The Masonic Trowel

... to spread the cement of brotherly love and affection, that cement which unites us into one sacred band or society of brothers, among whom no contention should ever exist, but that noble emulation of who can best work or best agree ...

[What is Freemasonry] [Leadership Development] [Education] [Masonic Talks] [Masonic Magazines Online]
Articles] [Masonic Books Online] [E-Books] [Library Of All Articles] [Masonic Blogs] [Links]
What is New] [Feedback]

 Masonic quotes by Brothers

Search Website For

Add To Favorites

Help Me Maintain OUR Website!!!!!!

List of Contributors

PDF This File

Print This Page

Email This Site To ...

Just a Junior Deacon

by Bro. James Thomas "Jimminy" Wray

Way back in A.D. 1911 the Worshipful Master of Evans lodge No. 524 of Evanston, Illinois, found it difficult to get the Junior Deacon to learn the Senior Deacon's Lecture. Hoping to get results by putting the Junior Deacon `on a spot' he wrote to him as follows:  

"Chicago. July 19, 1911.  

"Mr. James Wray, Evanston, Ill.,  

"Dear Brother Wray:- Tuesday next. July 25th, you will be expected to give the lecture about which I have spoken to you.  

Asahel W. Gage.
Worshipful Master.  

The Junior Deacon replied as follows:  

"I am just a Junior Deacon,  
And my name is Jimmy Wray.  
I haven't got that Lecture learned  
And there's the deuce to pay.  

"I've promised and I've promised  
And then some more, I guess,  
Now they say it's up to me,  
And right here I will confess:  

"I haven't learned that lecture,  
And there's no one you can blame  
I'll just own up truth,  
And say with face of shame:  

"I haven't learned that lecture.  
And next Tuesday's drawing nearer  
If I could hear it just once more.  
Its meaning would be clearer.  

So, please, kind sir, be merciful  
And Don't ask me to give,  
A lecture that goes through my mind  
Like water through a sieve."  

Evans Lodge then had a good working library which was open for use by its officers and members, not only on the nights of its Communications, but on every week day.  

This source of information contained materials not only as to the history and meanings of Masonry but also as to it, useful application.  

Jim Wray learned `what Masonry is all about'. He applied what he learned and in 1915 he had a most outstanding useful year as Worshipful Master, among a long list of outstanding years in Evans Lodge.  

His useful and beneficial Masonic work did not end with his year as Worshipful Master. It has continued ever since and it is hoped that it will long continue.  

"I am just a Junior Deacon" was published in the Evans Lodge notice for September 1911. In that same 1911 notice was the following, which hints of what was being done way- back-then in Evans Lodge to assist members and candidate in their search for Masonic Light:  

"BUILDING DESIGNS: No man should ever enter upon Masonry without some Understanding of the nature of the society. That it has secrets he must know. That it is the truest type of fraternity of brotherhood, he will soon learn. Its members he will find to be, of the substance of the community. A society of reformers who have confined their reforming largely to themselves. The applicant must understand that Masonry means the building of character and ability as well as mere physical building. How and why he can only learn be becoming a Mason. The landmarks, fixed and plain, are there for guides. No one should ever be allowed to conceive Masonry to be an institution of light or trifling character.  

"In order that each candidate may better appreciate the beauties and the benefits of the work, the Worshipful Master endeavors to impress upon each before initiation, that the degrees contain a secret system of moral instruction by the ancient method of symbol and allegory. That the teachings unfold as pondered and that pleasure and profit will always be found in them.  

"The co-operation of the brethren in developing this conviction will be appreciated, and of lasting benefit to the Craft.  

"It should be always remembered that the letter "G" does not stand for goat, and that nothing should ever be said that may by any possibility mislead a candidate into thinking there is anything frivolous in the work."  

Before the 1st degree and after each degree as taken, the Worshipful Master suggested to the candidate that he read specific verses from I Kings V, VI & VII; II Chronicles II, & III; and Ezekiel XLI.  

When the candidate presented himself for the 1st degree, after the secretary's monitorial lecture, and before any ceremonial preparation, he was courteously requested to remove his left shoe and hand it to the one in charge of his preparation, who then placed it on the floor by the candidate and informed him that this had a symbolic meaning, that all of his preparation had symbolic meanings, and that the ceremonies in which he was about to take part had meanings that he could better understand by paying close and sincere attention to them as they were unfolded.  

After each degree there was communicated to the candidate something of the meanings and applications of the degree he had just been through.  

In those old-time days Evans Lodge was not only building close fraternal relations between its members individually but it was as a body doing practical and helpful work and was assisting its members to do the same.  

In the Evans Lodge December 1911 notice the following was published:  

"BUILDING DESIGNS:" The designs in which all are interested are those for that spiritual building, that house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. What that house is, St. Paul clearly indicated when he said: `know yc not that ye are the Temple of God."  

"How to plan the erection of this temple, the Bible teaches in its historical account of the erection of the material temple. Life is grouped into three divisions: Youth, Manhood and Old Age. The development of humanity may also be divided into symbolic epochs. These divisions are typified by the three groups of laborers employed in building Solomon's Temple.  

"The apprentices, or beaters of burdens, correspond to youth, and symbolize man before he became the predominant creature. His whole existence was a struggle against the inclemency of the elements, and the ferocity of the wild beasts when he worked with and developed strength, symbolized by Thor's hammer. His mind was not the highly developed complex intelligence that it now is. He knew only simple and direct effort, symbolized by the straight line of the twenty four inch gauge. The working tools of the apprentice teach the necessity of directness of thought and strength of character.  

"The fellowcrafts or hewers correspond to manhood, and symbolize man in the second stage of development when he notes the orderly or geometric tests, tries, and by the aid of his working tools, symbols of his faculties, he learns to use the materials and forces about him. The ability to work with the fellowcraft tools makes life easier and more secure and gives opportunity for the development of the higher faculties.  

"The masters, or chiefs over the work, correspond to old age, to man developed until he becomes a builder, a designer. a creator, he molds all nature in forms of his own design. He grows corn of the quality he wants, the orange without seed, and the rose of a color to suit his fancy. His working tools are all the implements, but more especially the trowel, the symbol of cementing, of uniting, of building.  

"The stories of which the temple is composed are thoughts, words and deeds. The master with the trowel of constructive thought unites the symbolic stones into a temple of character and ability. The Bible teaches that these stones must be perfected in the quarries where they are wrought. There will he no tools to alter them later neither hammer, nor axe, nor any tool of iron, is heard in the temple while it is building. The necessity for perfection of each thought, word, and act is therefore apparent.  

"The Biblical account of the building of Solomon's Temple is most perfect symbolism. Being Truth, its application is universal and the lessons to be learned from it are limited only by the ability to understand its teachings. The benefits we receive are limited only by the ability to apply the teachings to the problems of life.'  

During "Jim Wray's year", way back in 1915, he and `the old Past Master of 1911, spent a Sunday in the Iowa Grand Lodge Library which the then Grand Secretary. Newton Ray Parvin. opened that day for them. There they visited with several Past Grand Masters and other brethren who had attained to Old-Age. There that day Jim Wray arranged with our beloved Brother Joseph Fort Newton to come to Evanston and deliver an address on Masonry to the members of Evans Lodge, their families and their neighbors. This address was published in pamphlet form. It has recently been republished in the Masonic News and also as a Craft Fellow's pamphlet, revamped it has become the title chapter of Newton's book, "The Men's House".  

In addition to Newton's address Jim Wray that year had talks given in the Lodge, by members of the Lodge, on the first three degrees of ancient symbolic Craft Masonry and other appropriate subjects. Several of these talks and numerous `Masonic Jingles', "By Jimminy," were published in masonic journals. Some of the Worshipful Masters "Jingles' and the talks on the 1st degree and on the 3rd degree were that year published in "The Builder", the Journal of the National Masonic Research Society, which evolved into the Masonic Service association of the United States. These two talks were published as booklets by the Grand Lodge of Iowa, and ordered read in every Iowa Lodge. They are preserved in Volume 15 of "The Little Masonic Library". published by the National Masonic Service Association. The Grand Lodge of Massachusetts in their 1944 "Manual" for use in their District Lodges of Instruction refer to these two talks. The Grand Lodge of Iowa have a small booklet for each candidate after he has received each degree. In his remarkable booklet "The Third Degree' he has explained the Word perhaps better than anyone else.  

It is not surprising that in Evans Lodge, more than thirty years after those `old-time days' a score of old-time members of those days have attended their mother lodge. Results follow causes with geometric certaincy.  

Masonry teaches that "Old Age" is the symbol of a Master.  

James Thomas Wray, who signs himself "By Jimminy", entered the Illinois Masonic Home Family at Sullivan on August 10th 1948.  

Before the end of his first two weeks there he received many letters and post cards from members of his lodge. Dr. Dwight F. Clark, a senior and most outstanding `M.D. of Evanston, president of one might almost say the, Evanston Historical Society, and old-time member of Evans Lodge and the physician who made the health certificate for Jim's admission to the home wrote to him that the Home Family was to be congratulated on having him a member because he would be a valuable addition to any group. Not all members of the Home Family are as fortunate as Jim in being remembered by old friends Jim's sympathy inspired the following:  


There arc men who arc forgotten  
When they move into the Home.  
They have lost all their loved ones  
And are too old just to roam,  

If you could see the faces  
When the mail man goes his round,  
No letter or post card for you today  
How simple that all sounds.  

They look forward daily  
For a word from you or me  
Just a letter or a post card  
That is all it has to be.  

If you have a relative  
Or a friend who is living here  
Just send him a card or letter  
He will like it, never fear.  

Don't let him think he is forgotten  
And has been put upon the shelf.  
There is no way of telling now  
But you may be here yourself.  


back to top

[What is Freemasonry] [Leadership Development] [Education] [Masonic Talks] [Masonic Magazines Online]
Articles] [Masonic Books Online] [E-Books] [Library Of All Articles] [Masonic Blogs] [Links]
What is New] [Feedback]

This site is not an official site of any recognized Masonic body in the United States or elsewhere.
It is for informational purposes only and does not necessarily reflect the views or opinion
of Freemasonry, nor webmaster nor those of any other regular Masonic body other than those stated.

DEAD LINKS & Reproduction | Legal Disclaimer | Regarding Copyrights

Last modified: March 22, 2014