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THE BUILDER MAGAZINE
volume 3 - number 2
THE INITIATORY RITES OF DRUIDISM
BY BRO. DUDLEY WRIGHT, EDITOR LONDON FREEMASON
THE mode of life adopted by the Druidical priests made easy the transition from Pagan to Christian monasticism. To all intents and purposes the Druids formed a Church and their ecclesiastical system seems to have been as complete as any other systems of which records have been preserved, whether Christian or non-Christian. The rank of the Arch, of Chief, Druid was that of pontifex maximus, and, apparently, he held his position until death or resignation, when his successor was elected in a manner similar to that in which a pope at the present day is elected, although some writers assert that the Arch Druid was elected annually. Caesar states that: "when the presulary dignity becomes vacant by the head Druid's death, the next in dignity and reputation succeeds; but, when there are equals in competition, election carries it."
Many Druids appear to have retired from the world and lived a hermit existence, in order that they might acquire a greater reputation for sanctity. Martin in his Description of the Western Isles has pointed out that in his time, in the most unfrequented places of the Western Isles of Scotland, there were still remaining the foundations of small circular houses, intended evidently for the abode of one person only, to which were given the name of "Druid's Houses" by the people of the country. Many of the Druids also appear to have lived a communal life, uniting together in fraternities and dwelling near the temples which they served, each temple requiring the services of a considerable number of priests.
Ammianus of Marseilles describes them in the following words:
"The Druids, men of polished parts, as the authority of Pythagoras has decreed, affecting formed societies and sodalities, gave themselves wholly to the contemplation of divine and hidden things, despising all worldly enjoyments and confidently affirmed the souls of men to be immortal."
Not a few, however, lived in a more public and secular manner, attaching themselves to kindly courts and the residences of the noble and wealthy. The Druids had thus a close affinity both with the monastic order and religious congregations of the Church of Rome, known as the regular clergy, and those living unrestricted by special vows, and known as the secular clergy.
The period of noviciate and the character of the training of an aspirant to the Druidical priesthood was as lengthy and as rigorous as that of an aspirant to membership of the Society of Jesus. It lasted for twenty years, and, although the candidates were, in general, enrolled from the families of nobles, many youths of other ranks in life also entered voluntarily upon the noviciate, and, very frequently, boys were dedicated to the priestly life by their parents from an early age.
The ceremony of initiation, so far as can be gathered from the scanty authentic records available, was arduous and solemn. The aspirant first took an oath not to reveal the mysteries into which he was about to be initiated. He was then divested of his ordinary clothing and vested with a tri-coloured robe of white blue, and green, as emblematic of light, truth and hope. Over this was placed a white tunic. Both were made with full length openings in the front, and, before the ceremony of initiation began, the candidate had to throw open both tunic and robe, in order that the officiating priest might be assured that he was a male.
The tonsure was one of the ceremonies connected with initiation. As practiced in the Roman Church, the tonsure, the first of the four minor Orders conferred upon aspirants to the priesthood, is undoubtedly a Druidical survival. There is evidence of its practice in Ireland in A. D. 630, but it does not appear to have become a custom in England until the latter part of the eighth century. The tonsure was referred to by St. Patrick as "the diabolical mark" and in Ireland it was known as "the tonsure of Simon the Druid." It differed greatly from the modern form. All the hair in front of a line drawn over the crown from ear to ear was shaved or clipped. All Druids wore short hair, the laymen long; the Druids wore long beards, the laymen shaved the whole of the face, with the exception of the upper lip. The tonsure was also known in Wales as an initiatory rite. In the Welsh romances known as the Mabinogion, we find, among the Brythons, a youth who wished to become one of Arthur's knights whose allegiance was signified by the king, with his own hand, cutting off his hair.
The initiation took place in a cave because of the legend which existed that Enoch had deposited certain invaluable secrets in a consecrated cavern deep in the bowels of the earth. There is still to be seen in Denbighshire one of the caves in which Druidical initiations at one time took place. After taking the oath, the candidate had to pass through the Tolmen, or perforated stone, an act held to be the means of purging from sin and conveying purity. All rocks containing an aperture, whether natural or artificial, were held to be the means of conveying purification to the person passing through the hole. At Bayon Manor, near Market Rasen, in Lincolnshire, there is a petra ambrosiae, consisting of a gigantic upright stone resting upon another stone and hollowed out so as to form an aperture sufficiently large for a man to pass through. This stone is believed to have been used by the Druids in the performance of their sacred rites. Some writers have imagined that the prophet Isaiah was referring to a practice similar to this when he wrote (I, 19): "And they shall go into the holes of the rocks and into the caves of the earth for fear of the Lord, and for the glory of His Majesty, when He ariseth to shake terribly the earth." All such orifices as these were consecrated with holy oil and dedicated to religious uses, when the distinguished name of lapis ambrosius was given to each.
The candidate was then placed in a chest or coffin, in which he remained enclosed (apertures being made for air circulation) for three days to represent death. From this chest he was liberated on the third day to represent his restoration to life.
The sanctuary was then prepared for the further ceremonies of the initiation, and the candidate, blindfolded, was introduced to the assembled company during the chanting of a hymn to the sun and placed in the charge of a professed Druid, another, at the same time, kindling the sacred fire. Still blindfolded the candidate was taken on a circumambulation nine times round the sanctuary in circles from east to west, starting at the south. The procession was made to the accompaniment of a tumultuous clang of musical instruments and of shouting and screaming and was followed by the administration of a second oath, the violation of which rendered the individual liable to the penalty of death.
Then followed a number of other ceremonies, which typified the confinement of Noah in the Ark, the death of that patriarch, and other incidents, the candidate eventually passing through a narrow avenue, guarded by angry beasts, after which he was seized and borne to the water, symbolical of the waters on which the Ark of Noah floated. In this water he was completely immersed, and, on emerging from the water on to the bank on the side opposite to that from which he had entered, he found himself in a blaze of light. He was then presented to the Arch Druid, who, seated on his throne or chair of office, explained to him the symbolical meaning of the various ceremonies through which he had passed.
This ceremony of initiation was similar to that of the Egyptian rites of Osiris, which was regarded as a descent into hell, a passage through the infernal lake, followed by a landing on the Egyptian Isle of the Blessed. By its means men were held to become more holy, just, and pure, and to be delivered from all hazards, which would otherwise be impending. The cave in which the aspirant was placed for meditation before he was permitted to participate in the sacred mysteries was guarded by a representative of the terrible divinity, Busnawr, who was armed with a naked sword, and whose vindictive wrath, when aroused, was said to be such as to make earth, hell, and even heaven itself, tremble.
Dionysius tells us that when the Druidesses celebrated the mysteries of the great god, Hu the Mighty, they passed over an arm of the sea in the dead of the night to ascertain smaller contiguous islets. The ship, or vessel, in which they made the passage represented the Ark of the Deluge; the arm of the sea, that of the waters of the flood; and the fabled Elysian island, where the voyage terminated, shadowed out the Lunar White Island of the ocean-girt summit of the Paradisiacal Ararat.
After the initiation was completed the candidate retired into the forest where the period of his noviciate was spent, his time being devoted to study and gymnastic exercises. There were various steps, or degrees, and it was necessary for the Druid to pass through the degrees of Vate and Bard before becoming a full-fledged Druid. Prior to the conferring of each degree the candidate was confined within cromlechs without food for thirty-six hours. The caves in which all the ceremonies were performed were like the Druidical temples above-ground, circular in form.
The three degrees of Vate, Bard, and Druid were regarded as equal in importance, though not in privilege, and they were distinct in purpose. There is little doubt that knowledge was confined mainly, if not altogether, to the professed Druids. Caesar says that they disputed largely upon subjects of natural philosophy and instructed the youth of the land in the rudiments of learning. By some writers the Druids are credited with a knowledge of the telescope, though this opinion is based mainly upon the statement of Diodorus Siculus, who says that on an island west of Celtae, the Druids brought the sun and moon near to them. Hecataeus, however, informs us that they taught the existence of lunar mountains. The fact that the milky way consisted of small stars was known to the ancients is often adduced in support of the claim to antiquity of the telescope. Idris, the giant, a pre-Christian astronomer, is said to have pursued his study of the science from the apex of one of the loftiest mountains in North Wales, which, in consequence, received the name which it now bears--Cader Idris, or the Chair of Idris. Diodorus Siculus is also responsible for the statement that the Saronides (Druids) were the Gaulish philosophers and divines and were held in great veneration and that it was not lawful to perform any sacrifices except in the presence of one of these philosophers.
Mr. P. W. Joyce, in his Social History of Ancient Ireland, says that in Pagan times the Druids were the exclusive possessors of whatever learning was then known and combined in themselves all the learned professions, being not only Druids or priests, but judges, prophets, historians, poets and even physicians. He might have added: "and instructors of youth," since education was entirely in their hands. Even St. Columba began his education under a Druid and so great was the veneration paid to the Druids for the knowledge they possessed that it became a kind of adage with respect to anything that was deemed mysterious or beyond ordinary ken: "No one knows but God and the holy Druids."
The Druids were the intermediaries between the people and the spiritual world, and the people believed that their priests could protect them from the malice of evilly-disposed spirits of every kind. The authority possessed by the Druids is easily understood when it is remembered that they were possessed of more knowledge and learning than any other class of men in the country. "They were," says Rowlands in Mona Antiqua Restorata, "men of thought and speculation, whose chief province was to enlarge the bounds of knowledge, as their fellows were to do those of empire into what country or climate soever they came."
Kings had each ever about them a Druid for prayer and sacrifice, who was also a judge for determining controversies, although each king had a civil judge besides. At the Court of Conchobar, King of Ulster, no one had the right to speak before the Druid had spoken. Cathbu or Cathbad, a Druid once attached to that Court, was accompanied by a hundred youths, students of his art. After the introduction and adoption of Christianity the Druid was succeeded by a bishop or priest, just as the Druidesses at Kildare were succeeded by the Briggitine Nuns. Martin, who wrote his Description of the Western Islands of Scotland in 1703, tells us that:
"Every great family of the Western Islands had a chief Druid who foretold future events and decided all causes, civil and ecclesiastical. It is reported of them that they wrought in the night time and rested all day. Before the Britons engaged in battle the Chief Druid harangued the army to excite their courage. He was placed on an eminence whence he addressed himself to all standing about him, putting them in mind of all great things that were performed by the valour of their ancestors, raised their hopes with the noble rewards of honour and victory and dispelled their fears by all the topics that natural courage could suggest. After this harangue the army gave a general shout and then charged the enemy stoutly."
The position of Arch Druid was at one time held by Divitiacus, the Eduan, the intimate acquaintance and friend of Caesar, who is believed to have inspired the account of Druidism given by Caesar in De Bello Gallico. The British Arch Druid is said to have had his residence in the Isle of Anglesey, in or near to Llaniden. There the name of Tre'r Dryw, or Druidstown, is still preserved and there are still there also some of the massive stone structures which are invariably associated with Druidism. The Courts of the Arch Druids were held at Drewson, or Druidstown. The principal seat of the French Druids was at Chartres, the residence of the Gallic Arch Druid, at which place also the annual convention of Gaulish and British Druids was held. There was also a large Druidical settlement at Marseilles. It was here that Caesar, in order to put an end to Druidism in Gaul, ordered the trees to be felled. . There is no record of a head priest or Arch Druid amongst the Irish Druids.
Dr. John Jamieson, in his Historical Account of the Ancient Culdees of Iona, which was published in 1870, says that twenty years previously there was living in the parish of Moulim, an old man, who although very regular in his devotions, never addressed the Supreme Being by any other title than that of Arch Druid. He quotes this as an illustration of the firm hold which ancient superstition takes of the mind.
Druids had the privilege of wearing six colours in their robes and their tunics reached to their heels, while the tunics of others reached only to the knees. Kings and queens reserved to themselves the right of wearing robes of seven colours; lords and ladies, five; governors of fortresses, four; young gentlemen of quality, three; soldiers, two; and the common people, one. When the Druids were officiating in their priestly capacity, they wore each a white robe, emblematic of truth and holiness as well as of the sun. When officiating as a judge, the Druid wore two white robes, fastened with a girdle, surmounted by his Druid's egg encased in gold, and wore round his neck the breastplate of judgment, which was supposed to press upon his breast should he give utterance to a false or corrupt judgment. A golden tiara was upon his head and two official rings on his right hand fingers. On ordinary occasions the cap worn by the Druid had on the front a golden representation of the sun under a half moon of silver, supported by two Druids, one at each cusp, in an inclined posture.
The mode of excommunication was to expose the erring member to a naked weapon. The Bards had a special ceremony for the degradation of their convicted brethren. It took place at a Gorsedd when the assembled Bards placed their caps on their heads. One deputed for the office unsheathed his sword, uplifted it and named the delinquent aloud three times, adding, on the last occasion the words: "The sword is naked against him." After these words were pronounced the offender was expelled, never to be re-admitted, and he became known as "a man deprived of privilege and exposed to warfare."
MASONRY AMONG PRIMITIVE PEOPLES
BY BRO. J.W. NORWOOD, KENTUCKY
MUCH has been said and written about Freemasonry among the Indians, the Arabs, the Chinese, the Australians and even the Africans. The recognition of Masonic signs and the use of various Masonic symbols in the rites of these people have given color to the supposition that they had Masonry, not of the sort we moderns can recognize as such to be sure, but sufficient to convince students that "the landmarks" are there.
If by Freemasonry we mean merely the grand lodge system established in 1717, then all these tales of white Freemasons saving their lives among savages or in strange countries by the use of Masonic signs, mean nothing. But if the legends of our Order have any significance whatever, then Freemasonry is very ancient though it has been arranged and rearranged in the form of rites and degrees many times. And if this is true, that no man can say when or where it first began, then it is not folly to investigate the evolution of what we now term Freemasonry. Stanley in Africa, travelers in Australia, shipwrecked sailors on the coast of Arabia, have been reported as meeting with primitive Freemasonry.
The Chinese have frequently been referred to as having a rite they claim to be the most ancient on earth. Chinese classics abound in references to the square and compasses used speculatively. And as often denials have come from Masonic notables, declaring it could not be so.
Here is an anecdote that may illustrate why students of Freemasonry are not so sure the Chinese may not have what they claim. In San Francisco there is a lodge of what is popularly called the "Chinese Freemasons." Needless to say they do not themselves call it so, though they recognize kinship with the great fraternity.
A number of years ago, the writer had a conversation with a gentleman who had traveled extensively in this country, Alaska and Mexico. He had visited this lodge of "Chinese Freemasons." He was admitted in company with a friend, editor of a daily paper and a 32d Scottish Rite Mason, who merely vouched for the man as a Mason.
My informant stated that he saw the opening and closing in three degrees but no initiatory ceremonies. Aside from the general disposition and number of officers, he did not observe much that reminded him of our Masonry.
I asked him about the signs given in the three degrees. He arose and proceeded to give me the signs as he declared the Chinese made them. They were identical with those of the three degrees save that they were given with two hands where we give them with one. There were no due guards. My friend was astonished that he had overlooked this fact. He was no student. He was not a close observer.
He did remark that his Scottish Rite friend had told him the grand hailing sign was the same with ours but the words accompanying it were different and sounded like those words Jesus uttered on the cross and which have been a puzzle to linguists--"Eloi, Eloi, Lama Sabacthani." The Chinese translated them "Brother, Brother, has thou forsaken me?" They declared that they were not Chinese or even Sanskrit. No one could say whence they originated, but they had come down from time immemorial.
A number of years ago, the Masonic Home Journal reported an instance of "Chinese Masonry" according to which a mandarin had captured some white prisoners, including an English general who made the sign. He was recognized by the Mandarin and advanced upon the five points. He was well treated.
In Louisville, Kentucky, the writer once had the pleasure of seeing a young Korean about to return to his country as a Christian missionary, raised to the sublime degree of Master Mason. When called upon for remarks, he said that he had wanted to become a Mason in order to surprise his father and brothers in Korea, for his family had been Masons for thousands of years. Their system and rite differed, but the Masonry was there.
If we begin with the formation of the modern Grand Lodge system of government in London, 1717, and trace backward, we will find many curious things connected with that era which cannot be relegated to the rubbish by contemptuous or skeptical writers.
Nothing has been more clearly proven than that one source of the rite then formed by Drs. Anderson, Desaguilers and others, was the operative gild.
These gilds can trace their history back through the middle ages to ancient Rome and Greece, when they were connected with various mysteries, as in the case of the builders of Solomon's Temple, who were actual Tyrians and built similar temples throughout Asia Minor. They were under the jurisdiction of the Dionysian priesthood then as their successors were governed by the clergy during Christian times.
But there was another source from which Freemasonry drew its inspiration--the Hermetic philosophy. The "Hermeticists," whether Astrologers, Alchemists, Rosicrucians, Theosophists or Kabbalists, used the same symbols or many of them, and explained them in much the same way as the ancient Chinese, the Egyptians and Hindus.
Prior to the "Revival" of 1717, this "Hermetic" element is to be found giving expression to itself in Elias Ashmole's "Astrologers" on the "esoteric" side and to the "Royal Society" on the exoteric. To both of these associations and their members, closely affiliated with the "Masons Company" in London at that time, the subsequent Revival owed much. The idea of the founders of modern Masonry in 1717, seems to have been to divest the degrees of all mysterious terms and ambiguous language, make it universal and open to all men of average intellect, so that a common platform could be established upon which men of all creeds could stand without being diverted by too much study of inessentials.
As Dr. Charles Merz has recently suggested in his excellent little booklet, "The House of Solomon," the Rosicrucian movement of Andrea seemed to have been the inspiration of the English forerunners of the Masonic system of 1717. Francis Bacon's "New Atlantis" had a powerful influence upon the Elizabethan age because of his description of "The House of Solomon" on Bensalem island.
But before Francis Bacon's time, there were other ideals written about Solomon's Temple. The "Mystics" and "Hermetics" of the Christian era find their parallels in similar philosophers in all ages.
Perhaps no more striking instance showing the connection between the gilds and philosophical societies can be found than in the use of the two pillars represented as standing before the Temple by both. The legends connected with these pillars should alone be sufficient to convince one of their antiquity, even had we not the evidence left by the gilds in Christian Cathedrals and pagan temples back into prehistoric times. The Totem poles of savage rites today are survivals of this ancient custom and from the Totem pole our modern pillars doubtless sprang.
To the student and scientific observer, Freemasonry is an evolution. Because it is a "progressive science," many have imagined that any rearrangement of its degrees, its symbols or its ceremonies would destroy the "landmarks." Such a suspicion does little credit to one's understanding of Freemasonry or its spirit. The landmarks are the tenets of Freemasonry--not some peculiar form of ceremony.
From the signs of recognition, the symbols by which certain primitive facts in nature were preserved in a "universal language" among early peoples, to our modern use of them even while so few understand or care about their meaning, is a long step.
It is not to be expected that a primitive people possessing these but not the standards of education of the more enlightened races, should have kept pace with modern research and progress in civilization.
As a nation evolves so does its scientific, religious, and philosophical standards. Freemasonry, the repository of truth as understood by its votaries, naturally undergoes variation in form according to the deposit made in its archives. One system can no more hope to become the dictator of other systems than one lamp can hope to shine all other lamps out of existence.
Like Christianity, which some of the early Christian Fathers declared had existed from time immemorial and long before the advent of the Great Master whose name they adopted, Freemasonry is a thing of the heart and mind which has also existed from time immemorial.
It cannot be confined within arbitrary jurisdictions. The most that our modern system can hope to do is to clear away the rubbish from our speculative lodges and say, "This is the system of degrees we will recognize as Freemasonry and this alone, for here we have some approach to a standard of form and ceremony. All others we will not call Freemasonry."
In Orthodox Jewish circles, the Rabbis are almost as much opposed to Freemasonry as the Roman Church, though for a different reason.
To them it is too much like their own rituals, symbols and ceremonies--too much like taking sacred things and imitating them.
The Jewish rituals have in them the elements of the Masonic but applied to religious and racial uses entirely.
Take the ceremony of laying on the tphillin or "phylactery" as the Bible puts it. There one may find the "Word," the "Substitute," the "Ark" the sign of the Fellowcraft, and even the "flight of winding stairs" of fifteen steps, together with much more pertaining to the Masonic degrees. The three lights and the Master's sign are to be found in another ceremony and so one might continue through these ancient Mosaic ceremonies and duplicate practically everything to be found in Masonic ritual.
But even here we must go back to Egypt where Moses was educated to discover the origin of these things. There the "Holy Royal Arch" is no less prominent than the very sign of the Fellowcraft above alluded to. Egypt has left the records of a Masonry where may be found all our signs and most of our words.
The writer is acquainted with a gentleman who many years ago spent some time in Palestine and Arabia in Masonic research. His description of his own initiation into what the Arabians claim to be a Freemasonry as old as the pyramids, embraced certain signs, and simple dogmas, exactly like those of our Masonry. The rite was much simpler. There was no splendid regalia, but the initiates of the Arabic degrees keep their obligations to the letter and lay down their lives if need be, for a brother.
Another very profitable field of research for those who are interested in studying the evolution of this thing we now call Freemasonry is to be found in philology--study of word derivations. One is astounded at the almost universal dispersion of certain well known Masonic terms, never used in any other connection.
The word "Jehovah" for example is discovered to be practically world wide and age old. Its pronunciation differs, but not the "landmarks" by which it may be identified. The Jewish JHVH or YHWH, is the same as the "Jah" whom the Phoenician father-in-law of Moses worshiped and served as priest. It is identical with the Roman JOVE, or Yowe. The Greek IAO, the Druid HU, the Chinese YAO and the seven vowels of India and Egypt, find repetition among American Indians and in African and Australian cults.
So HIRAM (Hebrew Ch'Huram) goes back to the ancient name for LIGHT as world wide as the pillars of Hermes.
And John is to be seen in the Etruscan Janus, whose temple consisted of these two pillars; in the Chaldean Ea-n whom the Greeks called Oahnnes and in other names of "gods."
Such studies invariably convince the open minded, that while rituals and ceremonies undergo many changes in the course of evolution, the teachings inculcated have never undergone material change because they are the result of profound research by the world's greatest masters of science and philosophy.
The speculative or spiritual use of the square and compasses is the same today as when the Chinese sages urged statesmen and those who sought knowledge to use them for a nobler purpose than the operative Mason.
The philosophers and fathers of Masonry used the Masonic symbols as BUILDERS and the craft has always been the BUILDERS craft. Only when we desert the plan outlined for BUILDING the temple of Humanity will we infringe the "landmarks" which are the same today as thousands of years ago. Methods of building and styles of architecture may and will change. The material changes with every age and we hope gets better. But the injunction to first make each part perfect and fit for the temple of the whole, stands as true today as when the science of architecture was first discovered.
When we arbitrarily dismiss the use of Masonic signs and symbols by others than regular Freemasons from mind, let us not forget that they are the common possession of "Negro Masonry" and various unrecognized rites today we deem "spurious" or "clandestine." Dr. Oliver was accustomed to dub the Masonry of the ancients as "spurious," but where there is something "spurious" it must of necessity follow that there is a "true" and "regular." Unless there existed an "authentic" rite, there could be no imitator.
"WHENCE CAME YOU?"
Daily this question is asked by Masons without the slightest thought as to its real meaning. It is fitting that the answer we make to it in the lodge is well nigh unintelligible, for it is about as intelligible as any ever given it or as probably ever will be given it. Who can answer the question "Whence came you?" Who has ever answered it ? Who will ever answer it ? Equally baffling and profound is that companion question, familiar in some jurisdictions, "Whither art thou bound?" Equally an enigma is the answer we give it. Simple as these questions appear, they search every nook and cranny and sound every depth of every philosophy, every mythology, every theology, and every religion that has ever been propounded anywhere by anybody at any time to explain human life. They allude to the problems of the origin and destiny of mankind; they lie at the foundation of all the thinking and of all the activities of man except such as are concerned with the purely utilitarian question "What shall we eat and wherewithal shall we be clothed?" All our better impulses, all our loftier aspirations, all our faiths, all our longing for and striving after a nobler state of existence, either in this or a future life, are but attempts to answer these two questions. They are the supreme questions which men have been asking themselves and each other ever since men were able to think and to talk, and they are the questions which men will continue to ask oftenest and most anxiously until the time when we are promised that we shall know even as we are known. It is thus that study and reflection bring out the beauty and the profound significance of the simplest of Masonic formulae. --Bro. O. D. Street, Alabama.
THE HEART OF GOD
O great heart of God
Once vague and lost to me,
Why do I throb with your throb tonight,
In this land, eternity?
O little heart of God
Sweet intruding stranger,
You are laughing in my human breast,
A Christ-child in a manger.
We have no pleasure in thinking of a benevolence that is unmeasured by its works. Love is inexhaustible, and if its estate is wasted, its granary emptied, still cheers and enriches, and the man, though he sleep, seems to purify the air, and his house to adorn the landscape and strengthen the laws. People always recognize this difference. We know who is benevolent by quite other means than the amount of subscriptions to soup societies.
THE FELLOWSHIP OF MASONRY
BY BRO. JOHN LEWIN MCLEISH, OHIO
AN ADDRESS BEFORE THE HYDE PARK MASONIC CLUB
MASONRY is an earnest fellowship of tried and true men, cognizant of human failures in the past, conscious of human limitations in the present, and animated by the loftiest human aspirations for the future. That Mason who best understands the real, the esoteric meaning of our gentle philosophy, is best equipped to further the highest ideals of brotherly love, relief and truth, for which Masonry stands.
The sleeping giant of Masonry is awakening at last. The Spirit of Masonry is permeating the Mighty Fellowship, arousing them to the call of humanity in a time of trial, the like of which this generation of the Sons of Men had never thought to face.
Amidst stress and storm, in the olden days, when men harbored suspicion and hate, and Nations knew not Peace, nor Brotherly Love, nor Divine Truth, sprang the Spirit of Masonry to evolve a philosophy of Moral and Social Virtues which should cement the Sons of Men of diverse Nations by unbreakable bonds of Fellowship.
For centuries, the propagation of a Secret Doctrine, "older than the oldest Church, more enduring than the most ancient Religion," slowly spread, girdling the globe, gathering into its Great Brotherhood the very best of every civilization until today', when it stands a Mighty Force, well equipped to properly fight the battles of Humanity, fearless in its sublime principles, and assured of ultimate achievement of its highest ideals, because of its practical application of that Great Masonic Dogma, the Fatherhood of God and the Brotherhood of Man. Its very vitality is dependent absolutely upon unfaltering Faith in the Grand Architect of the Universe, cemented by those ties of true Masonic Fellowship quite unbreakable even in death.
It is fortunate that this is so. New problems today confront the Sons of Men. Mighty issues must be faced by the Nations of the World including our own. Ours the task to minister to the peoples of Europe, emerging supine from the dread cataclysm of War. We must meet their pressing need and extend the hand of true Masonic Fellowship the underlying principle of which is Masonic Charity. We are one of the World's Great Forces ever struggling along a common highway of Human Utilitarianism. There are others less constructive. That particular Force which proves itself best fitted to cope with the new needs of Humankind, will longest endure. Gauging future probabilities by past performances, this Masonry of ours will not be found wanting.
Let us consider for a moment the strength of the Mighty Fellowship of which it is our privilege to form a component part.
In the United States we number nearly two million brethren of forty-nine Sovereign Grand Lodges. The very smallest of these in our Federal District has jurisdiction over thirty lodges. In England the Grand Lodge has subordinate 2578 lodges. In Canada, eight Grand Lodges guide the destiny of more than 100,000 Masons. In Germany too are eight Grand Lodges, in South America six, in Australia six, in India five, in the West Indies three, in Mexico, Liberia, Egypt, Central America, Hungary, Servia, France and Italy one each. Our craft is numerically strong in Switzerland, Holland, Belgium and Portugal. From such figures you will perceive the Universality of the Great Brotherhood, sense its wondrous potentiality for good, as the lines of Fellowship are drawn closer, ever closer, a happening sure to come with the termination of the present World War.
One of our greatest weaknesses, is the failure of many Masons, through indifference, lack of time,--environment,--or opportunity, to familiarize themselves with the glorious history and traditions of an Order whose main motif has been the making of Better Men and in consequence a Better Humanity during the centuries of its existence.
There are those raised to the sublime degree of Master Mason, and hurried through the higher degrees of the Scottish or the York Rites, who glean but the slightest knowledge of the history and meaning of Masonry. Proudly they wear the emblems of our Order, with a dim conception that they stand for something intangible, that through force of our numbers they demand respect, and cannot but give them a somewhat superior standing in the mass. Ask these brethren to explain the symbolism of the emblems, or put to them the pointed questions: "What is Masonry doing today? What does it stand for? What has it ever done?" They are lost for reply. They do not know.
For each individual Brother, Masonry is what he makes it. None of its deeper philosophy will unfold itself to his ken, without individual effort. Once in his life, to him individually is imparted the instruction of the Worshipful Master. To him is given an enactment of the Solomonic and Hiramic legends so beautifully set forth in our Ritualistic Drama. Much or little of the strange ceremonies performed for his enlightenment he may grasp. For some, the little that they carry from the lodgeroom on the night of their "raising," is indeed of small value. As well expect a candidate, rushed through the thirty-two degrees of the Scottish Rite in the few days alloted the Annual Reunion, to grasp the full beauty, the hidden meanings and real philosophy of that Ancient and Accepted Ritual unless later, he shall follow up the lessons hurriedly hinted at with a thoughtful reading of the classic "MORALS AND DOGMA," of Albert Pike. or a less pretentious manual of instruction.
Although I take it for granted most of you are more or less familiar with the splendid history of our Fellowship, a brief reference to the history of Masonry from its beginning may not prove unwelcome. The arduous labors of thoughtful Masonic students collaborating in groups like the Ars Quatuor Coronati Lodge of London, the Lodge of Research of Leicestershire, England, our National Masonic Research Society of Iowa, and the Cincinnati Masonic Study School--has once for all dispelled any lurking doubts entertained as to the true Antiquity of Masonry.
Let the Father of Masonic Philosophy, Albert Pike, impart to you his conception of Freemasonry:
"It began to shape itself in my intellectual vision into something more imposing and majestic, solemnly mysterious and grand. It seemed to me like the Pyramids in their loneliness, in whose yet undiscovered chambers may be hidden for the enlightenment of coming generations, the Sacred Books of the Egyptians, so long lost to the world: like the Sphynx half buried in the desert. . . In its Symbolism which, and its Spirit of Brotherhood are, its essence, Freemasonry is more ancient than any of the world's living religions. It has the symbols and doctrines which, older than himself, Zarathrustra inculcated, and it seemed to me a spectacle sublime, yet pitiful . . the Ancient Faith of our Ancestors, holding out to the world its symbols once so eloquent, and mutely and in vain asking for an interpreter. . . And so I came at last to see that the true greatness and majesty of Freemasonry consist in its proprietorship of these and its other symbols: and that its symbolism is its soul."
History shows clearly close connection between the Faiths and Philosophies of widely separated peoples. This is due to the fact that human nature never changes. It is the same now as it was in the prepyramidal days of ancient Egypt. Now, even as then, Man is groping blindly yet none the less determinedly in his endless Quest for Truth.
In the long ago, before the age of books, Man expressed himself in Architecture through the use of various symbols, as the Swastika of the Chaldees, the Triangle of the Egyptians, the Triple Tau of the Hebrews, the Cross of the Christians, the Square, Compasses, Plumb, Level and Circle of the Architects, blood brothers of the Accepted Masons.
In 1818 an archeologist, Giovanni Belzoni undertook the excavation of the Tombs of the Kings at Biban-el-Maluk, on the outskirts of what was once the thriving and populous City of Thebes. The result of his efforts was to establish the existence of Masonry among the ancient Egyptians; a Masonry working upon the same basic principles as our Modern Masonic Philosophy.
Some of Belzoni's most convincing "finds" were in the Hall of Beauties, a stone chamber 20 feet by 14 feet in the tomb of Pharaoh Osiris. The walls were profusely adorned with painted pictures in relief, the old hieroglyphic symbol-writing of ancient Egypt which has thrown much light upon the customs and manners of antiquity. Belzoni's discoveries established that the original form of the Egyptian Masonic Apron was triangular: that the triangular and serpent aprons were exclusively royal: that this tomb of Pharaoh Osiris was dedicated to the Masonic Mysteries blended and united with emblems of discoveries, inventions and sciences in general, progressively as they took place: that Freemasonry in the earlier ages was very different from what it is now, and that at the time of Pharaoh Osiris, it had attained to a grandeur unknown in Europe.
Later discoveries in Egypt, as the finding of Masonic Emblems in the foundations of the Obelisk confirmed Belzoni's claim that Masonry was an Existent Fellowship in Ancient Egypt. On this point one of our greatest Ohio Masons, the late Enoch T. Carson, has written:
"Masonic Archeologists, and students of its history and mysteries, are not startled at these discoveries. They know the Order is of great antiquity. The general doctrinal features, . . its cosmopolite character, its recognition and teaching of the Universal Brotherhood of Men, are substantially the same today as they were in the remote ages of antiquity. Its particular ritualistic ceremonies have undergone many and very great changes. These have been modified to a greater or lesser extent to correspond with the wants and tastes of particular nationalities. . . Those who believe that our Masonic Institution had no existence anterior to 1717 are literary knaves and dunces. . . Several learned works have been written to prove that Masonry sprung from, or is a continuation of the Ancient Egyptian Mysteries or Osiris Worship in a modified form. . . To the student of history, its origin is lost in the remotest ages of antiquity: but its principles and doctrines are fresh and grateful to the moral sensibilities of true humanity in whatever clime they may be promulgated, even as they were in the Poets' Golden Age, when Humanity was a Universal Brotherhood." . . This from so profound an authority as was Bro. Carson.
The acceptance of the Egyptian Origin of Freemasonry makes it easier for us to understand its transmission to the Hebrews after the Captivity and its spread through subsequent civilizations. Like all philosophic peoples, the Egyptians believed in a life after death. To them Death meant the DAWNING OF A SOUL. The very network of their drama of Faith based on the coming, death and resurrection of Osiris, is strangely suggestive of a certain impressive lesson taught in one of our sublime degrees today.
It is well known that the Hebrews drew the inspiration for much of their philosophy from Egypt. In their own version of the old, old story, tradition has woven a beautiful legend of a certain widow's son, all centering about the greatest world event of King Solomon's time, the building of the temple on Mount Moriah.
Nor did the spread of Egyptian influence end with the Hebrews. We can find traces of it in the Eleusinian Mysteries of Greece, and in those of Syria and Persia. All are possessors of a similar legend of a death and a resurrection. And about each one of the diverse Dramas of Faith is a Code of Morality, veiled in symbolism and protected by the secret signs and words of explanation possessed only by the initiate. Tolerant of the contemporary beliefs of the Profane, the primitive Masonic Mysteries under other names, drew into the Great Fellowship of Antiquity, many eager souls of many nations questing LIGHT.
We come now to the borderland between Ancient and Modern Masonry.
In its various ramifications, the Secret Doctrine was carried by the Tyrians from Mount Moriah where they had participated in the building of King Solomon's Temple, back to their homeland. They who had had a hand in the most stupendous architectural undertaking of ancient times, now formed themselves into a Society known as the Dionysian Architects.
Presently the sway of Rome began to extend itself over the ancient world. The Roman legions came to Tyre. With them they took back to the City of the Seven Hills, many of those skilled workmen who had developed Architecture to a high degree until then not dreamed of in Rome. In the home of the Caesars they imparted their wondrous skill to others and in time an Order akin to their own, The Collegia sprang into being. These too were fraternities of skilled artificers closely correlated, and protected by the same Secret System as their instructors. A somewhat significant characteristic of each of these Roman Collegia was the fact that each had its Master, its Wardens, a Secretary and a Treasurer, and a Quorum of three, as a requirement to meeting. The Square, the Plumb, the Level, the Cube, the Compasses and the Circle were symbolic emblems of the Roman Builders. Secrecy was a keynote of their organization.
In the days when Christianity was forbidden Heresy in still-pagan Rome, many of The Collegia became affiliated with the strange new Cult. For a time, the Emperor Diocletian purposely permitted himself to be blind to their departure from the ancient Faith to that of the Nazarene. When four of their most influential members refused to erect a statue to the God Aesculapius, Diocletian inaugurated a vigorous campaign for their undoing. Four of the Masters and one Apprentice suffered a horrible death. It is these Four who today are gratefully remembered by the Craftsmen of Europe, as our First Masonic Martyrs. After them is named the greatest Lodge of Research in the world, the Quatuor Coronati of London.
Such of the brethren of the Collegia as escaped fled to an impregnable refuge on Lake Como. Here they kept their secret organization alive perpetuating it as the Comacine Gild which flourished during the Dark Ages.
After Charlemagne, when the spread of Christianity led to an immense revival in building as a fine art, expressing itself in the erection of great Cathedrals, the Comacines followed in the wake of the Clergy, availing themselves of their ancient privileges as Free Men to go whither they might desire.
Out of their wanderings resulted the Cathedral Builders or Free Masons--the old Operatives--who traveled from city to city, from nation to nation, welcomed by all and recognized as the only Gilds quite competent to express the Spirit of the Times in speaking stone. Their organization was that of Lodges, with a Master, Fellowcrafts and Apprentices.
Apprentices were required to serve seven years before they might become Fellowcrafts. Then there was due examination and only such as were found duly and truly prepared, worthy and well-qualified were passed. Another characteristic was that each Mason had his own individual mark. Many of these you may see today in some of the great Cathedrals of Europe.
Perhaps I can best explain the great dependence of Freemasons upon Symbolic Expression by following the example of Ossian Lang and quoting from that masterly Chapter in Victor Hugo's "Notre Dame." It takes its title, "THIS WILL KILL THAT," from the gloom of one of its leading characters, the Archdeacon, as he contrasts a crudely printed book, one of the first of its kind, with the towers and gargoyle-decorated walls of the Church, supreme consummation of Masons' handiwork, to gloomily exclaim as he points to the printed page, "This will kill that." Says Victor Hugo:
"The human race has had two books, two registers, two testaments-- Architecture and Printing--the Bible of Stone, and the Bible of Paper. Up to the time of Gutenberg, Architecture was the chief and universal mode of writing. In those days if a man was born a poet, he turned architect. GENIUS, scattered among the masses,--kept down on all sides by feudality,--escaped by way of Architecture, and its Iliads took the form of Cathedrals. From the moment that printing was discovered, architecture gradually lost its virility, declined and became denuded. Being no longer looked upon as the one all-embracing sovereign and enslaving art, architecture lost its power of retaining others in its service. Carving became Sculpture,--Imagery, Painting,--the Canon, Music. It was like the dismemberment of an Empire on the death of its Alexander,--each province making itself a kingdom."
While Masonry expressed itself in the handiwork of the Compagnons as our craftsmen were called in France, of the Comacines in Italy, and the Vehmgerichte in Germany, Gothic Architecture springing up in England after the Norman Conquest in 1066, gave an equal degree of prosperity to the Freemasons there. And as early as 1600 it was quite common in England for Operative Lodges to admit Speculative members.
Although engaged in the service of the Church the Freemasons did not even in medieval days wholly approve of the Church. Upon some of the highest cornices of their handiwork they have indelibly cartooned this contempt. For example Findel says: "In the St. Sebaldus Church of Nurembourg, is a carving showing a nun in the embrace of a monk. In Strassburg an Ass is reading Mass at an altar. In Mecklenburg may be seen priests grinding dogmas out of a gristmill, and the Apostles in well-known Masonic attitudes. At Brandenburg you may see a fox in priestly robes preaching to a flock of geese."
With the Reformation came a distinct break between Church and Freemasonry.
A direct off-shoot of the traveling Freemasons were City Gilds which embodied much of the philosophy, and some of the brotherhood features, of our Order. Still they were quite distinct. They sometimes worked for the Freemasons. To enter the older and more artistic fraternity they must prove possessed of unusual skill. There can be no doubt of our direct descent from the medieval craftsmen of whose splendid symbolism I have tried to give a glimpse. Says Joseph Fort Newton in his classic of the Blue Lodge:
"Masonry was then at the zenith of its power: in its full splendor: the Lion of the tribe of Judah its symbol, strength, wisdom and beauty its ideals. Its motto "to be faithful to God and the Government." Its mission to lend itself to the public good and fraternal Charity. Keeper of an ancient and high tradition, it was a refuge for the oppressed, and a teacher of art and morality to mankind."
It was when the Freemasons took Liberty for a slogan that the Church looked askance. In the more Catholic countries Freemasonry was frowned upon.
Newton stresses the fact that membership in the old Operative Lodges implied "honesty, trustfulness, fidelity, chastity and temperance: Fealty to the brotherhood: Regard for Secrecy: Reverence in God."
The organization of the lodges was perfect. The Master's word was Law. They had a distinctive uniform--a rather picturesque crew with skin-tight leather breeches, high boots, dark tunics and peaked hats: for arms short swords and a heavy walking stick.
It is a disputed point as to how many degrees the Operative Masons had. This much we know. Their work was simpler, less formal than it was after becoming Speculative.
The gradual acceptance into the Order of men of prominence, influence, intellectuality and wealth, marks the evolution into Modern Masonry which took place in the year 1717, on St. John's day. In time the purely Speculative Masons outnumbered the older Operatives. At first the Operatives were differentiated by the title of Freemasons, the Speculatives by the name of Accepted Masons. Their union in 1717 explains our latterday nomenclature F. & A. M.
As the Age of Man's Self-Expression in Buildings of Stone Waned, and Freemasons no longer wrought in the language of Symbolic Carving, their successors clung to the old traditions and applied the centuries-old philosophy handed down from the days of Ancient Egypt by word of mouth, to the Building of Spiritual Temples, each man being his own Architect therefor.
It was the custom in those early days of Speculative Masonry for lodges to meet in taverns, and so the first four lodges assembling to form the First Grand Lodge of England, were those that met at "The Goose and Gridiron Ale House in St. Paul's Churchyard; The Crown Alehouse in Parker's Lane; The Apple Tree Tavern in Covent Garden and The Rummer and Grape Tavern."
In those days the tavern was a most important place in city life. Bishop Earle a writer of the 17th century says aptly: "Taverns are the busy man's recreation, the idle man's business, the melancholy man's sanctuary, and the stranger's welcome."
Some of the most eminent men of the day, nobles, gentlemen, editors, poets and philosophers foregathered at these taverns "the broachers of more news than hogsheads, more jests than news." As Macauley truly puts it, "The Coffee House was the Londoner's home and those who wished to find a gentleman, commonly asked not whether he lived in Fleet Street or Chancery Lane, but whether he frequented The Grecian or The Rainbow."
An eminently fitting place at that time for the meetings of a Masonic Lodge which in the early days numbered among the brethren many of the regular patrons of these old London Landmarks.
A very interesting description of London Taverns and Masonry is to be found in Vol. XIX Ars Quatuor Coronati Researches.
From now on, Speculative Masonry becomes the only Masonry we know-- an organization of worthy men, humanitarian in their sympathies, moral in their Code, practicing brotherly love, relief and truth, the three cardinal principles of Masonic Fellowship.
The example of Merrie England was followed by other lands. Grand Lodges had their being in Ireland in 1729, Scotland 1736, Berlin 1744, France 1736 and so on through the Universal Empire of Freemasonry.
In America the first Charter was issued to a Deputy Provincial Grand Master for New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania in 1730. One of our early historic lodges met at the Green Dragon Tavern in Boston. It was here the brethren of St. Andrew's planned and carried out the Boston Tea Party.
When we cast aside the yoke of England, our Lodges forsook all obedience to England's Grand Lodge. Each State formed its own Masonic Sovereignty. With the exception of the Anti-Masonic agitation sweeping the country in the middle twenties, Masonry has made a steady advance.
Now has it occurred to you to wonder why our Brotherhood has withstood the storm and stress of all time, why it has drawn into its membership some of the best of every generation of the Sons of Men ? Does not Albert Pike explain it when he says:
"MASONRY ALONE preaches TOLERATION, the right of Man to abide by his own Faith, the right of all States to govern themselves. . . It rebukes alike the monarch who seeks to extend his dominions by Conquest, the Church that claims the right to suppress Heresy by fire and steel, and the Confederation of States that insist on maintaining a union by force and restoring Brotherhood by slaughter and subjugation."
Masonry has been variously defined. With Bro. Newton I rather prefer the German definition:
"MASONRY is the activity of closely united men, who, employing symbolical forms borrowed principally from the mason's trade, and from architecture, work for the welfare of mankind, striving morally to ennoble themselves, and others, and thereby to bring about a universal league of mankind, which they aspire to exhibit even now on a small scale."
Our Masonic Ideal is growing more and more humanitarian. We are face to face with the realization that in a measure we are directly responsible for Man's well or ill being.
More and more the deeper Masonic Thinkers are awakening to the fact that if Masonry would hold its own as a World-Force, it must exert its great influence and strength in the Arena of World Politics. Conditions have not yet come to a point in this country to compel Masons to have part actively in politics as such. And yet, all other things being equal, I would lay it down as an unwritten law implied by our obligations, when Brother Masons are Candidates for Office, Always give them the preference with your Ballot before other men. Only so may the Craft withstand the growing encroachments of Clericalism upon our daily life and ideals and most upon our American Political Life.
Under this phase our Latin American Brethren have blazed the trail. They through united action drove the hated Spanish Inquisition from the shores of the New World. In Mexico, Masons since 1833 have had their own particular platform, later formulated as the Laws of Reform into the Constitution of 1857, that same Constitution for which Madero gave his life, for which Carranza is fighting now. Social Service is another latter day call upon the craft. In some cities, Masonic Social Service has been developed to the highest degree of efficiency.
He who would best serve Masonry must be tireless in his efforts. Maintain close connection with your Lodge; Make the visiting stranger feel at home; Aid the Master in devising ways and means to vary the monotony of the ceaseless grinding of our Degree Mills, endless repetition, an unavoidable consequence nowadays because of the Wave of Masonic Enthusiasm overspreading the country. If you would better fit yourself for the Fellowship of Freemasonry as an Active Worker, inform yourself of its splendid traditions, its history, aims, and present day activities.
All this is possible through our readable Masonic Magazines, and periodicals for those of you pressed for time, and the weightier tomes of Masonic Lore for the Booklover. You will soon learn there is much that we must do. We Masons are just finding ourselves.
I might consume hours telling of the problems to he met. Perhaps most of you know better than I many of them now staring us in the face. Signs of Unrest are all about us. How to meet new issues, new conditions, Masons may find by keeping in close contact with their Lodges, their Chapters, their Masonic Clubs and subsidiary organizations where the best of the brethren meet to take council together, and plan for the future, while showing an unrelaxing interest in the present.
There is much more to Masonry than the continuous repetition of Ritualism. While that has its function, in reminding us of the Great Philosophy which has successfully weathered the storms of centuries, and contributed its quota to the making of Better Men, Squarer Men, Truer Men, yet it has failed utterly and its beauty and rhythmic charm has had no meaning to him who came merely to be raised from a dead level to a living perpendicular, if he passes out again to the Profane, to flaunt his emblem proudly, while altogether out of touch with the Brotherhood, with the lodge, with himself--a Button Mason indeed, who comes no more to lodge unless it be to dine.
There is no more splendid Fellowship than that of Masonry--the glorious interlacing Fellowship of Man with the Great Architect of the Universe, the invisible, incorporeal ONE GOD--and next the Fellowship of Man with Men, the mutual recognition of Brotherhood. Such a Fellowship expresses both human ideals and spiritual aspirations.
All through the long centuries Masonry has borne the Secret Doctrine of Fellowship teaching Man to live in harmony with Man.
I have spoken of the Great Quest all Masons have made, all Masons are making, that steady secret search which some have found, and some have not, the goal.
To each man is the Secret Doctrine unraveled insofar as he senses his proximity to his God, his brotherly responsibility for his kind.
WHEN IS A MAN A MASON ?
Find the answer in that Blue Lodge Classic, The Builders, by Bro. Joseph Fort Newton:
"When he can look out over the rivers, the hills, and the far horizon with a sense of his own littleness in the vast scheme of things, and yet have faith, hope and courage . . which is the root of every virtue. When he knows that down in his heart, every man is as noble, as vile, as divine, as diabolic, and as lonely as himself, and seeks to know, to forgive and to love his fellow-man. When he knows how to sympathize with men in their sorrow, yea, even in their sins, knowing that each man fights a hard fight against many odds. When he has learned how to make friends and to keep them, and above all, to keep friends with himself. . . When he can be happy and highminded amid the meaner drudgeries of life. . . When no voice of distress reaches his ears in vain, and no hand seeks his aid without response. . . When he knows how to pray, how to love, how to hope. . . When he has kept faith with himself with his fellowman, with his God: in his hand a sword for evil, in his heart a bit of a song, . . glad to live, but not afraid to die. . Such a man has found the ONLY REAL SECRET OF MASONRY, and THE ONE which it is trying to give all the world."
"'Let there be light ! the great Creator spoke,
And at the summons slumbering nature woke,
While from the east the primal morning broke.
Back rolled the curtains of the night,
And earth rejoiced to see the light.
"'Let there be light ! through boundless realms of space
Beneath its touch arise new forms of grace;
Warmth, life, and beauty with its beams keep pace.
Where e'er it shines, with fresh delight
All things reflect the genial light.
"'Let there be light! the Master's lips proclaim,
And heart and hand unite in glad acclaim
To hail th' enrollment of a brother's name.
While he beholds with ravished sight
The glories of the perfect light.
"'Let there be light! and let the Bible's glow
Pervade our thoughts--through all our actions show--
Around our hearts its warming influence throw.
So shall our steps be led aright,
If guided by that holy light.
" 'Let there be light! though we see dimly here,
The shining gates are ever drawing near,
And send their glory down our pathway drear.
Beyond--shall heaven our eyes requite
With its divine, transcendant light.' "
--Thomas W. Davis, Mass.
THE BASIS OF BROTHERHOOD
It is not possible to create a true and genuine Brotherhood upon any theory of the baseness of human nature. There can be no real Brotherhood without mutual regard, good opinion and esteem, and mutual allowance for faults and failings. It is those only who learn habitually to think better of each other, and who look habitually for the good that is in each other, and who allow and overlook the evil, who can be Brethren one of the other, in any true sense.--Albert Pike.
DR. BUCK -- A MILITANT MASON
BY BRO. JOSEPH FORT NEWTON, IOWA
TAPS are sounded all too often in our noble army of Builders, as one by one our veteran leaders and students pass into "the Eternal East." Few names are more widely known in our Fraternity, and none more highly honored, than that of Dr. J.D. Buck, whose death at the mellow age of seventy-eight takes from us a man distinguished alike in Medicine and in Masonry, as indefatigable in his studentship as he was tireless in his benevolence. He was a man of fine character, of forthright intellect, faithful and true in all the fellowships of life, respected as a citizen, beloved as a friend, honored as a Mason; and if we were asked to sum up his long life in a single phrase it would not be hard to find-- the search for truth and the service of mankind.
Self-made and self-trained, he had an insatiable thirst for knowledge, and, his mind, far-ranging by nature, journeyed into many a replete field of research in quest of truth -- passing through more than one phase betimes, as he advanced from system to system in his pilgrimage. Original without being creative, what it lacked in orderliness it made up in the vigor and daring with which it dealt with first principles and ultimate issues in science, philosophy, economics and religion--as witness the names and number of his published works. What his final conclusions were may be found, no doubt, in the book which he left unfinished, and we are sure it was written in that style virile and direct, touched at times with beauty and fire, which is familiar to all who have followed his pen.
Truly it was a great privilege to have carried an open mind and a kind heart over so long a span of years, watching the revolutionary changes of thought and life between 1838 and 1916. Better still, our Brother filled his years to the brim with fruitful labors as a citizen, a scientist, a teacher, and a friend of his race, leaving the world better than he found it, helping forward every good cause. Here follows a brief sketch of his life wherein the leading facts are recited, which his Brethren will want to know:
Dr. J.D. Buck was born in Fredonia, N. Y., Nov. 20, 1838. His early education was obtained at Belvidere Academy, Belvidere, Ill., to which place his parents had removed. Later he attended the Janesville, Wis., Academy. The early death of his father made it necessary for him to quit school and assume the responsibility of the bread winner for the family, at an age when most boys are in high school. His work at bookkeeping was stopped at the age of seventeen, because of failing health; and fearing lung trouble he took to the pine woods of Michigan. He worked at lumbering and swung an ax during the summer. In the winter he taught school, and studied along those fundamental scientific lines which later served to distinguish his work as original in medicine as well as in the field of general literature.
At the age of 23 he enlisted, at the first call for Civil War' Volunteers, in Merrill's Horse, Company H., a regiment recruited at Battle Creek, Mich. Later his health failed, and for three months he lay in the hospital at Camp Benton, Mo., from which point he was honorably discharged and sent home. On return of his health, he again taught school in the winter, and worked as a master carpenter during the summer, in this way not only aiding the support of his mother and in the discharge of her responsibilities but he began the study of medicine with Dr. Smith Rogers at Battle Creek, Mich., later attending Hahnemann Medical College at Chicago, and graduated in 1864 from the Cleveland Medical College.
In October, 1865, he was married to Melissa Clough at his old home and place of birth, in Fredonia, N.Y. In 1866 Dr. Buck was made instructor in Physiology and Histology in his Alma Mater at Cleveland, receiving no remuneration at that time nor at any time during forty years of teaching medicine in Cleveland and later in Cincinnati, as this was before the days of endowed medical schools and state medical departments connected with the universities. Notwithstanding the call to duty in teaching medicine, the demands upon him ever increased, and the rare judgment he brought to bear upon his cases, slowly and surely, made of him the reliable physician and that rare jewel, a sympathetic consultant, to whom the profession long continued to turn in times of doubt and difficulty.
In August, 1870, Dr. Buck removed to Cincinnati. In 1872 he called the meeting of physicians which, at Dr. Pulte's office in Cincinnati, resulted in the founding of Pulte Medical College of which Dr. Buck was the Registrar and Professor of Physiology from its organization to 1880. He was then made Dean and Professor of the Theory and Practice of Medicine which position he held almost up to the time, a few years ago, when the Pulte Medical College was absorbed by the Ohio State University.
Some twenty years ago he took up the study of psychology as a basis for his work in medicine in the department of nervous and mental diseases, to which department he was made Professor in Pulte Medieal College. As a part of his study he made a thorough and exhaustive investigation of hypnotism and spiritualism, and from a purely scientific standpoint concluded that they were both destructive in their very nature and tendency, and therefore not to be made the basis of either the teaching or the cure of nervous or mental troubles.
Pursuing his search, but ever mindful of his duty to his profession, he went from the philosophy of DesCarte and of Schopenhauer to the Vedas of Old India, in the search for the kind of knowledge which would best aid man to help himself. That he found something others, equally earnest, have missed may be understood by reading his first book, "The Study of Man," or any one of the other volumes coming from his pen.
While for the past year he was not actively in the practice of medicine, he has been putting in some spare time on another book dealing with that ever present problem of economics, but the shadow of death has dimmed the light which would have been thrown upon the topic by his handling of the material.
"To be a good man and true" is the first great lesson a man should learn, and over 40 years of being just that in example, Dr. Buck won the right to lay down the precept. This he has done in the kindliest manner possible in the ethical teachings which abound in all his books, and his frequent essays on ethics, economics and other timely topics attest the vigor of his mind, the kindness of his heart and the bigness of his soul.
Dr. Buck was an Ex-President and has been a member of the Cincinnati Literary Club for 44 years, and was devoted to its work and its traditions. He was President of the Am. Section of the Theosophical Society during that period in his career when investigating the theosophical teachings. He was repeatedly honored by his local and State and National Medical Societies, and was an Ex-President of the Am. Institute of Medicine.
There is no need to add that Dr. Buck was an active and influential member of every Rite of our historic Order, holding the highest rank both in the esteem of his Brethren and in the gift of the fraternity --including the honorary Thirty-Third Degree of the Scottish Rite in its Northern Jurisdiction. Indeed, he was a recognized leader of a definite school of Masonic thought and propaganda; and while we have never been able to agree with all the conclusions of the school which he represented, we are none the less appreciative of its services to the Craft--knowing that Truth is larger than the formula of any one school or of all schools put together. Surely, by this time we ought to be able to hold differing views without marring our unity of spirit, never forgetting that without charity no truth is of any real worth.
Dr. Buck was a militant Mason. There are certain fundamental, far-shining principles which he held it to be "The Genius of Freemasonry" to defend and its mission to expound, exemplify and make prevail--such principles as lighted the way of the Pilgrims of the Mayflower who, defiant alike of arbitrary civil power and insolent ecclesiastical authority, set sail on a wintry sea to found "a church without a bishop and a state without a king." Those principles, as he knew, are one with the creative spirit and prophecy of our Republic, and it was therefore that his Masonry, on one side, was a spiritual patriotism in the exposition of which he was truly and impressively eloquent. In behalf of free thought, free conscience, and the sovereign right of man to worship in the way his heart loves best, he was a crusader--as every Mason must be, albeit some of us may use a harp instead of a hammer for a weapon.
By the same token, he was sleeplessly alert lest these principles, so vital to human welfare, be compromised or undermined by subtle, sinister influences always seeking their overthrow. Like many others, he felt the danger in our midst of a venerable Hierarchy alien to the genius of the republic and foreign to its ideal, and tirelessly active with a cunning learned through long ages, taking advantage of the liberty of our land to undo, slowly and imperceptibly, its institutions. Such a disaster is possible, but hardly probable; and if others do not share his fear in the same degree, it nevertheless behooves us to be awake, knowing that eternal vigilance is the price of liberty, and that government without tyranny--like religion without superstition--is a hard-won, precious inheritance of our humanity. Not all may be able to adopt the method of Dr. Buck, but he is a poor patriot, and a poorer Mason, who does not honor his motive, his courage, and his earnestness.
Not a few felt that Dr. Buck was in some degree antagonistic to the Christian religion. Not so. He was profoundly religious, but his insight went deeper than dogmas, down to the primitive fires of faith that are forever burning, and to the permanent fountains of hope that forever flow. He knew that if all temples were swept away, all creeds lost, and all rites forgotten, the heroic, creative soul of man would rise radiant and new-born, uplifting new temples and dictating new sacred books. He saw that if the Christian records were destroyed, the spirit of Christ and his basic truths would abide, because they are a part of the order of the world. As we may read, in the introduction to his "Mystic Masonry," perhaps his most widely read book:
"What, then, shall we conclude regarding the real genius of Christianity? Is it all a fable, put forth and kept alive by designing men, to support their pretensions to authority? Are historical facts and personal biography alone entitled to credit? While everlasting principles, Divine 'Beneficence, and the laying down of one's life for another are of no account? Is that which has inspired the hopes and brightened the lives of the downtrodden and despairing for ages a mere fancy, a designing lie? Tear every shred of history from the life of Christ today, and prove beyond all controversy that he never existed, and Humanity from its heart-of-hearts, would create him again tomorrow and justify the creation by every intuition of the human soul and by every need of the daily life of man. The historical contention might be given up, ignored, and the whole character genius, and mission of Jesus, the Christ, be none the less real beneficent, and eternal, with all of its human and dramatic episodes. Explain it as you will, it can never be explained away the character remains; and whether Historical or Ideal, it is real and eternal."
This, greatly said, shows us that the real religion of the man rested upon that profound faith which underlies all creeds, and that inextinguishable hope which overarches all sects. It is the universal religion. Its ideal is character; its revelation, wisdom; its heaven, hope; its worship, love. Because Freemasonry is founded upon this universal faith, because it holds aloft the torch-light of Tolerance, Equity and Fraternity, treating all religions with respect, while recognizing certain basic truths common to all--the existence of God, the Brotherhood of Man, and the immortality of the Soul--Dr. Buck loved it, served it faithfully and fruitfully, and found his home in its temple. With details of his service to Masonry, his studies in its symbolism and philosophy, and his activity in its behalf, we hope to deal more at length at another time, wishing now only to lay a tribute on his new-made grave.
Often we have thought that the best thing he ever wrote was his little book entitled "The Lost Word Found," not only for its style, but for the glimpse which it gives of the innermost nature of the man and his quest of truth and the ideal. Whether or not he found the Lost Word--whether any one can find it upon this earth--we need not stop to debate; but we may be sure that our Brother has found it in the Great White Lodge whither he has gone. A noble and true man, kindly and brotherly, he will be missed in the gracious circle which he adorned, and his name will be spoken with reverence and gratitude wherever Masons meet upon the Level and part upon the Square.
Life ! I know not what thou art,
But know that thou and I must part;
And when, or how, or where we met
I own to me's a secret yet.
Life! we've been long together
Through pleasant and through cloudy weather;
'Tis hard to part when friends are dear--
Perhaps 'twill cost a sigh, a tear;
Choose thine own time;
--Then steal away, give little warning,
Say not Good Night,--but in some brighter clime
Bid me Good Morning.
--A. L. Barbauld.
DE QUINCEY ON MASONRY
BY BRO. ALFRED GIFFORD, AUSTRALIA
THOMAS DE QUINCEY'S ideas about Freemasonry may be found in his study of Secret Societies in volume seven of Masson's edition of his works, and in volume thirteen, where we find the "Historico-critical Inquiry into the Origin of the Rosicrucians Freemasons." At the outset, let it be said that we must not always take our author seriously. He loves a whimsy and dearly loves a joke. The story (vii. 199) of the Mason who got drunk, and then revealed the secrets to his inquisitive wife, finds its point in the fact that the lady thought he was joking when he told the truth, and pestered him until he conceived the idea of telling fairy tales that she accepted for fact. This tale is on a par with his tarrididdle about the candidate who appears trembling before "the Grand Master" (sic) and finds that part one of the Degree is "forking out" all his coin, and part two is chiefly "brandy" (200-201) .
FREEMASONRY AS A HOAX
The quite serious thing in his study is his belief that the origin of Freemasonry is found in a hoax, and a German one at that. This idea that a vast system could have such a ridiculous beginning is not so impossible as may appear at first sight. The whole great structure of Mormonism is said to be built on a fable invented by an idle clergyman to while away time. De Quincey says of Freemasonry (xiii., 386): "To a hoax played off by a young man of extraordinary talents in the beginning of the seventeenth century (i.e., about 1610-14), but for a more elevated purpose than most hoaxes involve, the reader will find that the whole mysteries of Freemasonry, as now existing over the civilized world, after a lapse of more than two centuries, are here distinctly traced."
This theory is not De Quincey's own; it is but a DeQuincified rendering of the theory of a German professor of logic and philosophy, named J.G. Buhle, who in 1803 read a Latin dissertation on the subject before the Philosophical Society at Gottingen. De Quincey has no compliment for this "fatiguing person," nor for his confused and illogical paper, with its spluttering unintelligibility. He feels that he has so washed the dull professor's face and whitewashed him "that nothing but a life of gratitude on his part and free admission to his logic lectures forever" will repay his translator. Nevertheless, he adopts the heavily-learned theory.
ROSICRUCIANISM AND FREEMASONRY
De Quincey believes that Freemasonry arose out of Rosicrucianism, the fabled brotherhood of the Rosy Cross. He finds, as is commonly accepted in non-Masonic circles, that the story of Christian Rosycross is a fable invented by one John Valentine Andreas, of Wurtemberg, an able satirist and poet. In three works, "The Universal Reformation of the Whole Wide World," "The Fraternity of the Order of the Rosy Cross," and "The Confession of the Brotherhood of the Rosy Cross," Andreas' travels in the East, his discovery of a secret society, and the House of the Holy Ghost, with its tomb of Rosycross, are equally fictitious. But they were taken as facts. Men sought them and not finding them, invented an Order on the lines of these books, is the theory. One may wonder how such a mystic order appealed to men, until the anti-critical temper of the last decade of the sixteenth century is realized. That was the heyday of Cabbalism, Theosophy, and Alchemy. How long afterward the temper remained is well illustrated in Thomas Carlyle's study of the King of Quacks --Cogliostro. The spirit of credulity was so widespread that only the marvelous thing was attractive. What Andreas wanted was to establish a Cult of Universal Brotherhood, but he had to bait his hook with esoteric doctrines, imaginary cults, and the theory of the transmutation of lead into gold. Despising these things, he used them to get his Cult established, and was horrified to find that men accepted the myths and let the principles go.
His legendary founder of the Order was a certain Christian, Rosycross, and his followers were termed Knights of the Rosy Cross or Brothers or Philosophers of it; and their symbol was a St. Andrew's cross with four roses, one between each arm of the cross. This, it is said, was the coat of arms of Andrea's own family. Their word was Rosy Cross. The Order was of value, whatever its origin, for its members were bound to cure the sick without fee or reward. They were to be noted not for their dress, but for their tolerance and charity. Accepting the foregoing as history, can this cult be connected with Freemasonry? It is just at this crucial point that De Quincey fails. He says that Robert Fludd, who in 1629 wrote, or is said to have written, a treatise entitled "Summum Bonum," was the connecting link. We know that Robert Fludd, M. D., did in 1617 write an "Apology for the Reality of the Society of the Rosy Cross." But De Quincey says that Fludd formally withdrew the name Rosicrucian, in attempting to popularize the Society in England, and re-named it a Society of Masons in 1633.
PROOF THAT IS NOT PROOF
All the proof of this theory that he offers is found in two or three passages he quotes from Fludd's work. Under pressure of argument he does wish that the name were buried, and proposes the name Wise Men for the members of this Society. De Quincey, without a shred of evidence, supposes the name "Mason" to have been suggested by the "House of the Holy Ghost" in Andrea's "Fama Fraternitatis." Because Fludd speaks of men becoming living stones by philosophy, De Quincey says that "living stone" means "Mason." This is not so much discovery as invention on our author's part. Naively enough, he mentions that Fludd and others call the Apostles, who were supposed to be the original Rosy Cross brothers, "Husbandmen," as well as Architects, and says, "had the former type been adopted we should have had the Free Husbandmen instead of Freemason." Since De Quincey's day much new material relating to Masonic origins has come to light. His other discussions on the origin of the Order are seen to be beside the mark since their connection with the old Craft or Operative Masons Lodges has been established.
THE VALUE UNCHANGED
Believing all the foregoing, De Quincey is yet assured of the essential value of Freemasonry. He cannot speak too highly of its assertion of the equality of personal rights and this in days when they were universally challenged, while he misunderstands his mysteries and cannot see the value of its signs, he is assured that its effect is wholly beneficent. "It cannot be denied," he says, "by those who are least favourably disposed to the Order of Freemasonry that many States of Europe, where Lodges have formerly existed or do still exist, are indebted to them for the original establishment of many salutory institutions having for their object the mitigation of human suffering."
In these days when we are in danger of judging things rather by their origin than by their qualities, it is well to remember with De Quincey that whatever was the origin of Freemasonry, it is of the same value. As a Universal Brotherhood with the ideals of Relief and Truth, it is of eternal value, whether it originated in a German hoax, the Garden of Eden, or in the hearts of men who loved their fellows and adopted an ancient society as a vehicle for their faith and words. In De Quincey's studies there is much to interest and amuse, no little by way of enlightening suggestion; but most will be gained by those who grasp his fundamental idea, that it is not a question of what Freemasonry was, but of what it is.
THE LEVEL AND THE SQUARE
An Ode to an Ode
"We meet upon the Level, and we part upon the Square,--
What words of precious meaning those words Masonic are,"
And they still are ringing, ringing as the Craft today doth know
As they did when Morris sang them more than fifty years ago.
"We meet upon the Level, and we part upon the Square,"
Did the Bard who caught the meaning and who flung it out so fair,
Did the vision of the REAL that the years so soon should see Give
the Poet the perspective of what IS and is to be ?
"We meet upon the Level, and we part upon the Square,"
In its true symbolic meaning was unfolded with such care,
That it carried with its rhythm and its setting into song
The true spirit that will ever to the Mystic Art belong.
"We meet upon the Level, and we part upon the Square "
With the Plumb in the triangle 'mong the symbols gleaming there,
All their meanings were embellished for the Craft for coming time
Through the Art and through the Poet of the Art that is sublime.
"We meet upon the Level, and we part upon the Square"
Carries with it the momentum that the Bard transcribed so fair,
Carries with it, upright ever by the true, unerring Plumb
All that lies in mortal vision of the Masonry to come.
"We meet upon the Level, and we part upon the Square"
In its meaning has been finding hearts responsive everywhere;
It has met a nature longing in the hungry human heart
Undiscovered till 'twas written into real Masonic Art.
"We meet upon the Level, and we part upon the Square,"
On the Level as it finds us; on the Square as we repair
To our stations in the Temple, to our stations in the world
Upright in the light of heaven flashing in the gems impearled.
"We meet upon the Level, and we part upon the Square"
Is the answer of the ages to its longing and its prayer.
The solution of the problem of the world's unrest today
Must be solved by this same token for there is no other way.
Let us then be forging, forging stronger still the Mystic chain,
For the glory of the meeting and the work that doth remain.
In the spirit of the Poet let us do our work with care
"As we meet upon the Level, and we part upon the Square."
--L. B. Mitchell.
THE REAL RICH MAN
He is the rich man who can avail himself of all men's faculties. He is the richest man who knows how to draw a benefit from the labors of the greatest number of men, of men in distant lands and in past times.-- Emerson.
BY BRO. W. E. ATCHISON. ASS'T SEC'Y
AT the close of his Entered Apprentice Degree, our newly admitted Brother has received a Charge having to do with his conduct within and without the Lodge. He has discovered that it is necessary for him to commit a certain amount of catechism, and is informed that an examination of his proficiency in this respect, as well as certain other formalities, must be completed before he can advance to the Second Degree.
Now, what is the law governing these various formalities ? How and when shall the examination be conducted ? How long a time must elapse between the conferring of degrees? What is the effect of a physical disability incurred by the Brother after he has been initiated into the Entered Apprentice Degree? If his application for advancement is rejected, how often may it be renewed? What is the effect of an objection to advancement, by some other Brother? How must an objection be made - privately, to the Master, or in writing, for consideration by the Lodge ?
These are the questions which have been kept uppermost in mind while making the following study. Not all of the questions are answered in the table, frequently because the law is not defined in the Code of the particular State. We repeat that this table does not purport to be a complete codification of the laws of the various Jurisdictions, but the manner in which the above questions are answered, in this particular, reveals a tremendous range of variation.
Mackey states the general rule in these terms: "It is an almost universal rule of the modern Constitutions of Masonry that an examination upon the subjects which had been taught in a preceding degree shall be required of every brother who is desirous of receiving a higher degree; and it is directed that this examination shall take place in an Open Lodge of the degree upon which the examination is made."
"Suitable proficiency" is seldom defined. The Book of Constitutions for Colorado, however, gives us the rule (in this particular Jurisdiction advancement being dependent upon a formal election by the brethren) that "no candidate shall be advanced to the second or third degree until he shall have been duly elected to receive such degree, after having passed a satisfactory examination, in open Lodge, at a stated communication, upon his proficiency in the next preceding degree," and then follows with this definition: "Suitable proficiency means that the brother must be able to answer satisfactorily the questions in the lecture of the degree, and repeat the obligation."
As an example of a Jurisdiction which permits the examination of a candidate to be conducted outside of the Lodge, by a committee, instead of before the whole Lodge, the following Resolution by the Grand Lodge of the District of Columbia is of interest: "Resolved, that no Lodge under the jurisdiction of this Grand Lodge, except by dispensation from the Grand Master, shall advance a brother until he has been examined in open Lodge by the Master or outside of the Lodge by a competent committee, and found to have made such proficiency in the preceding degree as will, in the opinion of the Master of the Lodge, enable him to pass such an examination as to be able to work his way into a Lodge of the degree in which he has been examined. (Reprint G. L. P., 1858.)"
Questions of the definition of the time element have arisen. The following quotation from the Ahiman Rezon of the Grand Jurisdiction of Pennsylvania shows hover it has been determined there: "A Masonic month is from one stated meeting to a stated meeting on the corresponding day in the next ensuing month, and may consist of from twenty-eight to thirty-five days. A candidate receiving a degree at a special meeting on a day after a stated meeting, cannot be advanced before the corresponding day after the next stated meeting. A candidate receiving a degree on the first Monday, or any other day of the month, cannot be advanced (except by virtue of a dispensation) until the corresponding day of the following month, and the day of the stated meeting of the ensuing month has intervened."
The variation in the official effect of an objection to advancement being raised is so great, and the details are so frequently found hidden in out-of-the-way sections of the Codes, that we have endeavored to classify only the most important to the average student.
In an early issue we propose to discuss "The Ballot," a subject with which the present study is closely affiliated, and we believe that our brethren will find a comparative study of the two subjects, taken side by side, extremely interesting. As has been said before, we welcome suggestions and criticisms, and shall endeavor to publish the points at variance with each table, the month following its presentation. Meanwhile, if some Brother finds food for thought in these tables, we welcome him to the Correspondence Column. The 1917 Index will group all the tables, as well as the discussion, so that quick reference to the entire subject may be made.
NOTE TO USERS OF THESE TABLES
Attention is called to the tabulated summary, at the end of this paper, of the five jurisdictions which were omitted from the January Table on the subject of "Affiliation." As we now have access to the Codes of all American Jurisdictions, we expect that subsequent papers will be complete. W.E.A.
CORRESPONDENCE CIRCLE BULLETIN---No. 5
Edited by Bro. Robert I. Clegg, Caxton Building, Cleveland Ohio
THE BULLETIN COURSE OF MASONIC STUDY
BY R.I. CLEGG
MASONS who have made a study at any length of Freemasonry and then have tried to interest others in a like pursuit soon arrive at certain definite conclusions. There should be a handy and concise arrangement of material and of topics. The research must be lessened of tedium or trifling. Short and pithy papers attract more than long and sometimes prosy chapters.
Even as these lines are written there comes from a scholarly American Mason a letter saying "I have felt the need of an elementary textbook suitable for recommendation to beginners."
First of all then let us prepare a chart of operations. We will adopt a simple but I trust a sufficient classification of our subject, Masonry, into these leading topics: Ceremonial Masonry, Symbolical Masonry, Philosophic Masonry, Legislative Masonry, and Historical Masonry.
For our purpose let us roughly define the scope of these main topics, remembering of course that they cannot but overlap here and there.
1. Ceremonial Masonry pertains to the vocal and visual presentation of monitor and ritual.
2. Symbolical Masonry employs memory aids to impress the Masonic instruction.
3. Philosophic Masonry is the science of Masonic fundamental teaching.
4. Legislative Masonry comprises the legal practice of the fraternity.
5. Historical Masonry appraises Masonic events and events.
These divisions may be again subdivided. For purposes of publicity we cannot be too detailed in references to the "work." Division 1, therefore, can only be very roughly grouped. Division 2 is for like reasons similarly restricted in treatment. Divisions 3, 4 and 5 are more flexible of adaptation.
For a working analysis of Masonic material a superior textbook is necessary. It is perplexing to refer students to sources they cannot easily tap. Completeness and authority are also as essential as that the textbook be readily available and readable. I have chosen the very latest edition of Mackey's Encyclopedia as the textbook. Additional references will be provided throughout the entire outline.
Divisions of the subject have not been arranged at random. Well aware am I that everybody seems in treating the subject to prefer a historical start. Chronologically there is merit in doing so as a matter of recording the order of events.
But I much prefer to present the order of discussion to relate directly to the individual Masonic experience; first the Lodge, then the instruction given therein, next the ethics, afterwards the laws, and finally the history.
Readers will note that this system permits any one to go ahead as far as he likes, with or without Study Club organization. But, obviously, the discussion and co-operation of the many are most advantageous. By all means get the Study Club habit.
References are select. Very many more could be cited. Every student will hunt up others for himself. For instance, mention of "Chaplain" in connection with the Lodge suggests the names of other officers to be sought under their appropriate headings in the Encyclopedia as "Wardens," etc.
Use of "etc." in a list is a reminder to the reader to look up parallel references to similar words of the same class. References to be read first will be marked with a star or asterisk. A double star may occasionally be employed in a list to indicate a further preference.
THE CRAFT CURRICULUM
Division I. Ceremonial Masonry
A. Lodge Foundations and Fundamentals.
B. The Lodge and the Candidate.
C. First Steps.
D. Second Steps.
E. Third Steps.
Division II. Symbolical Masonry.
B. Working Tools.
Division III. Philosophical Masonry.
D. Religious Aspect.
E. The Quest.
G. The Secret Doctrine.
Division IV. Legislative Masonry.
A. The Grand Lodge.
1. Ancient Constitutions.
2. Codes of Law.
3. Grand Lodge Practices.
4. Relationship to Constituent Lodges.
5. Official Duties and Prerogatives.
B. Constituent Lodge.
2. Qualifications of Candidates.
3. Initiation, Passing and Raising.
5. Change of Membership.
Division V. Historical Masonry.
A. The Mysteries--Earliest Masonic Light.
B. Study of Rites--Masonry in the Making.
C. Contributions to Lodge Characteristics.
D. National Masonry.
E. Parallel Peculiarities in Lodge Study.
F. Feminine Masonry.
G. Masonic Alphabets.
H. Historical Manuscripts of the Craft.
I. Biographical Masonry.
J. Philological Masonry--Study of Significant Words.
THE LODGE -- FOUNDATIONS AND FUNDAMENTALS BY R.I. CLEGG
FROM a mere study of the derivation of the word "lodge" much interesting data has been collected. A connection has been traced to a similar word that in the Sankrit means "world," another link in the etymological chain has been claimed to be "Logos," the "Word." Less striking are the several additional references to words in various languages having closely relating values to the terms we as Masons employ.
We ourselves do not use the word invariably in the same way. Sometimes we apply it to the place where the Masonic rites are performed.
Then again the word has been used to mean a representation of the Ark of the Covenant. Preston in his "Illustrations" so employs it and refers to processions of the Craft in public during the eighteenth century when the "Lodge" was carried through the streets and where, if we may judge from the name given to it, and from the use made of it, it was a symbol of that other "Lodge," active, spiritual, potential in essence and in purpose, universal of influence, and intent. Thereby I arrive at the third application of the word as it touches that living organism we know as the Masonic Lodge.
Our Bible has a very definite purpose with the word "lodge." It is employed freely to signify a permanent or temporary home. "Where thou lodgest, I will lodge" says the book of Ruth, 1:16. So speaks the voice of an abiding love depicting faithfulness of purpose, the desire for a common haven of rest, the home.
Thus also do we recognize the mention in Luke, 13:19, "The fowls of the air lodged in the branches," the New Testament joining with the Old in a like employment of "lodge" as the nest of birds, the home of families, the house of refreshment and refuge for sojourners or the habitation chosen for more permanent abode.
"Lodge" to a Freemason means all of this and more. A certain number of qualified Masons, lawfully assembled and empowered to work constitute a Lodge. Less than the specified number of persons; inability to conduct without outside assistance the Masonic ceremonies of initiation of Entered Apprentices, passing of Fellowcrafts, or the raising of Master Masons, or other incidental business; or the absence of the usual legal preliminaries and the want of a dispensation or charter properly attested by due constitutional authority, supreme in the locality where the communication is to be held--an or all of these deficiencies operate to render void and null, no matter how ephemeral its existence, the erection Or a "Lodge."
Of the labor of a Lodge in conferring the degrees of Masonry nothing need be said even if we were disposed to treat in detail so alluring yet so secret and truly so sacred a study. This much may be pointed out that Lodge qualifications are not determined by the four walls, ceiling and floor of any room no matter how elaborate may be that chamber.
Granted the requisite number of duly authorized Masons capable of ceremonial work and the only remaining requirement is privacy. On the hill-top, in secluded valley, within some sequestered cave, down deep in the depths of a canyon, retired in a secret vault or inner hall--these are all found practicable provided the brethren are duly tyled against the intrusion of unwelcome visitors.
Compare, if you please, the curious significance of Freemasons at work with the Levites of old performing their priestly functions. Such an examination discloses very instructive facts, truths which we may ponder to great advantage.
It may be that the peculiar relationship I have mentioned is not so evident to others of my brethren as it has ever seemed from my own viewpoint, nor do I recall at the moment where the question has similarly been raised.
Be that as it may I do venture reverently to draw a parallel between the priesthood of Israel and the Masonic brethren performing what to me are the holy rites of the fraternity.
Consider first the Lodge when receiving the initiate.
Our brethren are expected to conform to the specifications of those universally accepted landmarks, the Old Charges. Such customs of the Craft as have come down to us establish beyond dispute the curious origins of sundry practices that even today are closely followed usages amongst us.
Physical and mental strength, a sound mind in a healthy body, were particularly necessary when operative craftsmanship was concerned for the personal excellence that should man to man prevail and hold high all claims coming in contact with the demands of other competitors, be they allied or single in attack. Then were the days when the stout hearted relied upon vigor of arm among the units themselves as well as among the unity of the oath-bound craft itself.
Men whole of limb were essential because, as the old phrase goes in its apt description, "a maimed man hath no might."
True, yet I see a further meaning here. Let us now with the old operative thought in view look far into the past. We will carry in our minds the idea of a selected group of Masons entrusted with the official and very responsible duty of accepting and instructing new members, of taking the raw material--the best that presents itself- -and making it over into a building and a builder, an element in a structure that grows by additions as well as by the expansion of all these carved and shaped construction stones.
A thought-provoking incidental fact it is truly, that "character" comes as a word from a derivation meaning cut or carved or graven into form. Figurative it may be to speak of a lesson graven on the heart or embedded as by tools into the fiber of the individual's sturdy character. But experience is indeed as the stroke of the hammer upon the chisel, driving a furrow or two across the aging brow all too soon wrinkled with the swiftly wearying, wearing years.
Yes, and we get a glimpse thereby of the beauty that so often appeals to the observer of death. Plunged into sorrow's deep despair the nearest and dearest see death as the thief coming in the night. That dread visitor is death whose touch appals prince or peasant, rich or poor, innocent or guilty.
Yet that clasp of his firm-set fingers smoothes away the old anxious tension, the pressure relaxes, age slips back upon the pathway with its facial milestone records of life, and as the weight of years is lifted in some degree, we have that younger, almost youthful, aspect of peace that to many is the glory of the death chamber.
Recently I stood by the bier of a beloved Masonic friend. Like a lusty old oak he was in life gnarled of exterior as the bark upon an ancient tree. His brow was corrugated with these visible cares lining most legibly the countenance of man. In death these waves evoked by the tempests of the living were distinct and lent a character of trial by the Builder's tools, and of the chisel test of suffering, to his very impressive, deeplined face. Death had kindly touched these traces of affliction and of labor, and in truth had wiped away all his tears. Marks of sorrow, of aches and anguish were gone. Upon him rested the benediction of perpetual peace.
Of such is the aspect of Masonry, a life spent in the development of character and the pursuit in lofty purpose of a moral career, enjoying the happy reflections of a well-spent life, and then to die in confident contentment and conviction.
Again we consider the Levites, men without blemish, for none but such as these could approach the altar of their God. So also is the very obvious plan of our own institution. Thus were the sacrifices of old also expected to be equally faultless as was intended the priesthood in whose hands rested the control and fulfilment of these revered rites of atonement and propitiation. By such aids of old were worshipers brought near unto the Being they served.
By the agency of the blameless and blemishless, the unsoiled and unstained, the mentally pure and physically perfect priesthood and their faultless sacrifices, their potency as offerings consumed upon the altar being reminiscent of the burning pot of incense symbolic of a fire-purified heart, those who served as the chosen brought into the habitations of men a knowledge of the will of God, the human was leavened by the divine.
I will not here discuss what is very near to the mind of all thoughtful Freemasons: that is the purpose of the Craft in the general affairs of the world. My convictions are clear and unhesitating. But I cannot now examine this question save only to offer the belief that personal growth and individual service is the main objective for Freemasons.
Recall now my brethren, the ceremony of the corner in the north-east. Think then with that fact in mind of the ordinary laying of a cornerstone. Here you note the element of sacrifice and offering. In the cavity of the cornerstone is placed memorial matter. Records of the inception of the building, coins of the current era, names of those prominent in the project, and other memorabilia are locked up within the stone. Upon the stone is poured corn and wine and oil, emblematic of food for nourishment, refreshment and rejoicing.
When all these things have been done with religious fervor, spiritual inspiration, and serene sublimity of faith, the ceremony becomes an edifying rite that lingers long in the memory of all spectators.
You will also remember that the same ceremony is in all essentials applied in the constitution and consecration of a Lodge. Here again we have the sacredness of religious ritual with the ancient system of sacrifice illustrated by the oblation of the corn, wine and oil poured upon the Lodge.
Pouring the corn, wine and oil upon the Lodge is accomplished not by the anointing of the individuals comprising it, or by any like use of the corn or wine. In most cases the object being symbolic is carried into effect by pouring the materials of consecration upon the table or floor. Of course the result and the end sought is sacrifice and offering, unmistakable and significant.
That in early times the sacrifice was performed in most awe-inspiring manner is very certain from a critical consideration of all the facts in the case.
Today our ceremonies of consecration, whether of Lodges or otherwise, are in their offerings reminders of larger sacrifices once not rare. Immediately we think of Abraham's sacrificial intentions toward Isaac, of Jephthah and the daughter devoted to death by a father's fearful vow.
More than this, we arrive at that striking foundation ceremony whereof we are told in I Kings xvi:34. "In his days did Hiel the Bethelite build Jericho: he laid the foundation thereof in Abiram his firstborn, and set up the gates thereof in his youngest son, Segub." What shall we say of such a sacrifice?
Was it ever the case to take the beloved eldest son, or the youngest son, and pour out human life as the invocation of a blessing upon a building?
Sometimes we find in literature more than a mere suspicion that the custom was once firmly established and widely known. As for instance, Shakespeare says in Henry vi, part III, v. i.:
"I will not ruinate my father's house, Who gave his blood to lime the stones together, And set up Lancaster."
If the reader has any doubt about foundation rites demanding actual death of a human being, he may read Hastings' Bible Dictionary under the heading of "House."
He may study the death of Curtius as told by Plutarch in his Romulus, where the hero casts his body into an abyss. Instantly there closed the hitherto yawning opening of earth. While this is not human sacrifice applied to a building, it is an act of propitiatory nature, offered to mollify an outraged and anthropomorphic personification.
Similar rites with or without the consent of the person sacrificed seem to have been common. Writers have claimed that the victim often was a voluntary one, and that the act was esteemed a high honor, as is indeed the circumstance with the Japanese suicidal ceremony of hari-kari.
Consult in this connection "Foundation Rites," by L. D. Burdick; "Builders' Rites and Ceremonies," by George W. Speth; "History of Rome," by Theodore Mommsen, and other authorities on this peculiar trait of the primitive mind. Burdick's book contains a substantial bibliography guiding the student to very many sources of information upon the beliefs, customs and legends connected with buildings, locations, landmarks, etc. Upon "Lodge" and the various rites mentioned here consult Mackey's Encyclopedia.
A single sacrifice of man, woman or child was not always deemed sufficient to appease the Deity. Human sacrifices were frequent among the Aztecs and other races. One writer observes that "Frequent reiteration of sacrifices seems necessary, also, in order to keep up the sanctity of images and sacred rites, to put as it were a new soul into them."
We may differ as to the reason given by this author for the sacrifices, but we have little ground left to deny the practice. So much seems fully proven.
Speth had no doubt upon the subject. He felt assured of the old reason being still effective for the peculiar characteristics of our modern ceremony of laying a cornerstone. "I do not assert that one in a hundred is conscious of what he is doing; if you ask him he will give some different reason; but the fact remains that, unconsciously, we are following the customs of our fathers, and symbolically providing a soul for the structure." So ran his belief.
The blood of the primitive sacrifice is now displaced by the gifts of corn, wine and oil. But the evidence that this is but a memorial of the living person once offered in a dedicatory and propitiatory manner is borne out by so many corroborative circumstances that there is no room for doubt.
As Freemasons we may draw equally obvious conclusions as to the relation of our own ceremonies with these rites of old. Nay, there is a Masonic hymn oft used at the laying of foundation stones that is typical of the whole story:
"On Him, this cornerstone we build,
To Him, this edifice erect;
And still, until this work's fulfilled,
May Heaven the workman's ways direct."
We see clearly that the Lodge is more than an etymological study. Were it otherwise we might draw some lessons from its use as the distinguishing name of a small house at the entrance to a large estate, a guard to a big interest.
The word is also known in Northern England as meaning a millpond.
The "Long House" or Hodensaunee of that powerful federation of the red men of North America, the Iroquois, and the "Men's House" of many other tribal communities scattered over the globe resemble the "Lodge" in that they are privileged groups of persons gathered in privacy for the performance of sacred rites.
Applied as it was to the workshops of the middle ages that grew mushroom-like around the great cathedrals while under construction, we have it used in a much more material method than I have preferred to employ it.
If I were to think of the Lodge purely as a place and not so distinctively as a power, as location rather than leverage uplifting, then the etymology alone would suffice. But the question is nearer the heart of Masonry.
We are told by Bailey in his "Festus":--
"Death is the universal salt of states; Blood is the base of all things--law and war."
To us then, we of the Craft, is the place and power of priesthood offering as sacrifice our service in the making of good men into Masons.
References to Lodge Foundations and Fundamentals found in Mackey's Encyclopedia:
*Corn, Wine and Oil.
*Depth of Lodge.
*Extent of Lodge.
*Form of Lodge.
Stone of Foundation
"THE FIRST AMERICAN"
LET us never forget that the man whom Lowell called "the first American," and who lives today in the story of his race as one of its sublime, sacrificial spirits, was neither a psalm-singing Yankee from New England nor a fox-hunting squire from the Old Dominion. No, he was a man of the great Middle West; a child of the South like Lee, a leader of the North like Grant, who grew up in the valley of the Father of Waters the child of a pioneer grew so tall of soul that he was the one figure large enough to embody in his life the tragedy and prophecy of the heroic epoch of his Republic.
Tall, angular, homely, eloquent - he was a lawyer with the spirit of a humanitarian; a pacifist not "too proud to fight" for the safety and sanctity of his nation; a man of action led by a seer-like vision; a humorist whose heart was full of tears; modest, tender of heart, holding no bitterness, no hate; patient, wise, canny in his kindness, not free from fault and therefore rich in charity; as unwavering in justice as he was unfailing in mercy - an uncommon man with common principles and the sturdy old moralities, in whom laughter and tears mingled, and power and pity blended.
If anyone would know what America means, he need only look into the face of Lincoln, so strong, so gentle, so human, written all over with the hieroglyphics of sorrow, yet having lines where smiles fell asleep when they were weary. If any one would know the spirit of this Republic, its genius, its faith, its prophecy, let him study that face with the marks of struggle in it, the light of high resolve, the touch of an infinite pity; a face neither rudely masculine nor softly feminine, yet having in it something to remind you of the mother and the boy behind the man. Study that face with its deep-set eyes that never lie, its rugged gentleness, and you will know something of the cost of all progress, something of the yearning in the hearts of the lowly, something of the glory and pathos of noble human living.
These words are written by a child of the South, whose father fought Lincoln with all his power, who is yet a lover of the greatest figure in our history and one of his humble historians, and who, looking back at Lincoln in the vicissitude of life,a plain, honest, kindly man, sweet of heart and sound of mind, who knew that humanity was deeply wounded and sought to heal it, knows him to be a fellow to the finest, rarest, truest souls now or ever to be citizens of eternity.
* * *
THE CITY OF GOD
"For the finer spirits of Europe there are two dwelling-places: our earthly fatherland and that other City of God. Of the one we are the guests; of the other the builders. To the one let us give our lives and our faithful hearts; but neither family, friend, nor fatherland, nor aught that we love has power over the spirit. The spirit is light! It is our duty to lift it above tempests, and thrust aside the clouds which threaten to obscure it; to build higher and stronger, dominating the injustice and hatred of nations, the walls of that city wherein the souls of the whole world may assemble."
Surely that is a true, prophetic voice - Romain Holland, speaking from "Above the Battle," - the grandest utterance that has yet been heard above the din of war and the thunder of great guns, if heard only by a few who refuse to share in the wide-sown hatreds and madness of the hour. If the House of Life seems suddenly shattered, as if by a shrieking, screaming shell, leaving us shelterless, it is because, having lost our sense of common humanity, we have lost our citizenship in the City of God. Either we are all citizens of the same City, and war between us is civil war, or else there is no City of God and no home for man in the universe, nor any hope ahead save an endless conflict of beings that have nothing in common and no place where they can gather and be at rest. Hear now a voice from Germany - Forster of Munich - speaking in sober, searching words which rebuke the false philosophies and fanatical folly of the day:
"We have been misunderstood, and have misunderstood others. Who can wish in this chaos of deception to lay all the faults upon one side? Let him who is without sin cast the first stone. The traditions of all nations are stained with blood and guilt, and this world war is the culmination of the slowly working world judgment on the terrible course of European history in the past. For us here, behind the lines, it is a sacred duty to do all we can to bring about an atmosphere in which passions can be soothed and the voice of reason make itself heard. What matters is a new spirit; in each nation men must make themselves felt who will say openly that there is no way out of the hell of madness and obstinacy, unless we all resolve to give up the old evil spirit that ruled the intercourse of nations, confess, openly and honestly, our own share in its sins, and from the bottom of our hearts learn to love and to think out a new Europe."
Truly, here is deep wisdom, going down to the roots of our woes, and if this war ends in a league of men who think lovingly, it will be worth all its frightful cost in blood and tears. The fact stands before us, nobody can dispute it. Humanity began low and has been going higher ever since, pushed upward by compulsions it could not escape, pulled upward by influences it could not resist. Slowly, through ages of pain, through untold sorrow and sacrifice, our race has been climbing, throwing off one dead weight after another, and making its way toward liberty and light. Its ascent is inevitable, and not even the tragedy of world-war can stay it, much less stop it.
History, in the great conception of it, reveals an onward movement. There was Greece, after her twenty-seven years of civil war, exhausted, demoralized, fallen - but she rose again and her soul goes marching on. Mighty Rome, full of decadence, reeled to her ruin, and the world moved on, but the spirit and genius of Rome were not conquered by the barbarians thundering at her gates. The Reformation made protest against a corrupt church in behalf of the home and the rights of the soul, and nothing could stop it. The French Revolution was a human earthquake, terrible in its atheism and inhumanity, but out of it rose a new day radiant with unguessed promise.
Make no mistake; out of this world-war incredible good will issue and the race will move forward at a pace unmatched before in its annals. As the long wars of the Middle Ages overthrew feudalism and ushered in nationalism, so this war will mean the end of narrow, bigoted nationalism and the advent of a closer world-fellowship. Already, above the din of battle, we hear prophetic voices proclaiming the necessity of things hitherto held to be impractical dreams, so slowly does man learn that his dreams are his redemption, and his ideals his beacon lights. Surely, in the new day that is to be, there will be a ministry for Masonry, which is a world-order of closely lmited men who work for the welfare of mankind, "striving morally to ennoble themselves and others, and thereby to bring about a universal league of mankind, which it aspires to exhibit even now on a small scale."
* * *
HOW TO STUDY MASONRY
There are two ways of studying Masonry. One is to begin at the roots of all initiatory rites in the Men's House of primitive society, seeking out the reason for it, tracing it up through the Ancient Mysteries into the building orders of Asia Minor, Rome, and the cathedral-building period; and thence to the founding of modern Masonry, its growth, its organization, and the ramifications of its influence. Another way is to begin close by, in the Lodge, taking the initiate as he enters the Order, following each step as he moves on through the picture-gallery of symbol, drama, and parable, asking the meaning of each sign and symbol. Of course, such a method requires a tyled Lodge, or some private place of instruction, with due regard for the secrecy of the matters studied.
Now our thought is that the ideal way should combine these two methods, so that each may illumine the other. First learn the ritual - that is fundamental - not necessarily so as to be able to repeat it, but well enough to detect an error. That is, have a distinct and vivid picture of each degree in mind, and then make free use of the wise little word Why. Soon there will be a whole crop of questions asking for answer, and to find the answer it will be necessary to take up the other method - going back into the past to learn the why and wherefore of things and how they came to be. Research will thus be made to serve the ritual, and the ritual will at the same time be the basis and inspiration of our research.
THE ANCIENT PHYSICIAN
Honor a physician with the honor due unto him for the uses which ye may have of him; for the Lord hath created him.
For of the Most High cometh healing, and he shall receive honor of the king.
The skill of the physician shall lift up his head; and in the sight of great men he shall be in admiration.
The Lord hath created medicines out of the earth; and he that is wise will not abhor them.
Was not the water made sweet with wood, that the virtue thereof might be known?
And he hath given men skill, that he might be honored in his marvelous works.
With such doth he heal and taketh away their pains.
Of such doth the apothecary make a confection; and of his works there is no end; and from him is peace over all the earth.
My son, in thy sickness be not negligent; but pray unto the Lord, and he will make thee whole.
Leave off from sin, and order thine hands aright, and cleanse thy heart from all wickedness.
Give a sweet savor, and a memorial of fine flour; and make a fat offering.
Then give place to the physician, for the Lord hath created him: let him not go from thee, for thou has need of him.
There is a time when in their hands there is good success.
For they shall also pray unto the Lord, that he would prosper that which they give for ease and remedy to prolong life.
He that sinneth before his Maker, let him fall into the hand of the physician.
- The Book of Ecclesiasticus.
THE LEADER OF THE PEOPLE
Earth listens for the coming of his feet;
The hushed Fates lean expectant from their seat.
He will be calm and reverent and strong,
And, carrying in his words the fire of song,
Will send a hope upon these weary men,
A hope to make the heart grow young again,
A cry to comrades scattered and afar:
Be constellated, star by circling star;
Give to all mortals justice and forgive:
License must die that liberty may live.
Let Love shine through the fabric of the State-
Love deathless, Love whose other name is Fate.
Fear not: we cannot fail -
The Vision will prevail.
Truth is the Oath of God, and, sure and fast,
Through Death and Hell holds onward to the last.
- Edwin Markham.
"THE VOICES OF SONG"
LONG ago Cicero said that everybody should read a little poetry every day. And he was right. It helps in daily living. One can work better to a rhythm running in his head, as sailors sing a chanty as they turn the capstan. A bit of a song gives us our marching orders for the day, and arranges the values of life into something harmonious. It lifts us up, reveals a sense of proportion by taking us to a height from which the human scene is seen from the point of view of the eternal. Poetry is a light upon the common things of life, evoking unsuspected meanings, unguessed beauties, and the reading of it makes some things more bearable - and all things more lovely. It is a prophecy of what life may become, and helps to make the dream come true.
Nor is there any lack of true poetry in our day, whereof we are ready to offer proof. There is so much good poetry, indeed, that lovers of it are apt to underestimate what is really good in their quest of what is supremely great. There are many poets writing today, who, if they had written a hundred years ago, would now be acclaimed as classics. Always it is so. As a statesman is a dead politician, so a classic poet is a dead singer who was not honored while he lived. But, as we were saying, everybody should read a little poetry every day, and we propose to make note here of some dainty books of poetry written by Brother Masons, the better to tempt their brothers and fellows to obey the suggestion of the old Roman lawyer.
Now that Whitcomb Riley is no longer among us, perhaps the first of our Western poets is James W. Foley - Past Grand Master of North Dakota. Sane, broad, sympathetic, whether he treats of life with his own peculiar brand of humor, or whether he strikes the deeper and more solemn notes, he is equally vivid, equally sincere, and equally representative of what is best in our national life. One reads his "Boys and Girls" and is reminded now of 'Gene Fields, now of the child lyrics of Stevenson, and now of nobody else on earth,for he has a knack of his own, a touch as individual as it is authentic. "Tales of the Trail" takes us back into the older West of the Remington pictures, the Wister stories, and the Bret Harte poems; the days when Roosevelt was a rancher and used to stop at the old home to talk books with the father of "Foley's boys."
So, and naturally so, the former President writes an introduction to the latest volume of poems by one of "Foley's boys," entitled, "The Voices of Song." It is like the other volumes, only different. The shadow of the great war falls over it betimes, but does not cloud its optimism, the while it sings of life and love and sorrow, of An Old Fashioned Girl and The Little Country Town, of Comrades in The Quest of The Way to Galilee. Always the song is rich in sentiment, in moods tender or playful, finely phrased and hiding a wise philosophy under the lilt of simple melodies.
"Good-morning, Brother Sunshine,
Good-morning, Sister Song,
I beg your humble pardon
If you've waited very long.
I thought I heard you rapping,
To shut you out were sin,
My heart is standing open,
* * *
"A HEAP O' LIVING"
There are those who say that American optimism is evasive, unreal, and does not see straight,suffering from astigmatism and needing treatment from an optometrist, if there be such a thing. Maybe so. Perhaps it is sentimentalism, but it is practical too, and Brother Edgar Guest is a happy exponent of it. Bright, clear-cut, rollicking, touching many aspects of life surely, if briefly, reminiscent of childhood, shot through with all the old loyalties and pieties - his verse is common sense set to music. His philosophy is simple,the world is good if you take it in the right spirit; that is, it is right, if you are right. Otherwise, it is all agog and awry. "Stay upon the level and do the best you can," - for yourself and everybody, and nothing can go far wrong. Hear music "when father shakes the stove," and eat your "chunk of raisin pie" in thankfulness. When you "tackle your work" just feel that you are equal to the job, and it will be done before you know it, without fuss or fume. Be neighborly, have a kind word to say. It is a happy mood, set to easy rhythm and rhyme, which is surely better than the "sob-stuff" of which we have so much more than we need. To be sure, such a philosophy overlooks a thing or two, including the world-war, the horrible maladjustments of men and things, and the eternal discontents. But what of it? Was not Hamlet made miserable by thinking he was born to put the world to rights ? Furthermore, if we are to do our bit in swinging the earth back into its orbit, we must first get right ourselves. Exactly, and that is the goodly gospel of Guest, which he preaches from the pulpit of the Detroit Free Press. May his tribe increase. There are "heaps of livin' " left, love to win us, truth to entice us, beauty to lure us, and memory to take us back into the days that come not back.
"Foxes can talk if you know how to listen,
My Paw said so.
Owls have big eyes that sparkle an' glisten,
My Paw said so.
Bears can turn flip-flaps an' climb ellum trees,
An' steal all the honey away from the bees,
An' they never mind winter becoz they don't freeze;
My Paw said so."
* * *
"I SAT IN LODGE WITH YOU"
When those words are spoken the ice is broken, two men, strangers till then, become friends, and the fire of fellowship burns. It was a true stroke, a tender touch, a fine flash of insight when Wilbur Nesbit wrote those lines, which will surely become a classic of the Craft. What a world of difference it makes to hear those words ! Somebody can vouch for you. Doors open. Hands are outstretched. The old loneliness melts into a mist, like a bad dream. What more can we do in this world than vouch for one another, anysvay ? The richest man is a pauper if nobody will vouch for him. What is the matter with the criminal? Chiefly, that no one will vouch for him. God of dreams, what, a text for a thousand sermons! But it is not preaching we need, but just to take the text to heart and live up to it.
"Those words hold all of brotherhood
And help me face the world anew,
There's something deep and rich and good
In this: 'I sat in lodge with You."'
* * *
THE BANK OF BEAUTY
Here is a beautiful book, privately printed, entitled "Saint Francis of Assisi and Giotto his Interpreter," by J. R. Chapman, of the Continental & Commercial National Bank of Chicago. How strange. Francis wedded Lady Poverty as a bride. Clad in a rough garb, with a rope girdle, he showed how rich life can be without money. Later a great artist followed his steps with his brush, fixing the fleeting beauty of his life in the eternal repose of art. And now a great banker follows those shining steps, visiting the haunts of the "little poor man," brooding over the hills and valleys of "the Galilee of Italy." It is beautiful withal, and eloquent. Every man should have a city of the soul built against outward distraction for inward consolation and shelter - some refuge from his work, some remote and quiet retreat, a place of escape. Why not find in Masonry such a home of the mind ? He that is wise will take heed, and govern himself accordingly.
* * *
Saint Francis of Assisi, by J. R. Chapman. Privately printed.
The Voices of Song, by J. W. Foley. E. P. Dutton Co., New York. $1.50
Tales of the Trail, by J. W. Foley. E. P. Dutton Co., New York. $1.50
"A Heap o' Livill"' by Edgar Guest. Reilly & Britton, Chicago. $1.50.
History of Kisco Lodge, No. 708, by J. F. Chapman. Times Press, Mt. Kisco, N. Y.
Trees and Other Poems, by J. Kilmer. Doran Co., New York. $1.00.
Why Men Pray, by C. L. Slattery. Macmillan Co., New York. 75 cents.
Beside Our Reading Lamp, by Luther A. and Elinore T. Brewer. Privately Printed.
How to Read, by J. B. Kerfoot. Houghton Mifllin Co., Boston. $1.25.
Paul Revere, by Belle Moses. D. Appleton Co., New York.
A MIDNIGHT SOLILOQUY
* * * "The horrid deed is done !
Here, cold and mute, wrapped in the icy cloak of death, the Master sleeps.
No more the pageantry and pomp of power;
No more the craftsman hastening to perform his deep designs;
No more for him the Temple rising proudly from its hill
And beckoning heaven itself to rest upon these stately columns -
No more shall these his high ambitions gratify.
Oh, death untimely! Yet, oh, timely death !
Wrested from earth while still his honors clustered;
Before the breath of calumny had stained,
Or slander marred the worth of his achievements.
He now has fallen, yielding up his life,
Ere that he would betray his sacred trust;
Surrendering all - all that the world holds dear -
Life, honor, power, riches, everything -
Yet holding fast to his Masonic faith.
Oh, daring loyalty - fortitude most grand !
To him in future time shall countless thousands sing their songs of praise,
And sound his name, who death preferred, than faithless prove - than trust betray.
Yet kept so well, his secret stands revealed,
And from his death I read it thus -
Truth, Honor, Fortitude!
* * *
But hark! The temple bell rings out the midnight hour;
Come, now, my comrades, let us haste away,
Bearing, where'er we go, our heavy burden of remorse."
THE FIRST AMERICAN POEM*
When sun doth rise the stars do set,
Yet there's no need of light.
God shines a sun most glorious
When creatures all are right.
The very Indian boys can give
To many stars their name,
And know their course, and therein do
Excel the English tame.
English and Indian none inquire
Whose hand these candles hold;
Who gives these stars their names, Himself
More bright ten-thousand fold.
- Roger Williams.
* Printed in England in the first book ever issued by an American author, 1643.
BROTHERS OF LIGHT
Dear Brother: - Enclosed find a clipping from my home paper, "Neue Zeuricher Zeitung," (Switzerland) dated July 23rd, 1916, reading as follows: "Liberty Lodges. Ladies and Gentlemen of good standing will be admitted into Freemasonry Lodges of the Hermetic Brothers of Light. (America, Conn.) Prepaid inquiries to be sent to Post Office Box 1368, Ascona." I should like to have you print this in The Builder with further information as to the Freemasonry of the Brothers of Light. Fraternally, E. Nievergelt, Iloilo, Philippines.
Unfortunately we have no information about the fraternity mentioned by our Brother, except that they have no place in the regular Masonry of America - which should be sufficient reason for letting them alone, save as curiosity may prompt to investigation as to what they are trying to do.
* * *
Dear Brother: - Some time ago I attended a lecture on ''Symbolism of the Bible," delivered by a Theosophist. During the lecture she often used Masonic terms and claimed it was pure Masonry. In a private conversation the lecturer claimed to have been initiated into Masonry, including the Third Degree, a member of a duly constituted Lodge operating under a charter granted by the Grand Orient of France; that the order was duly recognized in all countries except America. 'The Great White Lodge," she often referred to, and alluded to it as Co-Masonry. I would appreciate information about these matters. - E.P.W.
An article about Co-Masonry, soon to appear in these pages, will set the facts clearly before our Members as regards this movement in France and elsewhere: it is written by Brother A.E. Waite. Co-Masonry exists in France and in many places, but it is not recognized by the Grand Lodges of America. Nor is it recognized by the Grand Lodge of England. For that matter, the Grand Orient of France is not recognized by the Grand Lodge of England or by the Grand Lodges of America - so that, as regular Masons, the whole affair is outside our jurisdiction. Some of the leaders of the Theosophical Society - including its founder - we understand were initiated, irregularly of course, into Masonry, and have given theosophical interpretations to Masonic symbolism - that is, they united Masonry and Theosophy; and this is no doubt what the lecturer meant by "pure Masonry." To be sure, there is no reason why a Theosophist should not be a Mason, or a Mason should not be a Theosophist; but it comes with ill grace to claim that a mixture of the two is "pure Masonry " implying that our own Masonry is diluted. Others might mix Masonry with Methodism, Buddhism, or some other cult or sect or philosophy, and call it "pure Masonry." Such a principle, if carried out would mean a Masonry as many-colored as the coat of Joseph, and it would cease to exist. We have no prejudice against Theosophy, or against a theosophical reading of Masonic symbols - if any one prefers that interpretation - but the claim of the lecturer is unMasonic, and would seem to show that she is not well instructed in the basic tenet of the Order.
* * *
Dear Brother Newton: - Ever since I read your editorial on the two Saints John, in the June issue of The Builder, I have wanted to ask you whether or not prophets have been known in other nations besides the Hebrews. I do not want to be a "butinsky," but would like to know what you think about it. - J.L.N.
Indeed, yes. For a long time prophecy was looked upon as an exclusively Hebrew institution, but that time has long gone by - the idea having been made obsolete by the comparative study of religions. No one nation has a monopoly of anything religious, albeit the Hebrews had a genius for religion, as the Greeks had for art and philosophy, and it is therefore that their prophets are supreme. But the prophet-genius is a thing as distinct as the genius of the poet, or the painter; its characteristics are well-known and may be clearly set forth - as ye editor tried to do in his lectures on "Carlyle" and on "Savonarola," both of whom had the prophet-genius in rare degree. Every race, every religion has its prophets. Such a book as "The Prophet and his Problems,'' by J. M. P. Smith, will give you examples of prophets in Egypt, Syria, Assyria and other lands of the ancient world. (Chap. 1.) Some seem to think that the chief function of a prophet is to foretell coming events. Not so. That is the least significant aspect of his ministry. He is less a fore-teller than a forth-teller, one who speaks "for" another - so that, anyone who tells a moral or spiritual truth is, in so far, a prophet, he speaks for God. If he has the lonely, sorrowful, austere, impassioned genius of the prophet, he will tell it with tremendous earnestness and power, with a style picturesque, parabolic, and surcharged with moral electricity.
* * *
SEARCH THE SCRIPTURES
Dear Sir and Brother: - I was exceedingly pleased to get the list of references to the Bible in Masonry and should like to add those we use in Jonkheer Lodge No. 865, F. & A. M., (Yonkers, N. Y.) in connection with the allusion to untempered mortar in the first degree: Ezekiel XIII:9 and XXII:28.
In New York our Great Light is open at Psalm CXXXIII for the first degree; at Amos VII for the second and at Ecclesiastes XII for the third degree. Are the references as printed in the December journal wrong, or do the various jurisdictions change the references? Yours fraternally, D D. Berolzheimer, New York.
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Dear Brother Editor: - I would like to know if any Brother can inform me if Robert Southey, born August 12, 1774, died March 21, 1843, at Bristol (?) County of Somerset, England was a Mason. Southey was Poet Laureate of England from 1813 until his death. His Lyric, "To a Spider," has the following for verse 2:
"Thou art welcome to a Rhymer sore perplext,
The subject of his verse.
There's many a one, who on a better text
Perhaps might comment worse.
Then shrink not, old Free Mason, from my view
But quietly like me spin out the line;
Do thou thy work pursue,
As I will mine."
Why does Southey call the Spider: "Old Free Mason?"
Louis S. Brigham, Randolph, Vt.
It does not appear from any biography of Southey that he was a Mason. At least, it is not mentioned - though that is not always conclusive. Perhaps some of our English Members can tell us the fact. Of course, he would not have to be a Mason to write the line quoted, since the common fact that Masonry rests upon geometry, and the geometrical figures woven by the Spider in his web, would suggest the comparison.
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My dear Brother: - I received your letter of the 26th of May, on time; and if you will pardon the long delay, I will answer the questions therein.
Darius Cobb is not a Mason. He is the artist who produced the wonderful pictures: THE MASTER, THE LAST COMRADE, CHRIST BEFORE PILATE, and many others.
He is now 84 years of age, active, hale, hearty, and a big "boy" now as he always has been. On his birthdays, he always issues this challenge: "I, Darius Cobb, hereby challenge any man my age, in the world, to race me for 25 miles." The challenge has never been accepted.
On July 4th, 1916, I saw him at a Community Celebration Parade at Newton Highlands, Mass., where he lives. He impersonated "Diogenes" and later made a big hit with the boys when he actually struck out "Teddy Roosevelt" on three pitched balls at a burlesque ball game. All this at 84.
Fraternally, L. S. Brigham, Vermont.
(This interesting note is in reply to our inquiry as to whether Darius Cobb, the artist - Brother of Sylvanus Cobb, of whom Brother Brigham wrote so interesting a letter - is a Mason. It gives us a glimpse of a hearty, happy old age, which any man might envy - the fruit of a well-spent life. The famous painting of "The Master," by Cobb, deserves its renown, uniting as it does the strength of manhood and the mercy of womanhood, illumined by strange, starry eyes, keen but kind, which look into the soul of humanity. For a few swift and gentle years those eyes looked into the eyes of humanity - and the world moved on. But the race has never forgotten that glance, nor will it forget until whatever is to be the end of things.)
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THE UPPER ROOM
Dear Bro. Newton: - Can you give me some authority in regard to the proposition of holding a Masonic Lodge on the ground floor of a building, or in a one story building ?
Ever since l have been a member of the Fraternity, I have had the idea that it was contrary to Masonic tradition to hold a Lodge on the ground floor or in a one story building. I presume I got the idea from reading that in Ancient times our Brethren ascended to the highest pinnacle when they assembled as a Lodge.
Since I came to the Province of Saskatchewan and more especially since taking up my duties this year as District Deputy Grand Master of the 12th Masonic District in this Province, I have discovered that two of the Lodges in my jurisdiction have their Lodge rooms on the ground floor, and I still claim that it is contrary to Masonic tradition, so if you will be so kind as to enlighten me on this matter I will be grateful indeed.
The writer is a Past Master of Anamosa Lodge No. 46 and in addressing you I feel that I am writing "home" for information.
Thanking you in advance for the anticipated favor, I beg to remain,
Fraternally yours, H. G. A. Harper, Saskatchewan.
(There is neither reason nor authority, so far as we are aware, why a Lodge may not meet on the first floor of a building, if it so desires. Our Brethren in the olden time met often in hills, the better to note the approach of cowans and eavesdroppers, but it was not always so. The only point in a place of meeting is its privacy, and that may be secured on any floor. As we write, there comes to mind a lovely summer afternoon on the banks of the Thames, only a few months ago. when we sat in Lodge which convened on the first floor of a building near the Skindle Hotel, Taplow, in the Province of Buckingshire.)
JOHN QUINCY ADAMS
Dear Brother: - In a copy of The Builder for the current month I notice on page 357 under the title, "The Roll of Honor," the names of John Adams and John Quincy Adams who are described as "Brother Masons."
As M. W. Bro. Baird states that he has verified the list I believe it would be worth while to publish the verification because the anti-Masons assert in their publications that John Adams never passed beyond the first degree and John Quincy Adams never entered a lodge.
It is certain that in the Anti-Mason controversy the latter took a conspicuous part against the order, writing a series of "Letters on Masonry" for publication. The "Account of the Morgan Tragedy" included in the collected "Letters," is still used by the Antis as a tract to propagate their ideas. They also used to have a tract containing what purported to be letters from Chas. Francis Adams, son of J. Q. Adams, in which the writer asserted that neither his father nor any of his descendants ever had been Masons.
It is more than twenty-five years since I saw this tract but the statements therein were very explicit and apparently backed by family testimony. The only point concerning which my memory is not clear is whether Chas. Francis Adams also denied the Masonic affiliation of his grandfather, John Adams.
The existence nor yet the honor of Masonry depend on neither of these men. If they were not Masons let us cease to claim them. I do not remember seeing anything claiming honors for the American people by reason of the fact that Benedict Arnold was born in Connecticut. Why should we boast of the distinction of having had a brother who became President of the United States, when at the same time he used his literary ability to attack our Brotherhood ? If he never was a Mason we need have no concern about his attacks more than another's showing equal ability. If he was a Mason his hostility imposes on us an especial burden of explanation. And his attitude was notorious cannot be denied, while his distinguished career adds weight to the wrong side of the scale where we are concerned. We had better let the Anti-Masons have all of him since he gave them what he did.
Paul F. Ela, E. Douglas Mass.
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"SCOTTISH RITE PHILOSOPHY"
Dear Sir and Brother: -The letter under the above title, and over the initial signature, "L. S. G.," appearing on page 382 of the December, 1916, issue of The Builder, prompts me to risk being called presumptuous, when I attempt to write a few words that may possibly cast a ray of light across the what seems to be a dark horizon, to many men who admit and claim allegiance to the marvelous Scottish Rite. Unfortunately for the stability and radiance of Masonry, there be many men, who, even though enlightened with all the education that modern universities can bestow upon them, yet they are absolutely unable to speak the first word in the answer to the "riddle of the sphinx," "Why, Whence, and Whither." The correct answer to this time old riddle is truly the "Holy Doctrine" as well as "the long lost Master's Word."
I am indeed sorry to observe that the editor of The Builder, in his reply or comments on the letter of Brother "L.S.G.," is inclined to cast regrets and rather critical innuendoes at the form and the philosophy of Morals and Dogma. To some members of the Rite it would be as impossible to add to or subtract from the beauties and sublimity and profundity of Morals and Dogma, as it would be to change for the better the verbiage of the "Great Light." Any one that fails to discover these wonderful features of that great book should never cast aspersions at the work, for that plainly indicates their own inability to comprehend and grasp its deeper and hidden meanings. We are assured in its pages that exoteric Masonry is made in such way that the profane may not know its hidden meaning. It must be read "between the lines" by the one who would grasp its full and deepest meaning.
I hope that I will not be deemed pedantic, if I attempt to tell Brother "L.S.G." of the "rough and rugged road" over which I traveled, and through which the symbolism and the philosophy of Morals and Dogma, and in fact the whole symbolism of Masonry, was made plain to me. Not that I pretend or assume that I am able to unravel and have mastered each and every feature of their unlimited intricacies, for such "Mastership" I believe to be beyond the ability of any one finite mentality. But I do believe and feel that much of the hidden treasures are perceptible to me, and those that I have not mastered remain unrevealed because of lack of opportunity and mental ability on my part. The revered and lamented Pike, and the brilliant Richardson, each spent a lifetime in the study of these hidden treasures, and were not able to plumb their most profound depths. Then why should I presume to be even able to feel and see their most hidden beauties. Masonry I conceive to be a rich mine, and the deeper the Seeker delves, the richer the jewels that he will bring to light.
It was my good fortune, to receive the degrees of Ancient Craft Masonry, very early in my young manhood. The Capitular and Cryptic degrees soon followed, and in due time I was made a Knight Templar. Soon after completing the degrees of the York or American Rite, I was fortunately led into a course of reading, that for me, held an almost irresistible attraction. I presume that my inherent love of the study of Ancient History was the real reason that I took up the line of study that I here mention. I will not name the many books that I read that took rank as collateral reading, but will mention only what I now view as the central work around which all others but radiated and held second place. I refer to the writings of Madame H.P. Blavatsky. Now do not throw up your hands in "holy horror" for I am not going to advocate a full course in "Theosophy," or of any other cult, as such. I believe that no one should undertake the reading and study of such deep and intricate philosophy, until that reader is able to read the text, and exclude from his mind the personality and the crotchets of the author. Then and only then, will the student be able to reap the rich harvest that is sometimes almost completely overshadowed by some erratic views and personal whims of the author.
The two volumes entitled "Isis Unveiled," and the three volumes, "The Secret Doctrine," constitute a mine of wisdom, that in my humble opinion has never been equalled in an equal number of volumes. After reading these volumes a number of times, together with many other books such as I before termed collateral, then it was my good fortune to be elected to receive the degrees and the philosophical teachings of the Scottish Rite. When I finally arrived at summit, then I devoutly thanked my lucky stars that my reading and study of the many previous years had been cast in the lines that had fallen to my lot.
As the entrancing beauties of the Scottish Rite degrees were unfolded to my wondering eyes, their matchless philosophy expounded to my astounded and charmed mind, my thoughts harked back to the invaluable and innumerable facts and truths of ancient religions, and the traditions of ancient mythology, all so lucidly and clearly and indisputably dragged forth from their forgotten crypts by the wonderful erudition and learning of Blavatsky, to become a background and shading for the wonderful picture as painted by the hand of Albert Pike. Soon I read the pages of Morals and Dogma, and I was forced to marvel at the wonderful harmony that exists in its philosophy. By a combination of the teachings from these two great teachers, the symbolism and the philosophy of Masonry became to me, perfectly satisfactory and complete. The, that to me, is the "long lost Master's Word," came like a flash from a noonday sun. The "Why," "Whence" and "Whither," was answered to my entire satisfaction, and the purposes, the objects or reasons for existence became perfectly satisfactory to my mind, while the future was entirely stripped of all previous dread. This same course may not remove the clouds from the minds of others, for we are told in our rituals, "let each apply the answer best suited to his own mind." But to me, it has acted in a way that I conceive to be very much like the orthodox condition called by its adherents, "Sanctification." Life and its trials and temptations, its victories and its disappointments, all are viewed as part of the vast scheme of the cosmos, guided and directed by the same unerring laws of Nature, or in other words, by the same hand of God. This induces a man to endeavor with redoubled effort, to "live the life" and render his own heart a fit dwelling place for the "Most High God." It is worth the effort.
H. L Henderson, Oregon.
(Now ye editor has not been casting innuendoes or aspirations at "Morals and Dogma" or its author, nor is he inclined to do so. Far from it. He holds the great book and its great author in high esteem, but he does not believe in the infallibility of either. Instead of belittling the book he has been trying to "read between the lines," as our Brother suggests, and if he has not found those unfathomable depths of truth which no mortal thought may sound, he has at least endeavored to make the wise and good and beautiful philosophy of the Scottish Rite more lucid. He insists that "Morals and Dogma" needs revision, needs it badly - and he is ready any time to give a bill of particulars, plans and specifications, or whatever else may be needed to show that he is right. He is insistent, not because he is an enemy of the Rite - God forbid - but the more earnestly because he loves it, believes in it, and is certain that it is one of the greatest instrumentalities for teaching men the truth that exists upon earth. Because this is so, because of its unmeasured possibilities, it ought to seek a higher efficiency for its high ends. When it does so, more men will find it what Brother Henderson has found, albeit perhaps not in just the same way - a House of Truth for the habitation and comfort of the intellect, a Temple of Faith in which to strengthen and fortify the soul. No, we do not hold up our hands "in horror" at Madame Blavatsky, or at any one else who has labored to enrich and exalt the human mind - never! That is not the spirit of the Scottish Rite. As life runs on we find ourselves more eager to welcome every helper, more willing to listen to every sweet voice that speaks of the things that matter most, rejoicing in the truth, wherever it is found - as we rejoice with our Brother in his hard-won assurance and peace of heart.)
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THE PLAY OF LIFE
I have been reading "The Crescent Moon" by Radindranath Tagore, the great Poet of India - and these are some of the thoughts that have lingered in my brain:
We have been pacing alone across the Fields of Life - strolling along the shores of the great Ocean of Time - while the Sunset was hiding its Gold like a miser.
The infinite Sky is motionless and the restless Waves boisterous.
Life's Children play on the Sands of endless Worlds and meet and greet, and part 'mid joyous songs and dances.
They build their houses with sand and play with empty shells, with withered leaves they weave their boats and float them on the Sea of Life.
Tempests roam the sky and blacken the trackless deep - yet the Children of Life play on in innocence and glee - fearing nothing.
The Crescent Moon becomes tangled in the branches of the trees and, in childish joy and confidence, we spread a net to catch it.
The Clouds that float in the azure sky seem Angels and friends, and the Waves are peopled with those that sing songs of joy and gladness from morn till night.
Then again, we build Palaces for our Fairy Friends with silver walls and roofs of Gold.
The World has been flooded with radiant Light - but the Sun is hiding its face behind the Clouds.
The shadow of the Rain has covered the day of our lives - and the fierce Lightning scratches the Sky with its nails; the Clouds rumble and roar; we shrink in fear - and are far from Home.
There are no hedges to mark the way, nor foot-paths to lead the feet; tears moisten our eyes and our hearts tremble with fear and nearly break, when we feel a hand in the darkness of our despair which tenderly lifts us up and clasps us to the bosom of its Heavenly Love - hearing us to Home - and Love - and LIGHT.
S.W. Williams, P.G.H.P.,
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THE YORK RITE
Dear Brother Newton: - In reading Brother Ruhn's very interesting article on the York Rite in the November, 1916, number of The Builder, I have noted a few points which I should like to bring to your attention.
In the first place he states that "The Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite" is a misnomer as this Rite does not come from Scotland, and he considers that the word "Scottish" should be changed or omitted. May I point out that the Supreme Council for England made this change some years ago and in that country the Scottish Rite system is now known as the Ancient and Accepted Rite for England and Wales and the Dependencies of the British Crown.
Secondly, Brother Kuhn states that "the most excellent Degree is unknown in the British Empire, except in Canada." This is an error which I should like to correct. The Grand Council of the Cryptic Degrees for England, etc., grants Charters which give power to confer the Degrees of Most Excellent Master, Royal Master, Select Master and Super-excellent Master. Councils under the authority of this governing body are to be found in most parts of the British Empire.
I may say that the Ritual of the Degree of Most Excellent Master as conferred by the Cryptic Councils of England is practically identical with that given by Royal Arch Chapters in Canada and the United States.
C. C. Adams, Canada.
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(The following letter from an alert and able young Master of an Iowa Lodge is most interesting and valuable, as showing the fruitfulness of a wise suggestion by a Grand Master, and further, as proposing a custom which it would be well to gonsider. Pertinent to the same points are the "Hints to Masters," by Brother MacBride, of Lodge Progress, published in the January issue. If a Master has no plan of progress for his Lodge, he will not get very far. Masters should be trained, not only in the ritual, but in the executive and practical aspects of their office. Yes, this Society can help, and it will keep in mind the suggestion here offered; it was this that we had in mind in publishing the Hints to Masters.)
As the election of officers in the various lodges draws nigh I am thinking of the officers in line for next year and the total indifference that some of them feel towards the work. This indilference is only exceeded by the utter lack of understanding as to their responsibilities in their new stations. A new master takes his oath of office often without the least thought as to how he is going to improve the order during the coming year, and sometimes with no intention of trying to do so. It is this lack of appreciating and understanding the responsibilities of the office that makes for this haphazard work of so many lodges and precludes all growth, except perhaps in numbers.
Grand Master Walton, at Cedar Rapids, touched upon a cure for that very thing, in my judgment. I have thought of it a great deal since then, and I feel more and more that if the outgoing master was required to give a thorough accounting of his year’s work in the form of a report read at the time of installing his successor, as Brother Walton suggested, it would be a very good thing for the lodge. It would give the new master something to think about, and if these reports were read year after year, and compared and discussed by the brethren, as would certainly happen, it would create a feeling in all who were on their way toward, or who aspired to be masters that after all it was no small job and worthy of the best talent in the lodge and the best efforts of every man who was in the chair. I believe that the brethren would also be more careful of whom they elected.
Couldn't the National Masonic Researgh Society through The Builder do something to help this along? A campaign of education would help, I believe. Would it not be profitable work for the magazine if it gave a little space to a short article on the subject in November or December of each year, in order to remind those masters that had perhaps forgotten? Then in the January number, which would be read by the new masters when their interest is at its highest, maybe a short article of an inspirational nature, accompanied by an actual report of some master, would solve the matter in some measure. New masters and old ones too, and other members would read with the greatest of interest the report of some master whose name and lodge was given. It would be a concrete example of what had been done, and would create a desire for the same thing. Many masters need only to be given a hint along such a line, and if one report was published in The Builder in January of each year it would not be many years until a valuable collection of reports would be at hand for reference.
G.G. Gudmundson, Iowa.
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BY CHARLES MACKAY
In the Book of Genesis (IV:22) occurs the sentence: "And Zillah, she also bare Tubal Cain, an instructor of every artificer in brass and iron." On the hint given in this brief statement the very popular poem of "Tubal Cain" was composed by Dr. Charles Mackay, an industrious English writer ( 1814-1889), who was for a time editor of the ILLUSTRATED LONDON NEWS, and correspondent for the LONDON TIMES during the American Civil War.
Mackay is remembered chiefly by this poem and by the spirited song, "Cheer, Boys, Cheer!"
"Tubal Cain" affords an excellent example of how much can be made out of a very slight suggestion when this gains lodgment in an imaginative mind.
The Bible tells nothing more about Tubal Cain; yet from the bare fact that he is spoken of as an instructor in metalworking Mackay spun a very spirited poem of "the days when earth was young," embodying also, in a picturesque fashion, a moral to be remembered.
Old Tubal Cain was a man of might
In the days when the earth was young
By the fierce red light of his furnace bright,
The strokes of his hammer rung;
And he lifted high his brawny hand
On the iron glowing clear,
Till the sparks rushed out in scarlet showers,
As he fashioned the sword and spear.
And he sang, "Hurrah for my handiwork !
Hurrah for the spear and sword!
Hurrah for the hand that shall wield them well,
For he shall be king and lord!"
To Tubal Cain came many a one
As he wrought by his roaring fire,
And each one prayed for a strong steel blade
As the crown of his desire
And he made them weapons sharp and strong,
Till they shouted loud with glee
And gave him gifts of pearl and gold,
And the spoils of the forest free.
And they said, "Hurrah for Tubal Cain
Who hath given us strength anew!
Hurrah for the smith, hurrah for the fire,
And hurrah for the metal true !"
But a sudden change came o'er his heart
Ere the setting of the sun,
And Tubal Cain was filled with pain
For the evil he had done:
He saw that men with rage and hate
Made war upon their kind,
That the land was red with the blood they shed
In their lust for carnage blind.
And he said, "Alas that ever I made,
Or that skill of mine should plan,
The spear and the sword for men whose joy
Is to slay their fellow man!"
And for many a day old Tubal Cain
Sat brooding o'er his woe;
And his hand forbore to smite the ore,
And his furnace smoldered low.
But he rose at last with a cheerful face
And a bright courageous eye,
And bared his strong right arm for work,
While the quick flames mounted high
And he sang, "Hurrah for my handiwork!”
And the red sparks lit the air:
"Not alone for the blade was the bright steel made,"
And he fashioned the first plowshare.
And men, taught wisdom from the past,
In friendship joined their hands,
Hung the sword in the hall, the spear on the wall,
And plowed the willing lands;
And sung, "Hurrah for Tubal Cain!
Our stanch good friend is he
And for the plowshare and the plow
To him our praise shall be.
But while oppression lifts its head,
Or a tyrant would be lord,
Though we may thank him for the plow,
We'll not forget the sword !"
DISSERTATION ON THE EMBLEMS
Inscribed and Dedicated to My Beloved Brother M. W., Albert W. Crites, Past Grand Master and Past High Priest.
BY ROBERT E. FRENCH, OF NEBRASKA
The Three Steps.
As the sun rises in the east, giving birth to day,
So in youthful hours the heart is light and gay -
'Ere angry clouds o'ercast the sky, all is bright and clear,
Before the heart has felt a sign or e'er been chilled by fear.
In manhood as Fellow Crafts we arrive at middle age,
Youthful hours are past and gone - we're actors on life's stage;
Misfortunes crowd our pathway, clouds return in gloom;
We feel our own feet sliding toward the silent tomb.
In age as Master Masons, having lived three score and ten,
May we look back along the track without remorse or pain.
Then let the golden bowl be broken the fountain rent in twain
Then let the silver cord be loosed and the clouds return again.
The Pot of Incense.
Fair emblem of a pure and contrite heart
Filled with love, relief and truth, tenets of our art;
May it ascend in fragrance rare as flowers of sweet perfume,
To a throne beyond the skies, immortal life beyond the tomb.
Emblem of industry of the "Ancient and the Free,"
Learning lessons of honest labor from the busy bee,
Laying by rich stores of knowledge ere winter age gomes on,
Relieving, aiding and assisting each and every one.
The Book of Constitutions.
"The Book of Constitutions guarded by the Tiler's sword,"
Warns us to be watchful of thought and act and word.
Let the tongue remain in silence and circumspection, too,
Rather than betray our virtues to those that are untrue.
The Sword Pointing to a Naked Heart.
"The sword pointing to a naked heart" - a warning to us all
That stern justice will o'ertake the great as well as small;
For he who guides the comet along its rapid flight
Knows but one eternal law, and that's the law of right.
The Ark and Anchor.
"The ark" riding on the billows tells of a sure retreat
From life's storms and troubles we may rest our weary feet.
Within a peaceful harbor may we all arrive at last,
Where the wicked cease from troubling and the weary are at rest.
"The anchor" is an emblem of a well grounded hope,
Like the mariner that clings to the life-saving rope,
So we look forward to a haven of bliss above,
Safely moored in a harbor where God rules in love.
The Forty-Seventh Problem of Euclid.
Invention of Pythagoras, the seer of ancient days,
Mystical truth-seeker, garing naught for praise,
Traveling in foreign climes over land and sea -
Solve this ancient problem and you'll find a mystery.
The Hour Glass.
"The hour glass," emblem of life's swiftly running sands,
Gives all a timely warning of an approaching end,
Moments, swiftly passing, soon will end life's idle dream;
Soon we all must cross Death's cold and silent stream.
"The scythe of Time" that cuts the brittle thread of life,
Thus ending all our troubles in this world of strife,
That launches us into eternity for another shore,
To a distant land, where our fathers have gone before.
The Spade, Coffin and Sprig of Acacia.
"The spade and the coffin" - Oh! what solemn emblems thou,
To remind us of death’s dew that will gather on our brow
When this life has passed away to other planes and scenes,
The Mason's faith taught by the acacia of immortal green.
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