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Emtered 'Prentices Song

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

"Do good - to parents, kinfolk, those in need, neighbors who are near, neighbors who are strangers, the companion by your side, the wayfarer you meet." The Qu'ran  

"Kindness. Don't leave home without it." Ng Hei-Di  

In the last issue of Masonic Matters I gave some information about a Lodge in Virginia that was composed of only Entered Apprentices from 1754 until 1772 when the Lodge passed a resolution that the officers of the Lodge be Master Masons. I quoted from the minutes of 1768 where it said: "R.W. James Robb, Master for the night, opened an Entered Apprentice Lodge, and after going through our lecture and signing a cheerful song, as common among Masons, the Lodge was adjourned to Lodge in course."  

Well, when I was doing some reading I came across something about the Lodges of the early 18th century[i]. There was a song that was commonly sung in Lodges back then. Brother Matthew Birkhead wrote this song in 1722, it was published at the end of book of Constitutions of 1723, and it was called the "Prentices Song." I don't know if that was the song referred to in the minutes, but I think it might very well have been, (it is a cheerful song.) Here are the lyrics for the "Prentices Song," take a look at them and read them and see what you think, could this be the song sung in that Lodge in 1768? I should mention that the music for the song is at the end of Anderson's Book of Constitutions of 1723, so if you know how to play an instrument you could play the tune for your Brothers to sing the song in Lodge if you're a mind to.  

The Entered 'Prentices Song, by our late Brother Mr. Matthew Birkhead, deceas'd. To be sung when all the grave business is over, and with the Master's leave."[ii]  

Come let us prepare,  
we Brothers that are  
assembled on merry occasion;  
Lets drink, laugh, and sing;  
Our wine has a spring:  
Here's a health to an accepted Mason  

The World is in pain  
Our secrets to gain,  
And still let them wonder and gaze on;  
They ne'er can divine  
The word and the sign  
Of a Free and Accepted Mason.  

'Tis this and 'tis that,  
They cannot tell what,  
Why so many Great Men of the Nation  
Should Aprons put on,  
To make themselves one  
With a Free and Accepted Mason.  

Great Kings, Dukes, and Lords,  
Have laid by their Swords,  
Our Myst'ry to put a good face on,  
And ne'er be asham'd  
To hear themselves named  
With a Free and Accepted Mason.  

Antiquity's pride  
We have on our side,  
And it maketh men just in their Station:  
There's not but what's good  
To be understood  
By a Free and Accepted Mason.  

Then join Hand in Hand,  
T'each other firm stand,  
Lets be merry, and put a bright face on:  
What mortal can boast  
So noble a Toast,  
As a Free and Accepted Mason.  

Well there they are, it looks to me like a song that it would be fun to sing in an Entered Apprentices Lodge today, so I choose to think that they very well could have been singing this song when those minutes were written.  

I will mention that at the end of Anderson's book of Constitutions there are other songs: The Master's Song, parts I, II, III, IV, & V; The Wardens Song; The Fellow-Crafts Song; The Entered 'Prentices Song. So if you would like to reenact something from the 1700's in your Lodge you can, just by signing a merry song with your Brethren.  

"The time when we could wait for our heroes to do good deeds is over. It is time for the rest of us to step forward." Anonymous  

A friend and Brother of mine once mentioned something about the English language and the phrase "it's out of whack," and asked what is a Whack anyway? Well that may not be an exact quote, but it's close, and I've heard it before in different ways, like: "What is a whack anyway, and how come it's out?"  

I have a very good Dictionary called the "New Century Dictionary," no not new to the 21st century, new to the 20th century, so it's an old Dictionary. I bought it used, (of course,) from a Lodge Brother who owns a used bookstore. The Cambridge Corner Bookstore in Cambridge Minnesota in case you're in the market for a good book or two, Brother Mark is a good source of used books. Well on with "Whack."  

Whack, among other things, means condition, especially good condition. And the expression "out of whack" is a slang expression to denote that something is not working properly, that it is not in good condition. Whack also has a meaning of Portion or Share, and the slang expression "take a whack at a job" comes from that definition.  

That's just some information that I thought you would like to know. I will add this though about slang expressions. A quote from Poet and Author Carl Sandberg, "Slang is a language that rolls up its sleeves, spits on its hands, and goes to work."  

"Those who are at war with others are not at peace with themselves." William Hazlitt  

Have you ever heard the expression "The Year of Jubilo?" The first time I heard of it was in some music my mother gave me as a gift. It is from the lyrics of a song written and sung during the Civil War era here in the U.S. Though this song in commonly called the "Year of Jubilo' it is correctly titled "Kingdom Coming" by Henry Clay Work. While it appears that this songwriter was likely named after a Mason I can't find anything saying that he was a Mason, and that's not the reason I'm writing about this anyway.  

When I first heard the song, the lyrics immediately caught my attention, and I decided to try to find out more about the expression. In my search I found that there was a novel published in 2000 about the American Civil War titled "The Year of Jubilo." And in searching a bit more I have come to the conclusion that it has a biblical meaning, which alludes to scriptures found in the book of Leviticus, in which the Jubilee, and the Year of Jubilee is explained.  

There is something called the "Book of Jubilees[iii]." It is an ancient book in Judaism that covers the same period of time as the book of Genesis and part of the book of Exodus, but presented from a different standpoint than the books in the Old Testament or Tanakh. I found that one of the interesting things about the "Book of Jubilees" is that it tells how time is divided into Jubilees. A Jubilee is a period of 49 years, which in turn are divided into weeks and years, and the 50th year is the Year of Jubilee, which I believe is what the term the "Year of Jubilo" refers to.  

Leviticus Chapter 25 is one of the places where you will find out about the Year of Jubilee. Part of what this chapter of the Volume of Sacred Law has to do with, is the liberation of slaves. In the Year of Jubilee the land was to lie fallow, all land purchased in the Jubilee was to revert to the former owner, and slaves were to be freed. The phrase "proclaim liberty throughout the land unto the inhabitants thereof[iv]," which is part of Leviticus 25:10, is deemed by many to mean that all slaves everywhere were to be set free.  

Thus during the Civil War many, if not all, of the slaves in the United States felt that it was the year of Jubilee, or the year of Jubilee was soon coming, and they were to be freed, so there was great expectation and rejoicing. So I believe that's why the tune I heard, which was written by a "Yankee" during the War Between the States, had to do with the freedom of slaves on a plantation in the south.  

The lyrics are not politically correct that's for sure, but if for historical purposes you are interested in what the lyrics are - just type "The Year of Jubilo - lyrics" into your search engine and you most likely will find them, as well as some information about the Connecticut song writer Henry Clay Work. But keep in mind this song was written in 1863.  

"If you board the wrong train; it is no use running along the corridor in the other direction."- Reverend Diedrich Bonhoeffer.  

Here is something that might come under the title of "interesting," or possibly "Why Ethiopia?" There is a river whose headwaters are in the highlands of south central Ethiopia. This river is called the Juba and begins near Dolo on the frontier between Ethiopia and Somalia, (Somaliland?) where it is formed from the junction of three rivers coming down from the Ethiopian Plateau. The river runs about 500 miles and it at one time formed the border between Somaliland and British Kenya, but the British in 1915 ceded that part of Kenya to Italy, which lies along the Juba River and which was known as Jubaland, (but renamed Oltregiuba by the Italians.)  

Jubilo, or Jubalo, is an interesting word to many, and now we know a couple of more things about the word, and possibly a derivation of the word.  

"Rhetoric is a poor substitute for action." Brother Theodore Roosevelt  

Here is something I came across many years ago that is a good test of the things we might say or do.  

1. Is it the Truth?  

2. Is it fair to all concerned?  

3. Will it be beneficial to all concerned?  

4. Will it build goodwill and better friendship?  

When faced with a question, or decision, it might be a good idea to consider those four points; if they can all four be answered yes then it most likely would be something we would want to do.  

"A small action, taken from the heart, can grow over time into a groundswell of positive change." Anonymous  

Many Lodges are "dark" in the summer months, that is to say there are no scheduled regular communications until September, and some Lodge officers use the summer to asses how the Lodge is doing, and to plan for the balance of the year. With this in mind, here are some things that might be helpful.  

I like this acronym about goals: S.M.A.R.T.  

1. [S] Specific  

2. [M] Measurable  

3. [A] Achievable  

4. [R] Relevant  

5. [T] Timely  

When it comes to goals there are Big Goals, Small Goals, and there needs to be Steps involved to achieve them, and a person has to have the determination to see them through. All this has been summed up as the 4-D  

Goal Model.  

Desire = which is the big goal.  

Dedication = which is the small, (measurable,) goals.  

Discipline = which is the, (calculated,) steps.  

Determination = to stay the course despite the obstacles, which are certain to occur.

Finally there are three S's of Success  

1. See it = see your Lodge as the successful Lodge it should be, and  see the goals accomplished.  

2. Start = act, do something. You have 24 hours to act on a good idea.  Ideas not acted upon, or not acted upon properly are the only bad ideas.  

3. Sustain the effort = overcome obstacles, and refer to the first "S."  

"A leader is best when people barely know he exists; not so good when people obey and acclaim him; worse when they despise him; but of a good leader, who talks little, when his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will say; "we did it ourselves." Lao-Ise (circa 565 B.C.E.)  

[i] Coil's Masonic Encyclopedia, 1965 edition.
[ii] Little Masonic Library, Anderson's Constitutions of 1723
[iii] Collier's Encyclopedia vol. 11
[iv] Holy Bible KJV

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