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Hiram Abiff Boaz

by Ed Halpaus
Grand Lodge Education Officer
Grand Lodge of A. F. & A. M. of Minnesota

"He shall climb by strength, but directed by wisdom; he shall progress by power, but guided by control; he shall rise by the might that is in him, but arrive by the wisdom of his heart." Brother Carl H.Claudy.  

"The secret of success is to do the common things uncommonly well." John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Do you like Biblical names? Amongst our circle of friends and Brothers we will find some names that we like very well that are also in the Bible, and thus are biblical names. Just looking over the roster of one of the Lodges I'm a member of, I see the names; David, Matthew, Mark, John, (no Luke in that Lodge,) James, Peter, just to name a few, and in my circle of female friends and family we have a Ruth, a Mary, and a Naomi too.  

There are some biblical names that you don't hear very often, if at all today. For instance you don't hear of a Hosea very often, but I have known a couple of guys named Amos that were pretty good fellows, and you don't hear the name Boaz, or Jachin much in names of men, well at least I don't. There is an interesting item in 10,000 Famous Freemasons about a Brother of ours named Hiram Abiff Boaz, he was born December 18, 1866.  

He was born in Murray Kentucky, and was a Methodist Minister; he served several Churches in Texas prior to becoming the president of Polytechnic College at Fort Worth, Texas from 1902 to 1911. He was vice-president of Southern Methodist University at Dallas 1911 to 1913, President of Texas Women's College 1913 to 1918 and then president of S.M.U. (Southern Methodist University) 1918 to 1920 and in 1922 he was elected Bishop of the Methodist Episcopal Church and was assigned to superintend Church work in China, Japan, Siberia and Manchuria.  

Brother Boaz was a member of Granger Lodge #677 in Granger, Texas and was Grand Chaplain of the Grand Lodge of Texas in 1953.1 He was a good man and Mason, I'll bet he would have been a good man to know and spend some time with and, I wouldn't be surprised that there might be a Mason or two today who grew up in Texas and maybe had the pleasure of knowing him. Well, I thought you might like to know about our Brother with a most biblical and Masonic name.  

Boaz, besides being the name of the male lead character in the story of Ruth in the Bible, was the name of one of the pillars on the porch of the Temple of Solomon, and Jachin was the name of the other pillar. There has at times been some conversation about which pillar is the one on the right and which is on the left. Well in 2nd Chronicles 3:17 it talks about the pillars on the porch of the temple. It's interesting to note that in the King James, (Authorized Version,) it says the one on the "right hand is Jachin, and the name of the one on the left Boaz." I have had a Brother or two ask me is that the right facing as going into the temple or coming out? Well the answer is found in the New International Version, (NIV,) of the Bible, where the very same text is translated this way: "He erected the pillars in the front of the temple, one to the south and one to the north. The one to the south he named Jakin and the one to the north Boaz."2 So that translation should make it much easier for us to remember which pillar is on which side. By the way the New Living Translation, (NLT,) also says north and south.  

The name Jachin is also found in other parts of the Bible,3 but for the most part those references refer to the sons of Simeon of whom Jachin was one, and in the book of Numbers it refers to Jachinites who are the descendents of Jachin.4

"Masonry is not a religion. He who makes of it a religious belief falsifies and denaturalizes it." - Brother Albert Pike.

Have you heard of the Trivium and the Quadrivium? These words can be found in both Masonic and Non-Masonic books. Trivium means; where three ways meet, as in a crossroads or public street, and during the Middle Ages, the common division of the seven liberal arts, comprised of Grammar, Rhetoric, and Logic were named the Trivium.5  

Quadrivium means a place where four ways meet, and in the Middle Ages, the more advanced division of the seven Liberal Arts, comprised of Arithmetic, Geometry, Astronomy, and Music were named the Quadrivium.6  

So the Seven Liberal Arts, which are a part of the lessons of Masonry are also known as the Trivium and he Quadrivium.7 Reference to the Seven Liberal Arts can be found in some of the earliest Masonic Manuscripts. It is reported that in the 11th century these seven liberal arts were taught in schools, and Holinshed, who wrote in the 16th century says that they composed a part of the curriculum that was taught in universities. Speculative Masonry continues homage to these seven liberal arts and sciences and, they are an important part of the second degree. So when the Fellow Craft is learning of these seven liberal arts and sciences there is a connection between the operative Masons of the Middle Ages and today. Those operative Masons held a laudable ambition to elevate the character of the craft above the ordinary standard of workmen.8  

Grammar forms with Logic and Rhetoric, a triad dedicated to the cultivation of Language. Sanctius says; Grammar rejects from language all solecisms9 and barbarous expressions; Logic is occupied with the truthfulness of language; and Rhetoric seeks only the adornment of language.10  

Rhetoric supposes and requires a proper acquaintance with the rest of the liberal arts; because the first step toward adorning a talk is for the speaker to become thoroughly acquainted with its subject. Hence the ancient rule that the orator should be acquainted with all the arts and sciences.11  

Logic is the art of reasoning, and the power of right reasoning is deemed essential to the Mason, that he may comprehend both his rights and his duties.12  

By Arithmetic the Mason is reminded that he is to continually add to his knowledge, never to subtract anything from the character of his neighbor, to multiply his benevolence to his fellow-creatures, and to divide his means with a suffering Brother.13  

Geometry - Geometry and God, the letter "G" binds them together along with heaven and earth, the divine and the human, the infinite and the finite. Masons are taught to regard the universe as the grandest of all symbols, revealing to men, in all ages, the ideas which are eternally revolving in the mind of the Deity, and which it is their duty to reproduce in their own lives and in the world of art and industry.14  

Music is recommended to the "attention of Masons, because the "concord of sweet sounds" elevates the generous sentiments of the soul, so should the concord of good feeling reign among the Brethren, that by the union of friendship and Brotherly Love the boisterous passions and harmony exist throughout the craft."15  

"With Astronomy the system of Freemasonry is intimately connected." Many of Masonry's symbols and emblems come from Astronomy. The Lodge room itself is symbolic of the world, and it is adorned with symbols representing the sun and moon whose regularity and precision provides a lesson to the initiate.16 The pillars of strength and establishment, and the spheres of the terrestrial and the celestial demonstrate the connection of Freemasonry with the heaven and earth, God and man.  

Progressing through the seven liberal arts and sciences, as in one step after another, in the methods of communications; which is accomplished by Grammar and Rhetoric, to Logic; as a method of reasoning, to applying the principles of Arithmetic and Geometry; which is visualized as all science, to enjoying all the agreeable charms of Music; which is all that is beautiful, (poetry, art, sound, and nature,) and finally to Astronomy; which is a study of all that is beyond earth. All of the seven liberal arts and sciences together as the final steps toward the middle chamber where a Mason receives all the blessings of a life well lived, teaches the Mason that he must grow - he cannot stand still.17  

"Here is the lesson set before the Fellow Craft; if he, like David, would have his kingdom of Masonic manhood established in strength, he must pass between the pillars with understanding that power without control is useless, and control without power, futile." Brother Carl H. Claudy. Are you familiar with "Pleyel's Hymn"? Pleyel's Hymn was composed by Ignaz Joseph Pleyel. The Hymn, which is part of Pleyel's 4th Quartet, opus 7, first appeared as a hymn tune in Arnold and Callcot's Psalms in 1791. This musical piece was an instrumental only, but in 1816 Brother David Vinton published some lyrics he had written for the portion of the piece that was the "Slow movement" of the 4th Quartet by Pleyel.18 This was first published in a Volume by Brother Vinton titled; "The Masonic Minstrel, a selection of Masonic, Sentimental, and Humorous Songs, Duets, Glees, Cannons, Rounds, and Canzonets, respectfully dedicated to the Most Ancient and Honorable Fraternity of Free and Accepted Masons."19 In Masonry the Music and the words, (by Brother Vinton,) are called the "Funeral Dirge," and is sung by the Brethren sometimes at Masonic Memorial and Funeral services, and in a part of the Ceremonies of Masonry that all Master Masons are familiar with.  

The funeral dirge that every Master Mason is familiar with and, which as it is known in Masonic Lodges, consists of four verses, or stanzas. Here are the verses.  

Funeral Dirge  
Tune: Pleyel's Hymn  

Solemn strikes the fun'ral chime,  
Notes of our departed time;  
As we journey here below,  
Thro' a pilgrimage of woe,  

Mortals now indulge a tear,  
For mortality is here;  
See how wide her trophies wave,  
O'er the slumbers of the grave.  

Here another guest we bring,  
Seraphs of celestial wing,  
To our fun'ral altar come,  
Waft a friend and brother home.  

Lord of all below, above,  
Fill our souls with truth and love  
As dissolves our earthly tie;  
Take us to thy Lodge on high.  

Those are the four verses, or stanzas, that we use in Masonry, but originally Brother Vinton had eight verses. These other four verses are not very well known and, in my opinion that's too bad because the next four verses begin with the promise symbolized by the "Sprig of Acacia." Here are the rest of the words to Pleyel's Hymn as written by our Brother Vinton.  

For beyond the grave there lie
Brighter mansions in the sky!
Where, enthroned the Deity
Gives man immortality

There, enlarged his soul will see
What was veiled in mystery;
Heavenly glories fill the place,
Show his maker face to face.

God of life's eternal day!  
Guide us, lest from Thee we stray,  
By a false, delusive light,  
To the shades of endless night.  

Calm, the good man meets his fate,  
Guards celestial round him wait;  
See! he bursts these mortal chains,  
And o'er death the victory gains.  

This beautiful Funeral Dirge, written by Brother David Vinton, when it is sung by Masonic Brothers marching Solomon's March over a fallen Brother, reminds us that "life is brief at its longest, broken at its best,"20 that we have within us an imperishable part, "which survives the grave and bears the nearest affinity to that supreme intelligence, which pervades all nature, and which can never, never, never die."  

"To the Mason, God is our Father in Heaven, to be Whose especial Children is the sufficient reward of the peacemakers, to see Whose face the highest hope of the pure in heart." Brother Albert Pike.

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