Lodge was organized, to 1738 when the above Constitutions
were issued, we find the evidence of growing pains. Therefore there is less
certainty about the prevailing practice in the lodges. It is reasonable to
believe that the records show what had been adopted and made uniform but it
does not say when the lodges that had already been working that way had first
begun the practice. That is to say that in 1738 something was announced as the
common custom and lawful which previously might long have been in use.
We must be very careful to
draw a sharp distinction between the time when certain lines of separation
were made in the ceremonies and that of the time when the ceremonies were
first used. To divide the ceremonies into sections may be of recent date but
the ceremonies themselves can on the other hand be of the greatest age.
It is also very easy to see
that what may have been divided into two parts or sections may again at a
later date be divided into three or even four or more stages or degrees. There
is a very strong probability that the substance of at least two degrees of
Royal Arch Masonry was at one time a part of the lodge ceremonies. For the
same reason we may conclude that if we find a period when but two degrees are
mentioned there is some ground for the belief that what we now have in the
three degrees was then conferred in the two degrees. The same series of
ceremonies may be divided differently and yet be substantially the same
If this distinction is not
properly recognized by the student of Masonry he will be seriously led astray
in studying the arguments of the scholars of the Craft in regard to the early
My respect for the age of the
Masonic "work" is not lightly founded on mere assumption. The subject has been
touched upon in these papers and will arise for later inquiry. At present we
may study with profit the comments of Brother Robert F. Gould as given in a
paper read in 1890 on "The Antiquity of Masonic Symbolism." I will quote from
the proceedings of the Quatuor Coronati Lodge of London. He maintained "that
in substance, the system of Masonry we now possess--including the three
degrees of the Craft--has come down to us in all its essentials, from times
not only remote to our own, but also to those of the founders of the earliest
of Grand Lodges."
We must also never forget
that Masonry has carefully preserved in the strictest secrecy all matters not
proper to be written. There is thus the greatest difficulty in dealing
historically with ritualistic questions.
We further find that
documents were destroyed as is the fact told of by Anderson in 1720 where he
says that "at some private lodges several very valuable manuscripts (for they
had nothing then in print) concerning the Fraternity, their Lodges,
Regulations, Charges, Secrets, and Usages . . . were too hastily burnt by some
scrupulous brethren that these papers might not fall into strange hands."
There is no reason to doubt
this. It is precisely what might be anticipated. Many of the members in
opposition to the change brought about by the formation of the Grand Lodge
would expect that to establish such a body would result in the interference by
some officials with the written particulars, they might be taken out of the
control of the lodge, publicity perhaps would be given to them. Not being sure
of the attitude likely to be taken by the new body on such questions there
would be a strong temptation to destroy what might otherwise go astray and out
of the control of those who thought so much of the possessions. There may also
have been the desire to thwart the efforts of those to whom the opposition was
unfriendly. However the facts may be we are possessed of little data upon the
Elias Ashmole has recorded in
his Diary that he was made a Freemason in October, 1646, at Warrington,
England. Whatever the ceremonies were and exactly the number of degrees
conferred are not stated. But there is nothing to show that in substance he
failed to receive what is given every Master Mason.
Much has been made of another
reference to Masonry found in the Diary of Ashmole. This refers to a far later
period in his life than the date of Ashmole's making as a Freemason. He tells
us that in 1682 he was summoned to a Lodge at Mason's Hall at London. To use
his own expression, he was the "Senior Fellow present."
A like term is used by Dr.
Plot in the year 1686 in his work on the "Natural History of Staffordshire."
He says that Freemasonry was spread more or less over all the nation, that
persons of the most eminent quality were members of the Fraternity, and that
on their admission to the society they were given a knowledge of some "secret
signes." Further on he says that if "a Fellow of the Society" should receive
one of these signs he would be obliged to obey its message even if it meant he
should come down from the top of a steeple.
For that matter Plot speaks
of the five or six required to form a lodge and of the presentation of gloves
--a real Masonic ceremony, by the way--and of the custom of a banquet after an
initiation. Plot is evidently giving the facts as they might be known to the
general public at that time because he does not pose as a member of the Craft.
His testimony is therefore so much the more impartial and interesting as to
the general reputation of the Fraternity at that date.
But let us not hastily assume
that the use of the word "Fellow" meant no more than "Fellow Craft." Right now
in our own generation it is applied to one holding full membership in some
important society and it has long been thus employed. In fact this seems to
have been one of its oldest meanings and there is very little or no doubt that
in this sense it was used in the cases just cited.
Briefly we may say that the
names of the three degrees are typical of the days when Masonry was purely a
trade. Then the apprentice was first of all free, perfect of limbs, and of
suitable age and respectability. He was apprenticed by his parents or guardian
to a competent employer who promised by formal contract to instruct the young
man in approved trade practices. Such an employer was a master workman, a
master of the art and the business and a fellow of his trade society.
Within a year the apprentice
was required to be entered upon the roll of the trade organization by his
master. This was done with ceremony. Usually seven years were required for the
apprenticeship. Then he produced some specimen of his skill and this was
Having passed inspection he
became free of the trade and bearing proper credentials of his standing he
could travel wherever work was to be found. In this manner he acquired
experience as a workman. Settling down at last he would labor under some
master at his trade for a sufficient time until he obtained the standing to
himself become an employer of other workmen and apprentices.
A careful following of this
life of the apprentice will show several points of note in the study of
Masonic terms and practices. Here may be noted the reason for saying "Entered
Apprentice." Consider the seven years of the Entered Apprentice, then the five
additional years pursuing far afield the arts and sciences, and then the three
years to qualify for mastership among one's fellows.
Remember in connection with
the becoming "free" of the benefits of the trade apprenticeship contract that
this is because of the apprentice having performed all that it required the
beginner to do, and as everybody knows the contract "bound" the apprentice to
do certain duties and when these were done he was no longer bound but "free."
An applicant for membership
in the trade body who had not had the same training was compelled to become a
member in quite another way. A different expression was applied to his
standing. He was not "free," he had never even been bound an apprentice. But
he was "accepted" into membership. Even to this day when the society has long
ceased to make such a distinction between its members they are known as Free
and Accepted Masons.
INITIATION IN GENERAL
Since at least the era of the
Romans the word "initiation" has been employed to mean the admission into
mysteries. Coming from a root word applied in Latin to the first principles of
a science it is well employed by our fraternity to the entrance of candidates
to the several degrees.
Sameness of ritual is fairly
well assured where every one is expected to preserve the ceremonies against
alteration. But the communication of the ritual through these hundreds of
years by the approved methods was dependent upon the memory, and memories are
alas imperfect as records.
One of the principal
arguments ventilated between the rival Grand Lodges of England in the
eighteenth century was as to which of them best preserved the original
ceremonials. Lodges in the United States drew from the one or the other of
these Grand Lodges according to circumstances.
When these American lodges
receiving their ritual from different sources came together to form Grand
Lodges in the respective States there was a standard adopted in each case.
This standard might be a compromise or the one most popular of the two in
vogue among the constituent lodges. Under all the circumstances it would not
be surprising if there were more differences between the ceremonies than is in
fact the case.
While in this country the
degrees are conferred under the auspices of Grand Lodges, such is not
everywhere the rule. In some countries, as in Spain, they are given under the
control of a Grand Orient, or Grand East, of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish
Requirements are not always
the same. With us the candidate must be free-born; in England it is sufficient
if he is free. In Sweden the candidate must profess Christianity, and for many
years German Masonry would neither initiate a Jew nor admit a visiting Mason
of that race. Even in this country as in the case of at least one lodge in
Ohio, candidates in the early part of the last century were required to avow a
belief in "Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, and the Old and New Testament."
"Side Degrees" are ceremonies
not pertaining to the regular work. The "Grotto" was at the start a ceremony
improvised to interest and divert the brethren of an eastern lodge after the
ordinary business had been transacted. Its progress led to systematic labors
and a formal organization now widely spread. The history of all side degrees,
irrespective of their measure of success, is similar. o
HELPFUL HINTS TO STUDY CLUB
How would you define a
"degree"? How many degrees are there in the Chapter? In the Council? In the
Commandery? In the Consistory? How many degrees were in use prior to the Grand
Lodge era? What are the advantages of the degree system? Would it not be as
well to give a candidate all the work in one evening as is done in most
fraternities? Why wouldn't it be? What is an honorary degree?
Brother Clegg says that there
is something now in the Royal Arch which was once in the Blue Lodge Ritual;
can you guess what it is? Why is an Apprentice called an "Entered" Apprentice?
What is meant by Old Charges? Why were the brethren so quick to burn some of
them in the early eighteenth century? What were the duties of an Apprentice in
Operative days? Was there ever a time in our Speculative Lodges when an
Apprentice could vote? What is the central idea embodied in the present First
Degree? Could it be roughly summed up in the word "Obedience"?
What was the distinction
between Fellow Craft and Master Masons in the days before the first Grand
Lodge? When was the Third Degree first used? What is the key idea of the
Second Degree ? Of the Third ? If the Third was not in existence until after
1717 why do you suppose it was invented at that time? Were new materials made
for that degree or were old materials used?
Can you define "initiation"?
"Ritual" ? How many institutions make use of ritual? What is the purpose of
ritual? Describe how we came to have the present variations in the ritual ?
What are the disadvantages of these divergencies ? What are the advantages?
Could a national Grand Lodge do anything toward the unification of the ritual?
How? If not, why not? How many "Side Degrees" can you name? Of what use are
they? Is the Shrine a side degree?
Are the various grades in
school analogous to our degrees? Can you find anything like a "degree system"
in a factory, in a store, an office ? Do any countries still use the
"apprentice system" in industry and trade? What are the advantages of it ? Is
the manner in which the candidate is advanced from degree to degree the same,
in principle, as the manner in which a man is promoted in his profession ? Is
advancement the same as promotion? Does the Masonic system of advancement from
degree to degree teach you how to win promotion in your vocation ?
Does a man have to learn how
to obey before he becomes fit to command ? Are our American boys very willing
to remain as apprentices before seeking higher places? Are they too impatient
"to go up higher" ? If so, what are the evil consequences ? Does this explain
why so many boys leave school in order to go to work?
What does the word "fellow"
mean? What is meant by "a fellow of the Geographical Society"? Why is a
"degree" conferred on a scholar? Is that "degree" analogous in any way to our
degrees? What does "Master" mean? Are you a master of your profession? Did the
manner in which you became a master in Masonry help you to learn how to become
a master of your trade?
Initiation carries with it
the idea of "birth"; how are you "born into any profession"? Does a child pass
through an initiation when it enters school ? Is religious conversion a kind
of initiation ? How is a man "born into" scholarship ? Into education? Into
music? Into politics? Initiation also carries with it the meaning of "entering
into"; just when did you enter into Masonry? How could you enter into Masonic
scholarship? How do you enter into a life calling?
The Lodge represents the
world; initiation represents birth; what is the world into which a Mason is
born? Is the process anything like physical birth? Can you find hints of that
anywhere in the symbolism? Does that symbolism teach you the manner in which
you may be born into any of the other worlds of human experience; of
achievement ? How to be born into religion, for instance, or into art, etc. ?
Accepted; Anderson, James;
Apprentice, Entered; Ashmole, Elias; Degrees; Fellow Craft; Master Mason;
Plot, Robert, M. D.; Rite; Ritual; Side Degrees; Webb-Preston Work.
Causes of Divergence in
Ritual, in this issue of the Correspondence Circle Bulletin. Difference of
Ritual, vol. II, p. 381, (Cor.) Gild and York Rites, The, vol. III, p. 242.
History of The Ritual, The, vol. I, p. 291. Meaning of Initiation, The, vol.
II, p 205. Non-Masonic Bodies, (Side Degrees), vol. II, p. 63, (Cor.); vol.
III, p. 318, (Cor.) Right of Each Rite, The, vol. III, p. 95, (Cor.) Rites of
Freemasonry, The, vol. II, p. 209. Ritual and Color, vol. II, p. 221, (Q. B.)
Uniform Work, vol. II, p. 348, (Q. B.); p. 382, (Cor.); vol. III, p. 30, (Cor.)
Webb Ritual in the United States, The, vol. II, p. 166. York and Scottish
Rites, vol. III, p. 190, (Cor.) York Rite, The, vol. II, p. 126, (Cor.); p.
327; vol. III, p. 63, (Cor.)
CAUSES OF DIVERGENCE IN
RITUAL BY BRO. ROSCOE POUND, DEAN, HARVARD LAW SCHOOL
ADDRESS BEFORE THE GRAND
LODGE OF MASSACHUSETTS IN 1915
(The study of "The Degrees,"
in the general sense to which this issue of the Correspondence Circle Bulletin
is devoted, would be incomplete without this scholarly summary of the present
situation of the ritual in our American system. We therefore reproduce it
here, with the suggestion that any Lodge or Study Club desiring to fully cover
this month's topic can do no better than to include it in their program.)
That there are divergencies
in ritual every Masonic traveler soon becomes aware. Before he gets into the
Lodge in a foreign jurisdiction the look upon the faces of the examining
committee, the awkward attempt to fit two divergent systems of work one to the
other while neither party can go into explanations, shows at once that, while
each is confident of himself, something is wrong. This comes out particularly
in a matter as fundamental as the modes of recognition. Some jurisdictions
letter and divide or syllable the word and divide or syllable the pass. In
other jurisdictions the pass is given at once but the word is divided or
syllabled. And if our Masonic traveler were to go upon the Continent of Europe
and to find a Lodge which his home authorities recognized, he night, as is
well known, come upon an unfamiliar substitute word. But, staying upon this
side of the water, when he got into the Lodge he would as like as not find a
greater or less number of officers than those he had come to know in his home
jurisdiction, he would be not unlikely to find a radically different practice
of opening and closing, and he would be sure to find differences of detail
here and there in the work. The matter of opening and closing is a striking
example and will suffice for my purpose. In some jurisdictions the practice is
to open a Lodge of Entered Apprentices or of Fellowcrafts or of Master Masons
as the case may be and then to declare the particular Lodge open as such.
Other jurisdictions insist that this is wrong and that the particular Lodge is
to be opened as Entered Apprentices or as Fellowcrafts or as Master Masons.
Such jurisdictions, however, open the Lodge immediately on this or that degree
without reference to any preceding degree. In still other jurisdictions this
is deemed wrong, and the Lodge is ceremoniously opened successively from the
lowest degree to the one in which work is to be done and closed in inverse
One is tempted to ask at
once, what are the causes of the foregoing divergences and of many others that
might be named? It is always dangerous to generalize, but I venture to suggest
six causes for your consideration. These are:
(1) Masonry was transplanted
to this country while the ritual was still formative in many respects in
(2) There were several foci,
and, as it were, several sub-foci, of Masonry in the United States, from each
of which was transmitted its own version of what it received.
(3) The schism of Ancients
and Moderns which obtained in England in the last half of the eighteenth
century, led to two rituals in this country during the formative period of
American Masonry, and later these were fused in varying degrees in different
(4) It was not until the end
of the eighteenth century in England and not until the first quarter of the
nineteenth century in this country that literal knowledge of the work was
regarded as of paramount importance. Moreover, complete uniformity of work
does not obtain in England, where two distinct schools perpetuate the work as
taught by ancient Masonic teachers of the first part of the last century.
(5) New Grand Lodges were
formed in this country by the union of Lodges chartered from different states
and these unions gave rise to all sorts of combinations.
(6) Each jurisdiction, when
it established a Grand Lodge, became independent and preserved its ritual as
it had received it or made it over by way of compromise or worked it out, as a
possession of its own.
On the other hand two
unifying agencies had no little influence, namely, the ritual of the Baltimore
Convention (1843) and the Webb tradition zealously propagated by Morris in the
middle of the nineteenth century. This tradition and Morris's propaganda were
made effective especially through the institution of Grand Lecturers or Grand
Custodians of the Work, as they are variously called in our several
jurisdictions. These agencies gradually stopped insensible variations in the
rituals. But they also gradually stereotyped each local work and gave it
permanency in the form in which the first local Grand Lecturer found it or
made it. For the student of American Masonic ritual soon comes to learn that
profound changes have sometimes to be traced to the idiosyncrasies of
masterful Grand Lecturers.
Looking at the causes of
divergence in ritual more in detail, the chief points to note are that of the
thirteen original states some got their Masonry in the period of transition,
from 1723 to 1738, in which ritual was formative, indeed one might even say
fluid, and that the remainder got their ritual in the period of the great
schism, in which there were two contending Grand Lodges in England and hence
two rival rituals.
First, then, as to organized
Masonry in America prior to 1738. Here, at the outset, we are confronted with
the phenomenon of what may be called spontaneous Lodges. For it must be
remembered that down in the beginning of the era of Grand Lodges in 1717 there
was not the fixity of organization which now prevails. Any group of Masons
anywhere were competent to congregate themselves in a Lodge and work without
Warrant or Charter. After the organization of the Grand Lodge of England it
was some time before that body was able to establish itself as paramount and
put an end to the practice of spontaneous Lodges or turn the more stable of
them into Lodges existing from time immemorial. Hence, with great deference to
the learned legal argument of our Most Worshipful Grand Master in your
proceedings for 1914, it seems by no means clear historically that there is
any other test of the legitimacy of a spontaneous Lodge prior to 1738 than
whether it succeeded, in common phrase, "in getting by." What compels us to
take account of this phenomenon is the undoubted existence of what was
evidently such a spontaneous Lodge in Philadelphia as early as 1731, with
existing records from 1731 to 1738. It is not unlikely that there were
spontaneous Lodges of this sort in Virginia, also at an early date. And there
are grounds for believing that in this commonwealth the organized Masonry
under authority of the Grand Lodge of England was preceded by spontaneous
Lodges of the same sort, which, however, did not become permanent because of
the early setting up of a Grand Lodge.
The first institution of an
organized Masonic body in America, under authority of the English Grand Lodge,
was, as you all know, the establishment of St. John's Grand Lodge in Boston in
1733. The St. John s Grand Lodge formed under the deputation of 1733 has been
the great focus of Masonry in this country. In addition, organized Grand-Lodge
Masonry came into Georgia from England at some unknown date just prior to
1735; into Pennsylvania from Massachusetts in 1734; and into South Carolina
from England in 1736 and from Massachusetts in 1738. Thus by 1738, in
addition to spontaneous Lodges of the old type in two or three of the
colonies, the English Grand Lodge Masonry, which ultimately prevailed, had
become established in four colonies including all but one of those in which
spontaneous Masonry of the old type had appeared. But this period from 1723 to
1738, in which American Masonry had its beginnings, is a period of transition,
a period of struggle on the part of the Grand Lodge of England for control of
Masonry. It was not until 1738 that the days of the old seventeenth-century
type of Lodge or assembly were definitely over; and the system of three
degrees, as we now know it, seems to have been established during this same
All other Masonic
organizations in the thirteen colonies than those above referred to date from
the period of the great schism in which the so-called Ancients and so-called
Moderns were contending, namely, 1747 to 1813. One need not say that the
ritual of the two rival Grand Lodges was in its main outlines the same. Yet
there were important differences of detail and notably the ritual of the
so-called Ancients was much more ornate. In Massachusetts and in South
Carolina there were both Ancient and Modern Grand Lodges under the authority
of the English Ancient and Modern Grand Lodges respectively, and the existing
Grand Lodges in those jurisdictions represent fusion of the rival Grand Bodies
after the Revolution. In Pennsylvania there was a Provincial Grand Lodge of
Ancients and there were Lodges under the authority of the Moderns. The present
Grand Lodge represents a fusion of these elements. In Virginia Lodges of each
type united to form the existing Grand Lodge.
But Massachusetts was a great
center of dispersion before the fusion and Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and
Virginia have been centers of dispersion of the first importance since the
fusion. When it is remembered that the fusion of rituals took place in varying
degrees in these different jurisdictions, an important cause of divergence
will be readily perceived. It would take too long to go over the
transplantation of Masonry to each of the original thirteen states in detail.
Suffice it to say that of the four important centers of Masonic activity,
Massachusetts, as a disseminator of Masonry represented chiefly the so-called
Modern Masonry of the older English Grand Lodge, although Massachusetts
Masonry of today is a fusion of Modern and Ancient elements; Pennsylvania and
Virginia disseminated a fusion of the Modern and the Ancient; while North
Carolina was a purely Modern jurisdiction, its Grand Lodge representing a
union of Modern Lodges some under English authority and some deriving from
Massachusetts. It will be seen, therefore, that on the whole Modern influence
preponderated in the origin of American Masonry.
A second group of
jurisdictions represent the first movement of Masonly from the original foci
in the thirteen colonies. These are Maine, which derives from Massachusetts
since the fusion; Vermont, which derives from the Grand Lodge of Ancients in
Massachusetts before the fusion; Ohio, which derives from Massachusetts, from
Connecticut, a strictly Modern jurisdiction, and from Pennsylvania; Indiana,
which derives from Ohio and from Kentucky, which latter represents Virginia
after the fusion; Michigan, which derives from the Ancient Grand Lodge of
Canada and from New York, which since the Revolution was a strictly Ancient
jurisdiction; Kentucky, which derives from Virginia; Tennessee, which derives
from North Carolina, a purely Modern jurisdiction; Alabama, which derives from
North Carolina, from South Carolina, and from Tennessee; Mississippi, which
derives from Kentucky and from Tennessee--thus representing Virginia and North
Carolina; Louisiana, deriving from South Carolina, from Pennsylvania, and from
France; Florida, deriving from Georgia and from South Carolina; Missouri,
deriving from Pennsylvania and from Tennessee, representing, therefore, the
fusion in Pennsylvania and the Modern Masonry of North Carolina; Illinois,
deriving from Kentucky and so representing Virginia; and the District of
Columbia, deriving from Maryland (a fusion of Modern Masonry from
Massachusetts and from England direct with Ancient Masonry from Pennsylvania),
and from Virginia.
In this group the noteworthy
jurisdictions are Ohio and Missouri, which stand out as the great secondary
centers of Masonic dispersion.
A third group of states
represents a further movement of Masonry westward, in which, as it were, the
first-hand and second-hand English Masonry were used in different degrees.
These are, Wisconsin, deiving chiefly from Missouri; Minnesota, deriving from
Ohio, Wisconsin, and Illinois; Iowa, deriving from Missouri but affected
largely by the commanding authority of Parvin, raised in Ohio and a zealous
advocate of uniform work; Arkansas, deriving from Tennessee and from
Mississippi, and so resting ultimately on North Carolina and Virginia;
Nebraska, deriving from Illinois, Missouri, and Iowa but much influenced by a
Grand Custodian of the work from Ohio; Kansas, deriving from Missouri; and
Oklahoma, deriving from Kansas, each therefore variants of a fusion of
Pennsylvania and North Carolina; Texas, deriving from Louisiana; North and
South Dakota, deriving from Minnesota and Nebraska; and a curious sub-group
representing in varying degrees, directly or indirectly, Missouri and Ohio,
namely, Montana, deriving from Nebraska, Kansas and Colorado; Wyoming,
deriving from Nebraska and Colorado; Colorado, deriving from Kansas and
Nebraska; and Utah, deriving from Montana, Kansas, and Colorado.
Fourth, a noteworthy group is
to be seen on the Pacific coast. California received Masonry from the District
of Columbia, from Connecticut, and from Missouri and formed a Grand Lodge as
early in California history as 1850. This, it will be seen, represents a
fusion of Connecticut, Missouri, and Virginia but under circumstances that
gave rise to local peculiarities. Nevada, 1865, and Oregon, 1851, got their
Masonry directly from California; and Washington, 1858, from California by way
Summing this matter up, four
types of jurisdiction in respect to Masonic origin may be seen in the first
group of states considered.
(1) The Moderns are
represented in varying degrees by New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Connecticut,
North Carolina, and Georgia. Of these New Hampshire and Rhode Island derive
chiefly from the Massachusetts Grand Lodge of Moderns, although there were
Lodges of Ancients in each. Connecticut and North Carolina derive from the
English Grand Lodge of Moderns and the Massachusetts Grand Lodge of Moderns,
though the Massachusetts Grand Lodge of Ancients established Lodges in
Connecticut. Georgia derives from England. The old Massachusetts St. John's
Grand Lodge prior to the fusion, which had the chiefest share in this group,
was the principal focus of Masonry in the United States and its influence
especially through North Carolina and Virginia was predominant in giving to
the beginnings of Masonry in this country a distinctively Modern character.
(2) A second group represents
the Ancients alone, namely, New York, where Masonry after the Revolution came
from the English Grand Lodge of Ancients and New Jersey which derives from New
York. This group has had little or no influence in spreading Masonry to other
jurisdictions except as the Webb tradition was affected by the circumstance
that he was raised in a Lodge chartered by the Ancients and his active work
began in New York.
(3) A third group represents
a mixture of Ancient and Modern elements. In this class we must put the
present Grand Lodge of Massachusetts where both elements came directly from
England and the Grand Lodge of South Carolina where both elements came from
England and both from Massachusetts. South Carolina has had some little
influence in the further development of the work in this country, partly
through direct propagation but more through the writings of Dr. Mackey.
(4) A fourth group represents
Ancient and Modern Masonry mixed with other elements. Notable in this group
are Pennsylvania, which received both from Massachusetts and had also an
unknown element; and Virginia, which received both from England and both from
Massachusetts but also has an unknown element. These states have had very
great influence in the propagation of Masonry in the United States. Maryland,
representing a mixture of the Modern derived from Massachusetts and from
England, with Pennsylvania Masonry, has had a scintilla of influence; and
Delaware, representing a mixture of the English Ancient Masonry with that in
Pennsylvania, has had none at all.
Passing now to the second
great group of states which was examined above, this may be divided into four
sub-groups. The first represents a predominant Modern influence. Here we may
classify Ohio and what might be called the Ohio family of jurisdictions; the
North Carolina element, in the great North Carolina-Pennsylvania family; and
Tennessee, which received Masonry directly from North Carolina, a truly Modern
jurisdiction, and to some extent spread Masonry in the states to the north and
west. In the second sub-group we may put Michigan which has had no great
influence in propagating Masonry. In the third sub-group we may put Maine,
Vermont, and Florida which represent a fusion of Ancient and Modern Masonry;
Maine and Vermont through the present Grand Lodge of Massachusetts, Florida
through a fusion of Lodges established by Georgia and by South Carolina. In a
fourth sub-group we have Ancient and Modern mixed with other elements. This is
represented by the Pennsylvania element in the North Carolina-Pennsylvania
family and in what might be called the Missouri sub-family, and the Virginia
element in Kentucky, Illinois, and in the California family.
With respect to the third
class of states as taken up above we may note, first, what I have already
called the North Carolina-Pennsylvania family, in which we have a mixture of a
predominating Modern element with one made up of a fusion with the Ancient and
Modern. Second, the Missouri sub-group of this North Carolina-Pennsylvania
family, namely, Wisconsin, Iowa, Kansas, and Oklahoma, and what might be
called a Missouri-Ohio variant in Idaho, Montana, Colorado, and Utah. Third, a
derived group from the two former, with some admixture from without. In this
group Ohio has been a strong influence. Here again the pedigree is
preponderatingly Modern. Minnesota, Nebraska, and the Dakotas are to be
included in this group.
Finally, there is the
California family, predominantly Modern in pedigree but mixed with a fusion of
the Ancient and Modern, namely, California, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington.
Putting this in a different
way which may bring the situation out more clearly, the Ancient element by
derivation predominates in New York, New Jersey, Delaware, and Michigan. It
was the stronger element in the fusion in Massachusetts, and is notable in
Maine, Vermont, South Carolina, Virginia, and Pennsylvania.
There is a secondary Ancient
element in what might be called the Virginia family, Kentucky, Illinois, and
the Virginia element in the California family. Also there has been a slight
Ancient element through Pennsylvania in the North Carolina-Pennsylvania
The Modern element by
derivation predominates in New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Connecticut, North
Carolina, Georgia, and Ohio. It is a large element by derivation in the Ohio
family, in the North Carolina Pennsylvania family, and hence in the Missouri
subfamily, as it might be called, and in the California family. On the whole,
if no other factors than derivation had been at work, American Masonry would
have been more nearly the Modern Masonry of eighteenth-century England than
the English Masonry of today in which the more elaborate and ornate ceremonial
of the Ancients was largely substituted.
We have seen that one prime
cause of divergence in ritual is that the ritual was transmitted orally from
different Masonic centers and in these centers often represented fusions of
different rituals. Next we must note that even in these centers themselves
ritual was not fixed in the modern sense till later. Our present day
conception Of letter-perfect knowledge Of a ritual whose every word is fixed
and settled down to the dotting of i's and crossing of t's has its origin at
the end of the eighteenth century when the supremacy of Grand Lodges had been
incontestably established and each of the rival Grand Lodges had its definite
ritual. In large measure we owe this conception to Preston, who labored
diligently for precision and uniformity in the lectures. From the lectures it
spread to the work at large, and exact memorizing of every detail word for
word became a Masonic virtue. We now take this to be a matter Of course. But
that it was not a matter Of course at one time is shown by the case Of Dr.
Oliver. Oliver's father was Master of a Lodge at Peterborough in 1801. He was
remarkable, as all contemporary accounts testify, for minute and exact
knowledge of the ritual. That this, which we expect of every Master today, as
it were ex officio, was remarkable in 1801, speaks for itself. But it is even
more significant that Oliver, who was trained carefully by his father to this
same letter-perfect knowledge, was himself thought remarkable and had
something to do by his example and by his writings (especially his
identification of the Landmarks with the ritual) in establishing the doctrine
that it is the duty of the bright Mason to know his work word for word.
If as late as 1801 Masons who
were letter-perfect were remarkable even among Masters of Lodges, it must be
apparent that the work brought to the several jurisdictions in America from
the same Grand Lodge in England at different times and by different persons
must have differed in its details. It must be apparent also that the work
which spread from different Masonic centers in the new world at different
times and by the agency of different persons likewise varied more or less in
important details. Thus from 1733 to 1770 the Modern Grand Lodge of
Massachusetts had established Lodges in New Hampshire, Rhode Island,
Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, and South
Carolina. We have good reason to suspect that the details did not reach each
of these jurisdictions precisely the same. Indeed there is reason to believe
that letter-perfect Masons were at least as rare here as they were in England
at the same time and there was no central agency of control in this country.
It is obvious, therefore, that derivation from the same source in the
eighteenth century does not at all guarantee uniformity of ritual. As Preston
and his followers made it the correct thing in England to know the ritual
accurately, so Webb, who shares with Albert Pike the distinction of being the
great American ritualist, made critical attention to detail the correct thing
in America. Webb's work was done between 1797 and 1819, and it was not till
about 1825 that thorough, critical, literal knowledge of the work came to be
appreciated. Indeed a generation later the revival fostered by Morris found
more than one jurisdiction in a condition where every Lodge was largely a law
to itself in this respect. But before 1825 Masonry had so spread that Grand
Lodges had been set up in Maine, Vermont, Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, Kentucky,
Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Missouri, Illinois, and the
District of Columbia. Some of these new jurisdictions, such as Ohio and
Missouri, were themselves active agents in propagating Masonry. In other
words, the secondary centers of Masonry in the United States had become
established before fixity of ritual in every detail had been put upon a firm
basis, and these centers to some extent fixed their ritual parallel to and
along with the older centers. Consequently when jurisdictions of the third
generation, as it were, derive from the same center of the second generation,
it does not follow that they got exactly the same ritual--and this quite apart
from the inevitable changes involved in oral transmission. Those who carried
Masonry across the continent in the fore part of the nineteenth century were
much more concerned with the substance than with the form. Oral transmission
will account for the interchange of the good archaic "wittingly" and the more
intelligible "willingly," which is so common. But it will not account entirely
for the interchange of "wayfaring man" and "seafaring man," which is no less
common, or for the almost complete lack of accord in the details of the search
by the Craftsmen which a study of American ritual will reveal. As to these one
may only say that those who transmitted the ceremonial knew the general
character of the plot that was to be acted and more or less of the details of
the dialogue. But they had not earned and very likely had not felt bound to
learn every word of the dialogue so as to give its details precisely the same
on every occasion. Thus we get another basis of divergence. Even after the
work came into a new place there was no assurance at that time hat it would be
transmitted exactly as it was received.
To sum up the foregoing
discussion: (1) The work received in different parts of this country from
England at different times was not necessarily the same and must often have
varied considerably; (2) the work transmitted from the same Masonic center in
this country to different places at different times, particularly in the
eighteenth century, and to some extent in the first quarter of the nineteenth
century, was not always the same and often differed in important details: (3)
the work when so received did not remain exactly as received, but, with the
lax modes of work and lax modes of transmission which prevailed so widely
until the influence of Webb, of the Baltimore Convention, and of Morris made
for strictness and accuracy, wide fluctuation in detail was possible and even
common. Accordingly when the system of Grand Lecturers became established a
great deal depended on the individual views of those who first held these
offices and the extent to which they could induce Grand Lodges to go with
them. Unhappily many zealous Brothers who held office as Grand Lecturers were
extremely dogmatic and sought to improve the ritual on a priori or analytical
grounds rather than to ascertain just what had been received.
But, it will be said, the
foregoing will account for changes in a word or phrase here and there and even
for changes in the tenor of the dialogue. But it will hardly account for such
wide divergencies as those in the modes of recognition, in the officers of the
Lodge, and in the mode of opening and closing. To understand these wide
divergences, we have to bear in mind that the standardizing of the ritual in
the last half of the eighteenth century involved making a great deal as well
as selecting and standardizing. The acting of the ritual, instead of merely
communicating it, as a regular thing, involved not merely a settling of
details, but a manufacture of details. What this means may be illustrated if
you compare the drama of the third degree, as told in the lecture in that
degree, in almost any of our jurisdictions, with the actual ceremony as acted
in the same jurisdiction.
We must turn to history for
an explanation. The evidence of the old Charges and the evidence of
seventeenth-century accounts of those who, having been made Masons, recorded
the fact in their diaries, show pretty clearly that the ordinary course in the
seventeenth century was to communicate the whole of Masonry at one sitting.
There were at most "parts" of one ceremony rather than separate degrees with
separate ceremonies. These parts go back to a prior ritual of two parts--(1)
reception of the apprentice; (2) passing or raising this apprentice to a
fellow of the craft or master. The most plausible hypothesis on all the
evidence seems to be that the two degrees of Entered Apprentice and
Fellowcraft as we now know them, represent a division into two of the
Apprentice's part, while the Master Mason degree and the Royal Arch or Elect
and Perfect Mason (according to the rite chosen)--i. e., the communication of
the true word-- represent a division of the Master's part--of that part,
which, when received, made one a fully qualified Mason. In the seventeenth
century we have abundant evidence that all this was commonly done at once--and
that it was done not by acting out all the details, but rather in the way in
which the higher degrees are often communicated today--by obligating the
candidates, explaining the words, passes, and modes of recognition, and
reading over the old Charges to him, with the Legend of the Craft and what we
should now call the Lectures.
Even after the revival, for a
long time this mode of working seems to have obtained. Thus in Dr. Stukeley's
diary under head of January 6, 1721, he tells us that he was made a Mason on
that day and that he was the first who had been made for many years. His diary
adds: "We had great difficulty in finding members enough to perform the
ceremony." If in 1721, four years after the revival, with four Lodges and a
Grand Lodge in London, it was hard to find members enough who knew the ritual
well enough to communicate the whole to Dr. Stukeley at one sitting, it must
be evident that the Grand Lodge had to settle a great deal authoritatively,
along settled lines, it is true, but without settled details to guide it. The
oft-cited testimony of the old brother who told Dermott that Payne (second
Grand Master), Desaguliers, and others were the inventors of Modern Masonry
may well have some foundation in this-- that they fixed for the Modern Grand
Lodge what prior thereto was only fixed in its general lines. Thus we may
understand how it comes that the three degrees of Craft Masonry the world over
follow the same general lines and yet differ so widely in all the details.
But to come back to the
system of degrees: I can only summarize the evidence. The first point is that
the absence of uniformity as to degrees is very clear during the whole period
down to 1738. The Grand Lodge records show that it disciplined where it could,
exhorted where it was not expedient to discipline, and sought to produce
uniformity by example, while its own practice was still fluid and formative.
In the next place, there is no clear mention of three degrees down to 1730,
and even that year, in the defence of Martin Clare to the attacks upon the
Grand Lodge in Prichard's Masonry Dissected, it is assumed as a matter of
course that there were but two degrees. All the prior literature, e. g.,
Anderson's Constitutions of 1723 and Drake's speech at York in 1726, as well
as the old Charges, speak of two degrees, Apprentice, or after 1723, Entered
Apprentice, and Fellowcraft or (not and) Master. That Fellowcraft and Master
were synonyms at that time seems absolutely established by Lodge records,
contemporary allusions, and the whole Masonic literature of the time. There
were two "parts" as they were called, (1) the Apprentice Part, and (2) the
Master's Part. The latter was often omitted as a formal ceremony and the
secrets simply communicated, as is done so often in our higher degrees today.
Not, let us remember, that any part of the substance of the three degrees is
new. The antiquity of every part of each degree is as well established as the
fact that there was a change in the mode of working them. What has been shown
is that between 1723 and 1738 there grew up a "new way of communicating the
old secrets" by splitting the Apprentice Part in two, appropriating to one
part the name of Entered Apprentice and to the other that of Fellowcraft, and
giving to the Master's Part the degree of Master Mason. The first record of
this in Scotland is in 1735, and many Scotch Lodges long after continued in
the old way, as their records show. In Ireland, it came in 1738 in the wake of
the second edition of Anderson's Constitutions. In England, it was recognized
by Anderson in 1738 as fully established, although Clare in 1730 used the old
phrases. Somewhere in those eight years the practice in England became
Let me repeat--all this does
not cast the least doubt on the antiquity of the Master's Degree or, as it
used to be called, the Master's Part. It simply means that the exact details
of the ceremony by which different Grand Lodges in different parts of the
world now require the degree to be conferred were fixed somewhere between 1723
and 1825, or for the newer American Grand Lodges sometimes even later. As to
the antiquity of the degree itself, I can only refer you to the discussion by
Ball in 5 Ars Quatuor Coronatorum 136. Ball's discussion seems to show clearly
not only that what we now know as the third degree existed long before the era
of Grand Lodges, but that, to use another's words "having passed through a
long decline, its symbols had been corrupted and their meaning to a great
extent forgotten when the degree itself-- then known as the Master's Part--was
first unequivocally referred to in any print or manuscript to which a date can
be assigned--i. e., 1723." Unhappily those who wrought for a certain ritual in
the second half of the eighteenth century did not have the learning to restore
these symbols, to undo these corruptions, or to avoid further corruptions or
confusions of their own. And in like manner in American Masonry we have, for
like reason, developed some further corruptions and confusions of our own.
Some of these are traceable to known sources, as for example, the monument in
the lecture of the third degree, which is an unhappy anachronism of Webb's.
The well-merited criticisms of Albert Pike in the first three lectures of his
Morals and Dogma, though based wholly upon considerations of scientific
symbolism, have proved to be entirely borne out by the history of the symbols
of Craft Masonry as subsequent writers have been able to work it out.
If it took so long to
standardize the degrees, to determine that the work was to be done in three
degrees and to fix the details of each, it was not to be expected that matters
of less importance should get fixed before the era of local Grand Lodges, each
with full sovereignty over all details. Accordingly many things passed into
permanent subjects of dispute which might well have been settled at least for
the whole English-speaking craft if there could have been a union of Ancients
and Moderns in England prior to the Revolution or if the Revolution had not
put an end to the hegemony of the Grand Lodges of England and left our several
American Grand Lodges to settle so many things each for itself and each in its
One striking example is to be
seen in the grand honors--"Those peculiar acts and gestures by which the Craft
express their homage, their grief or their joy on important occasions." It is
common to lay down-- e. g., Mackey so states--that the grand honors are of two
kinds, the private and the public. He then tells us that "the private grand
honors of Masonry are performed in a manner known only to Master Masons, since
they can only be used in a Master's Lodge. They are practised by the Craft,"
he goes on, "only on four occasions: When a Masonic hall is to be consecrated,
a new Lodge to be constituted, a Master elect to be installed, or a Grand
Master or his Deputy to be received on an official visitation to a Lodge. They
are used at all these ceremonies," he adds, "as tokens of congratulation and
homage." He then proceeds to describe minutely the public grand honors or as
some call them the funeral honors and to explain when they are given.
All this sounds clear and
convincing as he expounds it. But there are several things to remark about it:
(1) In many Grand Lodges
homage to the Grand Master is done by making the signs of the degrees.
(2) In some jurisdictions the
signs of the degrees are reckoned the private grand honors.
(3) In some jurisdictions the
three times three to which Mackey evidently refers are considered public grand
(4) Some notable
jurisdictions deny that there are any public and private grand honors
(5) The American distinction
which Mackey discusses is quite unknown to the United Grand Lodge of England.
But the ceremony of the raising of the hands and beating of the breast which
Mackey describes took place at the Masonic funeral of James Anderson in 1739,
as we learn from a newspaper of the day. The reporter was impressed very much
by what he saw and described it carefully. There are jurisdictions, however,
in which quite another mode is used on this occasion instead.
Here we have a case where the
practice was not settled and each jurisdiction had to determine its own
course. Probably Webb's Monitor and Mackey's Encyclopedia made for uniformity
and influenced more than one of our jurisdictions.
Many such cases might be
cited. But perhaps I have said enough to make my point. A useful parallel
might be drawn from American law. After the Revolution we received the common
law of England as the foundation of American law. But the common law of
England was still formative on many most important points. E.g., the reception
of the law merchant was not complete till some time thereafter. Lord Mansfield
had still many years before him in his work of turning the custom of merchants
into the common law. Again, the crystallization of equity, begun so well by
Lord Hardwicke in the eighteenth century, was not complete till the long
chancellorship of Lord Eldon in the first decade of the nineteenth century and
James Kent in New York was able to divide the honor with him. Thus the fixing
of the common law went on parallel in England and America for a generation
after the Revolution and we worked out many things in our own way and many of
our states worked out the same things in different ways. The same thing
happened in Masonry. We received the English Masonry of the eighteenth century
as the foundation. But English Masonry as we received it was not a fixed and
fully developed system at every point. In more than one place it was still
formative and when we broke off our Masonic allegiance along with our
political allegiance after 1776 that great unifying agency, Preston's
Illustrations, was but fairly off the press. Thus we did much parallel with
English Masonry, in the way of fixing the details. Each of our Grand Lodges
has had to some extent to work out in its own way the dialogue and the setting
of the noble story which the Middle Ages handed down to the eighteenth century
and the latter century endeavored to reconstruct and restore from the
corruptions of a long era of communication rather than working--of reading or
describing rather than acting.
"I HOLD THE SCALPEL BY BRO.
HASLETT P. BURKE, J.G.W., COLORADO
ADDRESS BEFORE THE GRAND
lodge of Colorado, 1917
SINCE the Grand Lodge of
Colorado was organized in 1861, when Grand Master Chivington appointed Brother
C.F. Holly as its first Grand Orator, more than fifty of his successors have
passed across this stage and delivered as many annual addresses. Many of these
men have fully measured up to the title they temporarily bore. Many have stood
high in commercial or professional life, many were polished scholars and
eloquent speakers, all devout and faithful Masons. Since the revival of 1717,
in almost all of the Grand Jurisdictions established throughout the civilized
world, like addresses have been delivered by equally capable and qualified
brethren. Meanwhile, students and historians without number have written and
spoken upon every conceivable phase of the fraternity or subject of interest
to it. In the light of these facts, no combination of presumption and
assurance could hope to present to this audience anything "new or never said
before," and I am not ambitious even to make the attempt. If I can apply a few
very old lessons to new and bewildering conditions, can drink and give you to
drink again from springs as clear and cool as when our predecessors sought
them for refreshment two centuries ago, I shall be satisfied.
It is customary, I know, on
such occasions to find no fault with Freemasonry, to sketch with the glowing
tints of a Colorado sunset the glories of its past, and paint with a brush
which might have splashed the rainbow across the heavens our faith in its
future. But, while it is permissible to the lover to linger rapturously over
real or fancied lineaments, the faithful surgeon must cut the cancer, and this
morning I hold the scalpel.
Our national ship of state
was constructed and piloted through the tempests of her first voyages by men
who exemplified in their lives the homely virtues taught by our fraternity.
This commonwealth was won from the wilderness and her foundations laid as firm
as the granite of her everlasting hills by men from the same mould. The
greatest dangers which today menace our national well-being are due to the
decay of that rugged character which was the chief glory of our pioneers, and
in no state of this union have the diseases attendant upon that decay been
more manifest than in our own.
We learn so much in home and
shop and street, we read so much in books and magazines and daily press of the
frightful calamity which now shakes the earth, that one might well wish within
these peaceful walls to hear no word of war. But its shadow is omnipresent,
and in speaking to thoughtful and earnest men, members of a vast organization
whose nerves reach every center of national life, I think it neither wise nor
desirable to ignore the presence of the skeleton at the feast.
While we meet here in a peace
that passeth understanding, in the midst of a material prosperity almost
slothful in its fulness, the most sickening human slaughter since time began
drenches a continent in blood and pollutes the air of a quarter of the globe
with rotting corpses. That titanic struggle has now raged with increasing fury
for three long years, and since our Grand Master directed the lights of our
last annual communication extinguished, Columbia has been swept into the
maelstrom, which has now engulfed more than a score of sovereign states. In
seven of these Freemasonry is a recognized institution of unquestioned
standing, with a membership of approximately three and a half millions, and,
while exceptions doubtless exist, I think it may well be asserted as the rule
in each of them, as in our own, that in every community where a lodge has been
erected the moulders of thought and leaders of action are to be found around
This madness would never have
descended upon mankind or, having done so, would long since have passed away,
but for the fact that statesmen holding in their hands the future of mighty
races have never learned or have forgotten the lessons we try to teach to
Entered Apprentice, Fellow Craft and Master Mason.
If these things be true, then
this hour demands rather the vehement and fiery tongue of a Savanarola than
the logic of a lawyer or the calm consideration of a judge.
There are 19,000 Masons in
the state of Colorado, and some 1,700,000 in the United States, and if
activity consists in maintaining organizations and conferring degrees, then
our lodges are active. If perfection in ritualistic work, speeches full of
admiration for the order and devotion to its principles, the faithful
collection and disbursement of its funds, or occasional acts of charity mean
progress, then we are keeping step with humanity; but if the preservation of
peace and the promotion of universal brotherhood is our chief mission on
earth, who shall deny that we have met a temporary reverse? Is this reverse to
be noted only as a world war has enveloped the great Masonic nations, or is it
manifest in the smaller affairs of state and community? Isn't the stream
running turbid where it should be the purest--at its very source--in the
fraternal relationships of brethren of the same city and the same lodge? I
need not answer that question. Too many of you have answered it for me in your
hearts already. It seems to me that a new baptism is essential to fraternal
salvation--not in Germany alone, with her 60,000 Masons, whom we so short a
time ago recognized, nor in France with her thousands whom we have never
recognized, but also in the United States and in Colorado. The very spirit of
the brotherhood forbids that we engage as an organization in political or
military propaganda. We can only teach the lessons which should guide the
individual Mason in the path of duty, leaving their application to his
judgment and discretion. This little marble on which we whirl through
limitless space is in God's crucible today; it is being re-moulded for a
brighter era. If Masonry is to justify its claims and vindicate the hopes of
its children, it is one hour past high twelve.
Whatever fancies we may have
heretofore indulged concerning the near approach of the millennium, the
immediate past must have taught us how slow and painful is the climb from the
swamps of the elemental to the peaks of the ideal. Despite the desperate
struggle through all the centuries since the naked hands of scholars and
philosophers, blackened in the fires of persecution, began to push back the
dark ages from the face of Europe, it still at times seems true that-- "We are
very slightly changed From the semi-apes who ranged India's prehistoric clay;
Whoso drew the longest bow Ran his brother down, you know, As we run men down
The dangers which threaten us
are not far to seek; they lurk at our lodge room doors; their remedy involves
no profound wisdom, no revolutionary measures.
"The statues of our stately
fortune Are sculptured by the chisel--not the ax!"
Hand us the tools of the
craft and the work of the craftsmen and let us try some of the specimens.
Trooping through the door of
our preparation rooms we find an ever increasing company composed of those
from whose faces is missing the stamp of high intelligence, in whose eyes the
torch of education has lighted no fires and whose halting steps are led by
friendly suggestion or quickened by the hope of gain. Have committees
forgotten to report whether these have "sufficient education and intelligence
to understand and value the doctrines and tenets of Freemasonry"? Did the
Senior Deacon demand of them if they came "unbiased by improper solicitation
and uninfluenced by mercenary motives" ? When they answered the inquiry, did
they know that "truth is a divine attribute and the foundation of every
virtue"? Has not bitter experience, no less than the language of the ritualist,
yet taught us that "It is better that no workmen be added to the roll than
even one unworthy foot allowed to cross the threshold" ?
The shiftless beggar on our
streets, the criminal who filches for his living the labor of others, the open
apostle of the easiest way, are not the only violators of the commandment "Six
days shalt thou labor"--these rarely wear the square or use the compass--but
it is otherwise with the idle rich, the workman who watches the clock, the
maker of shoddy, the man who leans but never stands. What do they here ? Have
they never heard that "The bee hive is an emblem of industry and recommends
the practice of that virtue to every created being" ? Was the injunction that
"our necessary vocations are on no account to be neglected" omitted when they
stole past ?
What of the canker of loose
life and crumbling standards, these breaking family ties, these grinding
wheels in our divorce courts, these rapidly multiplying commercial crimes for
which the law does not always provide a penalty? Apply to these the working
tools which were the favorite implements of our puritan forefathers. Does not
the square still inculcate morality and the plumb rectitude of life and
Where is the responsibility
for that spirit of lawlessness which, until the grim god of War stalked upon
the stage, seemed at times ready to shatter our constitutions and dissolve the
social compact- -a spirit that manifests itself in church and school and
state, in commerce, industry and politics--a spirit which claimed the
protection of majorities while it repudiated the obligations of minorities,
that vaunted its democracy while it fostered anarchy, that here, where its
forehead could almost touch the blue vault of heaven, covered a state with
obloquy, that today actuates those who seek to extort shameful profit from
their country's plight by cornering the food stuffs of a people, fomenting
race riots in populous cities or paralyzing the national arm by strikes in
shipping industries and the manufacturies of war munitions ? Have we ceased to
"recommend to our inferiors obedience and submission, to our equals courtesy
and affability, and to our superiors kindness and condescension," or do such
recommendations now fall on deaf ears? If we forget that "in the state we are
to be quiet and peaceful citizens, true to our government and just to our
country," that we are "not to countenance disloyalty or rebellion, but
patiently submit to legal authority and conform with cheerfulness to the
government of the country in which we live," we might better stretch forth
impious hands and tear our starry banner from the nation's capitol. Not every
act of treason is punishable by statute.
"Justice is that standard of
right which enables us to render to every man his just due, without
distinction," and it should be the "invariable practice of every Mason never
to deviate from the minutest principles thereof." When Louis XIII of France
said to his great minister who sought a hearing, "This nor place nor season,"
the Cardinal answered, "For Justice all place a temple and all season summer."
To a defiance of this social fundamental is directly traceable the cataclysm
which has engulfed humanity. The attempt first in private life and relations
and next in public and international to substitute for it the brigands'
"The good old rule, the
simple plan, That they should take who have the power And they should keep
Do we desire to understand
just how deep some of earth's rulers have sunk in that mire, we have but to
recall that it was a successor to that monarch who took for his motto, "Let
Justice be done though the world perish" who was so ready at the dictates of
expediency to treat his plighted word but as the idle wind and his most solemn
covenant as a scrap of paper.
Are there slackers among us
in this crisis--men who feel the tugging of domestic strings which never
hampered them before, who can not neglect their usual vocations for the public
good when those vocations have heretofore prospered in other hands, who shrink
from the struggle and who fear the future? Let them be reminded that
"Fortitude is that noble and steady purpose of mind whereby we are enabled to
undergo any pain, peril or danger when prudentially deemed advisable." It
smooths the roughest road, scatters the darkest clouds and nerves the weakest
arm. It is the virtue most needed in this nation today, for--
"Fiends of water and earth
and fire Are baffled and beaten by the ire Of a dauntless human will."
Men of the mystic tie, this
is the time and place to polish up these working tools, to get back to first
principles, to renew acquaintance with those primary lessons upon which this
order rests and teach them to the world "by the regularity of our own
behavior." However false some may at times have been, however careless others,
this great society could not have lived through the centuries, could not rise
today in all its power and majesty, had not the vast majority of its sons been
Keeping honor bright and
courage high--those "qualities that eagle-plume mens' souls,"--holding firm
that faith under the name of which our ancient brethren are said to have
worshiped Deity,-- faith to friend and family and flag,--treading the daily
path in earnestness, temperance and simplicity, meeting all men upon the level
of equality before God, holding all in that brotherly love which is "the
foundation and capstone, the cement and glory of this fraternity," our ideal
still must be that mythical Masonic hero whom we once represented. "Let us
emulate * * ~ trust;" so may these Masonic virtues, not jeweled emblems or
beribboned parchments, designate us as Free and Accepted Masons.
EVOLUTION OF THE OPERATIVE
INTO THE SPECULATIVE CRAFT
BY BRO. WM. F. KUHN, P. G.
(DELIVERED AT THE
BI-CENTENNIAL OBSERVANCE OF THE GRAND LODGE OF MISSOURI)
The formation of the Grand
Lodge of England, on St. John's Day in June, 1717, is the base point on which
the Masonic surveyor places his compass; from which he obtains his level, and
lays his chains to plat the field of Masonic History. It is the observation
point on which the Masonic Historian stands, as he looks backward into the
mists of uncertainties and speculation, and on which he looks forward through
two hundred years of recorded growth and achievements. This basic point lies
just this side of tradition and uncertainty.
The Freemasonry of today is
not that of 1717; neither was the Freemasonry of 1717 that of the traditional
past; but through it all there runs a life that has pushed itself upward and
forward from an undifferentiated mass into a differentiated, definite unity,
unto a reality possessed of a personality, with unlimited potentialities.
Whatever may have been its origin, wherever it may have arisen, is secondary
to the great fact, that Freemasonry is here, and is a living thing, throbbing
and pulsating with inestimable efficacy. In its successive growth, it was
never a revival, but always an evolution.
To the question, Whence came
Freemasonry ? there have been many answers. Some are purely fantastic, others
clearly absurd, while many show deep research and study. But even here, there
is necessarily an element of conjecture, and until more reliable data are
found, this uncertainty will remain. The history and origin of Freemasonry
must be traced by certain fundamentals peculiar to it. These lie in its
special symbolism, its laws and its ethical and religious conceptions. In this
research, the Masonic student should be warned against two classes of blind
guides: the wild-eyed Masonic archaeologist, and the fantastic Masonic
symbologist. There is no limit in time or space for either of them, when
vagary and fancy seizes the reins and drives them on in a furious pace. In
studying the origin of Freemasonry, we must make the distinction between a
mere secret society and a brotherhood. A secret society is the outgrowth of
primitive minds and primitive conditions. A brotherhood is the product of
culture and enlightenment. A secret society hedges itself about in a cloak of
mystery, superstition and curiosity. A brotherhood has no secrets or
mysteries, but bears within it a common bond of mutual helpfulness and a
stimulus to investigation in the broad field of intellectual, moral-and
I admit that to some
Freemasons, or rather to some men who are members of a Masonic Lodge,
Freemasonry is a mere secret society, but let us make the clear distinction
that Freemasonry is not such, but that it is a Brotherhood, without mystery,
whose germ has clearly and persistently been pushing upward to a greater and
fuller recognition of what Life means in all its relations. While Freemasonry
has in it the obsolete parts of a secret society, indices of its evolution,
yet these rudimentary remnants do not make or constitute Freemasonry.
The Masonic student who would
trace Freemasonry to some mere secret society has plenty of fantastic
material. It is an historical fact, that secret societies have always existed
in great multiplicity among the most primitive people and savages. It appears
as an aboriginal instinct. These secret societies seem to have a common origin
in the "Men's House" of the aborigines. In these men's houses gradually arose
certain secret ceremonies, even degrees, typifying Youth, Manhood, and Old
Age, often attended with barbarous rites of torture and mutilation. In some of
the African, Australian and Hebrides Societies the candidate received a "New
Name," and he was taught an esoteric speech. In some a hideous representation
of death and the resurrection was presented, even some modern paraphernalia
was used, such as masks, "Bull-roarers" and other devices and equipments to
impress the candidate with the important lessons. In passing, I might add that
the "Bull-roarers" was an instrument capable of making a prodigious noise. The
only counterpart to a Bull-roarer in Freemasonry today, is the Jubulum found
in some Masonic Lodges.
The following taken from
"Primitive Secret Societies"--Webster, is illuminating: "The process which
converts puberty institutions into secret societies of peoples more advanced
in culture, seems, in general, to be that of the gradual shrinkage of the
earliest and democratic organizations, consisting of all the members of the
tribe. The outcome of this process, on the one hand, is a limitation of the
membership of the organization to those who are able to satisfy the necessary
entrance requirements, and, on the other hand, the establishment of a
fraternity so formed of various degrees through which the candidate may pass
in succession. With the fuller development of secret society characteristics,
these degrees became more numerous, and passage through them more costly. The
members of the higher degrees forming an inner circle of picked initiates.
These control the organization in their own interests. The best examples of
this practice are to be sought in the Australian and African Tribes." It will
not require a wide stretch of the imagination to find some analogy of thought
between primitive minds and some modern thinkers and their methods.
Some form of secret and
magical societies have always existed among the aborigines of all countries.
The snake dance of the Hopi Tribe is a part of one of these ceremonies. Their
existence with their secret signs has caused some writers to imagine that
Freemasonry existed among the American Indians and among the several tribes of
The Mysteries of the classic
period of Greece and Rome are to some extent kindred to the secret societies
of the aborigines. The Mysteries of Eleusis, of Dionysus, of Mithra, of Osiris,
of Demeter, etc., embodied more culture and philosophy and some of the best
and greatest minds of that or any other age were members thereof. Yet all
these Mysteries were hedged about with certain profound secrets and occultism
known and communicated to the adept only. The central idea of all of them was
the presentation in a dramatic, allegorical ceremony, life, death and
immortality. This ceremony was monotheistic in its elaboration and strongly
approached the doctrine of the Fatherhood of God and the Brotherhood of Man.
The effect and influence of these Mysteries upon the minds of men would have
been greater and more beneficent, if these societies had not labored under the
delusion that symbol and allegory were means to conceal rather than to reveal.
These Mysteries never arose above the mental conception found in mere occult
secret societies. The advent of Christianity into Greece and Rome wrote
"Finis" after the history of the Mysteries.
If Freemasonry contained no
more than wonderful secrets, symbols, allegories, signs, words and degrees,
the Masonic Archaeologist would have little trouble in tracing its ancestry to
the secret societies of the aborigines of Australia, Fiji Islanders, to the
North American Indian or to the Great Mysteries. Symbols and symbolism are as
old as man. It is the primeval, yet universal language of the world. Symbols
and symbolism are not peculiar to any nation, peoples, secret societies or
brotherhoods, whether primitive, medieval or modern. Symbols and symbolism are
not bound down by fast rules and regulations, hence a man with a symbol can
have the extreme satisfaction, that as a free moral agent, he can see in it,
and through it, more things in Heaven and earth than are dreamed by common
mortals. Some of the most amusing stunts on the Masonic vaudeville stage are
performed by the Freemason with a symbol.
The point, the circle, line,
plummet, square, level, trowel, and hammer; these implements of theoretical
and practical architecture have always been a fruitful source of symbolism.
The implement and its symbolism have been a matter of evolution. The cave man,
as he slowly evolved to a higher stage of intelligence, began to use some
crude implements in the erection of his simple house of stone. A piece of
flint or a stick may have served as a trowel to fill the crevices of his house
with mud. This simple instrument evolved into the modern trowel of the
operative Mason of today. The shape of the modern trowel is based purely on
its practicability, and not on any supposed geometrical law. The maul,
possibly the oldest operative instrument, has become a hammer or a gavel. The
plummet, level, and square are incident to the development of architecture
and other geometrical sciences. It does not follow, that because certain
operatives used these instruments, that they were Freemasons. The discovery of
these instruments in old ruins, or pictures there of cut or painted on old
monuments, walls, or obelisks, do not prove anything as to the history of
Freemasonry. Because a Freemason has a thigh bone, does not prove that an
Egyptian mummy was a Freemason, because a thigh bone was discovered in him. It
is related that a Freemason, with a Moslem pin on the lapel of his coat and a
combination watch charm of the double eagle, cross and crown, dangling from
his vest, accidentally happened on some Egyptologists, as they uncovered the
grave of a man of the late stone age; in the grave were the remains of the
man, food and other things usually found in such tombs, also a stone hammer
with a wooden handle attached by withes; when the Freemason saw the hammer he
exclaimed: "Eureka, this man was a Freemason and the Master of his Lodge,
because here is his gavel." This incident may not be true, but it is in
keeping with some of the eloquence dispensed from Masonic platform and Masonic
papers about "The great antiquity of our great and magnificent Order."
The symbolism based on the
implements of the operative, is equally ancient and runs through the
literature of the greatest teachers of ancient and modern times. The Bible is
rich in such symbolism. The Prophet Amos said: "I will set a plumb line in the
midst of my people Israel." In Proverbs we find: "When he set the compass on
the face of the deep I was there." Ezekiel in prophetic vision saw a "City
four square." In Second Kings, it is recorded that Jehovah "Will stretch over
Jerusalem a line of Samaria, and the plummet of the House of Ahab." St. Peter
said: "Ye also are living stones." In the prophesies of Isaiah we find:
"Judgment also will I lay to the line and righteousness to the plummet," and
Zachariah said: "For they shall rejoice and shall see the plummet in the hands
of Zerubbabel." These are only a few quotations. There are many other examples
of beautiful and impressive symbols used by the Old and New Testament writers.
This geometrical and architectural symbolism runs through all literature,
ancient and modern, secular and religious. Imagery, symbols, allegory, and
trope are the beauty and sublimity of Biblical literature. The purpose and use
of symbolism among all great religious teachers was to make clear, to
elucidate, to make plain, but never to hide or conceal great truths and
precepts. Christ was prolific in the use of symbols, especially in allegorical
form. His parables and allegories are remarkable for their pertinence and
graphic in their power to present moral and religious truths with clearness
and comprehension. He never used them to cast a metaphysical fog over his
This extensive use of
symbolism in literature does not make it Masonic, neither must we in our zeal
claim that because Amos, Isaiah, Zachariah and St. Peter used the symbolism
found in our ritual of today, they must have been Freemasons. Symbolism based
on the tool of the operative or on geometrical figures does not prove, in
itself, Masonic descent, any more than secret words, signs and grips prove
If secret societies had
existed from primitive ages and symbolism is coextensive and coequal with
human thought, where lies the genesis of Freemasonry? The answer to this
question has been the subject of much controversy and research. The most
satisfactory answers can be found in Vols. 1, 2 and 3 of Mackey's History,
Gould's History, but especially in that little incomparable book, "The
Builders," by Reverend Joseph F. Newton.
Certain analogies exist
between secret societies, brotherhoods, cults, and mysteries, and even with
the Church. These analogies do not prove a common origin, but they establish
the fact that men, psychologically, think alike. There may be shades of
difference, but on all great issues and truths, these opinions blend into a
composite whole. Gregariousness is an instinct common to man and animals. We
love companionship. We love kindred spirits, and in it lies the secret of
brotherhood. Gregariousness with a fondness for the mysterious, coupled with a
little leaven of superstition, is the father of the secret societies and the
Mysteries. It may be stated as axiomatic, that the more primitive the
intellectual and moral development of man, the more do secret signs, words,
grips, and awe-inspiring mysteries appeal to him. It is for this reason that
only certain phases of Freemasonry appeal to certain members. It is stating a
Scriptural truism to say, that as a Freemason thinks in his heart, and is able
to comprehend in his mind, so is Freemasonry to him.
The symbolism, the laws, and
the lofty ethical and religious principles, found in Freemasonry, point
indubitably to an origin in a cultured religious society of Cathedral Builders
in England. There is no evidence that such a society of builders existed in
England prior to the Norman Conquest, in the eleventh century. There were
builders who wrought in stone and timber prior to this time, but these Gilds
or Societies did not specialize in the building of churches or cathedrals. In
a classical article on architecture in the Encyclopedia Britannica, the
following pertinent statement occurs: "The existing Roman remains show that
there was quite enough architecture and decorative art introduced into England
by the Romans to have formed a school of Masonic sculptors and builders, if
the civilization of the people had been sufficient to make them desire it.
Such a School can hardly be said to have been formed, if we look at the few
and comparatively rude remains of buildings certainly erected before the
Norman Conquest." The same authority further states that: "When Roman
Architecture ceased, for nearly seven hundred years, nearly every building was
ecclesiastical." The study of architecture clearly established the fact that
no school of Masonic architecture existed prior to the eleventh century; after
that, until near the end of the seventeenth century, such a school flourished,
as indicated by the large number of ecclesiastical structures erected. It must
also be remembered that the oldest document in reference to Freemasonry is the
Halliwell Poem, dated sometime in the fourteenth century. It is evident,
without going into detail, that a fraternity of Cathedral Builders came into
existence with Gothic architecture from the eleventh to the twelfth century.
The membership was made up of skilled workmen, not only in the practical, but
in the theoretical art of architecture, and all its cognate sciences. Whence
came the men who formed such a fraternity may find its solution in the
existence of former societies like the Roman Collegia and the Comacine
The fraternity of Cathedral
Builders was a fraternity erected, possibly, on the remains of former similar
organizations, and this new fraternity was the beginning of Freemasonry of
today. But what of the assembly of Masons held in York in 926? So far as this
assembly relates to Freemasonry, it is a myth. But while the holding of such
an assembly is only legendary, it can not be said that no such an assembly was
ever held. I am inclined to believe that such an assembly was held, but it was
of the "Rough stone Masons" and in no sense an assembly of the Cathedral or
Intellectually, in as far as
it refers to the Fellows of the Craft and the Masters of this Fraternity of
Cathedral Builders, they were of an advanced type. The culture and
enlightenment of the age found expression in these Cathedrals. Their wondrous
beauty, symmetry, harmony, ornamentation and color bear witness of the skill,
intelligence and scientific attainments of the members. Such work can not come
from the illiterate or unskilled, but from minds trained in the sciences of
architecture, sculpture and art. Gothic Architecture (sometimes called
Christian Architecture) brought into use the highest skill in the practical
and theoretical science of building. The key note of the artisan was
"Stability, Utility, Beauty." It can be readily seen why Euclid, the great
geometrician, figured so prominently in the old manuscripts, and it has also
appeared a mystery why Pythagoras was dragged, as if by the ears, into modern
Freemasonry, and Euclid and Archimedes, the two great prominent thinkers in
practical and theoretical geometry, have been excluded. Intellectually, the
Freemason of the Cathedral Builders was an adept in the sciences.
The Rules and Regulations, by
which the Craft was governed, might be said to be an application of the Golden
Rule. The ethics of these rules and regulations stand undimmed in the
centuries, and may be summed up in this: That it is the duty of a Freemason
"To do justly, to love mercy and to walk humbly before God." It has been well
said: "If as an ethic of life, these laws seem simple and rudimentary, they
are none the less fundamental, and they remain to this day the only gate and
way by which those must enter who would go up to the House of the Lord." To be
convinced of this statement, read these Rules and Regulations as found in the
old Manuscripts; they are individual to Freemasonry.
Freemasonry stands preeminent
in its moral and religious teachings. It stands alone among secular
institutions in the purity and exalted spirit in its religious conceptions. If
there is any evidence, above all others, that connects Freemasonry with the
Cathedral Builders, it is this golden thread of ethics and religion.
Architecture is but the expression of religion in its highest development and
it has been well said: "Architecture has had its origin in religious feeling
and emotions, that its noblest monuments among the Pagan nations of antiquity,
were the temples to their gods, as well as those of the Christian nations." A
prominent writer on architecture says: "With the Christian faith there rose
those forms of beauty unknown to the Pagan, which culminated in the glories of
Lincoln and Canterbury." The spirit of the First Crusade is manifest in this
new architecture and finds expression in the religious tenets of the members.
Their creed was Christian and Trinitarian. In nearly all of the sixty or more
copies of the "Old Charges" the following formula of belief, or slight
modification thereof, is set forth: "In the name of the Great and Holy God,
the Wisdom of the Son and the goodness of the Holy Ghost, three persons in
One, be with us now and ever. Amen." This invocation was always given in their
Lodges and also read to the neophyte. This Trinitarian Creed was peculiar to
the Cathedral Builders and remains so even under the formation of the Grand
Lodge in 1717, until the adoption of "The Old Charges of the Free and Accepted
Masons" in 1723. Upon the adoption of these Old Charges of Free and Accepted
Masons, the formula became purely Deistic; that a Mason "Will never be a
stupid Atheist," and it was "Thought more expedient only to oblige them to
that religion in which all men agree" viz., a belief in God, the Great
Architect of the Universe. The peculiar symbolism, the lofty ethical rules and
regulations, and the profound and advanced religious conceptions of Freemasons
can find no other origin than that in the Society of the Cathedral Builders of
the 12th Century.
If such is the origin of
Freemasonry, the question arises: why should an operative Craft become a
speculative Craft? In the middle ages, the clergy, or ecclesiastics, were the
repositories of learning. It is not, therefore, strange for them to associate
themselves with a society of such technical skill and erudition in the
theoretical sciences. The study of geometry in its wide, practical and almost
unlimited field, in so many Arts, would naturally appeal to them, so that this
speculative Mason was, doubtless, a member in its earliest history. The two
oldest Manuscripts intimate this fact, so that we are not wide of the mark in
believing that speculative Masons were members in the earliest history of this
Fraternity of Cathedral Builders and their numbers continued to increase year
by year. Proof of this is found in abundance in Lodge minutes. Noblemen,
students, scholars sought entrance, not because of any special symbolism or
mysteries, but because of an opportunity for a wider and more general
education and to pursue the fascinating study of the "noblest of sciences."
Cook's manuscript indicates the educational and moral purposes of the
fraternity. The writer thereof says: "And, moreover, He, (God), hath given to
man wit and knowledge of divers things and handicraft, by which he may labor
in this world in order to therewith get our livelihood, and fashion many
objects pleasant in the sight of God, to our own ease and profit. To rehearse
all these matters here were too long in the writing or telling; I will
therefore refrain, but nevertheless tell you some: for instance, how and in
what the science of geometry was first invented and who were the founders both
thereof and of several other crafts as is declared in the Bible and other
histories. You must know that there are seven liberal sciences from which
seven all other sciences and crafts in the world have sprung; but especially
geometry, the first cause of all other sciences, whatsoever they be; the seven
sciences are Grammar, Rhetoric, Dialetic, Arithmetic, Geometry, Music and
It will be noted that this
quotation from the second oldest Manuscript, shows unmistakably that one of
the great ends of the fraternity was the diffusion of practical knowledge and
its curriculum of studies compares well with the schools of today. Technical
skill and study were paramount to any and all symbolism. There is no evidence
that symbolism attracted the speculative Mason into this fraternity, or that
there existed within it a school of symbology, neither did its simple
ceremonies attempt to elucidate any Secret Doctrine or waste its time on the
mystical numbers of Pythagoras. Whatever secrets were communicated were purely
technical and trade secrets, and possibly a word and sign whereby the members
might make themselves known to each other. The fraternity of Cathedral
Builders was a professional and trade society--symbolism, if any, was
incidental. I do not wish to be understood that these beautiful cathedrals
were built in a haphazard way without any attention to the ideas to be
conveyed in their symbolic and geometrical structure. The cross as represented
by the transept, the nave, and the chancel; the pointed arch based on the
equilateral triangle, every column, chapiters, entablature, arches, towers,
sculpture and decorations; the whole cathedral was a symbolic expression of
the religious faith of the builders. No structure ever erected before or
since, showed such a wealth and beauty of symbols. But this symbolism was an
open and manifest expression. It was a secret revealed to the world in stone.
In all the symbolism of the cathedrals, there was no primitive conception of
the aborigines, no transcendental moonshine or metaphysical mist. Numbers had
no mystical meaning, except in so far as they were the practical application
of the science of numbers to proportion in structure. The ancient
interpretation of symbols was lost in the new and higher conception, and
theorizing gave way to utility and beauty.
With the decline of
architecture, the transition of the operative into speculative craft was easy,
yet gradual, as evidenced in the "Old Charges of Free and Accepted Masons"
adopted six years after the formation of the Grand Lodge. These so-called Old
Charges apply more to an operative organization than to a speculative, but it
will be observed in paragraph four provision is made for the holding of
official station by the non-operative. It reads: "Who is also to be noble
born, or a gentleman of the best fashion, or some eminent scholar, or some
curious architect, or other artists, descendant of honest parents and who is
of singular great merit in the opinion of the Lodge." The entrance of John T.
Desaguliers, LLD., into Freemasonry, 1719, and of James Anderson, D. D., at
about the same period, was the pivotal point which gradually completed the
transition. Dr. Desaguliers, above all others, is the great figure who changed
the operative into the speculative, but it will be observed in paragraph four
associations with the scientific and philosophical schools, he was
preeminently qualified for this work. While such of the symbolism of
Freemasonry was introduced at a later period, yet the sublime symbolism of
Freemasonry is the product of this clergyman's son. In 1723 Freemasonry stood
at the dawn of a new age with great opportunities and potentialities in her
grasp. Although conceived and born in a fraternity of Christian architects and
scholars, retransformed into a new life by two Christian clergymen, it laid
aside its special creed and dogma for the promulgation of the great and
fundamental creed: The Fatherhood of God and the Brotherhood of Man.
In conclusion I would restate
that Freemasonry is a Brotherhood and not a secret society; the secret signs,
grips and steps in its ceremonies today are remnants of its evolution. These
remnants are a hindrance to the full glory of Freemasonry, in that they create
curiosity for the aborigines of the twentieth century and a veil of mystery
for the illiterate and self-seeking. Signs, grips and steps are nothing, and
ritualism is only secondary to the all-embracing spirit of Freemasonry,
THE SQUARE AND CABLETOW
BY BRO. JOSEPH BARNETT,
THE work of a Mason is
building. There was a temporal structure; there is a spiritual edifice. There
was an ashlar of stone to be prepared for the wall; there is an ashlar of a
human life to be made ready for that "Temple not made with hands."
THE FIRST SQUARE
The handiwork of an
individual Craftsman had to be so made as to correspond to and fit the
handiwork of the other Craftsmen. The angle must correspond; the ends must be
squared. When the ashlars were assembled, each must fit into its proper place
in the wall of the Temple. Though some were more ornamental than others, yet
all were necessary. When the master workman laid down the design upon his
Trestle Board, each individual design was a part of the complete plan.
The work of any member of the
Lodge must square with the work of his fellow members. The Masonic life of an
individual must fit into and be an essential part of the life and purposes of
the Fraternity. Any one part is not necessarily the most prominent part of the
completed structure; but, unobtrusive though it may be, it must fit into place
perfectly with the great plan, and be an essential and useful portion of the
Temple of Masonic life. Whether for strength or beauty, its first relation is
with the Fraternity. Such is the first square or angle of a Mason's work.
Ornamental it may not be; but squared and perfected his work should be, that
the building may stand firm, established in strength.
When the Craftsman's
education is perfected and he has learned the uses of all the implements of
the Craft, he becomes the Master Mason, whose duty it is to direct others in
their work. Added responsibility is now upon his shoulders. With light added
to light, the Master Mason's interest is broader and reaches farther than when
he was a Fellowcraft.
Up to this time, his Masonic
tie was two-fold-- with the master workman and with his fellow craftsmen. But
now the added strand of the three-fold tie unites him also with all mankind.
Something of this he has learned before; now he begins to see his full duty
with clearer vision. The Temple of Freemasonry represents an ideal of manhood
that is to be an inspiration for all the world.
In the Trowel he finds a
symbolism concerning that Brotherly Love which unites the Craftsmen into one
sacred band, to whom his first duty calls. And in the Cabletow he sees a
symbol of that bond of human sympathy which reaches out to all mankind, and
recognizes those outside of the Fraternity as brethren whose claim is only
less than that of his Masonic brethren.
Such is the length of the
Master Mason's Cabletow, the three-fold cord of Brotherly Love, Relief and
Truth, that, leading toward his fellowmen, intertwines with that other
three-fold cord of Faith, Hope and Love that leads to God.
A man who lives right, and is
right, has more power in his silence
than another by his words.
Character is life bells which ring out
sweet music, and which, when
touched accidentally even, resound
with sweet music.
The youth gets together his
materials to build a bridge to the
moon, or, perchance, a palace
or temple on the earth, and at length
the middle-aged man concludes
to build a wood-shed with them.--
FREEMASONRY AND THE MEDIEVAL
BY BRO. OSSIAN LANG, GRAND
HISTORIAN, GRAND LODGE OF NEW YORK
WHEN speaking of Freemasonry,
we must take into account a trinity of elements: Form, Substance, and Spirit.
Or, to mark the dividing lines more distinctly: Constitutions, Ritual, and
Teachings. In attempting to trace the history of our Fraternity, it would be
necessary, therefore, to account for the origins of these several elements.
I believe you need no
argument from me to convince you that a really satisfactory history cannot be
published without doing violence to our Masonic obligations, except for the
exclusive instruction of lawful Master Masons. Yet, if we could demonstrate
that the premier Grand Lodge represented merely the revival of something that
had had a continuous existence before, the task would be comparatively simple.
Such, however, is not the case. At any rate, there is no proof for it. The
"Constitutions" were derived from one source and then remodeled to meet new
requirements; degrees and other ritualistic forms and usages were elaborated
on the basis of barrowings from several sources; the teachings were organized
more or less independently of any pre-existing body of instruction; the spirit
is a growth from beginnings which may be traced with some degree of clearness
to societies quite different from those which contributed constitutions,
suggestions for initiatory ceremonies and fundamental teachings.
The limitations set for the
object of the present discussion, restrict our researches to contributions
derived from whatever connections we may be able to trace between our
Fraternity and medieval craft gilds of operative Masons.
In order to mark clearly our
point of departure, we shall have to review briefly the establishment of the
Grand Lodge of England, between the years of 1717 and 1723.
BEGINNINGS OF THE PREMIER
Shortly after the accession
of George I to the throne of Great Britain, a number of "accepted FreeMasons,"
of whom we shall speak more fully by and by, resolved to form a center of
union. Accordingly, a preliminary meeting was held, in February, 1717, at the
Apple Tree Tavern, in London, which was attended by representatives of four
"drooping Lodges," together with "some old Brothers." After having put into
the Chair the oldest Master Mason (then Master of a Lodge), "they constituted
themselves a Grand Lodge pro tempore in Due Form, and forthwith revived the
Quarterly Communication of the Officers of Lodges (called the Grand Lodge),
resolved to hold the Annual Assembly and Feast, and then to chuse a Grand
Master from among themselves, till they should have the Honour of a Noble
Brother at their Head."
The first "Annual Assembly
and Feast" of this provisional Grand Lodge was held four months later, on John
Baptist day, June 24, 1717, at the Goose and Gridiron Ale-house, in St. Paul's
Church-Yard. Before sitting down to dinner, Mr. Anthony Sayer, Gentleman, was
elected Grand Master and duly installed.
The significance of this
simple recital of events consists in the information that a Grand Lodge was
formed to be composed of Masters and Wardens of "regular Lodges" which were
approved by the Grand Lodge, or to be established "by authority of a warrant
from the Grand Master for the time being, granted on petition."
Whatever connection, if any,
may have existed theretofore between the Lodges composing this first Grand
Lodge of accepted Free-Masons and any former organization or organizations of
Craft Masons or others, was now definitely ended. In fact, Lodges claiming to
be Masonic, which were not operating under the authority of this Grand Lodge,
were considered to be clandestine and not worthy of consideration.
Further confirmation of the
conclusion that a new Fraternity had arisen, is supplied in the subsequent
tacit admission by newly formed Lodges and Grand Lodges that the Grand Lodge
at London must be accepted as the supreme authority in all matters concerning
In short, the formation of
that Grand Lodge marked the beginning of Freemasonry, as we know it and as we
practice it today.
Nothing of any moment appears
to have transpired between the Annual Assembly of 1717 and that of 1718,
except perhaps the probable admission to membership of George Payne, Esquire,
who became Grand Master on June 24, 1718. Soon after this, the young, or, if
you prefer to call it so, the rejuvenated, Fraternity made a notable accession
in John Theophilus Desaguliers, who became identified with one of the existing
Lodges, was promptly made Master of his Lodge, and at the following Annual
Assembly, on June 24, 1719, was elected Grand Master.
Desaguliers was just the man
needed to place Freemasonry, as represented by the Grand Lodge, on a solid
foundation of serious purposes and to make it a power for good in the world. A
significant sidelight on the predominantly convivial character of the
Fraternity is afforded in the record that at the feast following the
installation of Desaguliers as Grand Master "the custom of drinking healths"
Desaguliers was thirty-six
years old when he became Grand Master. He was the son of a French Huguenot
clergyman, who had been forced to leave his native country, on the revocation
of the edict of Nantes, in 1685, and had found refuge and a parsonage in
London, the haven for thousands of exiled Protestants from all parts of the
European continent. John Theophilus proceeded to Oxford, after the death of
his father, where he came under the influence of the great Newton, who took
special interest in him. After taking his academic degrees, entering on
deacon's orders, and occupying a chair of experimental philosophy, he was, in
1714, elected a fellow of the famous Royal Society and invited to become
demonstrator and curator of that exclusive body of promoters of the natural
sciences. Sir Isaac Newton, who held him in high esteem, was then president of
the Royal Society. In the same year Desaguliers became chaplain to the Duke of
Chandon. King George I, who listened to one of his sermons, was so greatly
impressed that he commanded him to deliver courses of lectures at court.
Desaguliers retained this royal favor through the reign of George I and
continued his lectures to the royal household, under George II, presumably
until he died, in 1744.
We cannot, at this time,
enter more fully into the biography of this interesting character. The data I
have selected are of peculiar significance for our present purpose.
Desaguliers' prominence in the Royal Society was to be of considerable
importance for the development of the purposes of the Grand Lodge. If we were
to consider the growth of the Fraternity, from 1719 to the end of the
eighteenth century, we should find that many famous men were drawn into
Freemasonry through the influence, directly or indirectly, of Desaguliers. Two
years ago it was my privilege to show you how this influence brought Frederick
the Great into the Fraternity.* We might show how Desaguliers' invention of
military machinery and the prominence of one of his sons in the Royal
Artillery undoubtedly account for the multiplication of military Lodges. All
these facts, interesting as they are, are rather outside of the scope of our
The thing that gave no doubt
particular satisfaction to the Brethren of the Grand Lodge, was Desaguliers'
relations with royalty. The Brethren had set their hearts on capturing "the
Honour of a Noble Brother at their Head." Desaguliers was the man to get them
the "Honour." Their ambitions were satisfied when, in 1721, "John, Duke of
Montagu, Master of a Lodge," was elected Grand Master.
After his election, the Duke
"commanded Desaguliers and James Anderson, A. M., men of genius and education,
to revise, arrange and digest the Gothic Constitutions, old charges and
general regulations." The task was completed and the manuscript submitted to
the Grand Lodge on John Evangelist day, in 1721. "A committee of fourteen
learned Brothers was appointed to examine the manuscript." This committee,
after making "some amendments," recommended approval, in 1722. The work was
adopted and ordered to be printed, and was published in 1723.
* Proceedings, 1915, Grand
Lodge of New York.
Let us keep in mind that the
history which formed the preface to the "Constitutions" was written by
Desaguliers and Anderson, that "a committee of fourteen learned Brothers" made
"some amendments," and that the final product was approved by the Grand Lodge.
Mackey and others have tried to discredit this history as a collection of
fables, not worthy of serious consideration. Our attitude, I believe, should
be rather one of respect and reverence, seeking to appreciate and understand
the character of that most carefully prepared document.
It ought to be quite
reasonable for a Mason to conclude that the Grand Lodge never intended that
the outside world should be carefully instructed in plain language concerning
the origins of Freemasonry, when all teachings in carefully tiled Lodges are
veiled in allegory and conveyed by symbols more or less difficult to interpret
properly. At the same time, I do not mean to have you infer that thoughtful
non-Masons could not possibly hit upon a right reading of the "history." A
fine example of how the analytic mind of a scholarly non-Mason may discern the
truth, may be found in the excellent article on Freemasonry, contained in the
"Catholic Encyclopedia." The author of that article comes nearer interpreting
the "history" correctly, in my estimation, than any Masonic writer whose
publications have appeared in the English language, so far at least as these
have come to my notice.
The title of the
"Constitutions" tells plainly enough that the history of the "Right Worshipful
Fraternity of Accepted Free-Masons" was "collected from their general Records,
and their faithful Traditions of many Ages." Traditions are interwoven with
authentic history. Furthermore, Anderson states expressly, in his preface to
the "Constitution" of 1738, that "Only an expert Brother, by the true light,
can readily find many useful hints in almost every page of this book, which
Cowans and others not initiated (also among Masons) cannot discern."
As in my studies for the
objects of this report I chose deliberately to be guided by hints dug out of
the "Constitutions," published in 1723, I am naturally desirous of having you
share with me the high estimate I place upon that venerable document.
A KEY TO THE HISTORY OF
A most important suggestion,
the one which I regard as the principal key to the real history of the
Fraternity, is tucked away between the pages given to Songs, in the appendix
to the book of Constitutions. It is printed after the "Warden's Song," as if
intended only to fill an open space:
"To fill up this Page, it is
thought not amiss to insert here a Paragraph from an old Record of Masons,
viz., The Company of Masons, being otherwise termed Free Masons, of Ancient
Standing and good Reckoning, by means of affable and kind Meetings diverse
Tymes, and as a loving Brotherhood should use to doe, did frequent this mutual
Assembly in the Tyme of King Henry IV. the 12th Year of his most gracious
Reign. And the said Record describing a Coat of Arms, much the same with That
of the London Company of Freemen Masons, it is generally believed that the
said Company is descended of the ancient Fraternity; and that in former Times
no Man was made free of that Company until he was install'd in some Lodge of
Free and Accepted Masons, as a necessary Qualification. But that laudable
Practise seems to have been long in Dissuetude.
"The Brethren in foreign
Parts have also discover'd that several noble and ancient Societies and Orders
of Men have derived their Charges and Regulations from the Free-Masons (which
are now the most ancient Order upon Earth), and perhaps were originally all
Members too of the said ancient and worshipful Fraternity. But this will more
fully appear in due Time."
In order to bring out more
clearly that here we have two distinct propositions, I have broken the
"Paragraph" in two.
I regard proposition number
two as the key to the real (though possibly, for symbolic purposes, adopted)
ancestry of the Masonic fellowship represented by the premier Grand Lodge. A
plain discussion of this suggestion could be presented only in tiled meetings
of Master Masons willing and prepared to follow the thread of inner history
through the mazes of the past, beginning with the opening of the Christian
era. However, this whole matter is not within the scope of the present report.
We must content ourselves
here with a more or less summary consideration of the line of investigation
suggested in proposition number one.
The "old Record of Masons,"
which is referred to in the space-filler, I have been able to trace to a
second edition of Stow's famous "Survey of London," published in 1633, ten
years after the first "inlarged" edition appeared in print and twenty-eight
years after the death of the author of the original work. The edition of 1633
contains several matters of special interest to Masons. We are told on the
title page that the "Survey" is "now completely finished by the study and
labours of A. M. H. D. and others, this present yeere 1633."
In one section of the book
are printed coats-of-arms of London Livery Companies, with brief explanatory
notes. After the twelve principal Companies, headed by the Mercers, who became
a Company in 1393, follow the minor Companies, in order of sequence, the
Masons being number 30. Regarding the latter, we are given this information:
"The Company of Masons, being
otherwise termed Free-Masons, of ancient standing and good reckoning, have by
meanes of affable and kind meetings divers times, and as a loving Brotherhood
should use to doe, did frequent this mutual assembly in the time of King Henry
the fourth, in the twelfth yeere of his most gracious Reigne."
There we have word for word
the story told in the space-filler between the "Songs" of the Constitutions of
1723. We are informed, then, that the Free-Masons met as a "loving
Brotherhood," in 1410, and that they were identified with the London Company
If we now consult the rare
and monumental "History and Survey of the Cities of London and Westminster,
Being an improvement of Mr. Stow's and other Historic Writers, By R. Seymour,
Esq., and J. Marchant, Gent.," published in 1754, and, therefore, written with
a full knowledge of the Grand Lodge of England, then thirty-seven years old,
we obtain further light:
"This Company (of Masons)
were incorporated about the year 1410, having been called the Free Masons, a
Fraternity of great Account, who have been honour'd by several Kings and very
many of the Nobility and Gentry, being of this Society."
The Arms of this Society were
"granted by William Hanckeslow, Clarencieux, King of Arms," in 1472, during
the reign of Edward IV. We are told further that the Masons of the Company
were "once called Freemasons, but that denomination appears now to belong to
another Fraternity." This was written, you see, in 1754, or thirty-seven years
after the formation of the premier Grand Lodge at London.
CONNECTIONS WITH THE MASONS'
COMPANY OF LONDON
We have now a fairly clear
indication that the forebears of the "Accepted Free-Masons" who formed the
Grand Lodge of England, were connected in some way with the London Company of
Masons. The records of that Company, therefore, ought to supply further
information regarding antecedents. I have consulted, with this thought in
mind, Conder's "Records of the Hole Crafts," the Parliamentary Reports on the
Livery Companies of London, and many other supplementary sources.
Conder was the Master of the
Masons' Company in 1894. While we may not be able to follow him in his
personal conclusions, we must accept his gleanings from the original records.
He was the first to bring to light that there existed in that Company "a dual
condition," as early as 1620 "and inferentially in the earliest times." He
speaks of a "curious secret brotherhood" within the bosom of the Company.
Traditions are preserved, we are told, of an old "fellowship which undoubtedly
existed in Britain in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries."
The ancient records of the
Company were consumed in the great fire which devastated London, with the
exception of an old account book. This account book furnished the material for
several important discoveries. Conder writes:
"As early as 1620, or
twenty-one years before any mention of the Society (of Accepted Masons) is
made by any writers of the seventeenth century, we find in the first year
entered in the account book, which is the earliest document concerning the
Guild that remains in the Company's possession, an entry referring to certain
gratuities received from new members in consequence of their having been
accepted on the livery."
In 1621 occur entries of
certain payments, made by these new members, when they were made Masons,
doubtless by some ancient ceremony."
In 1631 there appears this
notice concerning "accepted" members:
"Paid in going abroad and at
meeting at the bout the Masons that were to be accepted--6-6."
Entry in 1650: "Item received
of Thomas Moore, Junior, in full of his fine for coming on the Livery and
admission upon acceptance of Masonry, 4 pounds."
4 pounds appears to have been
the regular admission fee. 'Coming on the Livery" was prerequisite, it seems,
to 'acceptance." The "Accepted" Masons formed a separate division or
divisions, meeting as a Lodge or Lodges.
Entry in 1665: Master orders
inventory taken of goods and documents belonging to the Company; from this
inventory it appears that there was hanging in the Hall a list of Accepted
Masons, enclosed in a "faire frame, with a lock and key."
Further clues concerning
these mysterious "Accepted Masons" are few. The earliest found, so far as I am
informed, is that supplied by entries made by Elias Ashmole (1617 to 1692), in
his published diary. There we read, under date of October, 1646: "4:30 p. m. I
was made a Freemason at Warrington, in Lancashire, with Colonel Henry
Mainwaring, of Karineham, in Cheshire." Other names mentioned are all of men
who were not operatives.
Ashmole mentions the
Freemasons again when referring to the historical meeting of a Lodge, held at
Masons' Hall, Basinghall Street, London (the Hall of the Masons' Company), on
March 11, 1682. He records that the Master, his Warden and several members of
the Company were present on that occasion, and adds: "We all dyned at the Half
Moon Tavern in Cheapside, at the charge of the New Accepted Masons."
Ashmole is often spoken of as
a Rosicrucian. He appears to have been a seeker after curiosities, studied
physics and mathematics with predilection, went to London in 1646, where he
mixed much in astrological circles and cultivated particularly the
acquaintance of Lilly and Booker. A further hint as to his connections is
found in his having been a guest at "the mathematical feast at the White
Following Conder's statement,
that there was "doubtless an ancient ceremony" attending "making" of Masons,
we may next quote from a manuscript note by Randle Holme, the genealogist,
written between 1610 and 1650, what appears to have been part of the oath on
admission to the fellowship:
"There is several words and
signs of a free Mason to be revealed to you which as you will answer before
God at the great and terrible day of Judgment, you keep secret and not reveal
the same to any in the hearing of any person whatsoever, but to the Masters
and fellows of the said society of free Masons. So help me God."
The Bodleian Library, Oxford,
has a MS. of 1686, in which there is a notation in John Aubrey's handwriting,
"1691, May 18.--This day a
great convention at St. Paul's Church of the fraternity of the Accepted Masons
("free" crossed out by Aubrey, and "accepted" substituted by him); where Sir
Christopher Wren is to hall be adopted a Brother; and Sir Henry Goodric* of
the Tower and divers others. There have been Kings that have been of this
Aubrey was an antiquary, who
had been made a fellow of the Royal Society, in May, 1663. Among his friends
were Sir William Petty, political economist and inventor; Hobbes, the
philosopher; and Ashmole. He composed, by order of King Charles II, an
unpublished discourse on Stonehenge and other ancient stone monuments which he
regarded as derived from the Druids.
I shall quote just one more
record before gathering up a few threads on our return to the Masons' Company.
Plot's "History of Staffordshire" is too important to be passed by. It was
published in 1686. In it we read:
"Among the customs of
Staffordshire is one to admit men into the Society of Freemasons, which
membership is more sought after here than anywhere else, though the custom
extends more or less over the whole nation. Persons of the most eminent
quality do not despise to belong to this fellowship."
Robert Plot goes on to relate
that these Freemasons have "a large parchment volum . . . containing History
and Rules of the craft of masonry." He then gives substantially the account
contained in the "historic" preface to the Constitutions of 1722-3, so far as
England is concerned.
He describes the mode of
admission. "A meeting or Lodg as they term it in some places" is called,
composed of at least five "Ancients of the Order" who are presented with
gloves, also for their wives. After a collation, "they proceed to the
admission," which consists chiefly in the communication of "certain secret
signes" whereby they know one another all over the nation, "by which means
they have maintenance whither ever they travel; for if any man appear, though
altogether unknown, that can shew any of these signes to a Fellow of the
Society, whom they otherwise call an accepted Mason, he is obliged presently
to come to him, from whatever company or place soever he be." This would seem
to be quotation sufficient for our purpose. Let us now formulate a few
*Sir Henry Goodricke
(1642-1705) was a distinguished diplomatist and was a member of Parliament, in
1673 and 1678-1679.
(Concluded in an early
NIGHT AND MORNING
The darkness came, and kissed
A thorn grew, straight-way in
Then came the dew-drop, and a
When Morning bade the Night
Old Sorrow came, and kissed a
A pain grew, straight-way in
Then came the tear-drop, and
When Mother bade Old Sorrow
--James T. Duncan.
Too great haste to repay an
obligation is a kind of ingratitude.--
A VIEWPOINT OF THE WORLD WAR
AFTER many years talk on
peace we now have war. Everybody thinks and talks war while awake and
doubtless dreams of it while asleep. Much that is said sinks deep into the
soul. Into our lives war is bringing us closer contact with other nations.
Each struggling swing and surge of sentiment binds the human universe together
by the most intimate of ties.
A new world-wide conviction
is abroad. Hearts near and afar touch in common cause. Out of all this
struggle and suffering and sorrow should come the long-sought brotherhood of
men. If ever hope is to be sanctified by blood sacrifice into certainty then
no war with all its horrors ever gave greater opportunity.
War is making such demands
for everything that can be done that new standards are set up of personal
efficiency. Surgery has had a chance to reach out and gain more records. Many
are the gruesome tales. Parts of the dead have been successfully grafted upon
the living. Shrapnel-shattered bodies have been made again recognizable and
even presentable to the public view. Swifter means have been devised of bodily
health recovery from shock and wounds though these be deep and many.
Engineering has made peculiar progress. Shops are artwork with girls and women
doing the labor of men right manfully at planer and lathe, mill and shaper. On
farm and in factory old and deep-rooted dilatory customs are unearthed and
shelved. New instruments of mechanical precision have met masterfully the
different modern machine-like conditions of fighting.
Shocking as it all seems
there are some few factors afforded for consolation purposes. Science has
truly served ably to destroy, yet in due season these very agencies will in
turn make for the arts of peace. The gun and rifle makers of our Civil War
gave us the interchangeable system of manufacturing that made the New England
Yankee famous and started his American brother mechanics in step with Darling
and Rabbeth, Corliss and Draper.
Already the like leaven is
working in Masonic hearts. The association brought about by war between two of
the governing bodies of France does at the moment appear to afford opportunely
another than the traditional cause that hitherto has separated American and
French Masonry so widely. Probably the situation will bring in its train
complexities not fully anticipated.
For example, if permission
were by any Grand Lodge enactment given Masons of our Army and Navy to
fraternize fully with the long tabooed Masonry of France then something must
be also done to provide for our proper conduct toward such of their bodies as
may be operating in the United States by virtue of French charters. Unless we
revise our system of exclusive jurisdiction, based on State lines we can not
consistently recognize these French or Spanish or Italian bodies planted in
the United States.
Of course we shall also think
carefully about the effect upon foreign sentiment if we charter Army or Navy
lodges to operate in other countries. Holding as we have done that they of
France can not charter bodies here they will expect us not to charter bodies
to work there. That at any rate seems a natural inference from the facts.
But contact with the problems
will teach us much. We shall go forward the more surely because of the very
insistence of the case. We can not set it aside. War waits not. And we shall
go on steadily because so many are keeping step with us. May our example be
inspiring and worthy of the best that ever flourished in the fair name of
* * *
We are yours to command,
Worshipful Sir. If there be aught within our power it is freely at your
service. Well do we know how much of a task is that of the serious-minded
Master of a Lodge.
Are Masons properly
instructed? Are they properly presented and initiated? Do the widow and the
orphan partake of the maternal assistance that is their due? Is decorum united
to efficiency in the lodge, and outside of it are the members as fully in
accord and true to the Master's policy?
Were it given to but one
person to initiate every candidate for the degrees of Masonry what a weighty
responsibility would he carry! But every candidate may make or mar the
institution. One fly in the ointment may spoil the whole supply. So upon the
service of one Master may depend the quality of Masonic fiber in our fraternal
To you therefore, Worshipful
Sirs, we all renew our allegiance. May your good nature never fail. May the
blessing of health be yours. May a lively wit and a sound memory serve you at
all times. Well do we know how these great advantages joined to a happy
consideration for the rights of others, a complete grasp of the law and the
ritual combined with a determination to make good will perfect your position
in office. And to make good, be it thoroughly understood, is to make good
A man that hath no virtue in
himself ever envieth virtue in others, for men's minds will either feed upon
their own goods or upon others' evil; and who wantest the one will prey upon
the other. - Bacon.
EDITED BY BRO. H.L. HAYWOOD
(The object of this
Department is to acquaint our readers with time-tried Masonic books not always
farniliar; with the best Masonic literature now being published; and with such
non-Masonic books as may especially appeal to Masons. The Library editor will
be very glad to render any possible assistance to studious individuals or to
study clubs and lodges, either through this Department or by personal
correspondence; if you wish to learn something concerning any book - what is
its nature, what is its value, or how it may be obtained - be free to ask him.
If you have read a book which you think is worth a review write us about it;
if you desire to purchase a book - any book - we will help you get it, with no
charge for the service. Make this your Department of Literary Consultation.)
MASONRY'S GREAT BOOK
WHAT, of course, is the
Bible. Always it lies open on our altar, sending its light rays to right and
left, penetrating to the uttermost recesses of the Lodge, and furnishing to
the craft not only its temple symbolism, its Hiram Abiff, but also nearly a
hundred passages to be woven, like shot silk, through its various rituals.
Truly is it regarded as one of the Great Lights.
But to Masons not a few, we
may fear, it is itself still in darkness, lying unregarded on the shelves or
gathering dust on the parlor stand. Is this neglect due to indifference, to
lack of interest, or to irreverence? We cannot believe so. Rather, so many of
us would think, we should trace the fact to the new methods with which the
Bible must be read, lest a man become guilty of intellectual obfuscation. As
long as the Book was regarded, as it undoubtedly was by the men of dead
generations, as a message from Heaven to be read like a telegram in all
literalness, the task of reading it was easy, - as easy as reading a telegram
! But now that we have come to read it "as we would read any other book," to
use the expressive phrase of Dr. Benjamin Jowett, the Bible must be studied
against its own historical background and that is a difficult task, albeit not
as formidable as many have been led to think.
If we offer a group of
suggestions on how to read Masonry's great book it is with a desire to "assist
the brethren" to study it from that modern point of view; also, it may be
further stated, we offer our hints in no didactic spirit.
The breaking of the Bible up
into chapters and verse has served a useful purpose but we are afraid this
device has hidden from many readers the Unity that underlies its sixty-six
books. Many, many years ago Meister Eckehart, a great mystic, and the
fountain-head of German philosophy, made the remark: "There are many masters
among us who have used the Bible for thirty years or more and who understand
it now IN ITS UNITY as little as a cow or horse would." These blunt words
still have a measure of pertinency! He who would learn what the Book really
teaches should read it first AS A WHOLE and then should read each separate
book in the same manner. For many times it happens that the TOTAL teaching of
a book will be very different from that which some isolated verse of it seems
In the next place the reader
should always bear in mind the principles of GRADUALNESS. Jesus recognized
this in his Sermon on the Mount wherein he did not hesitate to set aside
certain dicta of earlier prophets. Jesus himself, so most of us believe,
embodies that which is the central principle and deepest spirit of the Sacred
Writings, consequently everything must be read in relation to him. Whatever
stands in violation of his Mind may be unhesitatingly set aside.
Beyond this, it may be safely
set down as a canon, the Book can be understood only through EXPERIENCE. God
revealed Himself in the lives of men; the Scriptures are simply the literary
record of those experiences. To understand a prophet, therefore, one must
penetrate to the secret of the prophet, and seek to understand what he is
intending to say from the point of view of that secret. It is for this reason
that the Bible remains a sealed book to those who are strangers to religious
experience. As the Master is reported to have said in a record not included in
the volume: "My secret is for me and the sons of my house."
He who has grasped these
general principles may next go on to study the Book systematically as though
it were a text-book in college; indeed that is just what it is, a text-book of
the spiritual life to be used in the college of this world's existence. In
order to do this one should obtain some equipment of those Bible handbooks
which are so numerous and so cheap. The Kent and Foster series may be offered
as an example here.
There is no need to say that
each book should in turn be studied against its HISTORICAL BACKGROUND, for not
otherwise can we understand it. Most of the costly errors of Biblical
interpretation spring from the vicious practice of reading modern meanings
into ancient writings.
After a reader has studied it
systematically, book by book, and thereby mastered it as a whole, he may
safely turn to the TOPICAL reading which may prove more interesting, if
possible. Beginning with Genesis the student will move from chapter to chapter
searching for light on any subject which interests him. The Mason could thus
study what the Bible has to teach concerning the character of God; the use of
the altar; the practice of prayer; the principle of brotherhood, etc.
Many are the books of
guidance, information, and advice which will help the reader along his way.
The Research Society will be glad at any time to furnish bibliographies of
* * *
RECOVERING THE PAST
When an age passes away it
does not take everything with it into that utter vanishing from which there is
nothing to return but leaves to those who come after some vestiges of history,
some pitiable fragments, it may be, of a teeming life, so that the student who
brings a historical imagination to bear upon the slight memorials can often
recover the period that has fled. The latter nations, of course, left us their
written histories but the elder empires left nothing but a tradition, a
tradition, oftentimes, of a tradition. The books that remain from the past are
as nothing to the books that have perished and we would indeed be
poverty-stricken did nothing but the written record remain over to us.
Fortunately enough there are memoranda other than books wherefrom we can gain
a knowledge, slight but vivid, of the ancient times: there are buildings,
specimens of hand-work, such as pottery, tombs, monuments, inscriptions, and
oftentimes, there are, here and there in the protecting hot sand of the
desert, a scarred heap of papyri to be found, scribbled over in a forgotten
language but eloquent, if one can decipher the writing, of the beating life of
The uncovering of these
remnants of the ancient world, the drawing of them from their reluctant
hiding-places, is the peculiar work of archeology; of all the sciences there
is not another which has achieved a more splendid work during the past quarter
of a century. In Egypt, Flinders Petrie; in Asia Minor, Sir William Ramsay;
and in Rome and Greece men too numerous to mention, have done signal and
unforgettable work. Many of their discoveries have almost completely
revolutionized our conceptions of certain phases of the ancient races and all
of their discoveries have added to the vividness of our pictures of the remote
Unfortunately, the fruit of
their labors has, for the most part, remained in the possession of the
specialists, or has been written in books of such difficult technique that
common men have been unable to read them; but now, fortunately, along comes
Bro. Dr. Camden M. Cobern, professor in Allegheny College, Meadville, Pa., to
give us a splendid volume of nearly 700 pages: "The New Archeological
Discoveries, and their bearing upon the New Testament," published by Funk &
Wagnalls of New York, at $3.00.
Dr. Cobern's work is packed
from cover to cover with such a largess of facts, of information, of the solid
meat of verified discovery, that a reviewer cannot hope to convey even a
slight hint of this treasure trove. For, while the author's main concern has
been to show the light thrown by archeology upon the New Testament and upon
New Testament times, he has thrown in for good measure a vast deal of other
A Mason, it goes without
saying, will be keenly interested to learn from this book how wonderfully the
New Testament records have been verified, but he will also be interested to
learn of the new findings of archeology concerning the Ancient Mysteries, the
Ancient Gilds, and the building of Solomon' Temple. Our space here permits
only a brief reference to the Gild life.
On page 83, Dr. Cobern
writes, in speaking of discoveries in Northern Egypt:
"The earliest inscription of
a trade gild was put out by an association of foreign cooks in Sardinia. These
gilds of almost every trade and profession were probably to be found in every
large town of the first century, organized not so much for self-protection as
for social recreation and enjoyment and to insure to each member a decent
burial. They were not charitable societies nor mutual benefit insurance
associations, though occasionally a loan is mentioned in the papyri and mutual
aid was actually given on some occasions. The early Christians made use of
these funeral associations and trade brotherhoods in order to organize their
forces and it is for this reason, doubtless, that the Emperor Valerian made
such furious attacks or these gilds. (A.D. 275.)"
In another connection he
"Almost every trade had its
gild or union. From Thyatira we hear of the organization of the tanners,
leather workers, slave dealers, etc. From Italy and Egypt about a hundred
different occupations have been found connected with these secret societies,
among which we can reckon the gild of shepherds, the highest official of which
was called the 'chief shepherd.' Each trade union was under some particular
pagan deity. Bacchus being naturally followed by the innkeepers, and Hercules,
quite as naturally, by the cabmen, etc."
In a recent conversation the
present writer asked Dr. Cobern if he thought that these gilds, or some of
them, had preserved trade secrets; he replied that nothing has been discovered
to throw light on that. He did say, however, that a copy of a ritual used in a
Mithraic "lodge" had been discovered and translated. We requested that he send
it to us for publication accompanied by an article from his gifted pen;
inasmuch as he is a Brother Mason we have hopes that we will be so favored in
the not distant future.
* * *
DEATH BY THE TIDE
The Island of Ulva is on the
west coast of Mull, in Argyllshire, Scotland. Its name, which literally meant
"the island of wolves," suggests both the wild barrenness of the country and
the fierce character of its earlier inhabitants. An account of these first
settlers has been written by a certain Mr. Clark, of Ulva, in the "New
Statistical Account of Scotland," a kind of statistical and geographical
encyclopedia of Scotland. After describing the columns of basaltic rock which
rise sheer up on its coast, their roots going down under the tide, Mr. Clark
goes on to relate a tradition of how the natives once administered Lynch law
at a rough place among these cliffs called Kirsty's Rock. It was a dreaded and
awful spot, hidden away among the coastal precipices like an eagle's eyrie.
This is the story:
A woman accused a girl of
stealing a cheese. The girl denied the accusation with such determinedness
that the woman lost her temper and accidentally killed the girl in her anger.
"The poor woman was broken hearted when she saw what she had done; but the
neighbors, filled with horror, and deaf to her remonstrances, placed her in a
sack, which they laid upon a rock covered by the sea at high water, where the
rising tide slowly telminated her existence."
Macaulay relates many similar
tales of early Scotland, as do other chroniclers; but Masons, I am sure, will
find the above incident of especial interest.
It might be added as an
irrelevant but interesting note, that Ulva was the home of the Livingstone
family, out of which came David Livingstone who built so noble a Temple of
word and deed in the heart of Africa.
THE QUESTION BOX
(The Builder is an open forum
for free and fraternal discussion. Each of its contributors writes under his
own name, and is responsible for his own opinions. Believing that a unity of
spirit is better than a uniformity of opinion, the Research Society, as such,
does not champion any one school of Masonic thought as over against another;
but offers to all alike a medium for fellowship and instruction, leaving each
to stand or fall by its own merits.)
WERE THE OPERATIVES CATHEDRAL
In our last Study Club
meeting the following question came up. Were the early Operative Masons
cathedral builders, or did they work at other kinds of buildings? I was
appointed to ask you this question. We will thank you for help on it. - R.O.,
A book could be written in
reply to your question. It seems to have been proved that Operative Masons in
medieval Europe did work on buildings of all kinds, even walls and bridges.
But the Cathedral builders were a class apart, a superior class, usually, and
there are many reasons to believe that the original Freemasonry came from the
Cathedral Builders. When Cathedral building declined, as it did at the time of
the Reformation, Masonry declined with it, at least Freemasonry did; and the
Freemasons were obliged to turn to the building of residences for the rich
families of England, taking with them, as they did so, many of their old
habits and designs. This accounts for the sudden springing up of the Ornate
Style in English architecture. You will find much material in Gould's Concise
History, much more in his four volume work of which the Concise is a revised
form. The best work on the Cathedral Builders is Leader Scott's book by that
* * *
Dear Brother Editor: - Our
monitor does not satisfactorily explain the meaning of the term "ashlar." As
chairman of our Lodge Study Club Committee I have been requested to ask you
for the Masonic interpretation of the term. - J.F.W., Nebraska.
To answer your question with
any satisfactory degree of adequacy would require all the space in this
present issue; we can only offer you a hint or two. Ashlar is an old operative
Masonic term not now, we believe, very much used by architects. It literally
means a stone cut into building shape in contradistinction to a stone of such
accidental shape as might be found lying about in a field, such as a
"boulder." A "rough ashlar" is a stone as taken from the quarry, very rudely
dressed into shape. A "perfect ashlar" is the same stone finished on its
surfaces, squared at the corners, and ready to be built into the wall.
The operative use of the term
explains our speculative use, for with us the apprentice is a "rough ashlar"
because he is only a partially completed Mason while the Master Mason is a
"perfect ashlar," in theory at least, because his initiation has fitted him
for a place in the fraternity. All through the ritual the candidate is thought
of as an ashlar, and all the working tools of the first three degrees are
designed to be used on the ashlar. In older times most subordinate lodges kept
two stones on a table in the lodge room to illustrate this symbolism; we
regret that our present day lodges are abandoning this valuable custom.
* * *
GEOMETRY IN MASONIC SYMBOLISM
I have been perplexed to
understand why Geometry is so much made use of in our Masonic symbolism. Why
is this ? Does the Letter G stand for Geometry? - L.B.C., Ohio.
You have posed a large
question at us, brother. As architects, with their handbooks of methods and
materials were unknown until Queen Elizabeth's time, the earlier builders were
obliged to use the methods of geometry in their work. That explains the shape
and arrangement of many of the old cathedrals; they were laid out according to
the squares, triangles and circles of geometry. In truth, architecture, as
then practiced, was nothing other than applied geometry, and for that reason
we find, as in the Old Constitution for example, that Masonry and Geometry are
used as synonomous terms. As most of our Masonic symbols originated with the
old builders they are naturally geometrical, so geometrical in fact, that a
recent writer contends that one could spell out the whole Masonic system from
Euclid's famous treatise; that is doubtless an exaggeration, but it is the
exaggeration of a truth.
Another reason may be given
for the large place occupied by Geometry, and the kindred arts and sciences in
our ritual, especially in the Second Degree. As you doubtless know, William
Preston had more to do with the construction of the present work, probably,
than any other one man. Preston lived in a day of no public schools or cheap
books, and he was absorbed by the scheme of making the Lodge into a school.
Accordingly he transformed a part of the Ritual into an educational
curriculum. (See Pound's lecture on Preston in his "Philosophy of Masonry.")
It is probable that G was
originally the symbol of Geometry, and it is still recognized as such by the
Ritual, as you will remember; but it has also come to stand for the Great
Geometrician, and that very fittingly, for the whole of Nature is a vast
If you have access to a set
of the Proceedings of the Lodge Coronati Lodge of Research we urge you to read
Sidney Klein's essay on The Great Symbol; it is the best treatise on the
Geometry of Freemasonry that we have ever seen.
* * *
DEFINITION OF "ENTERED"
Dear Brother Editor: What is
the meaning of the term "entered" apprentice? - L.J.C., Oregon.
In operative days a youth who
desired admittance into the fraternity was vouched for by some Master Mason.
He was then examined by the lodge, initiated, given an obligation and
indentured to some master workman for a term of five or seven years. At the
conclusion of his initiation his name was entered into the book of the Craft
and for that reason he became known as an "entered" apprentice. In our
speculative lodges the term has no more its original meaning, nor indeed, any
special meaning at all, but we retain its use because of its old associations,
and because of custom.
* * *
Dear Brother Editor: - Will
you please tell us what should be the shape and situation of the altar? Is the
altar a symbol? Some brothers in our Lodge have been discussing the matter.
Perhaps you can help us out. - L.C.T., South Carolina.
In English Lodges the altar
stands near the Worshipful Master and is in itself little more than a
pedestal; but in the American system its place is at the center of the Lodge
where it serves as the center around which all activities revolve. In ideal,
at least, its shape should be a perfect cube which is the symbol of
perfection, and also, it may be, of the Deity to which the altar is dedicated.
Also, if it is to conform to ancient Masonic uses, it should be equipped with
a horn at each of its upper corners. In early days, before social order was as
well protected by law as it is now, a refugee was given the privilege of
sanctuary if he could reach an altar and lay hold of its horns. Inasmuch as
the altar is, or should be, the symbol of protection as well as of worship, it
seems fitting that the horns should be retained. As it stands at the center of
the Lodge so should the habits of worship, of reverence, of prayer, and of
that group of qualities which we describe as spirituality, stand at the center
of a Mason's life.
* * *
BOOKS ON THE ORIGIN OF
Dear Brother Editor: - If you
have any books dealing in particular with the origin of Masonry, I shall be
glad to have particulars. During the coming winter I intend to take up the
study again. Modern Lodges do not appeal to me - I would like to be able to
trace things back to ancient times. - R.A.R., Ontario.
There are few or no books
devoted wholly to the matter of Masonic origins, but you will find many pages,
and often many chapters, in the following which will give you the information
Speculative Masonry, by
Concise History of
Freemasonry, by Gould.
Freemasonry Before the Era of
Grand Lodges, by Vibert.
History of Masonry, by
Traditions of Freemasonry, by
For the origin of the higher
grades the best work is probably A.E. Waite's two volume "Secret Tradition."
You will also find much of general interest in Gould's Essays on Freemasonry.
HOW MANY HIRAMS WERE THERE?
Dear Brother Editor: - Bro.
A. S. MacBride's remarks on the "Four Hirams of Tyre" in the April Builder
make one despair of ever getting to the bottom of the question as to how many
Hirams were at the building of Solomon's Temple, anyhow. He discovers four
instead of two.
Why the historical accuracy
as to numbers should concern students of our allegorical mysteries I confess
is difficult for me to see. The personage mentioned in Masonic ritual as Hiram
or C'Huram is clearly not the historical Hiram of Chronicles nor of Kings,
though enough of those accounts has been interwoven with the legend of the
Master's degree to give it a touch of realism sufficiently to serve the
purpose of all Masonic allegory, that of concealing from the profane what is
illustrated by symbol.
I would suggest to Bro.
MacBride a careful reading of all the old Operative scrolls and legends he can
lay hands upon and comparing them with the names of the principal personages
of the ancient mysteries of Egypt, Phoenicia and other peoples with whom the
Hebrews as a nation came in contact. He will probably then come to the
conclusion that Albert Pike was correct in asserting that the "Hiram" of
Masonry is no other than the ancient mystic personification of LIGHT.
Is not Pythagoras claimed as
our "ancient friend and brother"? Is he not represented as having been a
student under Hor-Ammon or Hur-Amen, a priest of Egypt? Is he not told of in
legend as one of the discoverers of the antediluvian pillars whereon were
engraved all the ancient arts and sciences?
The old operative Masons have
left us enough manuscript tales of Masonry and its origin to confuse more than
the profane, unless we understand them as they clearly did.
Reference may be had to Gould
or Findel or the York Rolls or the British Museum or the Quatuor Coronati
proceedings to illustrate my point.
The name of the chief
artificer sent Solomon by Hiram King of Tyre is given variously as Aymon,
Adon, Ammon and he is even represented, I recall in one legend, as being the
son of the King himself.
In Hebrew Scriptures we are
told of C'Huram (translated at Hiram) and whether there were one or two or a
dozen men or the name concerned in the building of the physical Temple of
Solomon, the term "C'Huram Abiv" alone should clear our minds of the idea that
merely an historical personage is meant so far as Freemasonry's adoption of
the name goes.
For while the original Hebrew
"C'Huram Abiv" may refer to the architect's father, in Freemasonry it may be
correctly uses as Father Hiram or Father LIGHT indicating that all Freemasons
are sons of LIGHT in a spiritual sense.
We are informed by the Jewish
historian Josephus that there was indeed a physical temple built by Solomon
with the assistance of the same architects and after the same pattern as used
for the building of the great sun Temple at Tyre.
But a little research among
writers on the mysteries of those Mediterranean countries alone, soon uncovers
the curious coincidence that these Tyrian architects, under the tutelage and
special favor of the Dyonysian Priesthood no doubt (since they were known as
the Dyonysian Architects) were specially addicted to celebrating their
mysteries at certain times of the year in Byblos, known to the Hebrews as
Gebal whose inhabitants are called Giblimites or "stone squarers."
These mysteries were the
mysteries of "Adon" (meaning "Lord" or "The Master"), the chief personage of
other mysteries in which he appeared as Adonis, Attys, etc.
Scriptural allusion to these
mysteries shows they were known to the Hebrew people as those of "Thammuz,"
from the name of the river on which the body of the Master was set afloat to
be found later.
So that among the Tyrians
themselves it is probable that the Master Architect as spoken of in some of
the old "histories" or legends of the operatives, was indeed called Adon,
corrupted into Aymon or Ammon, not necessarily through ignorance, but as
demonstrating a connection of the Dyonysian rites with the original Egyptian
parent stem as concluded by some investigators.
For Byblos in mythology,
turns out to be the identical spot where Egyptian allegories represent Isis
coming to find the body of her Lord Asar or Osiris.
The most common name for
Deity among the Egyptians was Ammon or Amun, frequently combined with Ra the
sun, symbolic of LIGHT. The son of Isis and Osiris was Hor or Horus - again
the name of LIGHT. These three personages of the Egyptian mysteries, As, Asar
and Hor (Isis, Osiris and Horus) are familiar enough to every student of the
mysteries as the Egyptian trinity equivalent to the present Master and wardens
of a lodge, Horus being typical of the candidate himself.
In Horus and the priest
Hor-Ammon of Pythagoras, in the Hebrew C'Huram, in the mythical thrice great
Hermes of ancient Egypt, founder of the "Hermetic" sciences of whom, in the
Urim and Thummim of the Jewish High Priest, and the Hiram of the Masons, we
may see but synonyms for the name of LIGHT.
Albert Pike and other writers
have referred to the hieroglyphic representation on Egyptian monuments,
showing the "raising of a candidate" by the hierophant clothed in a Lion's
skin. The Egyptian name of the Lion was Aor - LIGHT. Compare Hebrew - LIGHT.
There is abundance of proof
in mythology connecting the almost universal name for LIGHT with the Lion, the
God, and the mysteries.
If we are to interpret
literally and historically all the writings and legends of antiquity without
suspecting the existence of symbolic keys to their spiritual significance, it
will take us no long while to utterly destroy interest in Freemasonry.
The literal minded might well
say, the Lion derived its name of Aor from its roar, by way of onomatapoea.
The name of Deity or the Sun among Egyptians and Chaldeans, "Ra," is merely a
curious coincidence. And so with the Babylonian "moon worship" of Ur and as to
the Egyptian Amun and the Phoenician Ammon they were probably separate "gods"
and the combination of the two names due to the confusion of those old priests
trying to discover what they were talking about.
But the careful and impartial
student will scarcely dismiss the matter in that nonchalant manner, if he
spend the time and patience necessary to wade through the vast literature
concerning the mysteries of all times. He may have to dig into Wilkinson and
Petrie as well as Churchward, Cumont and others, but it is all there.
The Masonic Hiram, Master
Architect of the Temple, is the modern survival of the two words for LIGHT and
Lord or Master - Hur-Amen.
I greatly regret that I have
neither the time nor inclination to hunt up all my "authorities," as my
library is scattered now in many places and what notes I have preserved by the
way, stored here and there and covered with dust. Personally I am no longer
greatly interested in such studies, having covered the ground to my own
satisfaction years ago, and perhaps selfishly, neglected to prepare myself
with proper references to what somebody else has said and discovered for the
benefit of "future generations."
But this I do know, so far as
history, legend, mythology, archaeology, comparative religion and similar
studies can be considered "proof," it is all there for those who are willing
to dig in this "rubbish from the temple."
J.W. Norwood, Kentucky.
* * *
APPROACHING THE RIVER
Dear Brother Editor: - There
are a lot of us old Masons that are approaching the river and some of us are
so near that we can almost hear the breakers roar and see the craft that is to
convey us to the shore. A few more years at best and we shall be numbered with
the dead, having crossed over the river and entered that plain from whose
bourne no traveler has returned. When that time comes and the lamp of life is
flickering, who aside from the loved ones of the home will be gathered around
our couch to watch the spirit take its flight and return to God who gave it?
Will we have so conducted ourselves Masonically, that the brethren will be
found at our side to give comfort and consolation to our loved ones? When our
eyes have been closed for the last time and our spirit has departed, what will
be said of us by our brethren? Will they say he was worthy and well qualified
to enter into everlasting life? Will they say that Masonry was bettered for
his having lived in the world and having been a Mason? Or, will they act and
speak of us in a different manner ?
The question of supreme
importance to us is: How are we living how are we conducting ourselves in our
daily life with our fellow men; are we dealing with them on the square; are we
acting discreetly; is our daily conversation Godly; have we exercised due
caution and tyled well the bodily temple of earth ?
All good Masons recognize God
and point to Him as the Great Light of Masonry. Have we made peace with Him ?
Are we prepared to answer the call? Are we prepared to cross the river? If
not, let us get right at once, for we are approaching the river and we cannot
turn back; we must go forward and cross over. Our preparedness or
unpreparedness for the transition rests solely with us. We can win all or lose
all. If the darkness of the river has no parallel, it will be our fault. If
the way is bright and the lights of everlasting life are shining brightly to
guide us over the river and the hand of God can be seen beckoning us on, then
it will be our glory and we can join in the anthems with the redeemed and sing
through the ceaseless ages of eternity the Master's praise.
Let us hope for the best and
prepare for the day when we shall be called upon to cross the river. Let us be
prepared to answer the call with gladness, that we may enter the land where
partings never come, where farewells are never spoken and where we can bask in
the sunlight of God's love forever and forever.
Don't speak lightly of this
matter. Tread lightly and speak softly in the presence of the dead and dying.
The Mason that does not regard getting right with God ought to give serious
thought to the matter while it is called today, for tomorrow he may die. Look
over the cities of the dead. Then turn and look over the cities of the living.
Don't you think the pace is about even? It is only a question of time till the
hearse will back up in front of our abodes and the pall-bearers will step
inside and gently take up the casket that contains our mortal remains and
follow them to their last resting place on the hill. But the spirit that God
gave us, what of it? It has returned to Him who gave it. He has called for his
own. Our doom is sealed. Our work is ended. It is ready for acceptance or
rejection. If the stone is true, square and properly made, all will be well
and we shall enter into that rest prepared for the saints of God in that
mansion not made with hands eternally in the heavens; otherwise, all is
blackness and despair and all is lost to us forever and ever. Brother Masons,
prepare to cross the river while time is still with us and we can work, for
the night cometh when no man can work.
Robert A. Turner, Washington.
* * *
Dear Brother Editor: - If you
wish to do a good work push along the Military Lodge idea, which received such
splendid endorsements in the August number of THE BUILDER.
For many years I have
observed the influence of Masonry on soldiers and it is beyond belief, to see
the wonderful influence the Craft has on our men of the Regular Army. It makes
better men of them, they sit in Lodge with their officers, they learn to know
each other and I have never known of any breach of discipline to result, to
the contrary it has tended to improve discipline.
There is a Lodge in the
Philippine Islands, formerly under California jurisdiction, that comes more
nearly being a Military Lodge than any in the United States. The entire
membership, and it has a large one, is made up of officers and men of the
Regular Army. The influence of this Lodge is of the greatest credit to Masonry
and it has done a great work in bringing the officers and men closer together.
It has bound them together by a tie that can never be broken and will never be
Now with the many changes
that are being made, due to the War, the membership is being widely scattered.
How much better it would be if this had been a Regimental Lodge that would go
with the Regiment wherever it may go.
Masonry now has a wonderful
opportunity through the men of the Army who will go to France, and nothing
should be allowed to stand in its way. Think what a Lodge meeting near one of
the great battle fields will mean and how it will help cement the Allied Army
more closely together.
I hope this good work will be
pushed to a successful termination and that we may see many Regimental Lodges
in France and the mission of our fraternity in teaching peace and good will
towards all mankind made successful.
Russell P. Reeder, Lieut.
Colonel Field Artillery, Alabama
* * *
Dear Brother Editor: -
Referring to localities where the tide ebbs and flows twice in twenty-four
hours, I find the following in "The Elements of Astronomy" by White, 5th
edition, 1915, used by the students of the United States Naval Academy, on
pages 153 and 154, par. 178, "Four Daily Tides." At some places the tides rise
and fall four times in each day. This is ascribed to the existence of two
different tidal waves, coming from opposite directions. This phenomenon occurs
on the eastern coast of Scotland, where one wave comes into the North Sea
through the English Channel, while a second wave comes around the northern
extremity of Scotland. At places where these two waves arrive at different
times, each wave will produce two daily tides.
Par. 180, "Other Phenomena.
Along the northern coast of the Gulf of Mexico there is only one tide in the
day, the second one being probably obliterated by the interference of two
waves. An approximation to this state of things is noticed on the Pacific
coast, where at times one of the daily tides has a height of several feet, and
the other a height of only a few inches. A very curious statement has been
made by missionaries concerning the tides of the Society Islands. They say
that the tides there are uniform, not only in the height which they attain,
but in the time of ebb and flow, high tide occurring invariably at noon and at
midnight; so that the natives distinguish the hour of the day by terms
descriptive of the condition of the tide."
A.H. Vail, Pennsylvania.
* * *
JEREMIAH O'BRIEN - A
Several letters were received
from our members immediately after the September issue of THE BUILDER was
mailed out calling our attention to the discrepancy between the dates shown on
the tombstone and that of the capture of the schooner Margharetta in the
subject matter of Brother George W. Baird's article on "Jeremiah O'Brien" on
page 272 of the September issue. The matter was promptly referred to Brother
Baird who replied as follows:
Dear Brother Editor: - In
reply to your letter of recent date, I beg leave to say "there is still some
mistake" in the memorial of Jeremiah O'Brien, and it is in the tomb stone. I
got it from the Secretary of Jeremiah O'Brien's Lodge, who employed a member
of the Lodge to photograph it for me. He has evidently sent me the memorial of
the wrong Jerry. Jerry the sailor could not very well have made a capture two
years before he was born. It was stupid in me not to have noticed the date on
the photo carefully, though I remember it was very dim in the photograph
though very clear in the cut. I do not see how we can correct the cut, but we
can correct the date of his death, which was in 1818. The text of the essay is
G. W. Baird, D. C.
KENTUCKY GRAND LODGE GRANTS
DISPENSATION FOR MILITARY LODGE
For the second time in the
history of the First Kentucky Infantry, a Masonic Lodge has been established
in its ranks. During the war with Spain, just before the regiment was ordered
to Porto Rico, a dispensation was granted, and Kentucky Army Lodge No. 1,
U.D., was organized from among the soldiers, which flourished until the
regiment was mustered out of the service.
On last Monday evening Most
Worshipful Grand Master James N. Saunders called together the officers of the
Grand Lodge of Kentucky, F. and A.M., to meet in one of the buildings just
completed at Camp Taylor, for the purpose of granting a dispensation to a
number of soldier brethren, who had petitioned for permission to organize a
lodge, to be named after their Colonel.
The Grand Master issued a
dispensation to form the W.A. Colston Army Lodge U.D., and under direction of
the officers of the Grand Lodge it was set to work. The following brethren
having been selected and named in the petition as the three principal
officers, were installed by Grand Master Saunders:
Lieut. Dr. H. E. Royalty,
Capt. I. L. Schulafer, Senior
Col. W. A. Colston, Junior
The newly-elected Master
assumed the office, and thanked the Grand Master for the honor conferred upon
him by appointing him the first Master. The following officers were elected or
Maj. Dan M. Carrell,
Lieut. Walter R. Byrne,
Capt. Geo. M. Cheschire,
Capt. Ben F. Offutt, Junior
Lieut. Harris Mallinckrodt,
Lieut. Frank M. Wright,
Col. Colston, when called
upon for a few remarks, made a stirring and patriotic speech, referring
particularly to the fact that the teachings of the Masonic Order are exactly
the same principles that the United States is now fighting to uphold.
A number of Past Grand
Masters who were present were called upon by the Master for remarks, and they
responded in inspiring, patriotic speeches until a late hour, after which a
luncheon was served in the officers' mess hall to all present.
- Masonic Home Journal, Sept.
At a certain point in the
work we are told of three persons endeavoring to reach Ethiopia.
That rather mythical country
was supposed to have been located to the south and east of Egypt, and to have
been inhabited by the descendants of Ham, who were of semi-negroid appearance
In fact, Ethiopia is usually
accepted as a synonym for darkness, ignorance, forgetfulness and death. Hence
a criminal seeking a passage into Ethiopia would be typical of one endeavoring
to hide his crime in secrecy, forgetfulness or even death.
It is not going too far to
follow this to its logical conclusion, that such can not be attained without
the consent or pass from the High Lord of Justice, before whose bar all faults
must be adjusted and our conscience quieted by a confession of our guilt, and
a forgiveness granted.
Ethiopia was also the land of
gold and precious stones, which might be construed as a reward for those who
are entitled to a pass into that wonderful and unknown "foreign country," and
may possibly be a Master's wages, which are payable only for "work."
- Rob Morris Bulletin.
Our lodges need, in some
instances, to be reminded that the conferring of degrees is not by any means
all there is of Masonic work. Too often we fear it is only too true that
lodges "have no work on" when there are no degrees to be conferred. Yet this
should not be. The first and chief duty of a Master is not to confer degrees,
but to instruct the brethren or to cause the same to be done by a fit and
proper person in his absence. Even when there is degree work to be done, it
should not usurp the entire time of the lodge. No wonder is it that so many
lodge members tire of attending meetings at which nothing but degree work is
done. It would be often far better for the Master to introduce attractive
lectures or papers by well-skilled brothers in the lodge on regular meeting
nights, and, if necessary, to postpone a part or the whole of the degree work
to an emergent meeting. Lodges are mainly for the instruction, the
improvement, and the mutual benefit, of their members, and not recruiting
grounds for the Craft. And Masonry is a beautiful system of morality, and not
an organization whose chief aim is its own aggrandizement. - P.G.M. Charters,
Virtue is like precious
colors, most fragrant when they are incensed and crushed; for prosperity does
best destroy vice, but adversity doth best discover virtue. - Bacon.