TB-1917-05a

The Builder Magazine

May 1917 – Volume III – Number 5

THE NATIONAL MASONIC RESEARCH SOCIETY


Continued in Part 2


.xx Next Month: June 1917
Previous Month: April 1917www General Index


THE FAITH THAT IS IN THEM

A FRATERNAL FORUM

Edited by BRO. GEO. E. FRAZER, President, The Board of Stewards

CONTRIBUTING EDITORS

  • Henry R. Evans, District of Columbia.
  • Harold A. Kingsbury, Connecticut.
  • Dr. Wm. F. Kuhn, Missouri.
  • Dr. John Lewin McLeish, Ohio.
  • Joseph W. Norwood, Kentucky.
  • Francis W. Shepardson, Illinois.
  • Silas H. Shepherd, Wisconsin.
  • Oliver D. Street, Alabama.
  • S. W. Williams, Tennessee.

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. 1
Shall Masonic Lodges encourage the formation of local Masonic social clubs and the establishment of Masonic club rooms dedicated to amusements and social meetings?

A Positive "No."

No. The stated and special communications the Lodge should meet all such demands. We need more brains and less mediocrity in candidates. Let us have less of the eternal grind in the ritual, but more study and investigation, less formality in the lodge room but more fellowship.
Wm. F. Kuhn, Missouri.

Personal Experience.

The National Federation of Masonic Clubs I think has done a great work in creating more social interest. I was instrumental in founding one club in Lexington that now has more than 1,000 members and is the only one in Kentucky that belongs to the National Federation.

Also most lodges in Louisville where social clubs are attached, have made wonderful improvement in social intercourse. We need this department of Masonic of life almost more than any other, as of course, in the lodges there is little time to give to anything save conference of degrees.
J. W. Norwood, Ky.

Return to Top


More Especially in a Smaller City or Town.

I believe that the maintenance of a Masonic club in connection with a Masonic lodge a most desirable thing, more especially in a smaller city or town where such opportunities may be limited. The spirit of comradeship which is thus developed and the opportunity which the club rooms afford for social meetings to which the wives and friends of Masons may be invited, is particularly appealing to me. I think such club rooms may be wisely conducted without the slightest suspicion of any advertising motive which might be counted directly antagonistic to all the principles of the fraternity.
Francis W. Shepardson, Ill.

Return to Top


Yes. Masonry Must Grow as the World Grows.

My answer to your question regarding the formation of Masonic Social Clubs is emphatically Yes. If Masonry is to fill a position in the life of the World such that it is to be worth the while of any man to devote even the least iota of his time and interest to the support of Masonry then Masonry must grow as the World grows. Year by year and decade by decade, as civilization has advanced, the World has come to place a higher and yet higher value on clean social intercourse. Masonry owes it to the World and to itself to recognize and to promote this trend of public feeling. It is a trend that should be encouraged. An organization that does not fill a real world-need – that does not give of its best for the uplift of the World – is useless, decaying, and a thing that should be eradicated to make a place for some worthwhile organization. A great need of the World today is better opportunities for the exchange of ideas – better opportunities for you to find out the other fellow's point of view and for him to find out your point of view, in order that each may see what is bad in the ideas of the other and what is good, and then mutually eliminate the bad and join forces to promote the good. The corner grocery with its cracker barrel and its red-hot stove that formerly formed the rallying place for the men of the community is being eliminated. Something must take its place. Masonry has the organization. Let it do the work ! But few men will deliberately meet for the sole purpose of discussing everyday affairs – there must be a "drawing card." Let that card be the billiard table, the bowling alley, the card table, and the reading room – the interchange of ideas will come of itself. On "lodge night" in many a lodge the "lobby lodge" marshalls more members than does the lodge room lodge. Why? Because-thousands of Masons are starving for that sociability on which their lodges barely lift the veil. Masonry does not canvass for applicants. But if the institution is to survive it must add members. There very recently came to my attention the case of a fine chap, practically a total stranger in the city in which he had come to work some few months before. He decided to join either the Masons or the Odd Fellows in order (1) to identify himself with the right life of the community and (2) to put himself under good influences. So far as he could judge the two organizations were, apparently, one as good as the other in connection with the two points stated. He also wanted sociability – a place to spend his evenings and to "get acquainted." The Odd Fellows had a Club, open every night and providing social opportunities and, on weekday nights, billiards, pool and cards. The Masons did not. He joined the Odd Fellows. Think it over!
Yours fraternally, Harold A. Kingsbury, Conn.

Return to Top


Draw the Ties that Bind Two Million Men.

Masonry is one of the most important factors in the homogeny of our country. Nearly one-fiftieth of the entire population of the United States are members of the Order. This great Army of nearly 2,000,000 men are bound together by the most solemn ties for the development of ALL the people along lines that make for STRENGTH – morally, physically and spiritually – each brother working according to his opportunity and ability. Social organizations within our Lodges can but draw the ties that bind us, one to another, tighter and make it easier for us to see just where we can be of use to our brother-man. Here would be the benefit – closer association in the various paths of life; more intimate knowledge, not only of each other's virtues, but of each other's faults; and a better chance to know where a proper application of some one or more of the "Five Points of Fellowship" can be beneficially applied. Care must be taken, of course, "Not to turn the hours of refreshment into intemperance and excess" – hence it might be well to make the Jr. W. an Ex Officio Officer of the proposed Club.

Conducted along the proper and healthy lines that are taught within the Lodge, such organizations ought to make for broader and nobler ideals in life. We cannot get into too close touch with our brethren; we cannot, without benefitting ourselves, aid them in the hours of pleasure, recreation, and pain; we cannot fail in good works when, through more intimate association, we learn to know each other's virtues, as well as faults – then we are better armed for the battle of Life – better PREPARED; and PREPAREDNESS is the note of the Hour.

"Man is a social being and was not designed to pass his life in solitude with all his thoughts concentrated upon himself; hence, in the social capacity, men should endeavor, by kind and friendly acts, to promote the happiness of one another."

This excerpt from the E. A. Charge in the Tennessee Craftsman, it seems to me, is most appropriate – and points the way.
Fraternally yours, S. W. Williams, Tennessee.

Return to Top


Favors the Club Under Lodge Control.

There is an all-too-increasing tendency nowadays among the craftsmen to forget that Masonry is a serious institution. More and more a lighter note has crept into the lodgeroom, and in the conferring of "the fourth degree" making its appeal through post-prandial platitudes, the real business of the lodge in seeing that its newly-made brethren are duly and truly prepared, is often overlooked. Many a brother comes to lodge only when he reads upon his announcement the, to him, welcome news, "The stewards will serve refreshments." In the larger lodges of the urban communities there is ordinarily quite enough of the social side of Masonic life rendering unnecessary any subsidiary lodge organization. In smaller or suburban communities, where a Lodge through purchase of property, the erection of a temple, or other contingencies has incurred an indebtedness a subsidiary social organization or club can help materially in devising entertainments and other means of lesgening lodge obligations.

For the average city one large central Masonic Club should meet every need, this too mainly for the accommodation and headquarters of visiting brethren.

In any event, the executive control of any organization attached to any particular lodge should be vested in the Master and other officers of that lodge, to assure the fact that the parasitic attachment should not eventually absorb the body upon which it had fastened. To interest the younger brethren, and afford a chance for social intercourse with the wives and sisters and daughters of Masons a Masonic club makes its appeal.

Always to my mind however with the restriction of absolute control by officers of the older and main body. The Lodge always comes first to the true Mason.
Jno. Lewin McLeish, Ohio.

Return to Top


Club Rooms, But Not a Club for the Few.

As a means of promoting sociability, and consequently of its members finding congenial recreational pursuits, Freemasonry has been, in the past, a passive rather than an active agent. As a personal opinion I do not believe the Lodge should advocate the formation of local social clubs or establish Masonic club rooms for a particular part of the membership of the Lodge. As a. Lodge its interests are concerned in every member alike; each has the same things in common. Any attempt to bring a certain form of recreation or amusement under the protection of the Lodge might be quite consistently construed as favouritism.

We are reminded of a "Lodge Bulletin" which reads more like the baseball section of the "sporting extra" than a publication authorized and paid for by a Masonic Lodge.

There are innumerable ways in which the Lodge can promote the social life of its members which will be of benefit to all. Why try to promote a club which will be of benefit but to few?

If the Lodge desires to have "club rooms" let them be for all the members and have them equipped with adequate facilities to provide for a quite diversified t taste. The Lodge itself should have control and not delegate it to a "club."

These opinions are expressed with the most earnest desire that they be not construed as minimizing the value of the development of the social nature, of which I am an earnest advocate, but with the wish that the Fraternity strengthen its fraternal nature and carefully guard against anything which would tend to bring diverse interests within the portals of the Lodge.
Silas H. Shepherd, Wis.

Return to Top


Is the "Club Habit" Wholesome?

This is an important question and one whose importance is growing each day. It is my opinion that they should not. I believe the "club life" or the "club habit" on the whole not productive of wholesome results. A club styling itself Masonic and yet not subject to the absolute control of some regular Masonic body is liable to bring a reproach and discredit upon the Craft for which the latter is in no wise to blame and which it is powerless to prevent. If Masons desire to form clubs whose membership is restricted to members of the Craft very well, but do not allow them to appropriate the name Mason or any derivative thereof and do not give them official endorsement. If then loafing and idleness and absentation from home and gambling and drinking grow up in such clubs, as they have so often done and are so likely to do, no blame or responsibility can attach to the fraternity. Suitable amusements and recreations can and should be occasionally provided by the lodge for its members and their families, but no separate organization for this purpose is necessary. Every lodge that is financially able and is so situated that it can should have a library supplied with good Masonic books and literature and an attractive, comfortable reading room, and every encouragement should be given the brethren to make full use of them. All the necessary "club life" can be obtained elsewhere. That the "Masonic Club" is pregnant with dangers must be obvious to all thinking Masons.
O. D. Street, Alabama.

Return to Top


Where the Function of the Lodge Ends.

Masonry is a system of fraternalism in moral principles. Masonry teaches truth and exemplifies its meaning by organized rituals. It is the function of Masonry to educate its members to the highest possible standards of moral truth so that each member may contribute his share to the progress of civilization in his own day and generation. To this end it is proper that Masons should build and furnish temples in all beauty that Masonic truth may be taught efficiently. To this end it is proper that Masons should read Masonic literature and attend Masonic lectures, study clubs, schools of instruction, and governing conventions.

It is the province of Masonry to exemplify morality and truth. It is the privilege and duty of the individual Mason to carry this truth into all the phases of his life. The good Mason is a good family man, a good business man and a good citizen. So should he also be a good church man or a good club man, if he finds his place in these activities. There is a definite place for the Mason in politics, but the thought of a Masonic political party is abhorrent. There is a place for the Mason in the church of his choice, but there is no place in Masonry for the Masonic Church. What I have learned in Masonry has led me to place a high value on family protection such as is afforded by life insurance, but I, for one, have not the slightest intention of patronizing a "Masonic life insurance company." And I do not expect any Masonic lodge to serve me either as a commercial association or as a social club.

It is the right of Masons, as individuals, to organize social clubs and to restrict membership in such clubs as they see fit. The Masons comprising the membership of, say, The Craft Club, have the same right to refuse membership in their club to a brother Master Mason as members of the Knights Templar have to refuse membership in their Commandery to a Brother Mason.
- Geo. E. Frazer, Illinois.

Return to Top

~~ooOoo~~


JURISPRUDENCE STUDIES

By Bro. W. E. Atchison, Ass't Sec'y

IV. DIMITS

State To whom dimit may be issued When request for dimit is received by Lodge, may same be issued immediately or must request lie over? How long? How Issued Vote necessary to admit to membership a brother holding a dimit
Alabama Master Mason1 Immediately By majority vote of Lodge Unanimous
Arizona Master Mason Immediately By majority vote of Lodge Unanimous
Arkansas Master Mason Immediately By majority vote of Lodge Unanimous
California Master Mason Immediately By majority vote of Lodge2 Unanimous
Colorado Entered Apprentice, Fellow Craft or Master Mason3 Request must lie over to first subsequent regular meeting By order of Master Unanimous
Connecticut Master Mason Immediately By majority vote of Lodge4 Unanimous
Delaware Master Mason Immediately By majority vote of Lodge Unanimous
District of Columbia Master Mason Immediately By order of Master Unanimous
Florida Master Mason5 Immediately By order of Master Unanimous
Georgia Entered Apprentice, Fellow Craft or Master Masons6 Immediately7 By unanimous vote of Lodge by secret ballot Unanimous
Idaho Master Mason8 Immediately By majority vote of members present Unanimous
Illinois Master Mason Request must lie over to first subsequent regular meeting By order of Master Unanimous
Indiana Entered Apprentice, Fellow Craft or Master Mason9 Immediately By majority vote of Lodge Unanimous
Iowa Master Mason Immediately By order of Master Two-thirds of members present and voting by secret ballot
Kansas Master Mason Immediately10 By majority vote of Lodge Unanimous
Kentucky Entered Apprentice, Fellow Craft or Master Mason Immediately By order of Master Unanimous
Louisiana Master Mason Immediately By consent of Lodge Unanimous
Maine Master Mason Immediately11 By majority vote of Lodge Unanimous
Maryland Master Mason Immediately By order of Master Unanimous
Massachusetts Master Mason Immediately See footnote12 Unanimous
Michigan Master Mason Immediately13 By majority vote of Lodge Unanimous
Minnesota Master Mason Immediately By order of Master Unanimous
Mississippi Master Mason Request must lie over to first subsequent regular meeting By consent of Lodge Unanimous
Missouri Entered Apprentice, Fellow Craft14 or Master Mason15 Immediately By majority vote of Lodge Unanimous
Montana Entered Apprentice, Fellow Craft or Master Mason Immediately By majority vote of Lodge Unanimous
Nebraska Master Mason Immediately By order of Master Unanimous
Nevada Master Mason16 Immediately By consent of Lodge Unanimous
New Hampshire Master Mason Immediately By majority vote of Lodge Unanimous
New Jersey Master Mason Immediately By majority vote of Lodge Unanimous
New Mexico Master Mason Immediately By order of Master Unanimous
New York Master Mason Immediately By consent of Lodge Unanimous
North Carolina Master Mason Immediately By order of Master Unanimous
North Dakota Master Mason17 Immediately By order of Master Unanimous
Ohio Master Mason Immediately By majority vote of Lodge Unanimous18
Oklahoma Master Mason19 Request must lie over to first subsequent regular meeting By order of Master Unanimous
Oregon Master Mason20 Immediately By consent of Lodge Unanimous
Pennsylvania21
Rhode lsland22 Master Mason Immediately By consent of Lodge Unanimous
South Carolina Master Mason Immediately By consent of Lodge Unanimous
South Dakota23 Master Mason Immediately By consent of Lodge Unanimous
Tennessee Master Mason Immediately By order of Master Unanimous
Texas Master Mason Immediately24 By unanimous vote of Lodge Unanimous
Utah Master Mason Immediately By consent of Lodge Unanimous
Vermont Master Mason Immediately By majority vote of Lodge Unanimous
Virginia Master Mason Immediately By order of Lodge or Master Unanimous
Washington Master Mason Immediately By order of Master Unanimous
West Virginia25 Master Mason Immediately By order of the Lodge Unanimous
Wisconsin Master Mason Immediately By consent of Lodge Four-fifths of members present
Wyoming Master Mason Immediately By consent of Lodge Unanimous

NOTES

The general rule governing the issuance of dimits is substantially as follows:

The application for a dimit must be made at a regular meeting (stated communication) of the Lodge; in some jurisdictions may be made either orally or in writings in others it must be made in writing; the applicant must be "clear of the books," i.e., he must have paid all dues and assessments against him to the date of the issuance of the dimit, and not under charges of unmasonic conduct, etc.


Mackey holds the word "dimit" to be a modern Americanism and a wholly indefensible corruption of the technical word "demit," and other authorities have written at length upon the subject; Some favoring "dimit" and others "demit." Notwithstanding Mackey's statement that "dimit" is incorrect, we find that out of the forty-nine Grand Jurisdictions in the United States but eight adopt the "e," the other forty-one spelling it "dimit."

Return to Top

~~ooOoo~~


MASONRY AND KING SOLOMON'S TEMPLE

By The Late Bro. WM. A. Paine, Jamaica

PART II.

FREEMASONRY is so closely interwoven with the History of Ancient Architectural Societies that it would be almost impossible to deal fairly with the subject before us, were we to exclude the important Factor Architecture. Our Ancient Brethren considered Geometry and Masonry as synonymous terms. Without a thorough knowledge of the science of Geometry, Architectural Societies in their very perfection could not have existed. We are therefore brought face to face with the pointed and important question. Were the Jews ever promoters of Architecture or Geometry, one of the liberal arts and sciences? If it can be historically shown that they were, then the advocates of the Temple Origin might have something substantial on which to support their theory; but we have to deal with a question of fact, not one of sentiment or tradition, and therefore, under the first heading, we will consider the characteristics of the Jewish people and their legitimate connection with the First and Second Temples.

From the Scriptures and Josephus we gather that the Jews, as a nation, were pastoral in habits and inclination, warlike by force of necessity. The ruins of antiquity disclose no trace of anything that would warrant the opinion that, as a nation, they were skilled in architecture. Their sojourn in Egypt was that of bondage in some of its very worst phases; and in so far only as being labourers, had they any connection with the erection of the Temples, public works and other buildings, for which Egypt was then so renowned. No individual Jew is referred to as having excelled in the mysteries of architecture, or of having been initiated into the mysteries of Egypt; and if perchance Moses, who is said to have been learned in the wisdom of the Egyptians (and in which might have been included the knowledge of architecture, taught him by the Priests) was the exception, yet, his sojourn for so long in the plains of Midian as a shepherd, and his subsequent wanderings in the wilderness with the Israelites, could have afforded neither the opportunity for him to have instructed them, nor for them to have learned and practiced the art of building, as known by, and so thoroughly understood and practiced by the Egyptians. As therefore they could have learned nothing from Moses, by whom could they subsequently have been instructed, and presuming that they had instructors, what opportunities had they to avail of them, and benefit thereby?

Under their Judges, they had to hold their own at times by exterminating the surrounding nations and tribes, and were in turn held in subjection by others, and what could have been more demoralizing and preventative to architectural pursuits, than the wholesale slaughters recorded in the Jewish Scriptures ?

Under Saul and David they experienced somewhat a repetition of the period when Joshua ruled. Incessant warfare, resulting in such close contact with the idolatrous nations by whom, at times, they were conquered and held in subjection, afforded them many opportunities of witnessing their false worship, and thus forgetting the God of Israel. When He saw them adopting the idolatrous habits and customs of their neighbours, we would be justified in presuming that He deemed it advisable that they should have a building in which to worship Him – a building and a ceremonial which would be attractive to the senses and tend to preserve for Him that worship and adoration which, as the true God, was His due. To accomplish this, and further check their idolatry, we may further presume that He put it into the heart of David, who had a most wonderful conception of the attributes of the Most High T. G. Geometrician of the Universe to build for Him a temple, one which would be a worthy tribute from the Jewish nation, then so powerful, and as vastly superior to anything which the world had then seen, as the Great I Am, the Alpha and Omega was superior to the Gods of the Heathen – a temple whose ornate ritual and appointments should transcend those of the mysteries of Adonis, Osiris, &c., &c., as had been practiced by and amongst them. David was privileged to conceive the idea of a building to the God of Israel, but to our traditional Grand Master, Solomon, was afforded the opportunity of carrying it into execution.

Had the Jews at that period possessed architects or Architectural Societies, surely David would have availed of them, in preference to seeking aid from the heathen ?

His correspondence, and that subsequently by Solomon with Hiram, King of Tyre, prove conclusively that, without the Tyrian's aid, nothing could have been done on the scale that was accomplished. Referring to I. Chronicles, 22nd chap., 2-4 verses, we find thus: "And David commenced to gather together Strangers that were in the Land of Israel, and he set Masons to hew wrought stones and build the House of God, also cedar trees in abundance, for the Sidonions and they of Tyre brought much cedar wood to David." Compare also Kings v. chapter, 6th verse.

The Tyrian architects were known as Dyonisiacs, and one of their peculiarities of construction was "to have the timber and the stones hewn and prepared in the quarries and forests, so that they could be readily fitted together when carried to the locality where the building was being erected"; and therefore, after carefully comparing the Scripture and other accounts of the building of the temple, the only correct conclusion we can arrive at is, that to Solomon, King of Israel, personally can be accorded no credit, save and except for carrying out his father's wishes, and for supplying the funds and costly jewels.

He knew no more of architecture than the meanest of his subjects, and in this respect was no wiser than his father David. We have no record of Solomon having visited Egypt, or that he had been initiated into the mysteries of that country, although, from I. Kings, 3rd chapter, 1st verse, we learn that he "took to wife the daughter of Pharoah, King of Egypt."

For him to have been conversant with architecture, and thus qualified to have been one of the Grand Masters, and one of the three only who possessed the alleged Master Mason's word, he must necessarily have been thus instructed by the Priests; but nowhere do we gather, even by inference, that he was addicted to the Egyptian superstitions – as at times he had been to those of the surrounding nations, from whom he had taken many of his wives – therefore we may safely hold the opinion that architecture with its peculiar mysteries was a subject not included in the wisdom of Solomon.

We ask ourselves, therefore, this other equally important question: Why do the First and Second Temples form such prominent factors in the system of Freemasonry? – and why is King Solomon claimed as one of the first three Grand Masters ? Of the trio, two were Tyrians – the one a King, the other the most skillful artist and worker in metals. They were worshippers in the rites of Bacchus or Dyonisus – certainly not worshippers of the God of Israel.

As therefore Solomon's Temple could not have been built, but with the assistance of the Dyonisiacs, supplied by Hiram, King of Tyre, and superintended by Hiram Abiff, and as Solomon himself knew nothing of architecture, and all that the Jews had to do with the construction of the Temple was merely in the capacity of overseers or superintendents of the labourer, as labourers, for felling the trees in the forests of Lebanon, and in excavating the stones from the quarries nigh to Jerusalem – in carrying to Jerusalem the prepared materials – leaving it to the skilled Tyrian workmen to complete from the foundation to the cope stone. On what ground can Jewish Masons of today claim that from their ancestors of the temple period are to be traced the origin of speculative Freemasonry?

Did the labours of the Dyonisiacs and of Hiram Abiff cease with the completion of the temple? We know to the contrary, for from Scripture we learn that Solomon built palaces for his wives and that his reign was noted for the magnificent public buildings at Jerusalem and elsewhere, which were erected under the superintendence of Hiram Abiff, whose death did not occur until several years subsequent. Josephus refers to him as Abdemon, and tells us that he returned to Tyre, where he died at a good old age. We thus ascertain that Hiram Abiff did not die at Jerusalem – so much therefore for the legend of the 3rd degree which, to be applicable to such a system as speculative Freemasonry, and thoroughly appreciated byus, can only be accepted as a most beautiful allegory – introduced with the view of inculcating that important Masonic doctrine, that man's body is as immortal as his soul.

At King Solomon's death, the kingdom having been split up into the contending factions led by Rehoboam and Jeroboam, we can here readily reconcile the decadence of architectural pursuits and the departure of the foreign architects and workmen from the midst of civil warfare.

The subsequent history of the Jewish people until their captivity into Babylon, was one of warfare, civil and otherwise, and even admitting that during Solomon's reign the Jews had been instructed by the Dyonisiacs in the mysteries of architecture, the wars subsequent to his death, and the period of their captivity, left them no opportunities for co-operation and keeping intact as an association, the principles which they might have learnt from those whom Hiram of Tyre had originally sent to them. To a certain extent, Scripture is silent as to their occupation when in bondage. They might, or they might not have assisted the Babylonians in the erection of the buildings and other works of that period for which that city was so famous; but, granting that they had the advantages practicing with the Babylonians that which they may have learnt from the Tyrians, they must have, at a later period felt themselves sadly deficient in essentials, and incompetent alone to undertake the erection of the Second Temple, for we learn from Ezra (chap. iii.) that Zerubbabel, the last of the kingly race, and Joshua, the Priest anno mundi 3468, before the foundations were yet laid, "gave money also unto the Masons and to the Carpenters, and meat and drink and oil unto them of Zidon, to them of Tyre, to bring cedar trees from Lebanon to the Sea of Joppa, according to the grant that they had of Cyrus, King of Persia;" and if we compare Ezra vi. chap. 3rd, and 4th verses, it will be found that to Cyrus were the Jews indebted not only for permission to build the Second Temple, not only for means to purchase materials and defray the expenses of the hired foreign labour (Tyrian), but they were indebted to him for the general plan, both as to size, and stability.

Consequent on the Samaritan's obstruction, they were compelled to cease for a time, and we note that it was not until A. M. 3484, or 16 years after, that Scripture makes any reference to the Prophets Haggai and Zechariah, therefore A. M. 3468, when the Jews had returned from Babylon, and the rubbish of the First Temple had been cleared away for the foundations of the second, we note that, as a Scriptural historical fact only, Zerubbabel and Joshua, the one the descendant from the kingly line, the other the priestly, took part, the conjoint action of four inclusive of Haggai and Zechariah (the Prophets), so that the three orders, kingly, priestly, and prophetical, should be simultaneously represented, was not, until A. M. 3484, when Darius had forbidden all opposition to them; and if we but note from II. Chron. chap. xxxiv verses 8, 11, 14, that it was in Anno Mundi 3381 that Josiah, the King, set about repairing the First Temple, and that in so doing, Hilkiah, the priest, then found "a book of the Law of the Lord given to Moses." I would ask my Masonic brethren of a higher degree: how is the discovery of the Law at the erection of the Second Temple reconcilable with Scripture? Here we have another legend, but which I leave for the present.

I have advisedly gone somewhat lengthily into det ails connected with the First and Second Temples. The historical facts connected therewith differ so materially with the Masonic legends, is it reasonable to suppose that to the Jewish nation Freemasonry is indebted for the construction of the Craft Degrees ? Had the Jewish doctors originated the system, or anything similar thereto, for the purpose of teaching morality and inculcating certain doctrines, surely they would have perceived the gross inconsistency (1) of claiming for King Solomon and their ancestors credit for architectural qualifications, knowing full well that the history of their race, from the days of Abraham, is a direct contradiction thereto – (2) of framing a degree based on the discovery of the Sacred Law by Zerubbabel, Haggai, and Joshua, at a time when their own Scriptures disprove it in every respect by 100 years earlier.

Never have the Jews had anything to do with architecture. From the Architectural Societies of ages past have sprung up the Building Fraternities of, comparatively speaking, a later period, and the portion of Jewish history gathered from the Scriptures, with reference to the First and Second Temples and the characters connected therewith on which the speculative system is based, was availed of by the clergy, at three distinct periods, and lastly in the early part of the 18th century by means of the temple symbolism (a temporal building) they allegorized on the erection of a Spiritual Temple.

Conquered by the Romans, the Jews, as prisoners at Rome, were employed as labourers and compelled to take part in the erection of the Colosseum, and we may safely take this as an example of the occupation which the Romans put them to, in other parts of the empire. Thus employed gives them no claim as a people, or nation, for preserving the mysteries of architecture, and thus the link by which to connect and trace the origin and progress of Freemasonry. The Jewish theory is entirely contrary to history, and must be set aside. From the introduction of Christianity, all during the early history of the church, the middle ages, and even as late as 1717, known as the revival period, what status had the Jews? Unfortunately none; and thus the eternal disgrace of Christendom.

Fort, in his "Antiquities," deals lengthily with the influence exercised by the Jews at Bysantium and elsewhere in moulding the social habits and corporate associations of the Roman Empire when it officially recognized Christianity as the religion of the State: such does form a most interesting epoch in Jewish history, and the better to realize it, I deem a brief review of the Jewish question as late as the reign of Charlemagne very appropriate.

Objecting to pay taxes to the Romans brought the Jews into constant scenes of rebellion against that very power which, but comparatively speaking a short period before, as a nation, they had submitted to. During such periods of contest between the Jews and the Romans, it became a somewhat difficult matter for one to decide which of the two disclosed the worst phases of human character – the Massacres by the Jews of the inhabitants of the various cities of Egypt, Cyprus at Cyrene, and elsewhere, or the like massacres of the Jews in retaliation by the Romans, particularly under Hadrian. One naturally turns with disgust from such records of horror and persecution.

Had the Jews yielded to the temporal power of Rome their religion would have met with no persecution, their praiseworthy, although futile endeavours to throw off the Roman yoke brought on them as a people, and as a consequence on their religion, all that they suffered. Therefore with satisfaction one turns to the reign of Antonias Pius, when "the Jews were restored to their ancient privileges and were permitted to form and maintain considerable establishments both in Italy and the Provinces, to acquire the freedom of Rome and to enjoy municipal honours." With such toleration they had the privilege of erecting synagogues in the principal cities of the empire, thus enabling them to observe their fasts, Sabbaths and festivals in a public manner. At such a period in Jewish history, there is nothing to render it improbable that there did exist Jewish Building Associations attached to their Synagogues, as was also the custom with the Pagans and Christians, although nothing is known of such a state of affairs either historically or traditionally. Yet the supporters of a Jewish origin of Freemasonry might be justified in considering it as possible. The civil immunities obtained by the Jews from previous Emperors, confirmed by Severus, and enjoyed by renewed concessions from Constantine A.D., 330, were repealed by the Emperors at Bysantium commencing with Constantius and the edict of Hadrian renewed and enforced. Thus any Jewish Building Associations which might have existed during periods of toleration, must have become inoperative during periods of oppression. Massacred at Alexandria by orders of Cyril the Patriarch, massacred at Naples, Rome, Ravenna, Milan and Genoa, their synagogues levelled and destroyed during the reign of Theodisius, although not with his knowledge or consent; stripped of all their immunities by Justinian, we find the Jews for a considerable period of the Christian era socially incapable of combining for architectural pursuits. In the West we find that they were treated with great severity even as late as the reign of Charlemagne, although individuals noted for their learning and scientific abilities were availed of by that astute ruler.

Thus, briefly we have considered the status of the Jews, to the reign of Charlemagne; then, during the Middle Ages, as Christianity spread, and with it, consequent on the enthusiasm engendered by the Crusades, an unfortunate spirit of intolerance increased, only to embitter the relations between Jew and Christian; and to leave records discreditable to the professors of Christianity, viewed either as nations or as individuals.

Spain, during the Gothic period, was the stronghold of European Jews; and, having assisted the Saracens in their first invasion of Spain, as against the Goths, they were, as a people in return for such services, protected by the Saracenic Conquerors; and, thus, they had the opportunities of availing of the Educational Seminaries of the Saracens, for the study of Astronomy, Medicine, &c., &c. At that period, several of the great masters of the various sciences then known were Jews; but no trace exists of any proficiency made by them in architecture, or of a combination of individuals for that purpose, as existed elsewhere, among Christian builders.

The Mosques, Baths, and other public buildings of Cordova, were of a purely Oriental style, and constructed by the Saracenic builders, who, in their associations, professed having no secrets or mysteries to communicate. They were builders in a purely secular sense. We must recollect that the Saracenic Commander, Tarik, found in Spain a net-work of monasteries. Abolishing nearly all the places of worship he appropriated only seven of them for the Archbishop and his Monks: thus at the period of invasion, now under review, there existed Christian Building Associations attached to the monasteries, which had in time to make way for the secular Saracenic, seeing that Christianity in Spain was only barely tolerated, and that too to a very limited extent by the Saracens. This view is strongly supported by the fact that, at a later period, when one of the Emirs desired to beautify Cordova, he had to send to Bysantium for the skilled architects for which the city was then renowned. Had the Jews of Spain then boasted of any architectural skill, or had they been the conservators of ancient building art, thus connecting them with their ancestors of the Temple Period, having the advantage of being in the very stronghold of Judaism, surely it is only reasonable to suppose that they would have supplied that which was needed, instead of the necessary skill he obtained elsewhere. I consider this historical fact one of the many which suffice to refute the Jewish claim to the origin of Freemasonry and the connecting link between the builders of the Temple and the Speculative Masonry of today.

Grand in its way as was the Saracenic style of architecture, yet much grander must have been that of the early Roman Colleges of Architecture, when it called forth such an encomium as follows from Musa, the Saracenic leader, on his entering the ancient capital of Luisitania: "I should imagine that the human race must have united their art and power in the foundation of the city. Happy is the man who should become its master."

The annals of Judaism abound in eminent warriors, legislators, musicians, orators, astronomers, mathematicians and masters of other sciences, but there the long roll of renown should end. No claim to being masters of the mystic art of building can be supported – not from any fault of their own, but simply owing to force of circumstances. The Jews scattered amongst all nations, finding it impossible to withstand the cruel persecutions which have disgraced Christianity both in nations and individuals, yet preserving for centuries their religion intact, performing in secret its most solemn rites, in no land having a temple of their own, into which they could freely and publicly enter for the worship of their Creator, yet notwithstanding oppression of every kind, displaying some of the grandest instances of the beauties of domestic life and social virtue. Struggling with and beset by oppression and cruelty for close on 1700 years, what opportunity had they, even if there had existed amongst them the talent and inclination for practicing architecture, and thus preserving its mysteries? Had the link ever existed, if even as late as the destruction of the Second Temple, it certainly was severed then.

(To be continued)

Return to Top

~~ooOoo~~


HE THAT INHABITETH ETERNITY [A Poem]

Who does not feel how weak
Are all our words to speak
Of him, the Infinite, –
Below all depth, above all height!
Yet hath no other speech
To me such wondrous reach
As this the prophet saith: that he
Inhabiteth Eternity!

We dwell in Time: our ear
Is deafened by things near;
Darkly we see, and know
Only in part, also.
From troubles that annoy
Plucking no future joy,
Sweetening failure's bitterness
With no deferred but sure success, –
As if the passing hour were all,
With it we rise and fall:
The while that he
Inhabiteth Eternity!

Patient and suffering long
With man's mistakes and wrong;
Seeing how all threads come
In place in Time's vast loom,
And in the finished web fulfil
The pattern of his perfect will;
To whom as one is seen
What is, will be, hath been, –
Tranquil and lifted clear
Above our fevered atmosphere,
Forever dwelleth he
In the sure strength of his Eternity!

O Father of my life,
Give me, amid its strife,
To bear within my breast
The secret of thy rest, –
The river of thy peace within,
Whose banks are always fresh and green;
Give me, while here in Time
Also to dwell with thee in thine Eternity.
– Frederick L. Hosmer.

Return to Top

~~ooOoo~~


TOWARDS BROTHERHOOD

By Bro. L. A. Pooler, England

I SHALL commence my address by endeavouring to paint for you in words two oldworld pictures. I want you to visualise them for yourselves.

The first is so old a picture that no man can put a date to it. If a man attempted to do it, he would find himself dealing with hundreds of thousands of years. Yet the day of the picture was the most wonderful since the earth began to be created and star-mist began to shape itself into a star. For millions of years the earth had been cooling and preparing itself for that day. All the great ages were only leading up to it – Pleiocene, Eocene, Devonian, and all the rest. It was the day when the first man and the first woman stood upon the earth. Some think there were more than two ! There may have been, but at any rate there were two – a man and a woman !

It is bewildering to think of it. The whole future of the race depends on them, but they do not know what that means. Surrounded by savage animals – many of which have long ceased to exist, such as the sabre toothed tiger and the mammoth – they seem among the weakest of created things. But, on the other hand, they are destined to gain the mastery, because they are endowed with a superior brain. In the struggles of man against man, physical strength has sometimes made good. But in man's struggles with the animal world, and, in later centuries, with the powers of Nature, it has always been brain that has told. Morally, these first two are children. They are innocent as the wild animals are innocent. They do not yet know that there is a difference between right and wrong.

That is the first picture. It might be entitled "The Dawn of Human Life." It is astounding, bewildering to try to realize that beginning, and then to take a survey of the organized political, social, intellectual, and religious life of today.

I come now to my second picture. Thousands of years have passed. The Ice Age, which for 200,000 years had been holding Northern Europe and Asia in its grip, was beginning to pass away. Man was pushing northward after the retreating ice. This second picture is a cave picture of perhaps 100,000 years ago. Again there is a man and a woman; but there are also young men and girls and children. They wear skins. They have learned the mystery of fire. They cook their food. Fierce and wild, there are yet the beginnings of art. Rough tools, made of stone, lie on the floor of the cave. With a small flint tool a young man is doing something to a white shoulder-bone. Let us go forward and look. He is tracing the outline of a reindeer. There are other pictures on bones or mammoth ivory – the outlines of an auroch or bison, of a mammoth, of deer and goats. They are like the pictures which children draw. It is a far cry to Raphael. But the possibility of Raphael is there.

I have tried to give you a picture of the cave life of what are known as "Drift Men." Finally, the old people died, and the younger people moved away. Then an earthquake or some other cause closed the entrance to the cave, and for 70,000 years or more the place was sealed. In our own day it was opened. The bones of a man and a woman were found. The picture of the reindeer was found, and all the other pictures; and they were placed in a museum. And you can see them, for it is a true story that I have been telling you – the story of a cave in France.

The Family Life

These, then, are the two pictures. Wherein lies the great contrast? It is in the development of family life. There is no family life on earth except the human. With mankind everything starts from the family. It is the original unit of value – the father, the mother, the children. Sometimes – for purposes of protection – the family kept together in the second generation. Thus began the clan or tribe. Then the time came when the tribe ceased to live a wandering life. They settled in a district and took possession of it. The old nomad life ceased. Agriculture took its place. Other clans did the same thing. The quarrels between them were unceasing, but they led to alliances, and finally to the union of certain clans under a headman, or chief, or king. So, slowly and laboriously were little kingdoms built up, which in time were absorbed in greater.

There is but one tale through all the centuries – constant and deliberate war – family wars, tribal wars, national wars. Bonds of brotherhood were sometimes formed, but such unions were for purposes of war or defence. We speak easily of the Brotherhood of Man. We do not realize how modern it is, or how impossible it seemed. In later days Hebrew prophet, and Greek philosopher, and Roman satirist alike derided its absurdity.

Yet it came ! All the while God was leading up to it. The rest of the animal world was stationary, but man was progressive. Bees, wasps, birds, insects were doing wonderful things when man was created. They are doing the same things still. They are not a bit further on. The achievements of one age are not the starting-point for the next. At the start man could not have made a honey-comb; but today he has invented the airship and controls wireless telegraphy.

So in the moral world, all through the savagery and brutalities of human history we get glimpses of the growth of better things – the virtue of self-sacrifice, and the plant of peace. At length came the great revelation. All the greatest truths come by Divine revelation. It was born into the world with Jesus of Nazareth. It was revealed in the Life of the Incarnate Christ. Thirty years after Christ, St. Paul could write: "There cannot be Greek and Jew, circumcision and uncircumcision, barbarian, Scythian, bondman, freeman – but Christ is all, and in all."

Granted the Incarnation, Paul's conclusion is irresistible. But it is hard for us to realize how long it takes a new idea to germinate and grow, and fulfil itself. You plant an acorn today, but you will not have an oak tree tomorrow.

Even in the Christian Church the idea of the Brotherhood of Man had little influence until the Reformation. In the first ages the clergy did endeavour to induce men to free their slaves. If Onesimus is "a brother beloved," he cannot be the slave of Philemon. But the Church itself became monarchical. Its bishops ranked as princes, and emphasized class distinctions more than the Brotherhood of Man. But since the Reformation men have dreamed unceasingly of human brotherhood – of human life lived under happier conditions, of the filling in of the gulf that still exists between the rich and poor, and also of the realization by humanity that "a man's life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesses."

Dreams of Brotherhood

About 400 years ago no little stir was caused in England by a little book – a published dream of the Lord Chancellor, Sir Thomas More. It contains two pictures – England as she was, and England as he dreamed she might be ! England, where 1,500 years of so-called Christian teaching had produced social injustice, religious intolerance, and political tyranny ! And, on the other hand, the England of his dream, where men lived as brothers in a Christian commonwealth ! But More was a student of human nature, and so he dreamed of no sudden revolution in men's thoughts. Permanent things are always of slow growth. So he writes: "It is not possible for all things to be well, unless all men were good – which I think will not be yet for these many years !"

But the idea bore fruit. A hundred years later Lord Bacon in England, and Campanella in Italy, dreamed fuller dreams of human brotherhood. Then in Paris the courtly nobleman St. Simon, and Fourier, son of a woollen-draper at Besançon, kept the idea before men's minds. In England, during the first half of the last century, Robert Owen taught men the value of co-operation and the necessity for universal education. When he was more than eighty years of age he expressed his conviction that "the time will surely come when the population of the world will be governed solely under the influence of love and charity, and that, Divine as these principles are, they are yet principles of common-sense for governing mankind, and forming the character from birth to death."

But, you may ask: What of the present war? What of this unparalleled outburst of human hate and of insatiable ambition? What of the present war and our dreams of the Brotherhood of Man ? Ah, brethren! Democracies do not want war, but war is less intolerable than slavery. Wars are caused mainly by the mad pride of kings and the arrogance of a governing class. In all that relates to human liberty, human brotherhood, and human culture, we are two hundred years ahead of Germany. So the Empire had to choose between war or submission to the pagan rule of a military despotism. Our victory will be the victory of the principles that underlie the true progress of humanity and the safety of all free peoples.

And now, what shall I say of our own society – our Masonic Brotherhood ? So far back as the time of the Roman Empire there were unions of craftsmen for the protection of their trade against interlopers. Later on medieval building associations were widely spread throughout Europe. In the tenth century Masonic Lodges existed in England. All the great cathedrals were built by these men. The last Grand Master of the Operative Masons of England was Sir Christopher Wren. The last great work of the Order was the building of St. Paul's Cathedral. In 1723 Wren was buried in his great church, and on his tomb we read: –

"Si monumentum quceris, circumspice."

But Masonry had done its work. The Creative Age of Gothic architecture was over. With the Renaissance classical styles had been introduced. St. Paul's Cathedral itself marks the change. But Masonry did not die. Transformed, it started on a new career of world-wide brotherhood. In 1703 the privileges of Masonry had been extended to men of various professions, provided they had been regularly approved and initiated into the Order. Twelve years later the final change came. Operative Freemasonry ceased as an Order, but it was re-born into speculative Freemasonry, and new rituals were drawn up by Dr. Anderson, a Presbyterian minister, and Dr. Desaguliers, a well known man of science.

What, then, does it all mean?

It means, firstly, the recognition of the Brotherhood of Man. There is no doubt about that. The objection is sometimes made: "The Christian religion teaches the Brotherhood of Man, but you Masons limit it to a Society." No, assuredly ! But the Brotherhood of Man is a big thing. You may theorize about it all your life, and never do a brotherly deed. So Masons say: "The world is large. There are millions of people on it. Practically, we cannot be brothers to them all. So we take a certain number, and try to act a brother's part to them. By doing so we are helped to understand the meaning of the Brotherhood of Man. We are better fitted to act a brother's part to those outside the Order." As a matter of fact, Masons not only support their own institutions, but they are in the front rank in all questions of general philanthropy.

Builders of Character

Secondly, it means the recognition that all men are builders. At any rate, we build our own character. This is each man's contribution to the unseen, the spiritual temple, which God and humanity have been building throughout the ages – a temple founded on wisdom, supported by strength, and adorned with beauty ! And some men build in marble, and some in brick, and some in "wood, hay, stubble." Hereafter each man's work shall be made manifest, for "the day shall declare it." But these will abide always: brotherly love, and charity, and truth.

Yes, we are all builders! We build as best we may. Do not be disappointed, if you seem to fail. It is greater to fall short of a high ideal than to realize a lower. "High failure overleaps the bounds of low success." God says to you as He said to David: "It was well that it was in thine heart to do great things, to build a house unto the name of the Lord." But here no man finishes his work, yet the building goes on eternally. That is the meaning of Kipling's splendid parable:

When I was a King and a Mason – a Master proved and skilled – I cleared me ground for a palace such as a King should build, I decreed and dug down to my levels. Presently, under the silt, I came on the wreck of a palace such as a King had built.

It was all in ruin –

Masonry, brute, mishandled, but carven on every stone:
After me cometh a Builder. Tell Him I too have known.

Then gradually he learned the meaning of the older Builder's work – "the form of the dream he had followed in the face of the thing he had planned." Finally his own summons came. His building too must be left. There is only time to do one thing, for a word has come from the darkness:

Only I cut on the timber, only I carved on the stone:
After me cometh a Builder. Tell Him, I too have known.

No man need ask a grander epitaph than that!

After me cometh a Builder. Tell Him, I too have known.

Return to Top

~~ooOoo~~


MASONRY – ITS PATRIOTIC OPPORTUNITY

By Bro. J. F. Kirk, North Carolina

//Address Before The 29th District Meeting at Statesville, N. C., NOV. 17th, 1916

MASONRY, as I conceive it, stands for essential unity. It regards no man for his worldly wealth or honors, it courts no man for his position, in the lodge room all are on the same level of equality. When misfortune overtakes a brother, it stands ready to extend a helping hand; when death steps in to rob the home of its natural guardians, the father and the mother, Masonry attempts to play the role of foster parents by caring for the orphan children. It attempts to make the lot of all as nearly equal as possible, by giving to each child the opportunity of education and training, the orphan as well as the home-trained and the home-nurtured child.

But there is a larger realm in which, it seems to me, Masonry may serve, and indeed has served in the past. In the history of that dark period of our nation's history from '61 to '65, there appear little incidents that shine bright as the light of the sun against that black background of war. Men who had the misfortune to be taken prisoners found in Masonry the only effective tie that bound them to those that fought on the other side. They oftentimes found friends among those ranked as enemies.

Why, we ask, were these traditional enemies suddenly transformed into friends? The answer is to be found in the common obligation taken at our sacred altars, in the spirit of the fraternity and equality inculcated around the altar fires of Masonry. May we not cherish the hope that Masonry is yet to exemplify this spirit in a still larger way, and on a really national scale in these latter days?

There was a time in our national history when Masonry was looked upon with suspicion by a considerable body of our citizenship. After nearly a century of observation, a critical public has decided that Masonry is not only innocent of all evil designs against the republic, but public opinion now holds Masonry to be an institution founded upon correct principles, and the organization composed of that class that make up our best and most public-spirited citizens. Masonry has established itself before the sober judgement of the American people.

There is, therefore, for perhaps the first time in our history given to Masonry the opportunity to render a great and distinctly national service. The Masonic lodge-room is perhaps the greatest neutral meeting ground in America today. No suspicion of political partisanship attaches to Masonry anywhere, no distinction is possible as to religious beliefs, except the requirement of faith in a Supreme Being. The Englishman, the German, the Russian, the Frenchman, the Greek, the Armenian, the Japanese and the Chinaman, all meet around the altar of Masonry, on the plane of a simple, common manhood. Where can you find another organization that is so widely extended in its geographical sweep; where can you find one taking in so nearly all classes and conditions?

There is none other in this nation except the Christian church, and it is divided into a score of more or less hostile camps, on credal statement, or difference of polity. Here, under ideal conditions, we should find our neutral ground, but so long as denominational lines remain as closely drawn as at present, this is no universal meeting point.

Masonry ought to make of itself the intellectual clearing-house of America. It has the opportunity to fuse and weld the concomitant parts of this great mass of one hundred millions of people into a unity, into a homogeneous nation of dominant general spirit.

It has this opportunity in two main directions; in the direction of reconciling and bringing together the rich and the poor, and in the direction of bringing together and introducing the various national types making up our citizenship. In Masonry there is absolutely no distinction of rich man and poor man. In Masonry there are and can be no hyphenates. That is the theoretical position of Masonry; the practice of individual Masons is very far below the position taken by the Order. In Masonry, strictly speaking, there are no rich men and poor men; there are no English, or Germans, or Americans, – in the lodge room all are simply men, with none of these external and artificial distinctions.

These are our fundamental conceptions; they are the deepest beliefs of Masonry; upon these tenets, our whole Masonic edifice is builded. We believe these principles to be sound, we demand their acceptance at the altar of the lodge of all who become Masons; we profess that these principles are susceptible of universal application. We have gone so far as to introduce them as a working code for Masons throughout the civilized world. In England, in France and in Germany there are thousands that are not only Masons in name, but stand on the identical principles on which our own lodges stand.

We profess these principles inside the lodge room, we demand of our members that they practice them in all Masonic relations. Should we not proclaim them as of universal, and especially national, significance ? There is abundant need of such service to be rendered by some agency. From every direction there comes the cry of party strife, of class struggling against class. We are familiar enough these latter days with one section of the country decrying another section, with citizens of one group suspicious of those of another group, with one division of citizens whose ancestral home is in one part of Europe arrayed against another division whose ancestral home happened to be in another part of the same continent. Let us be one. Let Masonry preach aloud its doctrine of manhood above every consideration; it matters not where a man is born, in a hut or in a palace, whether in the north of Europe or in the south, in the east or in the west, whether in the old world or in the new; a man is a man for all that. Let it be known from the housetops that there is one organization that has existed and grown and flourished for centuries on the assumption that one honest, sincere man is as good as another, and has had its long perpetuity on the very ground that all artificial distinctions must be laid aside at the door of the lodge.

Is not this doctrine as good on the street as in the lodge ? Is it not an ideal that should be made a national ideal, and is not Masonry the agency through which this doctrine may become a national doctrine and a national realization ? There must come forth some individual, or some institution, that is willing and able to render us this national service. There is little doubt as to the ability of Masonry to render a great service along this line, were it entirely willing to do so. There is, perhaps, no organization in our midst, as respectable in numbers, that is more conservative than Masonry. Therein lies our weakness for this undertaking. We should have to be as positive for unity as other influences, now at work, are for disunity. We should be as positive in asserting our ideals in the outer world, as we are in the tiled recesses of the lodge. In other words, we now have the opportunity to make our ideals actual realizations on a national scale, if we but prove ourselves positive enough to be what we profess.

Return to Top

~~ooOoo~~


CASIMIR PULASKI

By George W. Baird, P.G.M., D. of C.

THE beautiful equestrian statue of Casimir Pulaski stands on a triangular reservation between Pennsylvania Avenue, E Street and 13th Street, in Washington. It was modeled by Casimir Chodzinski, a Polish Sculptor, and was presented to the Government by the Polish (R. C.) Societies.

It is on a high, granite pedestal, and may be seen from any direction. It has the merit of showing the great cavalryman as naturally riding. There is nothing strained nor unnatural about it, and the observer is at once struck with the appearance of a man actually riding.

This memorial was unveiled on the same day as that of Kosciusco, both of which were presented by the same Societies.

Pulaski was born in Poland in 1748, and was killed in battle in 1779. At the age of 20 he was concerned in a "confederation" against the Russians and, after the death of his father, he carried on a "partisan warfare." He raised the revolt in Lithunia in 1769 and forced the Russians to withdraw, at Czenstochova.

His estates were confiscated and he disappeared from Poland in 1772, when a "price was on his head," but he came to America in 1776, by the advice of Benjamin Franklin, and succeeded in securing a place in the Continental Army the next year.

He took part in the battle of Brandywine and was appointed to command the Cavalry with the rank and pay of a Brigadier General. He served, also, in the battle at Germantown.

He raised the Pulaski Legion of "68 horse and 200 foot" which soon became famous. Pulaski became dissatisfied with his rank and would have returned to Poland but for the persuasion of Washington. He was made a Mason in a Military Lodge (Gould) in Georgia shortly before his death.

He was mortally wounded, in action, near Savanah in an assault on the British forces, and was taken on board the U. S. Brig Wasp, where he died two days later, as the Brig was leaving the river.

Congress voted a memorial to his memory, which, however, was never built, but the people of Georgia raised a fund for a monument the corner stone of which was laid with Masonic services by Marquis de La Fayette, at Savanah, in 1824.

Return to Top

~~ooOoo~~


CORRESPONDENCE CIRCLE BULLETIN – No. 8

Devoted To The "Study Side Of Masonry"

Edited by Bro. Robert I. Clegg

(Note: The following article is one of a series prepared by Brother Robert I. Clegg for reading and discussion in Lodges and Study Clubs. This series is based upon the N. M. R. S. "Bulletin Course of Masonic Study" and consists of a leading article each month by Brother Clegg to which is appended a list of references pertaining to the same subject from which the members of the Lodges and Study Clubs adopting our Course of Study may prepare additional papers for reading and discussion at the same meeting at which Brother Clegg's paper is used.

We recommend that the Lodges and Study Clubs use the current paper at their study meeting one month later than its appearance in the CORRESPONDENCE CIRCLE BULLETIN to give their members time for the preparation of additional papers.

Members of the N. M. R. S. living in communities where the "Systematic Study of Masonry" has not been taken up either in their Lodge or in a Study Club are earnestly invited to correspond with the Secretary's office and learn how easily the plan may be put into operation in their own community.

The plan may be taken up at any stage of the Course. It is not necessary to start with the first installment of the series. The course is based upon a few books – Mackey's Encyclopedia and the Bound Volumes of THE BUILDER – in order that Lodges and Study Clubs may enter upon the work systematically, and at the least possible expense.

Interested Masons are requested to write us for information. Our "STUDY CLUB DEPARTMENT" is organized for the purpose of assisting in the organization and conduct of the study of Masonry in Study Clubs or as a long-neglected but necessary feature in monthly Lodge meetings.)

CEREMONIES OF A LODGE

By R. I. Clegg

A set form or system is used in the opening of a Lodge or indeed in any other of the ceremonies. Methodical in the fullest sense of the word is the manner of conducting Masonic work, and the opening of a Lodge is simple, direct and all take part. While the parts played in the opening by each of the members and officers are not the same in kind or in scope yet the fact that there is uniformity year in and year out in each jurisdiction and that all in some way participate gives the growing weight of custom and tradition that impresses every member as well as by his co-operation giving him the first principles at every communication of team work, and the latter sentiment is very important to the success of Masonry.

There is nothing unusual in a religious body having a uniform ritual for its opening or closing ceremonies. Every church service impresses the spectator. It is equally so in legislative organizations as well as in the field of business. The directors of a commercial or industrial institution meet and start their business by clearly defined means and methods because time is saved by such systematic labors and the mere formality carries into speedy and approved effect the orderly flow of events.

Law courts continue the same sequence of acts. Entrance of the judges is marked by a very serious and ceremonial reception by the minor officials. Phrases of an oldtime flavor and quaintness are employed. These are but the machinery of the work but they do indeed add to the dignity of the proceedings.

So of old it was with the followers of the ancient mysteries. Little is known of the details of the ritual. Here and there we get hints of what was done. Truly these are so suggestive in many respects that we can easily guess at the indebtedness of our fraternity to the practices of the members engaged in the mysteries.

Purging The Lodge

First of all we may employ the old term, "Purging the Lodge." Back still further in the ages we have the spectacle of the Herald in the mysteries announcing that all those not by right entitled to remain should go. Both in Greece and Rome a like ritualistic sentence was used. This is often found translated into English as "Depart, depart, ye profane." But the word "profane" might almost if not entirely be given as "unclean" or "unsanctified." As the preliminary act in the mysteries was to perform some ceremony of symbolic and literal or actual cleansing of the candidate, it would not be lacking in exactness to speak of the uninitiated as the "unclean."

The several steps in opening the Lodge may in brief be stated. Upon the Worshipful Master is the responsibility of starting the Lodge labours. While the by-laws of the Lodge usually state when is the precise time for the beginning of the opening ceremony, it is like most other incidents of Lodge work, entirely for the presiding officer to make the actual start. His formal announcement being made to that effect, the brethren take due notice of the instruction and assume the essential Masonic clothing with whatever jewels of office that any are entitled to wear. This done they all proceed to their several stations with due dignity and dispatch.

Now comes the purging of the Lodge, the separation from those properly entitled to remain of those not so qualified. We look to the West for care of the most stringent character in performing this duty. The wise Senior Warden will not wait idly until the moment has actually arrived for making an announcement upon this point. For some time prior to the opening of the Lodge he will circulate industriously among the assembled brethren, fully acquainting himself with all whose faces are strange to him. Nothing can be more aggravating than the mortifying experience of being at the last moment obliged to say that a certain brother is unknown and then find him perhaps to be a member of that very lodge whose attendance has been infrequent for perhaps many years.

Nor should the brethren ever "take a chance." There is the well known rule that to vouch properly for the presence of anyone you must have sat in lodge with him. This is playing safe. It will never leave you with any uneasy feeling that you have done less than your plain duty. Far better that many of the worthy are held back for a searching examination by an investigating committee than that any of the unworthy should pass by into the sacred halls. When a brother admits he thinks a brother or visitor is a Mason he should be firmly but of course courteously informed that "thinking" is not sufficient. He must know and he cannot know too positively. Satisfied that everyone has a perfect and unquestionable right to be present, there is next undertaken due inquiry of the passages to the Lodge and the manner of their protection and care. Officers are placed where all approaching persons are seen and stopped before they can gain improper sight or entrance of the Lodge. From time to time as the ceremonies require the guardians of the entrances are appropriately instructed as to the conditions prevailing in the Lodge and how and when admission may be granted by the presiding officer.

All the officers satisfy the Worshipful Master and through him all the other brethren that they are fully informed as to their duties and when the Master is thoroughly convinced that each officer is properly placed and fully instructed as to what he may be called upon to do, the presiding officer then makes due announcement of his purpose in the proceedings. Upon this he demands of the assembled brethren to join in certain ceremonies which testify to the eye of each of those present his own individual ability and that of every one of his neighbours that he has a knowledge of the degree in which the Lodge is to be opened and that he is in accord with what is being done.

At the point when all the technical essentials of secrecy are obtained for the subsequent ceremonies, when all the avenues of approach have been guarded, when critical search and inquiry have been made about the Masonic qualifications of all those present, when all the officers have been placed precisely where they belong and when they are fully made known to the assembled brethren as duly informed about their duties, and when formal statement has been given from the East, and all the brethren have combined in that ceremony that exhibits so well the unity and capability in a bit of Masonic ritual, then comes the appropriate moment for inviting the blessing. Here indeed is the beginning of an important undertaking and we all rightly hold that we ought then to reverently seek in all our doings the favor of Almighty God. To this devout and dutiful invocation the brethren respond by a common sentiment expressed in an oldtime phrase well known to all Masons.

Now the Lodge is announced as duly opened and the precise manner of the opening, whether in the one or the other of the degrees, is duly communicated to the officers charged with the care of the entrance and is by them told to the visitors who arrive after the Lodge has been opened. With this information the expert Freemason is enabled to enter with decorum and in perfect good taste and accuracy, fulfilling in every way the truly Masonic requirements.

From of old it has been the practice that the Worshipful Master in opening his Lodge shall give a lecture or a part of one. Careful observers of the ceremonies will see how closely this has been followed. It will also suggest to the attentive brother how the brethren of old employed their time when candidates were few and far between and when the ceremonies might with propriety be lengthened. Then the lectures were doubtless freely used at the opening and it is equally probable that all the brethren present took a more lively and thorough part in the proceeding than now. These are samples of the differences between the old practices and the new about which there is much room for wide variation of opinion.

Let not the thoughtful brother overlook the fact that the opening ceremony has direct reference to the particular degree which it precedes. This aptness of the introduction paves the way to a better understanding of what is to be done. It is another reminder of the coherence of Masonic labors, that each fits as the links in a chain, contributing its strength and service to bind the whole into a unity, each for all and all for each, typical of the unit part of Freemasonry, the unit being the individual Mason.

Closing The Lodge

There is but one officer to determine when the Lodge shall be closed, and he is the Worshipful Master. From his action there is no appeal. He is not as the Chairman of a Committee, and indeed there is about Lodge work nothing that corresponds to the Committee of the Whole with which we are all familiar in legislative and other bodies. There is no moving of the previous question or any similar parliamentary trick to bring things to a focus. Debate ceases when the Master rises in his place. Neither is there appeal from his decisions on the floor of the Lodge. He has no peers among those present. You may impeach him but not by any appeal in the usual legislative style from the decision of the chair. All that you can do is to carry your grievance, if you have one against the Worshipful Master, to the Grand Lodge. There and there only have you redress if he prove unmindful of your demands.

Thus it comes at the moment when the lodge labors apparently ended, the Master alone determines the proper moment to act. True, he does invite as a usual thing an expression of opinion from the officers and the members as to the possibility of anything having been left undone that should be done. The officers respond, as do any of the remaining brethren who have anything to offer, and then the Master acts according to his best judgement. He neither permits nor announces anything that savors of an adjournment. When he closes the Lodge he does not reopen it in the same degree to rectify some error, a lodge opened and closed for a definite purpose is for that date permanently closed.

Having determined to close, there are like ceremonious steps to be taken in duly closing the lodge. These so closely resemble the opening that little need be said as to their order of events. There are Masters who by impatience to get things over are tempted to shorten the ceremony in one degree or another but this is usually a mistake. Particularly is it objectional to shorten any ceremony of closing or opening a degree if a young member or a candidate having but one or two of the degrees be in attendance. For his sake at least let the temptation be resisted.

For all of us the proceedings will be the better if we see the labors done fully, nothing overlooked and there will be nothing Masonically overthrown. Better save the time elsewhere by not wasting any. See that the labours do not drag, that nothing interferes or blocks, that everything moves serenely and smoothly without the slightest friction or excitement or fuss. Thus the last benediction invoked of the Great Architect upon the gathering around the altar will be indeed a fitting climax to the worthy work of the day.

In many of the jurisdictions there is a neatly appropriate allusion in the closing of the duties of a Mason as symbolized by the jewels worn in the East, West and South. Here too is an appropriate bit of symbolism that might well be universal. The way that we should meet each other and act toward each other and how we should part from our brethren are lessons that cannot be impressed too vividly and thoroughly upon our minds. No criticism is intended of those who do not use this symbolic teaching and it is only here alluded to because of the effective manner that it has been seen to impress most Masons who have witnessed it. The action is so suited to the word that it is difficult for a brother accustomed to the ceremony to avoid giving it in full even when in Lodges that do not employ the ceremony.

Calling Off And On

"Calling off the Lodge" is a phrase, and a very old one, that broadly speaking refers to the announcement of a recess. Of old it was not at all rare to halt the proceedings at any opportune moment and in the lodge room or any convenient place enjoy refreshment or the greater formality of a banquet as the case might be. An old author familiar with the work of a hundred or more years ago says of the custom: "At a certain hour of the evening, with certain ceremonies, the lodge was called from labor to refreshment, when the brethren enjoyed themselves with decent merriment." With us the custom prevails of ending the work of the day with the banquet though it is not rare to find a city Lodge in these days of high pressure in ritualistic labours to call a communication early in the afternoon, have dinner about six o'clock and then continue the work of conferring degrees.

Grand Lodges are different from other Lodges in that the method of calling on and off from day to day is not uncommon. Neither is it rare for Grand Lodges to adjourn from day to day or for even longer periods. It is therefore not wise to assume that the rules governing the one class of bodies apply equally in detail to the others.

There are at the stations of the Senior and Junior Wardens certain columns. These have a particular usefulness when the lodge is called from labour to refreshment or from refreshment to labor. The brethren are familiar with their use and it need not be detailed. There is a strong likelihood that these columns have had of old a somewhat different appearance and usefulness than at present. Now they are columns symbolic of the qualities represented by the respective officers before whom they stand. They have also the designation of one or other of the orders of architecture. All this is as explained in the lectures and monitorial instruction.

It is also probable that the columns are a survival of the gnomens of primitive sun-dials such as would, be prepared by the brother thrusting a stick into the ground and relying upon its shadow to tell the time and the duties therefor of the day. Again it is well to suggest to the thoughtful brother that he attend to the ritual of the respective officers in the recital of their proper province and then determine for himself what were all the functions of the columns in the West and South in the days of yore.

It is proper to state that while the current phrases are "Called Off" or "Called On" as the case may be, yet the sentences of which these should be parts are frequently heard as "Called from," etc.

Due Form

"Due" simply means what should be done. Lodges are opened in due form when the proper ceremonies are performed by at least the requisite number of qualified Freemasons. Due form means that the right thing has been done in the right way by the right persons. It is in brief a Masonic expression of legal fitness. Truly in Masonry we do stand for having all things done at least decently and in order. Then they are done in due form.

Dedications

The rite of dedication is of the utmost antiquity. Ceremonials of dedications have been performed by all peoples on such occasions as putting altars or temples or other places to sacred uses. The tabernacle was consecrated and dedicated by Moses. So also did Solomon with the first Temple. When the returning exiles came out of their captivity and rebuilt the Temple of the Lord the memories of Babylon quenched not their love for a profound gift of the fruit of their labour to the exclusive service of their God.

So therefore is a Masonic Temple by mystic rites, in serious imitation of these pious and ancient examples earnestly and religiously consecrated to the sacred purposes for which it has been constructed and completed by its builders. Thus it is set apart for a holy object, the vigorous and thorough cultivation of the several tenets of a Mason's profession. Hereby does it therefore become to the conscientious Mason invested with a peculiar reverence, a place to be trod as holy ground.

At the ceremony it is planned to conduct the proceedings in ample form, all the ritualistic positions of the officers being filled by the persons elected to them or such others of the fraternity as may be appointed. The ancient sacrifice of the poured oil, corn and wine is performed. The entire ceremonial differs but slightly in the various jurisdictions so far as the present writer has had an opportunity to examine the methods.

In connection with the dedication of Masonic Halls it is proper here to state that the authorities do not usually favour the joint use of the rooms with any other body not recognized as Masonic or closely affiliated with Masonry. The complete details of this rule are not uniform in all jurisdictions and have been changed even in the same jurisdiction. It has happened that for some reason or another, as in the case of a Masonic Temple being destroyed by fire, there has been no other local opportunity to meet for the brethren unless they occupied a room temporarily that was also used by the members of some other organization. In such case the method is to secure an emergency order from the Grand Master or his representative, this waiver of the law's strict provisions being known as a "dispensation." Such release is void as soon as conditions change and the lodge is enabled to again comply with the letter of the law.

Installations

The installation of the officers of a lodge is required to be performed within a certain time after election. This period is a matter of Grand Lodge enactment. One code of laws stipulates that the installation shall take place not more than sixty days after election. Sometimes it is made a public ceremony. In such cases the lodge is opened and closed in ritualistic form in an adjacent room, or before the audience arrives the lodge is opened and closed after the visitors depart.

An old custom that is still retained is that the retiring Master installs his successor and then the installed Master in turn installs his officers. It has happened that the retiring Master installs all the officers but this only occurs where the installed Master waives his right to install his own officers.

In many jurisdictions, prior to the installation of the Master, it is necessary that he shall have been invested with the Past Master's degree which can only be conferred by not less than three Past Masters.

"Installed" has the same significance as to be seated; placed in the chair of authority.

Processions

Of the order of public processions it is evident that roughly the order of the brethren is for the Tyler and Stewards to head the line in that way and then come the Master Masons followed by the rest of the officers according to their place in the list and concluding with the Past Masters and then the Master. Of course if the ceremony is a cornerstone laying, then the Grand Lodge officers follow the Lodge officers but adopt the same order of rotation in office, the lowest in rank coming first.

Refreshment

The word "refreshment" does not to a Mason have the same meaning as to those outside the fraternity. When the labour of the lodge halts by order, the lodge is at refreshment. Usually the stop is short, merely as a rule for the purpose of taking up a different line of work. Sometimes as already intimated a banquet may intervene between the opening and closing of a lodge and the call to refreshment then probably becomes what it may have actually been to our ancient brethren of the operative craft, a time for food and drink, the hour of rest and repast.
++Lodge Meetings
"Stated" or "regular" meetings, or communications, are those specified by the laws of the governing body as the minimum. It is sometimes required that a lodge shall hold no fewer than twelve meetings a year. Most lodges meet by their rules twice that number. Whatever the number specified may be are the "Stated" meetings. "Special" or "called" meetings are additional meetings to the "Stated." These may be called for the purposes of conducting funerals or conferring degrees. Nothing but the object for which the meeting was originally called is permitted to be done at the "Special" communication of a lodge.

References

In addition to the topics suggested in the sub-heads in the above article, see the following – all in Mackey's Encyclopedia:

Adjournment Adoption, Masonic Ample form Annual Communication Baptism, Masonic Burial Center, Opening on the Chair, Passing the Communication Cornerstone Dedication of a Lodge Eulogy Labor Meet on the Level Public Ceremonies Quarterly Communication

What Will Make A Great Lodge?

A Master and officers who can confer the degrees with all the power and nobility which is inherent in them. Who can so inspire the candidate with the fundamental truths underlying the ritualistic work that he will apply them to himself in all his human relations. A more practical application and use of those principles upon which our Fraternity is founded, Brotherly Love and Charity, by the Lodge itself in its relation to its members.

A proper course of Masonic Education upon which the newly raised and enthused Brother may start at once, easily accessible and comprehensive so that he may become well acquainted with Masonic traditions, symbolism and history. If these things are done in a thoroughly efficient way then we may know that we are being successful in the building of Masonic character, which is the real and final aim of our Fraternity Paul P. Doddridge, Grand Lecturer, Indiana

Return to Top

~~ooOoo~~


MASONIC STUDY AND RESEARCH

By Bro. Andrew L. Randall, Texas

(An address delivered before the Grand Lodge of Texas on December 5th, 1916)
It was my intention to use this opportunity to address my brethren on the subject of the "Master and Past Master: Their Prerogatives, Duties and Responsibilities in Early, In Later and In Modern Times." But I was not quite able to satisfactorily complete my studies upon that subject, which can be made one of great interest and profit to us all, and at the last moment I have discarded it for the present purpose, and have concluded to offer some plain and simple observations upon another subject which lies very near to my heart – that of the vital necessity for Masonic study and research – if we would hope to do our full duty to Masonry, to society and to ourselves. The fact that we have neglected its proper consideration in the past, and that this Grand Lodge has recently shown a disposition to provide for and foster this most important element of our labor and refreshment, has encouraged me to believe that my brief remarks may be neither untimely nor unwelcome.

We all remember when we finally stood in the presence of the Master and were made to realize that our Lodge had granted to us that peculiar mark of its favour because of our evident zeal for our Institution, the progress we had made in its mysteries, and our steady conformity to its useful regulations. From that memorable hour we have continued, to a degree, to have zeal for our Institution, and, in a measure, to conform to its useful regulations. But how many of us have continued to make progress in our mysteries, to study, and to grow in the knowledge of what Masonry really is; whence it came and by what way whither it leads, and how shall it reach to its ultimate destiny? How many of us have been content merely to believe that it is an ancient and honourable institution, having a history luminous with achievement for the progress of the human race? How many of us have been content merely to proclaim in general terms its possession of a beautiful symbolism, a splendid literature, a wonderful philosophy of life and conduct, a God-given mission to humanity? How many of us, oh, how many, have been satisfied with knowing only its signs, grips and passwords, added to a somewhat imperfect knowledge of its esoteric work? I, for one, must confess to my own shortcomings in this regard.

Yet neither you nor I would waste our time with Masonry if it were but a secret order with a sign, a grip, a password and an emblem. We give cheerfully of our time and money to our Lodges, and to this Grand Lodge, without hope of fee or reward; because we feel in our hearts that it is all worth while; but we are not able to tell why and wherein Masonry is a living and essential instrument of God for good. To the large majority of Masons, especially in this Grand Jurisdiction, the great book of Masonry, with all the riches of its lore, cannot be opened because it is not even available, and they could not turn its precious pages if they would. Yet turn them they must, my brethren, if they would give to Masonry that zeal and conformity to its laws which Masonry demands of them. For there can be no real zeal for an institution whose history and mission we only vaguely comprehend, no real conformity to regulations, expressed and implied, whose precepts and requirements we only vaguely understand. Knowledge of great principles and great deeds is the foundation of true zeal; only knowledge of laws and regulations will bring about true conformity to them.

We have dotted the hills and valleys of this State and Nation with innumerable schoolhouses, colleges, and universities. We have sacrificed ease and comfort that they might be erected and maintained, that our children might attend them and enjoy their benefits and blessings. Of the splendid courses of instruction offered our children in these institutions we would sacrifice all before we would permit them to give up the history and literature of their own people. These are the important studies of the children of each generation, far more so than arithmetic or geography or physics. Because the history and literature of any Nation are expressive of its life, its genius, its ideals; and their study the sole foundation of its present patriotism and its future progress. No generation can find the solution of its own problems without a knowledge of the problems of the generations gone, nor will it have the courage and self-sacrifice to grapple with these problems and overcome them unless inspired by the example of the fathers before it. If I had to make the choice, I would rather that my children would know the inspiring story of the wise courage and heroic piety of their forefathers and foremothers and be unable to write their own names, than that they should speak the fluent tongue of a dozen languages and hear not in their hearts the patient prayers of Valley Forge; see not, with dimmed eyes, the ever living spirit of self sacrificing service which brooded, smiling, over the dead giants of the Alamo.

Oh, with infinite pains we study the history of the human race from the earliest day, throughout all the ages of its vicissitudes, its sorrows, its struggles, its progress, finding not only the records of the rise and fall of the nations, but the reasons, purposes, and policies that brought them all about – finding in the last analysis that the divine desire in the human heart for higher things is the moving finger which writes every line of every page of that wonderful history. We thrill our hearts and feast our souls upon the song and story which compose the literature and portray the life of our people, from the saga of yesterday to the epic of today, and draw from them that reverence for the old and that devotion to the new out of which along can come the spirit of service which makes each generation forge its way to higher ground. Without these, this history and this literature, the citizen is an aimless, purposeless, useless being to his State and race, unable to serve because unable to render intelligent service. With them, he becomes the trained soldier of humanity, armed with the experience of the ages, inspired by an indomitable purpose to render, as his fathers before him, his full share of consecrated service to his God, his country, his neighbour and himself. Yes, we, as citizens, study the history of the world and the story of the progress of its people, and we constantly and carefully teach them to our children. But we, as Masons, do not study the history of Masonry, the record of its achievements – from the early times of its wandering master architects and builders down through the centuries, as it has lived and spread and grown in its power and influence throughout the earth. Nor to the newly-made Mason do we over the slightest opportunity or material for study and instruction. Yet, next to religion, there has been no influence so potent in the shaping of history as the influence of Masonry and of Masons.

In this land of liberty, which has become the hope of the world, we celebrate the settlement of Jamestown and the landing of the Pilgrim Fathers, but we do not investigate to learn what part Masonry played in those events so auspicious for civilization and freedom, nor inquire upon what rock or shore, upon what highest hill, or in what lowest vale, was first opened the Book of the Law, were first erected the pillars of Wisdom, Strength and Beauty. We follow with wonder those pioneers of this great State in their journeys of hardship, suffering and endurance from the East to the West; we read with reverential awe of their heroic sacrifices at the Alamo, at Goliad, at San Jacinto; we look back with gratitude to their labours in that early capital at "Old Washington on the Brazos." But we do not seek to find the sustaining power of Masonry in their weary hearts, its unyielding strength in their valorous arms, the glint of its eternal truths upon their flashing blades. We attend in patriotic spirit the first meeting of the little Congress of the New Republic. But we do not go with Anson Jones and his five brethren to that hallowed spot behind Brazoria, in the little thicket of wild laurel; nor, meet with them, the brethren of old Milam and McFarlane, to follow the birth of the new Republic with the birth of a new Grand Jurisdiction. We glory in the courage of each forward step of those great men of early days, and apply our hearts unto the far-sighted wisdom of their laws and policies. But we do not even attempt to trace through their statesmanship down into the blessings of our present development, that Masonry which has played so momentous and so conspicuous a part in it all.

We only know in some vague way, because we have heard it so, that in almost every age and every clime the onward-struggling race has found Masonry a place of refuge in hours of darkness, a tower of strength in days of conflict; that always and everywhere it has laid upon the hearts of men the responsibility of unselfish service to the cause of humanity and the glory of the ever-living God. If these things were not so there would be no Masonry tonight. It would never have been able to survive the persecution or escape the cunning of its enemies – enemies to it because enemies to those principles of Freedom and Truth for which it stands. It survived with the survival of the fittest, because it is one of the instruments chosen of God to direct the onward march toward the perfect civilization and the Ultimate Day, an essential guide of the happiness and advancement of mankind. If it is necessary to good citizenship that we study the history, read the literature, and comprehend the policies and ideals of the Nation, is it not equally necessary that we, as Masons, should know the history, literature, symbolism and philosophy of that Institution which, more than any other except the Church, has contributed and will contribute to the attainments of our National aims and ideals? There is but one answer. We must not only be zealous and law abiding Masons, but we must, I repeat, in duty to the Craft, to society and to ourselves, become informed and learned Masons, also. It is our duty not alone because of an obligation taken, but because we cannot otherwise become proficient in the use of the weapons of Masonry against evil, or skilled in the exercise of its arts and practices to promote the general good.

I say to you again, my brethren, that as Masonry has exerted a more powerful influence upon the lives of nations in the past than any instrumentality or institution except the Church, so it is now more essential to the forward-looking life of this Nation than any other institution or instrumentality except the Church. History proves that it is essential. Washington found it so. In the long hours and longer years of his problems and perplexities he clothed himself in the Apron as in the armor of righteousness against trials and temptations, and struck down with the Mallet the evils of avarice and ambition. And when he had devoted his great mind and greater heart to years of the study of Masonry, he declared it to be an ever-living institution for the promotion of the happiness of humanity. Anson Jones and his confreres found it essential. Neither the lurking foes of the forest nor the craftier enemies of another and abler race, neither the countless privations, the manifold hardships nor the innumerable duties of the time, could retard their Masonic labours or quench their Masonic spirit.

If Masonry was essential to the earlier generation of pioneers of the State and Nation, it is equally so to this generation. If the world has needed it heretofore, its need for Masonry is even greater now. If it pointed the paths of progress to the pioneers of another day, it will point them just as certainly to us. For every generation is one of pioneers. One may have to overcome the forces of death and destruction that lurk in the wilderness; another, the subtler and more insidious forces of corruption and decay that linger in citadels and capitals. But all must do battle with one or another, and each must fight its way to a higher plane of living and of citizenship; and Masonry has been, is, can always be, the Great Pioneer of Civilization – moulding the character, directing the thought, and guiding the footsteps of the advancing forces of humanity.

In our analysis of its record, we apply to every age a descriptive name, the dark ages, the golden age, the barbaric, the philosophic, the heroic. I hope and pray that history may nominate ours the Age of Service. We have learned as never before to apply a test unto all things – whether material, political or spiritual; to science, to literature, to religion – the test of utility, the test of service. Whether you be lawyer or labourer, merchant or mechanic, the world of today asks, "What can you do?" And the service demanded is intelligent, trained, consecrated service.

The lesson we have learned from the lives of the Fathers is the lesson of service; we have realized that the moving purpose of their heroic deeds was solely the purpose of service; we have come to understand that their sustaining and uplifting spirit in patient endurance was the Spirit of Service.

It is that spirit and that purpose which is expressive of the genius to America – the capacity of this government and its people to serve humanity, to promulgate, dispense and protect the sacred principles of Freedom, Justice, and Right. It is because of that spirit and that capacity that America is the hope of the world. And now, more than ever, is her mission amplified and intensified; because when the horror of the present conflagration of human lives is over, the people of the old world, arising from the ashes in which have been burned away the shackles of ignorance and the fetters of tradition, will turn with outstretched hands and pleading hearts to this government of liberty and law, and pray that it may lead them all into the paths of righteousness and peace. This country needs intelligent and unselfish service now as never before in its history. New conditions have arisen, new problems, both internal and external, present themselves for solution. The call has come to America now – the call to stand up to the test of her right to live, her right to lead, her right to set Democracy upon the throne of Monarchy, the God of Justice upon the throne of the God of Might.

My brethren, where shall the Nation turn in the hour of its trial and its opportunity if not to Masonry ? Who shall deny that to Masonry the Fathers turned, and not in vain? Who shall deny that in every age our Institution has answered to every call, whether to forum, field, or fireside? What Mason will deny that in its tenets and philosophies there may be found a panacea for all civic ills? What Mason doubts that Masonry will stand the test of consecrated service? Yet Masonry will stand the test of the world only if we can stand the test of Masonry. Are we, as Masons, prepared to do so? How shall we look to an unlearned and untutored Masonic membership to help, aid and assist in the application of Masonic remedies to the national and international diseases which threaten the present stage of the life of the world? How shall we call upon the wisdom of its precepts if we know them not? How shall we unfurl its flag if we see not its wonderful combination of colours? How shall we use its weapons if we are not taught their mechanism and construction ? How shall we invoke its strategy if those great battlefields upon which that strategy has been developed remains unexplored? Without study, training, discipline, instruction, we are as helpless to lead its forces of civic righteousness as a new-sworn private to lead the victorious armies of a great war.

The only avenue to light, more light, and further light, in Masonry is that found in the thoughtful study of its history – in painstaking research into its voluminous records. They are as if they do not exist, for him who may not search them out. Like the laws and commandments of God, they are given only to those who seek to find them. Like the natural resources of wealth which God has provided for men, they are nonproductive and valueless unless cultivated and utilized.

We glory in our natural resources, the fertility of the soil, the sweet waters of the earth, which make it blossom and produce, the wealth of mine, of forest and of field. We boast of bursting granaries, rejoice in the song of whirring spindles, follow with prideful eye the stately ships that sail the charted highways of commercial seas. We think and speak of those things which make up the wealth of the world as if they were riches in themselves, forgetting that they become riches only when the masterful touch of men has awakened or re-created them into wealth. To the savage of the Western wilds the mountains of iron were but skulking places, whose moulten crevices were merely caves of refuge; the forests but shade from summer suns or trapping grounds for winter game; the valleys of plenty, which feed and clothe the world, but grazing places for his wild horses and wilder herds. Those mountains, forests, and plains were the same then as now, wonderful storehouses of material wealth; but they brought forth no iron or gold, no timber or wheat, because the savage neither delved, nor tilled, nor felled; sought not to find their hidden treasures, brought no intelligent, creative genius to their development, dreamed not of world-markets of exchange. Another race came, one which from the inspiration of the centuries gone caught a far vision of those that were to come; one, therefore, mighty in its ambition, its desire to know, to understand, to utilize, to build. They observed the seasons, turned the soil, dug deep into the hillsides, felled the mighty timbers of the forest. To the learning and example of the past they added study, investigation, experiment, determination. Today that race finds shelter in the happy homes and worships in the stately temples of the richest and most enlightened nation of the earth.

My brethren, the riches of Masonry lie dormant beneath the careless feet of the untutored and uninspired Mason content to exist upon the crusts of Masonry; always concealing, never revealing, their fabulous wealth. The golden nuggets of its principles, the shining silver of its philosophy, the glistening diamonds of its everlasting truths enrich him not; he builds no house of refuge from its Cedars of Lebanon; he may not transport its life-sustaining treasures to alleviate the wants of his struggling brother man. I want this Grand Lodge in its wisdom to find some way to enable us to gather the riches of Masonic History, Symbolism and Philosophy – to become learned in those eternal principles and wise precepts that have for centuries promoted, and will for centuries to come promote, the reign of Happiness, Righteousness and Freedom. For thus only may we be trained for an inspired, consecrated service to Masonry; and Masonry, through us, continue to lead mankind up the shining pathway which reaches to the gates of the Eternal City, into the Sanctum Sanctorum of the Everlasting Temple.

Return to Top


The Master's Hat

During the Middle Ages, when a travelling Fellow approached a lodge of Masons in prescribed form, he first exclaimed: "May God bless, direct, and prosper you, Master, Pallirer (wardens), and dear Fellows!" Whereupon the Master, or in his absence the Pallirer, was instructed by the ordinance of Torgau to thank him in reply, in order that the visiting brother might see who was custodian of the lodge. And having obtained suitable assistance, the wandering craftsman removed his hat and thanked the brethren with an established formula. From the preceding ceremony, it is evident that neither the Master nor the Wardens of a medieval German lodge were distinguishable by distinctive tokens while at mechanical labor; otherwise, no regulation was essential or obligatory upon the officers to make proper response to a visitor for the purpose of determining the Master.

Curiously enough, the implication is direct and clear that the Masons of ancient times, when regularly convened for work, and during the formal reception of a traveller, pursued their daily avocation and attended to usual Masonic demands, within closed portals, with covered heads. At the present day the custom has materially changed, and, with one exception, the members of a lodge at labor noticeably divest themselves of their hats. This is unquestionably a transformation of recent origin, and with it the instruction usually incident to the distinction has been adapted to the innovation.

When the initiatory rites in a medieval lodge were performed, the Master was not thus prominently contrasted with his brethren. I speak with especial emphasis upon this point, because the esoteric and sublime signification involved in the Master's hat has been recklessly perverted and destroyed. It was typical, during the Middle Ages, of superiority, and was so interpreted in the ceremonies of initiation by the Masons of France at the termination of the eighteenth century, all of whom sat in open lodge with covered heads.26 Among the Germans, this article was used as a symbol of transfer of chattels, and landed property. The judge held a hat in his hands; the purchase must receive it from him, and with it the title passed. Frequently the ceremony perfecting a sale was performed by the contract parties thrusting their hands into a hat, and upon withdrawing them the estate changed owners.

By the expression "putting hands in a hat," was also meant a mutual oath between persons to a confederation or conspiracy. But the most important signification of this covering for the head was its use as a symbol of power and authority, and in such sense it was oftentimes set up as a signal of compulsory assemblage. When thus elevated or fixed upon a pedestal, it convened the people of the neighbourhood. Gessler's well-known emblem of subjection and superiority, was a hat erected on a pole or column. Ancient Germans shared the symbolism of this article with the Romans, who also regarded it as a type of freedom or as a release from servitude.27 Upon the death of Nero, so much joy was manifested by the populace, that, in the excess of their delight, they rushed about the eternal city with hats on.

Gothic justices wore a cap or suitable head-dress when presiding over court, as emblematic of authority, and manifestly the people wore their hats while attending the tribunal as symbols of personal liberty.28 And with this typical allusion general acquiescence originally harmonized; but the distinctive and exceptional feature of a Master's head-dress contains the secret symbolism of authority at the present day, while medieval Masons worked with covered heads as a sign of freedom. Both customs, descended from a remote Teutonic antiquity, have long since dissipated their vital forces, while the ordinary interpretation possesses less significance than a dilapidated mile-post!
– Fort – Antiquities of Freemasonry.

Return to Top


The Three Stations

The Master's chair is approached by three steps or grades – an arrangement apparently descended, with numerous appointments, from Scandinavian antiquity. In the Upsala temple the Norse gods – Odin, Thor, and Freya – were presented sometimes as enthroned on high seats, one elevated above the other. Thor was placed on a throne to the left of the principal divinity, while Freya sat on the right side. These thrones upon which the deities were seated, according to the prose Edda were graduated by an intervening step. Odin's stood highest, on three grades; Thor's next, on two; and Frey's seat was the lowest, and numbered one.
– Fort – Antiquities of Freemasonry.

Return to Top

~~ooOoo~~


Continued in Part 2



.xx Next Month: June 1917
Previous Month: April 1917www General Index

~~ooOoo~~

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License